The Chinese-Italian Quagmire

Before I begin.

Quagmire: An awkward, complex, or hazardous situation.

Shortly after getting settled in Bonn we surveyed our nearby culinary landscape.

In the United States, you can just assume you’re no farther than 1 mile as the crow flies from a Bloomin’ Onion©. In Germany, not so much.

There were a few restaurants, a few cafes, a few grocery stores no more than 10 minutes walk away. Perfect, we concluded.

Then, I found it. The Chinese Express — one block away from our apartment.

Everyone and their downtown loft owning Mom dreams of living one block from a tasty take-out joint. Lazy Sunday dinner — check! Sasha out of town lunch-yezzir! Late night drunk food — I know just the spot!

Sadly, this Chinese Express didn’t seem to be that place.

We actually love this car and owe Pawel 10 more dinners for helping us find it.

We discovered it on a pass through the neighborhood in our old-enough-to-have-its-own-drivers-license Amazonian slug. In spite of our most ardent hopes, it looked far from a funky hipster hangout that serves Chinese-Italian fusion food.

It looked much more like a dark dive that who’s name, printed in 14pt alternating red and green lettering on crumbling Stucco, indicated it was almost bankrupt or alive and well as an opium den.

Looks appetizing, right?!? Right?!?

We brushed this initial impression off with Trumpian assuredness. “We’ll check out the reviews,” we remarked. Various “I bet it’s an ugly on the outside because they’re too busy perfecting recipes on the inside type spot” comments were exchanged.

To say Google’s reviews boosted our confidence would be innacurate. I don’t need to set this next section up very much. The pictures can do all the heavy lifting.

My thought process: Err…well, let’s just throw the second one in Google Translate. Maybe it’s a miscommunication.

There was no miscommunication. There was never a miscommunication — the star system is universal in its communication.

Slightly discouraged by our findings (and not at all discouraged enough by the reference to evil in connection with this place) we decided we were our own most reliable review.

We were gunna order us some China Express.

I ordered the Kung Pao Chicken. “Kung Pao Chicken is as Chinese as ghost cities (if you haven’t heard of these Chinese ghost cities…stop now and marvel at this),” I thought. Can’t screw it up.

Sasha ordered Kung Pao Pork. Now, I didn’t say it at the time, but I distinctly remember thinking the pork twist meant she was playing a very serious game of diarrhea roulette.

Don’t get me wrong; both stakes were high. I just didn’t feel like I’d gone “all-in” with a Doyle Brunson (that’s a 10–2 off suit for the non-card sharks out there…a bad poker hand for the totally gaming challenge).

We got our meals and sat down to eat. After the first bite, we were cautiously surprised. After the tenth bite we were celebrating our new found love of Chinese Express.

After we finished eating the situation swung wildly to the bad.

For the next 2 hours Sasha Trumped Ferris Bueller’s keyboard.

Everything ended up okay. Sasha’s body beat Kung Pao Porkarrhea. We found other late night alternatives. I still sometimes grab a can of coke from the Chinese Express when I’m in a hurry.

The whole reason I decided to write this story was yesterday Sasha looked at me and casually exclaimed, “maybe we should try Chinese Express again…Maybe we just got a bad batch…?”

Lol. Stay tuned for more stories from our neighborhood quagmire.

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