The Hungover Gourmet


Is There Anything Worse Than Bad Chinese?

The palatial new editorial offices shared by Exploitation Retrospect and The Hungover Gourmet are nothing to be sneezed at. Comfortably sleeping six, the digs also sport -- as they like to say in the real estate trade -- "all the mod cons."

To quickly clarify this hip real estate lingo for the uninformed, this refers to "modern conveniences," NOT "modern convicts," such as that kook that shot up the Capitol building a few weeks ago.

Nope, we're talkin' brand new dishwashers, a microwave that all but takes the ingredients out of the fridge, a snazzy new oven, and one of those funky sealed burner range tops. Granted, this has taken a bit of getting used to, since yours truly is a gas man from waaaay back.

The Hungover Gourmet at WorkMore importantly, the crib features a garbage disposal. After years and years of having to dispose trash, vegetable peels, leftovers, egg shells, canapes, small animals, broken glass, watermelons, canned goods, and bags of nuts in the archaic "trash," the garbage disposal has changed all that.

Frankly, I've become too fascinated by the disposal, pushing the limits to find out just what the disposal could accommodate. You know, there's no manual that says "Do put in a container of fruit salad that's been in the fridge for a month." Just like it doesn't say, "Don't put in corn husks while you're making corn on the cob."

This info would've saved me three days of aggravation, over $100, and the embarrassment of buying multiple bottles of Drano and a plunger on a Sunday night at the local supermarket. How do you possibly explain that you need to dislodge corn husks and corn silk, NOT a giant block of fecal matter?

After two days of trying to cook around the dishes, glasses, pots and pans that were piling up in the kitchen, we decided to order out for some Chinese food from one of the local restaurants. We'd been there for lunch and had take-out before, so we figured this'd be a safe bet for dinner.

Unfortunately, one of the things that always concerns me about a Chinese restaurant is a menu that offers too many options. I prefer a place that does a few things really well, not a restaurant bent on pleasing all of the people, all of the time.

Chinese Food ContainerI can vouch for the fact that on this particular Tuesday night, the food we got from Golden Chopsticks (I know, I know) in Doylestown, PA was the second worst Chinese take-out I've ever had. The order of Steamed Pork Dumplings ($4.50) were unseasoned and bland, wrapped in thick, doughy, chewy casings. An appetizer of Eggplant Cake ($4.95) was an oblong, deep fried, greasefest stuffed with a thin patty of pork and shrimp. Alright, I know, just what the hell was I thinking?!

The entrees weren't much better. My order of Kung Pao Shrimp ($9.25) was edible only because it was so spicy. However, that can't be said for Mrs. Nitrate's Chicken and Almonds ($7.95), an unappealing, unedible mass of bland chicken and vegetables in a gooey sauce that just tasted, well, bad.

In an area with so many eateries, there must be a better Chinese restaurant. Anyone that knows of one can feel free to e-mail us at our editorial offices.

The following is Better Homes & Gardens' attempt at a Chinese meal from their 'Meals with a Foreign Flair' cookbook...

Chinese Walnut Chicken

Better Homes & Gardens Meals with a Foreign FlairIf you're planning buffet for a dozen, double the recipe. Serve in a warmer and border with rice, as shown on the cover --

1 cup coarsely broken walnuts
1/4 cup salad oil
2 chicken breasts (raw), boned and cut lengthwise in very thin slips
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup onion slices
1 1/2 cups bias-cut celery slices
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp. cooking sherry
1 5 oz. can (2/3 cup) bamboo shoots, drained
1 5 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and sliced

In skillet, toast walnuts in hot oil, stirring constantly. remove nuts to paper towels.

Put chicken into skillet. Sprinkle with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, 5 to 10 minutes or till tender. Remove chicken.

Put onion, celery, and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth in skillet. Cook uncovered 5 minutes or till slightly tender.

Combine sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce, and cooking sherry; add remaining chicken broth.Pour over vegetables in skillet.Cook and serve till sauce thickens.

Add chicken, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and walnuts. Heat through. Serve with Oriental Rice.

Serves 4 to 6.

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