Restaurant Tofu and Other Surprises


The Cumings family ventured to the big city of Willmar Friday morning so that two of us could sign our taxes while one of us ate a cookie and worked the room.  (I’ll let you figure out who did what.)

We also took advantage of some of the Big City Amenities Willmar has to offer: chiefly Target, Jo-Ann Fabric, and The Golden Palace, a Chinese restaurant that does not even have a buffet.

If you live in an actual Big City and have never lived in a small town or rural area, you might not understand the way my heart leaped when I read the vegetarian section of the menu (the fact that such a section even existed was enough to make my heart beat a little faster).  When I saw ma po tofu and kung pao tofu on the list, I was beside myself with joy.  Tofu!  In a restaurant!  In Willmar!  I am tempted to use multiple exclamation points, so great was my joy.

The meal itself was good, but not wholly joyful.  Next time, I will order my restaurant tofu hot or very hot.  (Pro Tip: When the first two choices of spice level are “not spicy” and “mild”, it is probably safe to ask for hot.)  Next time, we might leave Zoe at home, since trying to catch her as she ran laps around the place and blushing when she knocked over the “Please Wait to Be Seated” sign did not enhance my restaurant tofu enjoyment.

But the worst part of the meal was the cookie.  As you know, I love fortune cookies.  Zoe and I split one, which had a truly excellent fortune: everything your hands touch will work out perfectly, or words to that effect.  I eagerly unwrapped the remaining cookie, anticipating another gem.

Instead: nothing.  An empty cookie, with a mysterious black mark on one edge.

File:Fortune cookie.jpg

Thanks a heap, Golden Palace.  At tax time, when I get to make my first quarterly income tax estimated payment for 2012 after also paying someone else to figure out the estimate for me, I certainly don’t need  a cookie to tell me I have no fortune.

On the other hand, maybe that answers the question of which cookie was meant for Zoe and which for me.



Filed under Minnesota Nice, Taste and See

10 responses to “Restaurant Tofu and Other Surprises

  1. This made me laugh. Sorry about the fortune cookie. Already paid our first quarter estimate. It was a little painful!:)


  2. My tofu surprise came at a lovely restaurant on a hill in a town called LeClaire which is right on the Mississippi River, about 25 north of me. I was taking a day to recharge after Lent, Holy Week and Easter, and I spent a long time at the river, in the Buffalo Bill Museum (he was born in LeClaire, it turns out), and driving along the river. (These are true details that having nothing to do with tofu). I’ve been rather disheartened at the preponderance of meat and the relative scarcity of vegetarian options in my rural part of the country.

    Anyway. I go in, and get a seat with a view of the river, look at the menu while sipping my clear water (from the Mississippi? I forgot to ask. Doubtful) and find a lovely sandwich with crisply cooked asparagus, cream cheese, arugula, and lemon aioli. With tabbouleh as a side. You may have noticed, it did not have tofu, but I don’t think that was the point. There were other vegetarian entrees on the menu. And the coffee was excellent.


    • Jan, that sounds like a truly wonderful day! And that sandwich sounds delicious. And excellent coffee, and a view of the Mississippi? One of these days, I will visit you in Andover, and we will visit this great restaurant together!


  3. Pingback: There’s Always a Loophole | Never Done It That Way Before

  4. purpleowltree1234

    I think Tofu is the only thing I’ve ever Had to spit out in a restaurant… 😛 Which is pretty amazing since I’ve eaten and enjoyed eating dog, cicadas, flying termites, and locusts… (I grew up in the Philippines).


    • Ha! It is the only meat substitute (besides beans, of course) that I enjoy, and you definitely need to cook it right. I wonder what they did to it at that restaurant? The only thing I’ve eaten on your list is . . . actually, I guess it’s not on there–little crickets in Oaxaca, Mexico, which you must eat if you want to return to Oaxaca one day. Not a fan of the bugs, but a big fan of Oaxaca. Sacrifices were made.


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