This week’s What’s For Lunch Wednesday is notable for three reasons. First, Joel and I brought along a guest this time: Ben, a former coworker of mine and a current coworker of Joel’s. Ben is a local politician, so I’ll protect his identity (because, heaven knows, naming him on this blog would only hurt him politically). Only Joel and I will do the write-up, though, because Ben is a politician and that means he’ll never give his honest opinion about anything.
Second, this is the first time we actually went out to lunch on a Wednesday for this feature. Usually, we go out on Tuesday and write about it the next day. (That’s just a little glimpse behind the curtain at the Hollywood magic that goes into the making of this blog.)
Third, this is the first time we went somewhere I’ve been before. That’s technically against the rules–it’s supposed to be new to both of us. But I just returned from the 2011 Storymakers conference and was one of the first victims of what is fast becoming termed the Storymakers Flu. So, since I’m recovering from overall pukage, I wanted some bland, easy food.
Rob just inadvertently generated two excellent band names there: Storymakers Flu and Overall Pukage. But I digress.
We selected Osaka, a small Japanese restaurant nestled in the heart of downtown Provo. (“Nestled” means “nearly impossible to spot crammed in between other businesses.”) But once we went in, I was impressed with how quiet it was. True, we were the only patrons at the time, but they had a fish tank (apparently not for selecting your own sushi, however) and nice decorations which I assume were Japanese. The lighting was dim, which would probably have been romantic if I were there with my wife instead of two other men.
The woman in charge seated us and gave us menus. She managed to speak without moving her lips, and I wondered if she was communicating telepathically. But it was probably just the dim lighting. Or that recent concussion I received.
I chose this restaurant because I wanted bland, soft food, so I ordered oyako donburi, which is rice, eggs and chicken in a mild broth. Think of it like a soup made of fried rice. It’s quite fantastic.
I can’t remember what Ben ordered, but I’d guess it was a dish that melded cultures and ideas into a stewpot of unity and freedom, or something similarly political.
Rob just tried to sound out everything on the menu and went with the one that made him sound the dumbest when pronouncing it. And he succeeded wildly. Ben got something called tonkatsu, which is like a breaded porkchop but probably not as good (I’m too lazy to ask him, and he sits about 6 feet from me). And I got a teriyaki steak, because… well, do I need to explain it? Meat = good.
Meat = Good is not Joel’s reason. His reason is that Familiar = Good. Joel’s a picky eater. According to Wikipedia: “Selective eating is the little-studied phenomenon of eating a highly limited range of foods, associated with an unwillingness to try new foods. Common in toddlers, it can persist into middle childhood and adolescence in a small number of children, most commonly boys. When this happens, social avoidance, anxiety and conflict can result.” This explains why Joel avoids me socially. THERE CAN BE NO OTHER EXPLANATION.
So, once the food was ordered, we got down to business. The three of us are fathers of small children, and we spent a good ten minutes discussing the bowel habits of our children, at lunch, while eating potstickers. (If you’re a political opponent of Ben’s, here’s a skeleton in his closet: he’s really good at describing a baby poo.)
Sticks and stones, Rob. Words will never hurt me (except for that solid gold Scrabble board that fell on my head, giving me the aforementioned concussion). Anyway, we enjoyed discussing bodily functions until our food came out, by which time our appetites were understandably sharpened. Ben and I both wondered what in the world was in Rob’s bowl, and frankly I think he did too, but he was too proud to admit that he wasn’t sure what he had asked for. Intrepid soul that he is, Rob dug in while Ben and I ate our food-looking food.
I actually don’t think I’ve ever had a teriyaki steak before, and it was quite good. It came with tempura carrots and onion rings, which I also enjoyed. The gyoza Rob ordered were also quite tasty. (Hey, Rob! Look over there!) The portions weren’t huge, but neither were the prices (some of us can’t pull fat stacks of $1 bills out of our pocket like Rob can).
The food was good, and the fact that Ben and Joel will soon be recipients of the Storymakers Flu made the meal even sweeter.
My rating was a big 3.5 ApB. It was good. It exactly fit my criteria (bland and easy) but it wasn’t anything amazing. Like I said, I’ve been to Osaka several times, and I like it because it’s cheap and quick and quiet and pretty good.
Luckily, I can’t get the Storymakers Flu because I never finish any of the stories I start writing (but Rob always dies at the end, FYI).
I’m going to give Osaka 70 belt loops, plus a bonus of 5 belt loops because the atmosphere was so nice. It was good, and I’ll go back. It wasn’t “Wow, this is so amazing I can’t stand it!” good, although that could have been due to Rob and his synchronized vomiting stories (Synchronized Vomit also being a decent band name).