As football season wears on, it gets harder every Saturday to drag myself out of bed, fire up the grill, and have food ready to go at game time. That’s why I like to order take-out food after the shine wears of the football season and the weather and early kickoffs begin to take their toll. Also, six weeks into the season, one gets tired of the traditional game day fare; choking down brats and burgers becomes a chore instead of a pleasure. So halfway through the season, it’s time to call an audible and make a substitution to your game-day menu with Chinese food.
That sounds like sacrilege to some, but it makes a lot of sense for football fans to eat Chinese food on game day, especially games early in the day. Chinese food features flavors that are bold, meals that are filling but light, and by the time the game is over, chances are you’ll be hungry again so you can take your long-suffering wife out for a nice dinner.
For football fans in Lincoln, Nebraska, there isn’t any better place to get Chinese food than the Highlands Great Wall restaurant, tucked away in the northwest side of town.
Owner Tony Li has been cooking his wonderful modern Chinese fare in Lincoln for 13 years, and his impeccably clean restaurant runs with masterful efficiency. Open from 10 AM until 9 PM on Saturdays and Sundays, the Highlands Great Wall will have freshly made Chinese food ready before any kickoff. One simply has to visit their website, peruse the menu, call and order the reasonably priced meals ($5.75 lunch specials until 3 p.m., and dinner options ranging from $6-$9), which are always ready in about 10 minutes.
Of course, only one thing matters when choosing which restaurant to order food from: How does it taste? I can’t speak for every item on the menu, but I can tell you for certain that the orange chicken (my personal favorite) is absolutely delicious. Like most entrees at the Highlands Great Wall, the orange chicken is served with a generous helping of the entree, and an even more generous helping of fried rice and an egg roll. The tangy, sweet, and mildly spicy sauce works magic with the crispy pieces of chicken and crisp vegetables. The fried rice is nothing special, but with its fresh vegetables, it’s better than the rice with a dash of soy sauce that many Chinese restaurants offer.
The egg roll is what sets the meal apart for me. I hate egg rolls. At most Chinese restaurants, I don’t bother even tasting them. At the Highlands Great Wall, however, the egg rolls are fantastic. Savory, crispy, and fresh-tasting, I finish my meal by dipping the egg roll in the leftover sauce from my orange chicken. Wash it down with a soft drink or tea, and that makes a meal.
And then I’m ready to watch the Huskers take the field; it’s just too perfect. Meals come in handy, tossable styrofoam takeout cartons, so clean-up can be taken care of during a commercial break, and even though I’m full, I know that I’ll still be able to eat again if I want to take part in post-game festivities.
The only downside to the Highlands Great Wall is its location on NW First Street in the Highlands. It’s very convenient for me, as I live just down the road, but for most of the city, driving down Interstate 180 is not feasible when the Huskers play at home. If you’re not willing to make the trip on game day, do yourself a favor and get over there during the week (HGW is closed on Mondays); you’ll be glad you did, and I bet you’ll be willing to head over the next Saturday.