Monday, July 6, 2009

First, Ed McMahon, then Farrah, and now...

I’m back, after a brief, grief-ridden sojourn to cope with the untimely death of Fred Travelena.

When last I wrote, I was ascending the Chinese food pyramid. I have moved from “underwhelming” to just “whelming.” The Bataan Death March along the Great Wall continues….

Equally whelming as Zheng Garden is “Oriental Pearl”, or “Friendly’s Chinese” as my kids say, since it’s housed in an old “Friendly’s”. All that’s missing is the “Big Beef Cheeseburger” and a “Jim Dandy”. I put OP in the “whelming” category, but it is teetering precariously close to the precipice of falling into “underwhelming.”

For several years, OP was OK…they have a small buffet and the kids liked it. We started meeting other friends there on Friday nights for dinner because it was quick and easy. Unfortunately, we seemed to be the only ones keeping it in business, so they decided to modify their business plan…by adding Keno! Imagine a Friendly’s, with a bar in the front and a small open dining room. Now, not only do we get beef and broccoli, but a side of bar-fly “F-Bombs”. The Keno screens have attracted an element that is less-than-savory for young children. Although the Junior Palette claims that the beef is “really tender” and likes the lo-mein, I don’t like the “f-this” and “f-that(s)”. Since the liquor and Keno is where the money is, the diners are getting short shrift, and because of that, the food is starting to come out like “shrift.”

Next up the food chain, Lotus Blossom in Sudbury, the sister restaurant to Lotus Flower in Framingham. Sadly, LB is trying to be more than it really is, mostly in its price structure. I don’t find anything particularly compelling or off-putting about this place, except the price. One nice feature, that moves them into this category, is that they serve a lot of their food in the old-fashioned stainless steel elevated platform bowls with lids. You don’t see these often enough, but you have little altars of food, with a lid helping to keep the heat in. Props to LB for going old school.

Tied for the best Asian restaurant pretending to be Switzerland is “Lavender”, also in Sudbury; I am neutral on this. I wouldn’t say ambivalence, but I don’t have an opinion either way. I did have one of the worst things I’ve ever had the displeasure of eating-Mala Beef, which came in a pasty curry…inedible. But, it was my fault for ordering it, so I can’t mark them down for that. I’ll have to give it another try because what we did have that was edible was enjoyable.

More coming soon…there were just so many meals…the MSG has slowed me down.

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