An Anticlimactic Story About a Chopstick

Last night, my friend Caitlin and I were in my car, heading to a cocktail party dressed like Christmas ornaments (meaning a green sequined dress for me and a red one for her).

I said something along the lines of “Don’t mind my spare shoes,” as I always leave an extra pair of flip flops in the car…you know, JUST in case for whatever reason my current footwear happens to fail me (this is an important lesson in preparation that I learned after losing half a pair of Delman flats at Couture on Nazneen’s 22nd birthday).

I ended up letting Caitlin borrow the flip flops since I did have yet another spare pair and the night did have in store some potential walking-in-four inch-heel scenarios…

…And then there was also another something I let her borrow (or rather, have): A chopstick. One high quality, wooden decorated chopstick…you know just in case she at some point felt like putting her hair up and sticking a chopstick in it.

What can I say, there are some bizarre trinkets that I end up finding in my car such as: people’s health insurance cards, Rolex catalogues, Kyle’s backpack, vegan lipbalms, empty Kombucha bottles, peanut butter snicker wrappers, free chalupa cards, miniature hairsprays, and incense sticks. The chopstick on the other hand; that was something I inadvertently had brought on my own into the car…

…It had been a Wednesday morning. I arrived at my usual work parking lot, digging for my wallet in my speedy when lo and behold, I pulled out a chopstick instead and then everything started to come together.

It all began the prior evening:

Good luck choosing only one…

My friend, Ben and I decided on Biwa as a Tuesday night dinner choice. I had never been before but had heard rave reviews about this Southeast Portland Izakaya. Biwa is located in the same building as Simpatica Dining Hall with a decent sized space comprising of tucked away tables and an open kitchen/bar with overlooking counters. They are also famous for having one of Portland’s most sought after burgers; however it is only available on the late night menu and late night it was not.

Yukke: Korean style beef tartare w/ raw quail egg
Yukke: Korean style beef tartare w/ raw quail egg

Along with a Ginseng-ified Old Fashioned for me and a Milwaukee for Ben, we started off with the Yukke. This may be the most impeccable tartare I have ever had between the perfect consistency of the meat and the Korean flavours permeating it.

Tsukemono: Japanese Pickles
Tsukemono: Japanese Pickles

For four dollars, you can have these pickles- a delightful platter of beets, cucumbers, kabocha, mushrooms, salted plum, some other unidentified veggies, and in the corner cloves of garlic. Only eat more than one of the the little garlics if you do not plan on running into anyone non-platonic for at least 24 hours.

Salad with nappa cabbage, radishes, and sesame dressing
Salad with nappa cabbage, radishes, and sesame dressing

Another healthy yet delicious small plate; this also happened to coincide with the last sip of my Old Fashioned. I had put my chopsticks down only to notice a minute later that one of them had gone MIA. At first I tried eating with the remaining chopstick, but really people…there is just no way to look classy stabbing a radish no matter how many pearls are on your necklace.

Isobeyaki: Grilled mochi
Isobeyaki: Grilled mochi

Our waiter described this choice as a “Japanese Quesadilla,” and it’s exactly what it looks like: seaweed wrapped around grilled mochi. And you know what, it DID taste like and have the same mouthfeel of a quesadilla between the crunch of the seaweed and the chewy centre. I loved it. Also because it’s branding as a Japanese quesadilla meant I could get away with pretending like I did not somehow lose one chopstick.

Kara Age: Japanese fried chicken with spicy mustard  dipping sauce

The fantastic part about these bits of chicken? The fried-ness was kept to a minimum; just a slim layer of coating protecting succulent pieces of meat, because who wants their fried coating: meat ratio to be anymore than 1:2? Additionally they kind of resemble tater tots which in my mind meant it was also acceptable to eat sans chopsticks.

Biwa on Urbanspoon


And that’s the story of that chopstick. Happy Holidays, folks!


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