Suzanne Goin’s husband, David Lentz and Hungry Cat had the most spectacular presentation of the day at LA Loves Alex’s Lemonade. Their fresh seafood bar included uni scooped straight out of the sea urchin onto your plate. The uni, which remind me of little orange tongues, are rich and custardy like foie gras.
In California sea urchins are caught off of the central coast of California and taken whole to a processing plant in Wilmington, where the uni is removed, boxed, and shipped to Japan. When I told one of the “shuckers” (It’s called “processing”, but it makes me think of shucking) that my brother dove for sea urchins off of Monterey, he asked for his name, so I will assume that’s where these spiny guys came from.
Uni is commonly described as sea urchin roe or coral, but it is actually the gonads, the organs that make the gametes. When fishing, if they found actual roe in an urchin they had to move on to another area as to not disturb the urchins while reproducing. Maybe that is more than you wanted to know.