Great Expectations

It’s funny how the anticipation of one great thing can make your whole day – especially when it comes to food. The other morning I called my wife to ask her something. It was the usual marital banter, which usually ends the same way. While I have no expectation that she has to take care of it every night, I asked what we were having for dinner.

She replied, “We’re having Kin Wah for dinner.” In case you don’t know, Kin Wah is a Chinese restaurant on Oahu’s Windward side. While there are many great Chinese restaurants on the island, I have a particular fondness for this one as it was right next to our old MidWeek office when we were in Kaneohe. I went there so often, I was like part of the family that owned it.

We would always go there for lunch, and often at the request of my family I would get takeout for dinner. While its entire menu offerings were pretty good, we had our favorites. There was boneless minute chicken on cake noodles, honey-walnut shrimp, sizzling Mongolian beef with buns and its own take on Chinese chicken salad.

As soon as I hung up the phone, I was dreaming about dinner. I walked around all day with an extra spring in my step and even skipped lunch so that I could indulge myself on our Kin Wah feast. The work day seemed to drag on forever, and the traffic going home was the same as it was that morning: slow and miserable. Still, when I finally got home, I was in heaven.

I went straight to the dining table expecting to see a marvelous Kin Wah spread. Instead there was a single bowl of something that looked like a cross between brown rice and oatmeal. I asked my wife what it was. She cheerily answered, “I told you this morning that we were having quinoa for dinner.” Quinoa (pronounced “kinwa”) is the latest health food craze and is a gluten-free grain.

Naturally, I was pretty disappointed but had to hide it, as my wife made the dish for the health benefit of our family. I actually ended up liking it, as it was pretty tasty. It also got me thinking that in the morning while I was maneuvering in traffic, maybe the guy yelling at me was merely recommending some new pho restaurant.