Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Favorite Thing: September 2010


I do not believe in having guilty pleasures. If I enjoy something I accept it and try to reconcile it with my previous tastes. As a result, American Chinese food is my exceptionally guiltless guilty pleasure.

Like a good New York Jewish family we had our local take-out ritual; Jade Palace – Friday nights. My orders always included one or all of the following: Sesame Chicken, dumplings (fried, of course), _____(insert protein) & broccoli, Hot & Sour soup, pan friend noodles in a sauce (the bad ones consisted of soy, corn starch, and little else), an egg roll, and white rice even with the noodles. Now 7 years later and thousands of miles apart, my indulgence is no longer weekly but the comfort and security remains. When I heard my Dad might be sick, very sick, I left work early and drove directly to my neighborhood Chinese joint (he’s A-ok now). I realized there that though physically distant, my family is often psychologically present at every meal. My taste predilections stem directly from a grad student who hung a bike pump plumped duck by its neck in his shared shower for 30 hours of a necessary Peking Duck regimen.

Mission Chinese Food was a dream I always and never had. It was something I needed but never had the guts to imagine. American Chinese food created by chefs with professionally-trained technique, using quality ingredients, without wasted time on fusioning, and at a price point that would not necessarily suggest the previous parts of this sentence.

Tonight I had their take on Ma Pa Tofu. Was it the best Ma Pa Tofu I have ever had? No, Chung King’s version was, but this one tasted the same. They are consciously trying to reinvent the wheel instead of worrying about newer, sexier wheels.

The result is a restaurant I want to eat at every day. I have ate there six times in the last four weeks, which is staggering considering that I eat the 10 main weekday meals at work. More importantly, in a very new city where I have few friends thus far Mission Chinese Food acts as a sort of constant in the story of my childhood to now.

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