Tuesday, 17 April, 2007, saw my second visit to Charlies II (Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin) which has turned out to be a droolworthy cheap addition to my list of favourite fooderies. My dear kvetch brung me there to show his gratitude for the efforts I’d been putting in on his outfit for the upcoming Saturday event (more on this in the next post). We refer to his many edible provisions as “Fooding The Dom”. ;)
Initially, I’d spotted Charlies II during a shopping expedition for the previous incarnation of the event which was to be held on Saturday. It’s quite near where he-who-serves-me-well works, but he’d never been in it, or even considered going into it. But then, he’d never had the wide experience of fooderies that I’ve had. :)
Charlies II has that kind of, unmistakable air of the cheap, excellent, fast food joint, a kind of eastern version of the fast food chains of the west (except for the part about being excellent). I’d seen many like it in Chinatown in New York City. They’re always cheap, fast, and wonderful. They usually have horrible cheap plastic chairs and tables, and scuffed linoleum or tiled floors, and make all their own dumplings on site.
None of the absent niceties of the decor matter, once you smell the promise of heavenly indulgence within. I mean, who cares about scuffed floors and wobbly tables when there’s the prospect of being caressed by the blissful aroma of chicken soup as only the Chinese can make it?
Charlies II, however cheap and nasty it may appear to the uninformed, is actually quite an upmarket version of this genre of eaterie. The chairs are quite solid and look like they might actually survive more than a light breeze. The tables don’t wobble, and are heavy enough to make a kind of groany scrapey noise if you drag them on the floor. Actually, the chairs do make that sound when you move them.
The lighting is fairly typical of this type of establishment. Harsh, flourescent, bright lights, designed to show off any flaw in the skin to perfection. However, the light does beautifully illuminate any steaming dish of consumables which may be lurking temptingly beneath a fortunate and hungry nose.
Atypically, they had some generic popular music playing through their sound system. I really could have done without that. I found it interfered with my enjoyment of the experience, it was a bit loud, and certainly not the sort of music I would have chosen to accompany my slurping. Still, nothing’s perfect, and it is fairly standard to have that sort of music in fast food places to keep the customer turnover moving at a reasonably fast clip. Still, ew.
Aside from the other indications of the type of place this was, what really drew me to it was the soup noodles. I’m a bit of a soup noodle junkie. I just adore a big bowl of chinese noodle soup with meat and stuff in it. And the menu showed there were 6 different varieties of soup noodles on offer.
The first time we went there was for lunch, and I had won ton soup noodles, accompanied by chinese tea (as is my custom) and kvetch had chicken soup noodles with a glass of water. They keep the water already poured, in clear plastic cups, which I think is a little strange, but, ok, whatever. :p
When I asked, the staff assured me that they make their own won tons themselves. And very delicious they were, too. A generous amount of them were included in the soup, along with the usual thin egg noodles, and soup greens. The noodle wrapper was secure, and none of the fillings were making any wild bids for freedom, the way they can if the dumplings are not well made. And they weren’t too salty, which can be a common fault. Nor was the chicken soup itself too salty, and was easily (and delightfully) drinkable to the last drop.
I like picking up the bowl for that part. :) Don’t worry, it’s absolutely traditional, nay, even de rigueur not only to drink directly from the bowl, but also to slurp with enthusiasm (at least in my universe [and in the near to far East]).
But kvetch’s chicken soup noodles were really special.
The quality of the chicken was truly outstanding. Cooked to a turn, the chicken was utterly tender, juicy, and literally melted in the mouth. That chicken was clearly the Emperor Of Chickens before it met it’s end for the purposes of feeding the likes of me and my serf. I can only bow down before that chicken and thank it for sacrificing it’s life for us in this way, so that we may both have enjoyed the experience of orgasmic bliss over it.
I did wonder at the time if the exceptionally high quality of the chicken was due to the fact that we’d gone there early in the day, before things had a chance to overcook. I was to find out the next time we went, which was the time I started describing at the start of this post but got sidetracked.
Oh well, it happens. :)
I have found since then that early in the day is the best time to go to Charlies II, when everything is freshly prepared and just so extra yummy.
So anyhow, I was being fooded as a show of gratitude from kvetch, and we wandered along to Charlies II on the lovely, balmy, mild evening of Tuesday, 17 April. On this occasion I decided to have their crispy belly pork soup noodles with my usual chinese tea, and kvetch had his chicken soup noodles, with water.
The chicken was, as I’d suspected, very slightly tougher than it had been the last time we’d been at lunchtime, but still delicious enough that, had we not experienced the exceptional quality of it last time, it would have been considered unquestionably acceptable. But on this occasion, the crispy belly pork won out.
- Mmmmm mmmmm Mmmmm mmmmm Mmmmmmmmmmmm.
Ok, anybody who hasn’t yet had the orgasmic pleasure of tasting properly prepared chinese style crispy belly pork, is in for a real treat. The meat of the pork itself was every bit as meltingly orgasmic as the chicken had been the last time. Combine this with the crispy, and noisily crunchy skin, and you get an eating experience which includes a symphony of textures and sensations. Meltingly tender, entirely flavoursome pork, crispy crunchy noisy tasty skin, al dente thin egg noodles, a generous helping of pak choi (a mild sort of cabbage, which, when cooked, produces a tender, crunchy result, not unlike spinach and its stems), and garnished with pieces of green spring onion and sliced chilli.
I had at least 3 orgasms, just on the first mouthful. I offered a taste to kvetch. Normally, his tastes are very conservative, but he’s learnt to trust my judgement on these matters, and accepts that I know his tastes. He knows better now than to argue when I ask him to taste something. So, considering he doesn’t even like pork, he tasted it, and had a culinary orgasm right there on the spot.
- Result! :D
The astonishment on his face was just a picture, I can tell you, heheheh. There was moaning, and groaning, and raving, and gushing, and quite a bit of eye closing going on as well. The way he looked was the way I felt, heheh. Absolutely fantastic.
Food is just soooo much more fun when shared! :D
Several more orgasms later, we both finished our meals. There was quite a bit of satisfaction expressed by kvetch, who kept finding more chicken in his soup, and was amazed at how much there was in there, and he couldn’t finish his bowl, which is unusual for him. I, on the other hand, finished all mine, which is unusual for me. :)
After the Saturday event, which I’ll do a post about soon, kvetch and I and another friend went to Charlies II quite late on, about 3 AM or so. We had 3 satay chicken skewers and sesame prawn toast. The chicken in the satay skewers was tougher again than it had been in the soup on our second visit, which made sense as it was very late in the day, and it would seem likely that the chicken would get tougher as the day went on. The satay sauce was very tasty, but was not well mixed. Part of it tasted more peanuty than other parts, parts of it tasted more like curry than other parts (which seemed strange to me, as I don’t expect to taste curry when I order satay, as it should be more of a peanut thing), and the chicken, as I said, was a bit tough, kind of tearing off in strips. The pieces were a very respectable size, however, and I’d like to taste that again another time, earlier on in the day. I had two of the pieces of sesame prawn toast, which I thought tasted exactly as it should. I was prevented from scoffing any more of it, due to kvetch deciding suddenly to be kind of oink-like, and he ate the rest when nobody was looking, heheh. But then again, our friend didn’t like sesame prawn toast, and kvetch didn’t like the chicken satay. But still, I’d’ve liked to have had more than two pieces. ;)
However, there was karma to be reckoned with the next couple of days, as kvetch has been suffering from some, um, bowel issues which he attributed to the sesame prawn toast. I haven’t had any such issues, and I have been enjoying winding him up about the karma of his oinkness catching up with him. :)
- I claim the right of wind-up as the Foodee In Charge. That is just sooo cool! :D
So, I reckon the overall verdict is, that it’s more likely to be value-for-orgasm if you eat at Charlies II earlier in the day, but that at any time of day, the food there will be at the least, very acceptable, and at best, orgasmic. And the price really can’t be beaten, 21 euros for the two of us for the soup noodles and my chinese tea, 12 euros for the prawn toast, satay chicken skewers, and two chinese teas. The only negative for me is the piped music. Other than that, full marks! I will be eating there again quite soon. :)
(since then, kvetch has developed a taste for Chinese tea and has it with his meal every time :) )