Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Activity 22: Baylands and Activity 23: Wasabi Tako and Activity 24: Christmas Sodas

So, this past Thanksgiving weekend didn't afford for too many new activities, seeing as it's a holiday about tradition and I tend to spend it catching up with old friends. And although I did do new things (like try coffee that had been pooped out by a feral cat), I only really wanted to mark 3 of them.

1. Baylands

An old high school friend and I decided to go on a walk, and my parents suggested the Baylands. For how long I've lived in the place I grew up, I've explored it very little. We went on the trail, and it was mostly long stretches of grass, streams of ducks and pelicans, and concrete and rocks that we climbed over. I think I mostly relish it as a place of tranquility where my friend and I can just walk, swap jokes, and ruminate about the passage of time. We ended up getting lost on the way back and the trail pooped us out a couple miles from the car. Luckily, we knew the roads well enough that we walked across streets for several miles. All in all, I think we walked maybe 7 miles in total.

2. Wasabi Tako

I caught up with another friend over food. We're total foodies, and sometimes we can sustain whole conversations where we just list foods that we want to try out. So when my friend said she wanted ramen from a famous ramen house, I didn't think too much of it as a new thing because I'd been there before. Furthermore, the other time I'd gone, my friend researched it beforehand, so we knew the secret good dishes that are hidden in the menu and what to expect in the ramen.

As we scanned the menu, I debated whether to get all of the good things we'd tried last time, or to give myself a break from the 4-day non-stop stuff-your-face binge I'd started Thursday night. But when the waitress stopped by, my friend looked up and asked "is the wasabi tako fresh?"

Helloooooo, new thing, something in my mind clicked.

I in general hate tako (or octopus). It's chewy, it's got tentacles, and I never order it as sushi if I can help it. Although if I remember correctly, I do believe we got it during first-tier sushi, and I was not impressed. That's how much I dislike octopus. Also, I've seen Oldboy, and I've seen this:

The wasabi tako we got was actually closer to that consistency: very small, grey, slimy pieces. And surprisingly not that chewy. A little sweet, but with a huge kick of wasabi that cleared my sinuses immediately. I was surprised to actually like it quite a bit. It had a firmness that made it seem juicy. And the sliminess was actually pretty nice too. It served as a vessel for capturing more wasabi flavor. I know this because I ate the shiso leaf at the bottom of the dish and it was covered in the slime.

3. Christmas sodas

So I say "Christmas sodas" a little deceptively because I'd also bought a bacon soda. That's right. And yes, it was very disgusting. It tasted like bacon, but it smelled like a permanent marker. So drinking it was like drinking liquid bacon while smelling permanent marker while getting kicked in the stomach by a ninja. I suggested we have a bet where the loser had to chug the rest of the bottle after we'd all had a taste, and my co-workers threw up in their mouths a little bit at that.

The other flavors were much nicer: Pear Tree, which was a light, fragrant pear, Gingerbread, which actually captured the bread aspect as well as the ginger, Sugarplum, which was the least flavored one but colored a rich purple, and lastly Candy Cane. I was most wary of Candy Cane, because I drank carbonated mint-flavored water in France and found it to be the most disgusting thing ever. It wasn't sweet, but incredibly strong. What made it worse was that it was so damn great after you drank it. It made your breath smell fresh, and the carbonation ensured that burps would keep the fresh smell long-lasting. You just had to get through the actual drinking-it period.

My co-worker much preferred the Christmas sodas, but it was generally agreed that they were much too heavy to drink a whole bottle. I never realized how subtle or perhaps generic Pepsi and Coke are that you can just drink large quantities of it, but not of these special sodas. Or perhaps not subtle, but just... traditional.

I'd like to give 2 really quick maintenance notes. One is that I'm aware that my 30 days are up, but I haven't reached my 30 new things yet, so rather than start telling you about this great cat-pooped-coffee, I will give myself an extension to elaborate on more meaningful activities. The second is that I rather like stand-up now. I wrote another joke today. Perhaps to be posted here.

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