As was the case with many British, Irish and American folks of my generation I grew up with a very bland diet.
Dinner often consisted of over cooked beef or lamb, and vegetables which had been boiled to death.
There were saving graces. We ate roasted potatoes which were all crispy on the outside, and fluffy within.
We enjoyed wonderful steak and kidney pies or puddings. And our Mum made fabulous stews.
British Fish and Chips (fried in lard) were second to none.
But we never encountered pasta, pizza, curries, or rare steaks.
We’d never heard of hamburgers until a British chain restaurant known as “Wimpy Bars” introduced us to what were called “Beefburgers”.
Bit by bit we expanded our options.
My youngest brother Martyn and I were the first to be adventurous. I remember when he and I ordered “escargots” in France many years ago. Damn they were good!
But with my native gastronomic reserve I drew the line at Sushi.
A couple of years ago I was at a big buffet party at which there were trays of various kinds of sushi. I tried it and I liked it. My host told me that it was from a SRQ restaurant known as “JPAN”.
My good pal Ben is very fond of sushi but he has next to no friends who share his passion.
But today, after two or more years (I move slowly) I took Ben to SRQ’s JPAN restaurant for lunch.
Lordy, lordy it was good. Ben ate a Sashimi Combo and devoured every mouthful with obvious pleasure.
I had a more conservative meal – a Maki Combo: with a tuna roll, a salmon roll, and a crunch (tempura) roll. I scoffed it all down with great enjoyment.
My foodie boundaries are expanding!
(JPAN is at Paradise Plaza, 3800 South Tamiami Trail, and at Lakewood Ranch at 8126 Main St).