Marina Eats: Kura Revolving Sushi Bar

This past July gave me the chance to eat not just once, but twice at Kura Sushi, a popular conveyor belt sushi franchise from Japan that opened a Bellevue, WA location almost exactly a year prior in 2021. I had actually sworn off of conveyor belt sushi a handful of years before this point thanks to a horrifying experience at another chain, but the convincing of a mother-in-law can be very, very strong. Given she was our guest for the week and that I had seen plenty of praise for the restaurant from others in Japan, I figured now was as good a time as any to suspend my wariness and try Kura Sushi.

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Marina Eats: Gapao Rice

“You can taste the realness! Wow, it’s love-y!”

Berry. “The Yurei Detective Club.” YUREI DECO.

It’s been quite a long time since my last anime meal inspiration, but I just couldn’t help myself this time around with YUREI DECO. Watching Berry and the others chow down on some gapao rice on her first day outside of Tom Sawyer felt more real than anything else we had experienced in the show so far. The deco system, while fantastic in its Love-funded colors, adaptability, and quality of life, never truly felt tangible in that authentic, permanent way. I imagine living and growing up in this kind of environment can numb you to the oddness of it all. You might forget what your surroundings actually look like without deco plastered all over them.

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Marina Eats: Made in Abyss, Riko Soup

“For the meat, put a hearty helping in a pot and sprinkle a bit of ground-up Eternal Fortunes on top. Mix in some stick miso, and then throw in a bunch of diced sainona greens. Ta-da! My special “Riko Soup” is ready!” (“The Edge of the Abyss”)

JUMP TO RECIPE

Fishing season is in full force back in my home state, which means tons of salmon ready to eat fresh, or to preserve by canning, smoking, or freezing. Growing up, my mother was always “that crazy Asian lady” who saved fish heads from being discarded by others so she could use them in her cooking. I loved her “fish head soup,” otherwise known as sinigang. Each spoonful tasted like the essence of fish. I especially enjoyed picking out the succulent cheeks and saving them for last. Plenty of cultures around the world also use fish heads and scraps for cooking to create a flavorful broth that can be used immediately or saved for later.

Riko and Reg work together in the fourth episode of Made in Abyss to create a simple but delicious fish soup. We watch Reg dive into the waters to catch some demonfish, and see Riko clean and cut like a pro. Smoking the innards for later consumption, she proceeds to use the rest of the fish–head, bones, and all–to extract every bit of flavor into their meal. Her cooking skills reveal the valuable time spent studying how to survive in the abyss. Cave raiders can be gone days, weeks, and even years at a time–far too long to bring enough prepared food to last. They need to not only survive the monsters and curses, but also their own hunger.

With knowledge, ability, and a few non-perishable goods, hearty and tasty food can be made fresh from the surrounding environment. Riko pulls out her treasures of “Eternal Fortunes” seasoning and a miso stick; nature provides everything else, the greens, water, and fish. Just like the cave raiders who are born from past raiders and years of training, Riko’s Soup combines ingredients from outside and inside the abyss.

I hope you enjoy my version of Riko’s Soup, a miso cod fish stew that warms the belly and soothes the heart.

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Marina Eats: Restaurant from Another World, Spaghetti with Pine Nuts and Meat Sauce

“The beef and pork are so tender and flavorful…frying and stewing them together makes the different flavors of both meats mingle together to create a taste that neither could produce alone. And the stewed vegetables of another world used as the sauce’s base–they were simmered and crushed into a liquid with a sweet sourness and lots of flavor” (“Spaghetti with Meat Sauce”).

JUMP TO RECIPE

This season’s culinary delight is Isekai Shokudo, otherwise known as Restaurant to Another World. In the first part of episode three, Western Restaurant Nekoya’s “Master” serves up spaghetti with meat sauce for Thomas Alfade, a former proprietor of Alfade Company, and his grandson, Sirius. Thomas’ love for Nekoya’s spaghetti spurred him to popularize wheat noodles and tomato sauce in his own world so that he could eat the dish whenever he liked. Sirius is surprised to hear this truth, as well as learn of the trade of ingredients between Nekoya and his own world that allows both sides to collaborate and grow.

I, too, have a soft spot for spaghetti, and can recall a handful of different variations served to me growing up. My mother never seemed to follow a recipe, choosing her ingredients on whim and randomly hitting us with spice. Some of my favorite variations include sweet Italian sausage, hot dogs filipino-style, and roasted garlic sauce. She made it so much that I actually got sick of spaghetti. I never ordered it at restaurants. I never cooked it once I moved out on my own. It wasn’t until I met my husband, who loves traditional red sauce spaghetti, that I started making it on my own again.

For this recipe, I chose to follow as best I could the ingredients described by Sirius. Feel free to follow it to the letter, or throw in some twists of your own. I find spaghetti sauce to be very forgiving to experimentation. It also freezes well for later consumption.

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