Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year's Resolution

My new year's resolution is to be consistent with blog updates.  It frightens me that it has been almost a year since my last posting.  They say that with age comes wisdom; but in this case it would be more precise to say that maturity is what gives that perspective to see the wisdom.  This whole blogging business is not as easy it looks.  I have so much respect for all the time and effort they put in as I realized what is really required to make it work.  It is to become a habit for me put finger to keyboard and put it to print. 

So much has changed in the last year I hadn't realized something that I had been doing just on the side had grew into a singular almost obsessive compulsion.  In this year I want to strike a balance to dedicate more time blogging and to keep true to my original intentions.  Here in this corner of the internet was and still will be an archive of the places I've been to and experiences that have elapsed.  There is no one else I should worry about except for myself nor should I push myself because of what other bloggers have done.  In hindsight, that was one of the factors that had made me saddened and depressed about blogging.  So many great blogger scribing their fantastic exploits in far away places with such ease and finesse.  What would my blog have to offer? Why would that matter now; I say to myself after having a new perspective.  This is a community and not a competition.  I hope that my contribution to the community has helped someone out there with my nascent blogging skills.

As for the next new year, I must remember to have a backup plan as not all plans will pan out as you would hope.  New year's eve of 2012 had a bumpy start but it ended well I'm glad to say.  So many people cancelled last minute that I had to other choice but to fend for myself until the party.  Needless to say it was extremely hard to find a place to eat that wasn't already booked for the night.  Twitter really saved the night as I checked the feeds for who's still take in stragglers such as myself on a night like this.  At the same time I can't help but wonder if I wasn't on twitter then how would I have found out the info.  Many defacto spots I go for food had not posted any updated on their webpage and solely rely on tweets communicate with customers.  Websites for these places should not be neglected especially for those that still don't twitter or facebook (Yes, there are people out there that don't use them).  After an exhaustive search and many, many long rides on the red rocket I had found the destination of this trip.  Next destination: Don Don Izakaya.

 The sight and smell of grilled meat had slowly cheer me up, warmed my cheeks and stoked my appetite.  Greeting my arrival they strike the taiko drum and annouce a new guest had arrived. I love the sound of that drum and would love to learn it one day! 

No new year's night would be complete without at least a bit alcohol.  Starting off, I had ordered the DonDon Original Hot Hot Sake. It had a fruitier and sweeter taste and less of an alcohol kick which had lead to an early buzz before the food had arrived.  Today's special was Nishin Noodle as it was a cultural tradition in Japan according to the bartender.

It wasn't too busy a night as I wondered what was taking so long for my food to arrive.  The alcohol was running low and the buzz was coming on quicker than I had expected it.  I took action and asked the bartender to check on my order.  There was to be no food as the order hadn't gone through.  This could have been a simple oversight.  Once the food had arrived I was a much happier person.  However it was not the noodle that arrived but the crispy fried shrimps was the first to the table.

Bartenders must be some of the most perceptive people in the business.  When he noticed that my order came out of sequence that he spoke to the floor manager right away.  These couldn't stay in my hand long enough as I swallowed them whole, head and all.  My mouth just loved the tender juicy shrimp contrasting with crispy shells and the slight briny taste enhanced by the shio salt. 

The manager personally delivered the noodles as he explained in more depth the tradition behind these noodles and profusely apologized for the delay.  "Cool!" As I thought to myself in which it is just like the Chinese tradition as well. In the bowl was a classic konbu dashi (dried kelp broth) with lengthy buckwheat noodles, dried soya sauce fish and garnished with scallions.  After tasting the noodles I felt that they had relieved my fear that this could have been over salted. Meanwhile the noodles still had a touch of firmness which is how I like them to be texturewise .  

From then on the manager personally delivered each place after the noodles.  Aside from the bacon, I couldn't tell the difference between the oyster and the mushroom wrapped inside.  The taste of the oyster just lost to the mushroom as the both also had similar textures.  Splashing them with a squeeze of lemon helped with the saltiness of the cured bacon. It wasn't very memorable at all. 

Following the bacon skewers was the grilled pork with scallions seasoned with shio salt once more.  A fellow blogger had mentioned that their food was a bit too salty.  The lemon again had did its job again in controlling the salt.  Pork belly in any form is already a delight but when it is grilled it becomes all kinds of wonderful.  It is an intense pork taste from the grill with just the salt alone.

What is the calorie count you say?  To appease my conscious since  haven't the faintest idea, I order what looks to be the least sinful of desserts.  Again it is something simple and yet pleasing.  Although it is called plum wine jelly; there will be no buzz from the alcohol inside.  It was fun to have jello again just with enough plum wine to make it something more sophisticated.

For tonight it was the service that was impressed me more than the food.  Both the bartender and the manager was on point once they saw that there was a little wrinkle for my service.   It was just under an hour before the countdown as I make my way to the party happy reaffirming that good service can always turn things around.

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