Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sushi Class at Habitat (Downtown)

Back in September I attended Habitat's cooking class.  The theme of the month was sushi, which is one of my favorite things in the world, and considering I am not particularly well versed in sushi making, I was definitely interested in learning some tips from the pros!

The class started with a tour of the place where the culinary magic happens - Habitat's kitchen.  Being a hotel kitchen, we were privileged to see how they handle everything from room service to wedding cakes. We were then directed back to the dining room where we would have our class by the gorgeous open kitchen, but not until we were each served a glass of ginger-lime Sake Gimlet cocktail. :)

Sushi Class at Habitat
Sushi class setup

Sake Gimlet at Sushi Class at Habitat
Nothing like learning how to make sushi while imbibing in Sake Gimlet!

I am not a fan of sake, but this was a delicious drink!

Our teacher was Chef Luis Jimenez, who provided patient instruction and guidance while we practiced making California Rolls, Salmon Rolls, Spicy Tuna Rolls, Salmon Nigiri, and assorted Hand Rolls.  Some of the techniques were similar to what I already knew learning on my own, but some were new or different from how I have made rolls before, and it was great to see how techniques vary so I can figure out what works best for me.

Chef Jimenez at Sushi Class at Habitat
Chef Luis Jimenez talks spicy tuna

Making an Inside-Out Roll at Sushi Class at Habitat
The making of a California roll

Maki placement on mat at Sushi Class at Habitat
Learning the proper placement of the unrolled maki on the sushi mat

Rolling Maki at Sushi Class at Habitat
Let's roll!

Salmon Nigiri at Sushi Class at Habitat
Salmon nigiri

Making a Spicy Tuna Hand Roll at Sushi Class at Habitat
The making of a spicy tuna hand roll

I had never made hand rolls before, so this for me was probably the most challenging - especially the part where you form it into a cone shape.

Once we were done making sushi, it was time to eat!  The large table in front of the open kitchen was beautifully set up for us.  We started with appetizers Miso Soup and Seaweed Salad, then proceeded to the star of the afternoon - the sushi we made!  (Thanks to Chef Paula Smagacz for cutting them up for us!)

Miso Soup at Sushi Class at Habitat
Miso soup, chock full of mushrooms and tofu

Seaweed Salad at Sushi Class at Habitat
Delicious seaweed salad

Our California Roll at Sushi Class at Habitat
California rolls

Our Sushi at Sushi Class at Habitat
Salmon rolls and hand rolls

Our Spicy Tuna Roll at Sushi Class at Habitat
Spicy tuna roll

And to wash all that down, we each had a sparkling Sake Raspberry Peach Cocktail served with a piece of crystallized ginger.  So good!

Sake Raspberry Peach Cocktail at Sushi Class at Habitat
Sake Raspberry Peach Cocktail

And at the end, we had this (non-alcoholic) mango bubble drink as a dessert.

Mango Bubble Drink at Sushi Class at Habitat
Mango bubble drink

The class was plenty of fun, and I learned a lot, too!  We were treated like royals from the moment we walked in to the moment we walked out.  We received copies of the recipes, as well as an apron and a sushi mat.  I'll admit to initially balking a little at the price of the class ($65), but it turned out to be an amazing value when you also factor in the drinks, ingredients, lunch, and enough sushi to take home to last another two days.  And really, you can't put a price on a neat experience!

Habitat's cooking classes are held on the first Saturday of the month, and each month has a different theme.  I'm not sure if Habitat will bring the sushi class back next year (I hope so!), but there are some holiday themed classes coming up to round out the year.  More information can be found on Habitat's website here.

Restaurant info:
510 Market Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
On the web: http://www.habitatrestaurant.com (click on "Events" for cooking classes)
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HabitatRestaurant
On Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/HabitatPgh

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