Friend outings

Yay for Dana! She’s such a good friend. We went out fooding today. We had planned to have brunch at Fatapple’s, but it turns out they only serve breakfast until noon on weekdays, so we didn’t make it. Instead we went to possibly my favorite chain restaurant, Macaroni Grill! The first time I went to a Macaroni Grill was when I visited my uncle in North Carolina, and at that time I didn’t realize it was a chain and was very impressed with it. But I’m glad it is, because now I don’t have to go to Durham to eat their pasta. 🙂 Their food is a little saltier than I remember, and not as interesting, but it’s still tasty. And their bread is pure joy. Dana is my biggest bread-loving friend (besides my mommy!)… we ate two loaves, with olive oil and freshly ground black pepper. Since the dish I always used to get, Sugo Bianco, has chicken and pancetta in it, this time I had to pick something else. Fortunately and delightfully, they have a create-your-own option! You pick a pasta shape, a sauce, three main ingredients, and optional add-ins (these cost extra), and they’ll make it for you, and it’s actually one of the cheaper entrees on the menu. I basically made a vegetarian version of that Sugo Bianco I loved: bowtie pasta in Asiago cream sauce, with green onions, roasted garlic and broccoli. Mmmm. Some days you just need cream sauce.

After lunch we went to Pacific East Mall, where I found out they have an Utsuwa-No-Yakata! This is really exciting news. Utsuwa is a store selling Japanese tableware, which can get expensive, so they frequently have sales–often 50%! Believe me, if I were more settled and lived in a house and not an apartment, all my money would go here. But today I didn’t get anything. I wanted to get some chopstick rests but they were $5.50 apiece (for plain, 1″ glazed ceramic!) so I didn’t. But I’ll definitely be going back there… Pacific East also has a Ranch 99 Market, so I picked up some fresh rice noodles and konnyaku noodles. Since Musashi closed their market section, I can’t get konnyaku by just going down the street… *sniff*

And besides all this food and shopping, I also got to hang out with Dana for three hours, always a treat. Not only is Dana one of the most considerate people I know, and an extremely competent driver with an excellent sense of direction, but we are also very much alike and so we understand each other very well. We have a lot in common. I don’t mean in just the little, relatively normal things, such as that we both like garlic and wear a lot of black clothing. Our obsessive traits line up. We are both capable of eating entire loaves of bread. We both organize our closets a certain way, and put the toilet lid down before flushing so contaminated particles don’t hit the rest of our bathrooms. It’s a good thing we don’t live together; we’d never get anything done (except maybe organizing the place and eating everything in it)! So I never get tired of spending time with her, and I’m glad we both have free time on Fridays so we can do this more often. 🙂

Erik and I didn’t have a piano lesson today because our teacher is sick. 😦 Hope he feels better soon. We were disappointed. But since I still had an hour before I was going to meet Dana, we went to the Berkeley Art Museum and spent our hour there. The incredibly energetic little old lady at the welcome desk made us promise to spread the word, so on Erik’s behalf as well I must insert an advertisement here. Berkeley students, you should really go to the art museum whenever you have a little bit of free time. It’s completely free of charge for students, and it’s right on Bancroft, so there’s really no excuse. Fifteen minutes is enough time to have a look around. I know the building is ugly and uninviting, and I have to admit the interior isn’t much lovelier, but they do have some really interesting stuff. In particular, if modern art isn’t your thing, go look at the Asian collections, which are what I like best. I especially like the Indian paintings and calligraphy that are there now. And even if you hate art and museums, you must like shopping, so go to the museum shop!

Erik and I are going to the symphony later tonight. We didn’t intend, when we bought our subscription, to schedule a concert for Valentine’s Day, but that’s what happened. Actually we didn’t want to go out at all this evening, because it’s such a clichéd, commercialized holiday (rather like Christmas has become), but oh well. And as Valentines go this one is turning out delightfully, so I can’t complain at all. I hope everyone else is enjoying their day too. If you don’t have a valentine, well, it can still be a good day, right?

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]