I want to say this right up front - I love my daughter. love her love her love her. I also love a little peace and quiet with the hubby - and that is a hard thing to get when you are parents. Tony and I joke about how your romantic life gets put on hold the moment the doctor slaps the baby's butt. And every parent out there knows exactly what I am talking about. When our daughter was little, we would hire a sitter occasionally - just to see a movie that didn't star a G-rated animated critter. When she got older, it became a little harder - she liked watching the same movies we did and - even worse - she loved eating out with us as well. No private time for mom and dad. Last year, when Annie finally joined a club that met twice a month - we were so happy! Two and a half hours of face time! To do what WE wanted! Squeeee!!
For a long time, we used to go to Gallo's and get a couple beers, a snack and play gin. Lately, we have been using the time as an excuse to eat out at various restaurants. There are lots of little restaurants here in Columbus - stand alones that offer all kinds of really great food. I think that the average diner is scared of these places - it takes them out of the comfort zone provided by the big chain restaurants. But exploring is all about getting out of that comfort zone and trying something new - and the hubby and I love exploring (food..get your mind out of the gutter!).
This week, we went to General Tso's on Godown Road. Lisa over at Restaurant Widow had mentioned it a long while back, plus it had received a stellar review from Gail - who is very picky on how she spends her dining out dollars. We have purchased carry out from the restaurant before and been very please with the results. This time, we decided to eat in.
I am going to warn you - this place looks just like any other hole in the wall. But it's not. It's in disguise. Once you sit down - you know you are in an excellent restaurant.
To start we picked out beef tendon kikil and crab shu mai. The crab shu mai were good - but the beef tendon was fantastic. It is not your normal kinda dish - the waiter kinda ogled us incredulously and asked "You sure you want the beef tendon?" It a very deep beefy flavor, but the texture is very odd. You ever had jello skin? You know, the stuff that sometimes forms on the bottom of a bowl of jello if you don't stir it fast enough? its kinda thick and rubbery, but melts in your mouth as you eat it. You either like it or you don't - I loved it as a kid. The texture of beef tendon kikil reminds me of jello skin. I know that is kind of a weird analogy - but it is really the best description I could some up with. I mean gelatin is made from the collegian in bones and the tendon is really just cooked connective tissue that eventually become meltingly tender gelatin - but beefy. Well, you have to try it to see what I mean.
For the main course, we chose to order the Shabu Shabu, a shared hotpot for two. A pot of broth is placed over an open flame - danger and excitement!! It comes in beef and seafood - we chose the seafood. The pot of broth came loaded with a variety of different meats (fish cake, squid, shrimp and chicken among others) veggies and other stuff - like bean curd skin. You also got a raw egg and some glass noodles on the side. The whole procedure is to eat the contents of the pot down, then the waitstaff top it off with a little more broth, beat the egg and then add the glass noddles and finish eating the soup.
It was a blast. I love interactive food - I never got over wanting to play with my food despite my mother's best efforts. I like searching out little morsels, trying them, then finding the next bit to share with the hubby.
The staff was very friendly and helpful - even giving us instructions on how to tackle our hotpot.
So - yeah - We'll be going back to the General's very soon. If you get a chance, grab a hotpot with someone you love and share away - it's a great bit of food romance.