In Memory of Lisa Tian, Joy of Tokyo in New Tampa restaurant owner

I stumbled upon Joy of Tokyo in New Tampa one day in January of this year when a friend and I were heading to SoHo Sushi North and found it closed at 2PM. We decided to try a new restaurant we had seen on Bruce B. Downs by Acropolis, Joy of Tokyo. Once inside we had a great meal and the owner, Lisa (Lixin) Tian, came and sat with us. We talked for quite some time about her new business and how much I liked the food. She told me she moved all the way from Ohio down to Tampa to support her son attending USF and had successful businesses in Indiana and Ohio. I gave her some suggestions about using social media and setting up a website and she took my suggestions.

The next time I visited for lunch the owner and I talked about her new website and Facebook fan page. She told me her son who attends USF made the accounts for her since she wasn’t too familiar with how to use the internet. We laughed and after another great lunch I decided I wanted to schedule a sushi social with the organization I started at USF, The Japanese Club at USF. She was happy to set it up and I talked with her for about thirty minutes over the phone, she said she was happy to work with the USF community and would plan special discounts for my members and work with us however best she could.

The sushi social had a decent turnout for being scheduled during the day and the owner prepared everything and was completely hospitable to us. The next time I would interact with Joy of Tokyo would be at a Sushi Workshop organized by USF organizations Sigma Lambda Beta and Asian Students in America (A.S.i.A.). The employees from Joy of Tokyo came to our school and explained to students how to make certain sushi rolls. It was clear that Lisa was a smart businesswoman who was open-minded and happy to be a part of the USF community.

Unfortunately, in late May 2011 – I heard that Lisa Tian had been hospitalized after being severely beaten by her husband, Chunping Lin, and Lisa  suffered severe bleeding from the brain and a broken wrist in a case of domestic violence. Chunping a six-foot tall, 160 pound man, also attacked his 10-year old son who was defending his mother and caused a laceration of the son’s finger with broken glass. Lisa became comatose at St. Joseph’s  Hospital and after two months of the restaurant being closed down, I heard that she died a few days ago. Her husband was being charged with attempted murder, domestic violence, and child abuse according to article released in June. I am unaware of his current criminal charges.

During the week that Lisa became hospitalized a positive article was written about her business by a local newsletter. I am deeply saddened that her business never had the chance to reach success in the Tampa Bay area and that a local community leader has been lost in such tragic circumstances. The restaurant was hardly at it’s half-year point. My condolences go out to her children who must be struggling through such a difficult time. We have lost a pioneer in New Tampa and a local friend. Rest in Peace.

Hope For Japan: Charity Dinner and Candlelight Vigil @ USF Tampa

“We all know of the devastation that happened in Japan on March 11, 2011.

-A deadly 8.9 earthquake and a massive 23 foot tsunami stormed the country
-The effects of this natural disaster has killed over 10,000 innocent people and left over 500,000 homeless and thousands have been without power
-The effects of these disasters are devastating, still lingering within Japan and they need our help!

We need to come together as the University of South Florida and show that we care and we want to help this country in need.

Together as one we will make the difference…

Hope for Japan Charity Dinner and Vigil
Date: 4/7/11 5pm-7:30pm
Location: MLK Plaza

All donations will go to Charity
$5 per ticket
Enjoy speakers and performances
Tickets will be sold at the event
Raffles will be sold off. Come out and win gift certificates and other things for donating to Japan relief!

Food provided by:
Sushi Tsu
The Rack
China First Buffet
Tum Nak Thai

Hosted by:
Japanese Club at USF
Chinese Culture Language Club
Vietnamese Student Association
Korean American Student Association
Asia Students in America
Red Cross Club
Association of Filipino Students
Khmer Student Organization
Sigma Beta Rho
alpha Kappa Delta phi
Pi Delta Psi

Facebook event:

Japan Day: Japan Relief in Tampa

Many local Tampa Bay residents ran a relief event yesterday called Japan Day. Volunteers included Japanese teachers, exchange students, Japanese Club at USF members, and many more. Many booths were at the event and including an origami booth, food stands, kimono (yukata) photo booth, and performances. The event raised over $2,600 for Japan Relief and it’s really great to see everyone coming together as a community to help Japan. Japan continues to suffer from the many deaths and missing people and even today radiation from the nuclear plant explosions that were a result of the massive earthquakes and tsunami continues to make food unsafe in Japan, bringing the Japanese public a silent unrest that has been reported on by many news sources. The supporters at Japan Day creatively used Japanese cuisine to help raise funds and I wanted to show everyone how people are coming together to make a difference.

When you think of the hard work that must have gone into preparing these foods, you realize just how much of a heart people have.

I’ll be posting a few events on my food blog that you can attend if you wish to support Japanese relief in the Tampa area. We can come together and make a difference to the suffering happening in another part of the world and impact them with our thoughts and effort.

Sawatdee Thai Cuisine

I took a new friend Yong Hoon to try Thai food for his first time this past week at Sawatdee, a USF-area restaurant located only a short drive down from the university down on 56th Street.  The ambiance is similar to many small Thai restaurants: decorated lavishly, quiet, and a nice place to have a conversation with a friend or two. Lunch specials there come with three courses: soup, entree, and dessert.

The chicken vegetable soup was satisfying, but lacked any real substance to it…something to just pass the time. We both ordered Chicken Pad Thai (only $6.95 for lunch) with my friend ordering a spicy version of the entree. I also ordered a Thai Tea because my friend has never had one and that is something I think everyone should experience at least once.

Your food critic =P

Yong Hoon trying Thai food for the first time.

Chicken Pad Thai…just looking at this picture makes me hungry.

The orders came out quick and although they accidentally gave me a mildly spicy version of Pad Thai, the waitress quickly resolved the issue when I brought the matter to her attention. I have to say that a spicy and non-spicy Pad Thai are almost completely different meals even though it has most of the same ingredients. My friend and I both enjoyed our meals, the noodles were filling and there was a nice balance in extra ingredients added in, it wasn’t overdone like in some other restaurants.

The small free dessert they pass out to end the meals gives the meal a nice ending and they have a rewards card for customers who pay in cash.

Thai mission complete!

Sawatdee Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Sawatdee Thai Cuisine

Address: 10938 N. 56th Street Tampa, FL 33617

Phone #: (813) 985-2071