03 February 2011

Gung Hay Fat Choy

Happy Chinese New Year. (Though the internet says the translation more accurately should be “wishing you great happiness and prosperity.”)

I’m not really a big fan of Chinese food. That’s why you won’t find many previous reviews of Chinese or other Oriental restaurants on Krik’s Picks. It’s actually one of the few things my wife and I disagree on. When we’re discussing where to eat, I just can’t get excited about going to a Chinese restaurant.

And yet, I am quite surprised to observe that for the first month of 2011, I had quite a string of Oriental (thought not Chinese) dining experiences.

It started on New Years Eve day – Dec. 31 – my grandson’s birthday. My son-in-law was working, so my wife and I offered to take our daughter and grandson out for lunch. We settled on Rice Paper, a Vietnamese/Oriental fusion restaurant recently relocated to Edina.

The very next day, Jan. 1, we decided to eat at Peninsula Malaysian. I really do like Peninsula. It doesn’t take much to convince me to go there.

Two weeks later, we went to Raku, a new Japanese restaurant in Edina. That was really a special find. While we were disappointed with the service, the overall dining experience and the food was great.

We are part of a neighborhood dinner club. The next weekend after Raku was a group dinner at a neighbor’s house. The theme, what else, was Chinese New Year. Everyone was assigned a Chinese food item to prepare and share at the dinner. My assignment was a stir fry chicken and mango dish. It turned out pretty well. We liked it enough to keep the recipe. We’ll prepare it sometime when we have our family together for dinner.

The next Thursday, our daughter and son-in-law asked us to babysit while they had a night out together. They had Italian. We went to their apartment in Linden Hills to babysit. There’s a new Thai restaurant just two blocks from their place called Naviya’s. We got take-out and ate at the apartment. Several Yelp reviewers have written negative reviews. But my wife and daughter had lunch there previously and really liked it. I liked it well enough to agree to try a dine-in experience sometime in the future.

To kind of wrap it all up, the final weekend of January, we returned to Peninsula. (Click here for my Yelp review.)

So in the course of a month, I probably had more Oriental food than I had all during 2010. Maybe my tastes are changing. I really would dine at any of those places again. But I am especially looking forward to a return visit to Raku.

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