Friday, August 24, 2012

Someone Has to Have Done…

market research showing that it is old people like us that watch daytime television and that’s the reason for an unending parade of health-related ads. Can I tell you that I can’t be held responsible for what happens if I see one more ad featuring Doug with mesothelioma or the guy who’s used catheters for fifteen years or the guy with COPD with the elephant sitting on his chest? It’s not that I am unsympathetic with peoples’ problems. I just don’t need to see these commercials run on what seems to be an endless loop.

What does this have to do with today’s blog? Nothing. I just wanted to vent. And in a future blog I may just vent about Jim Bob and the rest of 19 Kids and Counting. Or about John and Kate Plus Eight. But I will admit to unhealthy fascination with The Real Housewives of New Jersey. And maybe this is the place to own up to liking Abba’s music.

Well, this is the first time I have started a blog with a digression. On to the important stuff.

As with pizza, we can’t go too long without Chinese food. But could good Chinese food be found in the land of the red and green chile? We’ll find out. A Google search brought forth a few options, and of these, Wok seemed to be the most promising. Not because I could find laudatory reviews, but because the menu seemed best suited to our interests.

Wok is located in a bare bones U-shaped strip mall (far right in the photo below). (Can a U-shaped mall be called a strip mall? Or does that term only apply to an assembly of businesses attached linearly?)
And what we found when we walked through the front doors came as a surprise. I had half expected an order-at-the-counter restaurant with descriptive photos hung along side of the menu. What we found was an elegantly and tastefully designed and decorated space.

The walls were painted with what I think are the colors of the Southwest.

And the walls were hung with art that looked somewhat Middle Eastern to us.

And adorning a wall in the back were masks that appeared to be Asia meets Mexico lucha libre wrestling.

What brought us to Wok was the interesting list of appetizers. In addition to the standard egg rolls, pot stickers, and steamed dumplings, the menu included Cheese Wontons or Crab Rangoon (a dish probably invented in the United States), scallion pancakes, Chicken Cho Cho (also called chicken sticks), and roasted BBQ ribs. We didn’t chose any of these.

We both started with a small (looks pretty large to me) bowl of hot and sour soup that was thick with large chunks of tofu, mushrooms, and egg threads in a delicious broth. After the first few spoonfuls, we thought that the soup wasn’t very hot (as in peppery).
But the more we ate the more the pepper kicked in. This was a delicious and very filling soup. And why, when I really don’t like tofu, do I not object to tofu in hot and sour soup?

We chose three appetizers to go with our soup. First was an order of Lettuce Wraps with Chicken. We first had these at the Ginger Café in Gilroy, CA, and they have been a favorite ever since. I think that Wok’s version used ground instead of minced chicken.
I know that I usually expound ad nauseum about texture contrasts in Chinese food and am about to do it again. But it is one of the reasons that Chinese food is one of my favorites. Here one had the softness of the chicken along with the crunch of chopped peanuts and the crisp lettuce leaves and rice noodles.
I did wish that we had gotten more than four lettuce cups but no problem. We just ate the remaining chicken straight from the plate and still enjoyed every mouthful.

Next came an order of Wok Spicy Dumplings, an item that I am unfamiliar with and can’t find any on-line reference to. But these were amazing. The small tureen contained six meat fill dumplings that were seasoned with garlic and ginger and floating in a spicy broth. The broth had a reddish tint which leads me to think that the spice came from a Chinese chile paste.
Luckily we had both retained our soup bowls which made it easier to share without dribbling the red broth over the white cloth tablecloths.

Our final plate was the Spicy Cold Sesame Noodles, which I must admit was not the best version of this dish that I have eaten. First, it wasn’t really spicy. Second, it was rather dry. Maybe I should have spooned some of the spicy dumpling broth over them.
But by the time we got to these we were both quite full, so took most of the portion home where, for dinner the following evening, I added a little soy, sesame oil, and sriracha.

I consider it to be a successful meal when three of four dishes and ones that you would order again without hesitation, so Wok earns a solid 4.0 Addie rating.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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