Mom: Let's go for a nice dinner tonight.
Me: How about Seafood Harbor? It's the best place for dim sum, let's try the dinner menu.
Mom: Aya, it's really expensive! How about China Red in Arcadia, I've heard really good things about it and my boss said it was very good.
For context, whenever my mom says she has heard something is really good--it usually means, it's CHEAP. Or there's some special discount/deal. She wants a proper meal but won't pay good money for it...sigh. Trust me, many meals have been ruined as I bitch and moan at the crap food when she gets her way. Or she bitch and moans at the prices when I get my way. It has taken years of my insistence to going to Seafood Harbor (I moved to the East Coast a decade ago and on my bi-annual visits, I always go to Seafood Harbor for dim sum) for my mom to stop moaning about the prices there. Our first couple of meals there had us bickering over whether SH was worth the markup over the cart places. I consider it my greatest Hound triumph that my mom now agrees SH is the best dim sum spot in town and now happily goes without grumbling and mumbling.
Because of the above, we usually end up at casual spots because there's no money/value argument. I can't even step into Elite nowadays because our dinner there was so traumatic. My mom was apoplectic over the price of the steamed fish. That was possibly the worst $100+ meal I have ever had and it wasn't because of the food.
So if we go to China Red for dinner tonight, what's the likely outcome? Is dinner there worth one of my limited dinner slots (I have 5 dinners for this trip)? If it's not very good, I may have to risk family strife and refuse my mom's request. On the hand if we head to SH, we'll likely end dinner in black silence as my mom stews over the bill. Sigh...we'll probably have Pho for dinner...