I am a sucker for seedy little hole-in-the-wall restaurants, particularly if they serve ethnic food. One of my favorite places I have ever been is in Chicago. When I thought I wanted to go to a PhD program for Christian ethics, which I still secretly do want to do, I went for a weekend to check out Garrett Theological Seminary. I didn’t get in there, so I gave up on that idea and became a youth minister for a few years. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything, but I would have loved to live in Chicago to attend Garrett. Most of all I would have loved to have been close to the Thai place that taught me a few lessons, though not as many as staying in the dirty hostel with no personal lockers.
I learned at the divey little Thai restaurant never to order Thai-spicy pad thai when you haven’t been to the restaurant before. I love spicy food. The spicier, the better. However, this particular Thai-hot pad thai burned my mouth so badly I drank at least four full glasses of water. My lips burned, my nose burned, my eyes watered and my skin actually turned red and got dry and cracked from the heat of the peppers. I felt like a child, but I ate it with a smile because, despite the burn, it tasted fantastic.
The only other time I have experienced anything so ridiculously hot was last summer in Savannah when I ate that chicken wing that almost peeled the skin off my face so you could see my skeleton like in cartoons when the characters get electrocuted. I mean ridiculous. I cried. My eyes didn’t just water, I literally cried from the pain. It was so intense my lips were still sore half an hour later, and I found myself wondering, why do we do this to ourselves? Easy answer: the food tastes so good, the burn is just something we have to deal with temporarily. It’s sort of like the poster that says, “Pain is just weakness leaving the body,” that hangs in almost every weight room. Not an entirely safe sentiment, but it makes us feel better about putting our bodies through unnecessary torture.
This whole post was inspired by the fact that Elizabeth and I were both starving, so I helped her get her Amtrak tickets, then we went to China Express in the village. What makes me love these little ethnic restaurants, like China Express or the Thai whatever-it-was-called in Chicago, is that when you leave and get on the bus, everyone knows you’ve been to dinner and they know it wasn’t “American” food. The same holds true with a restaurant like Ciudad Colonial or Puerto Vallarta. I like it when someone gets on the bus smelling like good food. It makes me smile.
I am thankful for the way my dogs love me. They are so unconditional. And, I am thankful for the snow on WordPress. 😛
Exercise: walked the dogs 2 miles, walked from RB to Burris and back, ran 3 miles
Food: banana, juice, milk, waffle, Clif bar, apple, tea, Moo Shu vegetables, Klondike bar