Over the weekend my brother-in-law celebrated his 60th birthday.
When Glen was going to college at UCLA, he lived down the street from a famous Japanese-American burger joint, Mago's. If you are Japanese-American and grew up in Southern California from the '60s to the '80s, you knew Mago's. The Mago's sign was featured in 2003 at the Japanese American National Museum exhibition Object Lessons, it's that important to Japanese American culture.
I remember going there when I was a kid, thinking it was the best place. They had American, Japanese and Mexican food together--the first fusion food I can remember.
Avocado chashu burgers and burritos were the most memorable for me.
This is my spin on an Avocado Chashu Burger.
Chashu is what Japanese Americans call Chinese style barbecued pork.
I bought this at Sam Woo's.
I wanted a thin french roll, the kind they make banh mi with, but settled for a baguette from Von's.
When I was young, we always ate chashu with shoyu and hot mustard.
It just goes with chashu.
So I mixed 2 teaspoons of hot mustard with 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise.
And added two teaspoons of shoyu.
That went first on the baguette.
Then the chashu--barbecued pork.
I think the burgers at Mago's had the chashu thinly sliced.
They sliced it for me at Sam Woo's.
I think this is a perfectly ripe avocado, when the skin comes away from the flesh so cleanly.
Put in some generous slices of avocado with a squeeze of lime so it won't turn brown.
Jalapenos make everything taste good, don't they?
My dad says they're not hot this time of year because they come from Mexcio.
Cucumber slices are always good in a sandwich, put some of those in, too.
If you're in for some real fusion, add some kimchi.
I had some cilantro and arugula on-hand, so I added some of that.
Arugula makes everything taste good, too.
Gary said the hot mustard-shoyu-mayo made the sandwich!
Here, have a bite!
In Japanese culture, turning 60 is a big deal.
It's called Kanreki, kan meaning "return" and reki meaning "calendar".
The lunar calendar is organized into 60 year cycles, and a person's 60th birthday celebrates the year that your calendar returns to the sign under which you're born.
I know that because my sister-in-law, Glen's wife, said so.
She's from Japan and in-the-know about things Japanese.
Here's my brother-in-law at the beginning of this cycle...
and here he is in mid-cycle.
He used to love to ski.
He and his friends were called The Sultans of Snow.
Here he is today, having completed one cycle and still young enough to accomplish new goals.
That's the modern Japanese way of looking at your 60th birthday.
We were treated to a delicious lunch at Kyala Japanese Restaurant in Diamond Bar.
Happy 60th birthday, Glen!
Here's to your new beginning!
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan.
No printable recipe for this one yet.