Saturday, February 12, 2011

sushi and locally brewed beer in boca

as i begin to write this post i can't believe it's my first time including my best friends falan meltzer and alex busch in my blog. i've known them since the beginning days of freshman year in college and they've remained some of my greatest confidants. with fal spending all of last year in israel and busch dedicating so much of her time studying for medical school - our dinner date together was long, long overdue. i could truthfully just spend this whole time talking about how wonderful they each are in their own unique ways. busch is a kindred soul, who stays very loyal to the close people in her life and is extremely dedicated to her family, pets and meal time. falan's energy is highly contagious and her passion for people, philanthropy and israel continues to be the same driving forces that made me so fond of her from when we first met. they're both super strong women and have played a key role in my life over the past few years... especially with supporting my own passions and especially this blog.

sushi of boca, boca raton
(you're going to have to google this bad boy yourself)

now onto our lovely dinner date. fal couldn't help but poke fun at finding cupcakes, referring to it as "fc" all night and sarcastically hoping that i would write about where we were eating. even though i know it was her way of really wishing that the dinner would actually go on the blog, especially since she kept sticking her hand in every picture and boasted about her hand modeling skills. buschra (as i often call her because my mother's name is bushra) always told me about a hole in the wall sushi restaurant she frequents with her boyfriend ian and insisted that we tried the place too. busch's suggestion was spot on!

sushi of boca (yes, that's the name) is a super small restaurant, very low key with plain white walls, christmas lights hanging all over, spontaneous asian decor, fake plants and your standard solo chef working hard in the kitchen - producing one of a kind rolls. besides their standard menu - also serving thai food - they have dry erase boards all over the walls with rolls named after locals, celebrities and the in between. our waitress hinted to us that as long as you win the affection of the chef, you can get a roll named after you...the mission was on. fal, a lobster lover, insisted on having a roll with lobster and busch said that their tuna tower roll (most popular) was to die for. i ordered the shrimp dumplings for all of us since we were told that their servings were quite big and the two rolls were going to be enough.

the dumplings were great - not overpowered by the shrimp and just melted in your mouth. the 'brian lobster roll' was a mix of tempura, flying fish eggs, avacado, scallions and their house spicy mayo. it was fresh - as sushi should be - and each ingredient perfectly complimented the tasty lobster. i'm sure fal could fight this 'brian' chump and get the roll named after her but the tuna tower roll proved to be triumphant. there were about fourteen pieces and for only twelve dollars you're getting a roll with no rice, tuna, cucumber, avacado, fish eggs, scallion and then topped with a chopped spicy tuna, tempura flakes, sea salad aaaand their incredible house sauce. the sauce was both sweet and slightly bitter and was the icing to the roll. they are not kidding when they call it a tower - so much great food all in one bite! we were already flirting (actually it was more like awkwardly staring and throwing the occasional thumbs up) with the chef and it became clear that the tuna tower roll needed a name change.

i stumbled up to the chef's station and told him we loved the roll and would like to change the name to something else. it surprisingly wasn't that hard... which did take away from the challenge but whatever, it's food and freaking good food to add to that. i was handed a red marker and off i went to change the name. so now the tuna tower roll is called the "busch-ra" roll and i strongly suggest that you order it when you go next! and tell john (the chef) we said hi. sushi of boca is certainly worth trying. there are about a hundred plus rolls to try and all made with love and a whole lot of fun. mazels on the suggestion buschra, you make my mom proud :)

the funky buddha lounge and brewery, boca raton

right next to sushi of boca is a very popular hangout for locals - the funky buddha lounge and brewery. a spot for hipsters, the occasional tortured soul, open mic night fans and mostly beer connoisseurs. they have over a hundred craft beers, an impressive selection of loose leaf teas, lots of shisha flavors for the hookah lovers and other little goodies sure to please anybody looking to have a good time. busch and fal had never been (i, of course, have but will let you guess which group i fall into) and told them it was a must. we were happy that it was completely dead inside (more our style), but to the lounge's credit it was a thursday night in boca raton.

we sat at the bar and quickly became friends with the bartender, who allowed us to try a lot of their drafts and explained the flavors of each pour. falan wanted something sweet - our college days and thereafter were heavily influenced by cider beer - so she got the ace pear cider, one of their beers on tap. i actually can't remember what buschra ordered ... sorry, but she did get a sushi roll named after her! i went with the floridian hefewiezen and was delighted to find out that they actually brew the beer right in the back of the lounge. naturally, i asked the bartender if he would give us a tour of the brewery and he so kindly agreed. (we struck gold with service all night.) the room was smaller than i had imagined but he quickly explained how each vessel played a role in making the beer - a little yeast here, a little wheat there. it's all really cool and an area that i truly want to learn more of.

i'm a big fan of hefewiezen in general because it has a very sublte sweetness taste that balances the malty, wheat notes (i sound like such a beer nerd!) we stayed at the lounge for another hour, catching up on our lives with careers, relationships, society, our dreams and how much we've just grown in general since our freshman days. the best type of friendships are the ones that you can easily go a year without seeing each other and the moment you do spend time together, it's as if maybe a week had passed. that's the type of friends fal and busch are. no matter where we are in our lives, we always understand the value of our friendships and the eternal bond it represents.

satisfying sushi and locally brewed beer were just extra treats that night. there is no type of food that can compare to spending time with the kind of friends i have.... well, actually... ;)