Monday, September 17, 2007

Some Fine Dining

Since we have arrived in Shanghai Brian and Bethany have been inviting us to Sunday brunch. As we don’t meet together as a “family” until late Sunday afternoon it gives us all sorts of time to have lazy Sunday mornings.

Yesterday we finally took them up on it. The Canfields came along and we all shuttled in two cabs to the Café Du Monde. This is a very pleasant, little restaurant we often go to on Tuesdays as they offer half off to teachers then. My sister has some kind of card that gets her half off on any day during September and so we were happy to enjoy some really cheap food.

As it was a pleasant morning we sat out on the terrace. The café was reasonably full, but not so much so that we didn’t give a second thought to it being slow or needing to go somewhere else.

We ordered our food – I chose the pancake meal with two cakes, hash browns, eggs and toast. Everybody else chose an assortment of lovely sounding breakfasts. Then we waited.

And waited some more.

We got our beverages, mine being a nice glass of tea. Interestingly when you order a regular tea in many restaurants here you can also get it with a little jar of liquid sugar. Instead of having little packets of dry sugar that doesn’t dissolve, they have it in liquid form which manages to mix into the tea making it quite sweet.

Then we waited some more. Then we watched our waiter climb onto a motobike and drive away – he had a delivery it seems. I jokingly laughed that we’d have to wait for him to come back before we got our food.

I would have cried had I known how true that statement was going to be.

20, 30, 40 minutes rolled on by and still we had no food. While most restaurants in China way overstaff themselves, this one seemed to be short handed. There were two waiters on duty and one of them was still out on his delivery. It still wasn’t really that busy, so I expect the cooking staff was underdeveloped as well.

Finally the waffles began arriving. Too bad I didn’t order one of those! Our waiter then came back and still I had no food. Slowly the rest of the dishes came, and somewhere around an hour after I had ordered my dish arrived (the very last dish of our group, thank you very much.)

It really was quite good though. The pancakes were buttery and fluffy and delicious. The eggs done just right and the bacon and hash browns were all yummy.

Despite our irritation over waiting it was good food and really good company. The bill came and the manger gave us sixty percent off for our trouble. My total was like 80 RMB which comes to just barely over ten bucks.

Not bad for a huge meal for both me and Amy.


After services we went with some friends to a Sichuan place. That’s a type of Chinese food that is really spicy. As usual when we eat Chinese we ordered around ten different plates and then shared it all communally. It really is a nice way to eat a meal, and this time it reminded me of being at my mother-in-laws for Sunday dinner. The food was totally different, but there was lots of it like Sharyn always makes and we each just dug out of the bowls until it was all finished.

Each plate comes out separately and we ordered a lot – spicy pork with peppers, French fries done Chinese style, honey glazed chicken, broccoli, rice and several other big dishes. It was delicious and filling.

The restaurant was full and thus it was very loud. We had to resort to shouting at each other at first, but as the food came out we settled on filling our mouths and bellies. I ate until I was full and then there were two more dishes yet to come!

As we all ate everything we simply split the bill evenly. Our total: 20 RMB. That’s about 2.50 American! You can’t eat at McDonalds for that in the States, and that more than filled both Amy and I up with much better food.

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