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Stuck between two cuisines

Sushi vs BBQ

Sushi’s not a shoo-in.
Sushi’s not a shoo-in.

Dear Hipster:

Although I love dining out, I haven’t been to a restaurant since March. At first, everything was closed, and I spent all this time pondering when I would be able to go and sit at some of my favorite restaurants again. My wife and I spent hours brainstorming the first place we would go, and then we got burnt out on dreaming and resigned ourselves to home-cooked meals. As things started to open back up, we realized that, at least for us, it wasn’t worth the hassle to deal with all the stress and weirdness, so I just kept cooking at home and eating very occasional takeout. Now, the novelty of home cooking is starting to wear off, and we are back onto obsessing about where we will go to break our figurative fast. After much spirited debate, we are deadlocked on two options. We will either go for barbecue (my personal favorite) or sushi (her personal favorite). We were laughing at ourselves the other night because, after sparring on the relative merits of the two cuisines, we realized we were having a comically hipster debate, and we decided, what better way of settling this endless hipster palaver than to ask the hipster himself?

— Steve M.

You reveal as much with what you don’t say as with what you do. I notice you omitted major trends from recent memory, like ramen, poke, avocado toast, and anything that comes in food-dye-flavored rainbow colors. Similarly, you do not dream of a particular location. Instead, you’re stuck between two cuisines, each of which boasts its own peculiar traditions, and neither of which yields its secrets to the casual observer. To me, this says your long, self-imposed exile has distilled your hipster yearnings down to their very essence. Both choices offer you so much more than a delicious meal.

Normally, health-conscious hipsters will ditch their quinoa salads and green smoothies for a rack of ribs with nary a vegetable in sight, a full pound of chopped pork soaked in tangy sauce, or a flourish of sliced brisket from which decadent rivulets of rendered fat ooze their way into your heart (and the rest of your arteries). Somehow, the downhome charm of barbecued meats affords hipsters an excuse to eat staggeringly unhealthy meals under the ruse of a porkily authentic sense of Americana. Plus, it is unquestionably delicious.

Contrariwise, expertise in sushi bolsters the average hipster’s international bonafides by several orders of magnitude. The phrase, “You know, in Japan…” has an almost mythic power to separate the discerning hipster from the chump downing sake bombs at the local discount sushi joint who proudly boasts , “I didn’t think I would like raw fish, but you can barely taste it under the cream cheese, batter, spicy mayo, crunchies, avocado!” as he mixes fake wasabi into his soy sauce.

Honestly, I don’t mean to poke fun. These meta-culinary values separate rote nourishing of the body (which might just as easily be accomplished by piping a liquid mix of protein and vitamins directly into the stomach) from the more urbane task of feeding the soul (which, if you’re talking about a hipster soul, and you usually are, requires the seasoning of context and the sauce of social cachet before it amounts to a filling meal). Whatever you choose, bon appetit.

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Sushi’s not a shoo-in.
Sushi’s not a shoo-in.

Dear Hipster:

Although I love dining out, I haven’t been to a restaurant since March. At first, everything was closed, and I spent all this time pondering when I would be able to go and sit at some of my favorite restaurants again. My wife and I spent hours brainstorming the first place we would go, and then we got burnt out on dreaming and resigned ourselves to home-cooked meals. As things started to open back up, we realized that, at least for us, it wasn’t worth the hassle to deal with all the stress and weirdness, so I just kept cooking at home and eating very occasional takeout. Now, the novelty of home cooking is starting to wear off, and we are back onto obsessing about where we will go to break our figurative fast. After much spirited debate, we are deadlocked on two options. We will either go for barbecue (my personal favorite) or sushi (her personal favorite). We were laughing at ourselves the other night because, after sparring on the relative merits of the two cuisines, we realized we were having a comically hipster debate, and we decided, what better way of settling this endless hipster palaver than to ask the hipster himself?

— Steve M.

You reveal as much with what you don’t say as with what you do. I notice you omitted major trends from recent memory, like ramen, poke, avocado toast, and anything that comes in food-dye-flavored rainbow colors. Similarly, you do not dream of a particular location. Instead, you’re stuck between two cuisines, each of which boasts its own peculiar traditions, and neither of which yields its secrets to the casual observer. To me, this says your long, self-imposed exile has distilled your hipster yearnings down to their very essence. Both choices offer you so much more than a delicious meal.

Normally, health-conscious hipsters will ditch their quinoa salads and green smoothies for a rack of ribs with nary a vegetable in sight, a full pound of chopped pork soaked in tangy sauce, or a flourish of sliced brisket from which decadent rivulets of rendered fat ooze their way into your heart (and the rest of your arteries). Somehow, the downhome charm of barbecued meats affords hipsters an excuse to eat staggeringly unhealthy meals under the ruse of a porkily authentic sense of Americana. Plus, it is unquestionably delicious.

Contrariwise, expertise in sushi bolsters the average hipster’s international bonafides by several orders of magnitude. The phrase, “You know, in Japan…” has an almost mythic power to separate the discerning hipster from the chump downing sake bombs at the local discount sushi joint who proudly boasts , “I didn’t think I would like raw fish, but you can barely taste it under the cream cheese, batter, spicy mayo, crunchies, avocado!” as he mixes fake wasabi into his soy sauce.

Honestly, I don’t mean to poke fun. These meta-culinary values separate rote nourishing of the body (which might just as easily be accomplished by piping a liquid mix of protein and vitamins directly into the stomach) from the more urbane task of feeding the soul (which, if you’re talking about a hipster soul, and you usually are, requires the seasoning of context and the sauce of social cachet before it amounts to a filling meal). Whatever you choose, bon appetit.

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