Of Teams America, Islam and the Notable Absence of Pork

N.B. In the interests of cross-referencing, I was going to include a link to M-bito's post about the road trip in the first sentence. But apparently his archives aren't functioning correctly, so you'll have to do without. But if you don't know about the road trip by now, then you either aren't functioning correctly or you haven't been reading my blog. Both of which are serious problems in need of immediate remedy.

As the road trip grows ever closer, the four of us (Mike, Courtney, Eleanor and I) have been confirmed as the official four members of "Team America." Recently, at a Team America hangout that included church, alcohol for everyone but me and buffalo wings, we also confirmed the existence of all the miniature cross-teams that exist within the team (e.g. Eleanor and I, Mike and Eleanor, etc.). The others will be subjects for future posts, maybe; the only ones that matter to this story are Team Guys (Mike and I) and Team Girls (Courtney and Eleanor). Now, we all know how competitive Mike can get. And how competitive Courtney can get. And how competitive Guys and Girls get against each other. But this is really just a small part of our story.

On Orangethorpe, right around the corner from our apartment, is a very interesting restaurant. This is the sign that Mike and I pass almost every day:

Ever since I moved in, Mike and I had been drawing up plans to visit this restaurant, either 1) wearing tan shorts, sandals and white wifebeaters, looking as white trash as possible or 2) wearing as much Christian paraphernalia as possible, both of which scenarios were designed to see how many people we could offend. But we never got around to it... until now.

We made plans to go there for the "Special Lunch" (not the "Lunch Special") on Wednesday. Courtney learned of this, however, a few days ago, and in the friendly nature of vicious to-the-death competition, declared that Team Girls would go for breakfast, just so that they could beat us. But their evil plans were foiled by the unforeseen fact (planned months in advance) that Eleanor was spending the week in Oregon, so she was unable to attend breakfast that day. So, in short, Team Guys won. Boo-yah.

We did indeed go to lunch on Wednesday, although we abandoned our previous ideas concerning dress code. As proof I present:


We noticed that the cars in the parking lot didn't look too unusual. Part of us was glad that we wouldn't be entirely out of place, and part of us was disappointed that Islam doesn't have the same hokey bumper-sticker obsession that Christianity has. We walked up to the door, and decried this inscription above it:

We ignored the fact that this probably said "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here" in Arabic and went in.

We had surmised long ago that the reason it was called a "Chinese Islamic" restaurant was that it served Chinese food according to Islamic dietary laws. And as we surveyed the menus we received that seemed to be an accurate guess, as there were no pork items to be found anywhere. I noticed, as well, that the d├ęcor of the place was distinctly Islamic as well (at least, as best I understood it): lots of ornamentation, but all abstract, with no artistic representations of anything living, man or animal. Even the fountain in the entryway was rather plain. I also noticed, however, that there were pictures of fish on the menus, which seemed to me to be cheating.

(The menus, interestingly enough, were headed with the declaration "Lunch Special." Apparently someone missed the discrepancy between the menu and the sign. Heads are gonna roll now....)

The food was actually very good, however, for a reasonable price. I had black pepper shrimp with mushrooms, while Mike opted for the beef and broccoli. Plus the Special Lunch Specialty For Lunch Because You're Special was served with soup, tea, an eggroll and steamed rice. Mike and I had a good conversation, encompassing the Bible, girls and lots of really manly stuff. And I think we made it out without offending anyone. (Curses.)

So, the morals of the story:

1. Guys always w... um, never mind.

2. You should learn to read Arabic.

3. The first person to open a "Chinese Christian" restaurant across the street, full of statues, paintings, icons and bumper stickers, wins.


Idhrendur said...

Now I'm tempted to do so, just because...

Mark said...

Well, it's no fun if you abandoned the dress code(s) . . . even if you did TALK about the Bible.


Mark said...

So I just realized something . . . proper title etiquette would require you to title the post as you did, but it reminded me just now of A. A. Milne capitalization . . .

"Pooh, as he looked over the menu, found a Notable Absence of Pork."

Amy Grace said...

You guys crack me up

Raelynn said...

I forgot to mention... and when I say I forgot to mention, I mean I forgot to comment... I too pass this place on the way to work and have often remarked at it's interesting signage. Thats about as far as I got with it.

Perhaps someday on my journey for something new and exciting I'll drop by... wearing all my Christian paraphernalia... and a sori.