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The scene at Hook’s tonight

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

After I learned that Hook had passed away, I called over to his restaurant on MLK to find out if they would still be open. You could hear the sadness in the hostess’ voice when she said ‘yes’.

I headed over to the restaurant, if nothing else than to pay homage to man whose vibrancy had lightened my life every time I had the pleasure of seeing him. The place was a madhouse, more so because it was $1 sushi night than anything else. It didn’t seem like too many people were crying in their sake. But there were several members of the staff who recognized me as a longtime customer and that’s when we all shared a bow of tribute to our lost friend.
I toasted Hook, not with my regular Kirin, but with the Heineken he so often preferred. Man, could that guy take down a bottle of Heineken. I don’t know what it is about the great sushi chefs of Tampa Bay, but every one I’ve met…Hook, Peter Thamavong, Mang…they all do love them some Heineken.

Ironically, I had already eaten sushi for dinner and so when I arrived at Hook’s I wasn’t that hungry. But sitting at the bar, emotion and hunger began to devour me. I just couldn’t help but cry for this spirit I use to know. For the man who introduced me to sricha. For all the great chefs, like my own father, who toil for our pleasure day in and day out. It was just when I was most choked up that I saw one of Hook’s youngest sushi chefs crafting another roll all the while tears ran down his own face.

Forty-four years old. Far too soon. I know Hook’s somewhere special, probably bluffing someone out of a pot of heavenly poker. Hmong Daw, Hook.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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