FAB holiday dinner
december 16, 2006
tonight, we had our first annual FAB *female asian blogger* Christmas Dinner/Extravaganza/Spectaculario/Gala. i unfortunately wasn't able to make it to last month's luncheon, so i organized tonight's event down in OC with dinner beginning at Honda-Ya to be followed by dessert at Zov's. for the event, i made christmas gift baggies for everyone filled with candies and also a shrinky dink tag of their blog name attached to the bag.
^ before the shrinky dinkage (gawd, i need better scissor skillz).
it was my first time making shrinky dinks and didn't know how freaking small they would end up! but they all came out kinda sorta cute. i tried to make each person's a little different. and it was just my luck that everyone had such long ass blog names. :p so i shortened some of them myself. creative license i say. i hoped they all liked their little tags though.
i knew i was in store for a great evening when 9 other girls were all able to make it to the event. i've met most of them already with the exception of ms. 1thirtyseven and thexgirlfriend. so it was going to be a kick ass evening catching up with old friends and meeting 2 new ones! imagine 10 female bloggers that read each other religiously meeting up and talking in person. it was gonna be a long night.
we all arrived at honda-ya at 5:30pm even though the weather in LA was on the verge of a downpour. but luckily it didn't rain too hard as we drove there. we were all seated in one of the tatami mat rooms and i thought to myself how glad i was to wear stretch jeans. :p
the long table made it hard to talk to everyone but at least we all got to talk to the folks around us and besides, we were all too busy gobbling down the delicious izakaya style food at honda-ya.
* only ones not pictured in any of the photos above are the secretness of thexgirlfriend (by request) and myself. :)
i've heard alot about honda-ya and was so glad to finally get a chance to try it out. and tustin isn't that far of a drive, especially if i was on my way to see the nieces or something. the food was really great. haven't had such authentic izakaya style cuisine in a long time. i think the last time was somewhere in tokyo. los angeles has a few izakaya style places but this one definitely was really good down home izakaya food. oh if only i was feeling well enough for a large stein of beer.
oh yes, i was not feeling well at all yesterday due to the meds i'm on. it gave me a lot of stomach probs so i didn't want to eat all day and ate a lot of meds which only made it worse. :\ but the lovelies around me convinced me to eat something and i felt SO much better afterwards. so good in fact, i wanted to go back to honda-ya after our dessert place.
it was kinda crazy with 10 girls ordering but i got a few things that i wanted to try. one of which was the takoyaki (photo above). it's an octopus wheat ball thing that is a super popular dish in osaka. and i have found NO place in LA that makes it this good. i was in heaven! of course i remembered i'm kinda allergic to wheat AFTER i ate it but i didn't tell anyone. :x but i didn't explode, so that's all good.
to soothe my stomach first, i had a bowl of sake ochazuke - salmon with rice in a tea/dashi broth. although the dish was better than a lot of places, it was a bit on the salty side. but nonetheless, i ate it all and felt much better after have this in my stomach. would love to try their ume (plum) ochazuke one day too.
on their special menu, i saw this negiyaki dish and had to try it. it's green onions in an okonomiyaki style batter and grilled up with bonito, okonomiyaki sauce on top. it was very very good. i'm going to try and make this at home.
i believe sarah had the tuna tataki salad but not sure how it tasted, i'll let her tell you.
i think peg ordered this and i think this is their version of niku jyaga - beef & potatoes stew. i make this dish at home all the time but i don't use the big pieces of beef. i have to say their broth was great and the flavors really infused into the potatoes.
of course before we could walk onto the tatami mat room, we had to remove our shoes. and for once, i was wearing long boots. bad bad choice. i should have worn my crocs had i known. :p but i love that honda-ya had this sign post up as a disclaimer. i guess women should not wear their stuart weitzman, jimmy choos or manolos there.
^ look at all them well dressed presents!
after we cleared away some of the dinner, we started on the white elephant phase of the evening. each person had to bring a present with a $20 value and it was going to be interesting to see what everyone brought. if you don't already know, this is what white elephant is all about.
^ sarah got a sex and the city dvd w/ popcorn!
^ caroline got a cool mish mash of things from some cute store.
^ peg hid hers away after she opened it so we all forgot about it. :p but it was a great fab pair of earrings that she ended up sporting on her lobes for the rest of the evening! :D
i couldn't get photos of everyone opening their present and the ones i do have are somewhat unflattering, so i'll keep them to myself. but the most coveted present of the evening was the one of a handmade bag made by ms. crafty herself (aka caroline) filled with knitting needles and a skein of yarn. it got stolen 3 times before it ended up with jenny as the final owner. poor xgirlfriend had hers taken two times (once by lwtsh & once by me!) and ended up with the final unopened present (the one i brought to the party).
^ trio of sorbet (i opted to not have the coconut and asked for an extra scoop of mango instead)
after spending nearly 3 hours at honda-ya, we migrated over to zovs bistro for the dessert and coffee portion of the evening. if we weren't all coming from all across the entire socal region, we should do a shoju night. :x zovs turned out to be a great place to talk because it was quiet enough to hold a conversation and HEAR everyone else talking without having to yell over each other. but it wasn't too quiet where we dominated and irritated everyone else in the restaurant.
^ chris + jenny + caroline
the desserts at zovs were really good but that's because i just had my trio of sorbets. i'm not sure how the other desserts turned out for the other girls though. hope it was yummy. we had originally wanted to go to the bakery side but they closed way too early for our liking and we ended up sitting at the zovs bistro side for an hour after they closed their restaurant! :x it's hard to find a place for 10 very vociferous women to talk without disturbing others. but i thought the ambience was great and it was just the perfect ending to our evening. plus, i don't think i could handle another few hours of sitting on the tatami mat anyway. my aging geriatric hips couldn't take it anymore.
^ real hot housewives of orange county :D
^ linda + sarah
^ warm chocolate cake
^ sarah + chris + jenny
we talked so much about very very random topics but the hours as usual flew by much too quickly. it was great to be able to congregate together and talk about online life and offline life since we all knew so much each other from our blogs. some of the topics discussed this evening were: knitting, motherhood, vain men, good looking roomates, weddings, home building, remodeling and socially inept evil women. :x
i had SUCH a great time seeing everyone again but i think chris was the only one i didn't get a chance to talk to as much as i would have wanted to since we sat farther from one another during both the dinner + dessert. and i had so much to talk to her about re: japan!
to finally meet 1thirtyseven was fantastic because she was so gorgeous & kind & sincere and it was amazing to think that she just had a baby 4 months ago and there wasn't an ounce of fat on her! we all concluded that she is one hot mama! and for her to bring one of the bubs was even better! :D loved your outfit by the way.
so amazing to finally meet thexgirlfriend in person too. she lives! she's so genuine and easy to talk to. plus, she's as cute and hawt in person as i thought she would be. we'll have to definitely chat more next time.
thanks to everyone for the fun conversations, the laughs, and for making it time out of your busy holiday schedule to make it here. hope to see you all soon for knitting, book club, more food and more crazy fun. here's to a great 2007 together. :D
^ i *stole* this from thexgirlfriend. it's one of those string dolls and a philosophy raspberry sorbet lip shine (brought for the gift exchange by sarah). the way to my heart is makeup, cutesy things and knitting stuff. :D
currently listening to: camera obscura, if looks could kill