Tom and I are working in his storeroom on Saturday, February 28. It's not our usual Sunday get-together because the weather promises snow, maybe half a foot. I'm not into driving on any snow, yet alone that much. So I've moved the day to Saturday. We haven't worked that long when Tom says, "Let's go eat."
"What are you interested in?" he asks. Well, both of us went to Taco Bell yesterday so that's out. It has to be fairly cheap, though. I've only got about $13 with me; Tom says he has $20. But fast food doesn't sound right, either. "How about Chinese?" I suggest.
And so we go to the Chinese Kitchen on Ludlow Avenue in Cincinnati because it's 1. Chinese, 2. cheap and 3. open. Tom's suggested this place before but I'm usually in Cincinnati on Sunday and the Chinese Kitchen isn't open on that day.
Parking is a bit of a problem. The restaurant's ample lot is full but a nearby parking area, originally for a now-closed grocery store, has a single spot open. I grab it and we walk up an ice-slickened alley to Ludlow.
Tom orders tea which is delivered quickly, steaming hot with a tea bag steeping in the metal pot. Tom swishes it around a bit and the boiling water darkens.
I take an obligatory picture of Tom. He is in his usual pose, hand on chin ... pensive ... smiling.
I pass the camera across the table to Tom so I have a picture of myself, too.
Our meals arrive quickly. Tom has ordered shrimp with cashews and fried rice on the side. There are lots of stir-fried carrots, celery, tiny corn-on-the-cob, chunks of broccoli and, I think, a few thin slices of water chestnuts. Tom said that he had five shrimp.
I've order a vegetarian offering: Mixed Chinese Vegetables. It's mostly broccoli with tiny corn-on-the-cob, water chestnuts, snow peas and mushrooms.
They also provide me with a small bowl of white rice, steamed perfectly. Each grain of rice is separate.
Sitting beside us who were two Asian girls, probably students at the University of Cincinnati. Both spoke fluent Chinese. I never heard an English word from the two of them. Thus their conversation was quite private. The waiters also spoke Chinese.
When we're finished they bring the bill to the table with two fortune cookies.
Our bill: $15. That's within my limited budget today. And we're both full. With all the broccoli, I'm even a bit too full.
My fortune is on top. The reverse of both shows a Chinese word and the characters for it.
Just before we left the manager (I assume) came by our table and saw my camera. "Oh, you take-ugh a picture?" I told him that I always did. As we leave I take one last photo of the outside of the restaurant.
Now it's back to the storeroom where I load a few of the items into my car to bring home for our storage space.