To motivate the youngest pup to go to Chinese school, I hung the carrot of Chinese food for lunch. So at the end of school on Saturday, we headed out to Bamboo Garden for lunch at the end of school. With us on a first time trip [both to Seattle and to Bamboo Gardens] was my mother in law. We had:
---rabbit in chili oil
---tofu with peanuts-[the pressed type with sichuan peppercorns]
---dan dan mien with pork
---2x cooked pork
---lamb with leeks
---dry cooked green beans
---pressed tofu with scallions
---fish with pickled cabbage
As always everything was yummy, yummy, yummy at the meal and equally yummy with the left-overs. Rabbit vanished down the gullets of the pups leaving only a trail of little tiny picked clean bones behind. MIL who claimed to dislike spicy food until she spent 3 weeks with us in China, couldn't stop eatting the chongging chicken. She said the food reminded her of being in China. And I just enjoyed everything.
Of all the sichuan places in Seattle, Bamboo Gardens is at the top of our list. Yes, its a bit of a schlep BUT unlike a certain other Sichuan restaurant [with 99 in its name located north of the city] Bamboo Gardens listens to you. If you tell them you really like spicy like a Chinese person and you really like sichuan peppercorns, and you have your kids concurr that we all want that type of food, they give you what you ask for.
Contrast our last trip to that 99 place where, despite having the pups personally tell the waiter we wanted things spicy, we like things spicy and full of those peppercorns IN CHINESE MIND YOU, we ended up with an incrediably disappointing table full of white guy food. Now I know they still make the food "properly" because the appetizers---which are made in "bulk" had all the proper seasoning. But every dish we ordered lacked any chili flavor. Is it me or is there NOTHING more disappointing than having your mouth all set for some tingly sichuan peppercorns and chilis only to be served bland boring chili-less food. [and is it me or has anyone else gotten the impression that the 99 place is now segregating their dining room into one room for chinese people and one room for everyone else?] Frankly, given the schlep and the disappointment in the meal, we won't be hurrying back to 99 anytime soon. It was just too frustrating.
We will be rushing back to Bamboo Gardens and we will try to do it on a weekend in addition to our typical post-Chinese school jaunt. In talking to the staff, we learned that the economic downturn has been hard on them. Weekday lunches are going strong but those weekday diner customers are in short supply. This made us VERY SAD. No one in our family is prepared for the dreadful disappointment of finding another favorite restaurant [AKA Shi'an] MIA and so we will do our part and try to increase our visits, even if we have to drive in "traffic" to do it.
If you have been meaning to try this place, this is the time to go. If you show up for dinner Monday to Thursday, you will benefit as well as they are giving a 20% discount off the dinner menu during those hours. Not sure how long it will last --there are signs all over the windows--but I suspect we will be back this week so we can give my mil a nice send off. We will be the ones with way tooo much food on the table fighting over the green beans. Enjoy!