Yesterday, the temp was in the 50's and there was a weird, blackish, steel-wool-colored cloud hovering over the San Diego central highlands.
3:00 pm, hungry, what to do? Many places in the Asian Disneyland that is Convoy St. close at 2 pm.
Decided to try the Dumpling Inn. Whattt? Parking places availabe? DI is open? What Luck.
The gracious, English friendly hostess/waitress welcomed me and set me up immediately, despite the fact that her lunch meal (some kind of wonderful looking stir fry that I didn't have the nerve to ask her about because I was interrupting her) was cooling.
The space is standard shoebox minimall dimensions, but still manages to be charming and visually interesting. Restaurant reviews are framed and displayed, one says, "The Best Jellyfish Outside of Hong Kong."
The Vietnamese (I think) couple to the right of my table had one order of boiled dumplings and one order of stir fried dumplings (10 to the order each) and then ordered sea bass in black bean sauce! (They conversed in their own language with each other, but spoke in English to the waitress--side note, when they were talking together, they broke up the dialog with the word in English "cilantro", also they repeatedly asked for more ginger. Do I sound a bit obsessive? No, I'm, just curious.)
I ordered pork chive dumplings (again, 10 to the order) for $5.75 and the additional "soup" option, $0.50.
Wow! Boiled dumplings in a red chile, garlic broth that blew my socks off (in a good way).
I know that the East Coast poster previously was complaining about the prevalance of garlic in So Cal Chinese, but the heat in the broth enhanced the everything about wheaty, chewy character of the dumpling's outsides and the porky/chivy goodness of the insides of the dumplings.
I ate two dumplings and had to stop due to chile/garlic interruptus in my esophagus.
My very kind waitress was surprised, but readily complied when I asked her to pack up the rest of my lunch.
The leftovers were even better today.