Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Arches Chinese Restaurant is so-so.


1770 E. 20th Street
Farmington, NM, 87401

(505) 327-1351

Website: N/A

As with other Chinese restaurants in the Four Corners area, the main cuisine of Arches is Mandarin cuisine based. However, I noticed that when it comes to sauces, this restaurant favors sweet and sour sauce; it seemed to be everywhere. It was available as a condiment.

At the buffet serving tables, it was included in such dishes as “Beef with Broccoli” and “General Tso Chicken”; the actual “Sweet and Sour Chicken” was so saturated in the sauce, it was a goopy mess. The first two dishes mentioned are normally in a brown sauce, but not at Arches.

The individual serving units were one quarter to half full with many other dishes, with the sauces congealing, and a skin forming over whatever dishes they covered; or the vegetables were obviously limp from sitting over the steaming tables. The fried rice and pork lo mein were kept piled high with fresh servings, as was the fruit table. The restaurant was busy, so there was no reason why the food was not refreshed as it ran low. For the dishes I tried, I found the food to be mediocre, at best, and lacking in seasoning.

The saving grace for Arches hot food was the spring and egg rolls; crispy on the outside and the cabbage filling was finely shredded, so easier to bite into and eat in small portions. The sweet and sour sauce plus hot mustard were a great accompaniment for these. The fruit table contained many varieties, all tasting and looking fresh.

All in all, the price for the buffet is reasonable, especially if you’re not picky about the quality.

Mary Cokenour

Arches Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Arches Restaurant on Restaurantica

What to do with Chicken Thighs?

I am not a big fan of chicken thighs; I don't like dark meat on poultry, and they are too fatty for my tastes. My hubby and his family though don't agree, so I usually make the thighs just for them...either fried or barbequed. His mom likes to pick up grocery items when they are on sale, and have me cook them up, and what did she buy....you guessed it, chicken thighs.

I didn't want to pull out the deep fryer; I didn't want to put the oven on to have them roast in barbeque sauce; I wanted something a bit more creative this time around. Southwestern....no, Italian....no; lets go a little Asian this time; but instead of the usual sweet and sour sauce, lets use up the apricot and pineapple jams in the pantry.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs


2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
3 cups dried seasoned bread crumbs
peanut or canola oil for frying
1 cup each sugar snap peas, chopped broccoli
1/2 cup each chopped onion, red, yellow and green bell peppers
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground ginger
1 cup each apricot, pineapple jams


In a large bowl, coat the chicken with the bread crumbs. Fill a large skillet with about 1-1/2 inches of oil and bring temperature up to 375F. Fry, about 5 minutes, 12 pieces of the chicken at a time and drain on paper towels.

When all the chicken is done, remove all the oil but 2 Tbsp; place into the skillet the vegetables, soy sauce and ginger; mix and cook for 7 minutes. Add back the chicken and mix in jams, making sure to coat all the chicken and vegetables. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Mary Cokenour