Where in world...?

An old friend phoned the other day. He never phones. But this time he just had to know: "What are you doing living in Florence?"
He thought I was in Florence, Italy. I told him it was Florence, Massachusetts.
Here are some answers -- my occasional wanderings through Florence, MA and the surrounding Pioneer Valley.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Moshi Moshi...The Rice Bomb Here...

Moshi Moshi.
(Thanks to Sangsoo L. on Yelp.)
Heads up, El Señor: Last night I went to meet a new friend for sushi in downtown Northampton. Remember sushi? Vinegared rice with a tiny dab of wasabi strong enough to make you remember you have sinuses, and often paired with a piece of fish. Sometimes wrapped with a seaweed wrapper. Mmmmm. I haven't had sushi since moving to Massachusetts over a year ago, so I was terribly excited to be asked to have sushi here. Moshi Moshi (413/586-5865) is located at 4 Main Street in downtown Northampton, right near the railroad trestle.

Sam I Am. (Thanks to Anthony C. on Yelp.)
When I walked inside, the sushi bar faced me directly, and the sushi chef greeted me so warmly. Sam, or as he put it, Sam I Am, not only said hello, but he also has a gong that he'll use to announce your arrival. It's as if the party only begins when you get there! I must admit that it's been a really long time since I made it a habit to sit at a sushi bar when having sushi; San Francisco is now a long time back in my life, as is the sushi bar that I used to visit all the time. Well, it was back in San Francisco that I learned "moshi moshi" is a way to greet someone on the phone, so I thought it was really appropriate to have a sushi bar named this way.
Rice Bombs. The Bomb.
(Photo by Leigh Merriam on Moshi Moshi's Facebook page)
I was lucky enough to try a rice bomb, with its deep fried rice ball topped by a fish and sauce mixture. Tasty and able to satisfy my craving for something fried, as I had aced my cholesterol test the other day.  But Florentina's stomach was feeling a little high-maintenance, so most of the sushi tasting stayed with more sedate choices, such as the unagi roll (roasted eel), a salmon roll (it was one of the recommended fish choices of the evening), and the pickly oshinko roll (the sweet/sour radish that looks yellow). It was all delicious and just what I needed. I really must go back and have something more adventurous. I was a little envious of my dining partner's ability to eat more daring things, such as the spicy tuna roll. I had a little bit of that one, and figured out that it was definitely spicy enough to make the high-maintenance stomach cross over into cranky land.

One really cool feature of this sushi bar, pointed out to me by my sushi buddy when I sat down: regulars are rewarded with their own special chopsticks in their specially marked holders. They hang all over the sushi bar as badges of membership. It reminded me of all the beer boots hanging at the Essen Haus in Madison, Wisconsin. While I knew back then that I could never drink enough beer to merit a boot, I know for sure I can eat enough sushi to get a pair of chopsticks labeled "Florentina" hanging on the wall. I'm really looking forward to more from Moshi Moshi, including an exciting new website.

Many thanks to Lori, sushi buddy, for sharing the rice bombs and spicy tuna roll!

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