When I see my neighbors at my door holding a covered plate I get excited because they are fantastic cooks who often bring me treats. Except this delicacy was not from their kitchen; it was deep-fried take-out fish from 99 Ranch Market’s seafood department where they scoop live fish out of a big tank, “dress” them (euphemism for remove guts and slash the skin) and toss them otherwise whole in the deep fryer.
I gratefully accepted the gift and sketched it instead of eating it since I prefer my fish grilled, not deep-fried. Then I gave the fish to my tenant who enjoyed the nice dinner.
Today I returned the plate with a little thank you card featuring the fish.
I headed first to the fish department and we ended the evening at the Ten Ren Tea Shop (sketches above) where there were so many interesting and colorful items to draw but for some reason I chose instead to sketch the very nice shop girl.
After the fish, I went where the Peking Ducks hang and was surprised to see a small pork carcass hanging there too (on the right above). I drew it first, and then found myself in a race with a woman taking down the ducks to clean up for the night. She won the race and I ran out of ducks so I copied the menu instead.
Could that carcass be Pork Bung Gut? Or is it what it sounds like (ew) and just wasn’t on display?
It’s interesting how different cultures are squeamish about different parts of the animal. I grew up loving my grandma’s roasted beef tongue, the chicken feet in her chicken soup, and my dad’s gribenes (pronounced “gribnis”)—like pork rinds except made from chicken skin. After removing the delicious crispy skins from the hot chicken fat that he’d rendered from them, he put the fat in the fridge to harden and then spread that “schmaltz” on his rye bread instead of butter.
None of those foods sound gross to me, nor does caviar, raw oysters (yum!), or rump roast, but please don’t offer me brains or intestines, thank you very much.
Tuesday night sketchcrawl met at Miyuki Japanese Restaurant on Solano and it was a feast for the eyes and the stomach. It took tremendous willpower to sketch and paint each morsel before eating them. I started with the miso soup, delivered with steamy wash cloths to clean our hands before dining.
They brought edamame to our table while we looked at the menu. I sketched and ate them after the delicious miso soup. We sat at the sushi bar and had fun watching the sushi chef. He seemed to enjoyed watching us sketch,e specially Cathy’s sketch of him.
Next was the maguro sushi on a wooden plank. Spectacularly fresh and delicious. Then it was time for the star of the show, the Country Roll, stuffed with perfectly crisp asparagus and covered in spicy and slightly sweet seaweed salad.
For “dessert” I ordered Unagi (grilled eel with a teriyaki-like sauce.
The waitress couldn’t quite make sense of us but since the restaurant wasn’t too crowded they didn’t mind us sitting there for two hours sketching and eating. And we left a big tip.
All of these were sketched and painted on site except for this last one, which was sketched in the dark from across the street when I first arrived. I took notes about the colors and added color when I got home. I highly recommend Miyaki. The food is always fresh and beautifully prepared, the staff friendly, efficient and helpful and the prices very reasonable. It’s spacious so there’s never a wait and it’s not too noisy. And it’s a great place to sketch on a Tuesday night!