San Antonio| The Saga | San Fernando Cathedral 

It’s Downtown Tuesday in San Antonio today and I’m sharing one of my favorite downtown sights with y’all. On pretty much any weekend night and Tuesdays, in the Main Plaza of the San Fernando Cathedral, you’ll stumble upon a crowd gathered to view a video art installation on the Cathedral. There’s always amazing things to do in this city. San Antonio The Saga is a beautiful must for residents and tourists, and it’s free!

  

  

Created by artist Xavier de Richemont, you will see his interpretation of the history of San Antonio and Texas. This show has been projecting on the Cathedral front since 2014. It shows every Tuesday, and weekend nights. Runs almost half an hour long, with start times of: 9 PM, 9:30 PM, and 10 PM. Again, this is one of my San Antonio favorites, and anytime I’m downtown around the show times, I’m there. So if you’re downtown on one of these days go check it out! 

XOXO,

Sydney Charming 

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Taste New Orleans: Day 2

Catching up on some sleep was nice, but there’s so much to explore! Up and at ’em, rise and shine, wakey wakey or whatever cheese morning phrase you’d like to insert. For me, but first coffee. Jesse set an alarm so we could wake up early enough to make a run over to Cafe Du Monde. This  was by far my favorite day of the whole trip.

9:30am we were dress for the day and walking through the lobby to start exploring for the day. We passed Quang who also happened to be wearing a fedora, so I yelled across the lobby “hey, one fedora per crew.” Yep that line from Workaholics, but no one watches it, so I was the only one laughing. He was getting back from an early morning run around the town. Our day 2 adventure was just beging. As we made our way, we passed so many people dressed in white and red that just finished up Running with the Bulls. It was about a 15- 20 minute walk from our hotel, when we arrived at the famous Cafe Du Monde.

Photo Credit: Quang Tran

Whoa the line was so long! Jess estimated it was about an hour and a half to two hour wait to be seated at a table. We double checked our schedule and noticed the steamboat we were going on for lunch boards an hour earlier than we thought at 11am. It would have been a tight squeeze but then Jess remember there was a take-out line that would probably be shorter. She walked around and found it while I was waiting in line. Sure enough, there it was take-out and cash only. I scurried on over and it took about 15-20 minutes. Got an iced Café Au Lait and an order of fresh hot beignets.

We decided to cross the street to Jackson Square, sit on a park bench and enjoy the scenery, while we indulged in our beignets. Our plan was to tour St. Louis Cathedral, before we had to meet the rest of our group at the Nachetz steamboat, for our jazz cruise on the Mississippi River. I didn’t realize how messy eating powdery beignets could be on a warm windy July morning. Powder sugar everywhere! Finishing up and cleaning off, we had to go straight to the boat to board.

We definitely didn’t get the memo, to arrive extra early because people were already boarding and there was still a very long line. We took turns, one of us standing in line, while the other checked-in and picked up their ticket from the ticket office. Thank goodness it was located right in front of the boat’s loading dock. The rest of our group met us in the dinning room. We purchased lunch with our tickets, and indulged in delicious fried catfish, red beans and rice, and mashed potatoes with brown gravy. Our host, Gina, was phenomenal! She gave us plenty of good tips for the rest our trip, and helped the birthday girl celebrate.

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

After we finished eating, we explored the boat, listen to some live jazz music up top, and relaxed. We went back to the dinning room to escape the heat towards the end of the cruise. Some of us decided to head back to the hotel, to get some sun around the pool. Three of us decided to stay out exploring. One of my friends, that had been to New Orleans, suggested to check out Magazine Street. I told the other two about it, and did a quick google search and were set. Before we got off the boat, we decided to sit back and wait until majority of the people got off. After a about 20 minutes, we made our way off.

We made our way off to a bizarre sight. A train had stopped blocking everyone from leaving the dock area and crossing back into the French Quarter. People were actually climbing the stopped carts and crossing to the other side. We waited about 15-20 minutes and it finally got started moving and cleared the way.

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Next, we hopped on a bus and took about a 15 minute ride to Magazine Street. While were on the bus, a young hipster couple gave us a few recommendations. So much to see and taste! We wondered into a costume and vintage store called Funky Monkey. Goofed around trying on silly hats and picking out some funky outfits. We spotted a Buffalo Exchange, and came to the conclusion, that we’d lookup all their locations to find all the hipster city destinations.

After browsing and wonder through a few more stores and art shops we found this place called Balcony Bar. The couple from the bus recommend it. Thank goodness there was Air Conditioner! We were sun drenched and needed to cool off. We made our way upstairs to sit on the balcony, but realized there wouldn’t be air conditioner out there. So we decided to take a seat a the bar up stairs. To our surprise, they had pretty much all local brews on tap. We had them pour us up a round, and we got to talking. Before we knew it about an hour and a half of pretty deep heart-to-heart conversations passed between the three of us. Then we realized we needed to get back to the French Quarter for our Haunted Tour

A little frantic, scurrying and we found our bus back, and made it just in time for the tour to start. The rest of our group already made it there. We did the 4-in-1 Witches, Ghost, Vampires & Voodoo Walking Tour by Witches Brew Tours. I highly recommend them, and if you can get the tour guide that goes by the name Skip. He was pretty fantastic! A little different approach, very honest, real, and threw in some interesting history behind the places we visited. See if you can spot any ghostly images in the pictures I took. Some of the stories included, having dinner with a ghost, a captain haunting a balcony, Jacques Saint Germaine the vampire, Marie Laveau, and Madame LaLaurie.

By the time our tour ended, we realized we had to get back to the hotel ASAP to get ready for the Birthday dinner. Then, with a little more re-evaluating our situation, looking at a GPS, and Uber prices we realized, we could just walk to the restaurant and get there early. A few decided to run back, yeah I’m not that athletic, and stayed with the group that walked to the restaurant.

The reservations were for Cafe Amelie. Since we were about 45 minutes early, we decided to find a coffee shop near by. Well, we didn’t have to go far at all. Next door, is Petite Amelie. Coffee, Wine, beer, breakfast, brunch, and lunch. I guess quick casual gourmet meals, or as they say, “cuisine rapide.” They have the best gumbo!!! (It’s also the same gumbo from Cafe Amelie

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

We checked in for our reservation, and our table was ready. Dinner in the famous romantic courtyard. Everyone that was back at our hotel eventually arrived. Everyone order a different glass of wine and we had our own wine tasting fun. I ordered the Two Run Farms Lamb Meatloaf: cucumber tomatoe salad with tzatziki on brioche. Delicious! Great flavor and portion size. Enough to make you full but not too much that you’ll have to get a to-go box.

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Über back to our hotel to shower and change for another night out on the town. A little bit of drama with who, what, when and where we were going but cleared up and headed to Frenchmen Street. On our ghost tour, Skip, told us of a terrifying legend. The Axe Man, apparently was a serial killer, hacking whole households throughout New Orleans. He wrote a note to the city Newspaper saying that he liked jazz music. Gave a time of 12:15pm with a warning that as he was passing through the city, if he strolled passed a house hold not playing jazz music at 12:15am, he would murder them. So back to our night out on Frenchmen Street. We made sure we were listening to jazz music at 12:15AM. Had a blast hopping from bar-to-bar dancing and goofing around everywhere we went.Towards the end of the night, we decided to head to the casino, Harrahs.

We split into two Ubers, and our’s arrived first. Walked in, for my first time ever in a casino! It was vibrant, noise and fun. We headed to the middle of the casino, where there was a dance floor and Dj. The rest of our friends arrived and we continued to dance the night away. I think we got back to our hotel around 4 AM. Very long and amazing day exploring New Orleans.

This mini vacations was definitely an experience to remember. Traveling with big group that had a vast array of personalities was very interesting. I learned more about myself and the way I handle situations with different personality types. Put those communication skills to work. As I’m getting older, I still use the Golden Rule, but I learned occasionally to get things done or for your own peace of mind, you just have to be direct, honest and not worry if you move forward with or without everyone. Anyone else ever have a vacation go exactly as planned? We all know that’s a rare beauty! Stay tuned for Day 3’s bizarre turn of events that made me really sit back and think about common courtesy, being an adult, and all the crazy racism finger pointing that’s been the media’s lasted two news frenzy. Below are some more pictures from Day 2 and for more information on all the fun places we went, I posted blue links throughout the article.

Photo Credit : Quang Tran

Photo Credit : Quang Tran

Photo Credit : Quang Tran

Photo Credit : Quang Tran

Photo Credit : Quang Tran

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit : Quang Tran

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

Photo Credit: Jessica Davis

This Is My Confession

Big girls don’t cry right? If only that were true! So I wrote about PMDD in The Fear of Falling Apart II, and how it can bring me to tears. Of course, life must go on, and I can’t let it define me. Even though I can be in an incredible amount of pain, sometimes I have too much going on to stay crying about. How do I pull myself together and look put together?

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Let me introduce you to my best friend for that, Confessions of a Concealaholic by Benefit. The current kit I have was a little dismembered by one of my Godsons that wanted to color.
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It’s s adorably packaged like a diary. Inside, there’s a mirror! Perfect if you’re using it on the go.
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There’s also a booklet, detailing how to use each product, creatively written like journal entries.
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My knowledge and use of make products is not very vast, but this takes me from a blotchy-eyed mess to a glamorous bright eyed beaut.
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My questions for y’all:

Has anyone else used this fabulous miracle? What did you think?

Any other recommendations?

8 Central Texas Day Trips For Kids

******Wow! The first time I posted this summer fun list was two years ago. Now these two munchkins are teenagers going into high school! (They are also both taller than me!) So far, every summer, they still ask me to take them on at least one YO Adventure. *****

First Day of a new school year is less than a week away for most Central Texas schools. There’s still plenty of time to take your family on a few adventures! The past two years, majority of my spare time was spent adventuring Central Texas with my baby Sister and Godson.

Catherine and Dominic are just about the same age, just a few months apart. As they we coming into their preteen age, they started developing the own attuides. So, to get them out of the house and back down to earth, I started taking them on day trips. Dominic is fan of Drake, and around the time we started these adventures “Y.O.L.O.” was a popular phrase. While taking pictures of our trips, they started posing as a “Y” and “O”, calling them “YO Adventures.” Aren’t they cute?

Well here’s a list of a some of our “YO Adenventures” in the Central Texas area. Most of these places are inexpensive and only need a day to conquer! Don’t forget to pack bug spray, sunblock, and stay hydrated. Have fun and use  #YOAdentures if y’all post pictures. Our instagram is  @YOAdventures

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Jacob’s Well: Wimberley, TX

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Enchanted Rock- Fredericksburg, Texas

*hiking

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Glass Bottom Boat Tours -San Marcos, Texas

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McKinney Falls State Park – Austin, Texas

*swimming, hiking, and camping

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Canoeing – Austin, Texas

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Kayaking -San Antonio, Texaimage
image Fiesta Texas – San Antonio, Texas

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Sea World – San Antonio, Texas

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Barton Springs – Austin, Texas

Taste Texas: Castroville: Haby’s Alsatian Bakery

A deliciously delightful Texas must stop, Alsatian bakery on the drive home. I’ve mention plenty of times before that I am from the city of San Antonio, but my Mom’s family’s hometown is D’Hanis, Texas. Located slightly southwest of San Antonio, a beautiful Texas country side drive down Highway 90. 

 Some thing else I may not have mention, I went to elementary school outside of the city, in the first charming small town going down 90, Castroville. St. Louis Catholic School, now we’re talkin’ real small town, schooling. When I attended, there was only about 100 kids in the entire school. So one class of about 15 to maybe 20 students for each grade level. Yep, I had the same classmates every year. Well, one of my favorite Texas bakeries, was just down the street and around the corner from my school. (Actually, everything in this town is basically down the street and around the corner.) 

    

Last week my Mom and I were driving through town and stopped by. We ended up sparking a petty good conversation with the friendly staff and customers. “The meat market down the street, Dzuiks, how do you pronounce the name?” Everyone pronounced it differently. “The ‘D’ is silent.” “No, the ‘Z’ is silent.” “I’ve always pronounced it with a ‘J’ sound.” I guess next time I’m passing through I’ll have to stop by for some deer jerky and ask the staff. 

 Haby’s Alsatian Bakery! Castroville is a French-Alsatian settled town. Founded by Henri Castro, in 1844. A lot of the original settlers from Alsace, influence is still visible today. Haby’s has an assortment of fresh baked pastries. So delicious, light, fluffy, and sweet. They also bake cakes for every occasion. Oh, the oatmeal raisin cookiesare my favorite! 

 

Taste Texas: San Antonio: Casa Rio

It’s the Riverwalk. It’s family. It’s delicious Tex-Mex food. It’s tradition. What else do you think of when you hear someone mention San Antonio’s Casa Rio? 

My mouth waters, my stomach hungrily grumbles, I feel all warm and fuzzy and I think of the countless memories eating there with my family.  I’ve mostly eaten on the patio, so I picture those iconic vibrantly colored table umbrellas along the river walk. Centrally located, it’s so easy to find. Commerce, “you know right by that big red sculptor, but go down stairs along the Riverwalk.”  If you’re from San Antonio you probably given directions like this.  My grandma and I usually order the Regular plate: “A Favorite Since 1946 – Cheese enchilada, tamale, chili con carne, mexican rice, and refried beans.” Did you read that? Do you see the picture? It’s so much food! Oh glorious Tex-Mex food!

The restaurant was established in 1946. Making this one of the oldest restaurant and businesses on the Riverwalk. They host private events and with their historic space and catering. They even have river barge dinners. Next time your on the Riverwalk of San Antonio, stop by enjoy the atmosphere with some delicious San Antonio Tex-Mex and maybe a margarita while the mariachis serenade you.  

Visit Casa Rio

Discover Austin Texas: Mt. Bonnell

Super bowl Sunday, Fierce the dog and I went hiking around Mt. Bonnell. What a spectacular view. We succeeded in finding Fierce new trees to pee on at new heights!

Taste Texas: Houston: Bellaire: Cafe 101 & Hong Kong Dim Sum

Just before my 27th birthday, I decided to visit some of my best friends in Houston. I love that they love to eat delicious food like me!

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I arrived Friday night and within 30 minutes I was on The Wave. It’s a shuttle bus service that’s $15 per person. They will pick and drop along their routes. Since my friend’s place was along their routes we called and scheduled our picks and drop offs. It was a party inside, with black lights, music, and a pole.

The rest of the night was spent, celebrating another friend’s birthday at Gloria’s with VIP bottle service and salsa dancing. Well, mostly dancing. We’re all about the same age and just about in the same places in our lives, and don’t find it fun getting drunk and having a hangover.

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Since none of us woke up with a hangover, we were up early and ready to eat. My friend Trish decided to take us to Cafe 101 in Bellaire. First, it’s gorgeous inside, I’m biased cause my favorite color is purple. Purple and silver detailed decorated wall and seats. If it were after sunset, it would definitely have a romantic atmosphere. We went for lunch so the atmosphere was fun and energetic with top hits music playing.

imageTrish and Darvin ordered the kimchi hotpot, and a side of the spicy salmon sushi roll. Dante ordered the Shitoki mushroom hotpot. I ordered Singaporean noodles and also side of the spicy salmon sushi roll. The hotpots had a great flavor. Stir them around and you’ll find a few chunks of bone. Now that’s what gives the soup stock a rich flavor. The Singaporean noodles, were glass noodles in a light yellow curry sauce with chicken and shrimp. Just enough curry to get it a hint of a little kick but not too much to over power the dish. Mhmm! Oh, and don’t forget the spicy salmon sushi rolls. Whew, they were good and spicy. Glad I also got some Thai Tea with tapioca pearls to cool that down.

imageSince my birthday was coming up, we got all dressed up in pink and went out to Midtown for the night. Started at Drinkery and danced a little bit until everyone else met up with us. Then headed to Red Door. Upstairs was fun not so crowded and great music to dance and sing-a-long to. (When I go out I really don’t care much for drinking. I just love to dance!) We checked out downstairs but it was way too crowded. Being squished against a stinky, sweaty stranger attempting a bad dance move and spilling most of your drink on yourself or the person next to you is not my idea of fun. Thank goodness we headed back upstairs really quickly. Dance, dance, dance! About 1:20am we decided to leave early, pick up a few pizzas and go back to Trish’s and play a game of Cards Against Humanity.

Wake up flawless, just kidding, but it’s nice to have a great time out with some best friends and not having any drunk drama or wake up with a hangover. Again since we were all up relatively early, we decided to have a Dim Sum Sunday! Back to Bellaire we went. Hong Kong Dim Sum is a pretty tiny restaurant with a long line outside. The way it works to get a table, you tell the hostess how many people are in your group and they give you a number for a specific table that can fit your group. So basically, you’re waiting for the group already sitting at that table to finish. We got table B7, so of course when they called our number, Dante yelled “BINGO!”

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The menu is mostly pictures and they give you an order list that you write down the number of dishes you want. We ordered a total of 14 dishes. Man, I love Dim Sum Sundays! Sticky rice in tea leaves, chicken feet, bao, beef spare ribs, crispy shrimp balls, shu mai, hagou, oh my! I don’t even remembers everything we ordered. It was all scrumptious. Nothing had a freezer burn taste, which happens occasionally, at other dim sum restaurants. So good and priced pretty well. Splitting the bill between the four of us it was about $20.00 each.

With a full belly and happy heart I got back on the road to Austin. I adore and cherish these friends, Trish, Annie, and Angela & Todd, I love y’all. So happy and blessed to have friends that actually care about how we’re all doing. I don’t get to see and catch up with y’all often but when I do, it’s like no time has passed. I think Trish said it best:

“true friends are hard to find. I’m happy I can pick up a phone and call you and it was like the conversation never stopped. As we get older we realize it is less important to have lots of friends and more important to have real ones.”

Small Business Saturday: San Antonio’s Historic Pearl Brewery Shops and Montage

Black Thursday/ Friday chaos has finally ended. While most people are now eagerly awaiting Cyber Monday, yesterday was the annual Shop Small Business Saturday. I am so happy I got to spend the day in my hometown, well, city of San Antonio, Texas.

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The first half of my day was spent with my baby sister and the RowdyRoady Grillers, cheering on the UTSA Roadrunners Football team. They defeated North Texas, 27-34! Go Runners, Birds Up, and Congrats! Also congrats to the Rowdy Road Grillers landing a spot in the tailgate of the year competition. Even though they didn’t win this year, their grilling so delicious and juicy, it won on just their food for me. Also, shoutout to the UTSA Marching Band, loud and clear. Oh sweet music to this former band nerd’s ears. Woodwinds, Brasses, Percussionist, and Color Guard y’all were all fabulous.

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After the winning game, my sister and I decided to take a stroll on the grass or turf. The audience was invited down for a Fan Walk, once the players were cleared off the field. Then we headed back to the Rowdy Road Grillers for some more of that fantastic grilling before taken off.

Once our tummies were stuffed and happy again, we headed out to The Historic Pearl Brewery. Our goal? Ice cream. Where? Lick. There was a little bit of a long line but it only took about 5-7 minutes until we were at the front of the line.

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Lick Honest Ice Creams started in Austin, Texas. It’s actually just about two blocks down the street from my place. Since I’m usually busy working I rarely get to go. When I’m home, in San Antonio, I love strolling around the Historic Pearl area. Their ingredients are from local farms, and dairies around the Austin area, making their ingredients fresh and so yummy. I indulged in the “Texas Sheet Cake,” and “Pecans and Cream.” My sister, who rarely explores food outside of her comfort zone of hot wings, and pizza, tried “Roasted Beets and Fresh Mint,” and “Sweet Persimmions and Sage.”

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We wondered around, and while passing One Lucky Duck, I was tempted to run in and grab a “Berry Blue Shake”. It has blue-green Algae which is considered a super food because it’s packed with proteins, essential vitamins, amino acids, and antioxidants. Probably a great after Thanksgiving meals purge shake. Since I already filled up on ice cream, I decided to pass. I’ll be back!

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The last shop I went into was Adelante Boutique. It’s definitely charming, and chic. I walked in and thought “can this place just be my closet?” I would pin everything in there to my pinterest. Picked out this cozy cute gray and cream colored sweater with 3/4 sleeves. I tried it on and big mistake, cause it fit perfectly! So soft, cute and cozy chic, but out of my budget for now. Again, I’ll be back!

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Since we were in the area, I decided to stop by Montage Vintage. I found out about them through Instagram. They are a vintage up-cycle clothing boutique. Walking through I couldn’t just skim through and pick out one thing here or there. Pretty much every piece they have is unique and oh so glorious. I just had to look at every thing! Chandeliers, rustic frames and mirrors, made my hipster senses tingle with delight. I really wanted to pick up one of their “Francis Felt Fedoras in camel, I had seen on their Instagram account, but they were currently sold out. The theme of the evening, I’ll be back! I ended up picking up one of their “basic beanies” in gray and “knit beanies” in a maroon color.

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What a great day back home! I definitely encourage everyone to take the time shop small business when ever they can. These are gems you’ll treasure forever. Topping off my evening, a majestic sunset.

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Komé: Austin

Komé

I haven’t written about places in Austin. Last weekend some friends were in town visiting from Houston. They were craving eat ramen, so by recommendation we went to Komé. Restaurant

We arrived around 9:30pm Friday night, without reservations. There was quiet a bit of people waiting. They said it was about a 30 minute wait. I don’t think it took that long at all. We were starving so I didn’t pay too much attention to the time. Although, after we were seated no one came to our table for about 10 minutes. It was a busy Friday night. We stopped a waiter that was walking by and he quickly apologized and offered to take our order. After that our service was pretty great. Our glasses of water never went below halfway.

We were surprised to find out ramen was only on their lunch menu. Oh well, the choices looked delicious and pretty well priced too. I love eating with my Asian friends, they understand family style eating aka ordering courses and sharing.

We all started with seaweed salads.(apologizes for the dim lighting in the pictures)

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Then worked our way to the awesome Komé French Fries “Ao-nori salted French fries with a side of honey-wasabi aioli for dipping.” Excuse me while I wipe up my drool.

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Next only two of us ventured to indulge in some Iidako (Baby octopus skewers) delicious!

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Then we ordered about five different sushi rolls. I recommend all of them!

*Crunchy Dynamite Roll “Sushi-A-Go-Go original spicy tuna, avocado, sesame seeds, tempura flakes”

*Spooky Roll “Fresh salmon on top, spicy tuna, avocado, Go-Go sauce”

*Austin “Tuna, krab salad, avocado, sesame seeds, eel sauce”

*Eel Box “Unagi on top, krab salad inside, eel sauce, sansho pepper”

*Longhorn Roll

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My tummy and taste buds were delightfully satisfied.