I found myself at D&A at 7th & Webster in Oakland. This place always seems to be full, with a line, which is a good sign, and everyone in there is Chinese which is also a good sign. Everyone but me, that is. I inquired as to the difference between the "braised noodles with shrimp dumplings" and the "noodles and shrimp dumpling soup". Apparently the latter is a single portion all mixed together and the former is a large portion, with the soup on the side.
The egg noodles were at the perfect point of doneness, the broth seemed to be chicken based, the dumplings were delectable. Just the right amount of texture from the snappiness of the shrimp, the smoothness of the pork, the rumpled chewiness where the otherwise thin and tender skin was gathered, and the slight crunch from the slivers of cloud ear and tender bamboo shoot. Yes, the bamboo shoot did not have the texture of a sodden 2x4. The dumpling was generously seasoned with black pepper, new in my Chinese noodle experience, have seen that flavor combo more with Vietnamese food. In any case it was yummy. The smaller portion was just the right size to cure my hunger and set me back all of $3.00. Oh, and there seemed to be little or no msg in the soup, no signs posted to this effect, but I did not get my usual clammy skin reaction.