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Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.

Spring Break Diary

March 12, 2007

Spring Break Diary

Day One: Saturday

4:30a.m.— I wake up early for a 9:30a.m. flight out of Jackson. Last night I told my wife we needed to leave the house no later than 6:30 a.m. I organize luggage, locate airline tickets, and condo confirmation numbers. The rest of my family sleeps peacefully.

6:23 a.m.— My wife is putting on make-up. Her hair is still wet. Did I mention that the Jackson airport checks no one in within 30 minutes of his or her departure time? My nine-year old daughter is still asleep. For some reason, my five-year old son slept under his desk last night. The 6:30a.m. departure is not going to happen. I guess there is something that can be said for consistency.

6:52 a.m.— The St.John Scramble officially commences (as it does every time we try to get to an airport on time). No matter what time the flight, or what time I tell my wife we need to leave, we are 45 minutes late. Being a master of the St.John Scramble, I had the foresight to tell my wife that we needed to leave at 6:30 a.m. when we actually didn’t need to leave until 7:00 a.m. Wisdom comes with age.

7:24 a.m.— My wife refuses to get in the car unless we drive through Starbucks. I agree because I am the man of the house and I always call the shots.

7:29 a.m.— My wife forgot her ring at the house. We turn around. The kids are eating Starbucks pound cake for breakfast— mega doses of sugar. My son will be bouncing off of the car windows for the next 90 miles to the airport.

7:33 a.m.— We’re on the road. Our flight leaves at 9:30 a.m. I consider calling my travel agent to check on later flights. My son is loudly singing jingles from cheesy commercials. My daughter is staring out of the car window. My wife is still unconcerned. I wonder how my son knows every word to the Forrest General Hospital television commercial.

8:47 a.m.— Tires squeal as we pull up to the curbside check-in at the airport. Sky Caps scatter as I wildly throw suitcases and duffle bags out of the car in a practice with which I have become all too familiar, and all too good.

8:58 a.m.— We check in 90 seconds under the wire and the four of us run through the airport like O.J. in a car-rental commercial. My daughter asks, “Who’s O.J.?”

9:02 a.m.— My son loses his shoes in the security line. I learn that our fight’s departure has been moved up 15 minutes. We make it. Unbelievable. I still haven’t eaten breakfast.

10:17 a.m.— On a small commuter jet, my son stands up, points, and yells out, “Momma, that man has a huge head!”

11:56 a.m.— After a mostly uneventful flight— one with no foodservice— we have a $92.78 meal at a so-called Tex-Mex café in the Dallas airport. The “house specialty” tortilla soup was nothing more than canned chicken noodle soup with the addition of limes, jalepenos, and Tostitos. My son spills his soft drink on his sister.

1:05 p.m.— Just before boarding the flight to Salt Lake City, I notice that we have seats 17B, 17C, 17D, and 17E. I say a heart-felt, silent prayer for the passenger who holds the ticket to seat 17A.

2:07p.m. — At 35,000 feet, somewhere over West Texas, my wife notifies me that she left all of the ski school vouchers, lift tickets, and all other vital vacation stuff “in the box on the dresser, in the den.” The den is still in Mississippi the last time I checked. The man in 17A is nice and skinny— a ray of hope

2:48 p.m.— Mr. 17A appears to have gastro-intestinal issues. My daughter says, “Daddy, that man is making bad air.”

5:15p.m. — We check into the condo. The brochure advertised a “hot tub” in the unit. It looks more like a “hot bucket.” My fourth grader might be able to fit inside.

6:49 p.m.— Sitting in my favorite sushi restaurant in the world— The Flying Sumo in Park City, Utah— eating Luxury Shrimp, Money Rolls, Utah Rolls, Samurai Rolls, Tuna Nachos, and Funky Rolls. The atmosphere is cool, the music is good, the food is great, and no one is making bad air. I’m watching my children eat food that I wouldn’t eat until I was in my thirties. Sleep will come soon. Tomorrow we’ll ski. All is forgotten. Life is good.

Yellowfin Tuna Tartar with Avocado Relish

The ingredients must be fresh. Do not substitute. You won’t be sorry. A true crowd pleaser with a lot of “Wow” appeal.

1 /4 cup minced green onion
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
2 Tbl chopped cilantro
2 Tbl toasted sesame seeds
1 Tbl sesame oil
1 tsp fish sauce
1 /2 tsp hot sauce
2 Tbl soy sauce
1 tsp honey
1 tsp sherry
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 Tbl cottonseed oil
1 /2 pound fresh Yellowfin tuna, small dice

Combine all ingredients except for Yellowfin tuna and blend well. Diced tuna should be added to sesame seed mixture just before serving.

Avocado Relish

1 Tbl fresh lime juice
1 tsp cottonseed oil (or canola oil)
1 tsp sesame seed oil
1 /4 tsp garlic, minced
1 TBSP red onion, finely diced
1 tsp fresh chopped parley
2 tsp red bell pepper, small diced
1 medium sized ripe avocado
1 /4 tsp Salt
1 /8 tsp Cayenne pepper

Combine first seven ingredients and blend well. Quickly fold the avocado. If making in advance, place the seed in the relish and press plastic wrap directly on to the relish, sealing it off from any air exposure. Refrigerate.

5 sheets fresh egg roll wrappers to make wonton crackers

Using a cookie cutter, cut 2 1 /2-inch circles into the center of egg roll wrappers. Fry according to the package directions.
To serve, place 1 1 /2 tsp of the tartar mixture and 1 tsp avocado relish on the wonton crackers.

Yield: 25-30

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