I had a hankerin’ this afternoon for some oil-splashed kung pao chicken, so I stopped by North Sea Restaurant (2479 18th St. NW), just around the corner from the City Paper offices. North Sea’s orange-colored chicken is soft and sometimes gristly, and it’s rarely ever spicy-hot. But sometimes I just hanker for it. I’d call it a guilty pleasure, but I never feel guilty about it. I think it has to do with the peanut crunch, the oil, and soft white rice.
Anyway, as I was waiting for my order at North Sea, I noticed a stack of new take-out menus, which feature a photo of some gorgeous vegetables, looking as vibrant and fresh as if they were picked from the farm this morning. The menus also have the word “ORGANIC” stamped not once, but twice, on them. I asked the woman behind the counter about it. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: Are these new menus?
North Sea: Yes, do you like them?
Me: Yes, they’re nice. But I was wondering what the “organic” label meant.
North Sea: The vegetables. We buy organic vegetables.
Me: Really? It’s pretty expensive to buy organic vegetables.
North Sea: Yes, but our prices are a little bit higher. Our customers are willing to pay. They say they want organic.
Me: Is it just the vegetables? Is anything else organic?
North Sea: Just the vegetables and the seafood.
So do I believe North Sea? Let me say this: I’d really like to believe that the organic movement has reached the traditionally low-budget Chinese-American take-out market.