Just came back from a way less than optimal lunch.
The problem started because my darling daughter wanted congee for breakfast today. Her lame miserable excuse for parents forgot to make it last night so No congee for breakfast. Daughter is very very sad. To console her we promised her congee for dinner and her choice as to where to have lunch today. She said, okay to congee for dinner. In response to the question, what do you want for lunch?, she said "congee."
So we go to VIP Harbor Seafood which is the only Chinese restaurant close by my work and a place which we haven't gone to for years because now we just go to MP or to Chinatown. My recollection was that it had been good, then it was bad and now it was supposed to be good again.
Big mistake. First, a crisis: no congee but we only find this out after ordering some food so we can't just leave and go elsewhere. Apparently, they only do congee on Saturday and Sunday. Needless to say, daughter was extremely disapointed. Second problem, very disappointing dim sum---limited selection much of which seemed to have been sitting too long. The best thing were the fish balls and the eggplant with shrimp but even those had that toughness that seafood gets from overcooking or over steaming. And the selection was just so very limited. Also the portions were small. We always order char su bao at Sam Wu's and they are huge. Here each one was barely a mouthful and the filling just tasted sweet, not nice and porky. The quality of the pork in the rice noodles was also lacking and flavorless.
Third issue, way way too expensive. Dim sum for four of us was $43 including tip. Special charge for tea and the tea was nothing special--I have better here in my office. Sticky rice was $4.50 for two small packets, the shrimp on sugar cane was $4.50 for four little pieces. For that much money for lunch [and we all, especially the 7 year old, eat like troopers], there needs to be left-overs and when we hit our favorite places in SGV, there are. We had a much much better meal when we hit Noodle Planet in Westwood on Tuesday night and we spent half as much.
Entertaining note: When I was paying the bill, an elderly man who had just had lunch asked if the ownership had changed. The man at the front said "oh about a year ago but everything is the same." To which the very intelligent elderly man said "no it isn't, the selection isn't as good, the food isn't as good, you've gone downhill and I won't be coming back." Sums it up nicely.
Conclusion: Don't waste time and money trying to eat Chinese food on the west side which I already knew so why am I being taught this lesson again?
On the upside, we got to explain the lesson to the Chowpups who will never again be caught eatting Chinese on the westside.
And I'll never forget to make the congee for breakfast again!