This is today. July 17, 2013. My dearest lady, my fiancee, Emma, sent me some money for two purposes. The obvious and easy one is: get food at a local restaurant that is really pretty great, Dragonfish.
The not-so-easy is to try to win a prize. See, on Wednesdays, they have a “Girlfriend’s Night Out” at Dragonfish. My roommates and I go every month, usually at the end, and just going in gets you a ticket where you can win a gift basket. It’s mostly bath stuff and chocolates and stuff like that – we have a bright pink-chromed drink-shaker from one of them, just to give you a hint – but this week’s special one is a $100 Coach gift card. And she loooooooves stuff from Coach.
So here I am by myself, at a nice table. The people here are always nice, always pleasant, and very very good at their jobs.
My first food is one of tonight’s specials: Brained Pork & Steamed Buns: “Braised pork shoulder, picked shallots, steamed buns”. Well, you can see what I got:
Not quite shu mai, what with the self assembly. It also was salty – teriyaki salty, you know what I mean – instead of the sweet sauce I tend to associate with shu mai. It was wonderful. Oh, wow, yes. The meat was falling apart tender, and the buns were soft but firm enough to not get soppy with the sauce right away. I got a comment card and marked it with the fact these need to be on the menu.
…huh, a cover of the Electronic song “Getting Away With It”, which Shazam tells me is by a group called “Loudery”. Interesting!
I had to get moved – a group of 12 came in, and they asked if I could move, and I said ‘sure’, when I heard that they had a bunch like that came in. And I could hear them from where I was sitting, with a wall between me and them. Everyone happier that way. They put me by a window, where I could (if I wanted) look out and watch the world go by.
I just ordered a plate of their tempura pepper bacon. Yes, just what it sounds like. Thick-sliced bacon, dipped in tempura batter and cooked like tempura everything else.
It’s wonderful. I don’t go for the sweet chili-passionfruit sauce, honestly, but the bacon itself is just tasty. A hint of the black pepper, the crisp of the tempura batter, the soft saltiness and sweetness of the bacon. It’s a marvel. This is something I think of when I think of ‘fusion cuisine’. It’s not fancy, but it’s wonderful. Two different comfort foods together.
And next, to settle down, I think I will have a cucumber roll. Just cucumber and rice and a bit of seaweed. It’s a nice calming food for the stomach.
Oh, and I forgot to take a picture before eating it. Whoops!
And now dessert, the Chocolate HEaven. Small chocolate cake, still warm, with vanilla ice cream on it. Sprig of mint as a garnish. No raspberry sauce – I don’t like it – but then also powdered sugar.
Glorious little dessert.
For a brief moment in a crazy world, a bit of quiet and serenity. In writing. In eating. In a quiet place where the world pauses. Dance music that no one dances to, just used as a backdrop. A dozen conversations, couples or friends talking and laughing and enjoying the time together. The smells and tastes of food and drink, refreshing and filling. Cool air and warm food.
My fiancee and I talking on a chat program, since she’s on the other side of the continent from me.
This is what we need more of, sometimes, I think. Not just refreshment of the body, but of everything. I’m not saying that Dragonfish is a perfect restaurant (although it’s really great).
I am saying that sometimes, you don’t need perfect. You just need a place that you can sit back and not worry a lot, and just have a nice evening.
That was my tonight. A nice place, not a lot of worries. Some good food, some interesting people-watching, and some time just to write a little and unwind my head.
Addendum: and on the way home, I lost fifteen minutes to someone who, on the bus in front of me, apparently became difficult and needed go be released by the police. But that’s life in the big city.