| Panda Holiday 2001 |

No, I didn't take the above picture, I copied it from the Big Kitchen's own web site - hope you don't mind, Judy! The only picture taken while we were there can be viewed as you read further down the page.

Before I went on my holiday, I searched the Net for places to eat while in San Diego. That was how I found Big Kitchen. The place interested me for one particular reason - Whoopi Goldberg waitressed and washed dishes here while she was a struggling artiste many years ago. I repeat - Whoopi Goldberg waitressed and washed dishes here while she was a a struggling artiste many years ago. Seriously - Whoopi Goldberg waitressed and washed dishes here while she was a a struggling artiste many years ago. One more time - Whoopi Goldberg waitressed and washed dishes here while she was a a struggling artiste many years ago.

Now I like Whoopi as much as I like Buster, with one exception - Whoopi's still here and Buster isn't. But they both make me laugh. So I decided to try and go to Big Kitchen for breakfast while in San Diego. The place is supposed to serve breakfast until its closing time at 3:00 p.m.

I told Bob and Doris about my plan, and they agreed to go with me. They had to - Bob was driving. But my reason why we should go also made sense - we had to eat breakfast and any food would be better than motel food, so why not Big Kitchen? Again, they agreed.

We went bright and early, around 7:30 a.m. This is what I wrote in my journal:

"The web site review I found had said on weekends, customers had to wait in line for a table. Okay, so it wasn't the weekend today, but the outside was bare of people - in fact, the whole place was bare of people, except for us - but the place was open.

We went in and were greeted by a friendly woman reminiscent of Sandy Stone (a friend) in age and looks. The walls are plastered with pictures but, unlike what the same web site review said, Whoopi is not everywhere on the walls.

The menu was amazing. Lots of breakfast items - well, Big Kitchen is known for serving breakfast all day long, or up to its 3:00 p.m. closing time. Its breakfast items are pretty amazing, too - I had steamed vegetables and brown rice with sautéed tofu on top. When Judy, the woman who greeted us, brought the dish, it reminded me of something from home. I couldn't finish it, it was a little bland, but overall amazing. Bob had raisin french toast (thick slabs which looked like meat), bacon and eggs, and Doris had a blueberry pancake. She was supposed to share my breakfast but tried only a little of it.

While we were eating, more customers started coming in, regulars from the way Judy greeted them. I really wanted to tell her where I was from and to ask to take a picture with her behind the counter and me in front of it. I took out my camera, caught her eye, she said she would take my picture and I told her how I'd found her restaurant and where I was from. She sat next to me and I got Bob to take a picture of me with my arm around her shoulder. She gave us a magnet each, advertising her shop; she signed mine, and also gave me her business card with her email and URL. She asked for my address and this morning of all mornings, I did not have my notebook with me and the address labels inside. So she said to write her." (3 May 2001)

Here's the picture Bob took of Judy and me:

If you think I look a little dazed in the picture, I agree, and I think
it's the steamed vegetables, brown rice and sautéed tofu
that I had for breakfast that morning

Well, I emailed the picture to her, but haven't heard from her yet. Judy, do you ever check your email??

Verdict on Big Kitchen?

If you're ever in San Diego, make it a point to go to Big Kitchen. And tell Judy you read about it on Chet's Panda Holiday 2001 web site. Here's the address:

Big Kitchen
3003, Grape St
San Diego, CA
Tel: (619) 234-5789

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