Takeout to sing about
Ginger’s Chinese is one of Henri’s favorite things
Ginger’s Chinese Restaurant2201 Pillsbury Rd.
Chico, CA 95926
As usual, Henri found himself in a bit of a funk after the holidays, uninspired and even a little cranky. Colette tried to help. We’d bundle up for short afternoon walks through the park—Miss Marilyn and Mr. Theo in their cozy Christmas sweaters—and she’d point out the towering sycamores, their snowy bark brilliant against the wintry sky.
One evening she suggested we go shopping. “That should cheer you up.” She pointed to an ad in the newspaper. “Look. Mervyn’s is closing in a week. Everything’s on sale.”
“Mervyn’s?” I said. “Chez Mervyn’s? Perfect. I can stock up on D&G!”
She rolled her eyes. “It’s Mervyn’s,” she said. “Bargains.”
“Like a Silver Lake blazer! For $29.99! How debonair.”
“Come on,” she said. “The whole store’s 70 percent off.”
I decided to humor her and grabbed a hat and some dark glasses and we headed over.
We actually did find some bargains—bath towels, bedding, pillows, placemats, throw rugs, some nesting bowls, and I found a cute little spatula set for just $2.99.
Of course we were famished afterward, and she pulled out of the parking lot and crossed the street to the Almond Orchard Shopping Center. “How ’bout some Chinese take-out?” she asked, parking in front of Ginger’s—we’d both been wanting to try the place.
“I’ll buy,” she said, then paused. “If you’ll take those sunglasses off.”
We were greeted by very nice young man who smiled warmly and handed us menus.
Ginger’s plates run $5.95-$12.95, with a wide range of seafood, chicken, beef, pork, vegetable and tofu dishes, as well as noodles and rice. House specialties are $7.50-$12.95 and include sizzling beef with scallops, honey walnut prawns, Hunan beef and sweet ginger-spicy tofu. Soups ($5.50 small, $6.50 large) include hot and sour, won ton, sizzling rice, egg flower and seafood with bean curd. Combination dinners (for two or more) are $9.95-$14.95 and include soup, appetizers, and four or five other dishes from the menu. For $8.50, you can get a “personal” combination dinner that includes soup, egg roll, fried prawns, chow mein and rice, with your choice of 16 entrees.
For lunch (served daily 11 a.m.-3 p.m.), there are six combinations at $6.50 each and more than two dozen lunch specials for $5.95
Colette asked the man what the two best things on the menu were. He didn’t miss a beat. “The general’s chicken and the Singapore rice noodles.”
“Sold,” Colette said.
“What else?” the man asked, scribbling our order so far.
We also ordered the garlic green beans, the Mongolian beef and the house chow mein, then drove over to All the Best and rented, at Colette’s insistence, The Sound of Music.
Our food was ready when we got back, and we headed straight home—except for a brief stop for a bottle of Gewürztraminer.
By the time Capt. Von Trapp had introduced Maria to the kids we had tasted everything. And it was delicious—fresh and flavorful. General Tsao’s chicken ($7.50) included large chunks of battered chicken served in a sweet-and-sour red sauce with broccoli, onions and red chili peppers. The Singapore noodles ($7.50) were angel-hair thin, lightly curried and wok-fried, with shrimp, chicken, beef, pork, eggs, onion, red and green peppers. I especially loved the green beans ($6.75), which were liberally sprinkled with diced garlic and served with sliced onions—definitely on a par with Turandot’s, the benchmark for garlic green beans in Chico.
The Mongolian beef ($7.50) was also very good, thinly sliced meat over skinny egg noodles with green onions and red chili peppers—and perfectly spicy, and the chow mein ($6.95) was delicious, the noodles mixed with generous portions of shrimp, beef, chicken, as well as green onions, sliced carrots, onions, and cabbage.
In fact, everything was so good that as we boxed up the leftovers, Henri’s sprits had lifted considerably and I couldn’t help but sing along with Maria: “Shopping and walking with little French poodles, egg rolls, and mu shu and crisp Hong Kong noodles …” Henri was no longer feeling so bad.