G.J.'s Retirement Party
G.J.'s retirement party from UCLA. 30+ years-- a hell of a career!
He wanted it modest but Aleks insisted, and so we had a "meeting" wherever everyone showed up, a WAN router cake, and tons of food from Sunnin. t'was good times and a nice way to wish G.J. into a well-deserved retirement!
Later that night, went to MAR and Playground down in Santa Ana to catch up with Ants. MAR was some pretty solid poke, actually surprisingly filling considering my initial doubts about the portion sizes and the filler of rice, but overall: excellent.
Playground was what had all the hype, and the return policy on almost all the food. t'was the noveau American take of strong flavors and no filler, which worked great for the 30oz pork chop stack (nom!) but not as well for some of the other dishes. Pork belly bun was forgettable (t'was a good try for an American place), and the caesar brussel sprouts were awesome but quickly oversaturated the taste buds.
Fried chicken was one of the only items they were convinced was perfect and wouldn't let you return, but proved too vinegary for these tastebuds. The cauliflower, lopcheng, and kim chi was far too strong (would've been perfect atop a bed of steamed rice) and smelly, but the flourless chocolate cake was excellent. It was excellent to try at least once, though I'm not sure how often I'd want to go back.