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Monday, June 27, 2005

Friday was Earl’s birthday. Happy birthday baby! So for a special surprise, two of his guys friends and I took him to a Hibachi Japanese Steak House, the kind where they cook right in front of you. Aside from not being able to understand anything our young Japanese chef was saying, it was an awesome experience!

The table was a very large marble rectangle with a huge steal burner on one side. We were seated at one end while three college gals, all about 20 years old, were seated at the other, giving our two friends something nice to look at. The chef was fantastic with the knives but terrible with the magic tricks, which made the whole evening even more entertaining. He cut zucchini into little cubes and flipped them off his spatula, trying to get us silly Americans to catch the pieces in our mouths. Let me just tell you, we looked so cool having zucchinis bounce off our foreheads, eyelids, and front teeth. Earl was the only one at our table to actually catch one in his mouth. Then there was the catsup bottle. The chef cracked an egg on the burner, scrambled it up and put it on my plate. He asked me if I wanted salt, to which I said yes, and he sprinkled a little on. Then he picked up a catsup bottle and asked me if I wanted some, to which I responded no, resulting in him pointing it at my face and squeezing. A little red rope came shooting out the tip and bopped me in the nose. I jumped about 9 feet while the whole table had a good laugh. There’s nothing better than being served food by gourmet chef/comedian, that’s for sure. Next time, I assure you, I wont fall for that one again.

The meal started off with two plates of sushi, something Earl and I had never experienced before. Simply put, we were afraid of it. We like our fish cooked, but hey, when in Rome... Earl went first. He dotted it with a little Wasabi and popped it in his mouth. A pleasant smile fell across his face and I could tell he was in love. He said he couldn’t really taste the fish and it just kind of disappeared in his mouth, and the Wasabi only lasted a couple of seconds. Okay, I thought, I’ll try it too. I went easy on the Wasabi because I know what that tastes like, and to say the very least, it is not at all a favorite condiment of mine. I shoveled the sushi in my mouth and waited for something to happen…

Upon which something most definitely did…

My eyes instantly slammed shut and I could not for the life of me open them. My mouth was on FIRE and I swore my throat wanted to swell shut. All this, and yet pleasantly enough, my sinuses were the clearest they had ever been. I knew it was not an allergic reaction, it was a Wasabi reaction. As visions of ambulances danced through my brain, I seriously worried that I might let out a mighty cough and spit my sushi out onto the dinners cooking on the burner. Since my eyelids were seemingly welded shut, I could only wonder if everybody was looking at me or if I was suffering in secret. I was trying very hard not to embarrass myself in front of our friends and the college girls. After all, I wasn’t about to let some hot mustard kick my ass. Amazingly I managed to open my throat enough to swallow, completely out of desperation, chased the molten lava down with some ice water, and wiped the mascara off my cheeks. My lids finally let loose and I tried to look around the table to see if anyone saw what just happened, but teary sockets made everyone a blurry mess. Needless to say, I won't be doing that again.

Earl turned to me and asked how I liked the sushi.

I forced a smile, which I'm sure looked more like prune face, and said, "Mmm, good." He seemed pleased.

A few minutes later, we were served the most incredible mushroom soup and a salad tossed with an orange and lemon paste. Turns out we all ordered surf n’ turf, which was the traditional filet mignon and lobster tail, done hibachi style. We all agreed that the lobster was a wee bit salty, but the tenderloin was the best we’ve ever had. Each dinner was served with shrimp and veggies, the shrimp being just as good as the filet. And of course, there were margaritas all around (except for the college girls. Their fake I.D.’s apparently weren’t good enough). And although the fried ice cream was tempting, we skipped it so there would be room for some cherry cheesecake waiting for us at home.

So that was a great night. Earl absolutely loved it and his birthday dinner was fun for everybody. I know we’ll go back to the Steak House. In fact, if Jen and Dash don't mind a little faux catsup in the eye, we’ll take them there when they come to visit…