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Lilypie Kids birthday Ticker
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Spicy Girl

Sera is an eater. She might skip an occasional meal, but she is usually a pretty good eater and not picky at all. I've talked before about her loving her vegetables, carrots, peas, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, corn. You name it. It's all good.

I guess it shouldn't come as a big surprise that she eats the most when we go to Chinese restaurants. Though it really shouldn't matter as she'd had nothing but formula until we brought her home.

Tonight we tried a new Chinese restaurant. It opened near our home where another Chinese restaurant had been. The old one had been decent, and then it wasn't, and then it closed. The new one is a second location of a locally owned restaurant. It's called Jade Garden. The first location has been written up several times for its food, plus they won a local poll for the best Chinese in the area. We'd been meaning to try it for ages, but never did as the first restaurant is off our beaten path.

When we walked in, we were very pleasantly surprised. The remodeling job was beautiful. The place has a new and very pleasant ambiance. We were there very early, so we had the place to ourselves. Not a bad situation when eating out with a toddler. Jim got his standard egg roll, while I ordered egg drop soup. I thought Sera might enjoy it, and I always like it. The food came out, literally, in minutes. Jim's eggroll was delicate and delicious. It was the best eggroll I've tasted around here by far. My soup was also delicious. We ordered two dishes for our main meal: Amazing Shrimp and a rice noodle dish that I've forgotten the name of. While I was dishing up the rice noodle dish for Sera, Jim got started. He took one bite of the shrimp and told me it was Five Happiness good. I tried it, and he was right.

Five Happiness* is/was(?) the name of a wonderful Chinese restaurant in New Orleans. They used the highest quality ingredients in every recipe. The chicken was always white meat. The beef and pork were never grizzly and always tender. It was located in an area that flooded during Katrina, so I don't know if they reopened. I hope they did.

We've been on a quest since I moved up here in 1999 to find decent Chinese food. Mandarin House was the best one for years, but a little pricier than it should have been. It was not Five Happiness good, but cost more. In the last two years, we found a few other places that were good. One is called Great Wall. It's a little out of our way, but we've never had a bad meal there. The other is the little local place I've blogged about before. Also good, and very inexpensive, but neither of these quite hit the Five Happiness bar. They were, however, so far superior to the majority of the Chinese food options around here. All the rest served gelatinous frozen glop.

Jade Garden hit that bar. The Amazing Shrimp was truly well-named. It was spicy and tangy and sweet. Sera was enjoying her noodles until I gave her a bite of the shrimp. I wasn't sure if she'd like it as it really was quite spicy. She immediately demanded more. She was eating it as fast as I cut it up for her. Every now and then she'd give a wiggle, grimace, stick out her tongue, and drink some milk. Then she'd dive right back into the shrimp. She ate six shrimp before she was done. She then ate the more of the egg drop soup. When the bill and the fortune cookies arrived, she dropped the soup and demanded cookies. She ate hers and half of mine, and still wanted more. I offered her the rest of the soup and she ate every drop. She ate more than she's ever eaten in a restaurant. In fact, she ate more than me tonight. Even the owner was impressed when she saw Sera eating the shrimp. She came over to chat with us several times. She's from a village near Beijing, while her husband came from the Guangzhou area.

If you're local, I can't recommend Jade Garden on Nappanee more.

When we got home, Sera spotted the bananas on the kitchen island. She immediately started chanting, "Nina, nina, nina." That's her word for bananas. I was not going to give this child a banana after all she'd eaten. I gave her one dried banana chip, and we called it a night.

One more thing, all that snow? Gone. We're now flooding. Our temps hit the 60's the last two days. We've had thunder storms and tornado watches. The geese were swimming in the parking area behind my school's football stadium. We're right on the river bank. If it continues to rise tonight, it will flood one of the electrical boxes and we'll have no electricity at school tomorrow. This will mean no school. What a wacky weather week. This picture was taken by our local news this morning. It's an apartment complex 10 minutes to our west.

*Yay! Their website is up, so I assume they're back in business.



Blogger Kate said...

A smidgen of unsolicited advice, if I may? Push that wide variety of foods *heavily* over the next 6 months or so... don't let up!

My eldest was a wonderful eater as a baby and small-toddler, and we were so proud. "Oh, she's a good eater!" we proclaimed, and around 18 months we stopped paying such close attention to it. And with a variety of life changes and so on, it escaped our notice that she got pickier and pickier and pickier, until by about 21 months she was on what we called the "beige diet" - bananas, peanut butter, bread, chocolate milk (we used Carnation for extra nutrition), pasta with butter... you get the idea. She was a vegetarian, by HER choice, until she was 3 1/2.

She's better now - at almost-8 - but it was a long and painful process. My son, we were more vigilant with, and he never went through that. Maybe that's just his personality and would have been the same regardless, but just in case...

Blogger Tammie said...

Wow! You are so lucky! I can't believe how well Cera eats for you. EriShe n eats limited food on a good day. Her Chinese repertoire is crab rangoon, shrimp lo mein, crunchy noodles from the soup & fortune cookies.

She won't eat veggies or red meat at all.

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