I don’t usually go out to lunch from work, because my office is in Tyson’s Corner, VA. It’s a very busy area where all the big offices have big garages and the big main roads are full of cars. Going out to lunch takes time. But hark! A Chinese place less than a mile away!
There are several warehouse/industrial condo spots on the edges of Tyson’s Corner, in the shadow of many many office towers, condo towers, strip malls, and big box stores. Tyson’s Corner is like the DC area’s version of the northern Chicago suburbs where everything is too big and spread out and supposedly fancy.
Today I was craving some noodles for lunch, and the semi-crappy cafe in my office building complex has noodles, but they’re part of the salad/hot bar and you pay by weight. Some basic ass noodles cost too much! I searched and found this China Express place less than a mile away. 4 stars on Yelp with some negative ones thrown in. Cool.
I called and ordered and they said 15 mins. So I slowly drove in the general direction of the place figuring I’d scout out where it was. But Google Maps had me drive through the industrial block, like among the interconnected parking lots, rather than around the actual roads bordering the industrial lot. Then I had to go almost but not quite back out to the other main road in back, then back in to a different industrial block, where I wandered among several rows of businesses, looking for the place by sight, but I had to look up the number and letter of the place to find it. I did. It is in the back, back, back corner. This is how I should have gone.
I cannot describe the actual path that Google Maps wanted me to attempt through the parking lot but it was long and arduous with many speed bumps.
When I parked my car, it was not raining. After I walked 20 feet towards the door of the place, it started raining. I considered going back to the car to get my umbrella I’ve been using all weekend during torrential downpours, but I kept walking, and there was a 30 something guy and a 50 something lady, maybe his mom, peeling snow peas by hand. Good sign, I suppose. Not to stereotype, but when he answered the phone with an American accent, I was like hmm American accent huh, but all was well!
Got my food, looped back around the normal friggin way with the blue line above, and been eating at my desk. I should have taken an earlier picture I guess? It is above average for Chinese takeout/delivery. Not the best ever, but even the average Chinese takeout/delivery around DC is usually pretty decent. Here is a not particularly artsy pic I took of it after I had eaten too much of it to be able to present it artfully.
The veggie dumplings might have been pre-made, and were a little doughy, but they had tofu and cellophane noodles in them which was good. But they had only a little bit of carrot and cabbage and the best veggie dumplings in Rockville where I live are way better. Still, even a just-ok dumpling is still pretty ok.
These guys are turning out perfectly serviceable Chinese takeout, and the location isn’t even trying to be seen from the road. Some folks come in for takeout because they’re like, whatever, I’m close, I’m not going to pay that $3 delivery fee. But otherwise, there’s I don’t even know how many offices around here and this place delivers to them all. Why pay for a real storefront when you can get a warehouse space tucked away behind mechanics for way cheaper, and tack on a $3 delivery fee on every order? It’s like Chinese food on demand for the modern economy.
If only my boss hadn’t swooped over to my desk at one point while I was making that screenshot above and made my heart race and harshed my MSG buzz a bit, it could’ve been one of the better lunches at this job, hunched at my desk.