Happy Anniversary! {August Date Night}

Being more intentional about getting time together as a couple sans kiddos meant we had to put it on the calendar. At the end of 2013, I added a monthly date night onto our Google calendar for the 3rd Monday of the month. (I wrote more about Marriage Goals in Action at Next Level Mama.) We haven’t planned the dates much beyond that point. Most of our date nights have been having dinner out (because we’re wannabe foodies), but we have stretched ourselves to be creative before, so hopefully we can vary things through the year. Any date night ideas?

August Date Night
So for real, anyone know of restaurant critics jobs? :p Norm and I would be perfect! This was our anniversary date, so it worked out that it was a nice and looooong dinner date. We got to chat…uninterrupted!! Thanks to awesome grandparents who hung out with their grandkids so mom and dad can go out! So anyhow, wow, we’ve been married for 9 years + 1 year engagement + 5 years dating! Ups, downs, and all arounds. It’s been an exciting adventure for sure. Looking forward to our 10th anniversary and beyond!

The Place
Simply Fondue in Livermore

The Food
We had the Fondue Feast, which was a complete four-course fondue dinner featuring a shared cheese fondue appetizer, individual gourmet salad, choice of six (6) selections from the columns below, and a shared chocolate fondue dessert. There are more photos in the album for any one who is a foodie and want to know what we ate. :p

GORGONZOLA GREENS – field greens, tomatoes, cucumber, walnuts, herbal croutons, gorgonzola, house raspberry vinaigrette dressingΒ  = YUM!

The entree cooking style we chose was Fondue Grill – a healthy and lite cooking style grilled right at your table.

“our one-of-a-kind incredible chocolate fondues are flambΓ©ed tableside and served with moist rich pound cake, jumbo marshmallows, triple chunk brownies, fresh oranges, banana chunks, fresh pineapples, strawberries, chocolate chip cookie dough, rice crispy squares, rolled cookies, and cinnamon sugar donuts”

This was our first time going out for fondue, and no one warned us that it is a whole evening event. :p We were doing this for a long time.

Us
It was dark inside, so this was the best our server could do.

Me…

…and my date

Related:

Let’s Eat! {July Date Night}

Being more intentional about getting time together as a couple sans kiddos meant we had to put it on the calendar. At the end of 2013, I added a monthly date night onto our Google calendar for the 3rd Monday of the month. (I wrote more about Marriage Goals in Action at Next Level Mama.) We haven’t planned the dates much beyond that point. Most of our date nights have been having dinner out (because we’re wannabe foodies), but we have stretched ourselves to be creative before, so hopefully we can vary things through the year. Any date night ideas?

July Date Night
We should just get new jobs as restaurant critics. :p Norm found out about this restaurant through some show about restaurants (KQED’s Check Please! Bay Area). I suppose he will review it soon. πŸ˜‰ We read this place had great tapas. This has nothing to do with the restaurant itself, but when we arrived, the table next to us had empty dishes that were not cleared. I thought they just didn’t have time to clear it, which was not the case since the restaurant was not full at this time. It turned out the patrons went outside for a smoke, and they did that one or two more times during their meal. They were also very loud, and as we were right next to them, it was a little distracting during our meal. At one point, Norm was taking a photo of the food, and the lady got quiet, put her hand toward her mouth and whispered to her date. He looked over and said, “They’re Yelpers.” haha! I love it, we got mistaken for Yelpers! And at another point during their meal, they started up a conversation with the waitress about her private life. TMI!! Anyhow, I hope you don’t get seated next to super loud people when you eat here.

The Place
Federicos in Union City



The Activity

Bruschetta Alla Romana: Grilled Italian bread topped in your choice of style | We got the Mediterranean, which is shrimp, roasted red bell peppers and feta cheese.

Chicken Mole Tacos: Served with avocado, queso fresco and cilantro

Mexican Sea Bass Tempura served with a honey mustard glaze (I think there was mango in there too.)

Shrimp Ceviche: Assorted seafood in a spicy lime vinaigrette over a bed of mixed greens
Choose from the following: Shrimp, Fish or Octopus.Β  Another waiter thought we ordered this, but it was actually for the loud table next to us.

Eggplant Tower: Grilled tomatoes, eggplant and melted mozzarella cheese with sun-dried tomato…this was not my favorite out of all the dishes we ordered.

Tiramisu

Us
Not the best pic (I need selfie tutorials!), but we got one of us! πŸ™‚

My date and I

This was another Parents’ Night Out sponsored by our church. We are very thankful for this community who encourages us to grow in our marriage, and not only encourages us, but puts it all into action. Free babysitting and dinner for our kiddos while we get to spend some time being husband and wife instead of dad and mom. πŸ™‚

Note: Our laptop is dying so we haven’t even gone through our photos to see what we took photos of…we will share about our fun trip soon. πŸ™‚

Related:

California Adventures “Date” {June Date Night}

Being more intentional about getting time together as a couple sans kiddos meant we had to put it on the calendar. At the end of 2013, I added a monthly date night onto our Google calendar for the 3rd Monday of the month. (I wrote more about Marriage Goals in Action at Next Level Mama.) We haven’t planned the dates much beyond that point. Most of our date nights have been having dinner out (because we’re wannabe foodies), but we have stretched ourselves to be creative before, so hopefully we can vary things through the year. Any date night ideas?

June Date Night
In the midst of the busyness of VBS and prepping for our trip, we didn’t make time for our June date night even though it was on our calendar. We did get a chance to get some time away from the kiddos during our trip. It was short, but a nice break from spending 24 hours a day together for our 8-day trip. Norm’s cousin and family went to California Adventures with us. It was the day we were checking out from our hotel, and after having been up at the crack of dawn for Disneyland two days in a row, we were not there as early as we could have. Luckily for us, Norm’s cousin nabbed Fastpasses for Radiator Springs Racers. This is a fairly new ride that is still super popular, which means a long line. After lunch, the girls needed some down time, so Norm’s cousin suggested we take the Fastpasses to go on the ride and they would take the girls. Even with the Fastpasses, we were in line for a good thirty minutes or more. It was nice to just stroll through the park without pushing a stroller and hearing someone ask, “Are we there yet?” or “My legs are tired.” :p So that was our mini-date at California Adventures. Sometimes it’s the simple things… πŸ™‚

The Place
Cars Land in California Adventures
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The Activity
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Us
There’s a reason why it’s called Radiator Springs Racers!! It is fast! I tried to fix my hair after it started going crazy on the ups and downs, but to no avail.
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This was a photoshopped pic. :p We probably could have just asked someone to take our pic for us, but we love a good challenge. haha!

Note: Our laptop is dying so we haven’t even gone through our photos to see what we took photos of…we will share about our fun trip soon. πŸ™‚

Related:

Same Old, Same Old {May Date Night}

Being more intentional about getting time together as a couple sans kiddos meant we had to put it on the calendar. At the end of 2013, I added a monthly date night onto our Google calendar for the 3rd Monday of the month. (I wrote more about Marriage Goals in Action at Next Level Mama.) We haven’t planned the dates much beyond that point. Most of our date nights have been having dinner out (because we’re wannabe foodies), but we have stretched ourselves to be creative before, so hopefully we can vary things through the year. Any date night ideas?

May Date Night
I think we had a mini-date night this month already, but it had been a whirlwind of activities with the end-of-school-year stuff going on, so we needed some us time. Our church was having a family movie night, so we sent the kids off with the grandparents, and left for a date, which of course, consisted of feeding our bellies (thus the blog post title πŸ˜‰ hehe)! The girls had a great time and even won a copy of Horton Hears a Who! DVD at the movie night.

The Place
Perhaps our goal is to go to all the sushi places in the area. We ended up at Sushiland, which is a small place off of Mission Blvd in Hayward. I remember driving down this street many times during college years. The restaurant got fairly good reviews on Yelp, so off we went.

The Food
Seaweed salad and some rolls


Us
While we didn’t do much out of the ordinary, it was nice to go somewhere sans kiddos. I don’t think there were other kids at this restaurant either, so we also didn’t have to hear other people’s child bothering them. :p

Related:

Parents’ Night Out {April Date Night}

Being more intentional about getting time together as a couple sans kiddos meant we had to put it on the calendar. At the end of 2013, I added a monthly date night onto our Google calendar for the 3rd Monday of the month. (I wrote more about Marriage Goals in Action at Next Level Mama.) We haven’t planned the dates much beyond that point. Most of our date nights have been having dinner out (because we’re wannabe foodies), but we have stretched ourselves to be creative before, so hopefully we can vary things through the year. Any date night ideas?

April Date Night
Our church’s children’s ministry had a Parents’ Night Out last Friday. After Melody’s choir rehearsal, I went to get Norm who just arrived home from work. We headed to church, and got the kids settled in. They were going to have a pizza dinner, crafts, and movie night. All the couples gathered to get some ground rules. We were not allowed to talk about our kids, our in-laws, work, or money. Then, we all headed off to our dates. The only other parameter was that we would be back by 9:30PM to get our kiddos.

The Place
During our February Date Night, we wanted to try iSushi, but they were closed on Mondays. You are probably noticing a theme with our date nights. Food is usually involved…although there are going to be more of these Parents’ Night Out, and I think it is long enough for us to catch a movie next time. We haven’t been to the theater since before we were married…2004, I think. iSushi is a small restaurant in Castro Village. Norm made reservations, so we were sure to get a seat.


The Food
They had the usual rolls there, but we decided to try some of their specialty items. Norm will probably do a review of the place soon.

Eric & Lori ~ Club K9: Tempura scallop & asparagus w/ 3 specialΒ  sauces

Here is the owner showing the jumbo prawns!

Norm was lucky there was botan ebi this particular day. Usually there is only the amaebi. I tried botan ebi for the first time.

Danielle: Hand torch Kobe beef with tuna & fresh wasabi
and
Rene & Spring, which I can’t remember what was in it, but it is something with chocolate, strawberry, and salmon…

Green tea ice cream on the house

The Activity
It actually really took us the whole time to have dinner. The place was super packed since it was a Friday night, and it is a popular restaurant. The dishes we ordered also had a wait time on the menu. We didn’t mind since we were kids-free! Since there were the few things we couldn’t talk about, we ended up chatting away about our upcoming vacation and future vacations. I think we might also talked about sports, because that’s obviously what you do on a date, right? We were also wondering what some of the other couples were up to. I think another couple also went out for sushi, and another went out for BBQ.

Us
We failed at getting an “us” photo again, but here we are on our date night. I still think this is an interesting pic of me because it looks like I have bangs and layered hair. I don’t have bangs or layered hair. :p

A huge thanks to our children’s ministry director and some of the college students at our church who hung out with our kids for the evening while we went out. πŸ™‚

Related:

MOPS and Pops {March Date Night}

Being more intentional about getting time together as a couple sans kiddos meant we had to put it on the calendar. At the end of 2013, I added a monthly date night onto our Google calendar for the 3rd Monday of the month. (I wrote more about Marriage Goals in Action at Next Level Mama.) We haven’t planned the dates much beyond that point. Most of our date nights have been having dinner out (because we’re wannabe foodies), but we have stretched ourselves to be creative before, so hopefully we can vary things through the year. Any date night ideas?

March Date Night
We were planning a date night on our usual 3rd Monday, but with an unexpected trip to the ER (not that they are ever expected), we decided to have a low key week and just keep our MOPS and Pops night as our date night for the month. MOPS, the mom group that I’m a part of, has a yearly event. There have been different things planned in past years (bowling night, themed dinners, etc), but this year we had a Retro Night. There was childcare for the kiddos (the Gomez family rocks!!) and they had pizza. All the parents got to hang out together for dinner, play some fun games, and heard a great talk by one of the mentor moms and her hubby.

The Place
We were at Redwood Chapel for MOPS and Pops. I liked that this year we were in a smaller room, so that we didn’t seem so far away from other tables. Some of the leaders did a fabulous job setting up the room according to the Retro Night theme.

There were TVs with Atari games that we could play.

The centerpieces on the tables and on the buffet table were great!

The Food
Our food was catered from Texas Roadhouse! Yum!

It was a great spread of food along with the Texas Roadhouse meal – fruits and chips and salsa.

The mashed potato bar was a great idea from MOMcon.

Hostess cupcakes

Activities and Friends
We didn’t do too well on the trivia questions, but our table won Pictionary.

There were some great retro outfits. We were boring and didn’t participate. :p

Great talk about mentoring our kids

A wonderful evening with some great people πŸ™‚

Us
Woohoo! There’s a photo of us for this date night because there was a photo area. πŸ™‚ Thanks Genevieve for some great pics from the night.

A huge thanks to my sister who came at the last minute to hang out with the girls since E’s wound was still pretty fresh and sore.

Related:

Closed on Mondays {February Date Night}

Being more intentional about getting time together as a couple sans kiddos meant we had to put it on the calendar. At the end of 2013, I added a monthly date night onto our Google calendar for the 3rd Monday of the month. (I wrote more about Marriage Goals in Action at Next Level Mama.) We haven’t planned the dates much beyond that point. Most of our date nights have been having dinner out (because we’re wannabe foodies), but we have stretched ourselves to be creative before, so hopefully we can vary things through the year. Any date night ideas?

February Date Night
No one shared date night ideas on the last post, and our brains didn’t want to work too hard to think of what to do, so since we’re wannabe foodies anyway, we wanted to try iSushi. We had takeout from there once. When we got there, we found that it was closed. Bummer! We decided on Aroma Cuisine of India. So we walked across the parking lot, and remembered right before we got there that it was closed on Mondays. I was craving sushi since that was the original plan. As we walked back to the car, I remembered that my parents’ restaurant was closed on Mondays, and that restaurants that are opened on the weekends probably took that day off to rest.

The Place
We didn’t want to drive too far for sushi, so we headed to Koyomi. We had been there once before. We settled in, and there was a good trickle of customers the whole time we were there, which was good for a Monday evening. It was kind of a get in and get out kinda date since it had been a long week and weekend.

The Food
Sushi Combo: California Roll with 8 pieces of very fresh chef-selected sashimi.

Lion King Roll: Your typical baked salmon roll.

Caterpillar Roll: Think green as in asparagus and topped with avocado. Interesting with the crunchy asparagus on in the inside.

Us
We didn’t even remember to get a pic of the both of us while we were at the restaurant. I think I was too distracted by the basketball game and the basketball highlights that were showing on the TVs. We did take one when we got home. I seriously need to find out if someone has a “selfie” tutorial. I don’t know how people take such good selfies. :p

So a note to anyone who has regular date nights…don’t expect too many restaurant choices for Monday evening because lots of restaurants are closed on Mondays! :p

Berkeley Restaurant Week {January Date Night}

Being more intentional about getting time together as a couple sans kiddos, we had to put it on the calendar. At the end of 2013, I added a monthly date night onto our Google calendar for the 3rd Monday of the month. (I wrote more about Marriage Goals in Action at Next Level Mama.) We haven’t planned the dates much beyond that point. Most of our date nights have been having dinner out (because we’re wannabe foodies), but we have stretched ourselves to be creative before, so hopefully we can vary things through the year. Any date night ideas?

January Date Night
For January’s date, Norm planned for us to go to a restaurant that was participating in Berkeley Restaurant Week. When we were living in San Francisco, we used to go out during Dine About Town, so it was great to hear that they have something like that in the East Bay.

I can never tire of sunset (or sunrise, but I need to wake up earlier for those) photos.

My date is illuminating. πŸ˜‰

If you know Berkeley, you know that parking can be just as crazy as SF on the busier streets. We found parking, but there wasn’t any other way to get to the restaurant besides walking with the traffic. Classy, I know.

The Place
Norm’s restaurant of choice was Joshu-ya Brasserie, which is evidently, a Zagat 2014 pick, as well as loved by Yelp.

If it wasn’t “freezing” outside, it would have been nice to be seated near the little pond.

Berkeley Restaurant Week restaurants have special prix fixe menus that have 3 courses for $30 (for dinner).

Have to document that the lights outside turned on. πŸ™‚

We had just ordered, and then we saw that Wendy Hagen was stalking me. Not really. They had just come from a basketball game, and someone recommended this restaurant to them. And they were celebrating her oldest’s 10th birthday. If you have no idea who Wendy is, you should really find out. She’s just a celebrity friend of mine. Again, not really. I just stalk follow her on IG. No, really, go stalk follow her too. She is real, and funny, and inspiring.

The Food
I suppose Norm will write up a review of the restaurant, and let you know what all the yumminess is about in the photos below, but for now, you just get to look. πŸ™‚

Getting ready to dig in!

Dessert

Every time our waiter came by he kept telling us that we were doing a great job finishing our food. He sounded super impressed that we had eaten so much. I’m not sure what to make of that. Thoughts? :p And also, we had a HUGE brunch with my family for dim sum, so we were actually super full when we got there. I guess it really was impressive that we only had a bit of food left at the end.

Us
And I guess this was the only photo of both of us…we weren’t even trying to get a pic of the both of us. We were trying to be sly and take a pic of the cool heat lamp thing outside with the flames going crazy. There were tons of people seated outside because there was a never-ending line out the door after we got there. Good thing I suggested we get there before dinnertime!

Overdue Date Night

Norm and I try to have a date night once a month. Sometimes, it’s dinner, sometimes, it’s dessert, sometimes, it’s both. Sometimes, it’s in-home with a DVD and snack. Sometimes, it’s a board game. We kinda like food, so that’s a typical date for us. πŸ™‚

It was an insane March, so we ended up going out for our March date last Wednesday.

Norm planned the date. He took me to Koyomi Japanese Cuisine. (Read Norm’s REVIEW here.)
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And we were going to go check out some glasses so that I can get a new pair (yes, we like to do practical errands like this on our dates :p and also I haven’t gotten new glasses in over a decade), but the place was closed. It normally isn’t closed that early, but there was a sign on the door that they closed early. Bummer.

We decided to head to Quickly for a dessert. Egg puffs, yum! Norm ordered something else, but they didn’t have the fruit part of it. :/ Bummer again. And I know you’re not tired of this pic yet, so here it is again! πŸ™‚
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Since I’ve been sick, and totally ruined Norm’s birthday (my words, not his…and I also ruined my own birthday with sickness), we will have to do something fun for our date night this month. Any suggestions? Remember…we like food. πŸ™‚

– Joyce

Date Night

Thanks to my wonderful in-laws we were able to enjoy a date night this week. We went to a new-to-us Japanese restaurant, and then for some dessert at Quickly’s. I suppose we will share more about this later when I get some photos uploaded…
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