The Dinner: Fried prawns and five spice crispy duck at Peking>"/>
The Dinner: Fried prawns and five spice crispy duck at Peking House (17505 15th Ave. NE, 365-6500, Shoreline.)
The Screenplate: Sometimes you just want things to be easy. No valets, no long white aprons, nothing made with a roux. You want to go to a place with menu items you know well--fried prawns, say--and just fill up.
But sometimes it seems as if everything must be very difficult, and frustrating and complicated--sort of like adolescence, which is exactly where Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) finds herself in Easy A.
Olive (played by a very funny Emma Stone) is a smart, lovely girl, with a touch of a lisp and the greatest family any kid could ever ask for (you will leave wishing desperately that Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci had been your parents.) No one at her high school ever notices Olive thanks to her tedious life and loud-mouthed, chesty BFF.
But then Olive tells a teeny lie to said BFF, claiming to have lost her virginity to a college guy in order to make her otherwise straight 'n narrow life seem more interesting. Cue the rumor mill and allusions to The Scarlet Letter, which Olive just read for class.
Given that Olive is already widely thought a tramp, boys come to her looking for help in convincing people they are straight, have game, etc., etc., in exchange for gift certificates.
The resident uber-Christian (Amanda Bynes) wages a campaign against Olive. Olive fights back by dressing in lingerie (apparently wearing Frederick's of Hollywood to class in So Cal is no problem) and plastering a scarlet "A" over her left breast.
Things get a little out of hand. And it was all supposed to be so easy.
Speaking of things that were supposed to be easy, Peking House is conveniently located near the I-5 exit Google Maps says to take when headed for the $3-a-show Crest from Seattle. With the parking lot reasonably full it seemed a meal guaranteed to be convenient, simple and satisfying.
And at first it was. The man who seated us, followed up with tea in seconds, and returned in minutes to ask if we were ready to order.
But then things got more complicated than we planned. The menu had a list of enormous meals on the front with the caveat that you had to order for a minimum of two people. The only meal for one was heavy on the pork.
If that's not what you want, you're left trying to piece together a dinner from the remainder of the menu. And as we quickly learned, if a food item isn't on the "meals" page, it's probably not Peking House's finest cuisine.
My fortune cookie said I would overcome many obstacles--I just didn't think dinner would be one of them.
As you might expect, things don't quite turn out the way Olive planned either.