Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Genmaicha and Durian Milkshake

Spindle and I had an opportunity to try out a place I've been curious about for some time, Jasper Sushi and Noodle House.  It's in the same building as our doctor's clinic, and every time I've walked past it, it has tempted me.  Spindle does enjoy her sushi, so I dragged her along for my doctor's appointment, just so we could stop by after for a snack.

Immediately after being seated, we were brought the most adorable little teapot and cups.

The tea is complimentary, which is always nice. :-)  It had a very distinctive flavour, which had me wondering what kind of tea it was.  A quick glance into the strainer in the teapot had me perplexed.  What on earth were those brown... things?  They looked like swollen grain.

When I had the chance, I asked our waitress about the tea.  She tried to explain it to me, then decided it would be easier if she just brought out the bag.  The only thing on the package that was in English was the ingredients list, which helped.  It turns out that the stuff in the strainer that confused me was toasted brown rice.  No wonder it was difficult to explain. Not something I would have associated with tea!  There was quite a mix of things in there, including popped rice, which looked a bit like very tiny popped corn. 

I recognised the bag as something I've seen in some of our local Asian grocery stores and had been curious about, but there was no way I would have associated what I could see in the bag with what I saw in the strainer!  The rice absorbed a fair amount of liquid, and we couldn't see any of the green tea leaves at all.  

It made for excellent tea, though!  It had its own mild sweetness, and the toasted rice added its own distinctive, nutty flavour.  It's something we'll be picking up for home when we get the chance.  We both recommend it.

While perusing the menu, Spindle spotted something interesting in the drink menu.  Durian milk shakes!  This is another food we've been curious about but have not quite been willing to actually buy.  They're not exactly a small fruit, and I would hate to have it go to waste if it turned out to be something we didn't like.  But in a beverage?  That would be small enough that we could share one and finally find out what durian tasted like.

Here's our Durian Milkshake ($3.95), after sampling. 

What to say about this??

The first thing you notice is the smell.  Durian has a reputation for being foul smelling, but it wasn't a bad smell, exactly.  It wasn't even a strong smell.  It was definitely noticeable, though.  I can't even begin to describe what it smelled like.  I simply can't think of anything I can compare it to. 

Then we tasted it. 


Oh, dear.

How to describe this?

Well, it was definitely milky.  Lightly sweet.  Smooth and thick, like a milkshake should be, yet more so.  I've heard durian's texture described as custard-like, and I could certainly get that out of it.   

It was also... fleshy. Which is an odd word to associate with the texture of a drink, never mind the flavour, yet we both agreed that fleshy was the best way to describe it. 

Again, I just don't have anything else I can compare the flavour to.  Nothing even comes close.

It was wrong on so many levels.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I managed three sips before I gave up entirely, as each sip was increasingly stomach churning, throat closing, bile raisingly abhorrent.   Spindle was braver.  She managed to bring the glass down to the half-way mark or so.  Then she washed the taste away with tea.

My goodness, we were glad for that tea!!

The worst part of it was that, for hours later, any time one of us burped, we would taste it again!  It was horrible.  Disgusting.  I don't understand how anyone could like it!  Obviously, enough people like it for it to be on the menu, but my goodness!  I can't even imagine it being an acquired taste. 

Never again.

Never, never, never again!

As for the restaurant:  the food was very good, as was the service.  Prices are quite reasonable, and their maki was incredibly generous in size.  We look forward to going back. 

Just not for the durian milkshake!!