There's nothing worse than succumbing to your desire for sushi, and settling on the supermarket version of slimy seaweed wrapped around sandpaper-dry rice — unless it's finding a parasite or two smiling up at you. While you might balk at the pricey produce and products at Gelson's, you'll welcome the sushi specialty offerings of Ping, dubbed “Super Sushi Man” by customers at the Calabasas location. Due to his lightning speed and uncanny ability to gauge just how many units his customers will scoop up by the hour (about 300 per day), no premade pack sits around for long. And even though he seems in perpetual motion, Ping won't blink an eye when you request soy paper instead of seaweed, avocado instead of cukes, or extra seaweed if you want to “roll your own” from his overflowing sushi bowls. Ping takes pains to ensure that your Crunch Crunchroll ($9.98) won't suffer from soggy-tempura syndrome, your al dente seaweed salad ($3.30) stays al dente, and your spicy tuna hand roll ($6.29 for a two-pack) is the freshest this side of Matsuhisa.

—Heidi Dvorak

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