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Neighbors Page 47

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Youth Page 63

Where to eat Pages 75-78

Otaku slices a by Joan Westlake by Joan Westlake

Even a sushi novice will appreciate the exceptional quality of food at Otaku, located in the Watermark at Chandler Airpark. The restaurant’s name, loosely translated as the place for Asian food fans, makes a promise it keeps. Sushi afi cionados and those who enjoy fresh, artfully prepared cuisine are making Otaku their second home.

Sushi chef and co-owner Jay Chung is the slicing force behind the restaurant’s casually sophisticated décor and outstanding food. The best seats in the house are sitting at the sushi bar watching the creation of and tasting Chef Jay’s handiwork.

The chef knows his seafood and maintains direct connections with vendors from his Los Angeles days as well as the best Valley suppliers. Among the dishes where knowledge and contacts make a noticeable difference are in his salmon dishes. He uses Scottish salmon, not the typical Atlantic. The taste is subtle and the texture is velvety. “The Scottish salmon are much larger so there is more fl avor development,” he explains. “I choose only the freshest and best ingredients that I would serve to my own family. I’ve been buying from my vendors for a long time so they give me the best. “ He laughs that it isn’t just friendship that nets him the top fare from the markets: rather, the owners know he’ll send it back. The chef adds that in the past few years, transportation lines between the coast and Phoenix have improved, so the morning’s catch is on the chef’s cutting board that afternoon.

See Otaku Page 46

Downtown fest cheers canned craft beer

Celebrate beer the Ameri”CAN” way at the inaugural Ameri”CAN” Canned Craft Beer Festival from 2 to 6 p.m. Sat., May 21 in Dr. AJ Chandler Park in downtown Chandler. More than 40 local and national breweries will be represented at the event, sponsored by Whole Foods Market and hosted by SanTan Brewing Company, including: Arizona brewers Grand Canyon Brewing, Mudshark Brewing and SanTan Brewing Company. The event will conclude American Craft Beer Week. The festival also offers tasting and educational seminars, canned craft beer judging, live entertainment, food, a Beer Olympics and a Beer Science Garden, where companies such as CASK, Hop Union, Ball, Breiss and others showcase the making of canned beer. Tickets are $35 in advance or $45 on the day of the event, which includes entry into the festival and a collectible four-ounce sample can. VIP tickets are $100 presale or $125 on event day, and include general entry, a four-ounce souvenir can, a VIP lanyard for all access and exclusive entry into the VIP Beer Garden, unlimited catered food

and treats, Richard Susa’s book signing with a free copy of his book “The Beer Can,” private bathrooms, meet-and-greets with brewers and a seat at the Ameri”CAN” Canned Craft Beer Championship Awards Ceremony.

Designated driver tickets are available for $10 and include nonalcoholic beverages. Ticket purchasers and all guests must be 21 years or older; a valid picture ID must be presented for admission. A portion of the event proceeds will benefi t Ear Candy, a nonprofi t Phoenix charity providing youth access to music education.

Dr. AJ Chandler Park is located at 3 S. San Marcos Pl. in downtown Chandler. For more information, visit

Otaku slices a culinary cut above

culinary cut above

May 21 - June 3, 2011

43 Neighbors STSN photo

CHOP CHOP: Otaku co-owner and Executive sushi Chef Jay Chung prepares a fresh sashimi plate with low carb roll.

Local authors featured at area event

Three area fiction writers will be featured at AZ Dreamin’ – A Romance Reader Event, taking place Fri. and Sat., June 3 and 4 at Tempe InnSuites Hotel and Suites, including SanTan Sun News reporter and Mesa author Ann Narcisian Videan, Chandler author Carrie Weaver and Gilbert author Deena Remiel.


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The event features dinner panels and table discussions with 24 authors of all genres, an onsite bookstore, raffl e baskets and giveaways, free goodie bags and a late-night romance movie fest. Sapphire Blue Publishing will take book pitches.

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LOCAL AUTHORS: Novels by SanTan Sun News general assignment reporter Ann Narcisian Videan,

photos HORS:

Chandler resident Carrie Weaver and Gilbert resident Deena Remiel are featured at the Arizona Dreamin’ Readers Event June 4.

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Cover model Jimmy Thomas will pose with attendees in exchange for donations to sponsored charity Huntington’s Disease Society of America. Thomas is also scheduled for a special pre-event live book cover photo shoot at 6 p.m. June 3 that is open to the public. All other events are scheduled for 2 to 11 p.m. June 4. Tickets are $20 for general admission, or $39 which includes dinner with the authors. Space is limited.

Tempe InnSuites Hotel and Suites is located at 1651 W. Baseline Rd. in Tempe. For more information, visit

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