Life List: Zan Rolls Sushi

Last night I learned how to roll sushi, taking advantage of a Living Social deal I purchased a few months ago. (Living Social is like Groupon, where they offer a new deal every day, which is only available for purchase that day or until a certain capped number has been reached.)

This was the first time I’d seen a class like this offered by Living Social, so I immediately decided to take advantage of the $40 offer (most sushi classes I’ve seen advertised in this area run $75-85 apiece).

This particular class took place at CulinAerie. I liked the space; it’s conveniently located to several Metro stations and the interior is bright and clean. The only thing I didn’t like is that the main room is a little small for the amount of tables they had in there, which made it difficult to maneuver around the tables without waiting for someone to move out of your way first.

The class lasted for two hours. The first 45-60 minutes were dedicated to a “history of sushi,” instruction on how to cut the vegetables (we didn’t use raw fish, which was a little disappointing, but it was understandable due to the relatively large class size), and a demonstration of how to roll sushi two ways (one with the rice on the outside, and the other with the rice enclosed by the nori). There were two large TV screens hanging from the ceiling so people in the back could see what was going on up front, one camera on the instructor’s face and one close-up on the food preparation.

The second hour was hands-on. Everything we needed had been laid out for us in advance — knife, cutting board, sushi rice and veggies, bamboo mat, etc. No set-up or clean-up was required, which was very nice. And several CulinAerie employees roamed the room, answering questions and bringing extra ingredients as requested.

I went to the class by myself, so I was paired with another woman who had also arrived solo. She was pleasant and we worked well together, taking turns sharing a cutting board and bamboo mat, but I found myself wishing that someone I knew would have taken advantage of the class as well — it would have been a bit more fun if there was easy, relaxed conversation with a friend involved.

However, I did get to practice rolling the sushi both ways (I did a pretty good job…a tad better than my assigned partner, if I say so myself). And even though I typically don’t order vegetarian sushi, it tasted good. They gave us a glass of wine, too. (That came out near the end, though, and I wish it had arrived a little sooner.)

All in all, I had a good time and I’d go back to CulinAerie if they offer something else I’d like to learn about. But next time I’ll definitely take a friend.


  1. Awesome! Learning how to make my own sushi is on my Life List, and sounds like a lot of fun!

    Posted August 19, 2010 at 12:03 pm #
  2. fun! I love learning new skills. Do you have any pics of your handiwork?

    Posted August 19, 2010 at 1:06 pm #
  3. Leah: No pictures. I actually brought a camera but was too self-conscious to pull it out since I didn’t see anyone else doing so. Maybe if I’d had a friend with me, I would have!

    Posted August 19, 2010 at 1:09 pm #
  4. If you ever do any cooking classes like that again, you can count me in. I did one when I lived in Hawai’i for Caribbean food. I had a lot of fun.

    Posted August 19, 2010 at 4:24 pm #
  5. Culinaerie’s cool. There’s another great one in the DC area called L’Academie de Cuisine ( I think it’s got more classes than Culinaerie. Check it out.

    Posted September 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm #