||Turning 40 was easier than turning 39 or 38. For some reason it just felt right and I am quite proud to admit it. I’m 40. The day, rather weekend, began with the surprise showing up of a number of different integral players. Shoney and Lisa for one were standing at the door when my then fiancé said it was a “friend dropping something off.” The next doorbell ring was now really “my friend” but it too turned out to be not true; instead my brother was standing there. Add these characters to the mix of an already ruely bunch including Todd and Nicole and we are ready to party. I did know we were going to be having a house party that night. What I wasn’t too sure of was the entire guest list and the fact we’d be having a surprise karaok DJ. When he arrived I became briefly petrified because I didn’t have my karaok go-to list up to date. I had to think fast as I was the first chap to sing. I picked A Groovy Kind of Love and then went into the Grateful Dead’s mid-eighties classic: Touch of Gray. Latter in the evening, I sang Tonight by Fun..
The party was great, lots of people showed up and I even forgot to eat. We stayed up late and I think the cops even showed up, but I may be mixing up that last detail with another party. Stay tuned.
Later in the week we also celebrated at Kiss Seafood. Here is my Yelp review:
Bombtastic Japanese spot. The omakase is a mix of several different genres of Japanese food, including sashimi, hot dishes, soups, and Japanese salads. My highlights included herring roe salad, fresh-tasting giant clam, tender toro, raw king mackerel and raw octopus sashimi, and an outstandingly prepared chawanmushi egg custard and seafood which by any metric could compete with any Michelin egg master. Don't miss it. All dishes had major attention to detail and were artistically presented. I've never seen green onion sliced to small and thin. The chef has outstanding technique, and there is nothing I can suggest more than a front-row seat at the bar where all the action happens. They have fairly priced Ebisu Beer-- probably the best deal on the beverage menu--and an extensive and expensive sake list, so be sure to let the waitress know what type of sake mood you are in: sweet, dry, earthy, mushroomy. She may give you a weird look at first, but you get what crave eventually. This is one of those intimate spots where you may get to know the other people at the bar. In our case we ended up meeting a friend-of-a-friend who suggested that I get the incredibly tempting $40 sashimi plate the next time I return. That's good advice because I will be back. Oh, and thanks Jen for my bday dinner babe! Kiss to you and Kiss for making this soooooo good.
||Birthday dinner at A 16. Here is my Yelp review:
Unlike most places in the city, the food actually got better as the courses progressed. And for that reason, I am going to do my review backwards as well. :)
The poached pear and frangipane crostata (with a candle for my bday) was fantastic. I did want the 12-year Tawny port though.
Try the rabbit; it's deboned and cooked well. Great for beginners and experts alike. I don't have too much rabbit experience (maybe guilt drives that decision) but I'm happy I chanced it here because this was the best one I've had. (Poor lil' guy.) The Erbette chard with pine nuts side was ok.
On to pizza. A16: You need to fine tune your Napoli pizzas. I was all hyped about the pizza with the oven, etc. but was disappointed that the bread/crust wasn't the least bit crispy; rather it was soggy. Though I did appreciate the top notch ingredients that were used, including a wonderful spicy oil that would even make Amido in Pai happy!
The Albacore tuna conserva app was so/so at best. And the salad, the fact that I even forgot what type it was leads me to believe that it was nothing special.
We were originally seated between two tables of loud loud men. Upon complaining, we were promptly moved to a much better table. I was quite appreciative about this, especially because it was a busy night.
||I think I worked today, don’t really remember, to tell you the truth. All I know is that the fun began when Jen and I drove to Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Then Jen blindfolded me and took me to a surprise dinner at Fleur De Lys. Here is my Yelp review:
My gf and I went here for my bday. It was a total surprise and an incredible experience. Appetizers: Salmon souffle (absolute must), foie gras with truffle. Our fish course: swordfish w/saffron soup (order 10 of these!) and the jumbo prawn (note singular prawn) but still tasty. Main: venison chop w/Spanish chorizo, Muscovy duck. The desert: Grand Marnier souffle. (Do not miss this dessert) and the cheese plate. My portions were artfully presented in the grandest of ways. The tastes were outstanding; most notable perhaps was the use of fresh and often raw herbs to accompany the sophisticated dishes. I didn't leave feeling stuffed, but instead left feeling the way I did when leaving many of the fine places I patronized whilst living in Paris. Enjoy, my friends, for life is short.
||It started the day before when Green Day announced that they were going to be playing the Independent (the venue that shares my backyard) later that night. Last time Green Day played in town it was at Pac Bell Park (capacity 41,503 people.) The Independent holds 500 so you can understand there was a dire shortage of tickets. My friend Jonathan got a ticket on line (within the few minutes that they lasted.) Why he didn’t get two is a mystery that will remain. However, as luck would have it, I went to the venue a few hours before the show and paid a little bit more than face (five times) for a ticket. The concert was an epic. The band played through their new concept album and also kicked-down old classics. The mosh pit was good with girls on top of the crowd the whole evening. Even Billy Joel Armstrong jumped into the pit at one point. When the clock struck midnight, it was my birthday and Green Day wasn’t even close to finished.
The next day was a lot more mellow, took a Thai massage at La Biang Thai Massage. Well, we can’t be rockstars everyday.
||This one was a special day for sure. My best friend Amy is in labor at Cedars-Sinai. They induced her early in the morning and she really wants to have her baby on April 8. As the day progresses there is no baby. As I am driving home from dinner that night and the clock approaches midnight, It’s looking like the lil guy is going to be an April 9th baby but low and behold at 11:58pm on April 8, lil’ Lincoln is born. We spend the next day in the hospital hanging out with the newbe.
||I turned 35 in Philadelphia, PA, at our house on 1802 Christian Street. For this birthday, I bought a keg of Yingling beer and prepared an assortment of sushi including mango avocado and mango tuna. Everyone was impressed and we danced ‘till about 3 or 4A.
||Another mellow birthday that ended up at Gerabalidi’s on 4th in Santa Monica. I was with Tony and Kim in one of their final nights, Mike and Kim, gay as usual, and my friend Jenny showed up a bit late. I did manage to convince my date to sleep over, but at 38 years, she was a bit prude and didn’t put out. Hmmm.
||This birthday was kinda mellow. We all ended up having Mexican food in Santa Monica. It was good being reunited with friends and family.
||My 32nd this year found me on the island of Ko Tao in Thailand, my second birthday in the country. During the day I snorkeled with sharks. It was my first time seeing them in the wild and the first moment I encountered them my heart beat so fast. For dinner, I thought I would eat alone, but everyone came together at the last minute and we had a huge feast at one of the restaurants overlooking the bay.
I get an email from Mike with this message and a link to this pic:
Happy fucking birthday Brian! Wish we were there to celebrate with you. Anyway, the New York crew is thinking of you here. You’ll have to come visit when you get back. See you soon!
||The birthday went well. The theme of the evening was Soju, the stronger Korean equivalent to sake. And I must say, with a little Jonathan and Jeremy sponsored terrorism, we went through many, many bottles as well as the stuff mixed cocktails such as mojitos and cosmos. There were about 20 of us at RoHan, a Korean lounge that plays DJ music.
I remember one point where Jeremy sits me down with some Asian girls I have never met. We order another bottle of 46° Soju, fill the glasses, toast, and then Jeremy tips his whole head and body back in an exaggerated way as he is taking a shot, like a true African. I start laughing so hard, I blow my drink all over the Asian girl closest to me. Then I laugh even more and I start tearing from the eyes. They say, “Oh, you so drunkee, but you birthday so it OK, white boy.”
I don’t remember much after that, occasionally throwing people into fences. I know we went to another bar where Radio (Terra’s rockstar X-boyfriend) was rapping to some hip-hop on the stage. By this time, Jeremy— having just finished bartending school— was drinking some Grand Mariner scotch; he shared. Someone also gave me a Guinness, but I think I left it somewhere.
Wednesday: Called in sick. And I am still a bit hazed out today. Maybe I have SARS.
Moral of the story: Soju should be drunk in moderation if you want to function.
||My 30th seems to last several weeks and includes a beautiful party at our house (240 B Carl St.) and culminates aboard the SV Flying Cloud sailing out of Tortola, BVI to Peter Island. We swim in the ocean (80 degrees) and have a nice dinner with the captain.
||Woke up in Santa Monica. Flew Southwest home. Went over to Marina’s for dinner (enchilada and wine.)
||Hmmm. Saw King Sunny Ade the night before at the Maritime. Got in for free. Woke up. Went to Santa Cruz, and drummed on the beach. Went to a nice dinner and had duck. Bought King Sunny Ade tickets again and drank a beer.
||Krabi Thailand. Woke up, took a boat out snorkeling and ended up on Chicken Island. Swimming. Dinner at Yaya’s → tuna, no beer.
||Woke up in Ghinda, drove car back to Asmara and took the bus to Masawa: HOT, HOT, HOT. Ate fish at Salamas (the BEST!) and shitty wine with Sylvana and Uda, the funky Australian and Austrian match. Sat on the RED SEA and stared and spoke of future adventures.
||Woke up at the Farmhouse, a bit nervous. Really waiting for Tina. She strolls in with a bouquet of flowers and a beautiful rock of some sort. We kick it by the river then roll over for a bit of school. Amy, upon getting Terra’s permission, throws a great make shift party for me a.k.a . the “Big Party @ Brackney Spot.” (Thanks Amy) Everyone showed up late, but partied as well. It was fun. Jammed. Got Laid. T.
||(And so much more) Spent at 3960 Empire Grade: Everyone jammed music. I sat in the corner and played bass. Everyone was really IRIE. Laguna Street House came up. Karen made those cool yellow pants for me. Wrote Around the World Blues. Amy gave me a Big Muff guitar effects pedal.
||Awesome Potluck @ Warren Drive. Laura, “The best yet!” Played Drums. Parents came up and stayed at the SeaBreeze hotel on West Cliff.
||Bonny Dune. Had lice, broke up with Rebecca. Jason’s idea, good idea. Still kicked it that night.
||Porter: Got ½ price off of stale pizza at 11:45p → No beer though... Jeremy yells “FUCK YOU!”
||Granada Pueblo Apartments. Drank my gift of 2 Becks 22oz’s and enjoyed the Tom Weed. Given a nice Kola. “Beck & Green Nugs”
||Aberdeen & Invernes Dormitories, UC Riverside ?