Saturday, February 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Several weeks ago, Allen came home from work with the news that "his" restaurant was throwing a huge Chinese New Year's bash. Lots of special food. A big to-do. Reservations definitely required, and the chef/owner had told him to let his family know in case we wanted some, because he expected to fill up quickly.
Since it was the same night as our church's big event for hunters (um... yeah), none of my family was able to make it, but I texted Crisy to see if she wanted to join me - and she did!
I originally had 5 o'clock reservations, til I remembered I had to teach, so we switched to the 8 o'clock slot. This ended up being a good thing, since I locked my keys in the car at swim and had to get my mom to drive all the way down to let me back in. :( And then the other teacher for my preschool class was gone, so I had to teach five small kids by myself, and I was a little frazzled, so an extra-long hot shower was obviously required. ;) But by the time we arrived at Sakura, got a table, and settled in, I was looking forward to enjoying new food, the pleasure of Cris' company, and a generally relaxing night.
Our first course arrived - isn't it pretty?
And we were all set to try all the different foods, until the owner came running out and explained that we could not eat it until we had thrown all the different components up in the air and shouted "Yusheng!"  which apparently would ensure us good fortune and prosperity in the coming year. :)
Most of the other people in the restaurant went at this with solemn good will, but we were seated next to a table of... how shall I put this?... *cough*rednecks*cough* and pretty soon Crisy and I were laughing as we frantically threw food in the air with our chopsticks (the owner was quite insistent). And Cris lost a chopstick. But no matter.
After we'd munched on the Yusheng for a bit, we were brought a platter of "treasures" - dumplings, balls, etc, filled with various fillings both sweet and savory. This course symbolized all the riches that we will get in the coming year!
Then we were brought rice wine soup, symbolizing long life.
Almost immediately after, we were brought a plate of filling and another plate of rice wraps, and instructed to make our own wraps. I managed to make mine unassisted, as our host was at the other end of the room, but by the time Crisy started making hers, he had returned, and clearly disagreed with her technique. So she got a wrap-making lesson. ;)
Our host and Crisy, wrap-making
We were brought a coconut, gingery beef with rice (this was, hands-down, my favorite course!), and then a lovely sweet-potato-and-sweet-filling rice cake, and we figured we were done.
But nope - there was more!
Next we were brought a mango-leaf rice, mushroom, beef, and bean dumpling. And Allen ducked out to say hi. :)
Isn't he a good-looking chef? :)
Then the meal ended with a bowl of cold lychee soup, which was really lovely!
After dinner we each received cards with information about the animal of the year we were born in, and wrote wishes on red envelopes to hang on the branches of the decorated tree.

All in all, we enjoyed ourselves immensely and hope to do it again next year, hopefully with more people at our table!

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