Recently, I was dining with some dear friends at our usual
hang-out, the incomparable Lao Sze Chuan in Chicago’s Chinatown. We had brought
our own bottle of wine to accompany the meal; an Australian malbec.
It was a Sunday evening and the place was unusually crowded,
probably due to the Chinese New Year celebrations. We had placed our orders and
noticed that Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, and his family appeared and had
taken a large table near ours.
Two of our entrees appeared and we gave our bottle of wine
to the server to be uncorked. By that time, most of the servers and the owner of
the place were all buzzing around the mayor’s table.
Our entrees stopped coming. The wine hadn’t been returned.
It was obvious that the staff were occupying themselves with the mayor and his
I looked over at the mayor’s table and said to my friends: “Hey.
I think that’s our bottle of wine on his table!”
I walked over to ask a waiter about our elusive bottle of
wine. More buzzing ensued upon my query. It turned out that, yes, they had
plopped our wine down in front of the mayor. The owner was frantically ‘shooshing’
me, placing his index finger over his lips. A substitute bottle of wine was
I returned to our table where my friends were having a good
laugh over the mix-up. By that time, the owner and a waiter appeared with an
ersatz bottle of pinot noir and many apologies. We told him that all was well,
for this would make a great story. The entertainment value of their mistake was
far higher than our malbec.
And here’s a photo I snapped of our mayor.
Yes, it’s uncool
to post this. But after all, he got our wine.
Needless to say, the fact that the mayor chose our favorite
restaurant for his evening out (and subjected himself to patrons snapping his
photo) just goes to show you how great the food really is at Lao Sze Chuan.
Labels: Chicago, Lao Sze Chuan