So ten years ago I went on one of the worst dates of my life (yes, dating fails aren’t new to me). The guy, Everett, was older than me–I want to say he was 30–I was 23 or 24. We met when I was in grad school in Boston. I don’t know exactly how I met him because he wasn’t in my program. I believe he was in marketing or journalism or advertising–something that was not TV.
So we went out with my friend Celeste and her boyfriend Marc, who would go on to be her fiancee, her husband (oh, their Vermont wedding was gorgeous!) and then her ex-husband. I think she lives in Reno now with husband #2, who is 10 years younger than her. But that is neither here nor there. The point is that I was out with Celeste and Marc and Everett. We ended up at a Japanese restaurant in Kenmore Square (right near the McDonalds that served the McLobster), that was also a karaoke bar.
So we had some drinks, ate a little sushi, sang a few tunes, and then Everett joined in on a drinking game with a group of Japanese dudes. I can’t remember if it was a card game or if it was dice, but sake bomb, after sake bomb (these Japanese guys were kicking Everett’s ass), after sake bomb, after sake bomb, and Everett hit the wall and just vomited.
No, he didn’t get up and go to the restroom and worship at the porcelain throne–he just puked right there on the restaurant floor. I was stunned. How does one respond to that? Seriously.
I think we paid and then got in cabs. Now that I think about it–holy shit! did we just leave him there?
From henceforth we referred to him as Pukey McPuker!
Needless to say, I never went out with him again. A man has got to know his limitations. And, if he’s gonna be with me, be able to hold his liquor. Jeez.
So! Speaking of Japanese food, I recently made some!
Was that a great segueway or what?
I won a bento box and travel chopsticks!
These came all the way from Lizzie in Vancouver. Lizzie is the mistress of the Veggie Bento Love blog–a really cute website. I highly recommend it if you are into healthy, vegetarian and/or gluten-free cooking. Or just cute food. Seriously. The food is cute.
It’s total kismet that I already had a bento box cookbook in my collection, Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals On The Go by Naomi Kajima. I had never tried any of the recipes before, so this was rather exciting.
The photos are so pretty and the dishes sound wonderful, but a lot of the recipes are surprisingly involved and require a lot of ingredients that I sure as hell wasn’t going to be able to get up the street at the Safeway. So I opted for dishes that used pretty pedestrian ingredients: Clam Donburi and Sweet Simmered Shiitake Mushrooms.
I was happy that I could find all the ingredients at Safeway. Well, except for the seri (which I had never heard of until seeing it in this here recipe). But I did a little internet sleuthing and discovered that Arugula (Rocket) of all things was a reasonable substitute. Score!
These mushrooms are the bomb. They remind me so much of the cold shiitakes from LuLu’s Noodles/Yum Wok in Pittsburgh that they served as a quasi-banchan at large tables. That was a good memory, so I’m glad I was able to recreate it.
An even easier version of this deliciousness? Soak the mushrooms and then simmer them in oyster sauce and a splash of mirin until the sauce is almost completely evaporated. Chill. Enjoy.
Here is my finished box:
It held up pretty well. It was a little bit bland, but nothing that a extra sprinkling of soy sauce didn’t fix.
This was overall a big ‘yum’!
I am happy that I finally got to make a bento box. I hope to do more in the future. You liked this? Learn more about bento box eating over at Veggie Bento Love. Tell ’em that Dinner is Served 1972 sent ya!