Just as we did the previous year, the Missus and I decided to have Christmas Eve dumplings in the SGV. In an attempt to show some restraint, the Missus picked one restaurant, and I another for Jiaozi. We'd then do some take-out for our Christmas day meal. This year the Missus selected Lucious Dumplings in San Gabriel.
The Missus ordered the Pork and Celery Dumplings that we had enjoyed so much on our previous visit. This time around they were disappointing, the wrappers weren't made quite as well, a bit too tough, and though the texture of the filling was spot on, it was devoid of celery flavor.
Having been told that the Guotie here is really good, I decided to go with the pork version.
And though they really didn't look like the style of Guotie I'm used to, but I liked the color. Picking up the guotie gave me pause...... first the potstickers were strangely stuck together. Pulling them apart yielded thin strands..... When I took a bite I realized that the strand were sugar based as these were rather sweet. I'm guessing that instead of the water-cornstarch slurry used to create a crust attaching the guotie together, this one had something akin to simple syrup.
The filling for these were well flavored, and for me the sweetness detracted from our enjoyment of these.
The Missus was kinda bummed since we enjoyed our previous visit so much. Hopefully we'll have better luck next time.
Luscious Dumplings Inc
704 W. Las Tunas Dr.
San Gabriel, CA 91776
My choice was an easy one........
Qing Dao Bread Food:
The wrappers were dead on perfect for me, soft with a bit of al dente "stretch" . These had a bit less "soup" than what we're used to here. The Missus also thought the filling was on the tough side this time. I thought they were fine.
The Missus, unsatisfied with what we had at Luscious Dumplings, decided to order the Vegetable Jiaozi. I had my doubts since this type of Jiaozi tends towards blandness...... I was wrong.
I managed to try two of these, and the flavor was quite good...... too good. The Missus and I agreed that veggie dumplings would never taste this good without a little "flavor enhancement" if you know what I mean. Whether or not our suspicions are justified or not, this was enjoyable.
Our next stop was.....
For my Christmas Yang Rou Suan Cai Guo, which of course I got last year as well.
534 East Valley Blvd. #8
San Gabriel, CA 91776
At this point the realization (with the Missus's help of course) that I was becoming pretty predictable, and that we needed to change things up a bit.....
So we drove East on the 60 freeway, past the rain scrubbed sky, with a wonderful view of the San Gabriel Mountains on the background......
To our old neighborhood of Rowland Heights. This stop was:
A Sichuan Restaurant across from Hong Kong Plaza that I first read about on Pam's Blog.
I had planned out what we were going to order until...... I saw an older woman sitting on the table near the door going to town on what looked like Tea Smoked Duck. She was gnawing and sucking away on the bones like this was her last meal before the electric chair. So we just had to order the Tea Smoke Duck. We paid, and took a short walk around the shops.... when we returned, the woman was still sucking away.....perhaps at the same bone? While it seemed kinda gross at first, her enthusiasm for that bone started making me hungry!
I've grown used to duck in Sichuan and Hunan restaurants being a bit on the bony side. In those cuisines flavor is king. This was the most meaty Tea Smoke Duck I can remember ever having. That entire container is just half a duck. The duck was moist, and while I think the smokiness and tea flavor was on the muted side, it was pretty good overall.
We also got a few cold dishes:
Still, we'll be returning in the future to try some of the other stuff here.
18459 Colima Road
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
So we had the beginnings of a pretty good meal for Christmas going.... but there was something missing. As you can probably tell, I'm not real big on sweets. There is however, a snack dish I just love. Right across the street in Hong Kong Plaza was a restaurant called Manie's which is long gone. It has been replaced with another Sichuan Restaurant called:
And while the name has changed, much of the menu (other than the seemingly hundreds of "new dishes") looked the same.
There was one item that we decided to order.... we just had to see if they prepared the same way. Liang Ci Ba (Sticky Rice Cake - $4.95).
This is basically six large globs of sticky rice cake, topped with a peanut-sesame paste.... and it was... and still is delicious. Not too sweet, but just right for my tastes, this stuff literally sticks to your ribs as it is quite "heavy". This was dessert for the Missus and I for three meals.
While we waited for our Liang Ci Ba, we watched the turtle occupying a tank at the front of the restaurant.
While the little guy was munching on a slice of cucumber, I turned to the Missus, and we both ended up blurting out, "I wonder when he'll be on the menu" at the same time! What is it that they say about couples who have been married a while thinking alike???
After grabbing some jerky, and with Liang Ci Ba in hand we headed home.... ready for a nice Christmas meal.