Three of the seven dwarves

Photo by David Robert

January makes me grumpy. After the holidays, I become an antisocial malcontent. Delusional. Sociopathic. And I usually get a head cold. Even our recent record-breaking mild streak hasn’t stopped this year’s bout of “The Januaries.” Things that temporarily ease the grumpies? Unhealthy food and pointlessly irritating the boyfriend.

I’ve just awakened from a four-hour nap, one of those naps where you wake up and it’s dark, and you think that you’re late for work, or maybe you’re supposed to be fighting pirates, but then you realize it’s nighttime and you’re not supposed to be anywhere. But having nowhere to be just leaves you grouchy, stuffy and hungry (three of the seven dwarves?). Maybe it’s just me. Anyway, RN&R arts editor Carli Cutchin mentioned to me that someone had raved to her about the China Star Super Buffet. I imagine a hobo-like fellow (fingerless gloves and all) running wildly through the RN&R offices shouting, “The time is at hand! You must eat at the China Star Super Buffet! Egg roll or die!” [Editor’s note: The person recommending the buffet to me was a reader who called and identified himself as both a doctor and a recent discoverer of China Star. He was not the ragtag apocalyptic type, at least not as far as I could tell.]

Eric isn’t hungry at all, and he’d rather stay home and watch Resident Evil. Too bad for him. In the car, I mention that it takes some couples years to reach our current state of taking each other for granted. He responds by turning up the radio.

The dinner buffet ($8.99) includes one drink. On a mission to deflate the sinus pressure that is making my head lopsided, I take hot tea. Tasty, but unhelpful.

The joint seems roughly divided into the following categories:

Trip One: Fried Stuff and Soups. Vegetarian Egg Rolls! Cheese-filled Wontons! Egg Flower Soup! It isn’t until after the meal that I find the hiding places of the various condiments, though I do consume heaps of wasabi in a quest to breathe through my nose. The only time we speak is when I point to Eric’s chicken and he says, “Teriyaki.”

Trip Two: Well Known Entrees. Eric stops eating after his first trip and disappears. As I’ve eaten nothing but hot dogs for two days (don’t ask), I skip the pig-based dishes. The Green Beans and Hunan Beef are good, and there are some fun tofu and seafood treats. I wonder to myself if they have some kind of GPS (Global Positioning System) set up for plate clearing, because they’re frighteningly efficient about it.

Trip Three: Other Chinese Things and Some Things You’d Never Expect. I wish Eric were sharing in the joy of the macaroni and cheese. When he finally comes back from wherever he went, I’m muttering to myself about dumplings. Does anyone in town make vegetable dumplings? Sure, the meat ones are fine, but vegetable ones are so much better! Eric stares at nothing; my muttering goes unnoticed.

Trip Four: Fruit and Ice Cream: They’ve got eight flavors of self-serve ice cream (including Banana!). The ice cream scoop outsmarts me, but Green Tea ice cream is worth the trouble.

Eric apologizes for not eating enough to make the trip worthwhile, but I don’t mind. He says, "You want to get a movie?" Food-stoned and sinus pressure temporarily dissolved, I smile and nod. In January, that’s the best I can do.