Tuesday, September 13, 2005

We go out to dine . . .

One night shortly after we got to Taichung Peter and I decided to walk off campus to try to find a drink and dinner in an actual restaurant with air conditioning and tables and chairs and all the regular dinner out stuff. We walked down a street not far from the campus and looked at what seemed like hundreds of small shops, some in buildings and some in small carts. These places are usually very clean and have good food; if they don’t, the locals don’t patronize them and they go out of business. So all you have to do if all you want is food is to look at the places who are doing a lot of business and they are a good bet.

We checked out a few, but it was not what we were looking for in our dining experience that evening. The food was fresh and clean, though, and they cook it on the spot for you. If you speak Chinese, you can even tell them how you want it cooked.

We kept looking and found a few places in buildings with air conditioning and some had bars, a good sign. However, most were closed as it was only 5:30 and I suppose the sophisticated supper trade comes out a good bit later. However, on a side street we found one that was attractive, spacious, had a waterfall and a bar, and was OPEN. We went inside and ordered two gin and tonics. The only part of that the three young women understood was two. We started pointing, and motioning, and finally I went behind the bar and showed them what glasses to use and how to make the drinks. They laughed a lot and had fun and we looked at the menu and decided to stay for dinner. I made a photo of them with Peter, and I think they must have liked us. However, the blog thing won't load that particular photo, so you can see it when I get back if you want.

We were seated at a table in a lovely room that had a dance floor and an area for a band. We were the only customers in the place at the time. And have I mentioned that most of the shops and restaurants here play western music in the background? Peter and I even danced a little and the young ladies brought us menus. We pointed to a picture of steak. The way you order in most restaurants here is they bring you a list of the dishes and you mark on the list to order. We saw a picture of a steak and figured that would be good. Underneath it were numbers, and I checked number one so of course Peter took number two. We also saw some onion rings that looked good and checked that too, for good measure.

Pretty soon two iced coffees appeared at the table, unordered. The Taiwanese don’t drink much so I figure those girls thought we needed sobering up after such strong drinks. Then the food started coming, and it didn’t stop ‘til we left. We had a salad, then a vegetable, then two more iced coffees; Peter doesn’t like iced coffee and I don’t like to drink caffeine after five, but I didn’t want to hurt their feelings so I drank some of each serving. The food was very good. Then Peter got a pork chop and I got some other kind of meat, I think beef, with a sauce on it. I (guess the steak was another number . . . ) Then some soup covered with puff pastry came, and I was all over that. Then another dish. Then some other kind of drink, non-alcoholic, of course. At this point we got up and paid and left before they could bring out anything else. The onion rings never showed, but who cared!


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