These short, two-minute episodes feature 26-year old office worker Murasaki Wakako and her after-work culinary excursions. One side dish shines per scene, and is always accompanied by an alcoholic drink, usually sake. Personal favorites of mine include salmon with crispy skin, Japanese fried chicken, and fresh clams and herbs in broth. Watching Wakako with her simple orders reminds me that while I love to try out new places and foods, I don’t always have to order full courses. Sometimes just one flavor profile is all that is needed. This is particularly true after a long day with coworkers and clients–that heaviness shouldn’t be weighed down even further by dense foods. And while eating with others brings its own joys and unique tastes, sometimes a party of one is exactly what a busy day in the office calls for. Wakako has mastered the confidence to sit and dine alone to give her full attention to the meal at hand.
After spending many hours in the office staring at a computer screen or talking on the phone, most often the last thing I want to do after work is stay downtown. I usually jet off as quickly as possible through the horrific Seattle rush hour to get home, eat dinner, and unwind. Lately, work has felt even more stressful with increased business–great for the wallet, but not so great for body and soul. So I just yesterday got together with a few of my coworkers for happy hour to drink, dine, and release our pent-up frustrations. It wasn’t until walking away with a full stomach and the warmth of a crowded restaurant and alcohol in my blood that I realized that I actually felt relaxed. It was like a gigantic weight on my lungs had shifted and I could breathe a bit better through the night.
Unlike Wakako, these types of excursions are a rarity for me. There’s also a lot less of a precedence for solo dining where I live–almost all restaurants focus on parties of two or more. Working out a schedule for others to casually stop by for a single drink and dish takes time and effort and I usually can’t be bothered to be the one to organize. I wish there were more available locations like the many izakaya featured in Wakako-zake for office workers like myself to sit alone at the bar and unwind after a stressful day instead of taking it home with me.
Happy Hour with Coworkers – 8/21/15
The aforementioned happy hour was enjoyed at Seattle’s RN74, a tribute to the French Route Nationale 74. Not pictured was my drink, a glass of 10-year Laphroaig single malt Scotch on a single, large rock. The coolness was refreshing after the seats filled and the temperature kicked up to an uncomfortable degree.