Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film


My birthday getaway to San Francisco was fantastic from start to finish. We stayed at the Hotel Miyako in Japantown in a room on the fifth floor overlooking the garden, with a nice view of Geary Street and the Peace Plaza pagoda. We had a quick dinner at an all-you-can-eat sushi place called Umeko. And then Rene treated me to the most wonderful surprise: orchestra seats to a stage performance of The Lion King at the Orpheum Theater. Words fail me to describe the experience, but if I must, then these will have to do: exhilarating... dazzling... opulent... a feast for the eyes and the ears... an African extravaganza! Before the opening pageant was over, I already knew that I can't wait to see it again.

Afterwards, we went back to the Miyako for a soak in the furo and one of the best night's rest I've ever had in a hotel. We requested a late check-out and headed back to Umeko again for lunch. Their all-you-can-eat buffet includes nigiri sushi, sashimi, sushimaki, tempura, steamed crab legs & lobster, pot stickers and egg rolls, oysters on the half shell, miso soup, assorted vegetables and fresh fruits.

When it came time to go shopping in Japantown, I must admit I got a little carried away. But with the abundant variety at such incredibly low prices, I couldn't resist. I bought every imaginable size and shape of Japanese serving dish, a sushi knife and a cleaver, a set of steamer baskets, two sushi molds for shaping rice balls, several pairs of lacquer chopsticks, two table runners, and a matching set of placemats, napkins and chopsticks for six, and finally...a beautiful clay pot! I searched for one last month and couldn't find it, so I was quite pleased to find one for all those Asian recipes that are best cooked in a clay pot.

I also stopped by the Japanese grocery for a few staples, like pickled ginger, tofu, soy sauce, miso, kombu seaweed, and sake. So... with the exception of the fresh fish and vegetables, I think I'm all set for my Tampopo dinner & a movie.