When it’s too hot to cook, I turn to my Royal Gourmet Flat Top Grill


when it's too hot to cook, i turn to my

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Like yesterday and the day before yesterday, it is almost 100 degrees in Austin, so hot that I feel like a melting figure in a Dali painting. Should I heat my pan or my oven? Prepare an ambitious recipe? Give me a call in November when autumn does begin in Texas and my mood can no longer be described as “sweating”. That’s why my Royal Gourmet Flat-Top Grill was my savior this summer. Dinner is ready in the time it takes to chop a broccoli, and the only tools for cleaning are a bottle of water and a spatula. It perfectly delivers a Hong Kong street vendor’s wok-Hei and, more importantly, it brings me back to my ultimate childhood comfort food: food court take-out from Sarku Japan, a teppanyaki chain that sells almost exclusively in malls all of America can be found.

In the sprawling suburbs of Cypress, Texas, northwest of Houston, summers are best described by their duality – the Gulf Coast heat (demonstrated by the Texan Neapolitan, sunburned on top, pale in the middle, with a distinctive Old Navy flip-flop -Tan on the bottom) and the coolness of the mall where it’s always 65 degrees. The mall raised me when I was five years old walking around permanently sticky playgrounds up to my thirteenth year doing Forever 21. It’s in my DNA – even my prom was at the mall. And while some kids grew up with PB&J or Little Caesar’s Hot-N-Readys, I grew up on Sarku Japan. Every time I visited Willowbrook Mall, my mom and I shared a $ 5.69 styrofoam box of teriyaki chicken and beef, perfectly caramelized and piled high on rice and steamed vegetables. For an additional $ 1.79, we ventured to double our meat, but only after taking a free sample.

Now at home, the Royal Gourmet Grill challenges me to escape the rigidity of daily menu planning. Armed with a squirt bottle and a spatula, I reef. Whether it’s a smash burger, tacos al pastor or my favorite diner breakfast, the flat top makes it easy for me to just pop up without the pressure of perfection. No timers, no thermometers, just me and my mise en place are flowing. When the neighbors curiously perk up their heads to smell my teppanyaki, it’s time to toss the glaze on the meat, the sweet and savory varnish balanced by the pleasant familiarity of cabbage and rice .

Now that I’ve left my hometown, the nearest Sarku Japan is about a 30-minute drive away, in an unfamiliar mall that someone else raised but still has the best summer air conditioning this side of the Colorado River. A trip to the mall feels a little sad now. Some things, like low-rise jeans, are better left in the past. But thanks to my Royal Gourmet Grill, I can eat food court teppanyaki at any time. In a way, cooking Sarku Japan at home hits the same note as cooking a Cantonese recipe from my mother. It feels like a return to my legacy, a culture shaped by frappuccinos, soft pretzels and the Zumiez background music. Mall Food Court Teppanyaki is a part of me, and my backyard plancha is my homecoming.

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Royal Gourmet flat grill

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Amanda Litchford

Making delicious meals and researching products has inspired me as a stay at home mom to start this website in helping out others who don’t have the time or expertise in the kitchen.

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