I’ve gotten over my fear of external appearances since I’ve moved to the twin cities. Maybe I was biased living in Illinois and anything that’s in a strip mall or gas station is second only to cardboard. But not so in major cities (and the surrounding areas). I was hungry for some Asian food for lunch and I utilized the ol’ google-box to figure out what was near me at work. House of Kai, you’re the next contestant! (And I got complaints about the lack of photos on the site, so I'll be trying to put in more for those who can't be expected to read non-stop without photos breaking up the monotony - ha ha ha, I'm totally kidding.)
I’ll refer you back to the first line of this post when I tell you every fiber of my being told me to try another place when I pulled up to this place. Not only is it in a PDQ gas station, it’s BEHIND the PDQ gas station in a service hallway lined with cinder blocks like a hallway at a YMCA. Seriously.
But I thought back to my brilliant meal at the Rice Street Deli and powered through. I was glad I did.
I was greated by a super friendly Asian couple who seemed genuinely glad I was there. (I was the only one there, so this is a definite possibility.) She brought me a lunch menu with a pretty good selection of items on it. I went with the Szechuan beef after deciding last night randomly that I always get chicken when I do Asian food, so it’s time to branch out. It comes with choice of egg roll or cream cheese puffs (both are fried, so it’s hard to mess this one up). Egg roll.
The food came out immediately. Seriously, I typed a quick txt message on my phone and then my food was there. I could not have microwaved it any faster. Maybe the cook is from the future and just knew what I wanted. It was really bizarre. But the food was pretty good as far as gas station lunches go. I wouldn’t drive out of the way to go here, but since it’s close enough for lunch, I’ll go back, for sure. The meat was really good (though the pieces were a tad large and had to be cut), and the veggies were cooked but still crunchy – amazing since they spent 12 seconds on any sort of heat source in back. The egg roll was also good – not phenomenal, but good.
Other people did come in while I was there. One group of guys came in and asked them to rush it since they were in a hurry. I don’t think they needed to tell the lady that. Or maybe she shaved like 3 more seconds off their cooking time or something. IF it were any faster, the lady would have been putting a forkful of food into your mouth as you finished the last syllable of your order.
Then another guy ran in and went straight to the cash register and said, “give me something I can eat with my hands.” This caught my attention. I didn’t even know you could order that vaguely and still get results. The lady was like, “Can you be more specific?” He explained he would be driving and couldn’t eat with a fork. So she recommended appetizers. He demanded to know how long they would take to cook. I almost shouted “12 seconds” but the lady had already told him they were very fast – which they were. He paid and before he sat down to wait, he had his egg rolls.
I also crack up when I get fortune cookies with ghey implications…”You will enjoy doing something different this coming weekend.”
Top 5 things about House of Kai
1. Fastest restaurant ever
2. Fairly diversified lunch offerings
3. Really friendly staff
4. You can order food by pinpointing which extremity you’d like to utilize
5. Decent food
Bottom 5 things
1. Gerd would have wanted to go here, based solely on my experience there
2. Initial impression before you go inside
3. Those Chinese cat thingies with the paw in the air creep me out
4. The ice machine was broken on the fountain dispenser, so the lady had to climb a ladder and dip it out of the top of the machine - classic
5. I didn’t notice the Dew in the refrigerated case until I was leaving