Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 Korean Strip Clubs

I know its January 2, 2012 - a relatively new year - and I should do the obligatory "resolutions, predictions, or shout out post" in honor of 2011 and all my many blessings, accomplishments, births, deaths, lessons learned, close friends proved true, trials overcome, tribulations rendered obsolete by faith, car repairs in the nick of time, bad sew in weaves witness, hours of mindless entertainment watched, articles published, or some other matter of silliness. But the truth is, 2012 didn't inspire this blog! 

"What has inspired me to write?" Well, the Hooker and I went out Friday night and as I discussed a recent proposition that I quickly filed under "aint going to happen" in the love-life folder, she said "you really should write more on your blog." Obviously referencing said blog, she must think that someone wants to read the "tom foolery" I go through in my love-life. True, it would make a good comedy sketch or at least a snappy blog these days. But not today - you'll have to come back later for that dish. Today I have to talk about what did inspire me to write - Korean Hot Stone Bowls and Strip Clubs! 

Friday night me and the Hooker were rather indecisive on what to eat for dinner. We started discussing Sushi at 2p.m., by 6p.m. we diddled with Italian briefly before we considered low-carb diet restrictions;  flirted with American fair Five Guys before deciding their inconsistency in quality was rather insane since -- its a darn HAMBURGER; and we thought about Thai  briefly before a lukewarm final decision on Indian around 8p.m.

So we headed out to the choice of Yelp diners, Masala, which received  slightly more stars than Tandoor. On our way down Reynolds Road, the lights from a strip club caught our eye, and nestled next to the Boob bar,  in said strip mall was a small Korean restaurant. Like a stripper who notices a dollar bill on the floor we backed it up and headed over to Koreana, a place neither of us had been before which made it 100% agreeable! We were immediately greeted at the door and sat at the booth of our choice. (Likely because we were the only ones dining there that evening, which is the most tragic note in this blog). 

Our waiter was the owner of the restaurant. He quickly made a suggestion of  ginger tea and the  Duk Bok Ki appetizer...and well the rest our meal. The food was amazing!  Photographic evidence below:

The spice, flavor, presentation, and ambiance, were amazing, but surprisingly were not the most inspirational elements of our dining experience. What was supremely impressive was our WAITER, who was also co-owner with his wife. During our meal he treated us like queens, including a table side rendition of  "Silent Night" played on his soprano sax (and instrument he had started learning only one year earlier)! His service was a complete throwback to what it meant to have a dining experience, and stands in stark contrast to the modern day, 20 minute or less guaranteed of speed and no quality that permeates the service industry. In addition to playing for us, the waiter actually asked about us, not just the food. Through the conversation he discovered where we worked (former and present) and we quickly learned a mutual friend and colleague had been a student in his martial arts studio (second business we discovered he had during the conversation). Our degrees of separation narrowed.  After our meal the cook, his wife (who accordingly spends 4 hours a day making just the side dishes), let us know that her husband, our waiter, had crafted every table and cabinet in the ornately decorated establishment. 

Here is what inspired me most; in one trip the waiter/manager/owner/martial artists/sax playing/wood maker had cultivated a relationship with us substantial enough to repeat and talk about again!  

So often we miss opportunities to cultivate relationships with the people around us. We fail to listen and be inspired even when we are standing in the presence of a genius. We discount that the person serving us, working by our side, or standing next to us at the gas pump, was divinely created with purpose and power and that if he or she is walking in the light of that purpose, we are certain to learn something, and occasionally inspired! 

Even though this isn't a preachy 2012 blog, I am hopeful and I look forward to finding inspiration in odd places in 2012; eateries next to boob bars, complete strangers, and long time friends, alike! 

Here's to the waiter/manager/owner/martial artists/sax playing/wood making genius who inspired me to write for the first time in a long time! 

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