Shiro’s of Japan vs. Sakura – Farmingdale

Last night  Laura and I went on a date night. We had bought a Groupon for $25 for $50 worth of food at Sakura in Farmingdale. Here is my comparison with Shiro’s of Japan:

LOCATION…LOCATION…LOCATION
– Shiro’s is located in Westbury, while Sakura is located in Farmingdale. Shiro’s is more convenient if we are going from our house, say on a weekend or day off. Sakura is more convenient if we are going after work. Sakura is located on Main Street (just south of Hempstead Tpke./Conklin Street/Rt. 24). Took us half hour to get there because of traffic on Rt. 110.
Push, just depends on when we go

RESTAURANT / ATMOSPHERE
–  Parking: Sakura has two entrances, one in the front off Main Street and one in the back accompanied by a small parking lot of 10 spaces close to the door. There is also the big public/municipal parking lot. Shiro’s has a huge lot in the back and the one entrance up front off Old Country Road. Shiro’s also has about 5 spots closer to the door, so in essence the parking situation is virtually the same.
Push

The eating area at Shiro’s is a lot bigger than Sakura. Sakura only has 5 hibachi tables, compared to Shiro’s 13. Both seat 8 people. The hibachi grill at Sakura was seated lower than the eating surface. Sakura did have more regular table you could eat at. We got there at 6 on a Tuesday so there was no issue getting a hibachi table as there was only one other group at a hibachi table. Half way through our meal a few other groups of 2 and 4 came. It was too late for them to join our table so we had the whole table to ourselves. I would recommend making a reservation if going during prime dining time. Shiro’s always recommends a reservation, as they are the best and are always busy 🙂
+ 2 Shiro’s

The service was just as good as Shiro’s. Service really depends on the wait staff and chef. Each has their own style so you can’t really judge based one experience. Everyone at Sakura is super friendly and polite. We must have heard “Thank you” at least 20 times. Shiro’s has impeccable service as well, except for that one guy who just seems cold.
Push

THE FOOD
The Menu was pretty much the same, can’t really tell if one had more options or how the prices compared on other items, because Laura and I only order one thing, CHICKEN TERIYAKI. The hibachi chicken teriyaki comes with soup, salad, vegetables, 2 pcs. of shrimp and noodles. Shiro’s gives your 3 pcs. of shrimp appetizer. This didn’t bother me because I only eat one, Laura was miffed at this though.
Push

The drinks were reasonably priced. Laura stuck with water and I got an iced tea which was I believe $1.5. The glasses were about the same as Shiro’s.
Push.

The Onion soup was eh. There were slices of mushroom in the soup, which I didn’t like. Shiro’s doesn’t have mushroom in their soup. Sakura’s soup was a little different tasting. Shiro’s soup is tolerable to me, Sakura’s isn’t.
+ 2 Shiro’s

The salad is pretty much the same. Sakura’s ginger dressing was a little grainy for me and was not as impressive as Shiro’s either.
+ 1 Shiro’s

The Chicken Teriyaki entree was very comparable to Shiro’s. Both start you off with grilled vegetables which include zucchini, onion and mushrooms. Sakura had broccoli and carrots, which is a plus for me since that’s all I eat, vegetable wise. + 1 Sakura. You also get the shrimp appetizer. Shiro’s gives you 3 shrimp, Sakura gives you 2. This didn’t bother me because I only eat one, Laura was miffed at this though. So we will say + 1 Shiro’s.

We always get the white rice so we can’t really comment on the fried rice. Again we always get the white rice so can’t give a + 1 to either and I believe the amount of rice is the same for both so push on the rice.

Sakura makes their chicken teriyaki with the teriyaki sauce mixed in with the chicken. This I do not approve of. I like to be the controller of my own chicken’s fate in the teriyaki bath. I also do not think we got enough chicken teriyaki sauce on the chicken. I am sure you can ask for more sauce, which I was going to do, but didn’t. Therefore the edge goes to Shiro’s, + 5 Shiro’s (yes, I gave it a + 5 because well, they give you a perfect amount of teriyaki sauce or use during dinner and to pour on after when you take the leftovers home). Shiro’s leftover also hear up much better as I said you get the sauce on the side so you can pour extra sauce on leftover before getting packaged up.

Both places provide noodles with the entree. Both noodles were comparable to me, Laura seemed to like Sakura’s better as then had more flavor. I’ll give Sakura a +1 for Laura, and Shiro’s a +2 for me 🙂

On the plus side neither of us got sick like at Benihana’s so that a huge plus for Sakura. We both determined we would both revisit Sakura if other’s would like to try, but we would prefer Shiro’s any day of the week.

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Goodbye Long Island City….Hello Long Island

After being unemployed for just under a month, I finally got an interview at a company in Long Island City. The position was call Analyst Programmer – ColdFusion. This offer seemed like a great opportunity, and was 20k more than my previous job, so I accept the offer and started on November 11th.

First let me give you a break down of the different commute route I took here:

The first week I took the 7:18 train from Merrick to Jamaica, then took the E train to Jackson Heights and transferred to the 7 train to 33rd and Rawson, then I would have to walk 2 blocks. This commute was so annoying because I had to transfer twice to packed subways.

The second week I took the 7:18 train from Merrick to Hunterspoint Ave and transferred to the 7 train back to 33rd and Rawson. This commute was slightly better because I only had to take one subway, and since this train was going Queens bound the train was pretty empty, so I was able to sit. I did however still have to transfer at Jamaica, and there was no guarantee of getting a seat on either LIRR trains. Plus there was the fact of having to get off at Jamaica and wait in the cold for the Hunterspoint Ave train.

Coming home the trains where the same both subways were pack when I was going back to Jamaica. When leaving from Hunterspoint Ave, I had to change at Jamaica and wait about 10-15 minutes for the Merrick train, again no guarantee of getting a seat.

One day coming home on the 5:29 out of Hunterspoint Ave, I heard the announcement that this train stops at Jamaica and Hicksville, and blah blah blah. I gots to thinking, and looked up how to get to and from work using the Hicksville station. Wouldn’t you know there is a 7:08 train out of Hicksville that goes directly to Hunterspoint Ave, that’s right, NO CHANGING AT JAMAICA!!! This change in commute cut a good hour round trip out of my commuter, make this commute slightly more barely. I still have to walk 2 blocks in the freezing cold and, while you may be thinking, “suck it up pussy,” but I HATE THE COLD!

Anyways, onto the job, I was all excited to start on November 11th, despite the commute, however things began at a very slow pace and didn’t change much. I’m not sure if this is just a slow period or if there is really nothing to do. I think I probably did about two to four days of actual work in the month that I have been here. I became very bored and did not think this was helping the advancement of my career. So, when I was contacted by a recruiter about a PHP job in Melville (much closer to home), I told her I did not want to take off work if this company was not really considering a beginner level PHP developer for hire. She said that they are very interested due to my programming background, albeit in ColdFusion. I went on the interview on December 11th and two days later they made an offer. Same salary and closer to home, no brainer right? Not necessarily, both they and I were concerned about my lack of PHP experience, they wanted to know if I felt confident enough in my ability to pick up and get caught up to speed with PHP in a month.  I said if I was working with the language everyday for a month I would feel confident I would be able to get familiar with PHP. I’ll admit I am still a bit nervous about this, as I do not want to be out of a job again after a month. I am set to start on January 2nd. 🙂

It seems like they hired people who they feel will mesh well with the staff and those who are looking to grow with the company. I like this about them. I am not saying things are different at the job I am leaving, because its not, they have people who have been here for at the most 30 years. That is crazy dedication to a company and a company to their employees. I found this out at the company holiday party where they gave out awards for employees with years of service in multiples of 5 (5, 10, 15, etc…). Those of you who know me would say, “That’s perfect for you, you love multiples of 5” and to that I would say, “you are right, but I think this new job is a better opportunity for advancement.”

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Ummm….hello?

So it’s been 6 months since my last post and a lot has happened since then.

Quick synopsis:

  1. My company (well former company) moved into the city in August
  2. Then they decided to let me go at the end of September, right before Laura and I were set to take a vacation (I know bummer right). Read about it here.
  3. Laura and I got engaged (on that vacation, stay tuned for a post about that, so I guess it wasn’t a bummer after all).
  4. After a month of unemployment, I landed a new job, in Long Island City.
  5. After a month of doing barely anything at that job, I found another job closer to home in a new language and I am excited to start there and learn something new.
  6. Two months after returning from our vacation, we booked our church and venue.

I am going to make separate post regarding 1 & 2, 3 & 6, and 4 & 5, so check back soon, like very soon.

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Good Bye Long Island…Hello New York City

August 15th – Moving day for BigBuzz Marketing group. We were told a few months back that the company has decided to move it’s offices to New York City, the heart of the the marketing/advertising world. Long Island was just not cutting it for this small agency, and a new location seemed like the best solution, at least the owners thought so.

Many of the employees had other opinions. Considering this was a Long Island agency all but 1 employee resided on Long Island, and even she was not thrilled about the move. While yes the office would be closer to her house, I believer her commute was relatively the same, and she missed her car. Despite the relocation all but 3 of the employees move into the city with the company.  

Thursday, August 15th, we had to break down our work stations and prepare for the moving company to pack up the office and load the truck. The truck was set to transport our stuff into the city and stay over night. The original plans was for everyone to show up to work on Monday, August 19th, to a surprise reveal of the new office…that plan did not work out, as one of the owners said this would be ridiculous and said we were to report to the new office on Friday, August 16th and help set up your own work station. Most of us got there around 8:30-9 and stayed til about 3, after setting up our workstations and getting the network up and running.

Monday, August 19th, was another interesting day as there were still some kinks and issues to iron out. After a week or so we we  fully up and running.

Fast forward to a month later…Monday, September 30th, After giving 110% to the company with the move and other stuff, I was called into my bosses office and informed that, there is just not enough ColdFusion work coming in to keep me on. They are focusing more on PHP and APP development, and “as much as I hate to do it” he had to let me go.

At first I was upset, frustrated, and frankly P.O.’d…but after getting home and thinking about it, it was a blessing in disguise. I haven’t gotten a raise at BigBuzz since I start in 2010, stuck at 45K annual is some Britney Spears initials. It was time to move on to bigger and better things. [See future post titled “Back to Work on Long Island”]

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Tour de Cure – June 8, 2013

June 8, 2013 – Peconic, NY

On June 8, 2013 I participated in the Tour de Cure, a fundraising bicycle ride to aid the research in finding a cure for diabetes put on by the American Diabetes Association. I decided to do this ride because my neighbor passed away this past October, unexpectedly from complications with diabetes.

There were five different mileage levels you could ride….5, 20,40, 62, 100 miles. Since 5 miles is way to short and I was not ready for a 40, 62 or 100 miles ride yet I went with the 20 miles ride. Next year I am going to train for the 40 or even 62 mile ride.

This was a great day overall, after the fear of rain it turned out to be a beautiful day for a ride. It was not too hot, not too cold, not to windy. Even with putting sunblock on my face, I still ended up with a Rudolph nose. The back of my neck, legs (calves) and hands. Yeah , the back of my hands got sun burned, go figured.

This is my new bike, Trek Verve 1. I bought this hybrid bike specifically for this ride. My old bike was a Huffy Mountain bike.  That bike was so old, rusty, heavy and the gears didn’t shift correctly, so this was a much needed purchase.

Trek Verve 1

This the 20 mile ride route. Took me and my neighbor Christine aka “Teeny” just under 2 and a half hours (we took our time and made a few rest stops). Click the image below to view my Strava entry.

Tour de Cure - 20 Mile Route

This was my bib number. Since I raise the minimum required fundraising fee of $150 before May 20th, I was able to get my name printed on the bib.

Tour de Cure Bib number

This is route sheet we needed to use so we didn’t get lost.  There were really only 4 turns are we went in a big “rectangle”

Route info

This is the participant T-Shirt we received after the ride. After the ride we were also provided with a nice filling BBQ (hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken, salad, drinks, etc…)

Participant T-Shirt

We were required to wear a helmet in order to ride, which was good because we were riding on a very busy road. This is my new helmet, side view.

Helmet

This is my new helmet, front view.

Helmet - front view

This was the best thing I ever bought for this ride (aside from the bike). It’s the Nishiki Warwick 100 oz Hydration Pack. There is a bladder pouch (shown below) that holds a 100 ounces of liquid. In case you don’t know how hydration packs work, you wear it like a back pack and when you are thirsty you, bite the mouthpiece and take a sip. Amazing so you can  keep two hands on the wheel and take a drink. I drank about half of it throughout the course of the day…so I am glad I got the 100 oz instead of the 50 or I would have been thirsty.

Nishiki Hydration Pack

Nishiki Hydration Pack Bladder - half full after the ride

Nishiki Hydration Pack Bladder - 48 oz left

 

If you would like to contact in regards in how to join me next year use the form below, or email me if you know the address:

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Shiro’s vs. Benihana

Friday 2/22/2013 – Laura and I went on a date night, so we decided to finally try Benihana and see how it compared to Shiro’s of Japan.  We are going to share our comparison with you guys to enjoy:

LOCATION…LOCATION…LOCATION
Westbury, NY – Both restaurants are located in Westbury, NY. Shiro’s in located right across from the Olive Garden on Old Country Road. The have their own huge parking. Benihana’s is a little closer and located in the Bed, Bath and Beyond parking lot. + 1 Shiro’s

RESTAURANT / ATMOSPHERE
The waiting area in Benihana is is nice however Shiro’s is a lot bigger. While Benihana has a bigger bar area, there is more room to stand around in Shiro’s. + 1 Shiro’s

The eating area at Benihana’s was a lot bigger. They had 16 tables that sat 11 people. That’s 3 more than Shiro’s and 2-3 more tables. However the table was huge, there was a good 12-15 inches from the edge of the table to the grill. While this might seem nice and like you have more room, it makes you feel disconnected from the chef and the food. + 1 Shiro’s

The service was just as good as Shiro’s. Service really depends on the wait staff and chef. Each has their own style so you can’t really judge based one experience. There were a ton of birthday’s that night (two at our table). When we first got there the wait staff started singing in English, then we thought, what the heck no Japanese version? But as we experienced later they were just explaining that they were going to sing the Japanese version and were explaining how to clap along. Unfortunately we will almost definitely not be visiting Benihana’s again so we would be able to elaborate more on the service, therefore this is a push.

THE FOOD
The Menu was pretty much the same, can’t really tell if one had more options or how the prices compared on other items, because Laura and I only order one thing, CHICKEN TERIYAKI. Push.

The drinks were reasonably priced. Laura got a white peach sake sangria which was a decent sized glass for $8. I just had a soda which was I believe $3.25. The glasses were much bigger than Shiro’s and it was complimentary refills, + 1 Benihana’s. However, I didn’t finish it and they didn’t have sweetened iced tea. + 1 Shiro’s. Benihana did have Ramune Japanese Soda. I don’t recall if Shiro’s had Ramune or not so we will say + 1 Benihana’s.

The Onion soup was eh. There were slices of mushroom in the soup, which I didn’t like. Shiro’s doesn’t have mushroom in their soup. I feel like Benihana’s soup was littered with mushrooms. Shiro’s soup is tolerable to me, Benihana’s isn’t. + 2 Shiro’s

The salad is pretty much the same except Benihana’s salad has shaved radish in theirs which is gross. Benihana’s ginger dressing was not as impressive as Shiro’s either. + 1 Shiro’s

The Chicken Teriyaki entree paled in comparison to Shiro’s. Both start you off with grilled vegetables which include zucchini, onion and mushrooms. The chef did ask if anyone wanted the mushrooms instead of just grilling them, but that is not enough to give them a + 1, considering I can just tell them no thanks, or give them to the misses. You also get the shrimp appetizer. Shiro’s gives you 3 shrimp. I couldn’t really tell how many Benihana’s gives you because they (or at least this chef) chopped them up. I think I got about 4 chopped up pieces which I believe would equal 2. Here’s the thing I kind of like the fact the shrimp was chopped up, made it easier for a non-shrimp lover to eat, but I believe Shiro’s gives you 1 more shrimp so we will call this one a push.

We always get the white rice so we can’t really comment on the fried rice, only thing I can say is Benihana’s makes their fried rice with chicken, I believe Shiro’s if pork fried rice. Again we always get the white rice so can’t give a + 1 to either and I believe the amount of rice is the same for both so push on the rice.

Benihana’s makes their chicken teriyaki with the teriyaki sauce mixed in with the chicken. This I do not approve of. I like to be the controller of my own chicken’s fate in the teriyaki bath. I also do not think we got enough chicken teriyaki sauce on the chicken. I am sure you can ask for more sauce, which I was going to do, but didn’t. Therefore the edge goes to Shiro’s. + 5 Shiro’s (yes, I gave it a + 5 because well, they give you a perfect amount of teriyaki sauce or use during dinner and to pour on after when you take the left overs home.)

It gets worse. Behinana’s does not, I repeat DOES NOT, give you noodles with your meal. OMG ARE YOU SERIOUS?!? THAT’S LIKE ONE OF THE BEST PARTS OF THE MEAL. I feel the noodles and the extra teriyaki sauce give Shiro’s left overs (which I always have) excellent re-heatablity quality. I feel Benihana’s leftover would not taste very good reheated, however we will never know because I left them there. + 25 Shiro’s (Yes the noodles are worth 25 points.)

Worst of all Benihana’s did not have a pleasant effect on Laura’s stomach. She did not feel well once we got home.
– infinity for Benihana’s + infinity for Shiro’s

As I said we will not be revisiting Benihana’s ever again on our own omission.

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Crazy Sunday

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Beer for tailgating: $14
Tolls: $20
Section 111a – 4th row – 35 yd line – Giants sideline – huge comeback win: PRICELESS (literally with free tix)

Thank you BigBuzz Marketing Group

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