With the nice cool weather, came a bit of boredom. The great outdoors which is a typical playground for my kids (more so my younger kids, but mostly all of them) failed miserably in providing some of the entertainment they needed. So, around dinner time with limited prospects for excitement before bedtime. (This is discounting the viewing of the troubled and uneducated southerners found on “Honey Boo Boo”.) we went on a very limited adventure with the simple goal of getting Chinese food. To make sure no one would be bored while waiting for our food, we all grabbed our books.
After wandering through a couple of speed traps, we made a right at the light as we neared our most tastebud-tested Texas Chinese restaurant. (My Ohio Chinese restaurant has still had quite a few more visits. While in Ohio, we had not yet discovered texmex or guac.) But, just north of the restaurant (the insides of which are “dive-like”, so our meal was to go), we realized the Whole Foods we had watched transform the old strip mall was finally open. And, since distraction was the purpose of our adventure, we promptly found a parking space with our name on it. As we walked in, the girls are getting excited. The produce greets us as we enter the door. The purple pepper (my oldest daughter claims she had a dream about one the other night) found its way into the cart, as well as a couple of pluots. As we wondered the bulk foods bins, they started to drool and throw their previous favorite bulk food store under the bus. (Whole Foods did strike us as a cross between Trader Joes and Sprouts.) They liked the variety available, the in-house bakery, and the quirkiness of some of the stocked items. They made a few comparisons to Sprouts, but I think they were able to realize both stores had their strengths. The wood burning stove with pizzas on display at the front of the store/restaurant also left a very positive feeling. After finding out during checkout the store had opened the previous week, we paid our bill. I am sure the girls will lure me back for another visit. And, when we go, they will have a list and not just impulse shopping.
As we piled back into the car and stowed our bag of groceries, I took full advantage of the rather lengthy strip mall. I wondered through the hole parking lot to get to our dinner. I took a quick jog on a side street and avoided the main road as I went into the back entrance of the purveyors of General Tso’s Chicken. (RiceKing) The parking lot was sparse, empty in fact. And, the locked door confirmed what we feared: if we did Chinese tonight, it would be trying out the wok skills of someone new. We less enthusiastically took our seats as we resumed our dinner adventure. I thought of another Chinese place that was too far away. The girls seemed okay with whatever–they had trail mix and some funky whole grain graham crackers to focus their minds on. As we neared Dad’s favorite “default” restaurant of choice, we look to the left in a different strip mall and saw what “could” be out previously dismissed producers of wok-wonders. The ONE car in the parking lot did not bode well, but the pangs of hunger drove us to the front door. After a few seconds, we were greeted by an Asian gentlemen who immediately apologized for his inability to serve us. It went something like this…(to properly picture, be wearing no glasses and squint to the point where you cannot see. When repeating his statements, be very animated around the mouth-overly accentuating the corners of the mouth.)
“I so sorry we cannot serve you food. Many people miss our food very much. We be open very soon. Two weeks we be open. (holding up two fingers) Please come back then. We very happy make food for you.”
We likely will be back. His command of the wok is better than his command of English. And, his command of English is far better than my command of Chinese (if that is his native tongue–definitely Asian) The girls and I again found our seats. Before we pulled out and headed to Chick-Fil-A, I had to do a poor impression of our would be restaurant host. I love that the girls will laugh at my efforts.
We “settled” for chicken sandwiches and a shared large waffle fry. My girls are easy to please. They drink water, and do their best to keep the bill down. I will miss them the next few days as my wife works her 80 hours of birthday for her dad. (She took bells in her checked in bag to play happy birthday on.) I like a new adventure, but I like it especially when I can share it with a couple of young ladies I can affectionately call “my girls”.