The Smile

You know that moment when you are looking inside yourself and reflecting, and then your face smiles in reaction? I had that moment last night, seconds after saying goodbye to KL, a very good friend from my Tufts days.

KL and I go way back. In fact, she was literally the first person I met in orientation. I often wonder whether the two of us would have become good friends if we didn't meet the first day in school. It was good that we did. Last time we saw each other was in Boston, when she was visiting for a conference; that was probably 2 years ago. She used to be based in DC and is now in NYC... which is where I am now. I traveled to NYC for an interview with xxx consulting firm. Finished my last interview (for my MBA career!) this morning. As usual, could have done better on the case, overall decent interview, looking forward to hearing their assessment of me. Anyway, this post is not about jobs or interviews.

Once I knew I was going to NYC, I immediately pulled out the address book and figure out whom I should meet in NYC. KL was number one. We probably need three days to catch up but this was going to be limited to a meal. Sigh. On the brighter side, KL studied food (she was a nuclear specialist before - talk about career change!) in NYC. So I knew I could count on her to make the right reservations.

Damn, I can't resist to talk about food. I'll get back to the smile after talking food... which also brings a smile. I had requested Japanese sushi since Chicago has no decent yellow food and has no fresh seafood. KL recommended Sushi Yasuda; we made a 630 reservation and got there slightly late. This is what NYC does to people: I was worried that the snobby restaurant receptionist had already given our table (two week advance reservations... 630 was the only one left) to desperate New Yorkers who indulge sushi. Table still there. On to the food... hmm... how to put it? It was freaking great. Especially the sashimi. The tuna was great - and it kept me wondering about the fatty tuna. Here's the biggest difference between sushi in NYC vs. sushi elsewhere: NYC sushi places serve authentic sushi. None of that Dragon Roll crap. Not that fusion Japanese is bad, but they seem to have become the only sushi on Japanese restaurant menus. Not good times. Yasuda was back to the basics and very authentic sushi. I'm still thinking about the tuna sashimi.

Okay, back to The Smile. KL and I finished dinner and wandered over to Rockefeller Center to grab dessert. There were two restaurants that were in the basement that gave a lateral view of the ice skating rink. So we sat down, ordered two $15 whiskey (Irish, awesome stuff... KL knows her food and drinks, what can I say) and an apple strudel, and sat there and chat. Chat and chat and chat. Catching up is a funny thing: it seemed like yesterday that we sat down and caught up. So much has happened yet so little was missed... and so much has changed.

The details of the conversation would perhaps bore you; but for KL and myself, it was long due. Anyway, at the end, we both had to be places. I needed to sleep to be ready for the interview; she needed to be home. I walked her to the subways, gave her a big hug, and said goodbye. A pity we don't have more time, I said. Yes, but I'll see you next year, she replied.

And with that, a smile on my face as I headed towards the hotel.

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