Slow Boats and Candy Cane Rockets

This panda bear aboard a candy cane rocket is an ornament that hangs on Mr. Wu's Christmas tree. His crazed and glassy stare reminds me that during the holidays, we'd all do well to allow a little more time for activities and have a lot more patience. Rush and hurry can diminish our joy in the beauty of the season--and in the moments we are given.

The worst disappointments always  come on the heels of our best expectations.

Such was the case when our merry band of men gathered for lunch at the Panda today.

The recipe  for snafu was torn from one of those cookbooks that feature dishes created from three ingredients. In this case: 12 hungry grown men; 1 brand new, inexperienced waitress; and Mr. Wu’s 1 incredible chef who cooks from scratch with fresh ingredients.

Oh. And there was even a crucial (in this case)  missing main ingredient–because Mr. Wu was called away and was not in the building. Normally this is not an issue at all, because Mr. Wu is the Panda’s executive chef, and is generally not in the kitchen.

I should have seen it coming. Unlike so many Chinese restaurants, it is not a quasi-exotic fast food joint–steaming takes time, my dears.  Add to this that my 12  fellas are used to eating at Huey’s or places with large kitchens with a lot of hands on deck. Mr. Wu does not run that sort of cruise ship. You have to think private yacht.  Otherwise, you are going to think you are on a slow boat to China.

I am a devout member of the church of  “Burn Me Once”  whose tenet is that the first mistake can be blamed on circumstances, but the second time around, I should do things differently based on  prior  experience.

Mr. Wu, in his wisdom, had suggested that we order from the lunch flight that includes a bowl of soup, an egg roll, a salad and a main dish. Well, cudda wudda shudda on that one. I should have listened to Mr. Wu, who has not ever steered me wrong.

But I couldn’t help it–I wanted our guys to taste some of my favorite entrees–and so we ordered a cornucopia of scrumptious appetizers and a smorgasbord of fabulous entrees.  The fellas raved over the exquisite sauces–of course they did not say exquisite–I am translating from man-speak. Once the food arrived, everyone agreed it was absolutely incredible. Toques off to the chef!

I can’t imagine the scene though, as  Mr. Wu’s chef in the kitchen wokked and rolled–for sure I owe this man (think Anthony Bourdain with a cleaver)  a nice bottle of wine for his heroic efforts to produce an incredible volume of food while  never once dropping  a stitch of his usual  5-star quality.  I am sure he missed Mr. Wu even more than we did!

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