I’m trying a couple of new things with this post. First of all, this is the first official post in my plot to start publishing twice a week, brought to you by sheer irritation at the slowness of my original once-a-week schedule. Second, this is the first time I have actually bothered to make a photo collage for this blog because I had almost 30 photos from one single dinner and that’s just obnoxious, and also no way was I resizing and watermarking all 26 of those damn things. Third, I have had to cut down my reading summaries before when they spiraled out of control, but that was done on a case-by-case basis. This is the first time I have purposely created two separate beginning-of-the-month posts, one for books and one for lifestyle. I could really get used to this idea, because my reading summaries have blown past the point of all reason.

Anyway, happy Wednesday. Here’s what I ate in the month of April.

Four More Birthdays

Yeah, if everyone I know could go back and distribute their birthdays more evenly throughout the year, I would really appreciate it. :’D (I’m including myself in that. I wouldn’t mind moving my birthday to October.) For one reason or another, everyone whose birthday I am likely to consistently attend was born close to somebody else. That means late winter/spring tends to be a busy season for me socially because I have six birthdays and five holidays clumped together within a relatively short timeframe, which is a lot for an introvert. Long story short, I’m feeling like butter scraped over too much bread and I’m not completely out of the woods yet because of three of the aforementioned holidays, but I’m glad I’ve made it through the birthday gauntlet. That being said, of course, I still ate a lot of amazing food and have zero regrets.

Birthday with Friends

Michaella and I had our birthday party in February. This month it was Heather and Karen’s turn, and they chose a vegan restaurant. And I never thought I’d say this in any context, but everything was delicious and I really did not miss the meat. I’m dragging my entire family to this restaurant for Father’s Day. Never thought I’d say that either, because I come from a family of carnivores and none of us is suited to veganism.

Birthday with Family

Look, I know I just said I’m an introvert but at the time that I’m writing this I’ve just come out of one of the most indulgent weekends of my life and I would very much like to return to that, please. Normally we celebrate birthdays in Maryland, but this year we trekked up to New Jersey to visit one of the birthday boys, also known as my brother. This is a lot of pictures and I am mildly sorry, but bear with me because they are all important and yes I bloody needed them all.

Birthday Breakfast
I have never been a morning person, but I will get up for fried chicken wrapped in a cheese omelet and swimming in sausage gravy. As a bonus, the restaurant has a little section up front for merch, so I grabbed one of their shirts and a bottle of hot sauce.

Bonus: we got to hang out with Hato.

The Actual Birthday Dinner
This is the reason I needed a collage. The original collage is not this blurry and I am annoyed that WordPress took the liberty of scaling my beautifully crisp collage down to a manageable size when I most definitely did not tell it to do that, but I suppose it is what it is. Anyway: for the birthday dinner we went to a restaurant owned by one of the Iron Chefs we used to watch growing up, and the pictures do not do it justice.

This dinner was monumental, in that it marked the first time I have ever tried sashimi in my life. (Yes, yes, I’m a bad Japanese, but I have never liked the idea of raw fish.) But in this case the hamachi sashimi looked so fresh and it was so appealingly presented that I had to try some, and I’ve gotta say, I get the hype. This led me to try all the other sashimis we ordered, of which the seared barracuda was my favorite. Didn’t love the salmon as much as I thought I would, but can’t have everything. At least now I know I will eat sashimi, though everything is probably going to seem disappointing in comparison to that hamachi.

Post-Birthday Lunch
I haven’t had xiao long bao in way too long, and I wanna go back.

After lunch we scooted across the street to visit this bakery. I did not buy the cakes in the first two pictures, but they were too pretty not to photograph. 😀 Fortunately I still have the vestiges of my sanity, and the third picture is my actual (much smaller) haul. As of this writing, I have eaten two of the pastries and have been snacking on the cookies at random.

Random Critters
I was This Weekend years old when I learned that some chickens are fluffy, and pigs will wag their tails. Also spotted, but not pictured: longhorn cattle, sheep, and an emu.

The Ride Back
Baby girl did so well on this trip. She didn’t try to chase Hato when they came face to face, and there was no crying in the car, mostly because her anti-anxiety medication put her right to sleep.

Resolution Check-In

I’ve doubled my food budget for May, because $100 is just really not realistic. I found that out when I way overspent my budgets for March and April. However, I have still been cooking and going through my freezer contents more than I’ve been ordering out, and I have found that the less I eat fast and/or instant food, the less attractive it is, and the more likely I am to stick to what I have at home. This can only be good. That being said, I did sucker out and buy a new pack of instant ramen because I was at a new Wegmans and I was excited and I’d never seen this flavor before, and………..boy miso really sounds weird when you say it like that.

Anyway, back on track. I have been working hard to keep my itchy fingers away from the DoorDash icon and also to plan my grocery trips better, because I have a well-documented history of buying things and then not eating them. I’ve also been working my way through the bulk goods I’ve stocked up over time, such as my collection of noodles. This is actually a bit of good timing: I have been obsessed with Fujianese peanut noodles recently, and I’ve been trying the sauce with different varieties of noodles. I’ve had the best results with Chinese knife-cut wheat noodles, but I also liked it with somen.

Overall, and with the exception of a handful of impulse buys, I would say that my grocery planning has been going well. This month I planned particularly carefully, though it didn’t always work out quite the way I expected it to. A couple of weeks ago I needed to buy an apple to add to the Japanese curry I wanted to make, but I only needed part of it. The need to use up the rest of the apple led to me buying three apples so I could also make an apple cake, which turned out to be a vast miscalculation because it turns out apples are a lot bigger than I thought. That led in turn to the apple pancakes pictured at the bottom of the pic chain, plus a couple of peeled apple chunks in the freezer, which I really hope will freeze okay. I just finished the last of the pancake batter this week, and I don’t think I’ll be craving pancakes for a while. Those were some pretty chonky bois, not gonna lie.

I’m done now, I swear.