We had really enjoyed our time visiting Petaluma and hitting the Cheese Trail, which was a great time. But, all things must come to an end, and it was time head back to SFO. But not before the really friendly cat came by to bid us farewell.
I'd planned a single stop on the way to the airport and we decided to getting Dim Sum at Zen Peninsula which had been recommended to us. A big plus was it was basically on the way to the airport. The small parking lot is quite odd here, since the dining room is one of those cavernous dim sum places.
We were hungry and ended up ordering way too much food....well, it didn't seem to be a lot when we ordered, but the portion sizes seemed quite large.
We were also quite surprised at how slowly this place filled up....a slow trickle of people. The place wasn't even full when we left at 1145. Anyway, on to the food.
The Missus enjoyed the Chicken Feet.
This was decently flavored, good soy, fermented black bean, but nothing special. Still, it was toe-sucking goodness to the Missus.
The Gailan was under-cooked; very crunchy, lacking in flavor.
The flavor of the Pork Neck was nice; sweet and savory.
But the Missus didn't care for the almost crunchy texture of it.
The portion size of the Soy Sauce Noodles was quite large.
This was ok if a bit too salty.
The Missus saw Turnip Cake with XO Sauce and automatically thought it would be like Sea Harbour.
No such luck Chuck. The flavor was on the milder side and the radish cake a bit too mushy for our taste. Still, not bad. One funny thing; we didn't want to waste food so ended up taking this on our flight.......nothing like the smell of XO sauce on Virgin America!
I saw the Mustard Steamed Pork Intestine and decided I needed to try it. It was very fragrant, and the "sauce" tasted good, though I wasn't a big fan of all the scum.
And while there were some bits that looked like part of the Piggy's last meal floating around; the pungency of the dish masked all of that. This also added to the pungency of our carry-on....I really felt bad. In fact, I made sure not to buy any washed rind cheeses so as to not bother other passengers.....and here I was bringing pork intestine along for the flight. Luckily, no one sat around us and the flight was relatively empty. I didn't see anyone sniffing around wondering "what the heck is that smell"......
One last item I wanted to try was the Duck Liver Sausage Bun. Think ducky lapcheong.
While I felt the steamed bun could have been a bit lighter....it seemed to be getting gummy pretty quickly; I liked the flavor. The Missus's Shandong roots betrayed Her as She declared this way too sweet.
In spite of what you might think upon reading to this point; this was a decent dim sum meal; nothing spectacular, but still better, and cheaper than San Diego. Of course the Missus wanted to head to the SGV as soon as we got home.
Zen Peninsula 1180 El Camino Real Millbrae, CA 94030
We finished lunch a bit earlier than expected, so I decided to head over to Burlingame. I'd heard that one of the Tea Shops also made tea infused chocolates. After finding a parking spot, which was a lot more difficult than I anticipated, then wandering around a bit....the shop isn't the easiest place to find....we got to Rue Du Thé , which I believe is also named Leland Tea Company.
Really friendly folks. And while not on the same level....according to the Missus as Wine Country Chocolates, She did enjoy what She selected. Especially the chili infused chocolates.
Rue Du Thé 1223 Donnelly Ave Burlingame, CA 94010
We really enjoyed our short trip to the Bay Area. In fact, the Missus is already planning a return....for more cheese!
Thank you for once again stopping to check out mmm-yoso!!!, a food blog. Kirk is still away on travel. Ed (from Yuma) is living the life of a retiree (in Yuma). Cathy is writing in a seemingly random way about restaurants and food other than what you'll be reading about in a week or less.
I sort of plan what to post while Kirk and His Missus away, each time deliberately avoiding certain ethnic restaurants, knowing He will be posting about his more authentic meals and knowing what we have in San Diego will never be as great as 'being there'. So, even though I really like and have been going to (after craving because of receiving text photos from Kirk daily) ramen and sushi joints around town, no posts of those places will be done by me, at least not for a while. Instead, today's post is a compilation of many visits to a place Kirk has postedabout quite a few times and I only posted about once.Yum Cha, a chain of six California restaurants, is convenient, inexpensive (most items are $2.09-$2.69) and open from 8-8 daily. (Kirbie also wrote a few posts about Yum Cha Cafe).This is the Dim Sum style where you walk up, order and pay before finding a seat and carry your order to the table yourself, not the all fancyDim Sumwith tablecloths and carts wheeled between tables.The BBQ area sells items by the pound (or by the half or whole bird), the steam baskets and displayed items are sold by the each, and refilled promptly. We tend to order from the 'fuller' (and therefore fresher) looking trays, usually finding something new each visit.
**Note** there are two large industrial electric urns near the front door. If you ask for tea, you will be charged 25¢ for a cup and can fill it with either hot water or tea to enjoy with your meal.
Without fanfare, here are photos of some recent meals.
You place an order for soup or porridge when paying and when it is ready it will be called out. I have recently been ordering fish porridge (congee with fish filet) here ($4.35) and have cravings for it, but sometimes the dumpling soups are what I want. It's all tasty, not fancy, fresh food.
I hope you are having a great weekend!
Yum Cha Cafe 6933 Linda Vista Road San Diego 92111 (858) 268-9988 website
A few weeks back we finally had some time to return to the SGV....we hadn't been back since we got back from our trip. I gave the Missus a list of places and She decided to forgo those choices and just return to Sea Harbour for dim sum. I've posted on the place a couple of times already, so I decided to do one of my C(learing) O(ut the) M(emory) C(ard) posts.
So it'll be mostly photos from here on...other than commenting on that "interesting" menu item to the right. I felt if I ordered this, it would try to hump my leg.....or something like that.
Still our favorite dim sum in LA.
Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant 3939 Rosemead Blvd Rosemead, CA 91770
Strange what you notice when waiting for take-out. Here's the sign right next to the front door of Shufeng Garden. I thought it was a kind of odd location....unless of course, this is a common occurence here.
I hope everyone has a great weekend! No choking allowed!
In 1996 I had a meal that changed my view of dim sum. I had grown up eating the typical, run of the mill stuff back home in Honolulu, siu mai, char siu bao, blah, blah, blah.....I was in San Francisco, had a car, and decided to visit this new (at that time) Chinese Restaurant that was supposed to be "possibly" the best in the country. Hyperbole? Perhaps. But I'll say this much, that visit to Koi Palace changed the way I looked at dim sum, in terms of quality, flavor, and how things were put together. I'd longed to return. In fact, I once mentioned Koi Palace to a supposed "foodie", who looked at me, laughed, and said, you're "the only person I know who wants to go to Daly City and eat"....such was the depth and breath of much of San Diego when I arrived here in 2001. Gladly, much has changed since then.....and so have I. So when we made plans for this little road trip, I really wanted to see Koi Palace circa 2013. I also wanted to share that experience with the Missus.
We arrived just before opening. Folks were already milling around just inside the door. When they started seating, all the "Popo's" pushed to the front of the crowd....it was chaos; though controlled chaos, as the host had kept track of who was in line and ignored the folks who cut in front of the line.
17, almost 18 years, is a lot of water under the bridge, and I have to say the place really shows its age; dark, somewhat dank, scuffed tables...well, I felt right at home. The Missus on the other hand, "the best dim sum in the states, huh?"
We started things off with the Steamed Shrimp Dumpling with XO Sauce:
In many ways this was just perfect; the shrimp plump, full of flavor, steamed to perfection, the XO sauce added that wonderful, deep savory flavor....the much over-used "umami". My biggest problem with this were the wrappers, too thick, too sticky, and falling to pieces when you picked it up with chopsticks....the juices leaked onto the table....of course, this is Koi Palace, so they just placed the next dish right on the oil slick.
I have a rule, "never order Xiao Long Bao at a Cantonese Dim Sum chop", but I broke that rule after seeing Crab Roe Xiao Long Bao on the menu. And I'm glad I did.
This was very good. The dough was just chewy enough, the filling had a wonderful balance of sweetness, which wasn'y cloying, along with pork tones. There was enough "soup" to keep me happy. And yes, you definitely could taste the crab in this. I'm glad we ordered it.
We also ordered the Seafood Pan Fried Noodles, which was good, but not great.
The cooking technique of the seafood was excellent....down to the the oft mishandled squid which was very tender. The sauce/gravy was really bland and there was too little of it and some parts of the noodles were hard instead of crisp.
The Turnip Cakes were average.
The texture was too gummy, like too much flour was used. Not much flavor; I think we make better at home, though that XO sauce that came with it was killer......
The other dish that was "killer", though not in a good way was the Cheong Fun with Fried Fish Filet. It sounded like a good idea, but was a mistake in retrospect.
I've noticed this fad recently, especially at Sichuan Restaurants where fish filets are being coated with a sweet flour, that reminds me of artificially sweet cake mix. It's not a pleasant flavor to us and this was no exception. I'm not sure if anyone else has noticed that. The sauce(balanced salty and sweet) and the rice flour roll(thin and of perfect texture) were excellent, but that fish and the batter was just not our thing.
Things ended on a high note though, as you can see.
This wonderful example of porky beauty is the Koi Palace Suckling Pig. It ain't cheap at $18, but I'd pay that much just for the skin, which was just spot on, perfect in texture....light, crisp, swiney deliciousness. The meat itself was on the chewy side, but the pork flavor was just so good. I hadn't eaten swine so good since we got back from Pork-u-all, ummm Portugal. This is the real deal.....
I think the place needs to be freshened up a bit, that carpet looks like it hasn't been cleaned since 1996. Perhaps more effort goes into their other location(s).The service was pretty good, efficient, non-intrusive......
As to what the Missus thought about Koi Palace, "I expected more, I think Sea Harbour in Rosemead is better...." I read some time ago that Jonathan Gold was of the opinion that Koi Palace was the best "Hong Kong style restaurant in the US".....or something like that. Personally, I'm not so sure.....but that suckling pig was really good....
But in response to the person who made that remark about Daly City all those years ago, "yes, Daly City is a great spot to find good eats; just ask the hundreds of thousands who've been to Koi Palace."
This year we decided to dust off an old tradition, one we'd put away into the closet over 5-6 years back and grab some dim sum on Thanksgiving day. Over the years we've become less satisfied with the inconsistent and plain low quality of the dim sum in San Diego. Instead, we opted to drive to our favorite place for dim sum Sea Harbour. We made really great time on our trip to the SGV, having time to grab some roast duck for dinner (a later post) before arriving at the doors to the restaurant about 10 minutes before opening. Sea Harbour is one of those places with an eternal line during weekends and holidays, you either get there early, or try to time the first major turnover of tables.
On this day, the line dictated a major seating effort and the place was at full capacity ten minutes past ten.
Service was bit confused at first and while not exactly the most friendly, much better than Shanghai No. 1, where the asking of the most simplest question (like, "could I have a menu?), would cause them to give us a pained look like Dr Szell had been working on them for a couple of hours, "Oh, don't worry. I'm not going into that cavity. That nerve's already dying. A live, freshly-cut nerve is infinitely more sensitive. So I'll just drill into a healthy tooth until I reach the pulp." You almost thought they were trained here. 'Nuff said......
For some reason the Missus wanted some Gailan.....
They obviously brush some oil on it to give this poached vegetable some sheen. As gailan goes, this was fine, but I thought the oyster sauce was very good.
We usually go fairly light and at Sea Harbour go primarily with seafood. The hargow was good, nicely pleated, the wrappers not too think nor too sticky.
The shrimp were plump and cooked well...my only complaint were that these were perhaps too big, you couldn't eat them in a single bite. Which I guess is not much of a complaint at all.
I loved the Shrimp, dried scallops, and Chinese celery dumplings on our previous visits. These did not disappoint.
Nice wrappers, not too sticky, the savory flavor of the shrimp and dried scallops, with a nice textural counterpoint and the palate cleansing flavor of the Chinese celery. Still a favorite.
We always try something new when we visit Sea Harbour. On this visit it was the Radish Cake with XO Sauce. We usually avoid ordering these because we make it at home, but the allure of the XO sauce could not be avoided. This dish totally changed our opinion of Radish/Turnip Cake.
There were huge pieces of daikon in these, not shreds, that literally melted in your mouth! The texture was excellent. The XO sauce wasn't artificially salty and just added a touch of spice, with a nice savory touch. But those tender chunks of radish cake....I'm sure we'll be having those again.
The clunker of the day....and there always seems to be one, was the vegetarian Black Fungus and Celery Dumpling.
Nice textures, but pretty bland.
I was looking forward to trying the Egg Tofu in Abalone Sauce.
Loved the texture of the egg tofu, the sauce was pretty mild though.
At this point, we were satisfied but waiting on one item. We asked one of the gentlemen about it and he efficiently went to check the kitchen and told us "exact, three minutes"...and about three and a half minutes later our Pan Grilled Spinach Pork Bun. The Missus thinks this is too sweet, but I usually love the flavors. Today, I was less then satisfied with the dough which had the texture of dough where steam had escaped leaving it on the harder, waterlogged side.
I still enjoyed the filling, so I'll just have to wait until our next visit to see......
Overall, our tab came to about $35. Which may be expensive if you dim sum in LA, but not so much if you've had it in San Diego recently. Plus, there's nothing here that comes remotely close to this in quality, prep, and flavor.
Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant 3939 Rosemead Blvd Rosemead, CA 91770
We made two more stops before heading home; first to Tianjin Bistro for some "day after" suan cai yang rou, then the market for some supplies. We had smooth sailing until the 5/405 merge...after that it was pure murder until we hit Carlsbad, where traffic suddenly dissapated.....very strange!
Anyway, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year!
After our quick meal at Happiness Restaurant, the Missus calculated that we could still make it to San Gabriel and check out Shanghai No.1 Seafood Village before it got too crowded. Shanghai No.1 had been creating some buzz around the SGV, though I think it's more for the amount spent on decor (I've heard over a million) then the food. The restaurant is located in the same strip mall as Beijing Restaurant and where Green Village was before it shut down. The restaurant really doesn't look like much from the outside.
But the interior is something to behold, looking like an old Shanghai nightclub/restaurant.
We were here during lunch, but the dinner menu is also available. We asked to look at the dinner menu....and got what was to be the typical service here....lousy, abrupt, and perfunctory at best.
The menu really looked like those we saw in China, an over-sized volume of glossy photos, with each dish described in detail. I had read several accounts saying that the dim sum was expensive, but of course those folks hadn't eaten dim sum in San Diego recently. Here the small is $1.98, medium $2.98, large $3.98, and "specials" $4.98.
Since we had already eaten, our ordering habits had to follow a strategy we have when eating multiple meals in the SGV.....folks always look at me strangely when I tell them we actually have a strategy for eating, like I'm crazy or something. Only folks like my good friends and fellow bloggers like Kirbie and "CC" understand that I'm not totally insane.....partially perhaps, but not around the bend.
We started with the Lily and Corn Porridge ($4.98):
I took one sip of this and went...whoa....the base of the porridge was dried scallop, which just brought it up several notches. Also, notice the smoothness...it basically looks like milled broken rice! Most places serve you rice porridge that looks like rice and water....heck, that's what mine looks like even though there's abalone in it! This was the best I've had in a while, not too starchy or gummy, smooth, nice savory flavor that enhanced, but didn't overwhelm the added ingredients....quite nice.
Next up was the Abalone sticky rice in Lotus Leaf ($3.98):
Loved the way this was executed, the rice wasn't over-cooked and mushy. The rice had absorbed the maximum amount of smoky flavor from the lotus leaf. There was a slice of abalone, but it was pretty rubbery and instead of a whole egg yolk, there was a smear of yellow. Overall, this was good, but a bit on the rich side.
Next up was the Shanghai Vegetable Bun ($1.98). Now I enjoy the version at Chin's, but this was in another league.
These weren't very big, but the flavors were. The version at Chin's tends to be too bready and sweet. This one had a mild yeastiness and the filling had that balanced salty-bitter-sweet flavor I enjoy.
So far so good.....but from here our meal kinda took a turn in the wrong direction. If you've read our little blog long enough, you know that we just couldn't have a Hu Cai (滬菜) meal without trying the Xun Yu. Here's it's called Old Shanghai Smoked Fish and this one is priced fairly high at $12.99. Supposedly this is not made in the traditional way, but cooked to order, which, if you've ever made this - marinated-deep fried-marinated, seems a bit odd. The dish, which was on the small side was presented well.
The Missus took a bite and told me I wouldn't be able to eat it. But of course I had to try.....man, this was some of the muddiest fish I've had in a while. It tasted like I stuck a handful of dirt in my mouth. The textures were interesting, the exterior light and crisp, the interior almost like silken tofu, which I found odd considering this is fish. I just couldn't bring myself to eat another bite.
The Xiao Long Bao was also terrible ($4.98) - if anything was over-priced on the dim sum menu it was this.
First the folds were hard and gummy, not made well. The flavor of the soup was on the mild side and the filling was hard....much too hard for Xiao Long Bao. This would probably do in San Diego, but not in a Shanghai style restaurant in the SGV.
The one item I really wanted to try were the Shenjian Bao ($2.98):
Not to incur the wrath of my friend YZ from Shanghai, who will automatically tell me how wrong it is for SJB to have folds on the top. This was fluffy, the dough on the sweet side, but had a nice amount of salty-sweet "soup".....much too sweet for the Missus, but I liked it. The meat wasn't anything special and this was fairly good overall....it looked better than it was.
The service really didn't live up to the standard of the design and decor.....this was basically lipstick on a pig. When we asked for boxes they were basically thrown at us...the whole objective seemed to be around turning over tables....I guess someone has to pay for the furniture, right?
I thought the execution of the dishes were better than the actual flavors, the SJB is a good case in point. The Missus and I had an interesting conversation about the food on the drive back home. The Missus came to the conclusion that I'm pretty unbiased when it comes to Chinese regional cuisine....I wasn't raised on the stuff, but became immersed during our years in the SGV, so I was basically a blank slate. She was raised on a combination of Lu Cai - Shandong cuisine, of the Jiaodong style and spicy Hunan/Sichuan cuisine. So the flavors of "South of the Yangtze" really don't appeal to Her.....interesting theory.
As for the dim sum at Shanghai No.1...well let's just say it won't make me forget about Sea Harbour or Elite.
Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Restaurant 250 West Valley Blvd Suite M San Gabriel, CA 91776
A couple of weeks back, before things started getting really crazy at work, I managed to meet the Missus for lunch. If we manage to meet, the usual place would be Izakaya Sakura, but on this day, I was craving pan fried noodles and the Missus was craving something....well kinda weird in my opinion...just read further.
To me, China Max does the best pan fried noodles in the area....it has gotten pretty pricey though. The seafood pan fried noodles are now $16.95 and that's the lunch special price! Yikes!!! However, in this case we get the best of all worlds.....
The Missus gets the shrimp, fish, etc.....I get all the seafood She doesn't want and all the noodles I can deal with. Love this dish as the slow metamorphosis begins...starting at the crisp edges and the portion under the "gravy" which slowly becomes a "wet" noodle dish. Love the contrasts of textures, the flavor of the sauce isn't too salty, nor does it overwhelm anything....though I will say the quality of the fish has sometimes wavered.
The Missus had a weird craving for Shrimp with Lobster Sauce....which I just don't care for....
I think of it as shrimp cooked in pasty egg drop gravy....the Missus on the other hand has a strange affection for this.
I guess we needed some greens so the Missus ordered Gailan....nicely done, but we usually don't order vegetables when eating out unless it's something special....I can usually pull all of this off at home.
I've been a bit down on Dim Sum in San Diego.....for the last, say......four or five years. The lack of consistency, which to me, often appears to be a lack of effort, has kind of gotten old. But I always want to have my mind changed and over the last couple of years, I think China Max has done the best with regards to dim sum in the area. So why not try a couple of items since were here....
The Pan Fried Shrimp and Chive Dumplings looked good.....
But was barely lukewarm inside...it didn't look it, but was also on the greasy side. These dumplings always have a bit oiliness to them, but when not right, they edge to greasiness.
On the other hand, the wrappers to the Shrimp and Spinach Dumplings were dry and brittle.
The shrimp had good flavor, accented by the greens, but this is a dumpling and the filling is just half the story.
I'm wondering if and when dim sum in San Diego will catch up with what's going on twenty-firstcentury. I guess as long as mediocrity can buy the children of these restaurant owner's Mercedes Benz's things will stay the same. I do enjoy traditional dim sum when it's done right....but it has been a long time since I have had dim sum where I thought that 2 out of every 3 dishes were ok. 1 of 3 might be ok in baseball, but not in dim sum.....
China Max 4698 Convoy Street #C101 San Diego, CA 92111
Welcome back to the food blog called mmm-yoso!!! Kirk is -yes- still on vacation. I know he is eating well and will have some great posts when He and His Missus get back. ed (from Yuma)is -yes- working a lot right now. Cathy is -yes- blogging again about a meal.
Kirk has posted many times about Yum Cha Cafe. Part of a chain based in Los Angeles, Yum Cha Cafe serves small, individual portions of sweet and savory snacks, soups and BBQ meats. It is not 'traditional' Dim Sum in that you point and pay and get all the items on a tray to carry to a table. It also is not expensive.
Some trays of hot foods-which are served up as a portion of either $1.39 or $1,79. Steam baskets of Dim Sum. BBQ duck, chicken and pig. These are sold either by the pound or by the half or the whole. Pay and find a seat. Hot tea is in a pot next to the door. Three "B" choices. Each is $1.79. The fried chicken wings (7 pieces) have been fried, but are not crispy, from sitting on the steam tray too long. Still the flavor is good. The vegetable seafood dumplings (3) are pan fried and filled with crispy vegetables, shrimp and fake crab. The roll is mainly tofu, with a green leafy vegetable...here's a cross section view: The outside of the roll is a bit crispy tofu and the rolled up insides are a good texture; not mushy. I like the flavor of this vegetarian savory item...
Below is pictured fish porridge ($3.99), dumpling soup ($1.99) . We almost always order the fish porridge. It is filled with a good amount of a fresh, firm white fish and is a meal in itself.
A close up cross section of one of the ten dumplings served in the broth which tasted very much like fish sauce on this visit. But, for $1.99, ten meaty dumplings and some Chinese broccoli is a nice meal. There are also some dumpling with noodle soups for $2.99. I have ordered that also and the broth was not as 'fish sauce' tasting.
If you are eating in, you'll get your items in the steam baskets it was cooked in. The shrimp shu mai, 4 pieces, are also $1.79. Below, shrimp stuffed eggplant (3 pieces, also $1.79) are a nice way to get a vegetable and protein-and it can be a meal...I do like these.
There are items for $1.39, mostly desserts and non-tofu vegetarian. Apparently we didn't have any of those on this visit.
Here is a braised "Hainan Style" chicken, roast duck and char siu pork on rice with preserved vegetables underneath with to-go packets of Sriracha sauce which was less than $5. This was dinner, then breakfast, then lunch. The lemongrass chicken was the best of the three meats, but I did not find the other meats objectionable. Sometimes I just get 1/2 lb of the roast pork...as a snack.
Yum Cha Cafe 6933 Linda Vista Road San Diego 92111 open 8-8 daily. Website
I received an email from a FOY (Friend of Yoso) today who mentioned that my posts have recently been a bit long-winded. Actually, the term used was "verbose". Under certain circumstances, I'm pretty sure that I'd be somewhat.... well pick the verb; maybe offended might fit the bill.... and perhaps I'd even respond with a somewhat colorful adjective of my own. The humorous and jovial tone of the email erased all possibility of that, and was a reminder that many of you are perhaps more interested in seeing what I ate, rather than reading about it.
And I just happened to have a bunch of photos..... revisits all, of recent meals with friends. The locations are miles apart, but here goes......
Yet again. I usually don't even take my camera out any more. During a recent visit, Akira requested a meal at Ba Ren. I believe the main reason being that I remember what his favorite dishes are here. So here's what Akira, Mr S, and I had.
I made sure to return, since I enjoyed my meal there on my previous visit. This time around, the food seemed to fall short, the Lamb Palungo way tough, the beef over-cooked, my dish, the Khasi Ko Masu was the best of the lot, but was a bit too salty. At least the photos came out a lot better than on my previous visit. Oh, and those thingys that look like Xiao Long Bao? They're "momos" a Nepali/Tibetian type of dumpling. My eating companions on this evening were from Shandong and Taiwan respectively, and were surprised when that hit the table.
In case you're wondering what, or where Chautara is, you can find out here.
Chautara Restaurant 334 State St Madison, WI 53703
Sea Harbour - Rosemead (Los Angeles):
Believe it or not, after my breakfast at Gardena Bowl, on my recent visit to LA, I still had lunch in store. I was meeting Akira, and good FOYs PeterL and Angela, who drove all the way from San Diego, for Dim Sum at Sea Harbour. Packed as always, it was a fun and mostly delicious meal.
I love this first photo.... of the Durian Pastry.... it looked so good that PeterL could not help himself and snatched one away as soon as it arrived!
Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant 3939 Rosemead Blvd Rosemead, CA 91770
So there you go...... more photos, less verbiage... sheesh, I feel like a laundry detergent ad, you know, more cleaning power, cheaper price!
Man, it's hot around here, I hope everyone is keeping cool!
Today, stewing in my triple-digit-temperature sodden juices, I had the evil idea of doing a post on my latest bowl of Bun Bo Hue, or perhaps another Pho post. But just the thought of looking at a photo of a steaming bowl of Pho, was just a bit too much for me. So instead, let's just go directly to our current favorite Dim Sum Restaurant, Sea Harbour in Rosemead. When folks say they're going to LA, and want a recommendation for Dim Sum, I'll usually recommend Sea Harbour. Heck, when Ed from Yuma, wanted a couple of recommendations for Seafood Restaurants in LA, Sea Harbour was on that short list. And based on his post, Ed really enjoyed his meal at Sea Harbour. And if you needed another seal of approval, during our visit to Urasawa, Hiro-san himself told me that his favorite restaurant is Sea Harbour. Need I say more? You probably notice a dearth of posts on Dim Sum in San Diego...... that's mainly because the wild swings in quality and mixed experiences over the years have made us a bit "gun shy", after all, the usual layout of funds for a good dim sum meal, exceeds the risk associated with a good bowl of soup! Especially when the return on investment for dim sum in San Diego during the last few years have crashed faster than the stock market.....
On weekends there will usually always be a wait at Sea Harbour..... even if you arrive before the 1030 am opening, it's likely you'll be standing behind someone who got there even earlier than you. Still, if you get there before 11am, on a normal weekend, it's likely the wait won't be too long. Turnover is very quick here.....
Like Elite and Happy Harbour, Sea Harbour does Dim Sum the upscale "menu style". The check off list is quite large at about 130 items....
It's always quite an effort to decide on what to eat. As much as Siu Mai would seem a "no-brainer", a visit to Sea Harbour is something of a special meal for us, so I've yet to have that here. The standard Char Siu Bao, is usually persona non-grata during our Dim Sum meals, as the Missus hails from Shandong and Beijing, and the dough is much too sweet for Her tastes.
So we tend toward the dishes that are not quite the norm for a typical Dim Sum meal. On this day, things started off with the Baby Pak Choy with Ginko and Bean Curd Sheets:
This was almost an entree sized dish. The pak choy was prepared perfectly, still crunchy, not saturated. We both love bean curd sheets. The broth was a light, but tasty chicken stock. The only negative for us in this dish were the ginko nuts. They were very bitter. I have been using ginko nuts a lot recently, and immediately knew these were not prepared well, the texture was mushy, and the flavor unpleasant. Still, the pak choy was good, even as leftovers.
The Shrimp, Dry Scallop, and Chinese Celery Dumplings were excellent.
Over the years, I've resigned myself to either overly sticky, or brittle and ripped wrappers for steamed dumplings. These on the other hand were perfect; with just enough pull. The amount of Chinese Celery was just right, adding that wonderful palate cleansing effect. The size of the cut was good as well; you knew you were having Chinese Celery. The shrimp was flavorful; and even though we really couldn't make out a dried scallop umami, the proportion of the other ingredients was just right for our tastes. We really should be having more of the steamed dumplings at Sea Harbour.
Though it's really hard when you see stuff like Foie-Gras Minced Beef with Spinach on the menu.
I was surprised that you could really make out the flavor of goose liver in this. The spinach was good quality, and not bitter in the least. A rich, but good dish.
We were split on the Cheong Fun with Bittermelon and Chicken.
The Missus thought that while the bittermelon was perfectly cooked, it was much too bitter for Her. I on the other hand enjoyed this. We both thought that the sauce for the Cheong Fun had a good salty-sweet balance to it.
The biggest disappointment of the day were the French Style Goose Liver Won Ton.
Very bland won tons (where was the goose liver?), in an insipid broth. This dish was very disappointing, as both the won tons and the broth lacked flavor.
Second place for most disappointing dish was the Fish Cake with Corn and Peas.
Which also suffered from the blandness bugaboo. This one almost got me to request soy sauce and chili paste, which is not provided on each table like the typical Dim Sum Restaurant. I can understand the desire to have each customer taste the real flavor and quality of each item ordered. But man, this was fairly tasteless.
The Missus and I were split on the Pan Grilled Spinach Pork Bun.
The Missus thought these were too sweet (of course), and too light and fluffy (???). I thought the sweetness wasn't over-powering, and really enjoyed the shrimp in the Buns. I'd have these again, but don't think the Missus would allow me to order them.
As a whole, we really enjoyed this meal, and ended up with some leftovers. And even though we ordered several of the most expensive items on the Dim Sum menu, our bill came out to a tad over $40, much less then we had expected spending.
Leaving, we noticed the huge crowd waiting outside the restaurant, braving temperatures that were surely approaching a hundred degrees. It left me wondering if I'd be willing to wait in this heat. Perhaps not, but we still think of Sea Harbour as one of the better spots for Dim Sum.
I'm always attracted to the "Chicken in the parking lot" here, and am racking my brains to recall what this place was before Sea Harbour. Maybe you'll be able to tell me.....
Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant 3939 Rosemead Blvd Rosemead, CA 91770