The movie “A Christmas Story” has so many fabulous scenes, from the frozen tongue-on- a-pole to the arrival of the cherished and very “fra-gee-lay” leg lamp.
But as a food fan, my favorite scene is at the end of the movie, when the family — whose much anticipated Christmas turkey has been devoured by dogs — has its holiday meal at the local Chop Suey Palace.
Serenaded by the staff in broken English, they laugh, snort and dine on roast duck — squealing when the manager whacks off its head.
“That Christmas will live in our memories as the Christmas we were introduced to Chinese turkey,” the narrator says. “All was right with the world.”
That scene has always made me want to go to a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Day, and a few years ago, I made it happen.
To accommodate various schedules, my family had agreed to celebrate Christmas at my house on Dec. 26, which meant that on Dec. 25, we had no dinner plans.
A big group of us giddily caravanned to Lee’s, a Chop Suey Palace-esque restaurant at 6215 W. Kellogg.
It wasn’t just any Chinese restaurant meal we enjoyed that night. The cashew chicken tasted special, and all the diners in the restaurant felt like they were part of an exclusive Christmas club. The people at the next table laughed and sang along when we broke into a version of “Deck the Halls” inspired by that scene in “A Christmas Story.”
Schedules are such again this year that it looks like the Neil clan will be able to make another visit to a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Day.
All is right with the world.
Follow this link for a reminder of some of the restaurants open and serving on Christmas Day. (They’re not all Chinese.)