The weather outside has been dismal and gloomy with sprinkles of heavy downpours. Yes, we live in Los Angeles so we really cannot complain but, well, I am a complainer. I was invited a few days ago to a Tweet-Up (or twEAT-up) with some Yelpers, Twits, and all around foodies at King Hua for Dim Sum. It was perfect because I woke up more emotional than usual and with that same strong hunger I get every morning. The organizer of the day was The Minty and there were 10 of us at the table. The only person I knew beside her was LA’s best Public Defender AKesq. My Dim Sum experiences are all traced to Sunday brunches in San Francisco during my childhood. I like the carts coming by and grabbing first and asking questions later. Things at King Hua were more civilized, as the ordering was done on the menu with a number next to the dumplings wanted.
I am sure you would like to see pictures of the great dumplings that I ate, but there is a problem. I was at a table with foodies and dumpling dishes containing around 4-6 dumplings each were being passed on a lazy susan to a table of 10. I had to grab with chopsticks, eat, and grab what was coming on the next turn. This was work; no time to snap pictures of the beautiful translucent dumplings with shrimp, scallops, and shark fin. The only picture I did take was of the fried squid and goose liver (can you say foie gras?)
Maybe it wasn’t that bad that I skipped my photo taking because clearly my camera and skills aren’t quite up to par. Anyway, I feel like I tried some of everything and overall had a great dim sum Saturday. My favorites were all of the seafood dumplings in particular the shrimp with chive. For trying one or two of everything and with 10 people at the table the bill came to $15 a person, which included tip. Not too bad although for those people who didn’t have cash that card thing was a nightmare. You need a charge over $20 to swipe the card and they required that the multiple cards had the same credit card carrier. Have you ever heard of this? For example, they would only split it if both cards were Visa. Anyway, I will definitely go back and stick with the seafood dumplings. By the way, we arrived at 11AM, which was a perfect time because within a half an hour the place was packed. So what do foodies do after a bunch of dumplings for brunch on a rainy day? Well, they walk a block in search of ice cream.
Ice cream and I have a long-standing love-hate relationship. I love it and it hates my stomach and punishes me for my love. For this reason my ice cream and fro-yo love affair is limited to kids stuff. I am strictly a one scoop or kid scoop kind of a girl and when I eat it I demand the best. Fosselman’s is an SGV institution and when I first moved to Pasadena I made my boyfriend at the time drive me there weekly for a banana split. I consider that going all the way. I took my girls of the day aside and plotted with them saying we can each pick a scoop and get a banana split. 3 girls, 3 scoops, 2 bananas and 1 cherry sounds a lot better than that unmentionable video. I picked the banana Heath bar scoop, The Minty had the taro, and AK went double chocolate. Our split was topped with whipped cream and then we added fudge, pineapple, and caramel to the mix. It was decadent and delicious. The conversation was foodastic as we discussed how to decorate a ham with pineapple and cherries for a holiday party and that dating someone with a smart phone was a minimum requirement. After our ice cream the group parted ways and The Minty and AK told me that they were going to meet another blogger Food is My Nish at an Italian Bakery in the SGV and invited me to join.
I was full but I never turn down grocery stores or seeing a food blogger friend that I haven’t seen in a while. We all hopped in our cars and met at Claro’s Italian Market. I had never heard of it before but apparently they have 6 locations across Southern California. It was a trip to find this old school Italian Market in the heart of San Gabriel, a predominantly Asian neighborhood. It turns out the location in San Gabriel is the oldest and used to be a horse ranch. Walking in to this market was going back to a much different time and place. There is a large bakery in the middle and a deli in the back with sausage and peppers, lasagna, pizza and everything else you could imagine. There were a ton of kitchen gadgets, imported pastas, olive oils, and wines. My mom has always told me to not grocery shop when hungry but I believe that shopping when full is just as bad. I shockingly wasn’t buying anything. I had nothing in my hand, let alone cart, and my stomach was beginning to punish me for my banana split. A man with the kindest face noticed that I wasn’t shopping and said, “What can I help you find? Please let me help.” If you know me then you probably know that I have always dreamed of an extensive vinegar collection and perhaps even a cellar to store it all in. Actually, when Josie and I were in Europe I partook in as many vinegar tastings as possible. I asked the man, who was clearly the manager, to show me his best vinegar. I began walking to the section of vinegar that I browsed early but he lead me in another direction. Behind the counter he pulled out a tiny bottle, which he claimed was the best vinegar. At $150 it better be. He said it was so good you put it on vanilla ice cream. Can you say, heaven? I was so impressed.
Another employee behind the counter chimed in on how great this vinegar was and I was sold. Too bad my wallet wasn’t. This younger gentleman told me to add to my Christmas list. I shrugged saying it was the second night of Hanukkah and I still haven’t received any gifts. This young man seemed rather interested and told me he was half Jewish. The older gentleman, Bob, then told me about the Hanukkah gifts he received from his father as a child. I chuckled and said, “Is anyone here Italian?” It turns out these two gentleman were father and son and it was mom that was the Italian. Bob joked that his wife just lets him work here. It was a real family operation and it was as charming as can be. Bob can be seen in the first photo and in case you are up to any trickery there is a sign in front that says, “You can’t fool Bob.” Fortunately, you can make Bob laugh. I now have an Italian and Jewish joke to share with you all:
What’s the difference between an Italian mother and a Jewish mother?
-An Italian mother says, “Eat this or I will kill you” and a Jewish mother says, “Eat this or I will kill myself”
Regardless, we are eating it. The store was top-notch in terms of great family specialty markets. I will definitely return in the very near future. We all had such a great time with Bob and in the store that as we walked out in the rain I didn’t want my day with these glorious foodies to end. They all had dinners to attend later in the night but I wanted more comfort. Where do I turn for comfort? A hot bowl of soup with friends. I asked if they wanted to join me for a bowl of pho at Golden Deli. They all agreed. It was the best way I could imagine spending a rainy day: eating, laughing, meeting new people, and neighborhood exploring! My tummy, heart, and soul were warmed by all of the food and people on this glorious day in miserable weather.