Tuesday, February 24, 2009
CHICO & CHANG
I don’t know why I became determined to eat at the grubby looking takeout place called Chico & Chang on Ponce de Leon. I guess I hoped that it was Mexicans who had come to appreciate Asian food (there are often a lot of Mexicans working in Chinese restaurant kitchens), though it was much more likely to be Chinese people making Mexican food, as Chinese folks own numerous little takeout places in the area, where they specialize in wings and burgers. When I came up to the takeout window, there was a Chinese lady who told me that my car was facing the wrong direction. As I drove around the place, there were signs that I should back out while I still had the chance. I ignored the dead guy sprawled out in the parking lot clutching a fortune cookie, as well as the scent of steamed broccoli waiting to be added to Mexican dishes like burritos and fajitas. Though I had hoped for Mexican food, I played it safe and ordered cold sesame noodles, a dish that is only occasionally found on Chinese menus. The lady warned me that the sauce came on the side, which just didn’t sound right. As I waited 25 minutes or so for my food, I scanned Chico & Chang’s expansive menu, which includes a fajita chicken sub, bbq burger, stuffed jalapenos, their “famous” chili, as well as two “exclusive” East meets West dishes, the moo shu chicken burrito and the Mongolian beef sub. The wrongest sounding thing on the menu is the veggie chimichanga with broccoli, mushrooms, bell peppers and onions. The sesame noodles turned out to be vegetable lo mein with a container of sesame sauce. Possessing an iron-clad stomach, I ate it anyways. It was bad, but I have eaten worse things in places like Tunisia and North Dakota. Afterwards, though, a sick feeling lingered in my stomach for hours. My advice to Chico & Chang: Chang, don’t try and be Chico. I have cooked plenty of crummy Chinese food in my time. My wife even refuses to allow me to cook my “famous” curry noodles ever again. You, Chang, make Chinese food in a wrong way that Chinese people would shake their heads at. I do not want to consider what your Mexican food is like. In fact, I won’t. Blechh! Yuck. I did.