It was early morning, probably around 11:30am, and I was in the garage listening to Ram Jam while cleaning my piece. I had been drinking the holiday eggnog that was about to go bad. It’s usually good for about 60 days after the date on the bottle.

I held up each gallon jug in front of my face before consuming the life force contained within, and watched as the various separated layers slowly swirled together resembling Jupiter’s centuries-raging storm, the Great Red Spot.

I popped the cap and hoisted the plastic outlet to my mouth. This particular nog seemed to have a cream top. A bit slimy, with earthy notes…it was superb. To be honest, I have no idea what vintage egg nog is supposed to taste like. It’s like wine. No one knows what it’s supposed to taste like, either, but everyone knows the older the better and that the really good stuff comes in convenient plastic containers.

I heard Mr. Harada’s footsteps coming down the stone staircase which leads into our multi-supercar garage deep within our sprawling compound. The telltale click of his tap shoes reverberated off the fine white marble that encapsulates the entirety of our luxurious domicile.

He performed a bombershay, several buffalo and a spank step and dropped a ribbon of fax paper into my lap.

I wiped the egg nog from my face and sucked the cuff juice from the sleeve of my utility tuxedo.

“Take it easy, Harada,” I said. “I told you not to disturb me down here; and that last spank step was a bit much.”

Mr. Harada did a jump click into a Cincinnati, finishing with a gorgeously executed Maxie Ford.

“So, it is… serious. Fine, I’ll read it.”

Indeed the gravity of the missive was substantial. It was a message from one of the powerful men who we occasionally work for. His consigliere wrote that they were pleased with our recent work and wanted to discuss further opportunities.

Mr. Harada and I had been doing capers for them for some time. They seemed to find the shenanigans entertaining. We were going to be given more responsibility and more territory. The consigliere wanted to meet at Original Joe’s to discuss the details.

The problem is that Mr. Harada and I will never be “made” in San Jose. To do that, one would have to be 100 percent proper San Jose. We did a lot of work with the pure bloods, but in all honesty, I’m a Southie from Branham and Monterey. Mr. Harada is even worse, a Japantown hustler with a bit of New York Bedford genes.

“I dunno,” I shrugged. “What do you think, Harada?”

Mr. Harada tiptoed to our Aston Martin Lagonda and popped the trunk. He pulled out some vintage ice skate blades and started to strap a pair onto his tap shoes. The weather was unusually cold, and I appreciated Mr. Harada’s intrepid spirit. I strapped the other pair onto my patent leather sandals and pushed the garage door button. The strained howl of the door chain was a splendid chorus as the door rumbled open.

I lined up with Mr. Harada at the aperture that is our garage door frame. We looked down the driveway, which we designed to resemble a high-jump ski slope. Mr. Harada queued up “One Night in Bangkok” by Murray Head on his MP3 player and handed me the left earbud.

I sang the chorus as we performed an ice dance down the steep slope, caught some sweet air, and continued on toward Original Joe’s. Unfortunately, there was no ice that day. We dragged the steel skates towards our destination, with rooster tail plumes of sparks behind us.

We arrived to Joe’s glistening with sweat, like demi-glazed gods. I fluffed up my hair, straightened out my tie and scraped the dried nog off my sleeves. Mr. Harada polished the tips of his tap shoes on the back of his calves. You don’t have to get all fancy at Joe’s, but we respect the place, so we made the extra effort.

Joe’s was busy, as usual. The place has been in San Jose since 1956, and traces its roots back to the Barbary Coast days of San Francisco. As a direct descendant of Emperor Norton the First, Mr. Harada was more delighted than usual to bon and vivant at the establishment.

The interior is splendidly adorned in the late mid-century style, with exquisite large-format vases elegantly interrupting the groups of comfortable booths that fill the majority of the interior at Joe’s. The vases are antiques from San Francisco. Some say they came from an ornate movie theater, some say they came from the World’s Fair exhibition, and others… well, they know how to keep their mouths shut.

We spotted a gilded hand gesticulating, waving us over from one of the booths. It beckoned with a laissez faire confidence that lets one know that you might soon become either a lucky diner or the main course. We made our way to the booth and sat down. The consigliere who invited us was enjoying a cocktail while dipping bread in marinara sauce.

“Boys, boys, boys, so glad you could make it,” He ejaculated from his bread-filled maw as marinara dripped down the corners of his lips.

Mr. Harada squinted deeper with every “boys” the consigliere uttered.

Things got a bit too hot before I could intervene. I was busy too trying to get in on that bread and marinara situation to notice Mr. Harada reaching for his holster.

The thing about the Harada is that he takes a lot of guff. He takes so much guff, some speculate he’s the inspiration behind, “Waiting for guff, man.” So, you wouldn’t expect him to reach for his holster. I should have known better. He’s put down a lot of people. He’s done serious business.

That night, Mr. Harada got real nasty with the consigliere. He reached for his holster and produced a disgusting passport. That’s right, Mr. Harada always carries his sweat- and beer-soiled passport in a worn-out holster. He opened it to the page that had his photo, and eagerly tapped the line that showed his birthday.

The consigliere nodded respectfully, “Okay, I get it. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to use the word ‘boys.’ So now, ‘gentlemen,’ what can I get you? It’s on me.”

We scanned the voluptuous menu. Some of the greatest hits include the steaks, the raviolis, the burgers, the Joe’s special and old-school sandwiches.

Joe’s is a classic West Coast steakhouse. L.A. has Musso and Frank, San Francisco has John’s Grill and San Jose has Original Joe’s. These are truly American venues where the portions are superfluous, the flavors are designed to overwhelm a mouth tempered by whiskey and cigar smoke, the prices are costly but fair, and the staff treats you like family.

Our server, Chris Landon (a man who looks like something a Disney artist may have drawn to fulfill the “perfect waiter” character in an animated feature) cheerfully and briskly took our orders. Mr. Harada had half an order of mostaccioli, the consigliere ordered the burger (extra rare, like the bloodthirsty thug he is). I opted for the calamari strips. There were also several orders of drinks and condiments. We got some really high-end stuff. Top-shelf ranch, marinara and mustard all around.

We guzzled and chowed down like the piglets that we are. Each calamari strip that I came in contact with was a perfectly breaded and exquisitely fried bite of ecstasy. It crunched like a Grateful Dead jam sesh, and delivered a confident snap with each bite. I am a calamari expert, and the stuff at Joe’s is in my top 5.

After all the crunchy grooves the calamari bestowed upon my palate, I wondered how Mr. Harada and the consigliere were doing. I gazed into their eyes and registered a level of gastronomical satisfaction nearing a comatose state. They stared at me vacantly. Their brains were lacking the blood that had been rerouted to their guts. They both burped and chuckled. I envied their perfect state of mind.

Some people look to yoga, meditation, exercise, community service or nootropics to achieve the fleeting state of perfect elation. I saw euphoria in the eyes of Mr. Harada and the consigliere. As I looked around, I saw the same look among the others dining at Joe’s. All were overwhelmed by the food, drink, service and atmosphere to the point of delectation.

I can’t tell you where your happiness begins, but if you have a bon or vivant bone in your skeleton, you have a good chance at finding it at Original Joe’s in San Jose, California.