Let’s hope they will still be open next time you pass though.
FWIW, my reading of the following items in Chinese translates to:
je je range chicken
- 啫啫山地鸡 - Zhe Zhe Mountain Chicken - this is a clay pot stew, based on google, there are lots of names for this dish with slight variations on the ‘mountain’ aspect, the zhe zhe comes from sound of the chicken sizzling in the clay pot
Hainan range chicken
- Hainan mountain chicken (Hainan has mountains?)
Goat brisket ‘i don’t know how to translate’ rice
- 烩飯 - basically a risotto/paella, not as wet as congee
Xian goat bun
- this is likely to be just a cumin lamb chinese ‘burger’ or jia mo - 夹馍
I called them up and tried to learn where the chef is from, but we had difficulty communicating. In the event you wanted to stop there for hand pulled noodles, I think the gentlemen on the phone said you need to arrange ahead of time to ensure the chef is there. The lamb burgers were available when I stopped by on Monday night.
Right now this is the biggest mystery of all. Who are their customers for the Chinese language items? In the past improbable authentic Chinese food has been ultimately explained by nearby Chinese students or tourists. Any casinos in the neighborhood?
I like your logic. Yes, there are 4 Indian Casinos on Hwy 101 within 40 miles of Willits, including one (Sherwood Valley) right in Willits.
The chef is there part time?
Probably don’t need the chef to cook the everyday buffet items.
We ate dinner there 7/11. The person running the place did not want to cook anything on the menu and said that the Xijiang skewers were unavailable on a Monday night so we decided on the $15/pp buffet - big mistake. One could have subsisted on the shrimp and crab legs, as did most patrons, but since I go into anaphylactic shock with crustaceans, not a good plan for me. The buffet food was bad and managed to hit all the horrible cliches of such dishes - the beef in the beef and broccoli was limp due to over exposure to baking soda, the broccoli were getting to the yellow of overcooked; the orange chicken was dessert sweet and had a heavy hand with the cornstarch and the food coloring was a neon orange; the kung pao chicken had that sewer-like brown sauce and had no relationship beyond the chicken and peanuts to the actual dish; the Green beans were decently cooked -wok not quite hot enough but overwhelmed by the salt; the egg rolls were competent but tasteless, just cabbage. This was a chastening experience.
That really sucks
Does anyone have recommendations for backup places in Willits?
At 7:15pm on a Sunday, they were out of the “pulled lamb sandwich.” I’m taking @Ericruo’s warning and eating Mexican tonight.
Saturday at 12:30 seemed like as good a time as any to get the lamb sandwich. I called from the highway and ordered a pork sandwich because they didn’t have the lamb. They’re $2.50 each, minimum of two per order.
In the tradition of adapting dishes to local tastes and quick, affordable preparations, the bread wasn’t the homemade puck pictured on their sign and the filling wasn’t the fatty, intensely flavored chopped pork used in Bay Area ro jia mo. Four supermarket whole wheat pita halves were filled with a mixture of ground pork, scallions, and soy sauce. A garnish of fresh chopped basil elevated the meat filling. It was a tasty, but simple sandwich.
I wouldn’t go out of my way to get this again, but I enjoyed these more than my last meal in Willits, dinner at Super Taco. I can imagine combining this with fries at the McDonalds next door for a quick dinner on the road.
Were you tempted to bring home a live free range goat?
Surely you kid?
I think this restaurant was on the tv show, wild justice.
Wow, it looks like something went down in 2012 at that location. There have been lots of ownership changes since then though.
The illicit abalone operation was perhaps the reason of Chinese Buffet’s existence? Not sure if 101 Mom’s is related. @Hyperbowler perhaps you should try to order abalone there and see how they react. Or pretend to go to the bathroom and see if you find something in the back. Try to stay alive in the process though.
Or perk up your ears when you hear someone boasting about their abs.
Warden Powers said the worst offender so far this year is See Ping Bob Ng of the Willits Buffet. The season had only been open for a month last year and already Mr. Ng had gathered 70 abalone. Powers got a search warrant and found 50 wet suits in Bob Ng’s possession.
Asian diners will pay a hundred bucks for a fresh abalone dinner.
“He’s a one-stop poaching shop,” Powers said of Ng. “And Deputy DA Tim Stoen is prosecuting him. He’s a real kingpin.”
Expanding his above comments, @chandavkl wrote a detailed essay about the historic relationship between casinos and Chinese food.
Thanks for providing the inspiration!
Closed according to Yelp.
Thanks to a new artery, the 101 no longer runs through Willits. I’ve no idea what, if anything, has replaced it.
Fans of Chinese food driving north might consider the secret menu 1 or secret menu2 at Szechuan Garden in Arcata or Jyun Kang for Buddhist vegetarian food in Ukiah. I’m not sure how well suited the latter is for the casino crowd.