There *IS* Good Chinese Food in Denver!
9:42 pm: We had a really busy day today. It'd started last week when we decided to have lunch at a Chinese seafood restaurant in Denver. Yesterday I realized that today was probably the last day we could go to the National Stock Show in Denver as well, because we'd be gone for the rest of the show, which actually lasts about 17 days, but this was already the end of the first week.
So we decided, yesterday, that we'd go see the stock show this morning, before lunch. So we got up, got ready and went a bit before 10. We brought the back pack because strollers aren't allowed in the stock pens because most large stock respond to strollers the way they respond to predators. There's something about the way strollers move that brings out defense responses from cattle, horses, and sheep. So they don't allow strollers in the livestock areas. That's why we decided to bring the baby pack.
When we got to the parking lot, it was 29 out, sunny, and the wind was just screaming. Jet had fallen asleep in the car on the way over, but woke up when the car stopped and was parked. So we got everything and then pulled him out of the car, and went for the bus stop just hauling everything instead of putting him in the pack, yet. That was good on the bus, as I couldn't imagine John wearing the pack and sitting in a bus seat.
Jet was fascinated by the bus. He studied every line of it from the inside, and he took a lot of time looking over the ceiling and the vents along the sides of the roof of the vehicle. He seemed amazed to be in a vehicle with a roof that was that far up. So the ride was pretty fun.
When we got there, we got tickets, and then went through the process of getting Jet settled in the pack. An emergency medic guy was in an office right next to the ticket booths, and he waved and smiled at Jet while Jet patiently sat in the pack while John put all the straps onto him and got it all put together. Jet smiled and waved back, and the two of them made faces at each other as John got through all the adjustments, buckles, and attachments. When John went to put the pack on the medic came out of his office and helped support the pack while John put it on and adjusted it and got a big smile from Jet. We thanked him and he seemed happy enough with the grin from Jet.
That was pretty cool.
We then headed on a quest for the restrooms, and managed that duty before wandering a bit on the main floor before going in search of the main stock areas. The show building has three different floors, and the bottom had a stadium which had an antique tractor show going on. The petting zoo, amazingly enough, was on the top floor, and the middle floor had a lot of the professional show booths, which sold everything from kitchen implements to farm gear and from stamps and stickers to fire fighting equipment. I was pretty astonished at the breadth of things offered.
We went down to the main show floor, peered at the tractors and took a few good pictures for Ray, who is interested in tractors. We then headed to the stock pens and first found the cattle. John and I had to giggle when we were looking at the huge black Angus steers, which were enormous, placid creatures, and we chorused together, "He looks like Fezzik." We kept going and ended up by the horses, none of which seemed all that remarkable until we came to one of the end box stalls.
I had to just stop and stare and I said, "John! Look at that horse!" And from his expression I could tell he was thinking, "Okay, another horse... what's there to... oh my gosh..." It was a huge draft horse, grey and white with shadowing that were almost purple. He was just gorgeous and so huge I think his head and neck weighed more than I did, and he was probably seven feet tall at the head, and just built like a brick house. His eyes, though, were watching folks with the same confidence and awareness that any really large, domestic, well-treated animal seems to have. He was just astonishingly beautiful, powerful, and content to stay in this tiny box stall his humans had asked him to stay in.
I was amazed. Jet was amazed, too, and he was watching the huge horse pretty closely for a while. Eventually he got bored, but he had looked.
We went back across and got to see the national sheep shearing, with four guys up on the platform being judged by time, quality of fleece, and appearance or injury of the sheep after they'd been shorn. The main criterion is getting four sheep shorn in *six* minutes, and then the other things are added on top of that. That seemed like a ridiculously small amount of time, even when someone said it's six minutes per sheep. Still!
We had fun watching the guys at the back of the stage grouping sheep to be sheared. They'd chase small bunches of sheep into a set of chutes, and the herd instinct of these creatures is pretty amazing. I think I saw several sheep swerve right into the chutes simply to avoid being out in the open alone. One sheep broke with that and jumped one of the handlers in a wild bid for freedom. Jet kicked and squawked when he saw that.
We then headed upstairs and saw the petting zoo. There was a lot of chaos up there. Kids and animals always make for a lot of stirring, and there were a bunch of educational booths up there. I got a pamphlet on Colorado beef and the American Beef Association's classifications of cuts so that I could compare that with Alton Brown's steer and various other names for the primary portions of a steer anatomy. John was caught by the irony of having these beef pamphlets set up against the side of a pen with a couple of cattle that were tame enough for the petting zoo. "Here, Johnny, come pet your dinner..."
There was a guy from the Boulder County Bee Association with a whole panel of live bees. They were moving about in the clear panel and were clearly alive and doing a few things. He actually had a scoop of pollen that fed the bees because it's the dead of winter and they don't really have the energy to burn except that it was really warm in the show hall and to supplement them, he had the pollen. We had fun talking with him and Jet eyed the panel of insects somewhat dubiously.
He got a change and a little time to watch all the kids in a play area. He stood, hanging onto the bars of the fencing around the play area, and when he sat down and tried to crawl on the really bad floor, we picked him up and kept going. We found a stadium and watched some jumping, and then it was time to go to the car and get to lunch.
Jet ate a few crackers on the way back to the car, and when we got there, he fell asleep again in the car, without our even leaving the parking lot. We got to the restaurant in plenty of time, so I pulled him out of his seat, woke him up a little, and let him nurse while we waited for a table and for other folks. John found Ryan, Francis and Jonathan in the restaurant itself, so he took Jet's diaper bag, and went to talk with them while I nursed Jet. That was equitable.
When Jet was finished, I wrapped his sleeping form in the Cookie Monster bunting, and the minute I opened the car door and we hit the wind that was just buffeting everything, Jet woke up. He wasn't mad or anything, just suddenly curious as to what was going on. I locked the car, and went into the restaurant. Right by the door were huge tanks of fish, crabs, and lobsters, and Jet was pretty unconcerned about the crabs until he saw them move. Then he stared intently at them.
Jet also really loved watching Jonathan as well. He thought Jonathan was really fun and cool. Jet would wave at him, bang stuff to get his attention, and then chortle at Jonathan. Francis was astonished at how happy a baby Jet was. I was thankful that Jet was as happy as he was, and when the food came, he happily ate everything and anything I put in front of him.
Mei really outdid herself ordering. We got two steamed fish, two for one scallion and ginger crabs, pepper and salt shrimp, small pea tips, a BBQ pork fried rice, and black bean clams. Jet ate some of everything other than the clams and the eggs in the fried rice. The books all say that egg whites can cause some problems until babies are a year old, but he hasn't had any problems with them, yet. Still, I thought I shouldn't push it with all the other things going into his system. The pea tips were like someone cut the tips off pea shoots, and stir fried them with garlic, and Jet just loved them. I'd give him a clump of the slender strands, and he'd tease apart the strands and eat them one by one. I just kept giving that to him. I also gave him some shelled crab and some shelled shrimp, and he ate those along with the chunks of BBQ pork from the fried rice.
Every once in a while I'd give him rice as well, and he'd either eat it or pull it into his lap. He also liked flakes of the flesh, made small enough for him to put into his mouth and mash about for a while before he ate them down. He just really enjoyed his lunch, and afterwards he wanted to chase Jonathan around under the table. I let him down, but then he started trying to eat the things that were under the table, and I pulled him back up and took those things out of his mouth, but when Jonathan came really close, I tried again, and this time Jet chased the close-enough Jonathan around.
That was good for both of them. I'm firmly of the opinion that other kids are far more interesting and fun than any adult and that is the way it should be.
So lunch was very, very good indeed, all around.
Jet talked and squawked most of the way home, and only in the last two miles did he fall asleep. John put him in our room when we got home, and when we got everything out of the car, the two of us napped on the couch. That was very comfy and we got football happenings subliminally. An hour and a half later we woke up to the sound of Jet crying in our bedroom, and we woke up and took care of him.
I made mu shu pancakes and scallion pancakes and we used the last of the mu shu leftovers and I shredded the last of the roasted chicken into it. That was simple and not too big an dinner. Jet had a blast playing, as he'd either been in his pack or in some kind of seat or another for most of the day. John and I also did laundry to prepare for packing, and when the warm laundry came out Jet dove right in.
Sometimes I think he really believes he's helping. While John and I sorted and folded, Jet sorted things, too, his own way. I think he sees us throwing clothes around, so he's trying to do the things we do, and since the clothes got still, and that can't be right, he has to thrown them around some more. It's just really funny having a neat pile of folded t-shirts reduced to a loose pile of clothing again. Jet had a blast, and I think that one of his first chores might be to help sort it correctly.
We were busy and tired enough that he didn't get his bath, again. He ended up with a huge poopy just before going to sleep, but better then than while asleep. John got the time and peace to clean up after it while I nursed Jet. Jet was really active for the first half, but settled curing the second and went to sleep. It took John a little while to settle Jet, but it happened.
So it's been a very full and fun day. We got an adventure in that was fun for everyone, and a really worthwhile meal. I can no longer say that Colorado has no good Chinese food, or even Denver. John said that it was probably the best seafood of any kind we've had since we moved here and I'd agree. The salt and pepper prawns really reminded me of all the times I've visited in the Bay Area and the Horde would have Chinese food and there would always be salt prawns, which were very yummy. The steamed fish was tender, super fresh right from their tank, and tasty. It was so very good.
Sometime in April we might get to find out if the Orchid Pavilion can get me to eat my words about no good Chinese food in Boulder, too. That should be a good way to show me my mistake.
My teeth, sadly, felt pretty bad after dinner. I don't really know if I ground my teeth while I was napping. I may well have, which is why they feel so awful. They'd been feeling pretty good until my guard felt really bad the night before. Last night I tried to sleep without it, but couldn't, finally I put it in and some part of my brain was good about not grinding last night, at least. I really hope Dr. Davis doesn't have tomorrow off, as I really need it to be fixed before I go to San Diego.
I am mildly worried about the trip, but Mom and Dad have been making lots of plans with input from John and I, so that should be better, at least. It will be warm there, which I'll be very happy with, and Jet may well get to play on the lawn just at my Mom and Dad's house, which would be a really good thing for him. He may well learn how to walk there, too. Tonight, while I was playing with Jet, he was standing, and I handed him some object and he took it and didn't realize he was free-standing for a very long while.