San Toki

I’ve been singing this to him nonstop for almost an hour… quick pause to catch my breath, drink water because I’m not used to singing so much, and curse at myself for not speaking Korean better, and for not being as good a singer as my son would probably expect from his old man.

Still, he knows the words and hand movements thanks to my mother in law, and he likes the song.  While we were singing, and I was hoping/praying that he’d start the inexorable process of naptime, I couldn’t help think back 12 years.

In DC at the time, two Iranian brothers who owned the sandwich shop next to the Guards, opened a fine dining restaurant called Tahoga, after the Native American name for the swamp that eventually became DC.  Jimmy Reppuhn, originally from Detroit with the requisite flat-vowel accent, late of the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, was the executive chef.  I only mention Shanghai because Chef Jimmy liked to curse at us servers in whatever gutter Cantonese his former employees there had taught him, and it made for some interesting Socratic dialogue between him and our primarily Tunisian bussers and runners.  They, in turn, of course, taught him how to say “your mother likes to mate (come on, this is a PG blog… okay, maybe PG-13) with donkeys with big male appendages” in both Berber and Arabic, but that’s a story for another time…

One of Jimmy’s summer-of-’99 menu staples was his roasted rabbit loin.  It was a beautiful dish, so good that when we lowly employees were allowed to taste it for the first time, it was like Night of the Living Dead, servers scrambling for bread to sop up the jus.  The loin was wrapped in maple wood-smoked bacon, then roasted for almost a full hour to let the bacon infuse into the loin.  It was cut on the bias, the much-coveted (by both cooks and servers) ends also cut off so the two loin halves stood up in a shallow bowl, then surrounded by a fresh corn-lima succotash.  The roasting pan was deglazed with a little chicken stock and white wine, mounted with butter, then spooned around the succotash.d

Like I said, pretty dang tasty, and I would sell more than most during my brief stint there.  Which brings me back to the original premise of this post, which is… does thinking about Jimmy’s old rabbit dish while singing to my son about frolicking mountain rabbits make me somehow… evil?

Still not naptime, so time to stop typing and put the little booger to bed.


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