Monday, August 29, 2011

Lucky me

Just as the universe dumps a load of FAIL on me, it also starts making up for it. School is going to save my stones for me and credit my account for the tuition for the class I missed.

I stayed up way too late crying and feeling sorry for myself, so by the time I got out of bed yesterday, it was already noon.

I needed good luck and what better way get some than by eating dumplings! It was also a good excuse to get out of the house and run some extra errands.

Din Tai Fung is the best dumpling house I have ever been to. It's a mixture of Taiwanese and Chinese style xiaolongbao. 

The first location started in China as a cooking oil distributor around 1958. Then when bottled oil became available, business started to wane. The founders started selling dumplings on the side to make up for lost revenue, but it ended up becoming their sole business!

I feel so lucky to live close to a location, otherwise I'd have to go to China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, or Australia to get some Din Tai Fung!

This place always has a wait of 15min-2 hours. It's just that good.

Xiaolongbao are easily recognized by their pinched and twisted top, resulting in a flat bottom and fluted sides. They are sometimes called "soup dumplings" due to the sip of broth that develops inside during steaming.

Typically they are eaten with a drizzle of Chinkiang black vinegar and shredded ginger. I love mine with extra vinegar and extra extra ginger!

They also serve jiaozi style dumplings, which are made from round skins that are halved and pinched along the seam (like gyoza). 

They also serve a wide array of veggies, rice dishes, noodles, and soups. The soups are heavy on the meat broths and that's not my thing, so I pretty much stick with a veggie and sesame spiced clear dumpling soup.

After stuffing ourselves with life-giving dumplings, we braved the 103 degree weather and ventured out for grocery shopping.

I really wanted to check out a new market called Super King. Originally I heard a plug for it during a Splendid Table episode on NPR.

Not only is the place laden with an interesting mixture of Latino and Middle Eastern fare, their produce area is craaaaaaaazy good and very cheap! 15lb watermelon for less than $4? Yes please!

I got this entire haul for ........

 $28 and change! Here's what I got:

- 1 bottle club soda
- 4 beets
- 1 bunch green onions
- 5 heads of garlic
- 4 small sweet potatoes
- 1 box alfalfa sprouts
- 4 apples
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 limes
- 4 lemons
- 3 cucumbers
- 1 nub ginger
- 1 watermelon
- 1 honeydew melon
- 2 bags of carrots
- 2 yellow nectarines
- 1 onion
- 3 bunches of kale
- 1 enormous bag of spinach
- 1 bag of natural cane sugar
- 1 bunch "table" grapes

I know what you're thinking... Is it organic? Nope. But, I can't afford to eat all organic at the moment.

I was so exhausted by the time we got home, I wasn't really in the mood for dinner. Instead we went for a quick swim to cool off.

With all that fresh produce laying around, I had to get out the juicer. We refreshed with beet/carrot/kale/cucumber/watermelon goodness.

Around 9pm I got a bit hungry so I shredded some lettuce and topped it with balsamic glaze, sesame seeds, and a dollop of greek yogurt. 

The result tasted... weird. I has hoping for something creamy and vinegary, instead I got something that tasted like *blerg*. (Totally a technical term!)

I still felt munchie after salad concoction so I tucked into a personal sized bag of popcorn! My fav. Light, crunchy, and ever so slightly salty.

Here's hoping tomorrow is even better than today!

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