In Pursuit of Omusubi

Some months ago, I came across an article online about an omusubi shop in Santa Monica. It sounded so enticing I decided I had to go someday. Now that it’s summer, it’s the perfect time to go on foodie adventures, so last weekend my roommate and I went to check it out. The place is called Sunny Blue, and it mainly serves omusubi. Omusubi is apparently another word for onigiri, a word I was at least somewhat familiar with (though I think I’d only eaten onigiri once in my life before this past weekend). Omusubi/onigiri are rice balls (though in my experience they tend to be sort of triangular) with a savory filling, wrapped in a sheet of nori (seaweed).

Sunny Blue is on Main Street in Santa Monica. It’s tiny. You order at the counter from the cashier, while to her right three other staff members are busily making the omusubi before your eyes. There are maybe four or five stools to sit on, so it’s not really a sit-down place. They have many different omusubi to choose from, with meat, seafood, and vegetarian fillings. There are also some other side dishes to order, like edamame or Japanese potato salad. And there’s frozen yogurt! I ordered a miso beef and a Sunny Blue (chicken) curry, as well as chocolate frozen yogurt.

Omusubi

Omusubi: Miso Beef (left) and Sunny Blue Curry (right)

We carried our lunch to the weirdly sculpted and manicured Ocean View Park, where we had a view of a vast parking lot, the beach, and, yes, the ocean. The omusubi were so tasty! Perfect, slightly sticky rice, delicious fillings, and sprinklings of I don’t even know what savory garnishes… I would go back to Sunny Blue in a heartbeat.

After eating, we walked down to the beach, and I went wading for a bit. Then we wandered up Main Street, which has quite a respectable number of ice cream shops. We came upon the California Heritage Museum, which is located in this very handsome historic house. That giant bust on the left is of Senator John Percival Jones, one of the founders of Santa Monica.

IMG_1638Traffic in Santa Monica on the weekends, especially near the ocean, is pretty terrible, and we wound up waiting half an hour for our bus home. While we languished at the bus stop, I took a picture of this palm tree growing through a hedge. Despite somewhat unreliable public transportation, the omusubi made our expedition completely worth it.

Palm

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