Imperial Garden - Don't Breathe In

Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - by Willie Mae

Last weekend I thought Lois and I might try a new place I heard about, but it was too packed even after lunch time and on a rainy day. I took her to a place that I had been before, but had not written about.

We went to Imperial Garden on Gunbarrel Road near the Hobby Lobby store. These folks have always been so nice and the place is very clean and decorated nicely.

Our waiter was very good to explain the menu to us. Lois started with a diet Coke, but I was chilled to the bone on this rainy day so I ordered hot tea. After he brought us our drinks, Lois told me she wished she had gotten hot tea too. I offered to get the waiter to bring another cup because he brought me a whole tea pot and I didn’t mind sharing. Lois is notorious for changing her mind, but she said she would just sip on her diet Coke.

We each had an egg roll for an appetizer for $1.20. Lois said she wanted the sweet and sour chicken and I told her that she always orders that when she gets Chinese. I ordered the Gan Shao Shrimp Szechuan for $8.95. It was hot jumbo shrimp, sautéed with chopped bamboo shoots, white onions, mushrooms and water chestnuts in hot chili sauce. I asked if they could add a few scallops and he said yes. 

When the waiter asked Lois what she wanted, she first said sweet and sour chicken but then… she changed her mind. The waiter told her about another dish, so she asked, “Can I have sweet and sour sauce with it?” and he told her she could, so she got the Moo Goo Gai Pan for $7.50 and sweet and sour sauce on the side. For two finicky old ladies, the waiter was kind to accommodate us.

He brought the egg rolls and they were big and had little shrimps inside. They weren’t greasy either. Lois found the two-tray sauce stand and put the red sauce on her plate. I got the hot mustard sauce. I love Chinese hot mustard and I even use it at home, but this mustard sauce was the hottest I had ever had.

Woo-ee, I was impressed and I liked it, but on my first bite I had too much on my egg roll and it hurt to breathe in! That kind of hot goes up your sinuses and all the way to your brain! I let out a cough and Lois sarcastically said, “Hot is it??” as if she thought I would learn my lesson. You’d think after 80-some-odd years that the lining of my stomach would be gone by now, but I think if I was created with a zeal for zest, I am sure I was provided the stomach to handle it!

I tried to get over my hot sinus rush but I let out another cough. This time I could have sworn I saw a puff of smoke come out. I did my best to hold my breath when I ate the hot mustard on the rest of my eggroll so that I wouldn’t burn up my sinuses again. Lois tried a little but she couldn’t take it. I heard a man across the room blow his nose (with a honk). I guess he had the hot mustard too. Lois had some red sauce left on her plate and she liked it so well that she got some of it with her spoon and ate it. I had a little mustard left on my plate too and she said, “Do you want my spoon?” She was being a little feisty.

When our meal arrived they did not bring chop sticks, so I had to ask for them. I guess more people eat their meal with a fork, so they had disposable wooden chopsticks they brought out. I like those best though, because I can grip food better.

The scallops were not grilled or charred like I like, but they were good. The shrimp was really good. My meal was tasty and I liked it but if I changed anything it would have been to not mince the veggies. They were diced so small that I couldn’t even taste the flavor of the mushrooms, but I liked the flavor of the spicy sauce. After that hot mustard being so hot, the spicy sauce didn’t seem too hot so I added a little mustard in my rice.

Lois didn’t seem pleased with her meal and I thought, “Here we go again” … but she had forgotten that she had changed her mind at the last minute and didn’t order the sweet and sour chicken. When you expect a dish to be something when you actually ordered something else, I guess you would be a little disappointed. She tossed the vegetables around with her fork and said, “I don’t see even ONE pineapple in here!”

When I reminded her that she changed her mind and ordered another dish, she argued with me at first - not remembering that she had changed her mind at the last minute. I usually want the person who goes with me on my jaunts to tell me how they liked their meal but I always hate asking Lois. When she thought she was eating sweet and sour chicken and wasn’t and then with the side dish of sweet and sour sauce not complimenting the Moo Goo Gia Pan, I wanted to ask her to tell me how she liked it after knowing it was NOT sweet and sour chicken, but she couldn’t wrap her taste buds around her unsweet and sour dish.

She kept telling me things wrong with her meal that she thought it should have such as the pineapple, the sweet and sour sauce and the chicken cooked differently. I told her that I should have stepped in when she ordered and changed her mind knowing she would not like anything else, but she would have only gotten mad. She huffed at me, “I don’t get mad, I get even.” We giggled because old friends can say anything and still like each other.

Lois pulled her fortune out of her fortune cookie and pretended to read it in Chinese. I almost got tickled again but was afraid the hot mustard was going to travel up to my brain again so I held back.

I loved my meal and this restaurant and the staff was wonderful, but if you go and you eat the hot mustard… don’t breathe in.


Hours:


Mon - Thu 11:00 am - 10:00 pm

Fri - Sat 11:00 am - 11:00 pm


Puckett's Announces Chattanooga General Manager Max Stephenson

Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant is bringing the brand’s long-time general manager Max Stephenson to lead the new Chattanooga location, a move that owner Andy Marshall says is indicative of  his company's  excitement to expand into the Scenic City. Mr. Stephenson oversaw six successful years of double-digit growth at Puckett’s in downtown Franklin, Tn., the longest-running ... (click for more)

Willie Mae: Southern Star – Side Splittin’ Good!

Lawsy Mercy! I never expected so many people to miss little ol’ me when I quit spying on restaurants and writing stories about my visits, but according to the folks at Chattanoogan.com quite a few people wondered where I was (and some even thought I had expired). “Whe-e-ere’s Willie Mae?” they asked. Believe it or not, that ol’ rascal Lou and I got hitched! We moved quite ... (click for more)

Chattanooga In Line For New Winter Storm Thursday

After dealing with two snow events, Chattanooga is facing another one on Thursday. The prediction is for some icing that is followed by less than an inch of snow in the valley. Some mountainous areas could get up to three inches of snow. Here is the Special Weather Statement for Hamilton County: ..LIGHT WINTRY PRECIPITATION EXPECTED ACROSS THE REGION WEDNESDAY NIGHT ... (click for more)

Brand-New Cleveland Police Chief No Longer In Charge After He Is Caught With Officer's Wife

The brand-new Cleveland Police Chief, Dennis Maddux, is no longer in charge after he was caught in his police car with the wife of one of his officers. City Manager Janice Casteel said she will temporarily lead the department. She said Cpt. Mark Gibson will be in charge of day-to-day operations. City Manager Casteel said, "Pursuant to Article Vlll Section 2 of the City ... (click for more)

Tennessee Deserves Better Health Reform

Tennessee needs health care reform. Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," was not the best solution for Tennesseans. That is why the vast majority of Tennessee legislators never publicly supported the plan defeated in a special legislative session in February.   It is important to distinguish health care from health insurance. As one physician ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Cameras Or Subterfuge?

State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) is an easy-to-like member of the Tennessee Legislature and the fact he is teaming with state senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) to rid the state of its loathsome traffic cameras is indeed a wonderful thing. The legislative action is long overdue, with the biggest winners being the out-of-state camera companies. That alone is just about all you ... (click for more)