It's May 2007, and the boys from high school theatre class have snorted wasabi up their noses. It's my first time at Naru Sushi on Osborne Street. I eat my tuna bakudan roll and watch, bemused, as their eyes begin to water and their noses become red during this one-upmanship they've decided to start. I ask if they're OK and they nod, tears running down their cheeks, each one of them convinced they are the victor.
Flash-forward to November 2010 and I'm in the middle of a snowstorm on a Thursday night, having dinner at Naru with two of my girlfriends. Our parents and the weather channel have warned us to stay inside and (cheekily, I have to say) we did! But the best part of the night was one of their ex-boyfriends walked in with another girl. Really, what are the chances?
Oh, who am I kidding -- it's Winnipeg. The chances are obscenely high. Let's just say we went through quite a few rolls and litres of wine that night.
Now it's October 2012. My best friend Emily and I are having a much-needed girls' night. Whenever Emily and I make dinner plans, we usually suggest "Naru Sushi" in unison. It's where we went on one of our first girls' nights, so it's only tradition to go there again. At Naru, we've already built a system, too: order miso soup, three rolls and a litre of red wine (we'll deal with the stained teeth later). The best part of these girls' nights is heading down the tiny, steep staircase to get to the washrooms. I feel when we make it down them without falling, we're rewarded with a bathroom photo shoot.
It's rare for me to go the same restaurant for any type of food so consistently. However, while the food is very good (I recommend the Blue Mountain roll), I believe it's more the memories I've built up over the last six years that have solidified my loyalty to this place. These are only a few of the lunches, a few of the dinners I have had at Naru over the years that have turned this Osborne eatery into one of my go-to places. I've even dragged my sister all the way from Charleswood just to have lunch there -- talk about out of the way, but she was impressed.
Inside, Naru is very small with few tables, but that adds to the intimacy of being there. I find the best seats are next to the windows, because if you're ever on Osborne, you're guaranteed to see someone you know. My friends and I always give a little yelp and tap on the window, waving furiously, which elicits strange looks from other customers.
Naru remains my favourite sushi restaurant. It's still the first place I think to go when needing a home-cooked meal that isn't cooked at home. Also, when Emily visits from Ottawa (she has moved there permanently now), it will be the first place we go to celebrate our latest accomplishments and maybe shake up the system we have there.
Oh, who am I kidding -- our system is stellar.
Rebecca Henderson is a Creative Communications student at Red River College. Check out her blog: http://hendersonrebecca.blogspot.ca/ for more stories about Winnipeg and videos of her cat, Padme.