June 4th, 2007

crane

On the Road Again...

Okay. I am bemused to admit this, but until June the 1st, I had absolutely no *clue* what chop suey was. Okay, Okay... I mean, I knew that it was an American dish that most people attribute to the Chinese, but... *what* it was I had no idea.

When faced with a menu that read "Noodles, Chop Sueys, Chow Mein, Egg Foo Yung, Meats (steaks, pork chops, etc.), Fried Seafood, and Sides (which included gravy rice)" I was afraid, very, very afraid...

We were in Utah, Ogdan, UT after a 500 mile run as straight north and west as we could make it. We'd swum at the hotel to get the blood moving and we were pretty hungry. The sign outside had said "Utah Noodle Parlor" and instead of being faced with something vaguely Italian or Noodle Companyish, we were faced with The Deep Unknown. So John ordered the Pork Chop Suey with green peppers, and I ordered the "Beef Noodles" and Jet ordered his usual, the plain, boiled rice. And the waitress looked at us funny. There were combos on the menu, for $15 a piece, that listed three of the dishes and "deep fried shrimp", but that seemed like waaay too much food after a day in the car.

I was very pleasantly surprised. First, because the hostess had said it might be a forty minute wait for food (the place was PACKED, which is likely the only reason we stayed) and the food came in just ten minutes. The second was because the food itself was pretty tasty. Jet's rice was as you expect. John's chop suey seemed to be bits of pork, celery, and onions in a corn starch gravy topped with raw green peppers, still sweet and crisp and it came with a bowl full of rice as well. My dinner was the biggest surprise, instead of beef stir fried with noodles, I got noodle soup. Ramen, to be precise, with a beef broth and soy sauce soup, plenty of crisp green onions, four thin slices of salty beef, and half a hard boiled egg. It was delicious, light, and exactly what I needed.

All the other plates that went by had huge, deep fried things layered on top of big plates covered with what looked like John's dinner, so I suspect that most folks that went there ordered the combos with the "deep fried butterflied shrimp". But those "shrimp" were nearly hand sized... it may have accounted for both our waitress' surprise and the speed of our vastly more simple food. Plus, it's been a very, very long time since we paid less than $20 for a sit-down dinner, including tip, for all three of us. So that was very much to the good.

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