for lunch i wanted to try someplace new. i had enough of the trucks, enough of max's lamb curry and gumbo, enough of kendall's house of pizza steak tip subs, enough of boca grande's chicken colorado burritos, enough of alinda's, even enough of the galleria food court. i left with amanda and maya in tow and headed north in the direction of cambridge street. cries of "come on maya!" and "let's go maya!" were heard throughout the whole walk. when maya went poopoo, amanda didn't bother picking up after her, while i shook my head in civic disgust. when we reached cambridge street, my eyes immediately spied a chinese restaurant called empire (about a two minute walk from the lechmere station). after looking at the menu posted on the outside window, i went in and ordered some spicy chicken wings for $6. there were nobody inside in the cozy decor, booths to the left and right, tables in the center. a nice place to hang up during lunch, very secluded. 10 minutes later i got my order and we walked back to the office. how were the chicken wings? very good! they weren't spicy in the sense of hot, but there was a lot of this tasty secret sauce. unfortunately i bought enough wings for 2-3 servings, and even more unfortunate is that i finished everything. i don't think i can eat chicken wings for a long time! but trust me, they're good.

i decided to leave work earlier tonight (6pm) than my recent usual departure time (although tomorrow morning i'm going back to work early, 5am early). i talked amanda into going with me to buddha's delight, that vegetarian restaurant in chinatown. when we got there the place looked pretty shady. we walked up a flight of stairs to the top floor where we saw a relatively clean and nicely furnished restaurant with a great view of chinatown, especially the former combat zone. we sat by a window seat with a nice view of the glass slipper alley way. this was my first time eating at buddha's delight, but it wasn't my first time there. i remember a long time ago, when the restaurant was still on the first floor, i walked in and asked them if they served vietnamese pho. "this is a vegetarian restaurant," the waiter said quite seriously. "um, yeah, but do you guys have pho?" "this is a vegetarian restaurant. we don't have pho," he replied with a mild inflection of disgust. anyway, many years later, i am back, but this time i'm not looking for pho. the dishes on the menu were weird. i was surprised to see how many meat dishes there were. but my meat dishes i mean "meat" in quotation marks, because it's vegetarian meat, which probably means it's some sort of tofu disguised as real meat through texture and flavoring. i ordered a spicy "beef" chow foon while amanda went the more conservative route and went with a wholely vegetable combo noodle dish. when our orders arrived, i was surprised to see that amanda wasn't shy to try my "beef." when i tried it for the first time, it tasted a lot like chinese sweet sausage. if you didn't tell me it was all vegetarian, i would've never known and just assumed it was meat. it didn't taste like beef though, too small, too dark, too sweet. but it did taste like chewy meat.

dinner conversation topics included a reverse vegetarian restaurant, where everything would be made of meat and you'd serve imitation vegetables made out of various animal body parts like cartilage or skin. i also revealed to amanda my secret next year vacation plan of perhaps driving crosscountry, cutting through st.louis of course.


glass slipper
alley way

amanda at
buddha's delight


after we finished eating, we walked to park street where we said our good byes until tomorrow. when i got home i had missed all of gilmore girls, but just in time for smallville, which is a pretty good show as well.