Sunday, August 5, 2012

Wine in Thyme goes International!

Wine in Thyme returned to China in July.  This trip, we were in SE China, primarily Shenzhen and Shanghai (pronounce Shong hi.  Didn't realize I'd been pronouncing it with an Ohio accent all these years).  SE China is much different than Beijing, which is located in the NE of China.  Plus, we were here in July, not February.  Each day it was well over 90 degrees, and the humidity hovered at 90% or more. 

My associate and I took one night off from a traditional Chinese dinner with our Chinese host, and decided to "wing it".  Two crazy Americans alone for the night, ordering off a Chinese menu, and hoping for the best.  It was mid-week and we were feeling comfortable in this foreign country, at least we felt comfortable enough to point at pictures and place an order.  I have to admit, we weren't over adventurous.  We merely took the elevator to the third floor and chose the Chinese restaurant in the hotel:  Qin Yue Xuan.

First things first:
The wine was ordered. 
It arrived standing upright, not sideways as depicted here.  (My apologies, I am having a real difficulty with my images this weekend.)  It was pretty good, for a Chinese wine.  It was mildly spicy with a hint of yeastiness, not exactly what you want in a Cabernet, but I thought I could survive.

The wait staff was quite attentive.  The only other guests in the restaurant were four men, who appeared to be from a Russian or other former Soviet nation.  They spoke in hushed deep voices that resonated nonetheless.

Our waiter pronounced his name "Dream Yang".  Our waitress would not provide her name.

The menu is in Chinese and English.  But the pictures tell the real story.  I thought I would try this Grilled Eel with Gravy.

I can't say that I understood why they wanted their menu to be an interpretation of the road.  It offered "a kind of living embodiment of taste. A kind of quest for quality food."  All I know is, I was NOT going to order anything off this page.  I did not care to try the steamed longsnout catfish or the hot trotter.

 This is their Grilled Eggplant Japanese.  It looked delicious to me, as I love eggplant and really only know two ways to cook it, both involve tomato sauce and Italian seasonings.  So, in addition to the Eel, I ordered eggplant.  Our waiter, Dream Yang, looked at me with surprise, which quickly turned to confusion.  How was he going to politely tell a customer I shouldn't order both?  He called over his waitress to help interpret.  Between the two of them, we settled on a decision.  I would get a little bit of both dishes.  Much success!

Mixed Dragon Fish with Chili - nope, didn't try it.

I did not order the Geoduck Clam Sashimi.  It looked inedible to my American eyes.

Look at this delicious grilled eggplant!  Arrived at the table piping hot.  It was perfectly grilled - a slight crisp on the edges, and a well-cooked meaty interior.  Complemented by the light, sweet ginger brown sauce, with sesame, mild red and green peppers and onion for texture, it was one of the best dishes I ate all week. 
 Look how happy it made our hosts.  They were so pleased with our happiness, they gave us a 4 page questionnaire to complete.  My eel never did show up, but it was just as well.  The eggplant was enough for an entire meal.  I think that's why my waiter was upset - by ordering the eel and the eggplant, I was ordering enough to feed two or three people.  I didn't realize the pictures depicted almost life-size servings.  Stupid fat American.

(I have to apologize one more time for the photos.  I can not get them to come in correctly.)

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