On the second day, the three of them decided to go out for a drink at night.
As a matter of facts, Wu Yuanyuan had no interest in drinking, but Pang Deyou was delighted to hear the suggestion. It had been months since he had any real drinks. Though it was not completely true, he did have a beer during one of the meals , after a sip, he developed a prejudice against the wine of this world.
“I am really craving for some real wine, don’t know if there is any good wine around here. Even a few litres of shaodaozi are fine!” Pang Deyou said with a smack.
Finally, after they contacted the tour guide from the day before, a good place was recommended. This was a private restaurant located in a hidden location not known to many people. Not only was the owner a famous glutton, he was also a seasoned wine drinker. He likes to stock up good wine in the cellar. When he is in high spirits, he will take out the self made wine and share it with the guests. Thanks to the knowledgeable taxi driver, he managed to find the place after many twists and turns.
This private kitchen was located within a small courtyard. There was a park not far away, as it was around dinner time, people had already started jogging. There were no eye-catching signs at the entrance of this courtyard. The white walls on both sides of the round arch were covered with creepers, and a wooden sign is vaguely seen on the right hand side with the words “Liao Yuan” written on it.
Entering the restaurant, walking along the green stone pathway, you could see a few stone tables and chairs sitting on the right side of the road. Chess boards were carved on the table, the serene surroundings makes the place very suitable for playing chess during leisure time. There were also three big jars on the left side of the path. Duckweed and gold fishes can be found within it. When the wind is blowing, the surface of the big tank ripples up, making it very comfortable to look at. After ascending three stone steps, they arrived at the main entrance of the restaurant. Before reaching the door, a young woman in a goose-yellow shirt with green skirt opened the door to greet them.
They were taken to a table next to the window and the three took the opportunity to look carefully inside the place. The hall was not very big, it could accommodate about eight large tables. There was a stairs behind the screen which led to the second floor, and it should be able to accommodate more people. There were three windows in the hall, and a large exaggerated counter on one side. It is made of dark rosewood and carved with copper coins on the side. A blue curtain beside the counter separates the front hall from the back. Although there are not many antique decorations in the hall, the simplicity makes people feel relaxed and comfortable. The women who led the guests were all wearing collar skirts, but the men who passed the food were all gray and short, like the servants in the ordinary restaurant of Tianrongguo. This made Guo Ming and Pang Deyou feel good at the familiarities.
After settling down at the table, the three of them didn’t know what to order, so they asked the waitress to recommend a few according to the three’s preferences. Just as soon as the order was made, Pang Deyou hurriedly yelled, “Bring the wine! The woman covered her mouth and giggled for a long time. She recommended them to try the 20-year-old Hua Diao brewed by the owner himself. As the waitress was leaving after taking their orders, she could hear Pang Deyou shouting “The food can wait, bring out the wine now!”
A short while later, a middle-aged man in his 30s to 40s wearing glasses came over with a serving tray. On the tray were two dishes of snacks, a dish of fresh green boiled edamame, and a dish of pickled carrot with red sauce. There was also a red clay pottery jar, the mouth of the jar was covered with a red cloth. The man walked over with a smile, and said to Pang Deyou, “Bro, you must be really craving for wine, so much so that you want the wine before the food. Come, come and try my own homemade huadiao. These are two side dishes to go with the wine.”
After speaking, he put down the side dishes, the jar of wine and a few pottery bowls. Wu Yuanyuan said thank you. Guo Ming and Pang Deyou habitually got up and hold their fists. The shop owner laughed, and left.
By the time all the dishes were served, the two had finished the second jar. Pang Deyou wiped his mouth and said: “This wine tastes good, soft and sweet to the month, just that it’s not strong enough!”
You could say that the dishes in this restaurant were really good, the vinegar fish is delicious, and the longjing tea with shrimp was very fragrant, but Guo Ming’s favorite is the brasenia soup, which is clear and refreshing. As the brasenia was tender and soft, it made the stomach feel very comfortable. Wu Yuanyuan prefered the bamboo shoots, she ate most of them. When everyone was almost full, Pang Deyou said regretfully, “If the wine was stronger, it would be perfect!”
“Wow, I didn’t know you guys could really drink! You have finished 2 jars!” The shop owner with the glasses walked over again.
“How was it, was the food appetizing enough for you?”
“The food was very good! It’s your wine, it’s too mild!”
“Oh, you like it strong, should have told me earlier, I do have some Moutai that I just bought from Moutai Town recently, do you want to try it?”
“Is it strong enough?”
“Hey, you can light it up with fire, what do you think?!”
“Bring it over!!!!”
The woman in the skirt came over to clean the table, and after putting in a few cups of tea, she walked over again with a jar of wine, three side dishes and a few pottery bowls.
Wu Yuanyuan thanked her, stopped drinking the wine, picked up the tea and tasted it slowly. The shop owner sat in the empty seat next to Pang Deyou, and filled the bowls with wine. They picked up the bowl and drank it.
“YES!” Pang Deyou exclaimed with satisfaction after putting down his emptied bowl. This caused the boss to laugh. Guo Ming was also in a light hearted mood. They continued to chat and drink with each other. In a short while, they finished the jar. They requested the waiter to bring another two jars again. Wu Yuanyuan looked at Guo Ming with some concern.
“You guys, the wine is strong, you will get drunk.”
“It’s okay, this small amount of wine, I can finish it all by myself.” Guo Ming comforted her.
Sure enough, the other two jars of wine were finished only after a few rounds. You could also tell that the owner of the shop was really happy. He began to talk and laughed more and more. He repeatedly called the waiter to serve more wine and told them that today’s wine will be on the house.
Wu Yuanyuan watched the three of them finish jar after jar of wine. At the beginning, she kept the count. After the waiter came to clean up twice, she couldn’t remember how many jars the three had finished drinking. It must be at least more than ten jars. The more they drank, the happier the shop owner. Although his drinking has slowed down, he didn’t stop talking. From the conversations, Wu Yuanyuan already knows how the shop was started, and also where all the wines are from. By now, the shop owner had begun to recall his childhood stories. Guo Ming was by the side, drinking slowly, her eyes were still clear and bright. Her face is still alert. Seeing Wu Yuanyuan was worried about them, she stretched out her hand and squeezed her hand to comfort her. After she squeezed it, she did not let go of her hand. For unknown reason, Wu Yuanyuan’s heartbeat quickened by a few beats.
After listening to the store owner’s story about his childhood, Pang Deyou suddenly patted him on the shoulder: “Big brother, you call that miserable. Your family business is in good condition, and all your relatives are alive.”
“Me? Mine was completely wiped out at that time!”