Uni Cycles

A question I often get asked is, "How come you have so many right-wing friends?" I don't have that many, but since almost all of them are bloggers and media folk, the ones I do have are quite visible. The short answer is that I decided whether or not to like them long before I knew their voting preferences. The long answer invariably comes back to Cathy Seipp.

Seipp, who recently lost her long battle with lung cancer, was a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and a frequent organizer of gatherings. She was also a contrarian conservative, who loved to tweak liberal friends in the media, while being solidly plugged into conservative circles of Hollywood and beyond via the likes of David Horowitz and Lionel Chetwynd (who don't get along with each other, though both liked Cathy).

And Cathy, once she finally entered the blogosphere, garnered a particularly unique set of regular commenters, who certainly weren't the usual unified cheering section one expects a political columnist to have. The spectrum ran from the likes of a heartily pro-Bush military blogger in Iraq known only as "Odysseus," to the aggressively left-wing self-proclaimed "anarchist" and film critic David Ehrenstein. Surprisingly, we generally all got along, so much so that after Cathy died, many of the regular commenters set up a new blog where they could continue to post in a similar vein.

And so it was that on Memorial Day weekend, I found myself in Oceanside with fellow Cathy-ites "qdpsteve," San Diego science reporter Bradley J. Fikes, and the American Cinema Foundation's Gary McVey, downing pitchers of Bass ale and pomegranate shots. But that's not the real point of interest here.

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No, this has all been a really long build-up to yet another story about LYT eatin' weird crap. Bradley took us to one of his favorite local places, simply called The Fish Joint. It looked like a mediocre hole-in-the-wall run by guys who had the appearance of retired professional surfers. But it was a sushi bar.

I'm a bit of a sushi snob, as regular readers and friends can attest. This place looked verrry dubious. The sushi menu even seemed quite limited. But as at all the best sushi joints, the trick is to find out what isn't on the menu.

Fresh sea urchin (Uni).

How fresh? Damn fresh. So fresh they bring you the eviscerated shell and pour sake on it, at which point the spines twitch and try to defend the empty shell that once contained innards. Slices of blood orange on the side. The meat itself was brinier and milder than your standard uni from a wooden box, but my only complaint is that there wasn't enough of it.

(photo courtesy Bradley J. Fikes)

Live sweet shrimp were also served up ("Your dinner just tried to run away!" said one of the chefs), but unfortunately they were dead by the time they made it to my plate. No matter. Shrimp heads are actually tastier deep-fried, but there's an energy to eating them alive that's unique.

Gary and Steve seemed to enjoy their plain ol' fish and chips. The chips did look pretty good, with seasoned salt and all.

But hey, I guess I should have expected them to make the conservative menu choice, right?

The Fish Joint is located at 524 S. Coast Highway, Oceanside. Open noon-3 p.m., 5-10 p.m. daily.


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