Yesterday, I found a place that had a “Grand Opening” sign. With my hobby, that was like finding treasure without a map.
Red Ginger’s Bistro has Japanese and Chinese cuisine and they are located on Dayton Boulevard next to Crust Pizza. Sometimes restaurants can be sort of cookie-cutter, so I like to find when a Mexican or Asian place isn’t just an Americanized box of the same-old-same-old.
The girl who waited on me could speak English fairly well. She seemed to understand me, but I couldn’t always understand her and she was quite chatty. She was so darling, though. Most servers will nod and use one word you can both agree on, but this girl was very friendly and confident.
I ordered the Hibachi Shrimp Tray for $13.99 but with the grand opening, they promised 30 percent off the price of your meal. The girl brought out a cup of soup. I didn’t know my meal came with soup. I assumed it would be a Wonton but it wasn’t. I saw tiny bits of tofu and decided it was not Wonton. They called it “Miso” soup.
Now, I don’t know about you, but tofu bits and dark seaweed dropped in some water just doesn’t seem like soup to me. I had a few sips to be polite, but I had to go to the beauty parlor afterward and I didn’t want to have “green swamp” in my dentures.
When my meal was brought out, it was so pretty! I always like a good presentation of food. On the top left section of the tray was a salad with fresh ginger dressing – my favorite! I can eat it with chopsticks too. I like to show off sometimes - not many people see an old lady like me use chopsticks (if I mess up, I just pretend I meant to drop it).
There were little squares folded in a white wrap to the bottom left of the tray. I asked the girl what it was and she told me the name but that didn’t tell me what I was about to put in my mouth. I am all for trying new things, but I like to know what it is that I am eating. She then told me “a seafood dumpling”. I could deal with that.
It wasn’t bad – just a bit sweet. I grabbed a piece of pickled ginger as a chaser and it went down nicely.
There was a pile of rice next to a few pieces of sushi. The sushi was made with rice and I thought that was an awful lot of rice, but I ate some anyway. I had a little trouble with my chopsticks. They were narrowed on the ends and rounded. I like them to be a little flatter so that I can pinch the food better. I had more attempts than I liked, getting a bite of rice.
But the wasabi made up for everything. I almost let out a “wheeee-doggie!” but I was too busy grabbing my drink. Willie Mae likes it H-O-T!
The girl asked how my meal was and I told her it was delicious. Her son came out from the back and they had a conversation in another language. I don’t know if he was in trouble or not.
When I attempted the shrimp with the challenging chopsticks, the scavengers still had the tails on! I always wonder how Asian people eat certain dishes. Do they use their fingers to pick up the shrimp? Do they perform a trick with the chopsticks to get off the tail and still eat the vegetables in the dinner combination?
This is where I improvised. I picked up a shrimp with my chopsticks and bit the shrimp trying to use my teeth to saw the shrimp off at the tail. This worked on some of them, but not all of them. They would slip through my chopsticks and I’d be stuck with shrimp hanging out of my mouth. When no one was looking, I used my fingers and pulled the tail off.
The girl brought my check and a fortune cookie on top. I heard her speak in her language with another staff person. I never like when people did that, it always makes me feel they are talking about me – especially when they laugh. I wanted to be in on the joke. I wondered if they had seen me cheat with my fingers.
One day, I may just start laughing with them anyway and make them believe I understood what they said!
I always like the fortune cookie. Not just for the fun fortune, but I like to believe the cookie is like a dog biscuit and somehow cleans my teeth (an ancient Chinese secret or something). It makes my mouth feel cleaner anyway.
When I opened up the black folder that held my check, a flower sprung up as if it had just bloomed! I had three thoughts all at once! First… it scared me. Then I thought they gave me a flower. Then I saw that it was a “pen”. It made me smile.
I liked this place and I enjoyed my meal. When I had read my fortune, I just knew that Confucius was watching! It read, “He who laughs, lasts.”