Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Strange New Definition Of "Mild"

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Yesterday, I decided to get takeout from Lemongrass Cafe to take to work. The primary consideration was that it on my way to work from the library. I also knew that I needed to get something before I went to work, because for some reason, Tuesdays tend to be just a little on the insane side.

I was right about the higher-than-usual level of insanity. If I hadn't ordered takeout before I went to work, I would not been able to get anything later. And that would have made me crankier than I already was.

I had ordered the shrimp with garlic sauce. And I specified the mild version. Based on what I got, this was obviously some strange new definition of the term "mild" of which I was previously unaware. This was more of a medium in terms of spiciness. It wasn't overwhelming, but the sauce definitely left something of a lingering tingle on my lips and tongue.

Despite our disagreement on what constitutes mild, the food was great. And I discovered that Lemongrass Cafe has an option for ordering brown rice with their lunch specials. Which I did.

And I discovered that there is at least one writer of fortunes for fortune cookies who has a quirky sense of humor. I think it shows through the fortune that came with last night's cookie:

"How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand."

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Taking The Lo (Mein) Road

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As I mentioned in my last entry, I decided to go for a bit of a change for dinner at work. Sandwiches, mostly -- Penn Station and Subway. But for Saturday night, I decided to stick to Oriental House.

As I have mentioned in at least one entry, one of my usual default orders is shrimp lo mein. Part of my logic in ordering that is that it's something relatively simple, and if a restaurant screws that up, I probably don't want to be wasting my time trying anything else they might have.

I finally got around to ordering shrimp lo mein from Oriental House on Saturday night. I was expecting it to be good. It was something of a reverse of my usual logic -- I already know that they serve good food, so they shouldn't be screwing up something this simple.

And they didn't. Lots of shrimp (I think they were medium size), vegetables, and plenty of noodles. A satisfying dinner, to say the least. And I didn't realize it when I placed the order, but I was getting what most Chinese restaurants sell as the large portion. Most of the time, I order the smaller size.

And of course, let's not forget the fortune cookie, and its fortune:

"Think about your own mistakes rather than blame on other's faults."

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Changing The Pace

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For the past few days, I decided that I wanted a little change of pace. So instead of Chinese takeout, I've gone with sandwiches from Penn Station. Delicious, but unfortunately, they don't include fortune cookies with their sandwiches.

On the other hand, I do have a bunch of fortunes to share with you. A half dozen pithy thoughts, to be precise. They're from a batch of fortune cookies that I picked up at Max Orient at least a couple of months ago. It was right before I started working next to a door to a Chinese restaurant, and was getting my fortune cookie fix several times a week. The bag has been hanging on the doorknob of my bedroom door ever since then, just waiting for the right time for me to crack them open.

With this week's hiatus, I thought it was as good as time as any to do just that, and take a peek inside these cookies. Here they are (in alphabetical order):

"A secret is no longer a secret by the time it gets to you."
"There is someone owing so many thanks to you."
"They can because they think they can."
"Things are only impossible until they are not."
"To build a better world, start in your community."
"Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny."

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Monday, April 20, 2009

The Silence Of Thunder

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Another Saturday night, and as the old song goes, I ain't got nobody. Of course, part of that is because as usual on a Saturday night, I was at work.

I thought this past Saturday night would be a relatively peaceful one. With Thunder Over Louisville going on, and some 700,000 people downtown, I was hoping that things would be rather dead at work. Well, it was on the quiet side, but not quite as quiet as I hoped it would be.

Fortunately, I went by Oriental House before I clocked in to get dinner. I wasn't feeling particularly adventurous, so I went with something I had tried before, the Hong Kong chicken.

The fortune in Saturday night's fortune cookie is giving me a feeling of deja vu. I have this feeling that I have seen this one before. At the moment, though, I can't recall if I have posted it in an earlier entry:

"You will be successful in your work."

I'll have to go back through my past entries to see if I have encountered this fortune before.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Chaos For Chaos

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Most of the time, when I'm ordering takeout, I never know what I'm going to order until about 30 seconds before I actually order it. I suppose some people would say that I just can't make up my mind. I prefer to think of it as the essentially chaotic functioning of my mind.

Somehow, that was rather appropriate last night. Things were crazy all night, and for no apparent reason. Crazy enough that I had to phone in my order to Oriental House, then walk over a few minutes later to pick it up.

I ordered the beef with broccoli. I'm fairly certain that I've ordered it before, but come to think of it, last night was not one for being adventurous.

I thought the fortune was just a little amusing:

"Your love life will be happy and harmonious."

Now, could someone please tell me what a love life is?

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Friday, April 17, 2009

A Case Of Deja Vu?

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Tuesday, I had plenty of time to make it to Lemongrass Cafe to get takeout for that night's dinner. I went with the almond fried chicken. Batter-dipped chicken, fried (obviously), with plenty of almonds (also obviously) and assorted veggies. The sauce came in a separate container, and I decided to save that for mixing with the rice.

I have the feeling that I have seen the fortune that came in the fortune cookie before:

"A smile is the most effective medicine."

I'm fairly certain that I haven't used it in any of my entries yet, though. I think this is a mystery that needs further research.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Follow The Leader

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When I saw that Emma had ordered takeout from Oriental House Monday night, I asked her what she had ordered. It was her default order, shrimp with lobster sauce. I had asked her about it at least once before, and from what she told me, it was something that I put on my "had to try sometime" list.

When she mentioned her order Monday night, I decided to follow her lead, and give it a try. I can see why Emma likes this so much. There were plenty of succulent shrimp and chunks of pork in a wonderful sauce. And once I finished the meat, I dumped the steamed rice that came with it into the remaining sauce.

And I think Oriental House may have a new supplier for their fortune cookies. At least, my cookie appeared to come from a different company. Not sure what Emma would have to say about this fortune:

"Handsome is that handsome does."

Okay, I've heard that in slightly different forms more than once.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Emmatorial Commentary

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Yesterday at work, I discovered that Emma had opted for getting lunch/dinner/whatever from Oriental House. This was not exactly by choice. She was originally planning to bring a sandwich, but discovered that she did not have one essential ingredient at home -- the bread.

To make a long story short, I told Emma about my explorations into fortune cookie philosophy, and I asked her if I could have her fortune after she cracked open her fortune cookie. She was amused by the concept, and she said, "Sure." This is what her fortune said:

"It takes guts to get out of the ruts."

Emma was . . . less than impressed. It is her opinion that Oriental House's fortune cookies aren't that good. As I recall, she thought that they had "crappy fortunes." And I think she was even less impressed by the fact that this particular fortune was attempting to be a short poem as well.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Doubling Down Again

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Saturday afternoon, I made it to Lemongrass Cafe in time to order one of the lunch specials -- even though I wouldn't be eating it for a couple of hours. (As they say, it's all a matter of timing.) After Friday night's dinner, I suppose I was wondering how another restaurant's sweet and sour shrimp would be, so that's the lunch special I ordered. I remembered to ask if it had bell peppers in it (it did), and I remembered to ask them to leave them out.

After I left the restaurant, I realized that my stomach was rumbling, and that I really needed to eat something right then and there. so, I decided to go to China 1, and get a small order of pork fried rice.

The fried rice was good. A little more onion than I prefer, but still pretty good. And the fortune from China 1 read as follows:

"Confuscius say: Lovers in triangle not on square."

For some reason, I'm surprised that I haven't seen more fortunes that use that particular format.

A few hours later, when I was ready to eat dinner, I zapped the sweet and sour shrimp in the microwave. It came with plenty of shrimp, but unlike Oriental House, the sauce was in a separate container. I liked that, because I could control the amount of sauce on the shrimp.

I also concluded that it might be Oriental House's sauce that's just a little too sweet for me. Lemongrass Cafe's sauce is still sweet (and not sour enough), but not overwhelmingly sweet.

And here is the fortune I got from Lemongrass Cafe's cookie:

"Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another."

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Too Much Sweet, Not Enough Sour?

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As the saying goes, the most important thing in comedy is timing. And yesterday, my timing was off just enough that I couldn't make it to Lemongrass Cafe in time to get one of the lunch specials to take to work with me. Instead, I went to my fallback plan -- takeout from Oriental House.

Last night, I decided to have the sweet and sour shrimp. But as I was eating my dinner, I realized something. I think Oriental House's sweet and sour sauce may be just a little too much on the sweet side. It needed a little . . . well, something to blanance the flavors a little better.

And of course, capping off the meal was the fortune cookie. Last night's fortune read as follows:

"Good bakers always make plenty of dough."

I'm still chuckling at that one. I'm something of an incorrigible punster, and I always appreciate a good pun.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Forgetting My Own Rules

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Tuesday, I made it to Lemongrass Cafe again to get takeout. My timing had been off most of the day, and I was cutting it close to the 4:00 PM deadline when I placed my order. And I was a couple of minutes late getting to work, which threw Emma off just a little bit.

Tuesday, I decided to order the Princess Chicken lunch special. And I didn't remember to follow two of my own rules. First, it was listed as a "hot and spicy" dish, and I don't think I asked for the mildest version. Second, I forgot to ask if it had green peppers in it. It does, and of course, they had no way of knowing to leave them out.

Fortunately, the bell peppers were in large enough chunks for me to easily remove. And if I did order the full-spicy version, it was manageable. There was heat, but not overwhelming.

Minus the peppers, the Princess Chicken was quite good. Besides the chicken, there were peanuts, water chestnuts, and celery in a decidedly spicy sauce. There was the occasional burning sensation, but I felt it more on my lips than on my tongue. And when I mixed the remaining sauce with the rice, I don't remember feeling any burn at all.

And of course, let's not forget the most important part of the meal -- the fortune cookie. Tuesday night's cookie read as follows:

"Foot: A device for finding furniture in the dark."

Or for finding any other obstacles that might be on the floor in the dark.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

(Lo) Mein-Lining It

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Yesterday, I said that I needed to change my dinner habits just a little. Monday, I found out just how right I was.

Monday afternoon, I made it to Lemongrass Cafe right before the 4:00 PM cut-off point for the lunch specials. As I mentioned quite some time back, one of my default choices when ordering Chinese is shrimp lo mein. Lo Mein is one of their lunch specials (with your choice of beef, chicken, pork, or shrimp), so I decided to get that, and take it to work for dinner.

Right after I left Lemongrass Cafe, though, I realized that I was going to need something else to eat sooner. And I'm still not sure why I did this, but I decided to bike a couple of blocks over to China 1. I picked up a small order of lo mein there as well -- pork lo mein this time.

I went to work after that. I was a couple of hours early (which threw Emma for a curve when I first arrived), but used the time to take a nap in the back room before clocking in. I also ate the pork lo mein right away. As the saying goes, that really hit the spot right then. I saved the shrimp lo mein for later (after a quick zap in the microwave). The shrimp were a decent size, and the vegetables included mushrooms -- one of my favorites.

And best of all, I got fortune cookies with both orders. The fortune in the cookie from China 1 read:

"You have a yearning for perfection."

I was also amused to note that this fortune came decorated with smiley faces at the beginning and end of the fortune.

The fortune in the cookie from Lemongrass Cafe read:

"A great pleasure in life is doing what others say you can't."

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fall Back To Default Setting

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I really need to change up my dinner habits just a little.

I realize that Oriental House has the advantage of convenience (as in right next door), but I have the feeling that I'm rapidly becoming familiar with their entire menu.

Saturday night is a case in point. Thanks to Murphy's Law intervening, going by Lemongrass Cafe was not an option. Instead, I settled for Oriental House -- the sesame chicken.

Part of what I have been enjoying about getting dinner from Oriental House has been discovering something new. But what happens when you run out of new things to discover?

The food was great, as always. And Saturday's fortune read as follows:

"To have peace is to increase fortune and longevity."

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Janus See, Janus Do

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My original plan for yesterday was to try another one of the lunch specials at Lemongrass Cafe. There was just one little problem. Their lunch specials run only until 4:00 PM, and -- you guessed it -- I got there just enough after 4:00 where they weren't offering them anymore that day.

As a result, dinner was from Oriental House, which seems to have become my default location for getting dinner. At first, I had no idea what I would be getting to eat. That was before my co-worker Emma decided to get something from Oriental House. She decided to get the Hong Kong Chicken. I think when I saw it, some inner voice said, "Hey, that looks good," and I decided to order it myself a little later. I also decided to try one of their desserts, the puffy egg custard tarts.

I didn't forget the fortune cookie, either. Last night's fortune read as follows:

"Live each day well and wisely."

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Back To Business

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Now that April Fools Day is out of the way, we now return to our regularly scheduled presentation of fortunes.

Tuesday, I decided to do something just a little different. I like Oriental House, and it has the advantage of being conveniently located to where I work, but I thought a change of pace would be nice. So before I went to work Tuesday afternoon, I stopped by Lemongrass Cafe, a restaurant that specializes in Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese cuisine. It's not too far away from where I work, so getting the rest of the way to work with the food wasn't a problem. Still, it's far away enough that I will have to think about going there in advance.

I took a look at their takeout menu, and decided upon one of the lunch specials, shrimp with garlic sauce. The menu indicated that it was hot and spicy, but also said that the spiciness could be adjusted. As usual, I went for the mildest version.

The food was cold by the time I was ready for dinner. I expected that. It was also delicious. Pleasantly spicy, in fact. Most of the sauce had been absorbed by the rice, so I really couldn't detect the garlic as much as I normally would.

And unlike Oriental House, I didn't have to ask for a fortune cookie. Lemongrass Cafe includes one as a matter of course. The fortune in Tuesday's cookie read as follows:

"The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does."

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Taking Time Out

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Yes, I have material for a new entry. I've decided to save it until tomorrow, though.

Why? Just take a look at the calendar. That's right, it's April Fools Day.

I decided that if I posted a fortune today, there might be a good chance that someone would be thinking, "No, you really didn't find that in your fortune cookie!" And I can't say that I would blame you, either.

Besides, if I were going to be really serious about an April Fools Day joke here, it would take some planning. I want it to be remembered as something spectacular, not something that fell flatter than a pancake.

So, enjoy the day. And I just thought of one bit of advice that would be the perfect fortune for today:

Take everything you hear or read on April 1 with an appropriately sized grain of salt.

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