Highlights: June 2019

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The highlight of June was spending our anniversary together!  8 June…Happy Anniversary SMS!  6 years!  He bought me beautiful flowers, which are barely done any justice by the photo above.

We spent the day in San Francisco, walking around on a gorgeous day.  Towards the end of the afternoon, we headed over to Rich Table to wait in line for a walk-in seating.  [Edit: Lie!] We barely made it but we were seated.  The line-waiting was slightly stressful because there was a clear line.  Then people who arrived right before the restaurant opened lined up on the other side of the door from where the original line was.  It all ended up working out but the last 5 minutes was a little weird.  I think a few of the people had a reservation while there was also a couple definitely trying to skip the line, which doesn’t work all that well in front of a bunch of people who are waiting.

 

All was forgotten though once we were seated.  The food was amazing!  The menu changes but there are a few standards that are raved about in the reviews.  The dried porcini doughnuts with raclette drizzle were so good.  They may have been my favorite!  The sardine chip, horseradish, creme fraiche was very cool-looking, with the potato chip cut so the sardine fillet could lie in it as if it were belted in by a potato chip belt.  Mmm, that sounds delicious, a potato chip belt!  Although the execution was cool, it’s not necessarily something I’d get again- I would branch out to something else on the menu.  We ordered four oysters with an excellent mignonette, which was already portioned out.  The two dishes below were from the seasonal menu and I can’t quite remember what they are…blog fail!  It looks like one is a burrata-cheese puff and I’m pretty sure the other is a hamachi sashimi dish.  Oh, man.  I want to go back so badly.  I just looked up reservations online and, well, 10 p.m. seems to be a widely available time.  Sniff.  We’ll have to do the stressful bar line again.   But now I’ll know it’s worth it!

[EDIT: These paragraphs are lies!  The line-waiting of Rich Table is real but it happened in July.  The green sentences are the only thing that applies to this meal which happened at State Bird Provisions!  Sheesh!]

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Rich Table Amazingness

Food coma June extended to the next weekend since I went to Boston for a conference.  The first night, I went into the city by myself and treated myself to an incredible dinner at Neptune Oyster.  It has gotten really popular and seems somewhat touristy.  In another it-pays-to-have-connections moment, I totally saw a group of 6 get seated right away since the ringleader clearly knew the owner.  It was another weird line scenario because I was in the doorway for 45 minutes at the front of the line without any acknowledgement from the hostess.  Like, at all.  But I knew she knew I was there so I just held tight and patience was rewarded!  It looks like the keep the first two bar sets open for single diners so after I finally got my name on the list, it was only another 20-30 minutes before I got in.  And I ordered a feast!

 

I ordered 12 oysters and the razorback clam cocktail.  The oysters were so fresh and I tasted the one each from the menu.  I liked the West Coast and one local oyster the best.  The razorback clam was another local bivalve and was also tasty.  I would probably try something different next time just to get another experience but if you’ve never had it before, I recommend it!

So, for the entree, I was torn between the lobster roll and the daily special, sea urchin bucatini.  I had the Neptune lobster roll before and it is amazing.  Going into the night, that’s definitely what I thought I’d get but when I saw that daily special…I thought if one place would get sea urchin right (it has to be super fresh to be delicious), it would be Neptune.  And I was right!  The dish was insanely good.  If I’m there on a Tuesday again, this is definitely what I would order!

 

The next night, my colleague and I went into the city to watch a Red Sox game.  Apparently, he is known for getting ice cream in a helmet sundaes because when we texted two of our other friends/colleagues, one immediately texted back, “Ice cream?!?!”  We got amazing seats due to a military connection.  Initially, the guy told us that the military seats were standing room only, which we said was fine.  Right before he was about to print those out, he said, “Oh yeah, someone turned in tickets to give to military members.”  It was already in the second inning so I guess we would do!

It was a lot colder than I was expecting so I bought a sweatshirt.  Sorry, Dad, all they had were Red Sox!  I bought the kid’s sweatshirt on a discount so I didn’t give Red Sox Nation too much money!

 

The conference itself was pretty good.  A lot of research structure talks which got a little tiresome but there were a few really interesting groups I got to talk to.  We were out in Lexington near Lincoln Labs where we had an amazing tour! I missed the final overnight in Boston proper in order to get back to the Chief’s Dinner at work.  It turned out to be worth it because one, the event was great and the videos were very funny and two, I was awarded Teacher of the Year by the residents!  What an honor!  I was really happy and humbled.

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After an amazing start to the month, I started to get ready for my upcoming move.  I sold the couch set and after checking with Mom and Dad as to whether they wanted the money (no!), I bought myself an Occulus Rift.  It is a computer base station-less VR headset. I love it although I pretty much only use it to play BeatSaber.  The first video shows how cool you feel playing, the second video shows how lame you look playing it.

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I started the apartment cleaning process, which was painful but that it mostly a July discussion.  I did move out of my office to allow for the switching office shuffle to occur.  For the rest of my time, I was in a spare office, which was fine. I am including a picture of my cleaned out main office because it ended up looking great!

Highlights: May 2019

Well, my daily posting resolution lasted um, not so long.  But it’s time to catch up on this blog so my method of choice will be monthly recaps!  First up, May!  After a travel-filled April, May was a lot less busy.  I got back and the birds were still alive thanks to their favorite bird-sitter Will.  Will is the bird-lover who was nice enough to leave parakeet ornaments when he birdsat over Christmas last year.  The birds acted like I had never been gone, mostly because they just ignore me in general.

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Elizabeth River flooding

I finished up with my Orange Theory membership, which I liked but given my upcoming travels and move, it was time to say goodbye.  I transitioned to running outdoors (albeit, less often) and here’s a picture of the Elizabeth River cresting over its bank during high tide.  This is a fairly regular occurrence.

On May 18, I went to a family funeral for my Mom’s cousin and my “aunt” whose husband passed away unexpectedly.  Irish funerals are interesting since the sad occasion is honored by throwing a party and celebrating the life.  A lot of extended family came to the Virginia Beach area.  Both brothers came with their families and it was great to see them.

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SMS!

The weekend afterwards, I saw this guy!  I traveled out to Newport Beach to see SMS for Memorial Day weekend.  I arrived earlier in the day than he did so I walked around and treated myself to a Bueno Bowl at Alta Coffee.  It is so good!

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Bueno Bowl!
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Happy Memorial Day!

On Saturday, Mark’s best friend drove up from San Diego with his family.  We had an awesome lunch at the Lido Bottle Works.  The beers on tap were varied and interesting and the food was good.  The highlight, though, was the covered patio on the most perfect weather day.  Living in Southern CA is delightful!

We end the month with two baby pictures.  Above, L is looking around cutely with her big anime-like eyes while H, below, is upset that she keeps being given a plastic ring instead of food.  Life is rough, kid!

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Monthly Artsy Events!

Last month was filled with book author talks/signings such as Colson Whitehead The Nickel Boys, Rebecca Makkai The Great Believers, and Bruce Holsinger The Gifted School.  This month is a little less literary but still artsy.

Tonight, I went to a new-to-me book club where we discussed Frankenstein.  I skimmed it in order to finish it but I’m going to re-read it at a slower pace over the next few weeks.  Tomorrow, I’m going to see Noura at the Old Globe Theater.  I bought tickets through the Blue Ribbon program so they were very inexpensive!

On October 23, I’m going to see Lizzo with my friend Jenny!  She invited me to use her extra ticket and I cannot! wait!  I really like Lizzo’s last album and now I’ll listen to her more before the concert.

Finally, on October 30, I’m going to a different book club.  We’re reading Erotic Stores for Punjabi Widows by Jaswal which I’ve owned for awhile but never read so this is a good reason!

Sisters in Japan, Day 11: Ito and the Jogasaki Coast

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K’s House with another ryokan (now museum?) next door

After a leisurely morning, Brady and I headed off for the Jogasaki Coast.  While the trip was originally supposed to be a family affair, Ricardo stayed back with LR so it was sister! time!

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Our room

We eventually made it after driving high up in the mountains (and fog!), which is not a route that I’d particularly recommend.  We stayed at K’s House Ito Onsen.  It’s a budget hostel in a former ryokan/onsen and it is super cool.  The reviews for the place are great and well-deserved.  There is a small onset facility on site, but we also went to a larger onsen in the Hotel Dankoen where we had a discounted pass.  This was very cool because there was an outside onsen that provides a nice contrast between the cool night air and hot water of the baths.

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Drink machine in the Hotel Dankoen!  Liquid courage for getting naked!

On the way to the Hotel Dankoen, I stopped by a walk-up sake window because why not? It provided an experience that helped make up for the one I missed out on when the drive-thru daiquiri placed was closed in Louisiana during SMS and my Deep South road trip.

After the onsen, we went out to dinner at a restaurant that was delicious.  It was also a little more expensive than we were looking for but the town was pretty dead and not much was open.  The food was quite good.

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Balcony view from our room

Although the day wasn’t as jam-packed as the prior, it was awesome!  Brady and I got to have a ton of quality time in the most beautiful setting.  I love the Jogasaki Coast and highly recommend it.  Given how affordable and amazing K’s House was, I’d probably spend 2-3 nights there as a home base for exploring more of the peninsula.

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Screenshot of the Hotel Dankoen Guide Map- go to the hotel site for a .pdf!