Travel, Etc. --> The Ugly Truth
The Ugly Truth
Lunch and a Movie
Not a week goes by that I don't hear someone lament the fact the Indianapolis is such a bastion of chain restaurants. And it is...and that's a shame. And, I don't think the truth of it was ever clearer to me than it was made a few Sundays ago. It was unseasonably grey, wet and chilly and Linda and I decided to find good Chinese food and a movie. We chose one of our favorites, Shanghai Lil's, across from Keystone at the Crossing because we had heard that they serve pretty authentic Dim Sum on Sunday.
We arrived at noon and only six tables were occupied. As Americans of European descent, we were very much in the minority — always a good sign in a Chinese restaurant. And authentic it was. We passed on the duck's feet and tripe, but what we found to eat was wonderful. We spent more than an hour over glasses of Sebastiani Chardonnay and some of the most wonderful Dim Sum we had ever tasted. We anchored the meal with stir fried rice noodles with ground pork, cilantro, green onions and a boiled egg. Then came things like shrimp dumplings, pork pot stickers, BBQ pork wrapped in delicate steamed dumpling skin and crisp, pan fried Chinese pancakes filled with thinly sliced, five spice grilled beef and scallions. And it was all cooked to order (I suppose you can't really run a Dim Sum cart when you only have eight tables filled), and all of it simply fabulous.
After our memorable lunch we ventured across 82nd Street to the new Landmark Art theater at Keystone at the Crossing to see the movie Smart People. As we entered the center, I noticed that P.F. Chang's parking lot was packed... so I took a detour and swung through their lot. Not only was the lot full, the entry was filled with people waiting for tables! Eight tables eating at Shanghai Lil's and hordes of people across the street waiting for tables to eat at a national chain Chinese restaurant where they think Dim Sum is greasy egg rolls and lettuce leaves filled with ground chicken!!!!
Unfortunately this does make us wonder if maybe Indianapolis really doesn't deserve to be filled with places like P.F. Chang's and Logan's Road House....
Oh well, it is great to have a theater where you can have a glass of wine while you watch the movie. And, the movie was a good as the lunch. Sarah Jessica Parker managed to be believable as a 40ish ER physician and Thomas Haden Church is even more pathetically funny in Smart People than he was in Sideways.
And... this really is not about P.F. Chang... although our experiences there have not been great (read our review). It's about Indianapolis supporting good, local restaurants and choosing the creative and the authentic over the homogenized and ordinary.
April 30, 2008