It has been a very enjoyable month or two finally exploring SGV Chinese. First were the business commitment excuses, then the friends in Pasadena excuse. Finally, we just drove there yesterday for the heck of it from the westside, and the drive, barring heavy traffic, is entirely manageable - about 25 minutes.
Having already explored 888 and Triumphal palace for dim sum, the weekend began with a dinner trip to Mei Long Village to have some dumplings, dine in! We tried the Shanghai (primarily pork) and the crab and pork soup dumplings, and now I know what everyone is raving about. Wonderful rich stock, chewy meaty meatball filling, doughy wrapper, fresh ginger slivers in a soy/rice vinegar/(add chili oil) dunk, a match made in SGV heaven. These were so much better than the Din Tai Fung we got to go, that I can't imagine the DTF eat in would be worth the lines or hassle at any point. DTF doesn't hold a candle (I know - it has its supporters).
We topped off a couple days later at NBC for dinner. Got some bbq duck (really lovely crisp skin, moist meat, but I wish they had rendered more of the fat out), bean curd sheets w/chinese greens (very yummy, simple and tasty), scallops with spicy salt (husband pronounced it the best scallop dish ever, thin slices of large scallop, fried in a batter, topped with crunchy deep fried garlic bits, salt, some chili but not much, and served with a sweet and sour sauce), squid in green onion and ginger (very flavorful, great sauce, tender meat), and braised shrimp and vegetables (impeccably fresh, but rather bland in flavor).
We happened to also be in SPas on Thursday for the FM, so sampled pupusas from the Salvadoran stand (just cheese, and it was really good, especially w/tasty homemade guac) and Robin's bbq. The latter had a tasty kielbasa, not bad but severely overpriced baby back ribs ($5 for 3 miniscule ribs) and tri tip )(smoky, but otherwise, not memorable). I know Robins gets high marks on the board, maybe its not at its strength at the FM. Their berry lemonade looked great though.
Oh, how could I forget our snack at Europane. Lovely but somewhat overly sweet sugar brioche (which my 4 yo inhaled), cheese danish made with their wonderful croissant dough, and a brown butter blueberry tart that was sublime.
I am having so much fun - we plan on doing the red line next weekend - Langer's and what else?
Also, as I continue exploring Chinese, I would love more recs on fresh and tasty seafood preparations and where to find them.