It happens once in a while. Even after taking the proper precautions, it happens once in a while.

I had a lovely organic, free-range, $14.00 chicken that I was going to grill tonight.  I made a lovely Mexican-style rub for it, and then set it on the upper rack – well away from the fire.  I wanted a nice, slow cook.  It was a nice, meaty chicken and a slow cook would just do it wonders.

Since it was up out of harms way, I let it go for about 20 minutes while I waited for the bread to finish baking.  I had already had issues with it, but…  even bad homemade bread is good.

The timer went off for the bread.  I took it out – not impressed – but… even bad homemade bread is good.  I kept my sense of humor.

And then I looked out of the kitchen window and saw billowing clouds of smoke.

Blocking-the-sun-billowing-clouds-of-smoke.  And flames.

Smoke and flames are generally not a good sign when one is cooking dinner.  And they weren’t this time, either.

Outside I went… I turned off the gas and carefully opened the grill.  Daddy was a fireman.  I try to pay attention now and again…

Even with the gas off, the four, formerly-beautiful chicken quarters were all in flames.  I took my tongs and picked each one up to try and extinguish them and then set them back on the grill and went into the house for the camera.  What the hell.  Photo-Op.

I saw Victor in the living room and said I had just burnt dinner to a crisp.  He said “Want me to get pizza?”

It’s why I love the man.  No what happened, how stupid, no recriminations.  Just a simple “You put out the fire and I’ll take care of dinner.”  Love it.

So… instead of pizza we decided on Ping Pong – the new Chinese place in the Gateway Shopping Center.  I had a menu, so we called for a take-out order.

Service was quick.  Food was “meh.”  Not bad.  Just not what I was hoping for.

I’m spoiled.  I grew up with excellent Chinese restaurants on every other corner.  Yank Sing for dim sum, Andy’s for some of the best chow mein ever.

And I expect something labeled “Hunan” or “Szechuan” to have a little heat.  I picked out two items with the red pepper supposedly denoting spiciness – and Nothing. Zero. Zip.  No heat or spiciness at all.  It was disappointing because the menu looks as if it has some very authentic items.  It could have been the most bland Cantonese cooking around.

To be fair, I know from experience that black pepper is an exotic spice to a lot of people around here.  But there should have been something…

I think I’ll give it another chance, but do an eat-in instead of take-out and try to convince the staff that I really do like spicy.

Really. Like. Spicy.

Oh…  And that burnt chicken?  Stay tuned for a southwestern chicken salad.  I ain’t throwing away a $14.00 chicken.