Edges of Oceans

Odd, don’t you think, that we only ever hear of the Pacific Rim? I mean, why not an Atlantic Ocean Rim, or a Mediterranean Rim? A Mediterranean Rim makes way more sense, given that it’s an enormously smaller body of water, and all the cultures on the rim have been invading, conquering, dominating, fighting and competing for millenia. Their food is all related somewhere in the mists of antiquity too, making a fusion much more palatable.

This is the nub of my only discomfort about PR: the whole fusion thing. Not that it’s their fault. Food media and chefs looking for a niche created the idea of blending cuisines, so that what began as an awkward marketing tool tumbled into the mainstream, where it now resides.

Facts, as always, are my downfall. First off, Thailand is much closer to the Indian Ocean that the Pacific Ocean. Why it is even considered a part of the Pacific Rim is a mystery. Secondly, if you wanted to find two more opposed cuisines, it would be hard to beat mixing and matching – fusing, presumably – Thai and Japanese. In history, geography, language, culture, media, politics, arts, literature, religion, technology, sensibility…practically any sphere you care to name, the Thais and the Japanese have little in common. And a country’s food is nothing if not an expression of all these elements. Fusing Moroccan and Spanish, I get. Italian and Greek, sure. But Pad Thai and Sushi?

Like I said, that’s my problem, not Pacific Rim’s.

Pacific Rim is that rare establishment in Sarasota, a place that feels big-city. The ambience is polished and grown-up. It smells like a destination, rather than somewhere to merely fuel-up. The food is acceptable for the price if not stellar, my fellow-diners giving it 3 to 3.5 stars. The tip to four stars was for a genial and friendly hostess, who actually smiled and communicated as if it weren’t a chore, and the delightful lady from Osaka who served us with grace and aplomb.

Thank you both.