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Folks, writing is hard and time consuming. I keep on reminding myself that the reason I started this blog is not to write grammatically perfect sentences and beautiful vocab, but to keep people updated with my life. It’s hard, though, not to sweat it when your words will be read by strangers. Hence, the sporadic and infrequent updates. I wish I could be more like this:

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in reality it’s more like this:

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One of the most common questions on a birthday is “How do you feel today? Do you feel X years old?” My answer have been the same for about 15 years now: nope. I’m not sure how a certain age is supposed to feel like, but my birthday felt like any other day. I felt like I feel any other day. I think the phrase ‘age is just a number’ rings very true to me. There were a lot of times in my 20s when I couldn’t even remember how old I was.

There were moments, though, throughout the years that made me pause and realize that I am indeed not the same. Moments like when someone says they don’t know what a cassette tape is, me not knowing or hating most popular songs released after 2001, or being bewildered that anyone born in the 90s are full grown people now. I guess I am getting older.

I can say that I’m very much enjoying my 30s. There are a lot of benefits to being a single woman without children in my 30s. I plan on taking full advantage and enjoying this time of independence as much as I can. Honestly, I feel thankful of my life nearly all the time.

So, what did I do on my birthday? Festivities began the day before with happy hour at the 22nd & L location of Stoney’s. Cutting the story short: if the pretty good food and excellent company of my co-workers weren’t there, it would have have been a perfect cap to one of the worst days I’ve had in recent memory. It started with getting stuck in a dress and wondering if I would need to cut myself out of it (I didn’t) and it just went downhill from there. I mean, who wants weak drinks at happy hour after a crappy day? I think I will stick with the P street location of Stoney’s.

I chose Stoney’s as the venue for sentimental reasons. I had my first meal in DC at Stoney’s when it was still at 13th & I, a total dive and in a sort of sketchy neighborhood that didn’t have any other eateries. I was staying in a hotel nearby while interviewing for an internship and looking for apartments. Since it was the only place around there, I went by default. They had (and still have) a burger called the One Eye Burger, which is a burger with an egg on top. If you know me, if there’s an egg involved I’m more likely to try it. So there I was, alone in a foreign city, feeling unsettled, eating one of the best burgers I ever had. Afterwards, I thought if I can do this surely I can do anything.

ANYWAY, so it was a nice beginning of celebrations though. I do super love all the people I work with so I very much appreciate them sitting through basically tonic water and a splash of whatever rail liquor they had for happy hour.

My birthday fell on a Thursday, so I took that day and the next off because why not. I spent most of the day basking in time alone. I think it’s really important to every now and then spend some time with yourself and just be. It wasn’t always so, but as I neared and entered my thirties, my birthday philosophy goes something like this:

So first stop: taking myself to lunch at Daikaya Izakaya.

Daikaya Izakaya lunch sign

Daikaya Izakaya lunch sign

I was fully prepared to have the pork belly rice bowl, but the temptation of sampling the cold ramen (hiyashi chuka), which is a limited summer menu, was too great. The ramen came with a cold soy broth that did not fill the bowl, which makes total sense for this dish, and super summer toppings.

Hayashi Chuka

Hiyashi Chuka

Verdict? Delish! I didn’t doubt it was going to be good, but I couldn’t quite imagine what it would taste like. Super refreshing noodle goodness, that’s what it tastes like. Also sipped on their Arnold Palmer which comprised of gingered ice tea, lemon and yuzu. ALSO, I need this mug in my life:

Mug

Next stop: probably my favorite spot in the city, National Portrait Gallery. The portrait gallery has a courtyard with some cafe seating and a glass ceiling that connects it to the Museum of American Art. It’s so peaceful there and the light is amazing. And it’s climate controlled, which on a hot day is most appreciated.

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I walked around and checked out that American Cool exhibit, which was very cool, and looked in on one of my favorite pieces in the American Art collection.

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Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii 1995 Nam June Paik Born: Seoul, Korea 1932 Died: Miami Beach, Florida 2006 fifty-one channel video installation (including one closed-circuit television feed), custom electronics, neon lighting, steel and wood; color, sound approx. 15 x 40 x 4 ft. Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the artist © Nam June Paik Estate 2002.23 Smithsonian American Art Museum 3rd Floor, East Wing

I then took advantage of the amazing natural light and relative quiet of the courtyard to put a dent in a cross stitching project I’ve been working on for what seems like forever.

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After a wonderful day keeping myself company, it was time for a feast with friends at my current favorite restaurant: Lincoln. Sorry for the less than stellar pictures.

Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs, traditional & olive tapenade

Hushpuppies & watermelon taco

Sweet onion & corn hushpuppies, tarragon chive aioli & watermelon taco

Brussell sprouts

Brussell sprouts, roasted peaches, candied pecans, roasted shallots, peach poppy seed vinaigrette

Crab cake

Jumbo Maryland lump crab cake, avocado puree, organic baby watercress, poppy seed vinaigrette, spicy chili aioli

BLT

Crispy pork BLT: smoked cherry tomato, agrodolce, arugula puree, bacon powder, opal basil

Mac & cheese

Farmhouse macaroni & cheese: mornay, smoked gouda, cheddar, herb gremolata

We devoured everything. The only sort of meh dish is the watermelon taco, which was a special that day for watermelon week (month?). We though the ingredients didn’t really go well together. From past visits we knew that the mac & cheese is extra tasty, so we ordered two servings. We were so stuffed that we did not have dessert which almost never happens.

Celebrations went into the weekend, but that will have to go into another post. Overall, I had a really great birthday week/month. Here’s to many more!

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