I'd randomly chosen the place because I didn't know what to eat. I do that pretty frequently. When I'm hungry and don't feel like eating anything, it's usually Chinese food.
Of course the buffet was closed and it was far too late to take advantage of the "lunch" rates. Generally, when I eat at a new Chinese place, I try out the Kung Pao Chicken. I've found that if they can get that right, most of the rest of the menu will be at least pretty good. Of course that doesn't work very well when the place doesn't sell Kung Pao Chicken.
After some further menu stareage, I selected the Mongolian Beef. The recent weather change was really wreaking havoc on my sinuses and I wanted something to clear things up a bit. Did I want the large or the combo? The combo came with rice and an egg roll so I went with that. If the beef was cooked right, I'd need all the backup I could get. $9 later, I filled my drink and sat down.
The air was filled with the sound of the grill and some Chinese television show. It was probably a soap judging by the music, but my extensive inexperience with Chinese culture could have been fooling me.
I watched a few cars come and go in the parking lot. A uniformed man parked and entered the restaurant. I couldn't tell what the uniform was, but he struck me as being from out of town. Maybe he was one of the many hurricane relief workers who have been through town lately. He ordered pepper steak and sat down across the room from me. My food was ready about five minutes later.
If you've never eaten Mongolian Beef, you should know that it's generally made of strips of beef and various onions, with lots of hot peppers ground up and sneaked in where you can't eat around them. When made properly, it will positively sear your insides and make you wonder what the hell you were thinking when you ordered it.
This was truly proper Mongolian Beef.
"Wow," I muttered aloud. This stuff even looked aggressive. It looked angry. It looked like freaking Genghis Khan in a metal tin. The food obviously wanted to get up and give me a thorough ass-kicking but instead it just sat there, taunting me.
I took a bite of the egg roll and a sip of my drink as it started to talk about my mother. According to the beef, she got into some pretty kinky S&M with it last night and keeps begging for more. Now, I've heard stories like this before but it was a little more unnerving than usual coming from my dinner. From experience, I knew what was coming next so I started eating it. I really didn't feel like hearing the water sports part again.
I tried to make quick work of the food but it didn't go down without a fight. Uniform Guy finished his pepper steak and left. That's usually my experience with pepper steak as well ... it goes quickly and quietly. However, I generally prefer my food with more personality.
I decided to call a draw at the half way mark and head out. I threw out the remains and headed out the door. It was 5:30 -- late enough to buy beer.
Now there's a fantastic idea.