Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ancient Chinese

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 9:28 AM

Last weekend I had the worst restaurant experience in years. Now, Carrington and I had bad food some months back at a place some of you hang out. But we weren't worried about our health.

The restaurant in question, a Chinese place, seemed unpromising but we went anyway to load up a tiny takeout carton (all-you-can-eat, really?). At least with takeout, they wouldn't know two of us were sharing it. I'd already paid the $9.50 (for that, we could have eaten Golden Coast's miraculous weekend feast) before I saw that the rice cooker was dirty as well as empty (so that's a plus, I guess) and the rice scoops were standing in dirty water.

Beyond that there were tired chunks of fried things, tired chunks of things floating in fluorescent sauce, undercooked frog legs.

And yet. The Szechuan pepper-salt shrimp were beautifully prepared and perfectly cooked. And a hacked chicken was nicely cooked and seasoned. The kitchen had made an effort at a delicate shrimp in egg white and cornstarch sauce whose name I don't know. It wasn't perfect, but it's an ambitious dish to even attempt for a buffet.

But the rest of the buffet was a mystery. Doughnuts, frozen pizza, roast potatoes, and white rolls, and of course, chocolate pudding on the saddest salad bar ever.

click to enlarge takeout_containers.jpg

So can you guess where it was? Or are there so many like it that you can't guess? And what rule of thumb should we use on our next Chinese excursion?

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