2016 HOdown for Chinese New Year at Sichuan Cottage (NJ)

My suggestion for a second HOdown at Sichuan Cottage for the people who missed the first has so far drawn responses only from those who made the first, but anyway:

Saturday, February 6, is the date. (There’s some sports event or something that Sunday that people seem interested in. Monday is CNY.)

2PM seems like a good time–it’s unlikely the restaurant will be crowded then. (Also, I can’t make it until 2PM and I’m the one posting. :slight_smile: ) If you want/need it later, say so.

So far, it’s Mark and I, CurlzNJ, and Seal. JoonJoon, NotJrvedivici, anyone else?

@eleeper - Please put me down as a maybe. I think I should know for sure at least a few days in advance. It’s possible I could be a +1 if the wife or older son decide to come along. Again, will let all know. Thx!!

Noooooo I’m going to be out of town :frowning:

@joonjoon PFFFFT




If the 6th or the timing doesn’t work for you, please chime in! I’d vote for rescheduling if it means we could get a bigger group…

I’m not crazy about Chinese food, but Mr. RBI loves it, especially spicy dishes. There are some things I do like which I see listed on Sichuan Cottage’s menu. If I’d be able to order a few of those, we would attend since the restaurant is less than 10 minutes from us. BUT, we won’t be available until the last weekend of February (presuming you want to do it on a weekend).

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I think we can make that. Count us in.

I’m out of town 2/5-2/10 and am booked for 1/30 but otherwise I am free… would love to join but otherwise eat extra for me!!

Assuming “us” means two, it sounds like we have six people already for 02/06 at 2PM, so we probably won’t be changing that. On the other hand, we could always have another HOdown (which someone else can organize).

I’ll probably call in a reservation in a week or so, so if anyone is coming and hasn’t responded, please do so.

I made a reservation for eight people (just in case) for Saturday, February 6, at 2PM under Mark’s name. (It’s an easier name than “Evelyn”.) Bring your appetites!

(Let me know of any changes, in case we end up with a lot of last-minute additions.)

Great! Did you include Marlboro Man from Chowhound? I just posted a reminder over there as well…

I had forgotten to add him, but that’s still only 7 RSVPs, so a reservation for 8 should do it.

So sad I’m missing this! :frowning:

We’re sad too, Joon!

It appears we have 10 (Mark and me, 4 from Marlboro Man,2 from JoeBabbitt, Curlz, and Seal. If this is wrong somewhere, please let me know ASAP. I need to call and up the number already, but I’d rather not have to do that multiple times. :frowning:

Over on Chowhound, Marlboro Man said: “I’d like to freak out my wife by ordering the stir-fried intestines. :)” Actually, I was going to suggest the (cold dish) Ox Tongue and Tripe in Hot Sauce as something that is best ordered when you have a large group–everyone can taste a little, but no one has to commit to eating a large quantity. (I’ve had both tongue and tripe before, but never this particular dish.) If others have counter-proposal “adventurous” dishes, we can pick just one or two, as well as some tried-and-true stand-bys.

jsfein: I haven’t counted you in, so you need to let me know if you coming so I can up the reservation.

Gong Hee Fot Choy!

Another successful get together. Thanks for organizing it Evelyn. & Happy Chinese New Year to all.

The Sichuan Cottage HOdown/Chowdown went very well–almost too well. We had planned for ten, but eleven showed up, and so we ended up at two tables. There was the “Ox Tongue and Tripe with Hot Sauce” (T&T) table (MarlboroMan, MarlboroWoman, MarlboroChild1, and MarlboroChild2, Mrs. Seal, Mark, and me), and there was the “No Ox Tongue and Tripe with Hot Sauce” (No-T&T) table (JoeBabbitt, Julia, Curlz, and Seal).

The T&T table was also divided into two groups. MW, MC1, and MC2 had Chicken Soup, Shrimp Lo Mein, Chicken with Broccoli, and Happy Family. The rest of us had West Lake Beef Chowder (#108), Wonton in Spicy Hot Oil (#209), Dan Dan Noodles (#712), Ox Tongue and Tripe with Hot Sauce (#901), Potatoes with Vinegar Sauce (#944), and Curry Fish Filets (T-3). The No-T&T table had West Lake Beef Chowder (#108), Three Pepper Chicken (#921), Lamb with Cumin Flavor (#929), Cellophane Noodle with Minced Pork (#945), and Salt & Pepper Pork Chop (#?).


West Lake Beef Chowder (#108): Everyone who had this loved it. Period.

Wonton in Spicy Hot Oil (#209): MM loves them, but the sauce did not seem to have much flavor.

Dan Dan Noodles (#712): Another MM favorite, but I find the sauce a bit too thin. One suggestion for next time was the Udon Noodles Shanghai Style.

Ox Tongue and Tripe with Hot Sauce (#901): If you like the Sichuan brown pepper, this is your dish! (Alas, Mark–my Mark, not EqualMark–does not.) Really spicy and mouth-numbing. The appearance and texture is not all that different from the Chinese bacon in many of the dishes. Clearly a dish over which there can be disagreement, this is just the sort of thing best tried in a large group.

Three Pepper Chicken (#921): Also heavy on brown pepper. Everyone at the No-T&T table seemed to like it. One of the classic dishes, it’s even available as a lunch special.

Lamb with Cumin Flavor (#929): Everyone at the No-T&T table seemed to like it. This and the Three Pepper Chicken were my back-up suggestions if people had trouble making up their mind.

Potatoes with Vinegar Sauce (#944): Another dish for a large group, mostly because it’s a large mound of "matchstick"potatoes in a vinegar sauce. The potatoes are apparently boiled, but not overly so and still have some crunch to them. One dish is probably the equivalent of two large potatoes, so a group (or take-out container) is called for. This had small pieces of red pepper on it, but was not spicy–someone say that when they had eaten it elsewhere, it was spicy.

Cellophane Noodle with Minced Pork (#945): “Ants Climbing a Tree”. Always a good choice.

Curry Fish Filets (T-3): A dish from the (small) Thai section of the menu. A good counterpoint to the heavily spiced Sichuan dishes we ordered (though after enough brown pepper, everything tastes different).

Salt & Pepper Pork Chop (#?): Also well-liked at the No-T&T table. They weren’t sure what the actual cut of pork was, but it did have a bone in it.

In spite of the restaurants’ claim that we could have put all 11 or even 12 people at the round table, there is no way that would have worked. Even with only 8 people, there was not really enough room on the turntable for all the dishes we ordered. I have no idea where we could possibly put another three or four dishes.

Talk of future HOdowns at West Lake (which will include the Pan Fried Whole Fish) and Anemos Greek Restaurant in Manalapan.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thanks much for organizing, Evelyn! Minor edits to your terrific report:
-Mrs. Seal was at the No-T&T table and Julia was with you, although we did manage to move about the cabin a bit at the end of the meal so we all had a chance to chat.
-Not sure if we told you about OUR order of ants climbing a tree…we THOUGHT that’s what we ordered, but got noodles w/sauteed pork and baby bok choy instead. Our waiter definitely had communication issues, but as it turns out, this was our one non-spicy dish and had decent flavor, so we went with it. We’re flexible HOs…what can I say? :smile:
-Let’s talk about the lamb with cumin. That’s my go-to dish when I try a new Szechuan restaurant, and this one didn’t disappoint last time and was stellar today. I’m about to heat some up, in fact, as I took an order to go and I’m not sharing this one!! Seriously–it’s funky in the best way possible, and if you love lamb and/or cumin, it’s a must-try, as far as I’m concerned.

I left Sichuan Cottage and went a mile up the road to the Asian Food store (that’s the name of it) at Mr. and Mrs. Seal’s suggestion…yippee! Had no idea it was there, and while I couldn’t stock up today, I did leave with some baby bok choy and an instant ginger drink that I think is from Singapore. Thanks for that tip, Seal! I may also have stopped at Delicious Orchards on my way to lunch… :laughing:

Sounds amazing! I wish I could have made it.

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to do a Chinese banquet at West Lake or Sunny Palace one of these days. West Lake’s website seems to be down but here’s Sunny Palace’s for reference:


By the way, having eaten the Potatoes with Vinegar Sauce without having numbed my mouth on the Tongue and Tripe first, I can confirm that it is also made with the brown pepper, though not in the quantities one finds in most of the meat dishes with it. The T&T totally overwhelmed that aspect of it.

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