11 Japanese Kaiten Sushi Destinations Making Heads Spin Near You

Recently, I learned that Kaiten style sushi – think: the automated sushi-train – was created in the 1950’s. Immediately, I recalled a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant Wasabi in Northern Virginia’s Tysons Corner Mall when we were living nearby. It was a first-floor fixture right under the escalator—so that as my feet moved up, my eyes moved side-to-side as I watched the dizzying, captivating and beautiful belt in motion!

Kaiten style sushi (aka, Kaiten-zushi), known for its low cost but satisfying (and fun!) fish-fare, is served off the moving belt and is usually available ‘all-you-can-eat’ for a set fee, or the color or type of plate determines the price. Want to give it a try locally? There are several other US sushi bars and restaurants offering a similarly authentic Japanese Kaiten sushi experience in NYC, Miami, Houston, Austin, and San Francisco.

Here are some ideas for enjoying Kaiten style sushi near you.


East Japanese Restaurant
366 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10016

Kido Sushi
90-15 Queens Blvd.
Queens Center Mall
Elmhurst, NY 11373


Tysons Corner Center
1961 Chain Bridge Rd.
McLean, VA 22102

Matuba Japanese Restaurant
4918 Cordell Avenue
Bethesda, MD


Katana Japanese Restaurant
920 71st Street
Miami Beach, FL 33141

Blue Ginger
15791 Sheridan Street
Southwest Ranches, FL 33331


Sushi Choo Choo
1675 S. Voss Road
Houston, TX 77063

Sushi Sakura Express
1014 Wirt Road
Houston, TX 77055


Korean Garden
6519 N. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78752



Katana Japanese Restaurant
920 71st Street
Miami Beach, FL 33141

Blue Ginger
15791 Sheridan Street
Southwest Ranches, FL 33331

Go out and try this fun sushi soon. In the meantime, be inspired by the Kaiten sushi eye candy that Erika Owen features in her article which highlights successful Japanese restaurant Muten Kuraszushi in Tokyo. 

P.s., the image is courtesy of rakratchada torsap at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Six 2017 International Film Festivals You Gotta Catch in America

Spring and Fall brings with it several international film festivals in America, especially in metropolitan and culturally diverse cities like New York, Washington DC, Miami, Houston, Austin, and San Francisco. During these international film festivals, goers will be treated to the best in cinema from more than 80 countries in some cases. These festivals offer a glimpses into the cultures, life experiences, and visual artistry of people from around the world.

Below is a list of upcoming international film festivals that you don’t want to miss if you like- or are curious about international cinema. If you love to travel or are curious about the way of life of people from around the world, you’re bound to find so many ways to live vicariously through the beautiful and compelling stories in these international movies.

New York City, NY

New York City International Film Festival, April 3-7, 2017

Known nationally, as well as internationally, the two-week long New York City International Film Festival (INYFF) brings world cinema to NYC from filmmakers around the globe. You’ll find movie showcases with artistic merit and scope from several countries and regions, including two days reserved for films from Latin American countries and China. For more information on tickets, the awards night, and schedule, visit the NYC International Film Festival site.

Houston, TX

Houston WorldFest, April 21 – 30, 2017

Houston’s International film festival, WorldFest Houston, is happening as I write. At WorldFest this year, you can catch more than 50 feature films and 100 short film premiers, at the City’s AMC Studio 30 Dunvale Theaters. The film festival emphasizes American and international independent feature films and features an annual spotlight on an individual country and it’s films–this year it’s China. For tickets, schedule of films and more information, click here.

cinema by caixa de luz, on Flickr
cinema” (CC BY 2.0) by  caixa de luz 

Miami, FL

GEMS Festival of Miami International Film Festival, March 3-12, 2017

The city of Miami’s International Film Festival took place March 4-13, 2016, but international film enthusiasts can catch the GEMS Festival in the Fall. Among its goals, the mission of the Miami International Film Festival has been to bridge cultural understanding through film. The four day film event, GEMS, will be held at MDC’s Tower Theatre Miami, and is slated to feature a specially curated program of new international movies, las joyas de la corona (the crown jewels) as it says, ahead of the Spring festival in 2017. For tickets, schedule and more information, visit the Miami Film festival site.

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco International Film Festival, April 5 – 19, 2017

This is longest running film festival in the Americas, and features a wonderful showcase of over 150 films. It’s rooted in an appreciation of film as both art and agent of social change for world citizens in the Bay area, and treats festival goers to narratives, action and animated shorts, as well as documentaries and more from over 80 countries. More than 70,000 people attend this international film festival each year. For more information, tickets, and film guide visit the San Francisco International Film Festival site here.

seeing is believing at sunset : castro, by torbakhopper, on Flickr
Castro Theatre where San Francisco International Film Festival is held “seeing is believing at sunset : castro,” (CC BY 2.0) by  torbakhopper 

Austin, TX

Austin Film Festival, October 26 – November 2, 2017

The Austin Film Festival (AFF) takes place in mid-October, and will feature 8 nights of international, short and feature films. Festival goers will enjoy over 150 regional, national and world premieres and advanced screening, from Hollywood to wonderful independent cinema, in the form of narratives, animations, documentaries and more.  For badges, passes and more information, visit the Austin Film Festival site.

Washington, DC

Washington DC International Shorts, December 9, 2017

Washington DC International Shorts is a year round film festival that collects and then screens selected movies at the end of each season. You can explore world cultures through comedy, drama, and animations collected, and then watch them when the festival launches in December. For more information on tickets and schedule of events, visit the festival here.

(Feature photo: “AMC Theaters” (CC BY 2.0) by  pasa47).

4 Miami Eateries for an Authentic Taste of the Caribbean

If you’re planning to leave the turquoise blue water of Miami to run off to the sister beaches of the Caribbean this summer, consider sampling the perfected flavors of some of its most pristine cuisines locally before you go. Below are 4 places you can experience authentic Caribbean food in Miami.

El Exquisito Restaurant / Origin, Cuba

Being devoted to the art of cooking is one reason El Exquisito Restaurant’s Cuban owners Juan Coro, and his uncle, have gained a loyal following in Miami’s Little Havana. Tucked near the Tower Theatre, the restaurant is known for its deliciously authentic Cuban food in the heart of this enclave ever since it opened in 1974. For a true taste of Cuban culture one must only stop in here and have a coffee—but some food first.

Diners are treated to appetizers like Mariquitas (banana chips), sandwiches from the classic Cubano to Medianoche (the Cubano’s sister made with sweet bread), and meat entrees like Ropa Vieja (shredded beef) and fall-of-the-bone Lechon Asado (roast pork), fresh seafood platters, as well as sides like white rice and beans, sweet plantains or petite fry chips, along with daily specials Diners can sit cafeteria style or casually at tables. Coffee from the Corta Dito to the traditional café con leche are winners.

Clives Café / Origin, Jamaica


This little gem has been dubbed a diamond in Miami’s Little Haiti, known for its personable and laidback owners, as well as its cool vibe despite its small interior—it is unpretentious. Named ‘Best Jamaican Restaurant’ by the Miami NewTimes, given its institutional status while located in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood since the mid-70s.

Cooking ‘made with love,’ as the family-run establishment says on its website, Clive’s (named for the owner’s son) opened by Pearline Murray and her late husband Clifford, has been serving its authentic Jamaican food for nearly 40 years. Dishes range from oxtails and beef patties, to deliciously spicy jerk and curry chicken, as well as curry goat and rich stews—complete with a cool glass of Jamaican gingered Sorrel. Clive’s also serves its entrees with rice and beans, plantains or even fried chicken and mac-and-cheese (from its former diner days serving local factory workers)—taking a flavorful spin on traditional Jamaican cuisine and Caribbean staples that’ll warm the heart, too.

Tap Tap Restaurant / Origin, Haiti


Looking at its colorful walls adorned with tropical murals from Haitian artists local and abroad, you’ll need to just grab a handmade chair to feel the vibrancy of Haiti come through in just the atmosphere of Tap Tap Restaurant, situated just a short walk from Miami Beach on 5th Street. Relaxed compared to the bustle of the beach, Tap Tap Restaurant features a no-frills attitude in its simple décor that makes customers feel instantly at home and on vacation all at the same time.

From appetizers like Arka (Malanga fritters) dipped in watercress dipping sauce to diverse entrees such as the Kribish Kreyol (spiced oxtails to plump shrimp in rich coconut sauce) accompanied by a mix of rice and beans, patrons are sure to get their fill in rich flavor. The dishes aren’t cheap but considered worth their weight. Also, try a mojito—it’s been known to be the best in South Beach for a few years running.

Bahamian Connection Grill / Origin, Bahamas

Family-owned since it originally opened in the late 70s as a restaurant, the owners of Bahamian Connection Grill have always incorporated the support of their wives and children in the restaurant’s establishment over the years, especially after its founding by family Patriarch Arlington ‘Big Links’ Ingraham, who was born in the Bahamas. Located at the Bahamian Connection Village near Miami’s midtown.

The food is the real deal, from his ‘famous’ recipes for Bahamian boiled fish and grits, to buttery Johnny Cake reminiscent of Nassau, and steamed, tender and well-seasoned conch included in rich stews and tangy salads. This local place accompanies its entrees with staples such as peas and rice, greens, mac-and-cheese, and slaw—sometimes you’ll find live music, too, all within this authentic spot situated in a quaint, central neighborhood.