Ten years ago, I was passing through Bumblefuck, Oregon, on some camping trip or another when I made a stop at the town gas station. As I was filling up, a wide-eyed eight-year-old who had probably only seen a Chinese person on TV asked me this question.
Him: "Do yew know kung-foo?"
Me: *blink* "Yes. Yes I do."
It was the gods' honest truth, but I swear I felt guilty saying it. I don't know what the little kid was thinking. I'm convinced that he half expected me to do a back flip onto the station's tin roof and fight off a bunch of ninja wildlife activists out to destroy kittens, flowers, and mom's apple pie. Out of all of the Asians in our group, he'd managed to pick the only one who knew kung-fu. I felt like a walking stereotype. Cheap. Dirty...
Which is how I felt after trying out the Elephant Bar in Irvine.
I tried not to, but I liked the Elephant Bar. I mean, I really *really* liked the Elephant Bar. Like, I was in like with the Elephant Bar. I <3-ed the Elephant Bar.
I'm such a corporate slut.
Deep wood tones, the little black dress of restaurant decor.
It's hard to escape the omnipresent reach of chain restaurants in Orange County, particularly in a city like Irvine. However, I wasn't expecting to be taken in by the Elephant Bar quite so easily. Before I knew it, I'd been whisked out the door and into a cab while she nibbled on my ears and whispered naughty naughty things to me.
(Can't help but look.)
I don't know what it was that first drew me to her. Wait, I lie. I do know. That low-cut kitchen wall, hinting at the lush pleasures she offered. I was weak. I looked. Oh gods, I wanted to see more.
(More is more.)
Truth be told, I knew she wasn't a lady. A little too wild, a little too forward, and just a tad more makeup than she really needed. But, sometimes you don't want straight-laced. Sometimes what you need is someone wild and wanton to spice up your life.
(Quite the sense of humor.)
She was a real sharp cookie. Had a real mind, that one did. I knew she was working me over and I didn't care. She made me laugh. Made me laugh harder than I'd laughed in a long long time. A real pro.
(Huge tracks of land.)
With assets like that, who gave a hoot? I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I was eyeing her the way a starving man looks at a packet of dry roasted peanuts. I couldn't wait to tear open the wrapper and taste the salty goodness.
(Artichoke Dip - Cat's favorite appetizer.)
We started off slow. A hot bowl of creamy, cheesy goodness laced with artichoke hearts and spinach. A little tomato, some fresh-made tortilla chips... I knew it was wrong. I knew I shouldn't. But, it felt too good to stop.
(Coconut Shrimp Skewers - Food on a stick is good.)
It didn't stay slow for long. Soon we were spicing it up with crunchy skewers of coconut-crusted jumbo shrimp in a zesty ginger dressing. She kept it from being too much at once with a salad of cooling greens.
(Santa Barbara Burger - Cat likes avocado in her burgers.)
A little something vanilla; classic, but with a sexy twist. Avocado instead of cheese... Yes, please! It was a little dry at first, but once everything blended together, it was a real winner. The fries were a little flabby, but no one is perfect.
(Adventure Side Salad - Jamaica Mojo, I choose you!)
A sweet interlude. Slow-moving with thick flavors and no surprises. Just nuts, fried fruit, and a mysterious black sauce that flowed over my tongue like a warm jungle night. Good, but I wanted more of that spicy ginger lovin' she gave me with the shrimp.
(Misoyaki Fire-Grilled Salmon - Fusion done right.)
What a finale. I'm still tingling. Miso-marinated salmon, grilled over an open flame and resting on a bed of rice and stir-fried veggies. Goodness, we made a mess. Delicious sauce everywhere.
Elephant Bar Restaurant - I know I shouldn't like it. I know she's nothing but trouble. I know how sleazy this all looks. But, I'll be back. I can't help it. It was just sooooo gooooood...
(I like to add that Cat is quite classy and always a lady. She's the love of my life, and I'm a lucky man to be marrying her. The tawdry descriptions above do not allude to her in any way.)
Bill (for two):
E-Bar “Famous” Artichoke Dip - 7.25
Niu Niu Coconut Fried Shrimp Skewers - 7.95
Santa Barbara Burger - 7.50
Jamaica Mojo Side Salad - 3.95
Misoyaki Fire-Grilled Salmon - 13.95
Tax - 3.15
Tip - 6.50
Total - 50.25
14346 Culver Drive
Throughout California and some of the western states.