Ah So Much Fortune!

We’ve found our new favorite Chinese restaurant here in Florida. It’s called something like Golden Panda or Golden Dragon or Golden some animal and it meets four out of the five criteria we’ve set for the perfect Chinese restaurant.

No. 1 is that the food tastes good enough that we can order the chicken with confidence that it’s not cat.

No. 2 is mai tais. Preferably served seven days a week. A tiny plastic sword and an umbrella impaling a cherry doesn’t suck either.

No. 3 is a number of vegetarian dishes that my daughter can order.

No. 4 is friendly service and English language skills we can understand so we don’t end up with squid or panda when we thought we ordered General Tsao’s Chicken.

And No. 5 - and the only one this Golden Peacock doesn’t meet - is fortune cookies that tell our actual fortunes.

The fortunes at Golden Jubilee are the same as everywhere else: They’re proverbs, sayings, advice, lectures, moral tales, motherly advice, sayings from Charlie Chan and Kung Fu, and sometimes just plain nonsense. Rarely are they a prediction of what’s going to happen.

We’d be happy with a simple, “You will be lucky in life.” Or “You will come into some money.” Even “You’re in for some deep doo-doo, missy” or “You’ll regret those highlights” would at least be real fortunes.

My oldest son has made it his second biggest complaint (next to the names of the sizes of Starbucks cups, gone into explicit detail in a previous blog) the fact that fortune cookies don’t contain fortunes. Mike once got a fortune from the infamous Here We Go series. It said: “Here we go. ‘Moo Shu Cereal’ for breakfast with duck sauce.” He keeps it in his wallet so he can whip it out when he’s on a rant. He’s moving to Changchun, China, soon, so if he can figure out how to speak Chinese with the vocabulary words on the back of the fortunes, he can complain directly to the Chinese people as a nation.

And what about those vocabulary words? They’re never for words you might actually use if you’re in a foreign country and you’re not a master at the language, like “bathroom” or “help” or “I’m choking on a piece of cat” or “water” or “God, it’s hot in here” or “una cerveza, por favor” or “I think I’m going to be sick” or “do you come here often?”

No, they’re words like “medicine” and “hippopotamus” and “apostrophe” and “plaid” and “mosque” and “endeavor” and “pickle” and “ruckus.”

For the longest time, I kept a non-fortune in my wallet. It said: “When wings are grown, birds and children fly away.” I know. That’s not a fortune. But I think I was getting ready to go off to college and I was overcome with soy sauce-induced melancholy over the appropriateness of that sentiment, so I kept it for years.

My husband keeps a non-fortune in his wallet, too. He got it about six months after starting his new job, where he was working about 20 hours a day, developed every health problem except an ulcer, and rarely changed his socks for fear that it might take away from the focus on his job. His non-fortune said, “You’re lazy and you could stand to work a little bit harder.” Or something to that effect.

The fact that the Golden Arches doesn’t give good fortune is something that we’re going to have to live with. The search for the perfect Chinese restaurant in south Florida had gone on long enough - about five months, which is longer than the actual search for Bobby Fischer - and we had to declare a winner and get on with the dining.

Previously, our favorite Chinese restaurant was Hippy Famiry, a restaurant in Lexington which was legally called Golden Parachute or some thing or another. We called it Hippy Famiry because the first time we went there, we filed in and sat at the biggest, roundest table in the place and the waiter saw us and said, “Oh! Hippy Famiry!” We though his “happy” was “hippy” because one of us was wearing a tie-dyed shirt. We knew “famiry” was “family” because we had all seen A Christmas Story with its fa ra ra ra ra scene. We’re not babies. We’re not stupid.

And more often than not, we got a fortune in our fortune cookie.

My husband was told he would have wealth for many year. I was told I’d be hungry again in one hour.

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