I'm 23! The world looks a lot different from when I was 22. For one thing, everyone around me looks younger. For another, I can almost wear bright lipstick without feeling like the 14-year-old Francie putting her hair up to get work illegally in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
I almost look grown-up, don't I?
I was wearing the aforementioned lipstick because Sweetie and I were heading out for a dual-celebration dinner. Ever since we came back from Japan last year, we've been lamenting the lack of decent restaurants in Indiana. It's all fried or mass-produced, and you can either choose to spend way too much for twice as much food as the average human should consume in one sitting or settle for fast food. But last week Sweetie discovered the existence of an actual, honest-to-goodness Korean BBQ restaurant in Bloomington! We thought nobody would take on the risk of American patrons setting themselves on fire, but thank fate for the high number of East Asian international students.
The place is called Mama's Restaurant, and according to Yelpers it's somewhere everyone should go before they die, right after "gaining carnal knowledge of a woman" and "getting a driver's license," in that order. I have never done the former, but I have the latter, so I guess you can say I skipped a grade. Anyway, the restaurant is right on 10th and the Bypass, next door to Sweetie's dentist, in a nook I used to drive right by on my way to work. It's nothing impressive on the outside, but it's clean and spacious on the inside. We requested seating in the BBQ area, which 10 minutes after opening was already occupied by rowdy groups of students speaking Chinese.
I knew it would be costly before going in, so I brought along the cash gift my grandmother sent for my birthday. My grandmother enabled us to go to Japan last year courtesy of my graduation gift, and she enabled us to eat well in New York over New Years too. Essentially, my grandmother is the sole reason we ever leave the apartment :p Thanks to her, I didn't have to sweat over the prices on the menu when we selected a plate of bulgogi and a plate of spicy marinated chicken for about $16 each. I'd be doing plenty of sweating over the grill soon enough anyway.
The restaurant we visited in Kyoto had gas-operated grills, so I was surprised when a man came out carting a tub of flaming charcoal. Really flaming. I was also surprised that they didn't give us lard to grease the grill, but come to think of it leaping flames + grease + patrons downing copious amounts of soju = a lawyer's worst nightmare. Instead, they changed the plate whenever it started looking like this:
I'm not a big fan of my meats being covered in ash, and it was sometimes frustrating to scrape it off of those pans. The taste was great, and I wish I had the recipe for some of those marinades and side dishes, but I can only give the restaurant 4 out of 5 stars because of the sticky non-greased grills. I'd be happy to go back again and sit in the non-BBQ section, where they can serve me my yummy meats pre-cooked and we can leave without smelling like chain-smokers. But I would only recommend the BBQ section if you've never experienced table-top cooking before and have limited options.
After Mama's we stopped at Best Buy because they were out of Pokemon White when we went last week, and Sweetie is due his birthday present. They were still out of stock, so we spent some time trying the demos around the store. We played with the 3DS, which is neat but not impressive enough to buy (it's not "3D" like you'd expect in Imax theaters, but more like the difference between watching a cartoon and live-action on a flat screen). And then Sweetie did something one should never, ever do: touch the Wii-mote on display with your bare hands. I have never seen such a thick, white substance on an electronic before, or such interesting expressions cross Sweetie's face. So instead of going straight home, we walked next door to Barnes 'n Noble to use their restroom, and he spent 10 minutes scalding the skin off his palms. Then we looked at some board games and language learning programs, but didn't buy anything because $45 for dinner already puts us close to mental-breakdown territory.
I finished my celebratory day with a slice of PB&J Pie.
Recipe to come tomorrow, because I have to run and read some papers before class right now. Bis morgen.