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  1. August definitely has taken on the idea of a long slow march in terms of what to make for our 5 year old. Need to mix it up more! Counter space and my wife have been limiting my kitchen gadget purchases, as a consequence may have over indulged buying my son a new lunch box (Planetbox) and bag for kindergarten.
  2. Haven’t been recently but enjoyed our visits for the first few years after they opened up. Good luck in Baltimore!
  3. Depending upon when you arrive, it's still worthwhile to visit the old Tsukiji Fish Market especially early morning like 7-8am. Since this is a business trip, your Japanese colleagues may be interested in going out after work. Izakaya Alleys with 30-40 small pubs, bars and speciality restaurants are a great experience. Tabelog is a great resource for deciding on high end restaurants. However local places that don't take credit cards will usually have a higher quality experience. With the short nature of the work trip, just walking around Roppongi or taking a cab to Ginza 6 area will be visually rewarding experience.
  4. Tysons Corner, i.e. Gallows Road DMV's is the most easily accessible for a majority of Fairfax County. I helped my parents switch their Drivers Licenses to Real ID and yes, they had two trips because one of the supporting documents could not be used. My wife and I need to do it but like others mentioned, it seems to take 2-3 hours these days.
  5. I did some upgrades last summer. We added extra lower and upper cabinets while matching fairly close the wood color and granite counter top. Additionally we added back splash all around the counter space. For power, upgraded the smart outlets to add USB connections. Finally, took out the old track lighting and put in a drop down pendent Edison build light. It took about four weekends of work and since it was piecemeal we were able to keep using the kitchen for the most part. Since we were trying to add to the existing kitchen and it's design, feel like it worked out ok. However if the plan had been to remodel with new design elements would have preferred to do it all at the same time. Good luck with your decision and project!
  6. I've asked a couple of time when visiting and they said it was under consideration. Personally, always curious how they are doing in non lunch time hours since on the weekends, it's fairly half filled.
  7. We put in a Zephyr stainless steel hood as well a couple of years ago. So far it's worked well but haven't had to replace the bulbs.
  8. Wow going to Dino's in Cleveland Park seemed like a different life time ago. A great host and restaurant!
  9. Second, Teaism and Jaleo for nearby places to the mall for kids. Otherwise like going to Union Market downtown for easy access to a multiple of places. Near the Convention Center, Seylou Bakery and SUNdeVICH for sandwiches.
  10. Deviled eggs, small balls of mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and green peas. Ice cream for dessert. We ate all of this week's leftovers for dinner tonight!
  11. I've been mulling over how to write a summary of our recent trip to Japan this spring. Even though it was not our intention, we were lucky enough to visit in April near the height of the Cherry Blossom peak. It was quite beautiful to see and go on picnic experiences with local friends in different neighborhood parks. It was my first trip there visiting with my wife and our son. Traveling with a 5 year old boy was quite the adventure but overall it went well and he enjoyed all the places we visited but of course Legoland Tokyo the most. Since my last trip was almost 15 year ago, I was struck by overall how many more tourists there were everywhere. During the late 90s and early 2000s, the Yen was much stronger and perhaps that did limit the amount of foreigners visiting Japan. Additionally, it was quite challenging navigating outside the main tourist areas if you didn't speak or read Japanese at a functional level. Now that is not an issue as signs are bilingual and with smart phones there is almost no need to prepare to go anywhere until you are going out of data range. Talking with several friends, the Japanese themselves are struggling to find a balance between amount of foreigners visiting and the financial rewards. Amazingly, we saw large number of private tour groups in remote locations which even for Japanese are not common to visit! I would say overall Tokyo is one of the main food capitals of the world. However, as the highs have gotten much higher, the median has gotten slightly more mediocre. Simple quality things can still be found but requires more searching. The overall decline in fish quality worldwide probably is playing a significant role for example in Sushi restaurants even in Japan. Again it's still possible to be 'blown away' but now its higher up the price ladder whereas 15 years ago, quality was found at lower price points. Additionally, some of the refinement seems a bit lost as there is a generational switch, (several places I had visited before had closed shop, apparently unable to make that transition). There are things which are a good monetary value such as lodging. Outside of the major cities, 4 or 5 star hotels can be found for a couple of hundred US dollars a night. A lot of high end Japanese goods that would be used for gifts, etc...have come down in price. I didn't include any reviews of particular restaurants because overall going to the place down the street where you are staying will most likely give you a great experience.
  12. Unfortunately for my wife, Best Buns has opened in Tyson's, too. We've been able to limit our temptation to being in the vicinity of Shirlington but now the proximity will be a large draw.
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