Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Unorthodox Restaurant Review

I’d like to think that here in Small-Town, USA we have a Zagat’s Rating guide just for Provo that rates all the fabulous restaurants. Alas, if you do a search for “Provo” only two restaurants come up. Pathetic. So I’d like you to humor me and consider this blog entry my very own restaurant review. It may be a bit unorthodox, but here goes.

Chinatown Restaurant
300 S. 700 E.
Provo, UT 84604

We discovered this restaurant about a year and half ago. We had been in mourning for some time for the closing of our other beloved Mandarin restaurant—Taiwan Café—but felt it was time to move on and find a new love. Red Lantern in Orem made me puke—literally. And Panda Express is for people who also love McDonalds and TGI Fridays. Chinatown Restaurant is a pretty dang good substitute for Taiwan Cafe. Aside from the delicious food served there are many things about this quirky establishment that humor me each time I go.

Décor: All four walls of this dining establishment are paneled with very rustic splintery, knotty paneling. It seriously looks like they have a termite problem. I don’t know about you but the first thing I think about when I think of Chinese food is really bad wood paneled walls. I asked the owner once about the walls. She mentioned that the building used to be a steak house. 20 years ago. “Oh, that explains it”, is all I could say. But that doesn’t explain it. They’ve had 20 years to update the walls. Do you see what I mean by quirky? That must be how prices are kept low.

Music: Each time we go to Chinatown Restaurant we eagerly await to hear what goofball music they are playing this time. The first time we went it was something akin to the William Tell Overture. It wasn’t that, but close. It was really fast classical music that is played during movies when someone has just fallen off of a cliff. Simply not good for digestion. And it was loud. I thought maybe we were on Candid Camera or something because it was simply that humorous. I can’t believe I didn’t complain to them about the music. Tonight when we went it was really bad instrumental themes of really bad movies—Evita, Titanic, Pocahontas, etc. Paul and I would try to guess each song. The only theme we could come up with was that all of these movies sucked.

No Crowds: Tonight we were the only ones eating there. Granted, it was 5:05pm, but still. This made for a pleasant dinner because the service was faster than usual and because we could listen in on the Chinese conversation of the owners’ family at a nearby table. There were 4 of them and it seemed like very interesting conversation. Of course I had no idea what they were saying but it must have been about politics or maybe family gossip. It sounded like one of the two. Each word was enunciated and they made no effort to keep their voices down even though there were customers (just us) eating at the time. I like that. I like that we carry no airs about us so that others feel free being themselves in our presence. Or maybe it was the fact that Hallie wouldn’t stay in her high chair and was screaming and they really wanted us to leave. Nah.

Booths: If you do go, make sure you sit in the booths by the window. Those booths offer an extra bonus. When huge semi-trucks are at the stop light on 7th East your table vibrates as do your innards. Kind of fun in a weird sort of way.

Food suggestions: Wor Wonton soup and Hot and Sour soup. You’ll also love the Orange Beef (filled with lots of strings of orange zest), Pork Fried Rice, Moo Goo Gai Pan, and Chicken with Snow Peas.

Please patronize this restaurant. I don’t see why anyone would go to P.F. Changs, which is over-priced and over-Americanized, when they could have way better food cheaper and the privilege of eating in a log-cabin type building where weirdo music is played and you can actually hear Chinese being spoken. Love it.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Razor Blades and Cyanide

In my neighborhood there is something going on that I find scary and perplexing—anonymous treat giving. Last night we were “ding-dong-ditched”. When Paul opened the door there lay a plate of pumpkin bar treats along with a poem about Tom the Turkey and a big picture of a turkey. The poem explained that we were to make three copies of the poem and turkey picture and then “ding-dong-ditch” three other helpless and unsuspecting families with a plate of “goodies” in hopes that this treat giving will grow exponentially until the whole dang world has been given a plate of inedible garbage! Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one? Oh, and we had to post the picture of the turkey in our window so that other neighbors will know we have been “hit” and somebody else will enjoy the privilege of homemade treats. Unfortunately, the plate of treats had a note that said to refrigerate them. I didn’t see the note until this morning. So I’m guessing it isn’t safe to eat this treat because it lay at room temperature all night long on our entryway table. Bye-bye pumpkin treats that could make us sick!

Two weeks ago we were “Booed”. Yup, you guessed it. We were given a plate of hard hockey-puck chocolate cookies with a poem about a ghost and a picture of a ghost. Same instructions as the Tom the Turkey. You get the picture.

Many things disturb me about this anonymous treat giving.
  • How do I know these treats were not placed on my porch by some criminal mind that baked the treats with razor blades and cyanide?

  • If I am going to give a treat to someone, they are going to know about it. They are going to know that Cynthia is a dang good baker and a giving person. No anonymity for me.

  • If you are going to give someone a treat can you really insist that they give someone else a treat also? I didn’t sign any contract when those pumpkin bars where left on my porch; therefore, I am not obligated to obey the attached note and give three other neighbors a plate of treats.

  • The treats are always gross. One bite and straight to the garbage they go.

  • I don’t like posting the ghost or turkey picture in my window. I think it’s silly. If that many people love me then who am I to deny my adoring fans the privilege of gift giving?

A few years ago when this silly tradition started in my neighborhood I refused to put the silly ghost, turkey, or Santa picture in my window. I would not conform. Well, night after night the treats kept coming. After at least a week of being “ding-dong-ditched” with plate after plate of yucky treats I conformed and put the picture in my window. This insanity must stop!

So to all you anonymous treat givers out there—please know that I love homemade butter pound cakes.

P.S. If you gave me the pumpking treats or chocolate cookies, I lied. They were delicious.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

My Life's Embarrassing Moments...So far

My previous blog entitled, “Embarrasing Grocery Store Moments” didn’t even scratch the surface, so here are more:

Being 10 and saying to your parents, in front of the Morans, in hopes of convincing them to let you stay the night at your friend Olga Moran’s house, “It will be one less mouth to feed.” They said no, right there on the spot.

The Teen Years:
Being 15 and getting up to play the piano at a ward fireside only to hear my sister Carolyn shout out, “Look at my sister’s butt.” Apparently my double ruffled oh-so-stylish flowered skirt’s hem was tucked into my pantyhouse. Yup, all the boys and girls saw my Hanes. Don’t deny you said that Carolyn. It is burned into my brain. Forever.

Being 14 and in Junior High and laughing so hard at lunch time I pee my pants BAD.

Being too embarrassed after previous experience to go to the office and call my mom so I stank like pee the rest of the day. I tied a sweatshirt around my waist to visibly hide the accident. Hello Cynthia?! People can smell!

Wearing a swim suit in co-ed sophomore swim class and having everyone tell me I looked like a boy. (With hair down to my waist I can only assume they were referring to my stick-like shapeless body frame.)

Being 16 and at your friend Stew’s house (who is also the Bishop’s son) and flushing their toilet and having it overflow out of the bathroom and onto their carpet. Having to go tell his parents was like telling them, “Um I use too much toilet paper. Sorry about the carpet.”

Walking around Newport Beach after junior prom with my date and dying of humiliation, while thinking, “Is he pausing the walk because he wants to kiss me?” “Should I stop talking so he can kiss me?” “Do I even want to kiss him? He has braces!” No first kiss then, nor for many years.

Only going on one date (see above) during my entire high school years.

Being 14 and having my dad take me to the cardiologist. I was in the exam room forever half-naked having an Echocardiogram done. A nurse comes in and asks if I want my dad to come in to keep me company. “No! Please, don’t bring him in!”

My college years:
Being 18 and walking to BYU in the snow for the very first time in my life. I remember thinking, this is snow? It’s all brown, muddy and can only be described as Coca-Cola Slurpee. Just then I fall in the muddy snowy gutter wearing my brand new white coat at the Hart's Gas Station on Canyon Drive. Even more embarrassing was the cute guy who reached down to help this accident-prone freshman.

Being 20 and going to the traffic office at BYU to fight a truly unfair parking ticket. While standing in line a lady comes in after me and walks right up to the ticket counter. As if I wasn’t in line. Well!
Me, in a huffy: “Um excuse me, I was hear first. The line starts behind me.”
Her: “Um, excuse me I WAS in line, they sent me outside to get my registration.”
Me; “Oh, sorry.”
I hate eating crow!

Being 20 with my friend Winnie at the Brick Oven and having her confess to me that she told my most embarrassing life secret to her brother (whom I was dating) that I had never kissed ANYONE. Paul married me anyway.

Being a senior at BYU and having the professor call on me during a case study of Wild Turkey (or something like that) alcohol. He asked me something about their product’s target market. I get all flustered and start flipping through the case study to find my notes. In the meantime, he says, “Forget it! You don’t know. Someone else?”

Having the same professor call me up at home that night and apologize. “That’s okay”, I say. No it is not okay! Oh to be shamed in public!


A few months ago I was stopped at the train tracks on 820 North. It was a false alarm. There was no train coming. I was the 8th car in line. There were at least 10 more cars behind me. I can’t take this anymore! Can’t they see that there is no train? Why won’t they just drive around? I put my car in park, hop out of the car, and run down to the train tracks, looking both ways to make sure my suspicion is right that there is no train coming, and then motion to the first car to go around the gate because again, THERE IS NO TRAIN. Just as I am motioning to the stupid driver the gates go up and everyone starts driving through. Except for me. Because I am down by the tracks, and my car is 8 cars back blocking the other 10 cars behind me from going through. Gosh, I am an idiot.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...