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After a three week journey up my own bunghole, I have returned, O Great Gouty Reader, a mite dirtier and not a bit wiser. When I finally arrived at Isolation Manor after many hours of travel, my immediate thoughts turned to the procurement of sustenance. However, my cupboard was barren, and my manservant, Trim, had neither the energy nor the wherewithal to fetch me even a simple crust of bread. Therefore, I resolved to seek victuals from an emporium of ingesting. After no more than 27 minutes of intense consideration, I determined which establishment would be best fit to satisfy my Brobdingnagian hunger. I could not believe that it took me so long because the restaurant a chose happens to be my favorite eatery in all of Champaign-Urbana.

With my mind made up and my stomach ready for action, I made my way to “The Home of Gourmet Chinese and Thai Restaurant.” That is correct, rascally reader. “The Home of Gourmet Chinese and Thai Restaurant.” This establishment is no mere restaurant. It is the “home” of the restaurant. Whereas other eateries are places where one goes to simply sup on nosh, “The Home of Gourmet Chinese Restaurant” is a home.

Tucked between Espresso Royal and that most whopping of all bars, C.O Daniels on 6th and Daniel, “The Home of Gourmet Chinese and Thai Restaurant” offers shelter, aliment, and love to all the languishing and lonely. As you walk down Daniel Street, the beauty of “The Home of Gourmet Chinese and Thai Restaurant” shines through the vomititious squalor of that lascivious lane. Once you actually enter the premises, the tenderness and humanity of the people of this fine home fill your heart with nearly dangerous levels of joy. If only more eateries were homes of restaurants rather than mere restaurants, I think this besmirched and bedraggled world of ours would be a more decent place.

As much as I love the idea of a home of a restaurant, one aspect of the concept worries me: What happens when the restaurant grows up and decided to go seek its fortune? The building will house the home of the restaurant, but the restaurant will no longer be there. It will be out carousing, caroling, copulating, and cogitating. The restaurants faithful fans will be left high and dry with nary a ladder or flagon of water in sight. I dread this day as every parent dreads the flight of their progeny from the proverbial suburban townhouse, so I have resolved to eke every succulent drop of provender out of the restaurant that I can. As for my reaction to the loss of the restaurant, in the words of Chester A. Arthur, “ We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

In any case, the joint won a place in my heart far before I ever tasted the food, but once I tasted the food, my infatuation grew into adoration. “The Home of Gourmet Chinese and Thai Restaurant” features of a menu of 282 different recipes. So far, I have tried six different items, but I hope that with perseverance and a surprise cash windfall, I will be able to try them all. Unfortunately, trying all 282 items will just be the start of my journey. For you see at “The Home of Gourmet Chinese and Thai Restaurant,” each menu item is just a framework on which the superb chefs erect their buildings of nutriment. I have ordered the same item on multiple occasions at this exquisite home, and each time the resulting dish was entirely different. Now, some folks might find this quirk to be a downfall, but I find it to be glorious. It is entirely fitting in the idea of the establishment being a home. Think about it. When your mother, father, cook, or servant made you dishes as child, they would make it a little different each time based on what kind of food was in the larder. “The Home of Gourmet Chinese and Thai Restaurant” is no different. It is constantly surprising and challenging. On occasion the chef might fail and present something sub par, but I never mind because I know that he was trying to produce something grand. I know that the next time I’ll get something rippingly toothsome.

As I have said, “The Home of Gourmet Chinese and Thai Restaurant” has 282 items. That is quite a bit, if you ask me. It is such a bit, in fact, that a paper menu cannot handle so many dishes. As a result the menu is posted on the walls of the home of the restaurant. On their take home menu, they have an abbreviated list of dishes, and at the end of the menu, there is a summary of the other dishes they have to offer. In this summary, there is a section on fish which includes the promise of “Sweat and Sour Whole Fish.” Most people might think that this is a typo. Not I! I truly believe that “The Home of Gourmet Chinese and Thai Restaurant” has found a way to make sweat (human or/and animal) both delicious and healthy when paired with a whole fish, and I, for one, cannot wait to try it. However, “Sweat and Sour Fish” must wait because I already have my next dish picked out. It is #279. I do not know what it is because starting at #251, English translations for the dishes are no longer offered. I do know, however, that it will be splendid.

How do I know that it will be splendid? Because it is from the best damn home of a restaurant in town: “The Home of Gourmet Chinese and Thai Restaurant.”