One hungry evening soon thereafter, I strolled over to the restaurant. As per the advice a former Asian boyfriend once gave me, I ordered the hot and sour soup. Apparently the quality of the this particular soup is supposed to be a sort of telltale of the quality and flavors of the other cuisine offered in and Asian restaurant. I also ordered an entree of spicy basil tofu.
Oh, boy, that soup was the bomb! So hot, so sour, so everything I could ever dream of hot and sour soup to be. I knew I was hooked. And my entree was equally as flavorful, very fresh and just the perfect quantity to fill up but not be stuffed. After only one meal, I knew I had found a gem. I knew that I was going to make this place my second home.
In the next months, I ate at Wokano up to six times a week. It was quite nearly out of control. Sometimes I would dine in, sometimes I would order delivery. Every time I called and said I wanted to make an order for delivery, they immediately recognized my voice and knew practically what I wanted to order. Whether ordering in house or delivery, I tried nearly everything on the diverse menu that true Asian fusion has to offer, never to be disappointed. I tried all of the appetizers, nearly all the entrees, and was totally hooked on the sesame balls for dessert; so much so that I quickly began getting them for free with my meal. I also invited anyone and everyone to eat their with me, promising up and down that it would be some of the best food ever. Friends, family, clients, love interests and the occasional random all dined at Wokano with me.
As is in my character, I was planning a big trip/move to Egypt at the same time in my life and as my departure neared I told the sparse staff whom I had come to know so well, that I was going to leave the country and didn't know when I'd be back. I literally ate my last meal in US before getting on the plane, at Wokano and said my goodbyes to my favorite food. A few short months later when I returned to the States, Wokano was my first meal back in US as I drove back to Littleton with my mother from the airport. I loved that place.
Fast forward a year or two and through living in different neighborhoods in Denver combined with traveling so much, years passed without me going to Wokano. I went in one day and something was different. In fact everything was just a little different. The menu and quaint decor were still the same, but the staff was different and the food wasn't quite the same. That was the last time I went there because I knew it wasn't the same place, that the owners I knew, had sold. (insert teary eyes)
Fast forward a few more years and I find myself back in Denver for a few months, working, chilling, riding bikes, etc. My best friend Lesley tells me one day that she found the Wokano guys and that they had a restaurant down on South Broadway called Karma. I was like, "Are you freaking kidding! The real deal?!" She confirmed that it was in fact my beloved people and the delicious food. I went as soon as life afforded the opportunity I went to Karma and got me some! She wasn't lying, it was Peter and Ashley(American names for people who's real names are unpronounceable Chinese names). I was back home!
This time round in my frequent visits to Karma, I finally got my dad to come with me, whom I am sure I had pestered for years at this point to go with me. It was love at first taste for my dad, a lover of all things with flavor. He has been hooked for years and told me that at times him and his wife would drive downtown from Highlands Ranch to eat there sometimes up to three times a week. Guess it runs backwards in the family as he inherited it from me. I really loved my dad and LuAnn's love for Karma for other reasons too. They too became close with Ashley and Peter and would update them on my global whereabouts at any given moment. The four of them, Dad, Luann, Peter and Ashley had their own comradery. Of course I would join them any time I was in Denver for a trip down memory lane, oh and some crazy good food.
Over the years I have seen Peter and Ashley grow from tiny, nearly hidden spot on Capital Hill, to a bustling location on South Broadway. The quality of their food is as consistent as ever. The atmosphere is beautiful and quaint, with some classic Asian kitsch. The service is always fantastic. And they are still serving water in metal camping mugs.
I went to Karma tonight and loved it as much as ever. I had fantastic company, as usual with that magical place, and we got free Thai iced tea on the house. This gave me inspiration and a great excuse to write my story of my still feverish love affair with the restaurant my Chinese friends run on South Broadway. I'v got some good ass karma.