Ever since I was a young child, I’ve been somewhat of a “hoarder”. Not quite the packed-from-floor-to-ceiling, almost-buried-alive kind of hoarder, but more like one of those sentimental fools who can’t bear to get rid of anything…a “clutter bug”. I’m always keeping little things here & there from my childhood, calling them “collections” & whatnot, but what those things really are, are sentimental mementos eventually collecting dust as junk. This new “collection” of mine is slowly building, but at least they serve a function. I can actually use them around the house. They are drink coasters. I’ve got a tiny collection going, & I’m kind of proud of them. They not only serve a purpose, but they also show the places I’ve been to & the things I’ve done. Let’s take a look.

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Brew Dog beer is one of my all-time favorite brands of beer (originating from Scotland). I was very surprised to find one of their taprooms during my trip to Hong Kong earlier this year. I had a great time eating Shepherd’s Pie & drinking pints of their Hardcore IPA. I “borrowed” these 2 coasters as a souvenir to mark my 1st experience at a real Brew Dog Brewery taproom.

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Belga is an incredibly delicious Belgian-ish style restaurant in San Francisco. Every time I’ve eaten there (which is three times), I’m always blown away by the interior decor. The first time I sat at the bar counter, I fell in love with this drink coaster. First of all, I’d like to note that I am a big fan of typography & graphic fonts. The text on this coaster is so cool & perfectly matches the decor & taste of the restaurant. Secondly, I love the background. It reminds me of antique tiles, yet it’s still able to look simple & clean.

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I can’t, for the life of me, remember where I picked up this drink coaster. It was probably from one of the many bars I’ve frequented in or around the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m not too sure why I had chosen this drink coaster other than the fact that I’m an avid whisk(e)y/bourbon drinker & I like Tullamore Irish whiskey.

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Earlier this year, my family & I took a small weekend trip to San Diego. On our way home, Jian & I stopped by the Stone Brewing Co. taproom at the San Diego International Airport. Jian is a huuuge fan & avid drinker of craft beer, so he was over the moon when he saw that Stone Brewing Co. had their own bar at the airport. Since San Diego is California’s epicenter for amazing craft beers, I grabbed one of these drink coasters as a sunny souvenir.

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This is another one of those drink coasters where I have no clue where I got it from. Yet again, it must be from one of the countless bars Jian & I have visited in or around the San Francisco  Bay Area. This was one of the first drink coasters I’ve ever kept from a bar. Way back in the day, Jian used to like drinking Lagunitas Brewery IPA, so I saved this coaster for him. He doesn’t drink this beer anymore, but I still kept the drink coaster.

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Coedo Brewery is one of my favorite Japanese craft beer brands. While we were visiting Hong Kong, I happened to stumble upon the Coedo taproom while searching for restaurant listings on Yelp. (Yes, Yelp works just as well as Open Rice in Hong Kong.) After a long day of subway rides & walking in the hot humid weather, we enjoyed a few glasses of ice cold beer & Japanese izakaya snacks. I kept this drink coaster as another souvenir from my trip to Hong Kong. I love how the coaster says “Beer Beautiful”, & I love the font & simplicity of the design. That’s Japanese artistry for ya!

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Mortar & Pestle is one of the few cool, hip bars in my city. The mixologists who work there are always friendly & the cocktails are pretty tasty. I feel like I’m getting a slice of the San Francisco’s craft cocktail experience right in the downtown of my bland & quiet hometown. I saved this drink coaster because it had a recipe to one of the bar’s signature drinks on the back, & was hoping that Jian would be able to spin his mixology magic & recreate that drink.

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Last year, I attended the 150th Scottish Highland Gathering & Games in the Bay Area hosted by the Caledonian Club of San Francisco. It was an amazing & overwhelming Scottish (& partly Irish) cultural festival. I had so much fun sampling Minced Meat Pies & Scotch Eggs, & watching bagpipe teams perform. I also got to sample loads of scrumptious whiskies from all over Scotland. Two of my friends that went to the festival with me got to sample some Crabbie’s ginger beer, & they saved me this coaster. I don’t like ginger beer, but I saved this coaster anyway as a memento of the special Scottish & Highland festival.

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Gitane is a very special restaurant that will always hold a special place in the hearts of Jian & myself. This is the first restaurant in San Francisco that we frequented so often that we became “regulars”, & practically everyone knew us there. The Iberian food & the cocktails were so good at this restaurant, it kept us coming back for more. Not only that, but we built solid friendships with a lot of the mixologists & the general manager of the restaurant. Eventually, a lot of the staff that we became friends with moved on to other restaurants or open their own bars, & we followed them as friends & loyal customers. This drink coaster symbolizes our “golden time” spent at this restaurant, making lasting friendships.

One of mine & Jian’s favorite bars in the San Francisco Bay Area is ABV (aptly named after the phrase “Alcohol By Volume”). At one time, this bar had a city theme on their drink coasters. These 4 coasters were the only cities we were able to find &/or collect during the last time we visited the place. I was pretty excited about these coasters because all of the cities represented places I want to visit at least once in my life, & so far I’ve already been to Tokyo, Hong Kong, & New York City. I would seriously love to visit Ireland at least once & do a whiskey crawl. That would be epic. The best part about these drink coasters are the different ways to say “Thank You” in each region’s native language. Although, I don’t understand why they would use the Mandarin language for Hong Kong when their native language is Cantonese (& sometimes we get a little butt-sore over people mixing up our dialects). I find it utterly hilarious that NYC’s saying is “Fuck Off”.

Well, that’s pretty much it. This is the end of my blog post. I am seriously going to try & cut back on my collecting of random things next year. Really. I’m getting sick & tired of myself having to cram little knick knacks & tchotchkes into every drawer & buying more storage boxes. I want to simplify my belongings & really de-clutter my life, but until then, cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

“Always Something There to Remind Me” by Naked Eyes

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