Surprise Birthday Celebration

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/4, 1/150 sec, ISO200
“Parents and Sons” Redondo Beach, 2019

こんばんは。For my mom’s 80th birthday, we decided to surprise her by having me fly to California to join the rest of the family for a birthday dinner. We had to coax her to come to my brother’s house for a barbecue because she wasn’t feeling 100%, but when she arrived, it was fun surprising her since she was not expecting me to be there. (She thought I was home in Texas)

After the surprise, we settled in for a nice dinner of ribs, sweet potatoes, beans, salads, and of course birthday cake! And we also enjoyed the beautiful sunset, which was unfortunately extra-colorful because of the wildfires in the state. 😕

I wasn’t sure if my mom would be happy to be surprised by me flying over, or if she would have preferred we save the airfare money, but she said she was very happy to see me. So, yay, it was a success! 😄 I have to say, it was nice for us three sons to be with my mom and dad on her birthday, just like old times.


Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/5.6, 1/100 sec, ISO1250
“Dinner Spread” Redondo Beach, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/5.6, 1/300 sec, ISO200
“California Sunset” Redondo Beach, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/5.6, 1/25 sec, ISO3200
“Wildfire Sky” Redondo Beach, 2019

Our Go-To Burrito Place

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5, 1/80 sec, ISO3200
“Flying Liberty” Cedar Park, 2019

Since we have guests in town and Mariko has been joining them for evening activities (classes and sightseeing), Koa and I have been having leftovers or picking food up for dinner. One of our go-to places is Freebirds World Burrito. Not only do we love the food, but we have fun observing how each employee makes the burrito – how much protein they add, how liberal they are with the other ingredients, how adept they are at rolling the huge tortilla, etc.

For several months, there was a woman who worked there who would build the biggest burritos, but unfortunately, we haven’t seen her for a while now. The previous visit, Koa got unlucky and his server was a trainee who skimped on the ingredients a bit, whereas the luck of the draw had me served by someone who did a better job. Regardless, the burritos are always pretty huge. But it’s fun to be in line and recognize an employee who we know treats us well, and then try to jockey for position so that you’re matched with that particular employee.

Speaking of matches, Koa and I matched our burritos more than usual, both of us opting for carnitas, both kinds of rice, refried beans, onions, lettuce, pico de gallo, creamy jalapeño, cilantro, and sour cream. Koa also added lime juice, while I added fresh jalapeño and habañero sauce. They were both yummy! I only ate half my burrito for dinner, so I’m looking forward to the other half for lunch tomorrow! Yay! ❤️🌯

I didn’t take a photo of tonight’s burrito, but here’s one I took from a previous visit to Freebirds World Burrito:

"Monster Burrito" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/125 sec, ISO2500
“Monster Burrito” Cedar Park, 2018

I hope you had a good day!


Birthday Day

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/125 sec, ISO3200
“Birthday Dinner” Cedar Park, 2019

Today was my 51st birthday, and it was relaxing and fun! In the morning, I had some relax time as Mariko and our guests went out to visit some breweries. I thought about going as well, but I decided to take care of some things at home and enjoy some alone-time. Which included cutting and tying up a lot of cardboard from the massive boxes that Koa’s marimba shipped in. Fun! And after that I tried a new taco place nearby, then met everyone at the high school football stadium to watch the marching bands perform in the UIL contest. It was cool and I think our guest from out-of-town enjoyed the Texas high school marching band experience.

Later that evening, we went to a nearby Mexican restaurant, Jardin Corona, for a yummy dinner. I really like their carnitas, so it was my birthday dinner of choice. 😊 One of our guests lives in London, and another in Tokyo, and they don’t get Mexican food very often so I thought they might enjoy it. To complement the food, we had Texas beer (Shiner), Mexican beer (Negra Modelo), and margaritas. A truly satisfying meal!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/125 sec, ISO2500
“Carnitas Enchiladas” Cedar Park, 2019

I hope you had a nice day!


Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/6.4, 1/900 sec, ISO200
“Vista Ridge Ranger Band” Leander, 2019

Guests In Town

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/4, 1/100 sec, ISO1000
“Guests” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

For the next few days, we’re playing host to a group of friends who are also fermentation experts. I don’t understand it too much, but they specialize in koji, which is like the starter for saké, and are teaching some fermenation/cooking classes around Austin, and attending the Austin Fermentation Festival. It’s really great that they also prepared an amazing dinner for us. 😊 It was super-delicious!

I’m looking forward to the rest of their visit very much, and I hope they enjoy their sightseeing around town as well.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/100 sec, ISO800
“Chef” Cedar Park, 2019


Sushi Request

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/17 sec, ISO3200
“Fancy Sushi” Austin, 2019

Bay is visiting us for the long weekend, and he had three dinner requests: Carbonara, karaage, and Komé (our favorite Japanese restaurant). We tend to order our favorites, which for me includes saba and ankimo. When I first started eating sushi in my early 20s, I’d always get maguro and California roll, but I rarely eat those any more. Sometimes I will have some maguro sashimi, but never nigiri. Tastes change and that’s part of the fun – I wonder what will be my favorite sushi ten years from now…