The experience

For some reason I was craving Chinese today.  Too bad we’ve already hit all my favorite Chinese restaurants.  I’d have to be more adventuresome today, but hey, isn’t that the point of the blog??!  I googled “Best Chinese restaurant Plano.”  I came up with some web review site that pointed me to Rice Farm.  Hmmm, I hadn’t heard of it.  It was nearby and most of the reviews made it sound great.  One guy said he drives 60 miles each way to eat here!  Wow, sounds great!  We drove by the house to pick up Ogre and headed towards West Plano.  When we pulled up it looked familiar.  I asked Ogre if we’d ever eaten here before and he said no.  Then he rambled on about how I never remember places we’ve eaten and how could that be possible and blah, blah, blah.  (That’s probably why I forget because I start to hear blah blah blah!)

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We walked in and I knew I’d eaten here before and brought it up again. I think Ogre might have only responded with some eye rolling.  We were seated right away.  As we sat down, I remembered that I had eaten here with my parents and Benji once for some odd reason that I cannot recall.  I still can’t remember why we ate here.  So random.  Anyway, I didn’t remember anything spectacular or bad about it.

We let Benji sit in the booth beside me.  Ogre was a little worried since he puked last night at the restaurant.  Mina wanted to sit by Benj, but we decided a qualified parent better take a seat next to him in case some spewage occurred.  Mina was visibly disappointed and sulked over to her side by Papa.  Papa tried to rationalize that by sitting across from Benji she was sitting next to him.  She didn’t buy it.

We looked over the menu and I was dumbfounded since, again on those reviews it said, “If you’re looking for Chinese American food, you might be disappointed.” Huh?  That’s all there was on this menu.  I must’ve looked over this menu three times.  Ogre pointed to a dry erase board on the wall and told me that there was probably a “secret” menu that we didn’t get because of his presence.  Yeah, his white, freckly skin always does me in when we hit an Asian restaurant.

We decided to ask the waitress about it.   She was unable to tell me what the “specials” were listed on the board and instead brought us the…dum da dad dum…secret menu!  They definitely had some non-Americanized Chinese dishes on there (a duck tongue dish sticks out in my head), but nothing that really tickled my fancy, so we stuck to the other menu.   I asked her if the Dragon and Phoenix was a mixed dish or a side by side dish.   She said it was mixed.  At this point, I was still naive.  We ordered some fried rice for the kids while we tried to decide what to order.

When our waitress came back, we pressured her about which dish was better and after pulling a good three teeth, she told us which dish she liked and we went with that and one other dish for us to eat family style.

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By this time, Benji had escaped out of the booth and was playing in the booth next to ours.  Next he was under the table.  And now out on the floor.  No, he was not minding us at all.  We decided that the highchair was in order.  Luckily, the food arrived so he did not mind so much that he was in his high chair.

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We dished out the kids’ Pork Fried Rice, but I’ll be honest, Mommy and Papa were more into the fried rice than the littler Phipps.  I thought it was excellent and the kids seemed to be pretty “eh” about it.

After a short while, the rest of the food came out.  Surprisingly, Mina liked the Mongolian Beef, which had just enough spice to keep her lips “burning” but was not so painful that she wanted to stop eating it.   The Dragon and Phoenix dish came out next and I (and Ogre) were afraid he wouldn’t like it (he has a thing about “fishy” smelling shrimp) and it did have a stronger odor, but when you tasted it, it was very tender and mild and had no fishiness at all.  It was also side by side, not mixed as the waitress told us. Luckily, I liked it like this.

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Benji’s illness excused him from really being required to eat anything, but Mina was totally better now and she needed to eat her portion of rice, which she really hadn’t.  Ogre and I finished eating about 30 minutes before Mina.  I’ll spare you the boring details of watching Mina slowly put 4 grains of rice in her mouth at a time.  I couldn’t even stand to watch and Benji was spinning on the floor because I’d let him out of his high chair.  I was afraid he might puke on their carpet, so he and I went outside.  Better he puke there.

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Once Ogre decided that Mina sufficiently ate, we headed home with the boxed up food I told our waitress not to box up.

The food

I’m going to have to call this one Americanized Chinese with spatterings of the more traditional.

We ordered family style tonight.

The Pork Fried Rice was probably the star of the show tonight.  Definitely flavorful and not to soy tasting/not to salty.  There were scallions, egg, and pork distributed nicely throughout the rice.  I liked it quite a bit and am very picky about fried rice!

IMG00438We ordered the Mongolian Beef.  Ogre liked this dish because it had a lot of onions.  I thought the dish was just average.  The beef was average, the sauce was vague and boring with a slight kick and that’s about it.  I would not order this dish again.

IMG00440The Dragon and Phoenix is General Tso’s Chicken along side the Shrimp with Snow Peas.  It was a nice combination.  The General Tso’s Chicken was lightly breaded so it tasted very meaty, which I like.  The sauce is sweet as you would anticipate, so it was nice to have the Shrimp, which came in a mild, white sauce to offset the sweetness.  The shrimp were large and tender.

No kids menus here.  They do have another menu with more traditional Chinese dishes on it, but you’ll have to ask for it.

The service

Unfortunately, no shining stars here.  Well I’d give them maybe two stars for service.  Our waitress was nice enough, but knowledgeable and having much common sense she lacked.  We tried to get her to help us decide on some dishes and she seemed to have no idea.  When I asked her if the Mongolian Beef or the Mushu Pork was better she told me they were two different dishes.  Well, no sh Yeah, we got that.  Food came out at a decent tempo, at the least.

The kids

About as kid friendly as most Chinese restaurants.  There is no kids menu here and there are not kids activities, but you can eat family style and the food is kid-palate-friendly.  It’s laid back in this restaurant as well.

I think it’s a fine choice for Americanized Chinese food in Plano.  Not out of this world good or bad.  If you are feeling adventurous, ask for the Chinese menu, they do have a alternative menu but you have to ask for it.  Nothing on it really tickled our fancy, but feel free to see if it tickles yours.

The total:  32 and change

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