Sick day splurge

After spending the day convalescing on the couch, I decided that the only thing that I actually wanted to eat was some Lo mein, pork fried rice, and maybe a spring roll or two. I live right down the street from China Garden and decided to give them a shot.

I searched their website and was saw the words "authentic", "flavor", and "aroma" bandied about and should have been suspicious, but I was still weakened from my bout of the flu and I innocently believed that their word was good. Heck, they even listed numerous awards and a consistently high Zagat rating, so I figured my simple needs would be met without much culinary effort.

After browsing the online menu, I decided to splurge and order a small chicken lo mein, a small pork fried rice (with brown rice), a side of spicy thai chicken soup, a side of plain steamed vegetables, and an order of (2) spring rolls. I phoned China Garden, gave my order, and was told it would be ready in about 15 minutes.

I arrived almost exactly 15 minutes later and found my food waiting for me. I had a coupon for $3 off and was somewhat shocked to find that the total price for my order(including the coupon) was $23 and change. In no mood to argue, I accepted the order after ensuring that I at least had all of my items accounted for, and headed home.

The soup was enough for 2 servings, so I poured 1/2 into a bowl and it looked and smelled decent enough. It had a generous amount of both chicken and veggies in a spicy broth. It went downhill from the soup. The spring roll was extremely greasy, the pork fried rice was overcooked and gummy, the lo mein was super greasy, and the side of steamed vegetables was a pitiful portion considering the $5 they charged for it. In the bag was also a small package of crispy noodles and a couple of fortune cookies. They also seemed to have thrown in an order of white rice that I didn't order.

Hoping that the flavor of the food would surpass its visual and textural failings, I set myself down on the floor, pulled up a movie on Netflix, and began to eat. The gummy fried rice had chunks of pork, egg, and veggies, but still managed to be flavorless. Similarly, the lo mein had plenty of chicken and veggies in it, but also lacked anything resembling flavor. Instead, it coated my mouth in a greasy film that was exacerbated by the exceedingly greasy spring roll. I shudder to think about the greasiness of their egg rolls if the veggie spring roll achieved an almost translucent state of oily saturation.

Thinking that my taste buds were potentially biased due to my sickness, I had my wife try a sampling of the items. Nope, they still registered as greasy and tasteless. Feeling better the next day, I pulled out the leftovers for lunch and, again, was dissapointed by all but the soup. The best item I recieved from my China Garden order was the fortune cookie, which I guarantee was not made at the Chine Garden. It was light, crunchy but yielding, just sweet enough, and not greasy at all.
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About Tony Fed

Tony is the host of the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast, author of "Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire", and Cofounder of Powerful PT, an innovative information resource for Fitness Professionals. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio broadcasts and regularly hosts healthy cooking workshops and informational lectures. He is also a full-time Personal Trainer and Wellness Consultant who lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Jamie.
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