I had lunch at Cardwell’s today. My last at the wonderful shopping center bistro. Yes, Cardwell’s at Frontenac closes on Saturday. The park lot was full, as it only is during this time of the year. Even so, I had to have Bill Cardwell’s Chinese BBQ Chicken Salad one more time.
A Fond Adieu
Once in the restaurant, I was told that there’d be a 40 minute wait. My hopes slipped away. But, the hostess said, there was one place left at the bar. Now, I don’t climb aboard bar stools as easily as I once did, but me and that salad needed a time to close out our longstanding relationship.
The bartender started to offer me a menu, but I waved him off. “I know what I want,” I said somberly. “I’ll have the Chinese BBQ Chicken Salad, no sesame seeds, and with part lettuce and cabbage (it normally has only shredded cabbage, but they’ve always done it this way for me.)
“Your last?” he asked.
“Yes,” I sniffed.
Minutes later he delivered up the customized salad with an air of reverence and placed it gently on the starched white napkin that serves as a placemat at the bar. The shredded cabbage, lettuce, broccoli chunks, carrots, daikon sprouts, green onions, peanuts, fried noodles, and chicken strips were all sauced with a superb peanut dressing and piled high on the plate. I took a deep breath, savoring the crispy, vibrance of the tasty, nutritious meal.
A Special Moment
I ate it all, down to the last fried noodle. Before leaving, I asked the bartender if there was any other place that would be serving the salad, that I had grown so fond of over the years. He shook his head, “Not that I’ve heard of.”