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Pretty is as Pretty Does


Most Saturdays, the three of us eat lunch at a fairly unassuming Chinese buffet imaginatively called “Asian Buffet” located in a strip mall. It is certainly not haute cuisine, but the vast majority of offerings are created from scratch (including the hot chili sauce which Mr. Annie would eat by the tablespoon were such a thing decent in polite buffet society). They make beautiful little dim sum, and delicious soups as well as creditable versions of American buffet standards like General Tsao’s chicken, Chicken with Cashews, eggrolls, Crab Rangoons, and (my personal favorite) chicken-on-a-stick. There is also an assortment of multicultural bizarreness including macaroni and cheese, meatballs, Bourbon Chicken and (made from scratch) California rolls. We know that the food is made by human hands because we often see an employee sitting at a table in the back, tipping and tailing gigantic piles of fresh green beans, and because we’ve asked where we can purchase the much-loved chili sauce, only to be told that they make it fresh daily from dried hot peppers. We spend $20.00 on a Saturday lunch for three, we all get exactly what we want, and we are supporting a local restaurant.

During our lunch yesterday, Mr. Annie’s face took on a strange expression mid-eggroll. Reaching delicately into his mouth, he produced a small screw. Having recently had the experience of finding a staple in a  steak, we were uncertain. As you may recall, the staple appeared at an alleged “fine dining” restaurant, where the discovery was not sufficiently interesting to warrant either an apology from the owner/manager on the premises or any attempt to rectify the situation. We debated briefly, and decided that we needed to tell the manager not to secure an apology, but to make him aware that there might be an issue in his kitchen.

The young man managing that day could not have been more sorry or more gracious. He explained that they usually made their own eggrolls, but sometimes bought them from a vendor; in this case the eggrolls were from a purchased batch. Within five minutes of our discussion he was at our table apologizing again, with a gift certificate for a free lunch in his hand.

The moral of this story is that, as my mother always said, “pretty is as pretty does.” The restaurant with the fancy decor and the upscale menu items could not be bothered to respond to a potentially dangerous foreign object in food served to customers and, although I know that at least one reader forwarded my post about the experience to their management, I have never heard from them. On the other hand, the bare-bones strip mall restaurant decorated with curling travel posters was quick to take responsibility and to make things right. (It’s also worth mentioning that their food is really infinitely better).

If you live in my neck of the woods. eat here:

Asian Buffet

4920 Marsh Rd
Okemos, MI 48864

Not here:

Hershey’s Steak & Seafood
2682 East Grand River
East Lansing, Michigan 48823

If you don’t live here, give the little guy a chance.


About imagineannie

I feel like I'm fifteen - does that count? I'm lots of things, I get paid to be the Managing Editor for a local news publication, and I love my job. I am also inordinately fond of reading, animals (I have four), elephants, owls, hedgehogs writing, tramping in the woods, cooking India, Ireland, England, avocado toast, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Little Women, Fun Home, Lumber Janes, Fangirl, magic, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, YA books, not YA books, classical music, Salinger (OMG SALINGER), Brahms, key lime pie, indie music, podcasts, sleeping in, road trips, marmalade, museums, bookstores, the Oxford comma, BBC, The Miss Fisher Mysteries, birdwatching, seashells, kombucha, and stickers. Not a huge fan of chewing gum, jazz, trucker hats or dystopian and/or post-apolcalyptic fiction (but I'll try anything).

7 responses »

  1. Double ouch, Hershey’s gets spanked again. Maybe it’s something about Asian restaurants, but whenever I’ve had an issue in an Asian restaurant (and we have tons of them here, not bragging, but just saying that’s a lot of opportunities for something to go wrong) the remedy has far outstripped those from more expensive non-asian restaurants–they(the Asian managers and owners) care more about the customer than any other restaurant that we’ve visited. I hope everyone takes your advice, Ann, because they deserve your recommendation while Hershey’s deserves your scorn for having STILL not responded appropriately

  2. Ann,

    What Eric said………..

    Rant and Rave 2008, nice looking Hardware Roll.

  3. hooray for the little guys! isn’t that the way it always goes?
    those other folks need a little reminder of where they came from, doncha think?

  4. Robert, “hardware roll” That is HILARIOUS.

  5. Well, it really wasn’t a complete screw, more like a sheered off sheet metal screw. (think stainless steel muffin top). And don’t think it slowed me down. Buffets have yet to get the best of me, and one little unexpected ingredient just caused me to add more chili sauce and hot mustard.

  6. Thanks, Eric! As you may recall, I enjoy being right.

    Robert, you ARE hilarious. It is one of your many admirable qualities. Hardware roll.

    Mr. annie, I am already wondering if I could get a discount on one of those bags of odds and ends at the hardware store and feed it to the two of you with hot curry sauce and rice.

  7. jayedee, I missed you the first time around. I am hoping that I can get more customers to our buffet-of-the-heart, although I seem to be unable to get a response from the pretentious folks who serve staples….


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