Halfway Through 2015! Update on a New Year’s Resolution

Wagyu beef with garlic chips and wasabi pepper sauce-- from new restaurant #30, Itoh by Nobu in Gora, Japan
Wagyu beef with garlic chips and wasabi pepper sauce– from new restaurant #30, Itoh by Nobu in Gora, Japan

6 months ago, Michael had a brilliant idea.  As 2014 rounded out, everyone was setting new year’s resolutions. “Lose 10 pounds! Don’t eat as much junk food! Finally quit smoking! Stop wasting money! Drink less alcohol!” Many of these common resolutions, while aspiring to to make oneself better, are framed in a way that is negative.

How can you expect to come up with a positive outcome if you start with a negative frame of mind? So, Michael’s new year’s resolution was a way to purposely frame a positive goal.  What was his idea? To visit 100 new restaurants in 2015. It would show him new restaurants, expanding his experience and hopefully discovering new favorites. This effort would also support these  establishments that are local to wherever he is, either at home or while traveling.

I’m not usually one for new year’s resolutions– why wait until an arbitrary date, if you want to change something? Better to start right away, even if it’s on some random date! But this resolution seemed like so much fun! So I adopted it as well and we’ve been keeping track of all our new restaurants.

Now, since the year is half over, I pause to reflect on how it’s going and share some highlights from our culinary experiences. As of June 29, we’re both at 49-50 new restaurants. Right on target!

  • Our trip in March to Japan was a great opportunity to go to new dining establishments. We didn’t count every meal, since for breakfast some days we stopped at a neighborhood bakery or just grabbed a bucket of fresh, beautiful Japanese strawberries. We also returned to a few places if we were exhausted from exploring– we went to Mos Burger at least twice, for instance.
  • Living in Honolulu, we have plenty of options. I’m sure that where a person lives would determine the scale of such an effort. A small town may only have a handful of restaurants. But the point of this exercise is to try new things and expand one’s horizons.  If there aren’t any new restaurants to try in the area, then maybe it’s more feasible to try new recipes at home!
  • This goal has helped to perk up my lunch hours at work. I bring my lunch about half the time, to save money and to use up leftovers. But when I know I’m eating out, it’s such a fun exercise to ask for recommendations, check out new reviews and try something new.

Of course, sometimes you’ll just want your old reliable favorite meal when you’re eating out.  And that’s just fine. 100 restaurants in a year equals about 2 new places a week. Plenty of time to also go to regular spots and cook at home! I’ve really enjoyed this process thus far, and look forward to the second half of our challenge!

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