VERY INTERESTING PEOPLE #1: on Cloud 9 with Jason Liao

And now, at long last, I shall tell you about Jason Liao, who makes Gorgeous and Fantastic sushi at Nanami Sushi on Brodie lane. I mysteriously say sometimes that I am going for sushi, and sometimes I post photos. And I have my new friend Teri, who I have actually known for years. This is a new story in my life, still in development.

I’ve been thinking about featuring interesting people, once a week or so, in my blog for a while. I love it when people pull me out of my self a little bit with songs, or poems, or sights or smells or tastes.

I wanted to start doing this on Fridays, but I fear for me that it is going to have to be less regimented than that, a bit of a surprise…things have been a little slow this year and I’ve been so stuck in my head. This whole blog is very self-referential.

I get insular sometimes. This is probably because I sit in a little cave for most of the day under headphones, or blog and make lists. I don’t get out much. So we have to take our pleasures and our surprises where we can get them. It’s nice to be pulled out of my head. That’s the thing about me and music, or me and art, or me and food. I have to be hooked in because something relates to me, or reminds me of a piece of music I’m working on, or is relevant to my life, the conversation, the things that are going on in the world. I suppose this is true of everyone though. We are people. And there are our sayings about the way to the heart…

My friend Teri that I knew from high school (this in itself is a long story which is deserving of another blog in and of itself, but here is a picture of us at Fiesta Texas for Referential Purposes) started saying “lets go for sushi” at me a few months ago. She began raving about ‘Jason’s Creations.’ She had actually started kind of a Facebook shrine of photos to him and his oddly abstract sushi art, which at times actually does look somewhat architectural. I once started wondering what it would be like to be a tiny-small dinner person and to hop up on the plate and walk around one of his creations like it was the Guggenheim museum. Sure, yeah… kind of like a smurf, but smaller. I could live in a Nice Fish house. I could EAT a sushi house.. 🙂 I wonder what kind of tiny fish art Jason would make up on the walls out of tiny egg-lets… how it would all explode in my mouth, what other amazing things would happen with just the right applications of the “Sauce Swamps” from the sides of the plate…

I’m digressing now. Sometimes Teri and I go there to talk. We talk to Jason too. He’s very young, but you wouldn’t know it. This is what being an artist does to a person. It gives you a responsibility to the world. His medium, of course, being fish. Your fish. I’m pretty proud enough to be a part of what I am certain in food-and-drink drenched haze is culinary history (have you ever been there?) and figure we’d all better go down to that resturant and eat his food before he ends up on television. I know this is not just drama-den talking later, because Jason is about to get into some chronicle contest and probably win it. Also, apparently attractive naked women let him lay out pieces of raw fish on their bod-s while they lie there motionless. Yes. This really does happen In Real Life, and according to his facebook people have said TO HIM “*YOU’RE* naked SUSHI guy!” This says to me people were noticing the chef and not the naked PERSON with the food on them. This does not surprise me in the least because I’ve almost cried a couple times eating his food. Then again, I am the emo queen.

It’s not always easy. One time he decided it was time for a challenge and we got a fish. It was a difficult salty thing that we had to navigate. We got to choose how much of it to eat. Would we eat all of it or just the easy bits? How daring were we going to be that day? Sometimes we are given more information, sometimes less. After Fish Mountain was scaled, he said he thought we’d eat less of it.

It was surprisingly tasty, and I am a big fan of that feeling of eating partially with your hands as though you are on the beach with the chef, helping to bring the food down. A tiny first world fantasy, perhaps. But if you feel like you are a character on some Romantic Island Show and yet you don’t feel like a prole you are having an intensley wonderful restaurant experience.

Jason gives you instructions while you eat, the more he knows you – the more he’ll get in your sushi business. I was talking to Teri a little too much and we let the grapes thaw once; which was not the intention of the piece. Jason wanted the grapes to go “pop.” That’s how I explained it, with chagrin. I wanted him to know I knew what he was thinking…I don’t even remember the fish he picked. But it was supposed to be accompanied by a cold pop. He’s heaps younger than me, but we are both of the Mindset and you don’t clap in-between movements, you see.

After that, he made this chille relleno scallop soup. There was a pepper hanging around. We are sometimes friendly enough to make him taste his work. He hardly ever does. He’s just imagining it and going on the colors and stuff. That’s right. He doesn’t even know. It’d be like me mixing with no headphones, or just headphones no monitors. Or by just looking at the meters and STILL getting it perfect. He doesn’t even have a test piece.

I really started thinking metaphorically when he made this piece with pears and some other stuff (I’ll just put a picture of it up) that tasted like a cloud. I imagined if you could go out onto the wing of your airplane and see the clouds… just taste them… that it would taste exactly like this dish. I remember being told in school that it wasn’t true that the texture of clouds was fluffy; that when they rubbed together there was friction and this is what made the thunder. Clouds were able to produce snow and water to fall to the ground. There were sharp bits in this dish, and the sweetness of the pear. I usually think that pears are horrible, but they worked here. The fish tasted boob-like (I’m not trying to be vulgar. It was just inviting and smooth…you know, Imaginary-Cloudlike)…

I sound like a crazy person. Then again, the drinks at Nanami get the job done in tasty fashion.

A dish that was smooth and crunchy all at once. Automatically I was caught up in the description of it and for a while forgot my Very Real Problems. I even got to name it.

Theres no way he could know what I’ve been through, but his creations are like tiny messages of encouragement. Of hope. It’s not even a dish at a sushi restaurant any more. It’s an unconscious analysis of a personality. Like when you sit with a hairstylist you’ve been with for years, go sit with him and watch him work and you will be healed.

Maybe it’s because he puts Emotions onto a plate. I told him a couple of days ago that he had gotten “cute” down pat. What do we think of when we think “cute?” Kitties. Hello? Pink… maybe that goes to far. See. It defies description. But a nice apple is perfectly cute.

There was tuna and apples and vinegar.  Just enough. Not too much, but just enough to force a smile from a grumpy demeanor or out of a person who had been Closeted Away for too long. So I ended up smiling and of course left the Decorative Apple Peeling behind to the same god of sushi that we all worship here and waited …for the next offering. 🙂

[ABOVE: Art by me, Teri Sanchez, Teri Sanchez. Rest of art stolen from Jason’s and my facebook pages, and Teri’s..

1) Jason makes Art (picture taken for Austin American Statesman Article. Ricardo E. Braziell 2) Warner Sisters 2) The sushi-shark-museum with Citrus Doorway 3) Grapes that go Pop with hidden salty Orange Surprises Inside! 4) the adorable Cloud 9 5) Chef-ly Activity with remote control and good luck kitty.
6) blurry and spicy from Abstract Instagram! 7) Souffle’ 8) Roll with Avocado

ps. I am bad with fish. Remembering it. This is my next step. It’s all too tasty to think! 🙂

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VERY INTERESTING PEOPLE #1: on Cloud 9 with Jason Liao

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