Menu Please: A Mixed Bag at Peacock in Anderson

Back in the late 1980s, there was a Peacock Restaurant on Lake Boulevard near… oh dear. Femme de Joie was about to say it was near Timber Lanes, but that bowling alley had closed up by that time. So it was near Joann’s Fabric… but that’s moved twice since then. Well…. it was in the strip mall that is fronted by A&W (which M. de Joie thinks of as being on South Market Street, but oh dear again, that hasn’t been in that spot for a million or so years).

Let’s start over.

Does anyone remember when a new steak house was about to open in Anderson twenty-some years ago? Two Feathers was the name; it was custom-built and heavily promoted in the local rag as the next big thing, with calls going out for high-class servers and bartenders and dog catchers. It opened and closed again with astonishing swiftness before M. de Joie had a chance to bask in its glamour, so she’ll never know if it was great but just misunderstood or ahead of its time or what the story was. At some point when Femme de Joie wasn’t paying attention, the old Peacock closed in the 90’s and then reopened a few years ago in the Two Feathers space.

Peacock is situated favorably right next to a motel – sharing their parking lot, actually – and right off Interstate 5, meaning they’ve got a couple of built-in audiences. Such places can survive and be terrible because they don’t need local customers; their patrons will come in, eat, and goest away in their shiny car in the night, never to return. Still, M. de Joie read favorable things about Peacock and wondered if it was anything like it used to be when it was on Lake Boulevard.

The interior seems oversized when you look up at the circular light fixture built into the oddly high ceiling. And it’s relentlessly pink except for the carpet, which is relentlessly green and needs replacing. Still, it’s clean and cheerful, with wide windows letting in natural light. There’s a constant flow of customers, some of whom seem to be regulars. Service ranges from efficient to friendly.

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Hong Kong chow mein, $9.25

Hong Kong chow mein is usually a melange of stir-fried vegetables plus shrimp, beef, chicken, etc. bound in a light sauce and served on top of pan-fried noodles. The noodles were pan-fried but really didn’t have much personality other than a little crunch; the same could be said for the meat-vegetable topping. It wasn’t unpleasant but it didn’t have that zsa zsa zsu that makes you want to order it again.

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Wor Won Ton soup, $7.50 medium, $9.25 large

Wor Won Ton soup, with a delicate broth, plenty of filled won tons, shrimp, and fresh leafy spinach, was a treat on a cold day. The medium order is enough for two people to share or one person to enjoy as a light lunch. This was a winner.

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Szechuan beef, $9.75

It’s deja vu all over again. Szechuan beef appeared to be virtually the same dish as the Hong Kong chow mein, minus the noodles and shrimp. Two small dried red chilies had been tossed in almost as an afterthought but they didn’t have that light char indicating they had been in the wok for any length of time, so the requisite heat was missing and the sauce tasted the same as the chow mein’s. And two slices of beef seemed to have been added from the frozen stage; they stubbornly clung to each other, resulting in raw undersides. Oops.

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Luncheon combination plate #2, $8.00

Down at the bottom of the menu page listing luncheon specials are a few combination plates. Those were a terrific bargain and the food was noticeably better than the a la carte plates. Egg foo yung is too often an omelet hockey puck at sea in a glutinous brown salty sauce. Here it was puffy and light with a thin flavorful gravy. Sweet and sour pork was particularly good, with a not-so-sweet sauce and cubes of pork with crunchy exterior and tender insides. Sometimes you feel that egg rolls could just be wrung out and the oil recycled, but this one was non-oily and freshly cooked.

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Soup of the day – comes with luncheon combinations

Here again, soup was very good. Beneath that eggy surface lay a good mix of tiny tofu cubes, chicken, diced Chinese BBQ pork, carrots and peas in a slightly salty broth. Adding a few drops of the hot oil from a small jar on the condiment tray made it sing.

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Luncheon combination #7, $8.50

M. de Joie loved the perfectly stir-fried crunchy vegetables in almond chicken laced with a light chicken-y sauce. It was a little short on chicken and almonds, but she didn’t mind because the rest was so good. Now about that doughnut in the center of the plate: that was advertised as “fried prawn,” and there was indeed a small prawnish creature inside, but a truthful menu would have described it as “fried batter ring with a hidden shrimp prize.”

Femme de Joie liked Peacock, though it does have its flaws. The luncheon combinations were far better than similar plates in most Chinese restaurants, and the soups were warming and tasty. A little bit of attention to detail could fix the problems – a spicy dish being decidedly unspicy, some ginger and garlic added to a stir-fry. Peacock is worth a visit if you’re in Anderson and maybe even a special trip from Redding for lunch.

Peacock Chinese Restaurant, 2881 McMurry Drive (between North Street and Balls Ferry Road), Anderson, CA 96007. 530-365-9833. Open Tuesday through Thursday, 11:00 AM to 9:30 PM, Friday 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Saturday 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM, Sunday 12:00 PM to 9:30 PM. Closed Monday. Cash and cards, no checks. Vegetarian and vegan options. Beer and wine. Parking lot.

Femme de Joie
Femme de Joie's first culinary masterpiece was at age 4, when she made the perfect fried bologna sandwich on white bread. Since then she has dined on horse Bourguignon in France, stir-fried eel in London, and mystery meat in her college cafeteria, but firmly draws the line at eating rattlesnake, peppermint and Hamburger Helper. She lives in Shasta County at her country estate, Butterscotch Acres West. She is nearly always hungry. Visit MenuPlease for more or send her an email at femmedejoiefood@yahoo.com.
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17 Responses

  1. Frank Treadway says:

    …can’t beat Lim’s, especially in the dining room, with 60s music subtly playing in the background.

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      Oh dear.  We ate at Lim’s years ago and decided that everything we were served came from a Chung King can.  Once was enough.

      • cody says:

        Lim’s chinese food is disgusting, in my opinion.  Maybe people like it just because of the old-school ambiance?  I also have heard stories regarding their health dept. violations in the past.  They had some serious issues and it was Very disgusting.  I am not saying that it is still that way, as it could be the exact opposite now – I do not know.

        I do wish that they would post the heath department inspection violations in the front window of restaurants here, like they do in some cities.  Food safety violations are very serious, and that information should be displayed in a way that is easy for patrons to disseminate.

  2. Virginia says:

    Lim’s has it lovers from many years standing.    Sailing Boat is better than Lim’s in my opinion.   There is one restaurant in the old Holiday Market Shopping Center off Cypress, although I don’t remember their name.  They had good food when I have eaten there a couple of times..  This one might be good to try for a change.

  3. Karen C says:

     

    I loved Peacocks out on Lake Blvd.  I was saddened when they left.  Then I found out they opened in Anderson, tried it much later with a birthday group, but never went back.  I don’t know why Redding has such a hard time getting the food right.  Beautiful town, in a beautiful area, with so many vistas which could be integrated into the dining experience.  We had better restaurants in 1963 when we moved here.  We frequented the Blue Moon  on Eureka Way, Doc Clearie’s on Hilltop, Burger Shack where Clearie’s is now, and another one at or near the Capri Motel of which I cannot recall the name. Oh, and another was the Mexican Restaurant located where Gironda’s is now, owned by the Bui family…cannot recall the name of that place either.

    We like CR Gibbs, because the food is consistently good, not excellent, but we know we will get good service and always reliable food.  Clearie’s is our “go-to” for fine dining.

    Yes, I am picky,  because I am a very good home cook, and I like my food.  When I go out, I expect the food to be well prepared, using the best ingredients, (hopefully, locally sourced) and the service to be excellent.  

     

    Always love the restaurant reviews, one of my favorite articles.

  4. DougM says:

    Lim’s and Jack’s…how they stay open is a mystery for the ages.

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      Agreed, DougM.  Here I’m writing two critical comments in one day.  We went to Jack’s a about a year ago for the first time after hearing about it forever.  Quite a jolt.  Absolutely no “crunch” to the salad because there was so much dressing glopped on.  The steaks were inferior cuts; hardly the prime beef advertised.  The service was very efficient and friendly, however.  I’ll continue to purchase really good cuts and grill them at home.  And serve them with a crisp salad.

  5. cody says:

    Most of the Chinese food places around town taste the same, no matter what dish you order.  They must all use the same sauce from a can?

    IMO the only places that stand out as a little better are New China on Eureka Way, and Chu’s at the airport.

    Thank you for the review on this one.  I would not have thought about eating Chinese food in Anderson…

  6. K. Beck says:

    I agree about New China. I also like  Yuet Bistro, 24 Hartnell Ave. in the Cobblestone Shopping Center (north of where Raley’s used to be). I ate once at Chu’s when I first moved here from the bay area. Wasn’t impressed then because, well, if you want Chinese food go to the bay area! Now that I have been here for longer than I ever thought I would be here, I should try it again.

    Nothing like a good Chinese soup on a cold damp day!

     

  7. Kirsten says:

    Still think “Chu’s” at the airport is the best chinese around.

  8. Karen C says:

    We like New China, as well. I had forgotten about them in my post above.  The place is clean, service is good and the three times we have been there, with other couples, we all enjoyed our food.

  9. Beverly Stafford says:

    I, too, like Yuet Bistro, especially the dim sum dishes.  Lettuce wrap duck is a real winner as is the jalapeno calamari.