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September 06, 2001

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Abacus Chinese Restaurant


She was a chirpy little thing, full of nervous energy and disjointed thinking. As white, as white can be, she looked like her childhood diet has consisted of Wonder bread, mashed potatoes and meat loaf. Why she wanted to go to Abacus was anyone’s guess. I thought it was a feeble attempt to impress me. “Are you sure you want to go there?” I asked. “No I really like Chinese food”, she chirped, while thoughts of sweet and sour pork and boring wontons danced in my head. It wasn’t our first date but I knew the events of the evening would be crucial to whatever future we had.

Unbeknownst to her, I’d been to this unassuming spot on W. Spring Mountain. Better still, I knew Edward Huang and his talented chefs has translated a menu of Chinese specialties for the few adventurous souls who wanted to taste real Shanghai cuisine. If there was to be another date, she needed to show some innovative ordering…not an easy task for someone who thought Seattle was an exotic locale. “Wanna see how real Chinese people eat?…or is lemon chicken more your speed? I asked with imperious condescension coating every word. This was clearly a test though I doubted she knew it…in the thirty seconds it took her to answer, I mentally ended the relationship. All I could envision was an endless platters of egg rolls and Moo Shu followed by lots of eye rolling and eeeews! Ever time I suggested a slurpy plate of jellied eels. Then, as if she was reading my mind she tossed the regular menu aside and stated she was game for anything. In an instant, I was in love. Losing my composure, I mumbled something about the seafood hot pot, braised pork shoulder, tea smoked duck and steamed wontons in hot chili sauce. Before it even arrived, I knew the meal would be a memorable one. Disguising my excitement, I tried not stare at her…

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