Thursday, September 4, 2008

Day of the Ox.

Today I took myself out for lunch to a fairly new Chinese Restaurant called Miss JC Garden.
Miss JC is a former model turned restaurateur and her menu boasts "Health-Conscious Asia Cuisine".
As my eyes scan over this line I cannot help but chuckle as a certain friend comes to mind. Offer up Chinese food on the list and he is likely to tell you that he would rather have anything else but, even if it boasts of being health conscious.
With the absence of MSG, a standard in most Chinese Restaurants, I am very curious to know what my order of cashew chicken will taste like.

While I wait for my order to arrive, I glance down at my laminated place mat showing the Chinese Zodiac.
Before I even look I already know which animal indicates my birth year.

Ox (niu)
"Bright, patient and inspiring to others.
You can be happy by yourself, yet make
an outstanding parent."
Well, 3 out of five isn't bad!
My egg drop soup arrives first and shortly after that my cashew chicken.
The left half of my plate is filled with fried rice, while the other half is taken up with a saucy mixture of white chicken pieces, cashews & some vegetables. One of the vegetables on my plate, sitting in the sauce is a Chinese straw mushroom of which I am not crazy about and so it gets pushed aside on the plate.
I have had cashew chicken before which I have enjoyed immensely given the fact it was loaded with cashews. This dish on the other hand, made up for the lack of cashew nuts by supplying me with an over the top amount of green peas.
As if this wasn't enough, my rice contained a few of the invading offenders sprinkled throughout the mixture.
At this point, contemplating the description on my place mat, I am not so sure that I would make an "outstanding parent" at least not if I had to set a good example by eating all the peas on my plate. Most of the peas joined the lonely mushroom off to the side.

The eventful moment arrives when my waitress comes back to the table and asks,
"how do you like it?"
"Do I confess and tell her I added some of the sweet sauce to add flavor?"
What I end up saying is, "the sauce is a little too salty for my liking."
"Oh, she says. That is not good."
But I suppose she is somewhat satisfied with my answer because she walks away after refilling my water glass.
I push away my half finished lunch and reach out towards the token bowl of deep fried won ton skins but I stop myself as my next immediate thought is, "hmm, I wonder how many other hands have reached into this same bowl?" No thanks, I will pass.

My fortune cookie arrives along with my bill.
I may not always eat my cookie but I always open it up in order to read my fortune.
These days, Confucius not only imparts advice, he also gives you "lucky numbers" of which I am not interested in. I continue to sip my water and reflect on its message.
My husband laughs at me and the very thought that I might actually give some serious consideration to this carbon copy printout from a mass made cookie.
Yet, as I leave the restaurant I know that while I will never give another thought to the salty meal I had just half eaten, ( I said no to the doggy bag) I will however, give some thought to the words on the cookie.

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