Every year, I force my Hawaiʻi best friends to celebrate my birthday with me in as big and fun a celebration as possible (last year when we weren’t able to go out, we had a tea party-inspired lunch at Kaiʻolu’s house where everyone made me a different salmon dish!) and this year’s event for my early 26th birthday was a tapas-style dinner at 1938 Indochine! Over the years we’ve had multiple birthday picnics at the beach or at Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden (who doesn’t love eating lots of different foods outside?), but after the last few years of outdoor nature dining, I wanted a sit down dinner like my 2019 friend gathering! We all decided prior to Mikayla’s party two years ago that our birthday gifts to each other would be a get together with all of the foods and activities we love most and my early 26th was filled with exactly that. I actually made a reservation last month for my birthday dinner at Shingen (I absolutely love their udon!!), but when I called to confirm the time last week, their voicemail noted they’re closed until the 23rd of this month! I was saddened and struggled to find a dining spot that had any availability during the holiday season. Thankfully 1938 Indochine had a reservation available and we even had our own little booth that felt semi-separate from the rest of the beautiful restaurant. All of the dishes are priced between $12-20, which was in my budget and made up for the extraordinarily small portions! We ordered drinks—Mikayla and Parker had lychee martinis, Brandon got the smoking dragon, and I had a maraschino cherry lemonade along with five dishes to start—krazy fried rice, pan seared chicken dumplings, pork belly open faced slider, shrimp curry, and spicy lemongrass fries. All of the foods were absolutely delicious, albeit enough for bite sized portions, so we had to get another round of tapas including a second order of fried rice as well as the jidori chicken fry and colonial crab cakes. After a few more refills of drinks, we were full and happy and ready for dessert across the street. I loved each of the dishes we tried, but if you’re planning on having a meal here, be prepared to spend big bucks for small plates! For dessert we went to 7Gradi Gelato for the most delicious, creamy, and intensely flavored gelato I’ve had in a while! I ate a scoop of half dark chocolate and half toasted marshmallow and I thoroughly enjoyed both picks. I had the best early 26th birthday ever with my childhood best friends and I can’t wait for our next gathering!