Today I’m beginning a new weekly feature on the blog: What’s For Lunch? Wednesdays. Every Wednesday, I and my coworkers will go to lunch, and then I’ll tell you about it. Sounds absolutely FASCINATING, right? (The intent is that we’ll go to interesting places, and make profound and witty observations. The other intent is to give me something to blog about.)
My partner in this is Joel Hiller, who is also a fiction writer (and is the marketing writer in my department). I thought Joel would be a great addition partly because of his writing background, but mostly because Joel is an extremely picky eater who hates everything. (He also has a blog, which you can read here.) (Below, Joel is posting in the italicized blue.)
So, without further ado, I give you the first edition of What’s For Lunch? Wednesdays, featuring Chinatown Wok!
More like “Wok this way,” amirite?
As far as me being a picky eater, it’s all a matter of perspective. If you like to fish half-eaten hot dogs out of the dumpster at the ball park, more power to you. (I’m not saying Rob does this, but I can’t conclusively say that he doesn’t).
So, my first impression of the place was that it was clean, and by “clean” I mean, “devoid of people.”
I should probably point out that we work in West Valley City, which is a cultural wasteland. This is the city where I had to purchase a book at a Sears because there were no other bookstore options. Consequently, our dining options are somewhat limited. We’re going to avoid chains—our intent is to always go somewhere we’ve never been before—but it’s not like we’re strolling Barcelona’s tapas bars here.
As far as the lack of culture, I must refer you to the question of whether zero is a number.
Once we had entered the restaurant and established that they were in fact open for business, it was time to check out the menu, which for some reason was split between the sign overhead and the small papers taped to the front of the counter.
I ordered the lunch combo. To set the scene: imagine you’re ordering a lunch combo at a Chinese take-out place. It was like that.
My two entrée choices were Moo Goo Gai Pan (because I’ve always heard the name but never ordered it before) and the NYC-Style Teriyaki Chicken, because I was very curious to see what made it NYC-Style. I mean, I’ve eaten a lot of teriyaki chicken in my day, but never the way big-city folk do.
In a fit of creativity, I too selected the combo. But I decided to be daring (here defined as “eating familiar items”) and go with the General Tso’s chicken and sesame chicken. I always eat General Tso’s when given the chance, because I figure it will make me a wise military leader. And I eat the sesame chicken because I assume it is made from Big Bird.
I also ordered some potstickers and a bowl of Hot and Sour Soup.
The potstickers turned out to be the best part of my meal. The Moo Goo Gai Pan was the worst. It was essentially chicken and vegetables covered with sauce, but in this case the sauce looked like some kind of clear gravy. Maybe this is extremely typical of moo goo gai pan—maybe this is the best plate of moo goo gai pan to ever grace a Styrofoam lunch tray—but I didn’t care for it at all.
As for the teriyaki chicken: it turns out that people in New York eat it much the way the rest of the country does.
Never eat something called “goo” that is transparent. Or anything called “goo,” for that matter. I’m just saying, I’ve wiped enough kids’ noses to know better.
The staff made the food fresh for us, which was a big bonus of the place being empty. So we got our meals and decided to sit at an awesome high table. Because why not take advantage of every chance to look down on someone? The pleasure is only slightly diminished by the absence of other patrons, and the fact that Rob refused to sit at one of the lower tables.
On this table was a TV remote control, and it was mummified in SaranWrap. Apparently not all diners are as tidy as we are.
Only one other woman came in while we ate. This was during the noon-hour, too, so you’d expect more patrons. Maybe everyone had the moo goo gai pan the first time and decided not to return. Or maybe they had the General Tso’s chicken, as Joel did, and died of radiation poisoning.
Bah. It’s just a healthy orange glow.
Behold, my glorious meal in all its splendor (diminished somewhat by the crappy camera on my phone):
So, what did we learn today?
- I learned that we need to find more interesting places to eat, especially for the inaugural edition of a restaurant-oriented blog feature.
- I learned that the reason it’s called General Tso’s chicken is because it’s somehow infused with his blood. I still prefer it to Rob’s mucus platter.
- I learned that when you don’t get a free fortune cookie, you get to make up your own fortune. (Mine: “Joel will do all your work so you can take the afternoon off.”)
- I learned that when eating with Rob, it’s best to wear a poncho. He’s not a messy eater or anything; it’s just fun.
So, in conclusion, I’m going to rate all of these restaurants in relation to Applebee’s. I hereby declare Chinatown Wok to be two and a half times as good as Applebee’s, or 2.5ApB, as the physicists say.
And now for my rating. On a scale of 1 to 100, Chinatown Wok gets 60 belt notches. I will continue my search for the eating establishment that can provide a perfect 100-notch rating, where my stomach will explode from awesome food goodness, and I will die happy. And somehow I doubt that obituary will say I died in West Valley City.