I hate takeout food. I HATE IT. I know it’s the same food I get in the restaurant but something about putting it in a box just ruins it for me. It’s kind of like how soda in a can or bottle tastes like garbage juice compared to a fountain drink. (I know you know what I’m talking about.)
This is a major character flaw that seriously limits my social interactions and strains my relationship because apparently everyone freaking loves not eating in restaurants and it drives me crazy. People ask if they can pick me up food all the time and I always say “No I’m good” but I really mean “No I hate to-go food, you animal.” It gets soggy and it smells weird and I just don’t like it.
Basically give me a table and silverware or give me nothing. With one exception: Chinese food.
I’m pretty sure (Americanized) Chinese food can only be taken to go. There is no other option. That’s just how it’s served. It’s a rule. And while I’m not claiming to be an expert on Chinese food or anything, the only place to get it in Charlotte is Ho Ho Cherry House on 7th. (I already checked Yelp and no other Chinese restaurants exist so don’t waste your time especially when Ted tries to tell you to go to Panda Express.)
Ho Ho is my jam. I discovered it when I first moved to Charlotte and lived just down the street in a roach-infested hell hole on Vail Avenue. I mark that year as one of the darkest in my life illuminated only by an occasional shining beacon of hope delivered in the form of a brown sack of food from Ho Ho Cherry House.
In fact, Ho Ho assumed so prominent a place in my life at the time (and I also had so few friends) that it earned a coveted spot on my speed dial, a list otherwise reserved exclusively for blood-related members of my family.
Today I am a much happier person but Ho Ho is still on speed dial right there above my boyfriend. (Oh and Ted. Welcome to the inner circle, Ted. Here’s your trophy.) Nick gets General Tso’s chicken and an egg roll and for four years I have gotten the exact same thing every single time – bean curd family style with brown rice and no sauce. (For the un-vegetarian, bean curd is just another way to say tofu and I skip the sauce because it’s gross.)
Since I still have a seething hatred for to-go food that I just can’t shake, I serve mine onto a real plate like a pompous jerk. This is also my laughable attempt at serving only half of it so that I don’t eat something labeled “family style” but then I eat it all anyway so whatever.
As any authentic Chinese meal should, Ho Ho meals wrap up with a fortune cookie to seal your fate. I take this very seriously and eat my entire cookie first before reading the fortune and I advise you to do the same because otherwise it doesn’t come true and, hello, don’t you want this to come true?