It was such an innocuous question. Pavle Milic, charming frontman at FnB, wondered where to take his mom for Chinese, so he asked his friends on Facebook last Sunday (June 10) to help him out, posting: "Mama just moved here from New York and is requesting Shrimp Fried Rice for lunch, so who makes the best in town?"
He wanted a few quick suggestions, not 92 posts, 12 hours worth of debate and a controversy that would swirl around New York-style Chinese food -- which became the flashpoint for a pissing match that ensued between fellow Chow Bella Tastemakers Sharon Salomon and Tony Morales.
The first hour was civilized enough as Chinese food aficionados weighed in on Sing High, Desert Jade, Wong's Place, Great Wall, Nee House, Jade Palace and Autumn Court. But about three hours in, it was clear that this was a foodie fight of epic proportion with Chinese food knowledge, regional preference and ego to defend.
Salomon insisted that being from New York herself, she knew what Milic's mother wanted and it was Jade Palace in Scottsdale. Morales, on the other hand, argued Jade Palace wasn't very good, and Milic's mother would be much happier with the more authentic fried rice at Nee House.
As the conversation became more heated, Milic and a handful of other peacemakers jumped in to soothe the savage breast. Evoking Snagglepuss, Dominic Armato kept saying "exit, stage left," while Milic offered thanks for all the suggestions, insisted he loved his peeps and urged everyone to "take the gloves off."
By 4:30 that afternoon, Eric Schaefer (another Chow Bella Tastemaker) had become annoyed with the prolonged posturing and posted, "Debates like this are a nice reminder as to why I stopped blogging!"
What had become increasingly clear, about four hours earlier, was that Milic was in a bind. If he took the advice of one FB BFF, would he offend the other? These people had positions to defend, and they really, really, really cared where his mother ate her Shrimp Fried Rice.
What also emerged from all the fussing about New York-style This and Chinese-Chinese That was the obvious answer: no matter where Milic and his mama had lunch (they ended up at Salomon's Jade Palace) Badass Badman could make infinitely better Shrimp Fried Rice at FnB. And she should.
Yesterday afternoon, Badman posted a picture of a dove carrying a broccoli stalk (FnB's version of the olive branch) because both Salomon and Morales love FnB's Spicy Broccoli. The sweet, subtle message from Milic: Eet eez only deener.
And true to form, Badman make Shrimp and Pork Fried Rice for Sunday Late Night last night. She had told me the day before, "I may not know how to make fried rice, but I do know how to stir a turd," referencing a funny story by David Sedaris in his book Holidays on Ice. But of course, she DOES know how to make fried rice, better fried rice (in my own not-so-humble opinion) than anyone mentioned on that novel-length Facebook post. For one thing, Badman's fried rice, which I so thoroughly enjoyed last night, didn't taste like old grease (fancy that!), but rather bacon, farm-fresh egg, sweet shrimp, ginger, crunchy snow peas, and a modest amount of soy, the whole fragrant heap of it sprinkled with cilantro and feathered strips of green onion.
The best Shrimp Fried Rice in town? Pavle, you didn't have to look very far.