Food is one of the most important things in life and eating a meal for the first time is special. The feeling of taste that burns in one's memory, the smell of new ingredients and the location often make eating a meal for the first time special for me. As an adventurous person and a food lover, I am lucky to have traveled to different places, and I've certainly eaten different kinds of food from many cultures around the world. In my traveling experiences, I've had different experiences with food; some bad and some great. And perhaps up until now, if someone would ask me about the most memorable meal in my life, the answer would probably not be Chow Mein from a restaurant based in Chinatown, San Francisco.
Last year, my friend and I planned to go out for a meal, and since we both love Chinese food, we decided to try a restaurant out in Chinatown. On that day, I rang the restaurant to book a table because of the Friday congestion in that hotel. On the phone, an elderly man; probably in his forty's, pleasantly responded and asked if he could help me with anything. I found the man on the phone so polite, and I knew that was the place to go because a good meal often comes with great service. At first, I was temporized, but he assured me that everything is great about the hotel; especially the meal. With a low voice, I asked if I could get a reservation for two at 8.00pm. Fortunately, without delay, the man responded politely saying "yes, of course." He then asked me for more detailed and assured me that the table would be ready by 8.00pm. He further asked me if there is anything I would need and I said that's all. After thanking him, he let me off respectfully and made sure he was the last person to respond on the phone. I was so excited not only because I secured a table but also because of the response I got on the phone which made me feel comfortable and relaxed about the hotel.
Dumpling Inn and Shanghai Saloon is situated on Convoy main street, San Diego California. On our arrival, the first thing I could notice about the hotel is the parking space. The hotel has large parking, and despite the number of clients they receive in a single day, I was told there is always parking space for everyone. The establishment is well suited for everyone, and apart from the stairways, there is a pathway for disabled people and lifts all over the place. This was so amazing especially because of the dressing code we had on that day: my friend was wearing heels which were making it hard for her to walk long distances or up the stairs. Particularly, I would say the establishment was perfect in terms of entering and exiting. When we reached the reception, it was there that we had the first glance at the place.
Everything was perfect, and it wasn't just me that was impressed. The restaurant was spacious and well furnished with exotic tables and chairs. In addition, there were decorations everywhere from the ceiling, the walls and on top of each table, a candle was placed to represent a good feng shui. "Just the way I picture it would be," my friend whispered. The restaurant was not full as I thought, but the few people represented a sense of calmness and class within the establishment. A young lady approached us, greeted us and with a big smile, asked if we had a reservation. I gave her our names, and she showed us to our table. There was already a bottle of wine on our table courtesy of the hotel management, so there was no need to ask for drinks since I am a wine person; and so is my friend. Moreover, the menus were already on the table, so the waitress left us to our business for some few minutes as we decided on what to eat.
The menu was quite concise with multiple varieties to choose from. The restaurant takes pride in offering both the traditional Chinese meals and western favorites which include comfort food like steaks and burgers. However, the menu was filled with Chinese cuisines which included Lo Mein, bang tofu, flower mushroom frog, fried pumpkin dumplings and Chow Mein. After a series of negotiations, we eventually decided on Chow Mein. The waitress came for our orders, and ten minutes later, she was there with the plates. Chow Mein changed my view of Chinese food. From the first bite, I felt the sweetness of onions, then ginger and garlic. I could taste the oyster sauce, mushroom, and chicken. It was probably the best meal I ever tasted. The taste was overwhelming, and even though I was unable to tell the full recipe, I noticed an amazing crispy crunch of vegetables mixed with tender strips of pork. The smell of a fragrant mix of sweet mushroom and pork is everything a person would need on a cold Friday night.
We were served dessert after the meal and what an experience it had been. The establishment, the staff, the service, and food exceeded everything I dreamt of in my life. Ideally, everything was perfect from the physical stuff like food, interior design, mood, the level of service and the atmosphere. The food was worth the time and money and I will go to my grave wishing I had one last time of its perfect blend of textures and flavor.
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