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Las Vegas: Halloweeny sushi date with Antho

いくら軍艦寿司, Ikura gunkanzushi
Antho and I have many things in common, from our blue-tinged hair to an enthusiasm for Doctor Who and backpacking. Happily, sushi is one thing that we both greatly adore so our choice on date nights is usually quite an easy decision. We even share a profound appreciation for the glory of sea urchin! As such it makes an ideal choice for those rare nights we two get to go out and celebrate our coupleness.

A top choice for us to satiate our need for sushi in Vegas is Sushi Twister.
One of the bigger selling points for me is that the restaurant is owned and operated by Japanese staff, so I get to bust out my rusty Japanese skills and impress my guy. Winning!
Their specials board changes often, but we’re always happy when they have super white tuna!
シマアジと白まぐろ握り寿司
shima aji in the front, super white tuna behind
Shima aji’s appearance made me exceptionally happy as shima aji is traditionally considered a summer season fish in Japan and I don’t think I’ve ever encountered it in a restaurant stateside. The oily fish has a rich, supple flesh without the fishiness of other mackerel. I’m a big fan of aozakana (blue fish), and the seasonal specialties of Japanese cuisine are one of the things I miss most. 

At Sushi Twister typical All You Can Eat rules apply. Lunch garners you a 1 hour time limit, dinner an hour and a half, only order what you can eat as you’ll be charged for left overs, etc. 
We’ve yet to have leftovers. 😉

ゴマわかめ, Goma wakame
Seaweed salad is a must! I love how the seaweed maintains it’s uniquely crunchy texture in the dressing, and it gives a nice boost of healthy fiber to an otherwise white-rice heavy meal.

白まぐろ握り寿司, Shiromaguro nigirizushi
Mm, super white tuna! The sauce looks suspiciously like momoji oroshi, which is A-OK by me. Antho isn’t particularly fond of the sauce as he feels it’s too strong for the subtle fish to really shine.

They’ve decorated for the fall! 
I also find the description of the sake amusing. 

The chefs hard at work on a busy afternoon.

Maneki nyanko! Always a friendly face in any Japanese restaurant.

穴子天ぷら
Conger eel tempura. 
The crispy tempura coating compliments the tender meat inside. 
The sauce is a rich reduction of unagi tare.
エビ天!
Ebi-ten! 
Nothing especially unusually or unique about these, just your standard tasty shrimp tempura.

ダイナマイトムール貝
Baked Mussels
Always a favorite of our’s. This is one of the few dishes that my several impaired sense of smell has actually been able to pick up on! Pretty cool.

ダイナマイトほたて
Baked Scallops
We’d never actually ordered this dish until this visit. It was alright, Antho didn’t care for it. There were sautéed onions and mushrooms mixed in with the itty bitty scallops, which he felt detracted from them.
たこ、いかとほき握り寿司
From front to back: Octopus, squid and surf clam nigiri.
たこ握り寿司
The octopus nigirizushi.
I always try to order these three, as they’re light and clean with a subtle flavor and chewy bite. 
Sometimes the octopus is raw rather than pre-cooked, which is my personal preference. Still lovely!

いか握り寿司
Ika nigirizushi.
Squid is one of my favorite methods to test the legitimacy of a sushi restaurant. I always prefer places that add notches to the squid as it helps to soften the otherwise potentially too-chewy texture of the cephalopod. There are few things as unpleasant as getting a big thick rectangular slab of rubbery squid that takes forever to masticate. Sushi Twister does it right, though there was an unexpectedly large dab of wasabi on the piece Antho grabbed causing him a bit of a surprise. 

ほき握り寿司
Hoki, or surf-clam, nigirizushi. This is one of Antho’s favorite mollusks and it also happens to be quite a photogenic one with it’s vibrant pink tip.

The Halloween Roll! Once I saw it on the specials board I knew we had to try it.
Pumpkin tempura, Shrimp tempura and cucumber inside topped with shrimp and quadruple sauce!

甘エビ握り寿司
Amaebi nigirizushi, one of my favorites! The tender nearly-translucent flesh of the shrimp has the slightest bit of briny and a lot of sweet flavor to it’s succulent flesh. They removed the tails, which was a nice gesture. I always feel awkward when served sushi with the tails on, and I generally just eat it. XD Extra calcium!

At Sushi Twister they give you the option to order the sweet shrimp’s heads deep-fried. I always say yes! All the little spines become crispy while the interior of the shrimp’s head becomes a delectable burst of shrimpy intensity. Not for the faint of hearted, I suppose, but Antho and I both enjoy them!

サケ握り寿司
Salmon nigirizushi. A little more tame than deep-fried crustacean craniums, eh? 
Salmon is one of my favorite fish, period, but especially served as sushi. Mm!

The roe is always a lovely addition. Don’t they look like little Dragon Balls?

うに軍艦寿司
Uni gunkanzushi.
Ahh, sea urchin, a much maligned treat of the sea is where we capped off our meal. We were both growing quite full and had done more than our fair share of damage to the ocean’s ecology, so after this round of urchin gonads we wrapped it up and paid our bill. 
Do you enjoy sushi?
What’s your favorite? ^_^

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Las Vegas: Brennan’s B-day tie-dye shindig 2015-09-2

Antho and I tend to have a colorful cast of friends, so it’s always a lot of fun to pool our social resources for collaborative events, and as it so happened, our friend Brennan happened to have a birthday coming up! He’s a big fan of tie-dye so when he wanted to spend some time with us on his birthday it was a natural choice! There were four of us altogether with Brennan, Dalton, Antho and I and 6 shirts between us. I also had an old boring towel that I contributed. 🙂 Dalton only wanted to do one shirt as it was his first go at tie-dye, his was the pink and black bull’s eye! Isn’t it pretty? He did a great job! Brennan also opted to only dye one shirt this time around, too. The boys brought Star Wars Monopoly (YES it’s real and it’s really fun!) so when the shirts were all tied off and well-saturated we retreated indoors to let them cure overnight. They came out great! 
More photos below!

A productive party!

I did this black and orange swirl. 🙂

This one was birthday boy Brennan’s!

Dalton’s came out really well! 
The blue and black one on the far left was my second shirt while the two next to it were Antho’s designs! The spiral design was done with everyone contributing a color to the spiral. 🙂 Brennan gets to keep that one for his birthday since everyone in attendance for the tie-dye shindig contributed to the shirt, so we thought it was a cool souvenir. 

We threw Drag me to Hell on while we played Star Wars Monopoly.
We let Brennan choose a tie-dye shirt from our collection, he chose the mushroom design that Antho made! I think he was happy with his decision. 🙂

Since the shirts need to soak overnight for the dyes to really penetrate the fabric, we promised the boys to take care of their shirts until they’re ready to pick them up and washed them the next day! ^_^

Photos of the finished shirts to come tomorrow!

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Project: Spring Dye round 2

We’re often doing some sort of colorful project or event, so naturally we love creating tie-dye!
Here’s some photos of a batch we did earlier this year.
These puppies will be up in our Storenvy and Etsy soon. 🙂
If you like what you see, please help support our small business so we can keep bringing you colorful new creations!

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Project: Spring Ice dyes

     So, Antho and I recently tried out ice dyeing for the first time. We’ve been experimenting with tie-dying fabrics and creating various designs since last summer (which, if you’re curious, you can find over on our Storenvy shop) but this was our first experiment with ice dye and I made sure to document the process.

    And seriously, look at this gorgeous shirt Antho made! Isn’t it fun?

     Unlike regular tie-dye where you mix the dyes with water prior to soaking the fabrics, ice-dye relies on the melting ice to moisten the dye. This means the dyes gradually drip down into the fabric, creating a beautiful watercolor effect.

     You can choose to tie the shirts into various shapes as you would with regular tie-dye, or you could simply lay them out. The most important thing is to completely cover the cloth with ice so that it will get thoroughly saturated by the dies.

     With our ice-dye project, we experimented. Some shirts got laid out, others were twisted, some spiraled, some shibori’d. In the end we had a wide array of gorgeous shirts, which makes me very excited to try this again!!

      To begin, assemble your supplies! This isn’t our first tango with tie-dye so we had some odds and ends from previous kits combined with additional packets of dye powder and some soda ash from our nearby crafts store. Some white cotton shirts, a few plastic tarps (or garbage bags) and rubber bands are essential while twine and/or a pole are optional. We had a wooden rod left from a previous closet project that worked really well for a shibori-inspired design. Since this is an ice-dye project, get a couple of big bags of ice or make your own.

     First, you’re going to want to mix up some soda ash with water. Read the instructions on the packet for the appropriate quantities. Soak your shirts (or socks, or what-have-you) for the instructed time, then tie, wrap, twirl, or splay it out. Get creative! That’s the whole point, isn’t it? For what it’s worth, ice dye comes out so pretty that it’s really pretty much guaranteed to turn out gorgeous regardless, so don’t feel intimidated. 
     Here we’ve laid out one layer of shirts and covered them with ice and dye powder. We managed to do two layers of shirts and socks on this. It was just a big storage tub with a grate thrown over it, but that worked really well for us. It’s really as easy as it sounds; cover your fabrics in ice then get creative with the dye powders!                We left our ice-dyes soaking from the early afternoon (around 2pm) until sometime after midnight…We had friends over and got excited. Ideally you would leave your shirts to soak for at least 12 hours but you can leave them for much longer if you choose. You’ll need to rinse them very, very well prior to tossing them in the washing machine. Some people swear by using super hot water while others say to stay far away from it… I’m not sure which side of the fence I’m sided on just yet. Read your dye instructions and determine the best course of judgement for yourself. 
     The end results all came out beautiful, if I do say so myself.