Crisis Averted

Saturday I turn 40. It’s a long story to explain but as a kid we never celebrated birthdays. I had my first birthday party when I was 18 and had a couple of friends over. When I was in college my birthday always fell during Spring Break so I never celebrated. Once you’re over 21, there’s not much celebrating and I wasn’t ever really interested in drinking green beer, anyway.Β  πŸ˜›Β  So when the Husband asked what I wanted to do for the four-oh, I said I want to have a birthday party. I want to have friends over, eat food, have cake and enjoy a night with friends.Β  I don’t want any presents, no one needs to sing ‘Happy Birthday’, I just want to have a party with friends.

And Air In even figured out a sitter arrangement so I get to have a ‘grown up’ party! Whoohoo!!

In our household, I’m the party planner. The Husband hands over the wallet and asks what time he’s supposed to be here, the rest just magically happens. But not this time. The Husband invited people and then yesterday said he had no idea who he had or had not invited. He asked me to figure out what food to order . . . um, that would depend on how many people are coming. We guestimated — that could be ‘guess – timate’ or ‘guest -imate’ . . . either would be correct. I said — call the place a few days in advance to make sure you can get that much food that night.

Yeah, yeah.

He didn’t call.

Tonight, while I was out after getting my hair cut, I stopped at the restaurant. We’re getting take away from Best Wok. I’d link them but they don’t have a website (and they don’t take credit cards). I started getting food there when we lived close to it in the duplex. They don’t add MSG to their food, which makes me happy. The sweet man who usually runs the cash register has been working there since we moved here 9 yrs ago. I start telling him what I want to do.

He begins to panic.

Are you sure?? That’s too much food!! How many people?? I told him it’s fine if we have leftovers — I won’t have to cook. He checks my order and compares my number — oh, no, you are right, you will need *more*! I ordered 60 potstickers. OH MY! He says and runs to the refrigerator. Ok, he says, tomorrow I sit and make potstickers — that will be my job! We go back and forth on some items and he offers some suggestions.

I selected Hunan Chicken and he says — Oh, no, that one is spicy!

I smiled, yes, I know.

I selected a mild dish too — oh, good!

I selected Orange Beef and he nodded until I thought he might hurt himself — oh, yes, he says, that is my *favorite*!

He suggests Happy Family.Β  Excellent choice.

He finally gets the menu squared away. He adds it up and is aghast at the price and says he will give me a 10% discount.

I tell him, no, really, you don’t need to give me a discount — you’re going to make a lot of dumplings and it’s worth it to me. I was about to explain that I’ve catered a couple of meals and, really, he’s earning his money.

He still cuts the price. He checks and double checks the amount and I give him a deposit, the Husband will pay the rest when he picks it up. He is very concerned about making a proper receipt for this. He uses a menu and circles the things I asked for and puts the official stamp on the front. He makes many notes. He is still very nervous about this. What time? Please don’t be late. The orange beef is crispy and if he is late, it will be soggy and then it will be no good. It is best hot and fresh. Please don’t be late.

He’ll be here, don’t worry! It will be great. Thank you so much for this.

Can you imagine if the Husband waited until Saturday afternoon to call? It would just slam the place. We’d be talked about like one of the idiotic clients at The Food Whore. Yikes. I told the Husband and he was amazed.

Wow. I’m glad you stopped in b/c I had no idea. I was just going to call Saturday afternoon. Hopefully he’s okay Saturday.

Just don’t be late, Honey!


10 Responses

  1. We’ll have to give them a try next time we get Chinese. I’ve been looking for a good Chinese place since Lucky Star closed. Do you know if they use real oranges for their orange beef? A lot places use orange-flavor, and it’s jut not the same.

  2. Mmmmmm… Potstickers.

  3. I honestly can’t remember b/c it’s been a long time since I had their orange beef, but I seem to remember bits of orange peel in it. The Husband isn’t fond of Chinese food (claims it’s not filling enough — too many veggies) so I generally go there when he’s out of town or when I’m having lunch on my own.

    When I was pg I would try to go there once a week for lunch — extreme cravings for Chinese, esp potstickers. They always have a ‘daily special’ (beef or chicken, same dish) that comes with an egg roll for $4.97 (drinks are extra). I would usually get whatever the special was (often it’s something spicy, sometimes it’s a mild stir fry with lots of veggies) or sesame chicken — my favorite or sometimes lo mein. The sesame chicken comes with lots of broccoli, which happens to be Thing 2’s favorite vegetable, and my least favorite, so we would often ‘share’.

    I haven’t been there much since Thing 4 was born. 😦 The guy at the counter has been really funny watching me come in over the years with more and more kids. (They always get the potstickers — yum!!) Each time he would ask and be rather dramatically surprised when it was *another* girl!!! Don’t you know when to stop?! πŸ˜€ He always remembers me as the person with *four* girls. He says it like it exhausts *him*! πŸ˜‰

    The place isn’t much to look at — it’s in the strip mall next to the Buffalo Wild Wings near Sam’s Club. All food is served in foam containers with two spaces filled with scoops of rice and a wide space with the dish (except noodles aren’t served with rice). I would guess that 3/4 or more of their business is take away. They have about 8 booths and four or five tables and you go to the counter to order and when your number is called, you pick up the food. It’s not going to compete with high-end sit down places but the price is comparable to or better than most fast food (it’s a favorite spot for the state patrol to eat). I don’t like their sweet and sour sauce at all (it’s a sticky red sauce) but I love the dumplings, the specials are always tasty stir-frys, the egg rolls are yummy, and I’d definitely recommend the vegetable lo mein to Alice.

  4. sucker for potstickers huh? πŸ™‚ i put up the carrot dumpling recipe a while back on my food blog (if you liked them). they make great potstickers the next day when you fry them.

    i think that lai lai wok and mandarin wok (both in campus town) probably use real oranges. πŸ™‚

  5. I avoid campus town as though it’s not even on the map. πŸ˜› Do they use MSG, like most Asian restaurants? It makes my hands swell up so I prefer to avoid it. Best Wok has earned my favor since they don’t add it . . . that and the cooks, who never speak English, are plainly visible from the counter so you can watch them fling the stir fry in the wok, which adds a coolness factor! πŸ˜‰

  6. Orange peel is a good sign. : ) I’m also averse to veggies, so I tend to favor General Tso’s chicken. Usually only three or four pieces of broccoli and a whole lotta chicken!

    I’ve not been to Lai Lai Wox, but I’ve not been excited about Mandarin Wok. I think I tried the General’s chicken and the pot stickers.

    Until I started going to Lucky Star my usual complaint was with the relatively poor quality of the meat. But LS introduced me to an amazing depth and complexity of flavor in Chinese food that I just don’t order it very often any more.

  7. i’m not sure about the MSG at both of those places. 😦 but i’m glad you have a favorite place to go here. πŸ™‚

  8. We have been to Lai Lai Wok several times and we LOVE it. My husband even eats their Garlic Green Beans, which is unusual because he normally doesn’t like green beans. I don’t know if they use MSG, but I suspect not because eating food with MSG tends to make my husband sick, and he has never been sick after eating there. Yum. And they do, definately, use real orange peel in their orange beef and orange chicken.

    Fruittart, we generally avoid campus like the plague, but we make an attempt to get over there during school breaks to try out all the interesting restaurants. That has been a worthwhile adventure.

  9. MSG bad. Meat good. Veggies good. This my firm position. Me up too late. IE7 update fault. Microsoft bad. Mac good. Mac too expensive.

  10. Abandon Internet Exploder. Download free Mozilla Firefox. You can transfer your bookmarks with a click and your relationship with the computer will improve . . . but my pastor suggests earlier bedtimes for improved ability to serve others in love πŸ˜‰

    Ellie — that’s a great suggestion! I could find a sitter for the kids this week and join the Husband on campus for lunch one day. Brilliant!

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