Uncategorized

30th Birthday at Gonpachi Nishiazabu

Happy birthday to me! One of my favorite restaurants in Roppongi is Gonpachi Nishiazabu. The festive environment is perfect for a 30th birthday celebration. Everyone knows this restaurant for one reason, but what I love most is the staggered layout that forces you to get infectiously happy by other groups’ celebrations as well.

On this particular evening, they helped me usher in my new decade by blasting Tomoyasu Hotei’s “Battle Without Honor or Humanity,” which instantly gives you all the feels. You don’t know what’s going to happen, but you know something will. And it did! Their team brought me the traditional birthday treat, and everyone sang. It was the best way anyone can receive a restaurant birthday experience.

The last note I have is that I feel really good about turning 30. I’m in a really good place in my life. Not quite where I want to be yet, but that’s the whole fun of it.

 

Advertisements

Blue Note, Shibuya

This valentine’s day was such a treat! Clint kept the entire evening a surprise, and I had no idea what to expect. My instructions were simply to dress up and be ready by 5. He drove me to Starbucks to pick up my favorite, matcha frappuccino and a seasonal specialty, sakura chiffon cake.

We drove a good while to Shibuya and parked. We walked across the street, and it was revealed we were to attend a jazz concert and dinner at Blue Note. The venue was stunning! The Roy Hargrove Big Band played a wonderful set, and dinner was perfect.

It was a magical night, and I fell a little deeper in love with my friend.

Texas Heat

Photo taken from texaspool.org

Promptly after our departure from Korea, we started our vacation back home in Dallas, TX. It was 3.5 weeks of glorious foods, familiar culture, and most importantly, much-needed time with old friends and family.

It was really nice to have Momma Do’s cooking again. She made me my favorites, including: bun bo hue, egg rolls, and mi vit tim. My sister-in-law made sure to cook her delicious lobster in ginger and onion sauce as well as treating me to a whole tray of her delightful cream puffs. And while my sisters don’t cook too often, they both took me to a fair share of tasty restaurants. I have to say, my family spoils the heck out of me!

I also got to meet my baby niece, Vivi, for the first time. She is as adorable as all the teaser pictures I got throughout my year in Korea. Her cheeks are loveable, squeezable, and bite-able! I fell in love immediately.

Even though I only had a few weeks, I made the best out of it and got to spend some one-on-one time with so many friends. It’s really comforting to know that even though I’ve been away for so long, they still keep me in their hearts/minds. Friends traveled in from out of town with the sole intent of hanging out with me. Lunch dates, happy hour, an obligatory fancy dinner, and a crawfish boil rounded out the weeks. I’m truly lucky.

Fourth of July

We spent July Fourth at the Texas Pool in Plano, TX. It was a small area, but the people were friendly and American pride was plentiful. What better way to beat the Texas heat than by swimming in a Texas pool! We had Vietnamese sandwiches, che (sweet dessert soup), and fried chicken. (We’ve really embraced our stereotypes accordingly.)

Austin/San Marcos

In between those weeks, we made a trip to Austin to meet up with my younger sister, Jane. (Yes, her name is Jane Do. Revel in that for a few seconds.) We met up with an old friend, and spent some time on the lake. He took us to a secret island where we were greeted by two free-spirited people claiming to be King and Queen of the island. Oh, Austin, you amuse me so. There was brunch/lunch on SoCo, drinks and desserts at Mozart’s Cafe, dinner at Madam Mam’s, night-cap at Halcyon, a trip to Mount Bonnell and the Peacock Sanctuary, and Mexican margaritas at Trudy’s.

We also stopped by San Marco’s to see Jane’s place, and she showed us Rio Vista Park. It’s a river for light river rafting and floating. It was really entertaining watching people attempt to river-raft and then flipping their kayaks. Jane also introduced us to her favorite breakfast tacos, and Clint fell in love. The trip ended with the inevitable trip to San Marcos Outlet Mall, where we each got something cute. It was a great sister-bonding trip.

Crawfish

We ate to our hearts’ content at old and new restaurants – including the long-awaited Boiling Crab. In the crawfish realm, there was also the old Crawfish Hut in Garland and Crawfish Shack in Austin. I also got to try the new LA Crawfish and Tasty Tails in Plano. I ate A LOT of crawfish on this trip! Each had its own unique (and spicy) flavor, so I probably couldn’t tell you my favorite!

No matter where I go, my heart will always be in Texas. One day, we’ll return and nurture our own tree from the roots we’ve safeguarded with our family and friends.

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.
-George A. Moore