Been meaning to post this but a bit caught up with working for a change. This year, we purchased one of those entertainment books from our Chinese school. Being from Chinese school, it has nothing but Chinese restaurants, most of which we don't think we have ever heard of but its hard to say because the text is in Chinese and no one in the family can read it. The plan is to work our way through the book and to post comments on the good ones.
Our first stop was the Homestyle Restaurant located at 301 W. Valley Blvd., #115, San Gab, CA 91776. If you exit at Del Mar turn Left at Valley and its the first or second mini mall on the right.
This is not a restaurant with great decor but it does have great food. They specialize in Northern Chinese cuisine. The menu has lots of soup and casserole dishes, beef and lamb and of course, dumplings and noodles. Many dishes feature pickled vegetables of one sort or another. I suspect that the owners are from the province next to North Korea because the menu lists Korean style appetisers which I've never seen anywhere else. Alas there was no way to ask because no one spoke English.
We had the Garlic eggplant and the cold shredded dried bean curd [bean curd noodles with cilantro and chili oil]. The garlic eggplant was fantastic. Those of us who like spicy things enjoyed the noodles. I would note that bean curd noodles are not to everyone's liking.
For main dishes we had Preserved Vegetable with Lamb and Chives with Lamb. Both dishes were great. The preserved veg with lamb had glass noodles and reminded some of us of sauerkraut. It was good cold when we were eating the leftovers.
Then we hit the dumplings. I've read the debates on dumplings on this board--been to Din Tai Fung and other places and had good dumplings. Our family likes dumplings, almost all dumplings are by definition good. And when we go to eat dumplings we are in search of an experience that reminds us of our favorite dumpling restaurant in Beijing. So while some 'hounds may think these dumplings don't measure up to other dumplings, we liked them just fine. We ordered 4 types but no one is exactly sure what they were. Each order included 10 dumplings. I think we got Tona Hao, Lamb w/ Sauteed veg and Taste and then something else. One turned out to be sort of a soup dumpling---served in a steamer and a different wrap style. The grown-ups liked the soup dumpling but our son traded his share for more of the other boiled type
For 4 people, the bill came to around $40. We brought home a bunch of leftovers which everyone fought over. We will definitely be going back.