Sunday, February 26, 2017

Essay - The All American Vietnamese Restaurant

There is something to be said about a Vietnamese restaurant. Not only is it a haven of tasty food, but it is also a microcosm of the world. My Sometimes Friday Lunch Place is no exception. The food, hot and fresh, greets me in open buffet style as I locate a place to sit. Once I get my first plate, I return to my table, pull out a book, and quickly delve into my lunch. Although I'm completely focused on eating and my book du jour, my ears take in the surroundings. People from all walks of life frequent this place - they come for the food and possible conversation, of which both are in ready supply. Several medical students. A single woman. A hipster family and their literal 1.5 children. College students who use chopsticks the right way. An older woman who reeks of being bohemian as she piles her plate with sauteed tofu and green beans.  A corporate group taking in a "power lunch". Artists wearing paint splattered clothes and grins from ear to ear. Homeless people who know that they'll get a good meal for little money. At times, tables are shared by complete strangers who are brought together by more than the tasty spring rolls. Sometimes, there are conversations and sometimes, the smartphone is their silent and convenient friend. No one is excluded here; no one is refused service, unless if you're rude to the staff or to the other patrons. To date, I have yet to see someone be escorted from the restaurant. From time to time, I'll stop reading to watch the staff bring fresh food to the buffet area; as soon as they walk away, people rush with new plates and wide eyes to load up on hot chicken wings and tofu with bean sprouts. It's gotten to be a game of sorts and it brings a smile to my face as I join in for my second round of food. After I finish off my second plate and read to a good stopping point in my book, I pack up my belongings to return to corporate, yet I am confident that my remaining hours at work will pass by rather quickly - curry chicken with pineapple tends to have that effect.

1 comment:

WindDancer said...

These are the best restaurants. In Vermont there was one in downtown Montpelier that had counter seats, booths, and one huge table where strangers would sit and immediately begin talking to one another. And the food was marvelous. I ate a lot of breakfasts there.