1.27.2008

Dim Sum and Then Some

My good friend R. is a sweetheart and always let me choose where we're going to eat whenever I'm back in NYC. During Christmas, I decided I really wanted some dim sum. Granted, there is fine dim sum to be had in San Francisco, I'm sure, but I haven't really had the energy to seek out the authentic joints. And Lord knows, you never really want to eat dim sum in SF's Chinatown, because only tourists (or 'tourons' = tourist + moron, as my friend M. so aptly put it) eat there. Note to self: go explore the Inner Sunset district, or maybe even Richmond, as there are plenty of delicious Chinese restaurants in those areas.

Yet NYC's Chinatown is different. There are plenty of amazingly delicious, authentic, and cheap eats. R. took me to [name to be inserted as soon as R. reminds me of the restaurant name]. I love dim sum because much like tapas, you can choose small bites of whatever you fancy - this is my favorite eating style, as I tend to get bored of just one dish or taste, halfway through my meal.

To be honest, I don't remember everything that we had. But, I can safely surmise that it involved various types of dumplings and shu mai. R. also introduced to me a special kind of dim sum dish that is a favorite of the Hong Kong-ese: it's a large, flat rice noodle that's wrapped in a spring roll wrapper, and fried. It's then doused with a sweet soy sauce, which for me was the dish's only redeeming quality. It was...an interesting mix of textures, and by 'interesting' I really mean 'not so tasty.' It was like a schizophrenic noodle - it didn't know whether it wanted to be tender or crispy. But otherwise, all the dishes that we ordered were phenomenal and this restaurant was one of the better dim sum places out of the many I've been to in NYC.

For $1 per layer, you better eat your money's worth

After R. and I gorged on delectable dim sum, he insisted on taking me to a 'cake place' for dessert. I was so full...but pass up dessert? Fat chance.

When I was living in NYC, I was a West Side girl, through and through. The East Side just...wasn't (and still isn't) my cup of tea. But in pursuit of an amazing dessert, I was willing to overlook the joint's location and trek over to the East Side.

I thought I was walking into an uber-chic (and since it's on the East Side, uber-pretentious) clothing boutique. No, no - Lady M Cake Boutique
(41 E 78th Street) is a cake boutique - not a bakery, not a cake store, but a cake boutique. Get it right. 'This better be damn good, R.,' I thought to myself, because I can barely fit in this store, I feel like I shouldn't touch anything, and the cakes look like art, but...not in a scrumptious way, but more like a 'you break, you buy' sort of way. Anyway, R. insisted I had to try the crepe cake. The crepe cake? Come again?

Yes. Behold the Mille Crepe Cake: a multi-layered cake comprised of crepes and whipped cream. Light, fluffy, and just the right amount of sweetness, this novel concept was a treat. For a small slice, we paid $7. So essentially, each layer cost us a dollar. Was it worth trekking to the East Side, putting up with the black-clad too-cool-for-school cake slicers (are they cake artists by day, models and actors by night?), and the usual Muffy and Buffy East Side crowd? Check, please.