20100803

The Jamin & Karen Supper Club: Rainbow Chinese

It occurs to me that there are a lot of "rainbow" things around the Twin Cities.  Rainbow Foods, the grocery store chain (our local version of Food4Less, if you're from California, or maybe the Grand Union if you're on the East Coast, and somewhere between the Piggly Wiggly and Food Lion for you southerners -- by the way, has it ever occurred to anyone that it's weird that there are totally different grocery store chains in every part of the country?  Same gas stations.  Same restaurants.  But totally disparate grocery stores.  But i digress...), Rainbow Taxi, and of course, my favorite, Rainbow Chinese.  All of them surprisingly not gay.  (Not anti-gay, mind you, just un-gay.)  There are also Rainbow Tree Service, Rainbow Research, Rainbow Lawn Care, and even Rainbow Pest Control.  (I don't really know the "gay" status of those last few.)

The first time i ever heard of or set foot in Rainbow was over ten years ago now, on a date with a very nice young man named Steve, of whom i was rather fond, but who was scared away by the now-infamous Evil Matt #1, by introducing himself as my boyfriend long before he was.  But that's another story entirely.  In any case, i've been going there for many years now.  Every time she visits Minneapolis, my mother insists on going there so she can get the Honey Walnut Shrimp, which I'll get to in a moment, and you haven't lived a full and rewarding life until you've tried the Tangerine Beef, now to be had only on their Chinese New Year menu.

Karen and i went there this evening, and they -- almost, mostly -- delivered as usual.  I have to say, though, it's taken some downward turns in the couple of years since i was there last.  No more cloth napkins.  The new formica tables are disturbingly truck-stop-diner-chic.  I didn't notice any blooming orchids tonight (back in the day, they were thick on the ground).  And the new menus, well, they've been upgraded, but to what?  They now weigh several pounds, and their bronze bindings don't really make up for the fact that nothing inside them is the same.  Including a total lack of my own S.O.T., Chicken with Crown Broccoli.

Anyway, we started off with appetizers of calamari and pan-fried vegetable dumplings.  The calamari recipe has changed.
Calamari
I'm really not a fan, but it was palatable enough.  Not enough to get it ever again, though.

I'd never had the dumplings before, but there was a strange taste to them that didn't agree with me.  Was it lovage?  Celery?
Pan-fried Vegetable Dumplings

I also started things off with a lychee martini, which is the one thing that seems to have improved with time.
Lychee Martini

After what seemed like a fairly long time, Karen's entrée, Jai Mai Fun, arrived,
Jai Mai Fun
...and was very tasty, but then i was informed that they were out of asparagus, and so my Sate Asparagus Chicken was a no-go... but would i like it with green beans instead for the same price?





...RUFKM?


I felt badly for the waitress, who had to bear the brunt of Karen's obvious question, "Why the hell not tell us they were out of asparagus when we ordered it?"  Apparently, the kitchen doesn't work like that.  Lame.

So i ordered an old stand-by: the Honey Walnut Shrimp.
Honey Walnut Shrimp

Sometimes when Peat and i go there, we'll order a regular meal and get that as dessert, or at least get some to go.  It's so awesome. And that's the one recipe tonight that doesn't seem to have changed. 

Now, i'm not a food critic, nor do i play one on TV, so i'm not going to give this a rating or anything, but i have to say my Rainbow experience this evening was less than stellar.  It was a solid Meh.  At best, a Meh+.

Rainbow is not particularly cheap, but it's worth a shot just for the Honey Walnut Shrimp.  If i'd forgone the need for an appetizer and just stuck with that and the martini, I'd have been blissfully happy.  In all the bill came to right around $35 a piece.  Yeah, and no discount for not bothering to tell me that my meal was out-of-stock until the other had been delivered.  Fail.