Things have been busy lately.
My days are spent at work, and my nights are spent catching up on all the social media I can’t view during the day.
My days off are spent looking for an apartment to move into, touring the apartments that seem to be within my price range, questioning whether I can tolerate living in the only places I can afford, finding out the landlord won’t rent to me because I have an eviction on my record, and then starting the cycle over again. Some apartments go off the market before I even express any kind of interest. It’s pretty depressing.
I looked at an apartment today, and I realized all too late it was in a bad part of town. I showed up far too early to my appointed time, so I drove to a safer part of town and texted one of my friends about it. I kept the appointment, then drove back to the apartment to view the inside. It was a soundtrack short of being a horror movie or video game, with peeling tiles, peeling walls, grimy bits everywhere. I already decided I wasn’t going to rent that apartment, and after seeing the inside I was certain I wouldn’t rent it.
I planned to meet a friend at his place after he got home from work, so I had some time to waste. Mind you, it was only about 4:30 at this time, and he would get home around 6. I decided to take myself out for dinner, since I was already out and about.
Before I say anything more, if you’ve been reading my blog a while, then you already know about my frustrations when it comes to hibachi restaurants and Japanese steakhouses in the area. Oh yeah, and there’s sushi everywhere. Not that it stops me from going to any of these Japanese restaurants, but I want to seek out food that isn’t hibachi, when I can.
Another thing to mention is that a lot of the Japanese restaurants in the area have Japanese names. The first Japanese restaurant I ever knew of in the area was Ichiban, where the word ichiban literally means “number one.” For the longest time, I didn’t know of any other Japanese restaurants in the area, so it didn’t have much competition, it could literally be the number one Japanese steakhouse. Since then, others have popped up, such as Mizu (water), Koto (coat, or ancient city, or a few other meanings), and Firudo (field).
And then one day, I saw a billboard for a place called… Sake Bomb.
It’s like they’re not even trying to be Japanese, it’s like they’re trying to appeal to frat boys. Ugh.
So I went there tonight, because if I’m going to criticize a restaurant for naming itself after something a frat boy would drink, I should at least be a customer and give them some business.
Since I’m hardly ever in the North Syracuse area, and don’t know anything that isn’t just off route 481, I had to pull out ye olde GPS device. Well, it’s not so old that I have to type in an address, I can search by restaurant names. So it had the address for Sake Bomb, and I was off. And as I approached, it told me that “Sayk Bomb” was on my left. No, it didn’t call it sah-kay bomb, it called it Sake Bomb, as in “for Pete’s sake!”
I pulled in, but kind of missed the driveway. I pulled into the small driveway that had their dumpsters, and there was no way to simply drive around. Fortunately I could do a three-point-turn, drive back onto the road, and then pull in properly.
I walked in, and of course there’s hardly anyone else there. It’s not even 5 pm yet. I was asked where I wanted to sit, but barely knowing what was on the menu and not having been there before, I couldn’t decide. I just sat at the bar where two Japanese guys were making sushi, while my white American waitress asked for my drink order. The restaurant staff was at least half white Americans, half Asian or Asian-Americans. I’m not complaining or being racist or anything. I just know that some Asian restaurants prefer to hire only Asians or very few non-Asians. Then again, my observations about the staff go along with me questioning the authenticity of a place called… Sake Bomb.
I got my ginger ale, which I hardly drank while I was there. It was in one of those big plastic cups that you might get at a dine-in pizza place. The worst part was, the sushi bar was at the same level as my bust, so I had to pick up the cup, hold it between me and the counter, and then drink it that way. I might just be too short to properly dine at the sushi counter, but I’m of average height.
I looked over the menu, at the specials and the happy hour menu. I was there for happy hour! But anyway, there is a lack of anything that’s not hibachi or sushi. It’s a really limited menu, but there are a lot of choices if you like sushi. They had a roll called Moon Light roll, which I had to try because Luna desu (I’m Luna), after all. Along with my Moon Light roll, I ordered a Japanese pickle sushi roll and a shrimp California roll, both off the happy hour menu. As it was made in front of me, one of the two Japanese guys handed it to me over the counter when it was assembled. My waitress asked how things were, and how I liked the Moon Light roll. I got the impression it was one of her favorites, and I really couldn’t argue. Inside was shrimp tempura, and outside was… another kind of seafood that I can’t remember, with a sweet barbecue sauce drizzled over the top. I’m not a huge fan of using soy sauce with sushi, so I kept with adding wasabi to the California roll and eating everything else as it was.
It really wasn’t enough to eat. I probably should have ordered another roll or two from the happy hour menu, but I decided I should stop with what I had. Then again, I knew they had desserts, because I saw the category on their online menu. I was between their tempura cheesecake and the tempura ice cream, and I opted for the ice cream. So I got a scoop of green tea ice cream, covered with pound cake and tempura battered, sliced in half and served with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. It was delicious!
I paid my bill and left, only to look at the time and see I still had a half hour before my friend was home. Hmmm, maybe I should have ordered hibachi, because it might’ve taken longer. Oh well, I really have no complaints. I did stop off at a comic book shop and looked at their summer clearance items, but found nothing I really wanted and barely spent any time there as well. So when I did finally get in my friend’s neighborhood, I was still early.
While hanging out with him, we talked about apartments and my search. He gave me a suggestion for a place to check out, so I asked him to pull it up on his computer only to find out there weren’t any vacancies. He suggested that I keep him as a last resort, but my situation is such that I asked if I could move in and go from there. So I’ll have a room and a bed, and I can keep the cat, and it really feels like an upgrade.
Also, it’s only 10 minutes to get to work, give or take. And that’s a ten-minute walk, by the way. So if I’m feeling lazy, I can drive and do the five-minute walk from the parking lot.
So you know what? I think I’m going to refer to dinner as being a reward, or a celebration or something. Onward to new starts! Doesn’t even matter that I’m already a month into the new job, although it’s worth it to celebrate that I found a job that won’t run out of work for me to do. It’s starting to feel like I’m getting some footing, that I found where I should be and need to be for a while and not just someplace to get by for the time being.
Maybe I should’ve ordered a sake bomb while I was there. You know, to really celebrate.
Nah, I was thinking about the plum wine. I should celebrate with class. I’m a professional.
But where should I go next? Should I go to Ichiban? It’s been twenty years since I was there last, give or take.
I’ll think about it.
(If you’re new, I’m not a foodie or restaurant critic. There are just too many Japanese steakhouse and hibachi places in Syracuse, and not enough authentic Japanese cuisine. The food is usually good, it’s just the same thing I can get at every other Japanese steakhouse and hibachi in the area.)