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sushi tour: sushi tora

Remember when I said I was going to eat sushi when my Gi tract healed up and my immune system returned to normal? Yesterday began our sushi tour. We decided to start with the familiar because I didn’t want to deal with any unpleasant surprises. Sushi Tora in Boulder is our local favorite.

a perfect day for sushi

Oh, but before I dive into the meal, I have been tagged by Sarah of Sweet Endeavors for a meme. Thanks Sarah! I haven’t been good about memes lately because of chemo crap and such. So here goes:

1) What were you doing ten years ago?
I was in graduate school at Cornell. I was working my ass off toward a PhD and I had just begun to realize that this gig was starting to suck big time.

2) What are five non-work things on my to-do list for today?
1) pick up my compression sleeve for my lymphedema
2) candy an ass ton of orange peels
3) apply dry rub to some pork shoulder
4) work out
5) give the pup a bath

3) What snacks do you enjoy?
1) jalapeño potato chips
2) jicama
3) mango
4) dill pickles
5) fruity popsicles

4) What would you do if you were a billionaire?
1) endow jeremy’s faculty position
2) open a free kitchen in my community to serve delicious food
3) promote math and science education the right way
4) teach kickass babes (and ONLY kickass babes) to tele
5) blog

5) Where have you lived?
1) Virginia
2) Ann Arbor, Michigan
3) Pasadena, California
4) Ithaca, New York
5) Colorado

6) What jobs have you had?
1) crash test engineer
2) flight crash analyst and programmer
3) NASA software engineer
4) web content manager, designer, and programmer
5) GIS and remote sensing chick

And I am tagging…

Amy at eggs on sunday
Graeme at Blood Sugar
Katie at The Wasatch Report
Kevin at Closet Cooking
Mark at No Special Effects

Sushi Tora elicits images of fresh ingredients because they have an amazing assortment of herbs and vegetables plated alongside their fabulous seafood (most of it flown in daily). My greatest beef with the place is their clueless wait staff – the typical (white) young urban hipster in Boulder who is lacking in knowledge of both sushi and waiting tables. They really detract from the overall experience.

probably one of the few things i dislike here

We started with a tiny bowl of noodles. They always hand this to you with your gari (ginger) and wasabi. I’m not a fan. This is probably the only thing that I’m not fond of and it’s not on the menu, you just get it by default. On to the business at hand, we ordered a seaweed salad from the kitchen because it is a fresh and light way to start the meal. Theirs is always perfectly seasoned with the right amount of sweet and sour and salt and mmmm.

seaweed salad

Typically when we sit at the bar, a delicious little something comes compliments of the chef. This time it was salmon collar. Wonderfully tender and fatty. It’s my second favorite part of the fish. My favorite – the belly.

grilled salmon collar, on the house

No fooling around. The only sushi I had on the brain during my chemo was toro – fatty tuna. It is like butter, but it’s fish, but it melts like butter, but it’s fish… The stuff is not cheap, nor should it be, because it is amazing. We splurged on some toro sashimi (from the specials menu) and some hamachi sashimi. I normally love hamachi, but I realized the folly of my ways when I sank my teeth into the toro. We should have sprung for two orders of toro and nixed the hamachi (even though it was good, it wasn’t toro).

toro (fatty tuna) and hamachi (yellowtail) sashimi

Jeremy had a mind to sample some baracuda nigiri off the specials menu and I wanted my fix of crunchy tobiko (flying fish roe) with that smooth and rich quail egg on top. It’s like dessert, really. No really. He gave the baracuda a thumbs up.

baracuda nigiri and tobiko with quail egg

Like I said, I didn’t want to fill up on rice, but I love maki of all sorts and there was still room in the tummy. Spider rolls are a no brainer. I could eat soft shell crabs all day long. They make a decent spider roll here. We also ordered a half roll of the Tora No Maki which is salmon, avocado, tobiko, and unagi (fresh water eel) – the combination of which is silk and sweet in your mouth. Next time, we’re ordering a whole roll.

spider roll and tora no maki

As an afterthought, we made one last order of ama ebi. Raw sweet shrimp is terrific, but it’s the fried shrimp heads that I’m crazy about. The shrimp heads were enormous. I almost couldn’t believe those heads came from those bodies. I felt the heads were over-battered, which gave them that heavy fried feeling instead of the typically light and delicate feeling you get with most fried Japanese food.

ama ebi (sweet shrimp)

While we were still eating, our waiter approached and asked if we wanted any dessert. We found it peculiar that he should ask while we were obviously in the middle of our meal. We said no thanks and without asking, he snatched up our order sheet and totaled our bill. What is up with that? For all he knew, we could have been ready to order more (we weren’t, but still…) I didn’t like that guy.

Overall, Sushi Tora still remains champ of Boulder sushi. We’ll see if they can keep the title over the next few weeks… meanwhile, I am thrilled to be noshing on sushi, my #1 favorite food of all time.

Sushi Tora
2014 10th St
Boulder, CO 80302

June 5, 2008
$64.82 (including tax, not tip) for two diners
Rating: 97/100 (A+)

28 nibbles at “sushi tour: sushi tora”

  1. Graeme says:

    Fiiiiiiish! :-(

    Jen, I don’t like fish. Lol, nevermind. Thank you for tagging me.

    I’m perhaps being had here, but did you really have any of those jobs? I’m usually good at this, but your usual sincerity has me a tad baffled.

  2. Jamie in Las Vegas says:

    Everything sounds delicious, I was nearly drooling on my laptop reading that post.

    Jen, that pic of the salad made me so hungry. You don’t by chance have a recipe for a good seaweed salad, do you? I can never seem to get the right mix of the dressing, it’s either too puckery or too bland.

    Is puckery a word?


  3. Kitt says:

    Yum! Now that’s a Happy Meal. Sorry the service sucked. I’ve noticed some improvement in that area at some places in the last few years, but in general I find good service is the exception rather than the rule in Denver and Boulder.

  4. Sheryl says:

    Hey, Jen, you forgot to list your job at TIP! What did you do there? What did any of us do there???

  5. Melissa says:

    Oh my goodness, that sashimi looks WONDERFUL. Wow. I may have to eat sushi for dinner tonight now.

  6. Mollie says:

    I KNEW it. You ARE a rocket scientist.

    And I must just say yum! Toro and Yellow Tail are two of my faves as well, and those pictures made me drool. My friend and I were discussing sushi the other day and decided it was a good thing we didn’t want to get pregnant because then we couldn’t eat it. Avoiding chemo would be good too…

    The friend is one I lived with in Pasadena for a summer, and I grew up in the Asquared. And I just nixed a PhD program. It’s a small, small world…

  7. Laura @ HungryAndFrozen says:

    Woohoo sushi! Sorry to hear bout the surly wait staff, but at least the fishstuffs look stunning. you have had some hardcore sounding jobs in your time :)

  8. Holly says:

    Yeah, crappy waitstaff can really put a damper on the experience – odds are he wanted to take his break. That is usually when they do stuff like that. Too bad! The food all looks amazing though. So glad you got to go enjoy this!

  9. manggy says:

    Graeme! Get back here! Very impressive resumé. It’s just the web content manager job that is a little different– don’t tell me you had to learn web programming on top of your physics degree?!
    Awww, why’d you have to get all altruistic with your billion+ dollars?!?! I feel like such a jerkwad for wanting to shoot myself from a cannon from one place to the next :D But seriously, that’s really cool. If I could get around the stress of managing a large kitchen (not to mention the regret that comes with disposing tons of waste food a month), it’d be so much fun.
    Here in the Philippines, they serve sweet anchovies as the appetizer, with pickled radish and cabbage. Something that tastes a little like kimchi but without the red pepper base all over it. I love the anchovies, I think I may make my own when I have a craving (and a recipe :).
    Unfortunately I’m only usually able to have cooked-seafood sushi, as the itchiness of raw fish chases down all the way to my esophagus. When I go to a new restaurant that looks spiffy, I try the sashimi to see as a litmus test of freshness, since it might not itch. I think only one restaurant has passed :/

  10. ailo says:

    What were you up to in Ann Arbor? I’ve lived in a bunch of the same places, which makes me interested.

    I would like tuna every day yum.

  11. peabody says:

    Congrats on getting back to sushi. I was bad and had a little undercooked fish at dinner on Thursday. Sometimes I rebel since I don’t ever get time off of my immune crap.

  12. Amy says:

    Being able to eat sushi again is cause for celebration! Neutropenia, begone.

    Thanks for tagging me for the meme! This one looks really fun (and very interesting.) I just think it’s cool that you can say you were a NASA Software Engineer…

  13. Ann says:

    Gorgeous sushi – you ordered some of my favorites. I used to live in Boulder – I miss Colorado terribly. So, I understand your comments on the waitstaff completely. What used to make me crazy was all of the young 20 somethings, panhandling for money (probably college students) on Pearl Street – while wearing their $150 Doc Martens and $50 hippy skirts – while I was making $7 an hour. And they felt righteous. Oh my.

  14. Kevin says:

    That sushi looks really good! That reminds me, it has been too long since I last had some sushi. Thanks for the tag!

  15. Cynthia says:

    ummm the prawns! OMG the prawns! ;)

  16. Shoshanna says:

    Your blog on sushi made me crave it; so we went out for sushi last night. Sooo good.

    Are you feeling better?

  17. Tim says:

    It all looks amazing. I love crunchy fried prawn heads!

  18. Tartelette says:

    That’s it! Sushi for lunch and dinner…decided! Great meme!!

  19. White On Rice Couple says:

    I think I can kick ass in certain things and Todd thinks I’m a babe….so that qualify me to be one of your tele students? If you, my Master, could teach me, I would first request you to show me how to get back up after falling. I fall ALOT! You may need to spend a little more time with me. ;D
    Also, is there such a thing as tele skiiing slowly? The high speed going down those big hills scare me!

  20. Mrs Ergul says:

    I think I kinda craved for sushi after reading this post yesterday. After all, it’s been a while since. So last night me and my hubby had sushi for dinner and it was so good that the craving was soothed! And I’m looking forward to having it buffet style and bloat both of us up with all that rice and fish :)

  21. jenyu says:

    Graeme – oh honey, I know you don’t like fish. Just don’t look at the pictures :) And yes, I really did have all of those jobs. What do you think I am?? I’m a dork geek! I do science and engineering and programming :) xxoo

    Jamie – I don’t actually have a recipe for seaweed salad, and if I did, I’d be posting it here and now hon. Seriously. I love that stuff. If YOU find a recipe, you’ll have to let me know. I’ve never tried making it myself before. I like puckery – even if it isn’t a word, you can just say it is :)

    Kitt – hee hee. I love sushi. I have to agree that service blows most places, although there are a few restaurants in Boulder where the wait staff is clearly professionally trained and they are amazing. Have you tried Sushi Den? I want to go there sometime, I hear it’s good.

    Sheryl – I did list TIP! I was a crash test engineer (of sorts). I did time-series tracking on the films of the air-bag deployments during crash tests for Litton. I digitized all of the that information and then we modeled it and measured the forces using computer programs to determine what the deformation was for various temperatures. Fun stuff :) I don’t know what the rest of you guys did, but I froze my bum off half the time because the AC was so cold!

    Melissa – I love sushi porn!

    Mollie – not quite a rocket scientist, but I did work on some damn cool projects including the mission to Saturn and a little with the Mars Rover in the prototype years. It’s either a small world or PhD programs just suck ;)

    Laura – the jobs were fun. I am looking forward to working again when all of my crappy ass treatments are done!

    Holly – thanks!

    Mark – no physics degree here, hon (that would be Jeremy). I learned web programming back in 1994 when it was just coming out. My boss wanted to explore using web-pages for documenting stuff for one of the NASA missions and had me look into it. Very fun stuff. The design and content and programming I did formally was years later for two different science groups and I’d been doing it all along in my spare time for my website and eventually my blog(s). I can’t believe you are allergic to raw seafood?! That is a tragedy, my friend. So you mean if I ever go to sushi with you and Graeme, you guys will be ordering the chicken teriyaki?? ;)

    Ailo – I lived in A^2 for a summer when I was 15. I lived with my sister (who was an undergraduate at UM) and worked at an engineering firm in Detroit. Good times were had by all.

    Peabody – ooooh, shame on you, girlie!! :)

    Amy – ha ha, I’d rather say I was a professional beach volleyball player, but hey – you take what you can get ;)

    Ann – Oh wow, I haven’t run into any of those lately, but maybe that’s a good thing? Colorado misses you too.

    Kevin – get on out there and get your sushi!

    Cynthia – totally delish!

    Shoshanna – I’m feeling better, but not 100%, but it’s still much better than I was feeling last month! Thanks love :)

    Tim – me too! I love them more than the shrimp itself :)

    Tartelette – so many people are going out for sushi now! It’s like a not so subliminal message, no?

    WoRC – oh hon, you totally kick ass, you’d be the first on my list :) After I am done with you, you will never fall! Yes, you can tele slowly, but again… when I am done with you, you will be ripping the slopes. xxoo

    Mrs. E – I’ll bet you guys have awesome sushi where you are. I am jealous (for sushi like ours, you pay an arm and a leg and maybe a couple of toes off the other leg).

  22. Strawberry Chocolate Chunk Shortcakes (and a meme) « eggs on sunday says:

    […] before I talk more about the shortcakes, the talented Jen of Use Real Butter tagged me for a meme, and this one’s a good one! Here […]

  23. KatieC says:

    I adore Sushi Toro! The spot is so quaint. But you’re so right about Boulder’s sushi waiters….I don’t miss those hipsters.

    Hey, thanks for tagging me! I’m so excited; I love to be tagged!

    Glad you’re feeling stronger and stronger. Spring is the perfect time for your metamorphosis…


  24. Christine says:

    Jen – I must’ve missed something from before ( I do that a lot) — I didn’t realize you lived in AA at one time. Were you working/studying/vacationing here? I wonder if you’ve been to some of the same restaurants and places we frequent…

    I’m happy that you got some good sushi. There’s nothing like good sushi, ya know?

  25. jenyu says:

    KatieC – yeah, I think it’s one of the better sushi joints in town. Thanks!!

    Christine – I was there for a summer when I was 15, living with my sister in an apt in AA near campus (well, I suppose campus IS AA?). I worked at an engineering firm in Detroit (she worked for another engineering firm in the same building). It was a lot of fun, but HOT! I can’t remember all of the places we went. One place was Moon something or something Moon? Sort of a bar and dinner place. Had GREAT home fries that we doused in malt vinegar. The interior was all wood and dark… Good times :)

  26. Christine says:

    Jen – I wonder if D-town was as decrepit then as it now. Gotta love their mayor though ;)

    I think it was Full Moon – which is now Monkey Bar (sounds *so* much better, no?). We used to go play pool there but haven’t been in a while.

  27. Helen says:

    I crave sushi anyway on a daily basis – now I am uber craving! This looks really delicious, I want that toro!

  28. jenyu says:

    Christine – wow, that is a blast from the very far past! :)

    Helen – their toro is out of this world delicious!