Lately I have been intensely craving two things: pizza and sushi. The day of my half marathon, after the recovery brunch at Satellite Room, I had a serious craving for some sushi rolls and ended up ordering dinner from Wok & Roll. All I wanted for lunch and dinner was sushi the following day so I went to Trader Joe’s for some salmon rolls. While running errands along 14th street, I was texting with B, the bartender from Pilar. We made plans to hang out the next day since the weather forecast called for sunny skies and near 70 degree weather. The past two times we have gone on dates, he has picked the places (Fainting Goat, Pop’s Seabar/Mintwood/Bedrock Billiards), but this time he suggested that I make the plans. This made me slightly anxious, since I know he is very particular in his tastes. Like most other industry folks, he has a strong dislike for happy hours and brunches (two things that I love), and he has said he does not like going on dates where he will have to run into people that he knows. Well, we planned to meet around 6:30pm, which is prime happy hour time at almost every bar in DC. And I have no idea where he might know people, or where he might run into people he knows. I assume the regular bartender hang out spots are no good options (Solly’s, All Souls, 2Birds 1Stone). I suggested Dickson Wine Bar, since it has a back patio and tends to be more low key, and he agreed so I assumed I had not made a terrible choice.
It turned out to be a beautiful day, and the patio was pretty empty at Dickson. We started off with some drinks (Four Roses for him, red wine for me), and some funny stories. What I really like about B is how chill and relaxed I feel around him. I can be my goofy, weird self without feeling self conscious and just babble away while he jumps in and plays off of what I said. He mentioned how he finds me extremely polite, and that I always send a Thank You text the morning following a date, but that he wonders if it is a template I use. For example, “Hi insert man’s name here! Thank you for food item that we consumed, drink I drank, and joke related to something we discussed!” Okay, obviously it is more funny when he says it with his commentary, but I spend a lot of the time laughing until my stomach and my sides hurt when I am around B. I find a sense of human one of the most important qualities when building new relationships, whether that is romantic relationship or a friendship. Not just any sense of humor, but the same sense of humor, because not everyone laughs at the same stuff (take my mother who only likes incredibly corny jokes and puns). I feel like the conversation between B and I is fast-paced, and we are telling joke after joke, just inserting humor wherever it fits.
After I mentioned I had been craving sushi and pizza lately, he suggested heading over to Izakaya Seki for dinner. But first, he said, we should order a flatbread from Dickson to incorporate my other craving. We settled on the pancetta flatbread with smoked gouda, which came out fairly quickly. The flatbread was fine, nothing memorable, but it definitely hit the spot since I was both starving by this point and slightly buzzed from the glass of wine. Obviously it does not compare to Etto pizza, but it satisfied my craving enough to make it to the three blocks over to Seki.
Izakaya Seki did not have a wait, so we sat down at the downstairs bar. B ordered some sake for us (good thing about hanging out with a bartender is that most of the time I can just stare blankly at a wine/cocktail/beer list and he can pick out something decent) to start, and we told the waitress to just pick out a couple of things for us based on her recommendations. We started off with the Tuna Tataki. These thin, deep magenta squares tasted so clean and sweet. The second dish was the ankimo (monkfish liver). While I do appreciate good liver, I do not go out of my way to seek this food out. However, once I put a small piece of ankimo into my mouth, I immediately wanted more. It was so incredibly buttery and smooth. The creaminess resembles almost a gelato-like taste, and I just wanted to keep each chunk in my mouth for as long as possible. Then, the absolutely beautiful Omakase Sashimi arrived, which was a big plate of raw cuttlefish, octopus, seabream, tuna, salmon, shrimp. This was my first time trying cuttlefish sashimi, and I found it extremely interesting. It had an intriguingly chewy, slippery texture. The thick slices of seabream were slightly sweet, and the octopus was perfectly chewy. Every piece of seafood on that plate just tasted impeccably fresh. We also ordered the Tako Wasa (raw octopus and fresh wasabi), , and beef intestine skewers. The diced octopus was extremely slippery, so we both laughed as we tried to pick up the pieces using chopsticks. I liked the light spiciness of it, and could have probably slurped down a few orders of the small dish. My favorite thing was the beef intestine skewers. The full, fatty, rich flavor of the intestine just melted into my mouth and the roasted peppers added the perfect hot kick. Overall, everything that we ordered was fantastic. I really like the casual, simple atmosphere at Seki. In addition, eating and drinking our way through the menu makes it a fun date spot, especially since the small plates work best when you’re sharing them willing to try weird stuff.
As we finished up the last few bites, B turned to me and said, “And I know you have a sweet tooth. So let’s go somewhere else for dessert.” I know that sounds simple, but I found it incredibly sweet (no pun intended). First of all, I love dessert. I feel like a meal is incomplete if it does not end with at least something sweet. That does not mean every meal needs to end with a pot-de-creme, but I like at least a few sourpatch kids, or a Mickey D’s vanilla soft serve cone after I finish dinner and I had mentioned this to B before. It is just thoughtful when a guy thinks about what you like, and tries incorporate it into your time together. We decided to stop by Busboys and Poet’s on 14th street to end the night, and ordered the apple pie and the cheesecake (that’s right, TWO desserts). Neither of the desserts was spectacular, but both were decent and just what I wanted after a pretty spectacular meal at Seki. We sipped on some beers as well, and closed out around 11:30pm. The weather was still nice at this time, so B walked me home. We kept talking as we headed down 11th street (definitely noticed that he did not try to walk down 14th street past Pilar…), and at one point… somewhere between Q street and Rhode Island, he grabbed my waist, spun me around to face him and kissed me. While I love a great first kiss, I love a great second kiss even more. Second kisses mean that there was enough electricity in that first kiss to warrant another kiss. After a good first kiss, you know that they may want to kiss you… so you do it eagerly but there is still just a twinge of nervousness that they might pull away from you. But they don’t, when they put both of their hands on your face, through your hair, around your waist, it is excruciatingly amazing. I felt like I could have kept kissing forever. Obviously we stopped kissing at some point since I now typing this blog post out without someone’s face attached to my mouth, but it definitely felt like we were just making out on the street corner for a decent amount of time. We eventually made our way back to the front of my apartment building. We made out again, and after I pulled away, that thing happened where I have no idea what to do right afterwards. So I just blurted out in an extremely loud voice, “OKAY SO WHEN DO I SEE YOU AGAIN??!” Dude, chill girl. I have no idea why I cannot just be cool after a kiss. He seemed to not be too alarmed by my yelling and suggested that we meet up towards the end of the week. That gives me at least a few days to figure out how not be awkward after someone’s tongue has been inside of my mouth…