Follow the Cheap Bastard as she scours the city, looking for a good -- or at least non-lethal -- lunch for less than 10 bucks.
Dollars you pay for a parking meter right out front on a weekday in Deep Ellum: 0
People freaking out as they realize the patio is closed, and they suddenly "Can't even." count: 4
There was a time before this moment when you thought you were happy. You have a relatively clean sedan, your cubicle décor receives nods of approval from all of your coworkers and people regularly tell you, "You clean up nice." You thought things were great.
And then someone asked, "Have you tried the soup dumplings at Monkey King?" And you said, "Nope." That's when everything came to a record-scratch halt.
Somewhere, your mom felt a pang of sadness and didn't know why.
Every fifth-grader pointed at you and laughed.
Birds stopped mid-air-flying-shitting just to shake their bird heads at you in judgment. (That's a big deal. Mid-air-flying-shitting is the coolest part of being a bird. The power of flight alone is pretty amazing, but the ability to shit while you do it is next-level. It's basically the difference between life before and after Monkey King soup dumplings.)
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You go to Monkey King (3014 Main St.) and you order the soup dumplings ($8). While you wait, you realize Monkey King's roof-top patio is closed and there's nowhere to sit and enjoy your meal. But you're smart. You won't flip out like the DryBarBlowout Girl in front of you in line going, "WHAT DO WE DO NOW? WHERE AM I SUPPOSED TO EAT THIS?"
Unlike DryBarGirl, you know curbs count as Places You Can Eat Stuff. And you have a car you could butt-lean against. Just don't leave with this food. You must eat it immediately to get the full, sweet, sweet mind-blow.
Your soup dumplings are hand-rolled and contain an explosion of chicken-seafoody broth and pork. The broth inside wonders if you will make the rookie mistake of biting into the dumpling too hard and splattering broth all over yourself. You carefully bite into one and know immediately that there is no such thing as Monkey King Soup Dumpling Hype. It soothes you in ways you never knew you needed soothing. Including, but not limited to: the Lingering Mom Hug way, the Cold Beer Thrown to You by a Friend way, the Just Saw a Douchebag Trip on the Sidewalk way, the Warm Sunshine on Your Face way and the Welcomed Boob Grab way.
Birds nod at you with approval. Fifth-graders high-five each other. Your mom feels better. Congrats. You are alive.