Rice Plate – Mouthwatering Memories

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - by Willie Mae

Someone recently informed me that I have never called my son by name whenever he goes with me to visit a restaurant. They told me it sounds impersonal in my column to always refer to him as “my son”.

Well, when he found out I took on this little hobby, he told me it was a good idea to ‘remain anonymous’ so that if people started reading me regularly, restaurant owners won’t know who I am and treat me any differently when I come in. I keep people on a first name basis in my stories because it could be anyone and no one really cares who is who in my stories.

But “my son” is a well-known figure in Chattanooga and with an uncommon first name so I have always referred to him as “my son”. He told me to call him something else if I wanted to give him a name but I am honest as the day is long so I felt I should let you know his name isn’t really Jack but that is what I will call him.

Jack wanted to try out a place on Highway 58 called Rice Plate. It was right before they closed up in the middle of the day and they let us come in while they prepared for the dinner crowd. That was nice of them.

As we were being seated I noticed a wine glass on the table with a flower in it. I wasn’t sure if they greeted you with a tropical drink or not but Jack pointed out that it wasn’t real. A cute little girl named Megan took the order for our real drinks. I ordered a Thai Tea. Now, let me tell you… that’s not any easy task.

I already felt as though my dentures were slipping a bit but when you are used to drinking Chai Tea and trying to keep track of not saying Tai Chi … then to say Thai Tea was a bit stumbly for me.

We also ordered an appetizer of Basil Rolls. When my Thai Tea arrived I tasted it and I cannot tell you what it tasted like in my mouth but I did not like it. Megan took it away and brought me water. I like most teas, but that one had an ingredient that disagreed with my taste buds. I would have rather had the fake drink on the table.

No matter. The basil rolls came and there were two each for me and my …um Jack. When I bit into mine, it was as if I heard Jed Clampet holler “Weeeeee-doggie” in my mouth! Basil has to be my favorite spice and burst with flavor with the shrimp, pork and vegetables wrapped in rice paper; it was savory! The sauce that accompanied it was tasty too.

I ordered my dinner first. I chose the Hibachi Chicken and Scallops for $10.99 . Jack wanted Sweet and Sour Stir Fry for $8.99. Though we were entering the dinner hour, they gave us the lunch prices. As the waitress had our order and was headed back, Jack asked if they can make it spicy! That little devil. If I had thought, I would have gotten something spicy too! That’s why I don’t think “ladies go first” should count when ordering food. It is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind and if someone orders before me I might like what they order better and order it instead.

We also got a salad with our dinner and it was brought out with the Basil Rolls. The salad looked simple enough – just iceberg lettuce with a couple of tomatoes and cucumber pieces with ginger dressing.

I don’t usually like iceberg, the darker the leaf the better for me, but this lettuce was so fresh it almost had to have been just pulled out of the ground out back! It was wet, crisp and refreshing. Even the cucumber was something to notice; they scored it really pretty but also had marinated it giving it a sweet, beautiful flavor.

The music was not overbearing and it was my kind of music, ol Frank was playing and a little of Nora Jones and other jazzy tunes. I really liked this place.

Our meals were piping hot. I wish I could personally tell everyone in Chattanooga about my meal because there is no way to describe in type just how delicious it was! The scallops were grilled and had a wonderful flavor all their own! I liked dipping the chicken in the white sauce though.

When Jack let out a surprised “wow”, I knew I had to try a bite of his spicy meal. Sweet and Sour Stir Fry isn’t usually my choice to order for myself, but with that spicy added, I changed my mind!

As soon as I put that bite in my mouth and tasted the spicy, I knew my poor boy would be dripping and sniffing before he was half-way through with that dish! It was so hot, when Jack had eaten just a few bites, I believe an explosion went off inside his tummy and hot air escaped out of the flue!

We met the owner named Susie when she came to ask how everything was. Jack wanted a little desert so we decided to share “fried ice cream” for $3.99. I could not get my mind wrapped around that one! I even asked Megan how they keep the ice cream from melting and she said “magic”. I took her word for it.

There was a tempura or pastry type fried batter around hard ice cream that was a pretty neat concept but I had a bit of trouble cutting it with my spoon and chewing it. Not bad, but just a lot of work.

Over all, this place is special. From the music playing, the friendly staff - to the carefully prepared, fresh food bursting with flavor; you will have a great dining experience where the tastes are memorable.

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