Been spendin’ my day with Special K: bonus Beijing Restaurant review

Today, Special K sprung from school (last year before college auuugh!) at 1:05 and she and I had plans to go to Maisie’s Sushi, a newish place near downtown that I’ve been wanting to give another spin since the Gentleman and I went a few months back and found it to be, like, “on its way” but not “there” yet, if that jives. However, that plan fell through pretty much immediately as we were unaware that there is a special ordinance in Motown forbidding the operation of a sushi restaurant between 2:00 and 5:00 of a Friday afternoon. Did you know? We did not. We’re not certain, but it’s all we can conjecture given that literally every mothereffing sushi joint in the entire city was closed.

And here is the kicker: three of the some four or five we thought of and buzzed past still actually had their signs on and doors unlocked from lunch. We’d walk in and they’d shake their heads and ruefully claim they were closed. Really? Because there are literally people eating right there at that table. No lie, there were people looking at us with their mouths full of food as we were told no sushi for us. Total sass. Special K remarked as we left Soosh Gardino, “It’s no wonder that restaurants have the highest fail rate of all new businesses,” and we agreed actually being open is always the first step in increasing your customers.

Aye, Kathleen, I guess we will have to try again someday when they are serving the Irish.

So we were like, well, screw sushi then, apparently, and, partly because I wanted to take her somewhere new, partly because we weren’t too far from it, but mainly because Mr. Kite and I were talking about China and the recent 60th birthday of its form of communism, I took her to an old favorite, Beijing. The restaurant, not the city. She has been to the city of Beijing before and I wanted to take her someplace new, remember? You think I’m kidding but I’m not, my girl is a straight-up citizen of the world! I bought her a messenger bag to that exact effect, and put a long crinkly hot pink scarf with black music notes on it inside, because I am pretty sure it is bad luck to give someone an empty purse.

Beijing was just like I remembered: an odd haven of delicious food in the corner of an upper-ghetto, lower-okayish strip mall anchored by the Wal-Mart, but, while the food is wonderful, I admit that it can be an overall bizarre dining-in experience. Beijing is a weird juxtaposition of the abject formality of service you would expect someplace much more upscale intersected by an almost Appalachian approach to decorating, evidenced by the picture above. Who is to say what is art, what is decoration, why must you push your Rules on them? Form and function — where do they fuck and where do they fork? Is it not up to the artist? Is this table not art? The table being art is up for debate, but on the issue of the Wor Won Ton Soup there is only resolution: oh my god — total art. Ah! Kiss noise in the air. Unbelievable. The cure to all that ails.

As it is, was, and ever shall be, the restaurant was sleepy but full of sullen people both serving and eating. As we were seated, I apologized to a person waiting for takeout who had been waiting ahead of us, and she said, looking narrowly at the waiter Scott, “That’s okay. It’s not your fault. They always do whatever they want here, anyway.” The waiter cooly turned his back to her and gestured curtly for us to follow him, leaving us in social no-man’s land but ruled by hunger. We were like, oh, so there’s a history of animosity between you guys here. Awesome. Just get our asses to a table before someone starts to rumble over the prawns, mmkay?

We ordered the wor won ton soup, spring rolls, pot stickers, moo shoo pork, and garlic chicken. Yeah, I know. Even looking at that list makes me want to go stick my finger down my throat and pull the trigger to spare my poor aging stomach. But it was soooo warm and right and good. A different awkward and slightly smirky server with the equally unlikely name of Erik served us, which was a relief beacuse I actually have a short history with Scott as well (he does not like my daughter, or, I suspect any child, singing on birthdays, snow at the holidays, warm brownies, and customers who enter his restaurant and do not eat quietly, pay without comment, and leave the place cleaner than they found it). I didn’t know Erik so I did not feel that I was on probation. However, he kept referring to the moo shoo pork pancakes as Chinese burritos, a move I found kind of weird and maybe even condescending, like, would I have ordered the dish if I needed an extremely oversimplifed analagous explanation of it?

He plated all our food for us without really asking and so you sit there in this formal stillness while he smears a pancake with plum sauce and converses idly, looking all around the restaurant the whole time—this is in case you get the idea you are special; you are not, and he wants to make it clear he might leave at any minute to go make food for someone cooler than you, which PS? is everyone.

The garlic chicken and the pot stickers are the things I would have to dub most unmissable, and the garlic chicken even more than the pot stickers, at that. No one does it like them, period, it is crispy and marinated and breaded and fried and smothered in minced garlic, it’s the hottest goddamned thing there is. Go eat it right now, stop reading this, drop everything, march right in there, look Scott in the eye, get intimidated by his complete apathy, feel your hubris drain as you wait humbly for a table, and then get amped up again and chow down!

This came out awesome but you can’t read the words.

So I reshot it after taping it to my computer tower.

The end! We also saw The Invention of Lying which I will write about later. As per usual, we were the only people in the theater laughing. As per usual, it was often at inappropriate times. We’re awesome!

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