Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
As someone had already offered to pay for the drinks, Li Du decided to treat everyone to dinner instead.
Although it was still early, he had left his house soon after dawn. He was now hungry, having only eaten two burgers on the long journey from Phoenix to Tucson.
“Who knows a place that serves good local Tucson delicacies? My treat, buddies, let’s go have a good meal!” Li Du said.
Hearing that someone was treating them to dinner, the treasure hunters were excited.
“Go to Lavender Hotel, the buffet there is fantastic. It’s one hundred and fifty bucks per head. I’ve long wanted to try it.”
“Big Li wants something unique. I say, we have to go around Main Street. Any restaurant along that road will not disappoint.”
“Better go to Salt Lake Restaurant, the beef there is the best I’ve tasted.”
“All of you shut up, we want something special,” Lu Guan pushed away two men and walked over. He said, “Boss, follow me, I know a good place.”
“What place?” Reeves asked.
Lu Guan said, “You’ll see. Let go, follow me. Regular folks don’t know about this place!”
The group got up from the bar and headed out to the city in seven or eight cabs. Each car was stuffed full.
Driving out of Tucson, the cars ventured into the desert. Someone in the car raised his voice, saying, “Max Conrad, you b*stard, are we going to Mexico for dinner?”
Lu Guan replied impatiently, “Shut up, we are almost there!”
Indeed, they were near their destination. The car continued for about two to three kilometers and came to a stop a few minutes later, in front of a village.
When Li Du got down from the car, he glanced towards the place. It was a regular small village on the outskirts of the desert. There were many mirrors at the entrance road, and their blinding brightness hurt his eyes.
“Follow me,” Li Guan gestured. “We’ll take you guys to eat something fun!”
His target was a small restaurant in the village. As they approached, Li Du realized that there were indeed many mirrors outside the restaurant. They had been placed so that they formed two mirrored walls.
One of those walls was tall and the other was short. The tall one was about three meters and was formed by placing many small mirrors together. The shorter wall was less than two meters tall and it, too, was made from a mosaic of little mirrors.
Each small mirror was about the size of a hundred square centimeters. They had a curvature, and when they were put together, they formed a curved wall.
The tall mirror wall was facing the sun and the shorter one was facing the wall other. There were metal shelves on the walls and rows of grilled chicken, lamb and beef hung from them. From time to time, people came over to flip the metal shelves to the shorter wall.
Li Du tried to make sense of what he saw. The reflection was blinding, the sun shone on the tall wall, and because the mirrors were curved, they could focus the light. It worked like a magnifying glass in gathering the rays of the sun.
The temperature achieved that way must have been very high. One could tell by looking at the oil seeping from the beef and lamb. The grilled chicken had a uniform yellowish-red hue, unlike fire-grilled chicken that was often unevenly cooked.
Seeing the method of grilling, Li Du smiled. He said, “Hey, this is pretty interesting.”
“Desert Mirror Wall Grilling, this is the unique side of Tucson city,” Lu Guan said proudly.
Olly asked in shock, “Why have I not heard of this before? I didn’t know that there’s such a thing.”
Lu Guan said, “It took me some effort to find it on the internet. This kind of grilling makes very delicious food. Everyone who’s been here had lots of praise for this place.”
The restaurant served only home-roasted beef and grilled meats. Just like in the food streets back in Li Du’s hometown, there were shady awnings set up outside the restaurant. Everyone gathered around eating and drinking.
It was not dinnertime yet, but there were already plenty of guests eating in the shade.
Lu Guan said, “This place is only open when the sun is hot, from eleven o’clock in the morning to seven-thirty in the evening. It relies on the sun for grilling. How about it, haven’t you seen one in other places?”
Dickens smiled, “This can only work in the desert of Tucson. If it were in Flagstaff, it would definitely go bust!”
More than half of the time, it would be gloomy or raining in Flagstaff. The temperature in Flagstaff was lower than in other cities in Arizona. It was one reason why Flagstaff was a popular city to live in.
Li Du and his group were considered important clients, so the owner cleared out half of the shady area for them. The bunch of them chatted happily as they settled in.
When Li Du walked into the shade sitting area, someone waved at him and smiled. “Hi, Mr. Li, this is such a coincidence.”
Li Du took a look and felt, too, that it was an unusual meeting. Unexpectedly, he had bumped into Bravo Tompsey. He was the chief of the Audubon Society, the man who had purchased his copy of Birds of America.
The two of them exchanged a warm handshake and Li Du asked, “Weren’t you guys in Los Angeles? Are you on a business trip in Tucson?”
Bravo said, “That’s right. We are here to attend a meeting hosted by the West Coast Animal and Bird Protection Association. We dropped by here to have dinner. The food here is very environmentally friendly.”
Indeed, it was environmentally friendly. The grilling did not contribute to any pollution and made use of the sunlight. It was a hundred-percent natural, low-energy cooking method.
Back when Li Du was in primary school, solar energy stoves had been all the rage in his hometown. The government had been in charge of promoting those stoves. However, the solar energy fad eventually died down. He had heard that quite a number of people had burnt themselves trying to use those stoves for cooking.
After a quick chat with Bravo, Li Du returned to the treasure hunters group.
Someone passed him a large glass of beer. The treasure hunters did not react as they had with Princeps. Instead, they raised their glasses enthusiastically and said, “Drink, drink, Big Li, let’s drink together!”
That place was warm, even though it was five o’clock in the afternoon. The sun was still warming the earth like a huge fireball. Even though they were at the desert border, the temperature remained very high.
Li Du raised his head and took big gulps of the beer. The cooling sensation was very pleasant.
Then, all sorts of grilled meats appeared on the table. There were beef, lamb, chicken, and turkey, as well as burgers, sandwiches and the sorts.
There was an advantage to grilling the meat on the mirror walls. As the temperature from the sun was consistent, the meat was cooked very evenly. None of it would be charred or raw.
Additionally, compared to grilling over charcoal, the meat grilled in this way retained its natural aroma. There was no lingering smell or taste of charcoal. They were able to taste the pure flavors of the meat.
Li Du lifted the grilled chicken and tore off the thigh. He pushed the rest towards Godzilla, who took off his top and started to enjoy his meal. He held the grilled chicken in one hand and a huge glass of beer in the other.
“Big Li, any information about this auction?” Someone asked.
Li Du blinked and said, “As you guys know, I earn money by attending auctions like everyone else. Not from any secret information.”
Turis smiled sneakily. “We are the ones who need to rely on information channels. F*ck, there’s a Tiger Tank warehouse this time round. Wonder if we will be able to land it. That would be difficult to hide, right?”
“You’d better hope that it is well-hidden. Otherwise, everyone can see it. If so, there’s nothing much you can gain by bidding for it.”
Li Du, who was savoring the grilled meat, heard that and froze. He said, “Everyone knows about the Tiger Tank?”
“Yes,” Dickens said. “That information must have been spread by the warehouse company, to purposely increase the value of its warehouses.”
Li Du gave Lu Guan a murderous look. Lu Guan could only say sheepishly, trying to get into Li Du’s good books, “Boss, isn’t the grilled meat delicious? It took me a lot of effort to find this place!”