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10:59 a.m. - December 08, 2006
Attack Of The Chinese Buffet!
Yesterday, Designerchica and I went and attacked the good local Chinese buffet here in BFE land. There are four Chinese restaurants here in this burgh, and the funny thing is for the longest time there weren’t any. When I moved away, there was one sit-down place, and now, there are four of them.

But we always go to the newest one, which is the best one. And we filled full. Urp!

My history with Chinese food is spotty. Because it wasn’t around, I never really ate it until I started working in the distribution center for a publishing company. I was taken to a buffet in Indianapolis, and well, there you go.

When Liz and I lived in an apartment in Indy, there was a local place called “Wah Wah” that gave you ginormous portions of food for a reasonable price. Their serving of General Tso’s chicken was enough for four people, and not four people who nibble and pick at their food either.

When I started working in Lebanon the local buffet was nice and big and had plenty of choices. Then I had another job near Speedway, and the buffet there was the place where the project managers all met to conspire and fret and moan.

Zionsville had a couple of Chinese restaurants very close to where we live. One of them was more of a sit down place – the prices were pretty high and the food was very garlicy and gingery. The other one always cracked me up. They gave you plenty of food at a good price, but the same people were working there day in and day out. No matter what time you showed up, they’d be there.

It definitely was a family owned business. The patriarch did the cooking, and he spoke very little English. The mother also was pretty limited in English – so the kids (who were at least 16 – I think – I can’t really tell how old Chinese teenagers are) did most all of the front counter work.

Every time, and I’m not kidding, every time you ordered for pickup, they’d say “Ready in five minutes.” I mean, you could order food for the Indianapolis Colts, and they’d say, “Ready in five minutes.”

So when I came on board at Wabash, I was disappointed in the local buffet. They had a decent sit down Chinese restaurant, but it’s not the same as a buffet, as you know. Finally, this one opened by Satan’s Discount Store, and…urp!

I always find Chinese restaurants have a bit of unintentional comedy in them. Mostly when they are labeling the American food they always put on the buffet. And when they say “Please Watch Step” – like any modifiers would be a waste of space.

Also, the menu that says “Any additional change charge .50” So the first change is free? (Speaking of menus, I think there’s only ONE menu for every Chinese take out restaurant in the country – I swear that everyone I’ve been to has had the exact same offerings. No fooling!)

Yesterday I noticed that you could get “French Fried”. (They were fries, but the question is “French fried WHAT?”) Also, on the way out, they posted the first few dollars they made and on them, with a sharpie, they wrote “Make A Big Money”. Hmmmm….

A good buffet has plenty of variety, but it should also have the old standbys. You need to have the white rice, and the fried rice and the sweet and sour chicken and the General Tso’s and egg rolls and all kinds of other goodies. But I’ve never understood why some buffets insist on American food as well.

I do realize that some kidlets won’t eat Chinese food – though Katie and Kristin love it. But it just seems weird to see mashed potatoes and gravy, or pizza, or even French fried fries at a Chinese buffet, when I’m ladling egg drop soup into my bowl. (Although, yesterday I did pick up a piece of garlic bread as well. I mean, if I was ever going to be executed – I’d ask for garlic bread as part of my last meal. And that reminds me of one of my favorite MST3K lines from Crow T. Robot – “I’d eat my own head with drawn butter”. Oh, this parenthetical thought has now a tangential offshoot, so I’d better close it now before I start discussion the Peloponnesian War.)

Buffets are dangerous as well, because if you only go up to the food area once, you feel that you’re not getting your moneys worth even if you piled on about 13 different helpings of all kinds of stuff and there’s at least three different sauces all over your rice.

Like yesterday – Designerchica had a very sensible opening salvo, with soup and dim sum. (“We had joy / we had fun / we were munching on dim sum”) Me, I had soup and well, um, I went at it heavy. My plate was straining under the weight.

I finished that plate, and of COURSE I went back for seconds. Sure, it was just more General Tso’s and rice, but man, I NEEDED to go back and get another plate. Else, I’d feel I was violating the code of the buffet.

Designerchica and I were gabbing and eating and eating and gabbing, and our plates were empty. Did we decide to call it a day?? Hell, no! Dessert called!

She found some sesame balls, and I went for the ice cream. Yeah, I know, not a very Chinese thing, but heck, it’s right there and yummy. Though they used to have popsicles, and I’d always get one of those red, white and blue popsicles and go back into the office and show everyone my tongue.

Have I told you that I’m actually 12?

Anywho, Designerchica also went for the ice cream, but she grabbed a dirty spoon. So she ate her ice cream with a fork. Ingenuity has served her well!

They brought us the bill and the fortune cookies. She had a lame fortune, but a good vocab word. I had a decent fortune, but my vocab word was for “painter” – which I don’t think I’ll be trotting out anytime soon.

The forklift came to pick us up We got up and left the restaurant, said our goodbyes and went back to work.

At about 2:30 I got a MySpace comment from her – showing a kitty face down in his food bowl. That’s EXACTLY how I felt. Whoever said that you get hungry an hour after eating Chinese never went to a buffet.

And you know, the more I think of it, my last meal should be a Chinese Buffet. All you can eat, of course. And I’d just linger and linger…”Hey, I really want some more soup. Let me try the hot and sour now…”

 

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