I’ve been around for 27 years now. I realize that in the grand scheme of things, that is not old, however someone recently pointed out that it’s almost been a decade since my first year of university, and I found that a little shocking. In some ways, the realization felt great, because I could say “hey friends I met in first year, I’ve known you for an entire decade!” In other ways it felt terrifying, because, well, a decade is a long time. I’ve moved out of ‘early twenties’ territory, and it’s a land to which I’ll never be able to return. And that’s ok, really.
Yesterday I had lunch with Andrea, one of the friends I met in first year and have now known a decade. She and I lived in the same residence building, packed in with dozens of other youngins’ away from home for the first time. We saw each other a lot, but eventually graduated, moved away from Victoria, and have been all over the place since. Only a few weeks ago did we realize we’re living near each other again – Reunion time!
We couldn’t figure out how many years had passed since we’d seen each other, but let’s just say it was too many. Not that it mattered! She’s since become a lawyer and gotten married, and is the exact same Andrea I remembered. We quickly caught up on the major and minor events of our lives, and felt like a couple of sweatpant-wearing undergrads again, only a little less broke.
Andrea offered to drive, and we headed to Kisha Poppo, which had been recommended to me by a number of readers. It’s in the Ironwood Plaza at Steveston Highway and No. 5 Road, and the restaurant sign has a choo-choo train on it.
That seemed a little odd, and Andrea looked it up; apparently the name means something along the lines of “baby or child’s train,” and why I’m still not sure of the sushi connection, it did serve to setup a casual atmosphere.
The restaurant is huge and bright, and while the service was a little hurried, our teacups never fell below the 3/4 mark without being refilled. The reviews on urbanspoon and dinehere weren’t stellar by any stretch, but we decided to keep an open mind. I’m glad we did, because our lunch was pretty good!
Perhaps the trick is ordering off the menu, and not going with their All You Can Eat option (something I’ve generally sworn off). Funnily enough, I was an undergrad the last time I had an AYCE Asian meal, and in an effort to get my money’s worth, I ate so much I felt sick for the rest of the day. Ugh – my (literally) poor self.
We ordered the gomaae ($4.50), sashimi combo ($17.95 with surf clams, Atlantic salmon, sockeye salmon, tuna, and ebi), the beef teriyaki with rice ($11.95), and one yam and avocado roll ($3.95).
The portion of gomaae was very generous, and the sauce was mixed rather than poured on top. It wasn’t as good as Ichiro‘s (will anything compare?), but I still really liked this one. I’d get it again.
The sashimi platter was pretty large for two people (better if you’ve got a group of three) but we enjoyed it. The fish was fresh-tasting, and my favourite of the five was the Atlantic salmon.
The sashimi combo gave me my first taste of surf clams (hokkigai), which I’d never seen before and had to ask about; they’re sort of shaped like canine teeth, and were arranged with their blushy-pink tips pointing upward.
They had a rubbery texture, and milder flavour than I expected; they tasted ‘cleanly’ of the ocean, if that makes any sense. I don’t think I’ll necessarily crave them, but I didn’t dislike them. The one thing on the platter I most certainly did not like was the piece of ebi (prawn) I had. Andrea’s tasted ok, but mine was a funky tasting dud. No more ebi after that.
The beef teriyaki was a large portion of thinly sliced beef over bean sprouts, all drizzled with a sweet teriyaki sauce. I was surprised at how good it was! The beef was paper thin, and so tender. It came with a small side of rice, and while we could never have finished the entire plate, we put a serious dent in it. It was simple, but really good.
Since they didn’t have much in the way of specialty rolls, we went with something basic and vegetarian – the yam and avocado roll. It was creamy and sweet, with tender, almost-warm rice. This roll, as well as the gomaae, are two really great vegan options to get at Kisha Poppo (as long as there’s not some kind of fish sauce hiding in there I don’t know about).
It was so wonderful to catch up with Andrea; it feels good to have a decade’s worth of history to share with a friend, even if for much of that time you’ve been apart. When I think of how much has changed since we both started university, I marvel at the thought of the world in another ten years.
I mean, I didn’t even have Facebook when I was 18! Can you imagine? And back then I would have assumed the term ‘blog’ was simply combination of the words ‘brown’ and ‘log,’ not that that makes any sense. The point is, the blog-o-sphere wasn’t even close to being on my radar, and now it’s paying my bills!
A lot has changed since first year uni, and Andrea and I have both learned a great deal in that time. Perhaps 10 years from now I’ll read this post, chuckle, and think “ha! I didn’t even know what surf clams were.”
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available