CloverReminisces: Beef Noodle Soup at Westmont’s Zhao Lao Er!
On Friday nights in the winter, my mom would come pick me up from IMSA (a residential public magnet-esque highschool west of Chicago). Together with my roommates Kathy Huang and Yuxi Ji, we’d stop by Katy’s Dumpling House (Zhao Lao Er in Chinese) on the way home. I have so many great memories of slurping hot Beef Noodle Soup here, with snow falling outside.
The restaurant is very small, only having one small square dining room with less than a dozen tables. There’s a small fridge stocked with all sorts of authentic snacks, and my mom would always load up with extra noodles for the weekend. There’s something amazing about the noodle recipe here – they’re thick, textured, doughy and amazing; they’ve become the standard that I compare all other noodles to now.
After graduating from IMSA, I didn’t get the chance to go to Zhao Lao Er very often. Now, every time I get back from traveling, I’ll still go out of the way to hit up Westmont from the airport before going home. The waitress and owner still recognize us, and it’s hard to believe how much time has passed since we first stumbled upon their amazing noodle soup.