HG had fond memories of numb lips and fiery mouth after eating delicious specialties at La Vie En Szechuan Restaurant in New York. Thought that another year would have to pass before a similar experience. HG loves HG/BSK’s New Mexico Santa Fe County home. Santa Fe has splendid Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisine, of course, plus good French restaurants, excellent sushi, down home Vietnamese pho. Italian food is pallid and Chinese food is sad. Heavy on the sugar and cornstarch, alas. BSK cooks splendid Italian food (as does daughter Lesley R. and SJ) so trattorias aren’t missed. But, HG sure does miss Chinese food and has fantasies of a second life lived in Flushing, that lovely piece of China that has landed in Queens. Given all of this, one can only imagine HG’s delight a few days ago as Lesley R. and BSK arrived with two small containers of Chengdu specialties from Chongquing House, a tiny Chinese restaurant in Seekonk, Mass., a few minutes drive from Riverside, R.I. There was one container of Chengdu noodles with ground pork and sesame sauce and another of cucumbers and sliced pork belly. Happy masochism. Great flavors. Unabashed fire. Perfect late lunch for HG who smiled with numb lips.
In fact, HG’s tingling lips were so pleased with the fiery foods from Chongqing House that the very next day, HG proposed a return. HG has always taken great pleasure in sitting around a big round table in a Chinese restaurant eating savory food with family and friends. A group of eight is perfect, allowing the group to taste a variety of dishes. More folks make the dining clumsy. Less limits the options. So, last night the octet of HG/BSK, Lesley R. and family, two pals, was ideal. Earlier forays at Chongqing House in Seekonk, Mass., were promising. Dinner was the big test and the Chongqing chef made the group happy. Fried dumplings. Bean curd with vegetables. Smoked pork with greens. Eggplant in garlic sauce. Chopped pickled string beans with scallions. Chicken with broccoli. Service was kind but spotty. Sliced fish in hot sauce and dumplings in chili oil didn’t appear. Just as well. The group was well fed. After dinner, all drove across the road to see “Star Wars-The Force Awakens” in 3-D. Before the feature, there was a half hour of films previews featuring monsters, end of the world scenarios, special effects, etc. And, then came “Star Wars.” Lots of explosions, dazzling special effects, imaginative sets, lots of actors running around and avoiding catastrophes. HG is not a fan of science fiction, extra terrestrial film and other fevered products of the modern imagination. However, the theater seats were comfortable and HG mused that 3-D has come a long way since the days of “Bwana Devil.” The movie also made old fogey HG long for a return to quiet films featuring Cary Grant, elegant evening gowns, background music by Cole Porter.