Thing of the Week: Guu, Kims & Swims, Jen's Heroes


Guu is the name of a restaurant located very, very close to my house. It's an izakaya. It's as loud as a place could possibly be without making you want to kill yourself, unless you are a Jersey Shore type person who likes to go dancing at very loud nightclubs, or a person who is into noise music. Noise fans and Pauly D would probably walk into Guu and think, "Hmm. What a reasonable volume." 

For no reason other than "I'm stupid," I'd never been to Guu until two weeks ago. It's been open for, like, two and a half years. Very, very weird of me. Very weird choice. 

A cute thing about Guu is, every time a person walks into the restaurant, they cheer for you. Every single staff member. They holler very jovially in Japanese. You have no idea what they're saying, but you can be safe in assuming that it's celebratory. The first time I went to Guu, two weeks ago, was with my Dad. He arrived while I was in the bathroom, and since he can be a little bit gruff sometimes, I was worried that he'd find the greeting obnoxious, but he loved it more than I've ever seen my Dad love something that isn't related to world music, subwoofers, or Breaking Bad. Go Guu! Go Dad! 

The first drink I had at Guu was a sake mojito that comes with a bottle of housemade Guu sodapop. The sodapop tasted like one of those fluoride rinses from a dentist's office, so I switched to Asahi Black, which is now my signature drink (at guu). Asahi Black bottles are made of a very thick black glass. They are a very pleasant weight to hold in one's hands.

My dad and I ordered a set menu plus a side order of the deep-fried octopus balls. One of the first plates we tried was the fried chicken pictured at top left. The batter has soy sauce in it, and it comes with Kewpie mayonnaise for dipping. Not that I'm any huge fried chicken expert or anything, but it's definitely the best fried chicken I've ever eaten. If some Southern-style fried chicken place opened up in Toronto and served Guu's exact fried chicken, everybody would be raving about how it's the best fried chicken in Toronto. Nobody would ever shut up about it. But it kind of flies under the radar at Guu. 

I went back to Guu with Amanda two weeks later (it was yesterday), and we ordered the thing on the right which looks like a candy apple that one of the Lost Boys from Hook would eat. During my Dad and I's Guu experience, the two girls sitting next to us ordered it, and we got really involved in figuring out what it was. We talked to the girls, which is very out of the character for both my father and myself. He's an introvert, and I'm a lone wolf. 

Anyway, it's a deep-fried pumpkin croquette stuffed with a hard-boiled egg and covered with thousand island dressing. I know!!!!

 Here is something called KakiMayo. It is an oyster stuffed with mushrooms, cheese, spinach and garlic mayo. My favorite thing about it was how you could never tell if you were about to eat a mushroom or a chunk of oyster. 

When my dad and I ordered the set menu, it came with a seaweed & tofu salad- the server set it down in front of us and I was like "Boooooooorrrrring," but then I tasted it and realized that it featured the best fucking salad dressing I've ever tasted in my life. I feel like salad dressing at Japanese restaurants is consistently 1 billion times cooler and more delicious than mediocre North American balsamic fucking everything. Can some dipshit at Kraft please figure out that it's time to bottle this shit and then sell it to me? 

My dad and I also had a tuna sashimi that was just so tiny and perfect and elegant that it made me feel comparatively oafish. I feel like a person with more chiseled features should have been eating it. 

And then Amanda and I shared the weirdest thing ever- it's called a Kakuni Pie, and it's a pie, like the little kinds of pies that British and Australian people eat, stuffed with a pork belly that tasted like brisket, served with a gloppyish soy sauce and a little smudge of straight miso paste. While I was eating it I was kind of "Whatevs" but now that it's gone I can't stop thinking about it. The miso against the flaky pastry was one of the least logical flavor combinations I've ever consumed, and I mean that as a compliment.  

The miso black cod on the bottom here was rich and odd as you'd expect. But the sushi on top, which is called Saba Oshizushi, is the real star of the show. It's cured mackerel, pressed and blowtorched. It tastes like ginger and fire and fish. It's light as sunlight and smoky like the smell of a hot dude's leather jacket. And the pressed aspect of it makes the rolls such a joy to eat! They are like little packages, little gifts. My new goal in life is to have tried every single item on the Guu menu, but I'm also going to have to eat the mackerel sushi and fried chicken every time I go. I feel like eating the chicken and the sushi at once, by yourself, would be the most perfect meal known to man, but all the loudness and hijinks are not really conducive to solo dining. 

PS: They also holler when you leave, like they're so sad to see you go, but it's overridden by how INSANELY FUCKING STOKED they were to have had you once at all. 


On Wednesday last week I saw the Pixies and then on Thursday I saw Body/Head. Both shows were totally killer. I probably never would have gone to see the Pixies but then this guy I'm working for opened up for them (and he was great - he's so great!!) so I went and boy am I glad I did because the Pixies are unstoppable. They just sound really good, like really weirdly good, and this girl next to me brought her dog and another girl held up an actual cigarette lighter during "Hey." I also appreciated that Kim from the Muffs looks pretty much exactly the same now as she did the last time I looked at her, in 1996. Like I think she was wearing the same dress even.

Body/Head was a different experience, more about just leaning against a wall by the side of the stage and drinking this really good/trashy/ice-cold white wine from a plastic tumbler and staring at Kim Gordon and her legs and hands. That's her in that picture, being heavy with her guitar. And here's another picture I took of her. Body/Head was the most intense combination of super-boring and hypnotizing and amazing, I was anxious for it to end and I also wanted it to go on forever. I took like a 17-year break from caring about Kim Gordon but now I just love her more than ever and agree with everything Jen said when she wrote about Kim Gordon in this very space two weeks ago

Other things I love right now are chili-powder-dusted watermelon lollipops, the book Madness, Rack, and Honey by Mary Ruefle, Tanya Donelly's new EPs, the grilled cheese + tomato + avocado sandwich at Hermosillo in Highland Park, the spiced peach cobbler at the place next to Hermosillo, and swimming in my pool. I love swimming in my pool, and I love having people over to swim in my pool and drink champagne and making them listen to Helium and Big Star and Devendra and ELO. My friend Anne took this picture of me drinking a cucumber jalapeno margarita after a post-pool shower and I feel pretty encapsulated by it. Summer forevs/JK I'm totally ready for summer to end.


I've been seeing a lot of my heroes lately. Last Friday I saw Tom Scharpling, Julie Klausner, Molly Newman & more reading from music autobiographies. On Sunday I saw YOKO ONO AND THE PLASTIC ONO BAND. I was tearing up before Yoko even got on stage. There were projections of her art films and performances being played before hand. She is such an  inspiration. We are all water. Tonight I'm seeing Patti Smith at the Metropolitan Museum. Next week Divine movies are being played at BAM. I'm absorbing all of this beauty like a sponge or a mushroom.

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