duck!

Christmas dinner 2007 was a bit of a crap shoot. The night of the 24th and the dawn of the 25th brought high winds up throughout Southern California and brought down the power at my sister’s house in Fontana, where we were to dine on the requisite roast turkey and accoutrements. The Christmas dinner scene in “A Christmas Story” kept playing in my head. You know the one – the “fa ra ra ra ra” sing-along in the Chinese restaurant and the “smiling” Peking duck which the waiter happily decapitated before serving…

How common is it to have dinner at a Chinese restaurant on December 25th? This brings me to Christmas dinner 2006. My parents and I trekked to Fontana on Christmas Eve for the big family dinner, which left my parents and myself to fend for ourselves on the 25th. My folks were in the mood for Chinese food (when are they not?) so we headed to Hop Li Seafood on Pico Blvd. where we dined on comforting war wonton soup, Peking duck (sans head), beef and broccoli, and my favorite – crispy whole spicy shrimp (with head). Luckily we got there at senior citizens’ dinner time (about 4:30) because by the time we were finished eating, there was a large gathering of salivating non-turkey craving people in the lobby, and a line out the door.

Alas, no duck for Christmas dinner this year. Power was restored to Fontana and my sister was able to resume her kitchen cooking duties – turkey, mashed potatos, stuffing, green bean casserole, fresh rolls my niece brought from her former employer – Beckman’s Bakery, and spiked egg nog – life on December 25, 2007 was good.

By the way, my dad, the baker, forgot to bring the pie. Who said egg nog wasn’t a dessert?

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