Cameron Swallow, wife of new Carthage President John Swallow, is on a “Welcome Home Tour” as she gets to know Kenosha. Read her newest blog post below.
A Mongolian grilled meat restaurant. That’s what Suneed Achmed ’19 proposed to show me in Kenosha. I had no conception of what Mongolian grilled meats looked or tasted like, and I had never heard of HuHot, though it is evidently a popular chain.
I picked up Suneed and his cross-country teammates Logan and David at the TARC after practice. They are all spending long hours in training during this J-Term as they prepare for their junior or senior season in cross country. I was surprised to learn that cross-country could be an indoor sport, but I guess that makes sense in this climate. As the guys said: “Yep, running in circles, just for longer.”
We drove farther south than I usually go in Kenosha, with David calling directions from the back seat. It was nice to drive somewhere new without GPS direction. HuHot is on Green Bay Road with a lot of other restaurants and shopping centers. We walked in, by the glowing red neon chopsticks, and I found myself in a large modern-industrial space dominated by a huge circular stainless steel workspace. We chose our table and immediately went to the buffet line — my companions had so little interest in the menus that I wondered why the restaurant bothered to print them!
Suneed counseled me to get two bowls, one for food and a separate one for sauces, so I grabbed two bowls but got stuck at the beginning of the buffet. All the meat was raw. I did not want to eat raw meat.
I asked how the meat got cooked, hoping that was not too dumb a question, and the guys gestured to the circular workspace — it was a giant grill! Ohhh. I had landed at the intersection of Benihana and Qdoba: Gather the items of your choice as you move down the buffet line, and then watch the chef cook them in entertaining ways.
Our Grill Warriors (that’s a real title) chopped and diced and flipped and grilled our different collections of noodles and meats and vegetables and sauces, and we enjoyed plate one. I maintain that if I’d been in other company, my first plate would have been my last. But when in Rome with young runners …
On my second trip I experimented with cranberries and took advantage of having, for the first time in my life, all the cilantro I could eat. My Grill Warrior recommended a particular sauce for my combination of vegetables, and he was exactly right. It was a terrific meal — and a terrific dining experience.
David, Logan, Suneed and I had easy and fun conversation — the occasional joke, real appreciation of the food, and genuine interest in each other’s stories. I learned about sports at Carthage, C-Sym classes, chemistry research projects, preparing to teach and coach in high schools, and sustained, regular work by a Carthage fraternity with fatherless children in a local elementary school.
It made me realize how I’ve missed my work with high school students, but it also showed me how much further along the road to maturity these young men are than the students I’m accustomed to working with. I went home happy, with a stomach full of Mongolian grilled food, and a heart full of optimism and gratitude for what these students will bring to the world.
See for yourself
HuHot Mongolian Grill
7214 Green Bay Road
Be a tour guide
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