Imagine, if you can, a time before the Internet. No google, no email, no social media, no likes or hashtags. It was a time when people argued for hours over important information – such as who won the first ever World Cup (there were two simultaneous matches on July 13, 1930 – France defeated Mexico 4-1 and the United States beat Belgium 3-0) because no one could ask Siri or Google to answer these pressing questions. Cell phones were actually invented in 1973 but given their bulky size and cost ($10,000 by today’s standards) very few people owned them. When one dined at Yanyu, no one was texting or making phone calls from their table.
Vanessa Lim, owner of Spices Asian Restaurant, grew up without a television in her home for most of her life. She was fifteen years old when the family purchased their first TV but by this time, Vanessa was immersed in her studies and sports with little time to indulge in watching TV. The only famous musician she knew well was Teng Li-Chun, more commonly known as Teresa Teng, a Taiwanese singer and cultural icon throughout much of Asia. Vanessa was vaguely aware of American pop culture and had heard of MIchael Jackson, but that was mostly the extent of her knowledge. She moved to the United States in the 1990s and with her sister Doris Lim and friend Jessie Yan, opened Yanyu in Cleveland Park, on top of where 7-Eleven currently exists. All of the women worked tirelessly, providing high quality fine Chinese dining. Guests would travel from all over the area to enjoy the duck and dumplings, pronounced by food critics to be the best in the city.
One evening in the early 2000s, Vanessa was exhausted from another very long day at work. She had just arrived at her home in Bethesda when the manager of Yanyu called to ask if they could stay open later that evening. Mick Jagger’s private plane had landed at Dulles and wanted to dine at Cleveland Park at Yanyu. Vanessa had no problems letting Yanyu stay open later as long as she did not have to go back. Her manager tried desperately to persuade her to return to meet a Legend, but Vanessa was practically sleepwalking at this point, desperate for her bed. While the staff waited for Jagger’s arrival, those fortunate enough to live nearby ran home to retrieve guitars, Rolling Stones CDs and anything else of value to be signed. Jagger seemed to enjoy his evening at Yanyu, it was reported that he dined on two Peking Duck and autographed the guitars and CDs. His only request was that no photos were taken. When Vanessa came to Yanyu the next day, her staff excitedly showed off their autographed belongings. It was then, looking at a priceless CD that she realized, she had actually heard of the Rolling Stones.
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