Happy Birthday, gb

We met in 2007 when I walked into the restaurant where he worked, and I was in love the moment I saw him. He was so shy then, blushing and looking away whenever I smiled at him. I’m shy about talking to guys, so it took a few weeks before we even started talking, and even longer before we started talking on the phone. When his parents went back to their country for a few months, he started coming over to see me. He comes from a country where they have arranged marriages, and he’s a lot younger than I am, so we agreed that we would hang out together until his parents came back. But when they did come back, he told me that he didn’t want to stop seeing me, so we kept seeing each other.

We ended up staying together for 4 1/2 years. We went through so much together in that time: he finished his second Bachelors degree and his Masters, his family opened and closed a restaurant, my uncle and grandmother died, and I went on Jeopardy. Despite the age difference, our minds were on the same wavelength, and we fell deeply in love. Yet we knew we could never get married. If he hadn’t been so much younger than me, he would have resisted his family’s expectation that he would have an arranged marriage, but the nearly 20 years between us was just too much. I finally ended the relationship because I knew I needed to move on and find someone I could have a real future with. It was devastating for both of us. I cried for days; he took it really hard as well, even though we knew it had to happen.

He always worried about me living by myself, so even after we broke up, we texted a few times a week. Almost a year after we broke up, he went back to his country to get married. When he told me he had found someone to marry, I didn’t take it well. I was finally forced to admit to myself that we would never be together. But as long as she was still in their country waiting for her visa, I could forget that he was married to someone else. She finally got her visa and came here in June. Just before she arrived, I told him that we shouldn’t text each other any more. As much as I wish I could be with him, I don’t want to cause any problems for him, and I’m sure his wife doesn’t want his ex-girlfriend around.

Two and a half years after we broke up, I’m still trying to get over him. I’ve never had such a connection with someone, and I doubt I ever will again. He’s one of the few people where I care more about his best interest more than my own. I trust him completely, and I know I’ll never find anyone like him. So on your 32nd birthday, I wish nothing but happiness for you, my dear, sweet, wonderful, loveable, huggable, kissable gb. Ma timilai maya garchu.



Restaurant Review: Umami Global Bistro

After a few false starts, I finally made it to Umami in Catonsville. The first time I tried to go there was on a Monday. Guess which day they’re closed? Yep, Monday. It seemed like the only time I ever thought to go there was on a Monday, so it took a few weeks for me to get there. I finally went this week, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Umami is tiny, seating about 20 or so inside and a handful outside. A pair of pretty screens divide the seating area from the entrance, but otherwise the decor is sparse. The menu has the usual Mediterranean offerings: falafel, kabobs, hummus, and gyro, along with a handful of Indian dishes. You order at the counter and find a seat, and the food is brought to your table. (I’ve never quite understood that system. The person brings the food to your table and cleans up, so why not just order at the table? Are you supposed to tip the same as in a sit-down restaurant? It just seems like an odd hybrid.)

Anyway, I ordered baba ganoush and the lamb kabob platter, along with iced mango chai. I had just gotten myself settled when the food came. The baba ganoush was delicious: garlicky and smoky, it was served with hot naan and would have been enough for an entire meal by itself. The kabob platter consisted of chunks of grilled lamb, seasoned basmati rice, salad, and more naan. The lamb was tasty, although it and the rice were a little spicy. The dressing for the salad was an unusual blend of oil and vinegar and something else that I couldn’t place, some sort of greenish puree. It wasn’t as vinegar-heavy as some vinaigrettes, and it complemented the salad nicely. The mango chai was refreshing and came with free refills. My bill came to $21 plus tax, and there was enough left over for lunch the next day.

So would I eat there again? Yes, indeed. I’d like to try their hummus and kefta kabob, and the Indian entrees sound good. If you’re on Frederick Road in Catonsville, give Umami a try!

Umami Global Bistro, 712 Frederick Road, Catonsville, MD 21228  http://www.umamibistro.com