Celebrate With Me: Happy Hour, Rilakkuma Rage, Korean BBQ & Boba

8:30:00 AM

A Year Older, A Year Better at AdultingStarting Now

Two hours of unnecessary stress, frustration, and $90 later, we successfully captured one regular Rilakkuma and one bunny Rilakkuma.

But before that, let's start from the beginning.

This past weekend, it was my birthday. I added another year to my 20-something age and celebrated like a Queen, surrounded with coworkers, friends, and family. And we can’t leave it out the foodlots of it.

TGIF 6:00 PM: V Bar & Straits

I kicked off the celebrations with my coworkers on Friday night.

Coincidentally, one of my coworkers and I have the same birthday. Originally, it started off with talks of having a small scale dinner with a few coworkers and somehow it grew to the point that the entire company knew about it.

Everybody met up at V Bar in Hotel Valencia on Santana Row after work for their happy hour. I’ve visited the bar once before just to scope out the scene, but have never as an actual patron. So I was pleasantly surprised with their Happy Hour menu. Happy Hour drinks and food were $6 each and everything that I tried off the menu was delicious.

Drinks I’ve Tried:
  • White Gummy Martini: Tastes just like a gummy bear. Reminiscent of the White Gummy Bear on Jamba Juice’s secret menu-- but alcoholic, of course.
  • Wild Watermelon: Two words. Jolly. Rancher.
  • Abigail: Very fruity and refreshing.
  • Raspberry Mojito: Also fruity and refreshing with a sprig of mint.
  • Lychee Martini: Sweet, but well balanced. They serve it with a lychee skewer.

Food I’ve Tried:
  • Ahi Tuna Tartare: These were interesting. They came with nori chips, which was a nice substitute to tortilla chips. Had a small kick because of the peppercorns.
  • Kobe Beef Sliders: Beef was cooked medium rare. Nicely done!
  • Chicken/Steak Quesadilla: A solid quesadilla with three choices of dipping sauces.
  • Harissa Spiced Hummus: A lot of hummus, but not quite enough flatbread. There was a lot of hummus left over.

Only food photo I managed that night. 
20 something coworkers/friends, 5 hours, 1 destination change, and numerous drinks later, the night ended at midnight with an impromptu 'happy birthday' song with the remainder of the group-- outside Straits.

Saturday 4:00 PM: Rigged Claw Machines & Purikura

Now back to the frustration of what was the opening of this article, what exactly happened?

Well… PC, YL and I decided to start off the day of my birthday at Round 1 in Eastridge Mall. The plan was simple enough. We were going to take some purikura, and slap down some money to win a few plushies from the claw machines! Sounds easy enough?


Purikura was first on our list and being veterans of the purikura machines, the ones with English instructions were a piece of cake, compared to the ones I use to take that were all in Japanese. Oh how times have changed~ For $6 a sheet, this was a steal in comparison to Pika Pika in San Francisco. Not to mention, much closer than Pika Pika.

The problem started when we came face-to-face with the claw machines. Evil little things they are, they stole our money countless times over the course of the next two hours while the three of us were helplessly staring it down.

At one point, I was contemplating how nice it would be if I was either telepathic or had the ability to phase through the glass case separating me and the plushies.

Just our luckof coursewe had the Rilakkuma that never seems to fall and the Bunny Rilakkuma that looked as though it was levitating.

The laws of gravity begs you to fall!
At the end, we won… though I say that reluctantly because of how much money we had to spend to retrieve these two troublesome bears.

Saturday 7:00 PM: AYCE Korean BBQ

Gen Korean BBQ. Opened about three months ago. This place is the current “it” restaurant of San Jose as everybody from mom to grandpas are clamoring to try out the hottest Korean BBQ in the area.

Luckily for me, if you have a party of 10 or more, you can place a reservation. I called more than a week ahead to make a reservation and even then they had to “squeeze me in” at 7 PM.

Because of the recent opening, the center exploded in popularity leaving a scarcity in parking spaces. So as we made our way over from Eastridge, there was already an anticipation of a battle royale for parking space waiting to happen.

Large crowd and parking shortages aside, our group didn’t actually have to wait that long in the cold. Thanks to our reservations, we were seated by 7:30 PM.

Inside, it feels like you’re in a club. A club with EDM music on loop, open grills and platters of food everything. Several times, I found myself bobbing my head and moving to the beat while I cooked the meat over the well ventilated grill (well ventilated, but fair warning, you will still smell like meat).

Mai Tai Soju
That said, Gen Korean BBQ, at the core of it is an AYCE.

  • 2 Hours Time Limit
  • 4 dishes per table per round
  • Any left over food will be an additional charge

What to Watch Out for:
  • Your servers will be overwhelmed. Which means at times, it could be incredibly hard flagging them down.
  • You may have to repeat yourself because orders may disappear.
  • They refill your water constantly, which is awesome.
  • As busy as they were, our servers were very friendly and approachable.
  • Our group didn’t get to eat the cake my friend brought for me because we hit the 2 hour mark, but they graciously gathered up a group of servers and sang me “Happy Birthday,” while I held the cake and blew out a lighter. Haha. Very classy~
  • They do half orders, which is awesome if you want smaller portions and try out more. I wanted to ambitiously make it through the entire menu, but perhaps another time...

Also, despite having a large party, they separated our bills, per table (we had three), so that it made things easier for us to settle.

Saturday 10:00 PM: Boba, More Club Music & Cake

The night is still young!

We ended the night at Pekoethus continuing our “club” theme without being in an actual club.

We arrived at about 10 and Pekoe was packed with a line out the door. But being the eagle eyes that we are, we were able to get seats within minutes.

Definitely one of the odder moments of my life, we headed over to Lucky’s to purchase a set of forks and bowls before heading back to Pekoe to slice the cake because Pekoe didn’t have any utensils. Judge all you want, but there aren’t many places where you can get your boba fix, eat cake and feel like you’re in a club at the same time.

And damn was that some good cake! Bought from 85 Degrees (for my longtime readers, you know how I feel about this place. In fact, it was one of my first reviews), this mango creme brulee cake hit the spot after a meat induced food coma.

Not to say, I had much room left in my stomach, but we made room.

I had the OG, which was one of the new items on their menu. It was a robust ceylon tea with their signature milk cream and honey boba. What is sleep? Obviously, the last thing on my mind with the amount of caffeine I was consuming.

Pekoe is opened till 12, but they still kept their doors opened past 12 while they cleaned and closed down the store. It wasn’t till 12:30 rolled around and they turned off the monitors and turned on the lights (funny enough, just like a club), that we knew that we had to leave.

I had a great time celebrating my birthday. I know that as we all get older, it gets harder and harder to find time out of your fast paced life to get together. So it means a lot to me that everybody came out this weekend to celebrate with me.

So to new experiences and fond memories, I’m saying goodbye to the first quarter of my life and welcoming the second one with an open mind and open arms.

Treat me well!

As Neil Gaiman once said, “I wish the time hadn’t gone so fast, though. And sometimes I wish I’d enjoyed it more on the way, and worried about it less.”

And to my readers, thank you for sticking around to the end of this post. Whether you’re a new visitor who somehow stumbled onto this page or if you have been around since the beginning, thank you for your time and interest.

I sincerely appreciate it. If you like what you read, stick around~ I’m scheduling in a Thanksgiving post later this week.

How do you celebrate your birthday? What are your thoughts of growing old? Do you greet it like an old friend or fear its consequences? I can’t say with certainty for either, but rather I’ll take it as it comesin stride!

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