Swimming the Somen Sea

As promised, here's the first lunch in Daddy Shmoo's new bento box.

A grilled portabello mushroom fish with baby cucumber scales and snow pea eyes is set adrift on a bed of somen noodles with blanched snow peas and parsley "seaweed".

I really wanted to include a Lotus Root Salad next to the somen -- wouldn't that have looked lovely? But alas, I can't find fresh or even canned lotus root here, so I settled on roasting a red pepper and cutting it into sand dollars and little fish shapes, with fresh basil tucked here and there.

A squeeze bottle of somen dipping sauce (konbu stock with soy sauce and mirin) and garbanzo beans fill in the rest of the space in the box. I packed an orange alongside the lunch box for a sweet ending.

Verdict: "That was almost too cute to eat!" he said. "I was hoping someone would stop by my desk so I could show it off." But was it enough? "I didn't think it would be until I started eating the noodles; they were dense." So it seems it will hold enough if you focus on a filling starch like noodles or rice.

I asked him to rate the lunch on a scale of 1-5, and he thought for a minute. "I was going to say 4 stars, but I can't imagine any way it could have been better. So I guess that's 5 stars!"