We miss you, August Moon

2006-08-31 00:51

Back before Big Bowl popularized the notion of pick-and-mix stirfry, August Moon was letting you pick your protein to go with any of their stir-fry sauces. They were a local place which reviewers described as “fusion”, with such fascinating concepts as “Scandinasian Stirfry”. They had an astonishing variety of interesting foods, and combinations of foods. We went there to celebrate when Spider bought his house. We went there when people visited from out of town, or for any other occasion we could think of. It was at August Moon that a waitress identified a particular piece on the stereo as Herbie Hancock, leading me to expand my musical horizons quite a bit. They had local art on the walls, and lava lamps on the tables.

My own favorite dish was the Spicy Imperial stirfry, generally with beef.

August Moon burned down a while back; my vague understanding is that the abandoned laundromat next door burned down. This was some time back, and they don’t seem to be coming back.

While cleaning today, I stumbled across one of the other reasons I loved that place so much: One time, when we asked for a recipe, they gave us one. Here it is:

Spicy Imperial Sauce

2 tbl salad oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp ginger
1 tbl lemongrass
protein of choice
1 soup sp imperial seasoning
1 tbl fish sauce (concentrate)
1 tbl thick soy sauce
1 tbl oyster sauce
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 ladle chicken stock
1 1/2 ladle onion (julienne)
1/3 ladle scalloions (1 inch segments)

Heat wok until hot, add oil, lemongrass, garlic, ginger; stir until turns half brown.
Add protein, stir, quickly add chicken stock.
Add seasoning and fish sauce, let it cook about 30 seconds.
Add thick soy, oyster, cayenne, stir until mixed, add onion and scallions after 30 seconds, stir until done (1/4 ladle of liquid remaining).
Remove to plate.
If chicken is your protein, don’t include the scallions.

I have only one question about this: What is “imperial seasoning”, and how would we find out?

(Note: If anyone from August Moon ever asks me to remove this, I will, but I don’t think there’d be any point. The fact is, their cooks were talented enough that merely having the recipe won’t enable you to make the food as well as they did.)

Peter Seebach

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