Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dim Sum in a Storage Closet

While Mr. Monkey went to his college buddy's place to watch their school dominate the first game of the season, I had dim sum with Brother Monkey, Torry, and Mama Monkey. We have no ties to any college with a decent football team.
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Happy Harbor Restaurant (1015 Nogales Street, Rowland Heights) is always very crowded. I'm not exactly sure why. I guess the food is decent, but there's really nothing special about this place. See?
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Today we didn't even sit in the real dining room. We sat in a storage closet because "no four table [sic]." Ohhh-kay. Note all the boxes in the back corner. Unbelievable. Hysterical.
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Here is the lovely air-conditioning unit above our heads that whirred noisily under the harsh fluorescent lighting.
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Atrocious ambience aside, the dim sum offerings are tasty enough. Rather than picking from carts, you peruse a menu, tally your desired dishes, and hand your list to your server.
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Shao mai (steamed pork dumplings in a wheat wrapper topped with roe).
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Lotus leaf sticky rice.
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Jie lan (Chinese broccoli).
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Fried bacon fishcake. Blech. Don't get this.
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Three-flavor chang fen (steamed wide rice noodles stuffed with shrimp, cha sao, and beef).
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Xia jiao (shrimp dumplings).
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Steamed cha sao bao (barbecued pork buns).
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Fried glutinous rice dumplings filled with pork and shiitake mushrooms. Excellent.
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Xiao long bao. A far cry from those served at specialty xiao long bao places like Din Tai Fung, J&J, and Mei Long Village.
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Dan ta (egg tarts). Burnt but still rather delicious. My family loves these. Mr. Monkey's family doesn't.
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After dim sum, we went to Lollicup next door. Boba for a buck!
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Yeah, that's a "C" health rating. We live on the edge.
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Hours later, I still have no gastrointestinal problems. Phew.
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I love my cutie boba-loving family.

In Da Club

It's the end of the month, so it's time to finish up our minimum at the country club. Naturally, we asked Brother Monkey and Torry to join us for this endeavor. We were having so much fun that I forgot to capture our appetizers (wild mussels and risotto, lobster ceviche, and Korean barbecued beef lettuce wraps), soups (New England clam chowder), and salads (baby greens and bocconcini).

When BroMo's Flintsone-sized prime rib came out, Mr. Monkey said, "Hey, aren't you going to take pictures?"

Yes. Yes, I am. The giganto prime rib. Blurry but still impressive.
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Torry's portobello ravioli.
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Mr. Monkey's broiled black cod.
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My osso buco.
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Everything was pretty good, but I think I was the big winner for the night with my dish. It was fall-off-the-bone-tender. Of course, dinner wouldn't be complete without a sweet treat. Or three.

This brownie sundae concoction is named after the daughter of someone important at the club. It is Torry's usual dessert choice.
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Cobbler with ice cream.
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And the best -- fresh-baked hot chocolate souffle with creme anglaise. Fantastic. Such a great way to use up my rare chocolate intake.
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Torry reads my blog, so she knows just how funny it is that BroMo never smiles for the blog. It's such a long-running schtick that more recent readers actually believe BroMo doesn't smile, period. In fact, someone once commented, "Why doesn't Brother Monkey smile? Why is he so angry all the time?"

In reality, he smiles frequently. Torry brought a recent Polaroid just for my blog.
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We thought it was hysterical because it is the complete opposite of what always appears here. Torry isn't smiling!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Happy Hour Times Two

Happy hour with the new crew (to say farewell to our summer intern).
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Happy hour with the old crew (to celebrate T-West's and BPLJ's birthdays). Can't believe it's been a year since this night!
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So different -- the people and the locations. I really love a number of my new co-workers, but I also really miss my old co-workers. Change is interesting.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Thanks, D, for this picture that summarizes perfectly what occurs when the Monkeys dine. Isn't Mr. Monkey adorable?

Why Work Makes Me Fat

There is stuff like this nearly every day. We are always celebrating something.

Homemade pineapple cake.
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King's Hawaiian's famous Hawaiian paradise cake (guava, passion fruit, and lime chiffon cake with whipped cream and fruit nectar glaze).
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Pound cake and brownies.
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My loot of choice. Yeah, I tried both cakes.
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And I washed it down with Hawaiian Punch.

Shut up.

Palate Vindication

There is something distinctively delicious about my praise of Gordon Ramsay at The London pre-dating today's L.A. Times review by none other than my idol, S. Irene Virbila.
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Especially delicious is the fact that Virbila echoes my sentiment that the restaurant is the antithesis of Ramsay's television shows. Like yours truly, Virbila is also in love with the risotto, the cod, and the pineapple souffle (which I described as "a wondrous tropical fluffy cloud in my mouth...[b]ursting with happiness," and she said was "blissfully light" and "high and proud").
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The good news: You can trust me. Gordon Ramsay really is worth a trip.

The bad news: Reservations will now be harder to get after Virbila's thumbs up.

Book your table today!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Objects of My Affection

I'm loving a couple of things right now, one of which you've already seen.
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I smile every time I drink water at work now.

The second thing makes my smile smoother.
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I initially balked at the $8.50 price tag, but Mr. Monkey told me it was worth paying an extra two dollars for the "flava." What a dork. The dork is right, though. My lips got flava now.

Other objects of my affection -- everything at Green Zone. With every bite today, Bax and I kept asking ourselves, "Why is this so good?!" It doesn't matter how many times we go. It's a joy every time and worth another entry.
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Of course, we drowned ourselves with the infamous passion fruit iced tea ($2.50). A visit to Green Zone is not complete without at least three glasses, preferably four. There is something magical in it, I swear.
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The salmon triangles ($5.95) are incredible.
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My organic Hainan chicken rice ($7.50) was delicious and light and made me feel good.
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The lemon creme brulee was the perfect ending -- a classic with a little twist.
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In a recent comment about my photographing food in restaurants, Shan observed, "You seem to have no fear! What's your secret?"

No secret. I actually am quite fearless about snapping away in public places.

My philosophy is that taking pictures in restaurants is really no big deal, provided you don't disturb other patrons and the people with whom you're dining are ok with it. You just whip out your camera and go. That's about it. If you look uncomfortable with your camera, people around you will feel uncomfortable, too. If you do it with confidence and a smile, it makes everyone feel at ease.

Sable Crow documented my food photography insanity on Sunday, so now you can see the method behind the madness. Enjoy!
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