Cupcakes, Guns and Sushi

As a small group of us polished off the last delicate morsels of our delicious dinner at Uchi this evening, I was reminded by my dining companions (albeit very graciously and gently) that it's been almost four weeks since I've made an entry to my blog. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Erin summed it up nicely: "The name of your blog is 'The Adventures of Pink Hair' - just because you've finished your trip doesn't mean you've stopped having adventures!" She's so right. I haven't stopped having adventures for even a moment - I work hard to make my life occur that way. It's just that I haven't been making the time to write about my adventures and when I stopped to think about it, I realized I've been missing it something fierce.

So, to bring you up to speed, much like the cheesy flashback sequence at the beginning of a movie, here's a quick pictoral summary of notable events having occurred in the interim.
At the beginning of September, Erin put together a phenomenal feast of healthy culinary delights to help Shawn celebrate his having lost over 100 pounds! (Wahooo, Shawn!):
My wonderful dentist, Mike Lessner made me some purty new teeth:

Mark dyed a bit of our dog Terri to match my hair:

And Brooke and I just concluded three whirlwhind days of attending the Austin City Limits Music festival.

. That's the quick recap for the past couple of weeks, but today it turns out, represented an excellent point at which to push the button and resume regular playback speed, because it included cupcakes, guns and sushi.

You see, today was my birthday, and while that's certainly no big deal, I find that I'm very, very lucky it creates the opportunity to do extra special things with some of the people I love. And I was very, very lucky.

After a leisurely morning sipping coffee and piddling around the back yard in the cool almost autumnal air, Brooke and I set out on some errands around town and landed at one of my favorite coffee shops, Dhaba Joy (adjacent to the wonderful all ages toy store, Toy Joy). The reasons to visit Dhaba Joy are numerous, but the one to mention here is this: real buttercream icing. This ain't no half ass Betty Crocker in a can icing or grocery store sheet cake shortening laden frosting abomination - no siree - this is real icing made with real butter. Butter and sugar. Sigh. I chose the German Chocolate cupcake on this visit and it was even better than I had ruminated about all morning, a pert little cake with a fluted chapeau, sitting confidently on a brightly colored plate. I savored every bite, experiencing the decadent pleasure that comes from allowing a dollop of deliciously flavored butter to dissolve in the warmth of your mouth. Go ahead. Try and pretend it doesn't sound heavenly if it makes you feel better, but DAMN it was good! After I finished my admirable confection, Brooke and I spent a few minutes exploring the colorful and glittery recesses of the treasure trove next door. Brooke had already quietly selected a number of fabulous trinkets to surprise me with later while I was busy licking the last smears of icing off my spoon, so we didn't stay long before heading back to the house to get ready for my next treat.

Late in the afternoon, Erin came by to pick me up and take me to Red's Firing Range for some target practice. How good a birthday treat is that, squeezing off a few rounds with your girlfriend before the cocktail hour? Erin arrived to pick me up dressed to the nines, complete with classic black skirt, heels, lipstick and trademark pearls. She looked so very pretty! I opted for the skull and crossbones frock to transmit a certain air of toughness and resolve.

Since I hadn't really shot a gun more than once or twice, the nice fellow behind the counter at Red's picked out a dainty little .22 revolver for me to cut my teeth on. "Got to learn to crawhl before you ken ruhn" he told me comfortingly. Even though his curiosity seemed to be nagging at him as evidenced by the sideways glaces he shot me periodically (this according to Erin - I was busy concentrating on the gun) he patiently and nonpatronistically explained every single thing I would need to know in order to load and shoot the gun. He sent us off with a fond, "Now you ladies have fuhn!" as we headed off to pick up our ammo and safety equipment.

Erin selected a 9mm semiautomatic, impressively large and businesslike compared to my cute little iconic shooter. As she popped off a few rounds, blazing hot brass casings came flying across the back of my booth, richocheting against the dingy concrete walls. To my right, two wide grinning fellas took turns squeezing the trigger of a gun that must have been designed to produce basketball sized holes in the sides of aircraft carriers. Every time one of them shot, it produced a shock wave that I could feel pass through every single cell in my body. It was so cool. The two of them seemed to be pleasantly amused at finding themselves shooting targets next to Pink Hair and Dottie the Gun Babe. Erin said while I was busy giving my target what for, she heard one of the clean scrubbed fellas turned to his buddy and say, "Well, I think it's about time we left for church now." I love Texas. I really do.

I would imagine there are a few of you who are by now becoming a little uncomfortable with the notion of someone knowingly giving me a live firearm and encouraging me to shoot. I would just like to take a moment and say, don't worry - they only gave me little tiny bullets.

As you can see from the photo above, what you should be more concerned with is how accurately I shoot. Only winged the sonofabitch twice - the rest of the time, I meant business. Tee hee!

Erin and I finished shooting our ammo, settled up with the arms dealers and then headed back to the house to fetch Mark so we could proceed to what I consider to be one of Austin's very finest restaurants: Uchi. Dave and Dan met us there and we all chatted and enjoyed the fine autumn evening as we knocked back some delicious saki on the front patio.

We soon settled at our table and spent the next several hours savoring the genius of Tyson Cole, Uchi's executive chef. I've heard a lot of blah, blah, blah about fusion cuisine over the last years, but the food at Uchi is the real thing. It's all about interesting food relationships that you don't normally see bed down together. For example: Maguro (tuna) sashimi with goat cheese, cracked black pepper, Fuji apple and pumpkin seed oil (as seen at left). Simple but ingenious, perfect in balance and texture. You'll just have to take my word for it that this is the sort of food that can make you cry when you're PMSing. I closed my eyes to concentrate on what I was eating at least five or six times during the course of the meal. It is just such amazing food. Another dish we all shared that we loved were flounder wings (!), fried to a perfect crisp, napped with the flavors of cantaloupe, honeydew, ginger and wasabi.

After draining the last dregs of coffee from our cups and mopping up the last bit of desserty goodness from our plates, we made a final stop at the relaxing and beautiful patio out in front to sit and smoke and reminisce before parting company for the evening. A perfect denoument for a perfect and beautiful and lucky day. Thank you cosmos! Love, Shiree.

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