I dropped by the Sinju restaurant and lounge in the Pearl today and had a chat with Itamae (“sushi chef”) Chris, who was making sushi. I wasn’t just there for the lunch special; I was on a mission. I was on the trail of the iconic “Ridgy Roll” that we learned about yesterday from the Oregonian. I wanted to learn all about Sinju’s latest culinary invention and the biggest post-season story in Timbertown after “Whatthehell’s the deal with Adi?”.
According to Chef Chris, the whole Ridgy Roll story was more complex than the Oregonian made it sound. Seems that Liam Ridgewell didn’t just invent his roll out of hand but, instead, staged a competition for the honor of hanging his name on a maki. Three of the itamae were tasked with making two unique rolls each, and then the Timbers’ defender tasted each one to determine his candidate for glory.
Sadly for our hero, it wasn't one of Chris' rolls; he says he went with a "more rustic, more traditional" combination of ingredients and that the eventual winner had "a lot of fried stuff in it" (The Boy from Bexleyheath preferring a sushi-fry-up? Wow. Color me shocked.)
I was excited, I was enthralled, I was bouncing in my seat, I was positively mental. What was the Ridgy Roll? A deep-fried Mars bar inside a banger wrapped in bacon and smothered in HP sauce? Fish-n-chips sprinkled with black tobiko and Hob-Nob crumble? What?
Alas, Chris didn’t know. The final Ridgy Roll is still in the post-production stages and won't be on the Sinju menu for a while, the winning itamae wasn't working today, and none of the other waitstaff knew exactly what the final roll was going to contain.
I was crushed under the weight of my failure. I had broken the First Rule of the Newshound: Always Get The Big Story.
Regardless of my chagrin, I did discover that Ridgy seems to have made a big hit with Chef Chris and with the Sinju crowd in general; several other staff stopped by to tell me what a nice guy he is and how friendly and charming he had been.
I’m sorry to report that I still don't have the goods on the elusive Sugoi Ridgymaki. But the lunch special at Sinju was pretty darn delicious, and I work just a streetcar ride away. So in the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger: “I’ll be back.”