Chez Madeleine

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hidden (Happy) Valley

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Question: How many business school students does it take to identify what's wrong with this picture?

Answer: Four.

As four business school students embarked on a culinary Dim Sum adventure this morning, they used the 5 minutes they had before the restaurant opened to brainstorm marketing ideas for Happy Valley. Test your business acumen by guessing what they came up with!

Clay picked the place and the Zagat advice warned "get there early-long lines at this Atlanta Dim Sum favorite." So, despite the fact that our two guests couldn't wrap their heads around dumplings at 10 am on a Sunday, we arrived early, prepared to duke it out with Chinese patrons four our spots at the lazy susan.

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Turns out, Zagat was over-zealous. We were the first people to arrive. Within moments , we had tea and water and our first cart had arrived full of dumplings. Although it was hard to say no to the dumpling peddlers, Clay tried to keep us honest. He refused roughly every other dish. We started with pork and shrimp, shrimp, scallop and chicken dumplings.

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Not long after, we grabbed at pork buns which Eileen dubbed, "bizarre", and soon after that we were given a plate full of diverse noodles flecked with pork, mushrooms, and shrimp. As the carts increased in speed and variety, we experienced an unfortunate incident with a fish ball. Clay asked for "vegetable" and the Hidden Valley cart peddler said "fish ball"--we thought she said "vegetable" so we took them.

I was first to try the dense, fishy, sausage-like, gagging ball. I almost couldn't get it down and it took me several glasses of tea after the fish ball before I could return to the spread. I never quite recovered. Towards the end of the adventure, we ordered some broccoli rabe, too.

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At some point during the meal, we realized that the only way to communicate with the dumpling peddlers was by soliciting the help of the teenaged Hidden Valley server. We would call her over for advice or translation and she would serve as our Dim Sum interpreter. Here she came with the dessert cart for us.

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We tried chocolate pudding, pineapple flan, and mango pudding. To be honest, all were moreover flavorless.

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Finally, we all learned something today. Clay indicated to Eileen that the universal sign for "more tea" was opening the lid on the tea pot. Eileen opened, and within seconds our tea had been replaced. They reenacted it for me here.

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One thing is for sure, Dim Sum, if you can find it behind the burgundy paint, is worth the trip to Buford Highway. We were all stuffed for about $13 each, and we plan to bring more folks next time. We think we're ready to upgrade to a large table with a lazy susan, and we plan to wow our friends with our (now) extensive knowledge about the offerings at Hidden Valley.

1 Comments:

Anonymous ali said...

YUM!! YOur blog makes me so hungry!

Good luck on finals! ali

8:31 AM  

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