Birthday is for Sushi and Cake

Birthday is for Sushi and Cake.

This is birthday law. It’s the one day of the year where calories from cake don’t count! I asked Dr. Atkins. It’s true! Get ready for some foodgasms!!

Ok all jokes aside, I was not sure at all how my actual birthday was going to turn out. I’d kind of… forgotten about my birthday until the day before. And by then, of course everyone had plans! It suddenly seemed SO SAD to have to spend my birthday night eating alone.

So, the night before my birthday, I Tweeted in desperation.  “Would anyone in NYC be willing to have dinner with me for my birthday so I don’t have to eat Chinese takeout alone?

And that is how Olivia from Birds of a FIRE graciously jumped in to volunteer as tribute, and keep me company.  (By the way, she has an amazing blog on Financial Independence movement. And you should read it so you can retire at 30 like she’s planning on doing!)

But seriously, she saved a potentially very lonely and sad night, and made it into a really fun one!

Birthday Dinner: District Saigon

Olivia recommended Ramen Shack in Long Island City, because they apparently make their own ramen, and have delicious bowls.  I’d never been, so I was all in.  Unfortunately, just as I was leaving work to head to the restaurant, I checked Yelp and found out that they are closed on Mondays.  Drats!

Since I’d been craving pho for a few weeks at that point, we decided to go to District Saigon in Astoria instead.

I just ordered beef Bún chả.  Olivia got Phở with a huge portion of bone marrow (and it was a lot more photogenic than my food).  I tried some bone marrow for the first time, and wow! It’s felt like I was eating savory lump of buttery fat?  Yeah, I know. I’m a master at making things sound appetizing.

We’d followed each other for a few months, but never met before, so it was exciting to finally chat IRL.  (Is it just me who always has that anxious period before meeting a friend from the Internet? I’m always like, “What if they think I’m a complete fraud?!”)

We talked about food, New York, personal finance, and she mentioned this new discovery called “Salted Cheese Milk Tea.”  Sounds disgusting? Yeah, I hear ya.

But she was adamant that it’s delicious.  I wasn’t so sure.

And then…

Dessert: Birthday Cake at Prince Tea House

Let me show you again the goodness that was the dessert after our dinner.

These, my friends, are Caramel Mille Crêpe Cake and Green Tea Mille Crêpe at Prince Tea House. Layers and layers of Crêpes piled high, lined with cream, drizzled with caramel or sprinkled with green tea powder…


Happy Birthday to me!

And the drinks?

Genmaicha Matcha Milk Tea and Rose Green Tea with…. You guessed it! The “Salted Cheese” Olivia was talking about earlier!

(They called it “milk foam cap,” because they probably had marketing people who were like, “No, you can NOT call it ‘Salted Cheese.”)

It’s apparently basically whipped cream cheese with some sea salt.  It’s definitely thicker than what I would expect from normal “milk foam,” and the taste was really… Strange.

Not bad, but it’s just not a combination you expect. If you have a chance to check out a bubble tea place that has it, I recommend it! (I was at Gong Cha, and even their “milk foam cap” is the same!)

Ok. Have another photo of the goodness…

Agh. I’m drooling.

My sister dropped by to give me a birthday gift (a big scarf!), and she joined us in our chats for a while.

It was one of the most exciting birthdays I’d had in a very long time! (Also one of the first times I actually celebrated my birthday in years!)

The next day, I took the Amtrak down to DC area after work because I had a wedding of a college friend to attend.  (My first wedding!)

The Real Birthday Cake

White Tres Leches Birthday Cake with fruits with "Happy Birthday Hiroko" written with Chocolate

My boyfriend had a Vanilla Bean Tres Leches cake waiting for me when we got back to his apartment. I was like, “I’ve no idea what that means. Just that it sounds really sweet.” And he agreed.

It was delicious, but it was huge, so it took us over a week to finish it.  I really want to know why they quit being fancy after the “i” in my name!!

Birthday Sushi: Sushi Ogawa

Entrance to Edomae Sushi Ogawa in DC

Few days after I arrived in DMV, my boyfriend took me for a birthday dinner at a high end sushi restaurant in DC called Sushi Ogawa. It’s walking distance from Dupont Circle, and is in a very surprising place.

We’ve tried quite a few upscale sushi restaurants, but this was my boyfriend’s favorite omakase.  Mostly because they gave us 3 or 4 different kinds of uni (sea urchin), and he’s a huge sucker for sea urchins.

Omakase is a concept in Japanese restaurants, usually in sushi restaurants in the US, where the whole menu is “on the whim of the chef.”  So the menu is basically rotating and based on what fish they have or what the chef feels like serving that day or at that time.

I was absolutely stuffed by the time they were done, which is rare at an omakase. And we ended up eating for I think something like 2 hours!

10/10 would recommend! (The omakase booth is super small, so you would need to make a reservation beforehand. We made one only a few days ahead, but was able to get prime time.)

DC at Night

Here are some random DC street-views I snapped on the way home.

Wedding and Meet Ups

I attended my friend’s wedding, and also a few Personal Finance Meetups.

It was great to meet people I’ve been talking to for a while in person, and talk about topics you normally don’t talk about (mainly money).  I really enjoy these meetups, because you get to meet people from so many different walks of life and different places in their careers and financial lives.

There are lawyers, doctors, serial hustlers, government workers, nurses, early retirees, partial retirees, and anything in between. Everyone has a journey, and a different story.  And so many different methods of having gotten to where they are, or how they plan on achieving the financial life they want for themselves.

Happy Birthday!

Unfortunately I didn’t realize this until after my birthday, but apparently there are 300 companies that give you free stuff on your birthday.  Maybe next year…

Hiroko Nishimura
AWS Community Hero. Special Education teacher turned IT Engineer turned Technical Writer. Author "AWS for Non-Engineers" (Manning Publications). Technical Instructor "Introduction to AWS for Non-Engineers" (LinkedIn Learning).

13 thoughts on “Birthday is for Sushi and Cake”

  1. Oh man, all this food is making me drool. And I still have two hours until lunch time, thanks a lot!
    I love seeing PF bloggers meeting up in real life. It’s crazy how supportive and sweet this group is!!! Glad your birthday was a good one!
    Now mail me all that cake 🙂

    1. I’m drooling thinking about it and I ate it already. I WANT MORE. I’m trying to rope some more PF people to eat at dessert places again!! And I love how amazing the people in the community are!! I’ve only known everyone for a few months, but I feel like I’ve known you all FOREVER!

      1. Agreed. Enjoyed the sushi part the most! That’s a proper birthday dinner! Did you happen to mention how much it was??? 🙂 it was great meeting you!

        1. The sushi was $100 per person for the course we had! Which is definitely a bargain, for the amount of food they gave us! Like I mentioned, I’d never been that full having omakase! Haha. 🙂

    1. It did! It was so much fun. I’m so glad I made that pitiful plea to Twitter… HAHHAHA XDDD
      And wait! I’m 29. 😛 Still got a year until my big 3-0! And I’ll make sure I plan something before the morning of for that…

    1. Yes! I was really really confused too, but I’m so glad I tried it! It was sooo strange but strangely addicting. LOL. Definitely will be keeping an eye out for them 8)

  2. That’s so cool that you met your twitter friend for the first time on your birthday, how lovely! It sounded wonderful and cake and sushi is always a winner on your birthday. Great post, thank you for sharing xx

    Bexa |

  3. Happy Birthday! Last time we went to NYC we ate at Totto Ramen not far from Studio 54! That was in 2014!!!

    The sushi places where the chef picks out the sushi is soooo amazing – what a great dinner!!! I am so glad you had a great birthday and your friend looked so lovely on their wedding day!!!

  4. Happy belated birthday! 🙂 I’m glad Olivia stepped in to spend your birthday with you. To me it seems strange that you’d forget your own birthday – I try to forget it, but that’s not very successful haha. But I’m one for a quiet night in haha!! Or I’d go pamper myself and do my nails or something like that.

    It’s a shame the ramen place was closed, but hey, pho is just as good. I don’t think I have ever had bone marrow before but my mum said she had it as a kid and said it was really nice.

    I like the look of the matcha cheesecake! I like matcha desserts because they are usually not as sweet as other flavours.

    I have had beverages with salted cheese before, and to be honest I found it a little odd. It was an unexpected taste, but subtle enough. I was worried it would be too strong and end up tasting really gross.

    Kudos to you for going to some personal finance meetups! I don’t really educate myself around how to better my personal finance and make the most out of what I earn and stuff. I feel like I should, people even suggest doing saving up for retirement when you’re in your twenties. I admit it’s really daunting, but I’m also not one to get too caught up in money, not to mention, I have a big philosophy that money isn’t everything. I try to be really zen about it but it can be hard.

Leave a Comment