OK, so in the future, I should try not to let my birthday fall on a Monday (when many restaurants are closed) that doubles as the federal observation of New Year's (when ever more are closed than usual). After running down the list of every possibly option for a low-key birthday dinner, we settled on what I might have wanted to suggest all along: sushi.
I haven't been out for sushi in the Springs since moving here, and while I didn't expect or even necessarily want something transcendent, I did want to enjoy a night out with Ed to celebrate my birthday. Over to Tejon we went, seeking sake and seaweed to ring in my -- and the -- new year.
The sushi I had ranged from good (competent sake sashimi and hamachi maki) to excellent (the Hawaiian poke maki and tuna tataki over daikon threads in a spicy sauce -- aka the unfortunately named* Screaming Orgasm maki), but maybe the best thing about Fujiyama is that they keep a few stone bowls around. If you know to ask (almost no one does -- some of the staff didn't even know the bowls existed), they'll use one for your authentic** bi-bim-bap -- and if it's your fiancée's birthday and you give her some of the delicious crunchy rice from the bottom of the bowl, well, it just might be a really great birthday dinner.
And to the two couples at the table next to us when we sat down: the Ninth Doctor? Really? I sure hope that conversation was about to get into the awesomeness of Ten and Eleven.
*I think I missed the genesis of the trend of putatively outrages names for sushi rolls. I guess it makes waves among the teen-and-twenty-something-set -- I've seen it more in college towns than anywhere else -- but it's really just very silly.
**We had a long discussion over the intersection of Korean and Japanese food, particularly in the states in restaurants owned by Koreans in places where serving only a Korean menu might not be as successful. Whatever the reason, this place does a great Korean rice bowl; I highly recommend it.