Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Chinese Cooking: Sweet & Sour Slushee

Buffet dining... Walking around with an empty plate and selecting things oneself to create a meal. In my world, that's just one step away — well, not even one step away — from cooking. So imagine my shock when we joined Ann (Slushee) and Darren, and their son Antony, at a restaurant chain called Wok (there are two right here in Fuengirola) and found ourselves at a buffet.

The first bit of confusion was when Slushee asked if we'd like to join them at "Wok" and San Geraldo wondered where they wanted us to "walk" with them. Slushee and Darren are English. They're both fluent in 'our language,' but they have a very non-American way of pronouncing things. Well, once that was clarified, we made a date at Wok, which I didn't know was a buffet restaurant.

SWEET SLUSHEE.
SOUR SLUSHEE
ANTONY GLEEFULLY SHARED THIS PHOTO OF WHAT "MUM IS REALLY LIKE."

We went early. Antony had school (and an exam) the next day (he was born here in Spain and speaks fluent Spanish and English; although, sadly, he speaks that peculiar English-English of his parents). Being early, the restaurant was almost empty, which took the pressure off me considering I was going to have to "cook." Antony gave us the tour and explained how it worked. The appetizer station was easy. I just loaded up my plate with lots of delicious finger food, avoiding the Peking duck so I wouldn't have to assemble the goods (pancake, duck, onion, sauce).

"OH-CRAP-YOU'RE-IN-TROUBLE-NOW" SLUSHEE

Then Antony pointed out the entree stations — one filled with items to be prepared on the grill and another with items to be prepared in the wok. You take a large plate and select all these raw things for the chef to cook for you. I muttered, "You mean I have to cook?" Eleven-year-old Antony explained that I didn't do the cooking; I just did the choosing. I explained to him that choosing was cooking. He just laughed at me. But, after the appetizers, he and Slushee took me back up to help me choose-cook.

TRYING TO DECIDE WHAT TO PUT ON THE GRILL. OH, THE PRESSURE.
STEP ONE COMPLETED.  MY PART OF THE COOKING ... EXHAUSTING.

Antony breezed through and created his own little feast. Slushee did the same while telling me what she liked best. I chose skewers of prawns, another of salmon, and then some corgettes (English-English for zucchini) because Slushee told me the chef did an amazing job with the corgettes (she was right). When I went back up (with Slushee) to select my items for my wok-prepared plate, I had to also choose the sauce I wanted it all "wok'd" in. Given the company, I chose "sweet-and-sour."

ANTONY HOVERING ... PATIENTLY.
THE CHEF (AND APPRENTICE) AT THE GRILL.
I DID A BEAUTIFUL JOB... IF I DO SAY SO MYSELF.
MY SECOND PLATE, FOR THE WOK THIS TIME.
NOT VERY AESTHETIC, BUT I HAD HAD IT WITH ALL THE COOKING BY THEN. 
THE APPRENTICE SETS FIRE TO MY SELECTION.
ANTONY AND CHEF-DAD DARREN.
BACK TO SWEET SLUSHEE ... AND THE CHERUBIC (HA!) SON.

So, I cooked last night. (I did so!!!) And it was delicious. (I had no idea I had such a gift for it.) Truthfully, San Geraldo and I would definitely go back to Wok. The selection was huge and the food was delicious. And we'd be especially happy to go anywhere if it meant another night out with Sweet & Sour Slushee and "the boys."

SAN GERALDO AND SLUSHEE.
(HE STUCK TO HIS DIET... I MADE TWO TRIPS TO THE DESSERT STATION... SESAME BALLS!!!)

24 comments:

  1. Wok looks great! Wish we had one here. So proud of you Mitch! Pretty soon you will be stir-frying at home!? Hey, all in good time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jim:
      I know you'll find this hard to believe given all the trashing I do of my cooking skills, but I have actually used a wok in the past. I used to make my own bite-size eggrolls.... from scratch!!! But I haven't done so in about 25 years...

      Delete
  2. I laugh at the notion of you convincing people that selecting from a buffet is "cooking".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob:
      Convincing? I don't know what you're talking about. I'm simply stating facts...

      Delete
  3. I love these places, but I cannot believe you passed up the opportunity for Peking duck! Okay, I can. But I would go just for that.
    I have had no success in getting Tom to go to a place similar to this in Madison. He loves to cook, but when it comes to eateries, he's not that adventurous. I would have to go there, get some takeout, have him eat it and like it and then MAYBE he would give it a shot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michael:
      I do love Peking duck and I do sometimes order it and "cook" it myself. But my favorite way to have Peking duck was to order it in a restaurant where the server assembled it for you!

      I'm not always a fan of buffet restaurants. This was especially good.

      Delete
  4. Choosing your own food then giving it to someone else to cook it? Sounds so complicated my head is spinning. Give me a tin with agreeable contents, a tin opener and a saucepan - plus a plate. Voila!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Raybeard:
      I knew you'd understand, although you lost me at "saucepan."

      Delete
  5. We have a Mongolian Grill here in Portland that is similar to this. But I'm thinking the food there is decidedly less Asian.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen:
      I was very impressed with the quality and selection at Wok. It even felt kind of authentic... right down to the gruff, all-business chef.

      Delete
  6. I could get used to that sort of cooking myself! Even better would be to have my own private chef . . oh I forgot, I already have one! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kirk:
      I did the same "on second thought"... I have my own private chef, too. The only problem is I always thought a private chef would come with a private dishwasher, too.

      Delete
  7. The food certainly looks appetising, but poor Mitchell having to do all that... ahem... cooking! The five of you must have blown everyone else in the restaurant out of the water; all those good looks packed into one wee group.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jacquelineand....
      It was very stressful at moments, but I managed. And the company was wonderful and beautiful (I cropped myself OUT of the photo of San Geraldo and Slushee)!

      Delete
  8. I wish we had a similar restaurant here! We used to but it closed.....It closed two weeks after I had bought my bil a gift certificate there for his birthday. They didn't mention that they were closing and I am still angry. I've got to practice letting go!

    I am another who would go just for the Peking Duck. And I'm very impressed with what a nice group you all were there together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kristi:
      Ooh, that gift certificate would have really ticked me off, too. San Geraldo splurged (his diet) on the duck but didn't do the pancake (yes, a saint). I'm kind of sorry now I didn't go all out and prepare some for myself.

      Delete
  9. Ahhhh, such fun to see you all having a great time together, choosing, cooking, eating, laughing :)
    The French use the word courgettes for zucchini, too, and also aubergine for eggplant (the English, too, ¿verdad?).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Judy:
      All that cooking was easy for everyone else. Antony is a natural. Both his parents are trained chefs (and his father is top tier). You know about San Geraldo. It made the pressure on me all that more intense. And, yes, the Englihs do call them aubergines. It's funny how many different terms (languages) we have to remember for things here.

      Delete
  10. Well in the end it all looked very tasty but really I am not a fan of buffets. I want to be served! :) Still, grilled shrimp, yummy...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Knatolee:
      I usually feel the same way about buffets. This was a good one. But it made all the difference that it was nearly deserted.

      Delete
  11. Can't believe you did not try the Beijing Duck it is the easiest thing to put together a 3 yr old can do it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurent:
      Well I would have loved to have had some Peking duck, but I didn't have a 3-year-old with me.

      Delete
  12. Sounds - and looked - delicious. I kept looking for the black beans and rice, then remembered where you are... China, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharon:
      If it's Tuesday, it must be Belgium...

      Delete

It's always great to hear from you...