Last night, Spencer, the girls, & I went out to get Spencer's mom (Nam) a birthday present and grab some dinner.
None of this had been planned ahead of time, mainly because that's the way we roll. It was also about 6:45 when we left the house, because I was "detained" at the local salon having my toes beautified. While Spencer wasn't exactly thrilled that my pedicure experience took as long as it did, I'm pretty sure I heard a collective "Amen" from every woman who is reading this blog post. Because, as I've recently learned, a girl's gotta have cute feet even if it pushes dinner back by a few minutes. Or 2 hours in our case.
Both of us were pretty much craving Chinese food, but since we would rather poke needles in our eyes than sit through the Friday night line at PF Changs with 3 hungry, cranky kids and without reservations, we opted to drive around and find a lesser known Chinese establishment.
We found it.
Our 1st clue that dinner was to be...um...questionable was the fact that we quadrupled the number of people in the restaurant just by walking in the door. And for all you peeps who aren't from Birmingham, eating out on Friday/Saturday nights requires skill, plan ahead reservations, waiting an hour in line, and the patience of Job. So you can imagine our surprise (and at this point, pure delight) that we walked straight in and sat down.
I'm pretty sure the word SCORE! was uttered once or eleven times. They sat us directly next to the only other people in the entire place, which was a lady and another lady that I'm pretty sure used to be a dude.
So our darling waitress took our drink orders, brought our drinks (3 sprites for the girls, Diet Coke for Spencer, and Coke for me, because I think Fountain Diet Coke is gross, thus my willingness to suffer through the calories of real Coke) and then left. Apparently, this was a Chinese buffet. We were supposed to know what to do and just do it.
Now, while we were sitting there waiting on the menus-that-didn't-exist, Mary Emma and Spencer got the most puzzled looks on their faces. We were sitting next to a huge fish tank that resembled the fish tank in Finding Nemo AFTER Nemo bravely climbed into the filter and stopped the flow of water. I felt a strong need to go apologize to the fish that inhabited it. But Spencer and Mary Emma were more puzzled at the 8 pieces of broccoli that were floating in the fish tank than the condition of the water in the fish tank. Broccoli. Yummy.
I sucked it up and headed to the buffet anyway. The only thing that Mary Emma wanted was Egg Drop soup, filled with about 3000 of those crunchy noodles, but I made her get some Sweet-n-Sour chicken minus the Sweet-n-Sour sauce (aka, chicken nuggets) to go along with her soup. I fixed myself a plate of various Chinese dishes, mostly chicken, but I also decided to BRANCH OUT and get some Mongolian Beef. I was also fixing Tait's plate. I gave her some chicken nuggets & french fries, and then attempted to give her some white rice. (Please don't lecture me on the lack of nutrition of her dinner, I was totally working with what I had.) The rice was one huge, hard as a brick, lump. So Tait got chicken nuggets and french fries. Spencer now headed to the buffet to fix his and Camille's plate. He also came back with various types of food on his plate, and had chicken nuggets, french fries, and Honey Chicken for her. Her Asian palate is so much more advanced than Tait's.
Spencer and I both concluded that all of the buffet food was leftover from lunch, a mere 8 hours earlier, and was a little, um, overcooked by now. But we remained strong.
While we were eating, a few more people dwindled in and helped themselves to the buffet. We were most amused by the dude who walked up to the buffet, grabbed a plate, stuck an eggroll in his mouth, and proceeded to walk around the buffet fixing his plate while the eggroll stuck out of his mouth like a ginormous cigar. That guy had skillz. I ate a little of my dinner, but decided to call it a night when my Mongolian Beef tasted like fish. Mary Emma really wanted a Chinese Donut, but we told her she had to eat all of her chicken before she could have one. She responded with, "But Mommy, it's chewy." So we promptly sent her to the buffet to get a Chinese donut, without having to finish her chicken. I'm pretty sure they disguised a hockey puck with some batter and sugar, though, because the poor kid COULD NOT BITE THROUGH IT.
Oh, and while we were at the buffet, we noticed that part of it had sushi. Raw fish that was sitting under heat lamps. We both decided to pass on that one. But I was curious, because I hadn't seen a sushi bar. I found it on the way out. Instead of being full of properly refrigerated fish, it was full of boxes of cups, straws, to-go boxes, and fortune cookies. Wonder where they made the sushi?
So, if you live in Birmingham or are just passing through, I can definitely recommend some fantastic Chinese restaurants.
This one, however, isn't one of them.