Monday, December 17, 2007

Hammered Textured Damascus

This photo does not do justice.

During my recent trip to New York, I finally got to visit Korin - the specialty purveyor of all things Japanese Cooking. Need that weird pan to cook your pork for donburi? They've got 'em. Need a sushi case in stainless steel that's better than a Hoshizaki? They've got those too. How about those fake, frilly grasses in the front of the sushi case? No problem.

But the true reason to visit Korin is for the knives. Gorgeous, incredible and amazing knives made in the tradition of Japanese sword makers. Steel hammered by master craftsmen and honed to a razor sharp finish that one cut throats but now are delicate enough to slice paper thin layers of tuna.

My main reason for visiting Korin was to purchase some sharpening stones for the Aritsugu Yanagi knife I bought in Tokyo this past summer. Great knife, inept chef (me). After chatting with Jackie, the attractive Chinese girl from New York who spent the past several years teaching English in Japan as part of the JET Program, I decided on the 1000, 5000 and 8000 grit sharpening stones and the basic sharpening DVD (since the master whom I came to see was on his day off).

As I wandered around pondering plate, sushi cases, lotus flower molds and whether that nicely shaped cappuccino cup was indeed 5.5 ounces, I spied the knife displays and locked on the Togiharu Hammered Textured Damascus steel Petty knive. It's absolutely gorgeous. Hammered steel that has those layers and a rich, wood handle. Sexy. Never thought I'd say that about a knife but gosh is it sexy!

Next to it was the matching santoku. Oh, temptation. Craftsmanship this gorgeous makes me quiver in the knees and beg for redemption. It's almost as bad as chasing women. And like the woman, one false or careless move and sliiiice! Your blood is everywhere.

But I was here for a reason and that was to buy sharpening stones for the other knife. With those in hand, I couldn't stop staring at the knives. Then I remembered: it's the holiday season and all knives are 15% off. With prices slashed so low, it would be irresponsible of me not to avail myself of the savings!

You know, I like to posit myself as the stoic, cold-hearted, never fearing, manly man that's as hard as a rock. Never wavering under temptation. But it's a lie. Present a twenty-something girl from Mexico City or sexy Japanese knives in front of me and I turn to mushy goo. I can't say no. I don't want to say no. It would be irresponsible of me to refuse.

Within a few short minutes and a swipe of the black card (the MasterCard, not the Centurion card), I was strolling down Chambers Street with a very heavy plastic bag laden with three sharpening stones and both Togiharu knives...

It would be irresponsible of me otherwise.


About six months ago, one of the hard drives in my Mac started to get wonky. Fearing that I might lose my priceless collection of rare and exotic porn (did I just say that?), I decided to forego the commoners' approach to data storage by replacing that weary drive with two mirror-RAIDed hard drives. What did this mean? It meant that with two drives writing identical data to each, I would not have to worry about losing my precious porn, erm, work files...

Fast forward to present day where I've downloaded hundreds of pictures from my trips to Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. It's a photo documentary of some great eating at places like Metro in Vancouver, in Seattle and Mozza in L.A. Wherever I ate that I didn't shoot with the trusty iPhone, I shot with the Canon 350D. Beautiful images of wonderful food.

The piece de resistance was my trip last week to New York City and the famed per se and Babbo. Glorious images of my triumphant victories.

Until a directory error has removed the files from the RAID drives...

So now, I'm stuck. No photos. No files. But the RAID keeps whirring. It happened a few weeks ago when a folder disappeared and I thought it had been deleted. Suddenly, it reappeared on Sunday night as the photos disappeared. So I'm thinking they're somewhere on the hard drive, I just have to find them.

Fear not, gentle readers. I am determined to recover the files and present to you some of the most exquisite eating I've done all year.

It will be a little while though...