my 2nd aunt decided she'd treat us to a chinese new year spring festival dinner tonight, since it was a rare day that wasn't snowing. my parents came by in the afternoon to pick me up and drop me off in belmont. i sat in the front seat so i could admire all the icicles forming from the gutters of houses. very few were immune, with some icicles big enough that it seems they'd break off a part of the house at any moment.

in belmont my father and i were shoveling out a path in the backyard so he could get access to the roof, which was buried in snow. on the shady north side of the house everything seems very quiet, but on the sunny south side, snow drifts had built up a pile of snow and icicles were dangling from the gutters. there was no danger of roof collapse (which seems to be all over the news these days), but the icicles and their ice dams could damage the gutters or worse. my father DIY'ed a roof rake using the end of a wide broom handle nailed to a blank of wood, all attached to a long aluminum handle he found in the garage (for cleaning pools?). as for me, it took me 3 trips, but i finally cleared out a path from the rear sunroom entrance all the way to the basement entrance.

approaching 6:00 we left for maki maki in allston, an asian seafood buffet restaurant. my parents and i arrived first, before my sister came with my 2nd aunt and uncle. it was $31 a head, but age 60+ get a $4 discount ($27), of which everyone in our party was with the exception of my sister and me. the place opens at 5:00 for dinner, so we got there relatively early. it was also a weekday despite it being president's day, so it wasn't as crowded compared to maybe a weekend night. we had a great table, right by the buffet counters, so we could see when they brought out the fresh stuff.

they had a good selection - but not as much as minado, another big asian seafood buffet restaurant in natick (but minaod is more expensive and farther away). the decor was similar though, and the food looked fresh and clean.

i'm a sucker for pretty food, and this place had a great selection of sushi rolls. but from my previous sushi buffet experiences, the worst thing you can do is to have too much sushi, because the rice portion can really fill you up fast. so i held off on the sushi until after my first plate of food, then i limited myself to how much sushi i'd take. on my last plate though, i went crazy, and picked up as much sushi as i could handle. the final piece of sushi basically had to be stuffed down because i was to capacity at that point.

apart from the sushi, i didn't have too much seafood. i had a few pieces of stir-fried chinese-style lobster, but i usually eat lobsters more for the novelty than actually liking the taste. they had king crab legs but i didn't get any because it seemed like a hassle to eat. i watched my uncle devour several legs, cracking and sucking out the meat inside, and it looked pretty disgusting. everyone was enjoying the endless supply of oysters; in the end i tried one with some tabasco sauce but i forgot the lemon so it tasted pretty raw.

my sister - who says she's gluten-intolerance but i don't believe her - asked one of the waitresses if they had any gluten-free soy sauce. "gluten what?" the waitress replied. i told my sister if she really wanted some, she could run across the parking lot to the star market next door. i didn't notice at the time, but she said at one point during dinner she had to go use the bathroom because of a bout of gluten-induced diarrhea.

in the end it was my father was in a rush to get home, feeling the onset of some seafood-induced digestive issues. my parents were going to take me home, but they asked if my sister could drive me instead, since it didn't look like my father would make it to cambridge and back. my sister took me on the long way, going in the opposite direction of harvard square to watertown, then back into cambridge again. i complained at first, but if you know anything about my sister, she doesn't take driving directions well, no matter how wrong she is. i just wanted to get home so i could watch gotham.