Monday, June 21, 2010
Mr. Wilson Lee
Remember the blog that I described myself in the role of Elevator Operator in the back of the car amusing myself by opening and closing the windows? That's what I did en route (with my imaginary friends) to our chinese hangout every single week.
Unfortunately Mr. Wilson/Mr. Lee set a precedent for all chinese food waiters worldwide. There was no one that could hold a candle to Wilson Lee. In fact, when Mr. Wilson/Mr. Lee was off duty my father would spend the entire meal telling us that the food was not prepared in the same way. Only Mr. Wilson/Mr. Lee was “tight” with the chef who ensured us that only the freshest ingredients were used. I started to believe that Mr. Wilson/ Mr. Lee was more than likely the waiter and the chef once he entered and exited those double red doors in lightening speed. As time passed, we followed Mr. Wilson/Mr. Lee to all the new locations that Lichee Gardens had opened over the years. What I couldn't figure out is this....Mr. Wilson/ Mr. Lee looked really old to me when he was waiting tables in 1961. Some 25 years later he still looked the same. Ancient Chinese secret? Maybe.
The reason behind this story is this. My parents really only liked one restaurant back then too. All others paled in comparison. Lichee couldn't last forever and neither did Mr. Wilson/Mr. Lee. The restaurant did close over a period of time and then one day a few years ago they reopened Lichee Gardens in a location north of the city. Once they opened this new Lichee G. it was all the rage. The only problem was my parents were their only regular patrons. My father was almost 97 when he passed away. One of his last outings was at his favorite restaurant... Lichee Gardens. Soon after the restaurant closed its doors so did an era of memories. My mom now visits the Paradise Chinese Restaurant...week after week because its the only restaurant that's “good“. The manager there knows when she pulls into her parking spot and she has a favorite waiter...his name is Mr. Raymond. Not sure if that's his last name or his first? Most importantly without my mom requesting it, Mr. Raymond brings her plum sauce that doesn't go with Dim Sum...but does it really matter?
“Salmon”, my mother answered.
Hmm? In my opinion, ordering Salmon in an Italian eatery is like ordering a burger in a seafood joint. That's not to say you can't have great fish in any restaurant but why order something fishy when you can have pizza, pasta or cacciatore?
I know that my mom likes to have her last meal of the day early (somewhere between 2 p.m. & 2:05 p.m.). I knew that the restaurant opened at 5 p.m. which was the closest we could get to 2:00 p.m.
Strangely enough my mother opted for a 6 p.m. reservation. She emailed me the restaurant information~ yes email is the way she corresponds with me these days. Her instructions were to call her when I leave my house and I am on my way. Perfect...
I picked her up at 5 p.m. and when I arrived she was standing in her kitchen hallway ready to go. Keep in mind that the restaurant is only 10 minutes from her house. We decided that since the reservation was at 6 p.m. we could drive slowly, park slowly, walk slowly and get to the restaurant about 15 minutes early for our Rez.