Uchi? Unbelievable.

Posted on April 3rd, 2009

To celebrate the official release of my book this week, Paula and I went out for a fancy meal at the acclaimed Japanese restaurant Uchi, one of Austin's top destinations for food-loving visitors and residents. The mega-hype about this restaurant's lofty national reputation and its celebrity chef had our expectations sky high. Amazingly, they were met.
After walking through the entryway's small yet welcoming Japanese garden with its soothing fountains and
lightly crunching pebbles, we entered the intimate restaurant and knew we'd be spending the next few hours in an alternate universe. And that's a good thing. There'd be no requests for kids menus, high-chairs, or pagers; instead, we were surrounded by a young, trendy crowd and all the style and energy accompanying that scene.

But ultimately we were there for the food. Even though Paula and I enjoy and appreciate Japanese cuisine, we're not experts. Fortunately, our waiter was extremely helpful with menu navigation and suggestions, and we eventually agreed on a reasonable combination of items that had our mouths watering just as the smooth sake arrived in traditional masu boxes.

The perfectly prepared flavor combinations of our sushi selections set the tone for the entire meal. Every flavor was immaculately balanced with the other -- the peppery seasonings were tempered by the buttery smoothness of the seafood, which, in turn, was expertly balanced by the slight bitterness of the leaf wraps and ginger sauce. It just got better from there, with a savory and creamy baked avocado/crab dish and a tender and flavorful fish entree accompanied by a rich tomato-based sauce. Unbelievable. After the meal, we lingered at the table a little bit longer than usual to soak up every last minute of our other-worldly scene.
While we were out, we dropped by Book People, which
bills itself as Texas' largest independent bookstore, to commemorate the official date of my book release. Sure enough, there was a collection of brand-spankin' new
Moon Texas volumes on the Texas Travel shelf. Since I'd occasionally used that shelf as motivation during my lengthy writing process, it was mighty fulfilling to finally see my name among the titles in this big ol' Texas bookstore.

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