le cahier de kev

le cahier de kev

adventures fresh off the press

Just a Jubilant July

July has been very festive.  Aside from the crazy heat, it was a nice month of celebrating, catching up, and enjoying the summer.

 

During the Fourth of July, I spent time with family and we all went to Mitsuwa instead of doing the usual barbecuing.  It was more fun since we didn't have to worry about cooking or organizing things.  We could order food, go grocery shopping, and enjoy the view.  Usually during holidays Mitsuwa is packed.  This day was no exception.  We were able to find seats next to the windows which had a view of the river.  Everyone ordered different dishes so that we could share.  I ordered the Chicken Katsu (fried chicken cutlet) and it came with a lot of sides such as rice and vegetables.  It was very filling.  We were all sharing so we got to taste different dishes from noodles to beef to chicken karaage (Japanese fried chicken seasoned with soy sauce, ginger, and garlic).

 

Chicken Katsu with sides (rice, vegetables, seaweed, miso)

 

 

It was a nice day to walk outside.  Luckily it wasn't too bad since we were right next to the water.  There's a path next to the river where you can stroll or just sit down and relax.  The view was gorgeous.  People were jogging, taking their children for a stroll, reading a book next to the river, and others were taking pictures.  It was a nice Fourth of July and family got to bond without thinking about having to do the dishes after eating!

 

It's just across the river from New York so those of you who are visiting from outside the region can take the ferry from Midtown Manhattan (or Downtown NYC) to Port Imperial/Weehawken.

 

The riverside view from Edgewater, NJ (Beautiful!)

 

 

I also celebrated my birthday this month.  One of my good friends took me out during happy hour.  She took me to PS450, a lounge on Park Avenue South.  We met up and caught up for a bit before heading inside.  She made me laugh when a large group of coworkers went inside ahead of us.  She joked, "Ooh, someone's starting early!"  After we caught up on how things had been going, we headed inside and were greeted by very friendly staff.  When we first entered, it wasn't too packed.  After an hour, the place was booming with people.  A mixture of people relaxing after work with friends and tourists surrounded us.

 

It was so nice though since everyone was just laughing and having a good time.  It wasn't rowdy in a sense of people getting drunk and out of control, but more in a sense of people being festive.  Even the bouncer had a smile on his face when my friend and I left and we wished him a good night.

 

Nachos and drinks

(those of you who know me know the signature drinks I usually order!)

 

 

Our server was very friendly and we even got into a conversation with her about adolescence.  Since my friend's son is a teenager we all talked about the crazy things that we did when we were his age.  The nachos were good and the drinks were strong enough without being overpowering.  After a few hours of catching up, we wished each other goodbye and thanked her for taking me out.

 

A few weeks later, my brother took me out to dinner after we coordinated our schedules.  I met up with him at Kenka, a Japanese izakaya (informal place to eat and drink) located at St. Mark's Place.  I put my name down, but we ended up not having to wait long (around 10 minutes).  There were 6 people ahead of us on the list, but I guess some of them decided to eat somewhere else.  It was nice and reminded me of the time when I was at NYU.

 

As we were talking, there were tourists taking pictures and other people walking around the area.  Since it's summer, a lot of people came even during a weekday night.  Kenka was packed as we headed inside.  Luckily we got a seat next to one of the old exhibits so we had a lot of space.

 

 

Outside Kenka (top)

Kenka menu (bottom)

 

We've been here before that we know that we can order food and share so that we don't end up ordering more than what we can eat.

 

Top left: Curry Udon and my mug of Sapporo

Middle: Buta no Kakuni (Japanese Braised Pork Belly)

Bottom left: Yakimeshi (Japanese Fried Rice)

Right: Chicken Karaage, Fatty Tuna, and my Curry Udon bowl

 

There was a group of people seated to the front-left of us who ordered this giant cylindrical container of beer that had the tap handle (like the ones used by bartenders when filling mugs of beer).  I told my brother, "Damn, they're enjoying themselves haha"  We were sharing stories and he told me about his upcoming plans for vacation in the next year.  He also asked me where I planned to go, too.  My brother has a laid back personality so he always listens to me whenever he sees that I'm stressed.  He'll crack a joke or tell me to just not think too much about things.

 

I told him about bumping into someone who I haven't seen in a long time.  He already knew my reaction and said, "Isn't it funny that you bump into people who you least expect?"  It's interesting though because the people who I don't expect to see are the ones who I bump into at the most random places. 

 

As we continued talking, we tried new dishes as well as our usual fare (the okonomiyaki [Japanese pancake with savory ingredients such as shrimp, vegetables, and squid] which I couldn't get a picture of since we engulfed it haha).  The buta no kakuni was very tender and the broth had a nice saltiness that complemented the texture of the pork.  The tuna melted in your mouth and had a nice refreshing kick with the lemon broth.  I finished it off with yakimeshi which was the perfect ending to fill the stomach since it was light yet absorbed everything well.

 

In addition, my brother gave me a bag full of random assortments of things as a gift.  I smiled because my brother knew me too well.  I love my brother, he's an awesome guy!

 

 

A physics textbook, a chicken cookbook, pens for fashion illustration,

notebooks, and a zip folder

 

After our dinner, I made cotton candy from the machine outside.  (In Kenka, they gave you pink sugar after your dinner which you can use to make cotton candy outside)  My brother didn't want his so he gave it to me.  We wished each other a good night and I gave him a hug for dinner and the gifts.

 

My clients told me to enjoy my birthday weekend and to treat myself.  I went shopping and found some good deals.  I bought a nice lettuce green shirt from JC Penney, tropical flip flops, and trunks for the summer.

 

Lettuce Green Arizona V-Neck T-shirt

Courtesy of JCPenney

 

 

Tropical Flip Flops with Bottle Opener (Left)

Puma Trunks (Right)

 

The shirt was nice and light.  It was very comfortable to wear during this weather. The size of the flip flops that fit me were sold out online, but luckily I found it at the store when I went to pick up my order in person.  The cashier smiled and told me that she loved the style of it.  The trunks were on sale in TJ Maxx, and I thought they would be good for swimming and going to the beach.

 

A few days ago, I discovered a game called "3 Pandas in Brazil" created by Flashteam.  It was a really fun and cute adventure game to pass the time.  I've included the link (just click the title) so that you can play, too!  The three bears all have different abilities and during each stage, they usually have an objective to complete the level.  Levels include helping people whose bus is stuck in a tree get down to throwing coconuts to evade a poacher.  It's so nice to see your culture represented.  Go check it out when you get the chance.  It's not overly difficult plus the bears will make you smile.  :)

 

 

 

 

I hope all of you have been having a great summer!  I know that it was pretty hot in the NYC/NJ area, but it didn't seem to deter tourists and people from going out. :)  Just stay cool and enjoy the rest of your summer.

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