Given the positive response, I take it you all loved looking at the Valentine’s sweets I posted yesterday! I had just as much fun eating them and part of me wanted to gobble up as many Valentine’s treats as possible because everything is so sweetly decorated and tasty. Today I’m sharing photos of my special Valentine’s sushi. YES! Valentine’s sushi! I don’t think a dish could be any more perfect for me! My boyfriend and I had plans to go to my favourite sushi place, The Sushi Shop, on Monday for a light sushi lunch and oh my goodness, I was over the moon when I walked in and saw the special promo poster for the “Sweetheart” maki! I’m talking excited, heart fluttery, bug-eyed happiness. It was just so perfect: maki rolls constructed to look like 2 halves of a whole heart. Genius! ❤
They were incredibly delicious. The sweetheart rolls were big and plump with a mish mash of spicy salmon woven into a smooth tempura crunch mixture with plenty of red fish roe. The texture was fabulous because the smoothness of the salmon meshed with the crunchiness of the tempura crumbles and fish roe into spicy, flavourful mouthfuls of happiness. It’s a wonderful, thought out combination that I really love and I think the way the salmon and tempura is mixed and the spiciness is what makes these rolls a hit. As one of the sushi chefs said, “Kind of like love…you get a bit of everything!” So true and so clever; the rolls had a little bit of everything rolled into one. You have that fiery spiciness (passion), the crunch (stuff you have to work at), and the aesthetic sweetness of romance and love.
My sweetie ordered the Boston Sumomaki rolls and an order of chicken spring maki and everything was so vibrant and colourful and fresh! The Boston Sumomaki rolls remind me of a freshwater fish market with its large chunks of crab meat and shrimp with lettuce, matchstick cucumbers, light mayo, and plenty of red fish roe. The spring maki are kind of like mini wraps with different types of meat, fish, and vegetables wrapped in rice paper. The chicken spring maki that my boyfriend ordered has a mixture of lettuce, cucumber, chicken breast, red bell pepper, rice, and sesame.
As for myself, to go with my sweetheart rolls, I ordered one of my favourites: the Akanasu, rolls of sundried tomato and cream cheese. ABSOLUTE YUM. Cream cheese is in my top 10 list of foodie things that make my heart go boom-boom, and combine that sushi and you have yourself a very happy Deb! The cream cheese is plentiful and it’s deliciously creamy and tangy, and the sundried tomato has a hint of heat to it with that great taste of cured saltiness. The flavour is VERY punchy and the cream cheese mellows out the strong sundried tomato flavour. Forget bagels and cream cheese; cream cheese and sushi is where it’s at!
I want to switch things up a little right now and tell you all a story about why this past Valentine’s was so special and heart-warming for me. I absolutely loved the food and goodies, but there’s more. My boyfriend and I visit our favourite garden in the city several times a year. It’s an indoor conservatory garden called Allan Gardens, and it’s so beautiful and breathtaking. We go several times a year because the flowers and plants change seasonally and my boyfriend and I love taking pictures. We go snap happy! One of the things we love is taking photos of different gardens and parks around the city (as well as artistic graffiti) and Allan Gardens holds an extra place in our heart because it’s where Richard took me on our first date. Aww.
We hadn’t been to Allan Gardens during the month of Febrary before, so I thought it’d be wonderful to go on Valentine’s Day. Beautiful flowers, sprinkling water fountains, and quiet time with the boy? Doesn’t get any sweeter than that. The conservatory is split into 4 different areas, each with different plants and flowers and as I walked into the section with the ever-changing seasonal petals, I did what I always do: gasp and squeal at how beautiful everything was. I was greeted with tulips, snapdragons, Easter lilies, and fragrant hyacinths and I skipped along identifying all the flowers I knew and learned about from all those years working in a flower shop, and I was just delighted.
As we were clicking away with our cameras and admiring all the prettiness, we saw an elderly couple and asked if they could help us take a picture. The husband took our photo and the husband and wife, Bill and Mary, began talking to us about photography and flowers and gardens, and we stood there talking with them, sharing photos and sharing stories. Mary smiled at us, looking at Richard and I knowingly, like she somehow knew just by looking at us, how much we loved each other. It was Valentine’s and we were all there enjoying everything beautiful life had to offer, quietly, peacefully.
Bill then took out a small photo album from his coat and showed us photos he had taken this past Christmas at Allan Gardens and I “awwed” at the sweet photos, lamenting that I had missed going this past year. I had gone during Christmas 2 years ago, but not the past holiday and there were new and different things I had missed. He then did the sweetest thing. He took the photo out of the album sleeve, handed it to me and said, “here, this is for you”.
I get teary-eyed just thinking about it because it was such a sweet gesture. My heart felt so full and it still does. All I could think was, “they get it”. They understood. They understood, within minutes of speaking to me, how important pictures were and are to me in my life, how much I loved documenting memories. As we went on our way, Mary touched my hand and wished me, “happy valentine’s day”. Strangers come in and out of your life at the drop of a hat. But Bill and Mary came into mine as sweet and wonderful people, and this memory will stay with me forever.
The Sushi Shop is located at the intersection of Yonge and Carlton St. (3 Carlton St.), with 2 other take-out locations serving the downtown core, one being in the GO train station concourse and the other near Maple Leaf Square at 25 York St (closed Saturday and Sunday). According to Google map, there is also a location on Bloor St. E at 175 Bloor St.E (Saturday and Sunday closed as well). For more info on their menu, promos, and shop, check out their official website here.