(That same day, I received a very interesting article explaining why Jews eat Chinese on Christmas, a tradition begun on the Lower East Side of Manhattan about a hundred years ago. Among the reasons for that, the obvious: Chinese restaurants were the only ones open on Christmas (though not exclusively nowadays). Also something I had not focused on: Chinese food does not contain dairy. Read the article!)
While in Stockton recently, I had (sort of) abandoned my constant craving for Mexican food and gone more for Chinese. Twice, the current Chinese restaurant of choice, Yen Du, was closed -- so where to go? In the first instance I picked New Canton Garden (also 4 stars) from Yelp. It's not far from our old family home, and I must have passed this place hundreds of times. As mentioned in the reviews, it is nothing to look at on the outside. But the food was pretty good, especially the House Chow Fun and Pepper Salted Spareribs. The latter was something that my pal Debbie Buck and I had not been expecting. But the dish was quite tasty/spicy -- and reminded me of the chicharonnes we eat in Miami. The price was right at $7.25. I'll go back.
And just before I left Stockton, I was on the southeast side of town and decided (half-heartedly) to eat lunch at New On Lock Sam's (3 stars) on S. Sutter Street. That's the updated version of where we ate Chinese as kids -- in the original restaurant on Washington Street, after climbing up a flight of stairs and into a mysterious, smoky room of booths hidden behind red velvet curtains. The diminutive, feisty owner Ruthie always used to threaten, "If you don't finish everything, I won't give you as much next time!" Needless to say, we complied.
|Dad, Mom, & Thea (1998)|
Then I saw it: Lunch Combo #2: consisting of sweet and sour pork w/pineapple (my mother's absolute favorite), fried prawns and pork fried rice -- all staples of our family visits so many years ago. The smell, the taste, and the little bowl of Chinese mustard/ketchup transported me back in time. Delicious, actually...and all for the princely sum of $7.90. I was not disappointed!
On the other hand, I just may leave On Lock's at that and quit while I'm ahead.