The Sunday night babysitting gig isn't complete without a trip to Panda Express. When I have them to myself, I have these pipe dreams of introducing Seiji and Kenzo to the gastronomic delights of "grown-up" Los Angeles, like Reuben sandwiches and borscht at Canter's or saag paneer and jackfruit entree at Samosa House.
Kids and darned near every living being between here and Pluto love the orange chicken. I will eat the eggplant tofu or whatever the latest beef dish is.
Orange you glad that pandas don't do the actual cooking?
Like many restaurants, Panda Express has begun to list their calorie counts for the items on the menu. The Wok Smart menu is heartening, but then you realize that most people go for the tastier high carb items like the aforementioned orange chicken. Plain steamed rice comes in at a horrifying 380 calories for an eight-ounce serving; fried rice is a whopping 450 before you even get to an entree.
But no matter. The metabolism of a six- and eight-year-old is very forgiving. We celebrate our easy companionship and love of the Westside Pavilion - we made the happy discovery of a new Toy Mandala location on the second floor - with kid-pleasing Chinese food and the requisite fortune cookie.
Would Virgil have preferred kung pao chicken over broccoli beef?
If "Fortes fortuna adiuvat" means that Fortuna is likely to favor those who take risks, she must love the folks who eat at places like Panda Express on a regular basis. A steady diet of such food is a viable gamble on developing obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.
Furthermore, the little paper messages inside the fortune cookies are often more like affirmations or admonitions than predictions. Nevertheless, one cannot help but be curious about them and even rip open the cookies (my fault, I encouraged them because I was finished eating!) before one is done with dinner.
I thought that Kenzo's was pretty appropriate: "You are a deep thinker with a knack for problem solving."
Seiji's was again, spot on: "Your magnetic personality will draw people to you."
Mine however, turned out to be along the lines of sage advice for the perennial bachelorette: "Judge one not by his charms but by his qualities." I think for now I'm pretty safe with my two dining companions, who despite their childish palates, are rather discerning about food. They've got to be - we're related. But my favorite delis can wait. S + K are growing up much too fast as it is.
And my not-so-cryptic fortune doesn't apply to them. They are both very charming but possess some very wonderful qualities. So does the carton of key lime graham cracker gelato that I brought home.
2 weeks ago