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Snow, New Shoes & Chinese Food

Indio, California: We left cold and rained-out Los Angeles and arrived to sunny and warm Indio - but noticed a few changes in our two-day absence:

Woo Hoo! We just love relaxing poolside with a view of snow-capped mountains to the west.

As I reported previously, DT brought two new pair of NIKE running shoes for me from his trip to Oregon last week. Out with the old (completely tread-bare), and in with new (Vomero Zoom 8's).

My poor dusty dirty black Pegasus running shoes. I killed them. The big news is (after twenty-ish years) I have gone up a half-size. I felt my toes were crammed into the shoe after a few miles. It's a whole new world now.

How many years have we been coming down to the desert... and have yet to visit a Chinese restaurant. We are so spoiled by the Chinese food in Portland and Los Angeles, and so picky about Chinese food after living for several years in Taiwan.

But DT heard a fellow golfer say Canton Bistro (79405 Hwy. 111, La Quinta, CA 92253, (760) 771-9129) was a great place and it is close to the RV resort, so we gave it a try.

I am going to tell you this is a very pretty restaurant. Even though it is situated next to a nail salon in a strip mall, the place is well appointed. Service is very friendly and fast. We asked for something not on the menu (but very common) and the chef prepared it for us - Mapo Tofu - pronounced in Mandarin as mah-poe-dough-foo.

Mapo Tofu is tofu cubes in a spicy sauce and translates from Chinese to "pock-marked Momma" tofu... because the story goes that a woman (with very bad skin) made this dish at a small food cart outside her house (somewhere in Szechuan Province) and became famous. We enjoyed the flavor, but the tofu was the Japanese silken-type - not the firmer Chinese variety. We also missed the Taiwan-style fried-a-bit-around-the-edges version.

Above is the Canton Bistro version of Kung Pao Chicken. Below is real Kung Pao Chicken:

Notice the lack of water chestnuts, peppers, onion, carrots, celery and goodness-knows-what-else (ginger!) in the lower recipe? Our server was from Taiwan and acknowledged our comments about never seeing these veggies in Kung Pao Chicken in Taipei. (By the way, here is my recipe for Kung Pao Chicken.)

Still, it was good to venture out and try a new restaurant, even if it was ma-ma hoo-hoo*.

SLOGGER REPORT: Just a quick test run in the new shoes.

Until my next update, I remain, your spicy correspondent.

* ma-ma hoo-hoo literally is "horse-horse tiger-tiger"... and means somehow something about that a horse and tiger running fast are indistinguishable... and somehow translates to "so-so" in English. One of my favorite Chinese expressions.

RV PARK: The Motorcoach Country Club - The Crown Jewel of Motorcoach Resorts. 400 sites, three pools, three spas, fitness center, golf, bocce ball, tennis, 2-mile waterway, fine-dining restaurant, bar, security, planned activities, perfectly maintained. Sites for sale or rent.