Wednesday, February 04, 2009

"You go now. You been here four hour": Tales of the Buffet life.

First rule of buffet: "Don't be a hero. Pace yourself".

I don't know about your grid square, here in the Yellow Tavern Quadrant we have several "Super" or "King" or even "Golden" Chinese buffets. Henrico county has a Brazilian buffet; meat eater's paradise I'd imagine. The clever boys have taken food and mass production techniques and slapped 'em right down on my streets.Always a decent trencherman, I investigate so others may be spared the tedium or calories. Swell. Let's eat.

Sorry,chowhounds: the best hot and sour soup on the planet may be found at Little Hunan, a Mom and Uncle place in Ashland, 'Center of the Universe'. They don't need no stinkin' buffet there.

My fa-vo-rite in the Richmond area is the "Super King Buffet" on West Broad. The place has a quarter mile of food, and is pleasantly decorated. It is America's bounty boomeranged, with a Chinese return address. Step across the bridge over the stream, look down on the carp. On the other side of the bridge there is a great "v" of food, steam rising; on the side the Sushi guys are rolling and cutting.The always busy Mongolian barbecue sizzles in the back . "Heaven on the half shell".The night I took my brother,down on a rare visit,they had frog's legs and Alaskan King Crab legs.If you want to avoid fried stuff, there is always a roasted or grilled whole fish available. Vivid green Chinese vegetables in all kinds of sauces abound. The waitresses seem right out of the container:they know just enough English to work there, start making the transportation nut. I bet it is a beaut.

The Missus and I attended my youngest niece's wedding in Snow Hill, NC, this past weekend. Sunday,on our return up the road to Richmond, we stumbled across Ruth's, a Barbecue (NC style: pulled, slowcooked to fallin' off the bone pork with a vinegar based sauce.There is a shhhhhhhh now,softly, ketchup based school,considered heretical thereabouts; I am sure people have been shot over this topic) buffet. The pig was ok, with a nice sauce; another item,the fried chicken, was sublime.The coating was light and well seasoned,while strong enough to hold in the moisture, the pieces perfectly fried. We had to get a movin', so my leisurely pace of an afternoon at the buffet will have to wait for a revisit.

1 comment:

Barrett Bonden said...

There wasn't the variety of restaurants in Pittsburgh 1965 - 72, but that didn't mean we ate badly. We celebrated birthdays and such at Klein's downtown with a simple and, therefore, perfect meal: Beefeater martini, a lobster each and a bottle of Californian chablis. Plastic bibs, 1 x 1 metre, were mandatory. In a working visit to San Francisco we had abalone on Fisherman's Wharf; touristy of course but you couldn't argue with the quality and now, of course, we'd be accused of some sort of cannibalism for ordering that. Being forced to queue (stand in line) for prime ribs at Durgin Park, Boston; the queue was un-American, the ribs were celestial. Unbelievably cheap lobsters at a truckers pull-up (we'd say transport caff, over here) some thirty miles or so due west of Boston.

Age had overtaken us when we last returned, about five year ago. At a nondescript though efficient Chinese, ten miles south of Holliston, MA, the shrimps were terrific but the amount served was industrial. The proprietor reminded me of a forgotten US institution, the doggy bag, and I returned to my hotel to catch the last five innings of the Red Sox, nibbling away at my second dinner of the day.