Today was one of those days. When I got home from work, I immediately put on pajamas, plopped on the couch and watched mindless television until my brain went numb, while eating cold leftovers directly out of the Tupperware containers. This state of affairs does not warrant any further commentary.
On days like this, I also like to escape the office at lunch time. Lucky for me, I work with my best friend and he is always a willing lunch companion. We often go to a great little sushi place, where we know all the waitstaff’s faces (if not their names) and look at the menu out of habit even though we have it memorized. They bring miso soup to the table almost immediately after taking our orders (except for that one time) and the sushi follows soon after. The spicy tuna and crunchy shrimp rolls are cheap and delicious. It’s always a nice little break from the day.
My dad and I had our favorite lunch spots, too. Sunday was our lunch day, sometimes we invited my mom, but usually it was just the two of us. We went to Bernard’s, an American-style Chinese restaurant, where we ate steamed shumai, shrimp dumplings, salt and pepper calamari, Singapore noodles, and my dad’s favorite: peapod stems sauteed in garlic (which was never actually on the menu). Or we went to Viet Hong, a tiny little hole in the wall that served amazing pho that the owner would leave on the table, while bowing several times and saying “thank you, thank you” over and over again. (My dad and I shamelessly mimicked him all the time, “sank you, sank you” and sent each other into hysterics, but we both cried when he told us he was closing the restaurant and moving back to Vietnam.)
Growing up in Boston, I’ve always been enamored of the idea of that place where everybody knows my name (and the bartender knows my drink and the waiter knows my order). I haven’t quite found that place in DC, but the cute little sushi joint is pretty darn close. It’s become a ritual that I can take comfort in – in the familiar food, the smiling service, and the reliably excellent company. Dad would have loved it.