Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It never hurts to ask

If you've come to visit us over the past 4 years in North Carolina, chances are that we've taken you to a particular Asian diner in Brier Creek. We love this place. We stumbled upon it when I was pregnant with Luke and Will, and totally craving the spiciest of spicy foods! During that pregnancy, we'd go at least once per week so I could get Thai Blazing Noodles. I think the name speaks volumes about the spiciness of this dish... the other give away was that every time I'd walk up to the register and order it, I'd get a disclaimer from the order-taker about how hot the dish was and was I sure I didn't want something else.

Bring on the Blazing Noodles. I couldn't get enough of the stuff. Nor could I figure out what the unique ingredient in the sauce was. It's no wonder that Luke loves spicy food now!

The staff quickly started recognizing us and were excited about our impending pregnancy. After Will and Luke were born, we used to take them with us for the staff to ogle. If we'd go to eat at lunch without the boys, the staff would ask why we didn't bring the boys with us. We really enjoyed going there, and even after my pregnancy was over, I still loved the dish. It is the only dish I had ever ordered at this restaurant and was truly unique.

Once Luke and Will turned 2, they stopped being so easy to take out to a restaurant. And even though this particular restaurant is loud and no one minds if your child cries, the experience of taking them with us wasn't too good. We kept going to the restaurant for lunches, but not with the frequency that we once did.

Eventually I was put on bedrest with my pregnancy with Matt, and we tried take out Blazing Noodles. It wasn't nearly as good as a take out dish, so we agreed that as soon as Matt was ready, we'd take him to the restaurant and keep the family tradition going.

We tried to go earlier this week. Imagine my shock and sadness at walking into the restaurant and seeing that my beloved dish was no longer on the menu! I asked the order-taker if they could still make it even if it wasn't on the menu - she said they could not. I am embarassed to admit it, but my eyes actually welled up with tears! In fact, I was so disappointed and deflated that we ended up leaving and eating somewhere else.

Yes, I know that's not totally a rational response to the loss of a menu item. But what can I say, I was recently pregnant. And moreover, I was recently on bedrest and had months to look forward to my return to my Blazing Noodles!

The order-taker recommended that I send an email to the corporate office of the Asian diner. I'm not shy about that stuff, so when we got back from our second-choice lunch, I wrote down our whole history with the restaurant on their website comment area. I asked if there was any chance they could bring the dish back. I also asked that if they couldn't bring the dish back, could they send me the recipe? I'm not shy when it comes to complicated recipes, and I was dying to know what the unknown flavor in the sauce was.

Surprisingly, it took them only 24 hours to respond. I actually got two responses from two separate customer service people. The first response was typical corporate bull answer, thanking me for my comments and appologizing for the disappointment I felt. They have a lot of new tasty options on the menu, had I tried the Thai Dynamite? Delete.

Not 20 minutes later, I received the second email but from a different person. All it said was "Here's the recipe for the Thai Blazing Noodles - enjoy!" And sure enough, when I opened the attachment, it was the recipe! It looks like it came straight from the company cookbook for their chefs.

So now I know... the unique ingredient that I couldn't place is Oyster Mushroom sauce! Let me know if you want to sample my home cooked Blazing Noodles! It truly never hurts to ask, even if the question seems silly or impossible. I NEVER thought they'd actually send me the recipe!

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