In San Diego, sushi is basically a local cuisine. It’s from Japan, of course, but it makes just as much sense in California, a coastal state with easy access to fish and seaweed. (There’s a reason the california roll is just as classic as the spicy tuna roll.) At San Diego’s KULA Revolving Sushi Bar, however, sushi isn’t served quite the way locals have grown accustomed to. Instead, it’s served by Mr. Fresh. We’ve profiled him below, in part by chatting with KULA San Diego’s manager, Nobuyuki Otsuna. So who is Mr. Fresh?Let’s rephrase that question slightly: “What is Mr. Fresh?” It’s a conveyor belt that encircles the restaurant, passing by each table on its way back to the sushi bar. It’s studded with plates of sushi, each enclosed in a pod that helps maintain freshness and keep out germs. Diners pluck their preferred rolls or nigiri pieces off the belt, crack their pods open, and chow down. I don’t get it.Think of it like a buffet—but instead of you perusing the buffet, the buffet peruses you. As Otsuna explained it, at a buffet “the customers have to walk around the restaurant and then pick out the meals that they like.” With Mr. Fresh, “they don’t have to walk around.” (The differences don’t quite stop there. KULA’s sushi isn’t bottomless—it’s priced by the pod.)How does the conveyor belt know how much you ate?There’s a disposal chute at each table where you can drop your empty plates. A computer monitors this chute and tallies up your tab. Wow! I want a prize for figuring all this out.You’re in luck. Every time you eat 15 plates of sushi at KULA, a tableside prize dispenser does exactly what its name suggests: it dispenses a small prize, like a keychain. (Otsuna said you never know what your prize will be, so every time you get one you explore the unknown.) Where did this whole system come from?The Mr. Fresh system originated at KULA’s more than 300 Japanese locations. There, it’s called sendokun. In the past few years, though, the Japanese chain has started opening locations stateside. The San Diego location, opened in March 2015, is the first American one to adopt Mr. Fresh. Does Mr. Fresh mean KULA doesn’t have a waitstaff? No. There are servers, but their duties are limited, Otsuna said. They don’t take food orders or bring plates out—they just seat customers, take drink orders, and bus tables after diners leave. What if the buffet-like selection makes me indecisive?Try the salmon belly, Otsuna’s personal favorite. “It’s like salmon but more fatty,” he said, adding that it “melts in your mouth”—just like the legendary sand at San Diego beaches. Photo: Salmon by Michael Saechang under CC BY-SA 2.0.Read More
Oxi Fresh - Kansas City
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Oxi Fresh - Kansas City
In San Diego, photography is pretty much always in demand. The beautiful scenery, the near-perfect weather, and the popular pro sports teams keep local photographers busy throughout the year. San Diego wedding photographers in particular never run out of brides and grooms to photograph amid the city’s natural, beachy beauty. Of course, shooting weddings in San Diego requires an entirely different set of skills than capturing the ultra-quick motion of a football player mid-tackle or a ballet dancer as he leaps into the air. Read on to find out more about how a good photographer armed with a good camera can freeze motion into a breathtaking action shot. How a Lens WorksTo understand how a stationary photographer can capture a cheetah in mid-stride or the expression on its face as it dunks a basketball, it’s helpful to first consider how any camera works. When a picture is taken, the camera's shutter opens and closes in front of the lens, letting in a precise amount of light for a set amount of time, depending on the exposure setting and the shutter speed. The lens lets in the light from anything that’s in front of it, which is then recorded on film or digital sensor. The Human Connection A camera’s inner workings are not so different from how the eye and the brain process images. As on a movie camera, moving bodies register on the eye as a series of still shots that decay and are “refreshed” at imperceptibly small intervals, about 1/30th to 1/50th of a second. This can be considered analogous to the eye’s shutter speed. If the shutter speed of a camera is set around this range, it will capture motion in a way that looks natural to the human eye—that is, sharply if the image is a person ambling down the street but perhaps more blurrily if it’s a tiny UFO speeding through an alley. If the shutter speed is slower, it will produce a blurred image, and, if it is much faster, it has the chance to capture instants that the eye can’t register clearly. How Fast Is Fast?To catch fast-moving action, a shutter speed of at least 1/1000th of a second is usually required. The lighting, too, must be extraordinarily bright, since the quicker the shutter speed, the less light gets in. Accordingly, a photographer will widen the aperture to let in more light, and for long-distance shots, an electronic flash unit is required. As quick as the shutter speed may be, the photographer is eventually limited by the speed of the reflexes in the human hand. To overcome this barrier, systems have been invented that cause the subject to effectively take its own picture by crossing a triggering infrared beam or even making a loud sound. Other TricksThere are a few other tricks in the action photographer’s bag. If you’re stuck with a slow shutter speed or dim lighting, you might have better luck aiming for the quick moment of stillness, or peak action, when, for instance, a figure skater stops being propelled upward and is about to sink back down. Another option is to set the camera itself in motion, smoothly panning in the direction of a racing cyclist, who will appear less blurry than the background.Read More
San Diego’s charm stems from its eclectic mix of neighborhoods, with trendy Ocean Beach to the west, upscale Coronado across the water, and authentically Mexican Barrio Logan to the south. The highways are a thread connecting these disparate neighborhoods. But in order to explore this varied landscape, you need to maintain your vehicle with regular oil changes. We’re here to help with a list of the top San Diego oil-change spots, along with tips on how to sample some local flavor while you’re waiting.1. Oil Changers (2448 El Cajon Blvd.)Why We Like It: The mechanics here exude positivity. While they work, they give consistently constructive advice to ensure that every client departs feeling satisfied with their service. While You Wait: Pop in across the boulevard at the Old Coin Shop, where founder Harlan White stocks collectible coins and currency from around the world. His collection even includes a rare 1804 dollar, one of only 15 known in the world. 2. Kearny Mesa Smog Check (4191 Convoy St.) Why We Like It: You’ll get speedy service, including oil changes that are typically completed in less than 30 minutes. Mechanics remove the used oil and replace it with high-quality synthetic oil, and they can even perform smog checks while you wait. While You Wait: If you have enough time to get away, head across the street to It's Boba Time for a fresh fruit smoothie or milk tea in addictive flavors such as honeydew, jasmine, and matcha.3. Ron’s Auto Clinic (3840 Alabama St.)Why We Like It: At this family joint, Ron, his brother, and his niece work together to ensure that vehicles reach their optimal performance levels. The staffers explain their processes thoroughly and never surprise clients with unexpected charges. While You Wait: Head a few blocks east to the North Park Nursery for a burst of greenery. This micro nursery grows everything from edible plants, such as dinosaur kale, to native species including monkey flower. 4. Allman Family Auto (7066 El Cajon Blvd.) Why We Like It: Customers praise mechanic Mike Allman for his expert diagnostic skills. Using little more than a clunky sound or a wobble as his clue, he can determine what’s wrong with your vehicle. While You Wait: Wander the aisles at the Bangs African Peruvian Market next door, where you can update your pantry's supply of quinoa, lima beans, or chili peppers.Read More