Cheap Eats · Chinatown · Chinese · Restaurants

Lucky Place – COVID-19 dine-in edition

Ms. Biz and I met up in Chinatown for lunch. Though my go-to restaurant Chong Fat just opened up again, I took this opportunity to dine at Lucky Place. I still fantasize about the dishes Ms. Biz ordered back in June 2017. For this post, let’s listen to “Fantasy” by Mariah Carey.

I notice when my mother, Office Dad or Ms. Biz order off the menu, there’s a series of follow-up questions, suggestions and recommendations. With my severely limited vocabulary, I can’t do the necessary dialogue. I wish my parents pushed me harder in Chinese school.

menu 2

The dish I dream about is the Beef Shank and Tendon with Gai Lan and Double-Fried HK Style Chow Mein ($15). I’m not joking. Below is a picture I keep at my desk in case my boss wants to have a team lunch in Chinatown. That way, I can easily show the server at Lucky Place the dish I want to order.

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Once in a blue moon, I take the picture out and stare at the glistening pieces of tendon and beef shank. Sometimes I wonder if my love for dining out is a problem, bordering on obsession. I can’t stress about it. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

eef

As I said before, beef shank and tendon chow mein isn’t on the regular menu. Ms. Biz requests that the chow mein is pan-fried on both sides and gai lan is substituted for bok choy.

Hot and smooth, the tendon was soft and almost jelly-like. Lucky Place’s tendon reminds me of bone marrow, rich and full of fatty beefy flavour. I thought the portion of beef shank and tendon was very generous for the price.

Chowmein

The double pan frying of the noodles results in a brittle texture that soaks up all that rich brown gravy. The dark emerald green leaves were slightly bitter while the slender stalks were sweet and crisp.

Small Bowl noo

Ms. Biz ordered a combo set – Minced Pork and Century Old Egg Congee and Thai Style Salted Fish How Fun ($9.99). The moment this dish hit our table, I could smell the fish. I loved the pungency of the fish and pork floss. Ms. Biz mentioned salted fish is expensive to  purchase at a grocery store.

fish noods

The rice noodles were marvelously chewy and caramelized from the wok. The fragrance of the wok hei always gets me weak in the knees. Most home cooks can’t achieve the coveted wok hei because you need a commercial stove to cook at a high temperature.

noods two

A lot of Chinese restaurants serve congee that is smooth and liquidy. I prefer Lucky Place’s version because the soup is thick and fluffy. The soup was loaded with goodies like slippery chunks of century old egg, shards of fresh ginger, ground pork and green onions. This is my ultimate comfort food.

congee

If you aren’t fluent in Chinese, show the owner the pictures on this blog or pick up a version of their new English menu. Ask for the Beef Brisket & Chinese Greens on Rice ($11.95), then request a substitution of fried chow mein ($1.50) and gai lan ($1.99). If there’s any confusion as to what type of noodles you are requesting, point to my picture.

menu 3

Please be patient when dining at this restaurant. The owners are doing the best they can while doing the work of four, so service is slower. English is not their first language, so be open to communicating by pointing at pictures or showing images from this post.

Trust me. The food is worth the effort and the prices are a steal. This feast was only $25 and I had leftovers for L. To date, I haven’t found any other Chinese restaurant in Calgary that makes tendon this good. Hitting the Sauce gives Lucky Place two fat thumbs up.

Lucky Place Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Chinatown · Chinese · Dim Sum · Restaurants

Dim Sum at the Chinese Cultural Centre Cuisine – COVID-19 edition

My friend Karol is busy helping restaurants gain more exposure during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, she worked with YYC Takeout Specials and helped to raise $3,000 for families and children in need.

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Now that spring is finally here, let’s listen to something weather appropriate. For this post, I pick “Violin Sonata No. 5, Op. 24” by composer Ludwig van Beethoven.

When I saw Karol’s dim sum post from the Chinese Cultural Centre Cuisine (CCCC), I started to salivate. Look to the dish at the bottom left. Holler! What huge balls! I asked her if I called, would the staff be able to communicate with me in English? Karol said yes, but if I was worried, I could text my order to the manager. I took her up on the offer. My Chinese pronunciation is terrible as I can’t hit the right tones.

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Unfortunately, the day I called the restaurant was slammed hard. By the time the manager responded, L and I had already left Chinatown. Karol felt terrible and insisted on treating me to dim sum. I told her I would only accept her generous offer if in exchange, she tried some of the frozen dim sum I bought from Chuen May Food Product.

dim sum feast

I was impressed with the takeout dim sum. The Har Gow (steamed shrimp dumplings) was fantastic. The shrimp was plump and had a nice snap to it. When it comes to the har gow “skin”, I am particular. Too often, restaurants serve over steamed har gow, resulting in a damp skin that splits apart when you pick it up with your chopsticks. I like it when the wrapper is a touch dry and has some resistance to it. The wrapper was perfect – firm and slightly sticky.

hagow

The Siu Mai (steamed pork, shrimp and roe dumplings) was enormous. I’ve never seen a meatier sui mai. The wrapper was firm yet silky, and thick enough to stand proportionally against the ginormous meatball.

siu mai

Good siu mai has a unique texture and flavour. The pork and shrimp mixture was pleasantly crunchy from the water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. The shrimp and pork mixture was juicy and so flavouful. I’m going to ask Karol if the restaurant will sell me their dim sum frozen, so I can make it at home. Freaking fabulous. This is one of CCCC’s best dishes.

sui mai 2

The Green Peppers Stuffed with Shrimp Paste is a must order.  I counted three to five shrimps per pepper. The shrimp itself was crunchy with a bouncy texture to it.

green pepper 2

The green pepper was still firm, crisp and sweet. I could taste charred smoky flavour in the black bean sauce. Despite the cilantro, it was still a winning dish.

Green pepper

The Lo Bak Go (pan-fried turnip cake) was thickly sliced and soft. When I bit into the cake, the shreds of the moist pieces of turnip fell apart. The tiny bits of dried shrimp and pork gave a surprisingly amount of umami.

turnip

L said he wasn’t expecting the BBQ Pork Pastry to be so sweet.  I prefer eating this dish cold because the pastry becomes drier and more crumbly and the sweetness becomes less pronounced.

pastry

Dim sum is the ultimate comfort food for me. This feast reminded me of all the weekly get together my mother would organize for our family and friends. Boss Lady is notorious for over ordering at restaurants.  I have to say, she is the ultimate hostess. Generous and hospitable to the point of over the top, Roman-style gluttony.

inside pastry

I can’t wait to have dim sum again. I plan to order the sui mai, har gow, and green peppers with stuffed shrimp paste. I also want to try the lo mai gai (mini sticky rice), steamed shrimp pork and chive dumplings, shrimp rice roll, and the eggplant stuffed with shrimp paste. I’m also going to ask for a side of yellow and red Chinese mustard.

plaste

You know how Zoolander couldn’t turn left on a runway? I can’t plate food for the life of me. Despite my disability, you can still see how delicious the dim sum is at CCCC.  Give it a try. I know I’m going to order again. Hitting the Sauce gives The Chinese Culture Centre Cuisine two fat thumbs up.

The Cultural Centre Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars/Lounges · Chinese · Restaurants

Comedy Night at The Tea House – COVID-19 edition

I love stand-up comedy. I’m always rewatching Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari and Ally Wong’s Netflix shows. When I learned that The Tea House features Comedy Night every Thursday, I was keen to check it out.

red lantern

Following my coronavirus music playlist, I’m going to pick another song that soothes my nerves. For this post, let’s listen by Violin Concerto No.2 “Allegro” by composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

I arrived earlier than my friend and scored some seats at the bar overlooking the stage. From 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., Wednesday to Saturday, the The Tea House offers $7 wines, and deals on select appetizers.

menu

I wanted to try the Half Roast Duck ($35). Considering how much duck we received, this dish is well-priced. I was surprised to see the portion was big enough for a meal for two. The duck itself was silky and tender. This is higher quality duck than I get at my local Chinese BBQ joint.

duck

The butter lettuce was so perfect looking I felt guilty eating it. I requested extra lettuce, as Chen and I didn’t want to fill up with the steamed rice. The rice itself was properly made – each grain was firm yet sticky.

duck lettuce

The condiments were top-notch. We received fresh basil, ginger-scallion peanut sauce and a lovely seasoning salt. I really liked the salt concoction, as it was subtle and accented the flavour of the duck. I would order this again.

duck again
I planned on returning to try more of the food because I posted this review. However, I thought I’d post this early to spread the word about supporting local businesses through these tough economic times.

wine

If you can afford to, consider buying a gift certificate at your local eatery. I bought a $50 gift certificate for The Teahouse and I received two complimentary tickets for any upcoming comedy night. I plan on picking up a couple more gift certificates at Cotto Italian Kitchen, Sukiyaki House, and Pure Kitchen Asian Kitchen & Bar. Are there any restaurants you would like to support?

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PS – Thanks Chen for the meal, company and photos. Can’t wait for your next visit to Calgary. I’ll take you to one of Hitting the Sauce’s favourite restaurants.

The Teahouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cheap Eats · Chinese · Restaurants · Vegas

Vegas 2020 – Shang Artisan Noodle House

Strictly Dumpling’s feature of Shang Artisan Noodle inspired me to get off the strip for hand-pulled noodles. I read on Yelp that the line-up begins even before the restaurant opens at 11:00 a.m. When Beep Beep and I arrived at 10:45 a.m., there was only one woman ahead of us. Budger was still in her car when we stepped out of our Uber. Though technically, we were first in line, she trotted up aggressively and cut in front of me. Whatever lady – we are all getting in at the same time.

For this post, let’s listen to “Shake it Up” by The Cars. In fact, for all my birthday posts, I’m only going to be spinning The Cars. Let’s go!

The stools at the counter looked uncomfortable, so we sat at a table facing the kitchen. I asked the noodle artist if I could take a picture of him in action. He didn’t look thrilled with my request. He nodded and I went to work. I was quick and only took three photos and three videos.

Rules

Beep Beep and I ordered Hot Tea ($1.95) and glasses of water. For food, I ordered everything Strictly Dumpling ate in his video – spicy wonton, beef noodle soup and dan dan noodles.

noodle making

I could taste the liberal amount of white pepper sprinkled on the top of the House-made Wonton with Spicy Soy Sauce ($5.99). I can always tell when green onions have been prepped too early – there is no oniony flavor left. Shang’s scallions were fragrant and noticeably pungent.

tea

I like the wonton’s long ribbon-like tail. Each bite felt dainty in my mouth. I added black vinegar and chili sauce for more zip. Most of the flavour of the wonton came from the sweet soy sauce. The sauce was more sweet than spicy.

won ton

The Shàng Beef Noodle Soup ($9.95) was our favourite dish. This beef noodle soup is the quintessential hangover cure. The broth was nourishing and full of beef goodness. I drank this elixir down to the last drop. Beep Beep felt like the soup was giving her a big warm hug.

silky noodle

Our bowl contained several generous chunks of braised beef brisket. The layer of fat on some of the pieces was a little much, but it was easy enough to remove. The beef itself was tender and richly flavoured.

oup

The knife shaven noodles were chewy and retained its firm texture up to the last slurp. The noodles took on the flavour of the broth too. We were so full from sharing this bowl, we barely made a dent in the dan dan noodles.

nood pull beef soup

Beep Beep found the Dan-Dan Noodle ($8.95) too spicy. I thought the sauce was too mild. I wish I didn’t pick the knife shaved noodles because the taste of minced pork, preserved vegetables and spicy soy sauce didn’t come through to the noodles. Perhaps the knife shaved noodles are too thick for the sauce?

beef

I think if I picked a thinner noodle, the sauce wouldn’t be overpowered by the ratio of noodle to sauce. When I tried the noodles cold a few hours later, the flavour was greatly improved. However, when I microwaved the noodles at midnight, the noodles turn to mush.

dan dan

When I return to Vegas, I would most definitely return for the beef noodle soup. The broth alone was worth getting off the strip. The beef bowl was cheap, filling, delicious and most importantly, the quality was there. I’m not a big fan of Chinese noodle soups, but Shàng beef noodle soup is exceptional.

dan dan nood pul

Service was speedy and attentive. An employee informed me that Shang Artisan is opening up another location! Yay! That’s good news for us noodle lovers. Hitting the Sauce gives Shang Artisan Noodle two fat thumbs up.

Shang Artisan Noodle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cheap Eats · Chinese · Restaurants · Steakhouse

Kam Han Szechuan House – Crab Hot Pot

Ever since Mai told me about Kam Han Szechuan House, I’ve been craving spicy crab hot pot. So for my sixth wedding anniversary, I told L and One Chubby Hamster that we were going out for Chinese style crab. For this post, let’s listen to “A Teenager in Love” by Dion and The Belmonts.

We ordered two extra spicy crabs ($45.99) with two orders of yam noodles ($3.99), wood ear mushrooms ($6.99), lotus root ($7.99), and Pan-Fried Pork Buns ($11.99). I ordered tea and L and One Chubby Hamster stuck to water. This is the first anniversary that I didn’t partake in a glass of bubbles.

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The pot arrived with burners underneath, which kept our food boiling hot during the entire meal. We received plastic gloves, one crab cracker, and a bucket to throw our shells in.

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The crab is battered, deep-fried and tossed in sauce. The best bite is the first one because that’s where most meat is with the least amount of work. You get a mouthful of deep-fried crab, coated in hot chili oil. The meat inside the shell is scantier.

piece crab

One Chubby Hamster said the noodles were a good consistency – stretchy and soft. I love the squishy texture of the wood ear mushrooms, and how it crunched with the yam noodles. L enjoyed the delightfully crisp texture and mild flavour of the lotus root.

yam noodles

The vegetables and noodles took on the full flavour of the chili oil. The chili oil was fragrant and stung of fiery Sichuan peppercorns. I’d describe the sauce as violently spicy but insanely delicious with notes of garlic, shallots, peanuts and chilies.

lotus

The portion of crab with all the fixings is enough for four adults. While there isn’t much meat inside the crab legs or claws, it’s to be expected at this price.

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One Chubby Hamster and L squirmed in their seat, occasionally tilting their head back in pain from the heat. I have a high tolerance for spice and even I was feeling it. My face felt hot and my mouth tingled from the oil.

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I wouldn’t order the pan-fried pork buns again. The buns were crunchy on the outside and greasy. The bun itself was sweet and the pork mixture was bland and somewhat sparse compared to the proportion of the bun.

bun 3

Dining at Kam Han is a messy affair. The oil seeped through our plastic gloves. L said this restaurant would not be a good first date place. I agree, and that’s why I picked this restaurant for our sixth year anniversary.

bun 1

Thanks L for dinner and One Chubby Hamster for your delightful company. I’d return, but I would order mild spice instead and the dumplings instead of the pan-fried pork buns. Hitting the Sauce gives Kam Han one fat thumb up.

Kam Han Szechuan House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chinese · Dim Sum · Restaurants · Vancouver/Richmond

Richmond- Shi-Art’s Dim Sum Theatrics

To celebrate L’s birthday, I took him to Vancouver. My parents picked us up at the airport. When we exited her car, I mentioned to Boss Lady that she drives like Mario in Mario Kart. She rolled her eyes and retorted, “I know where I’m going. People just need to get out of my way.” For this post, let’s listen to “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne.

I wanted to eat at Chef’s Tony or Continental Seafood Restaurant but Boss Lady vetoed my suggestions. She wanted Shi-Art Chinese Cuisine because there is plenty of parking. I informed Boss Lady that if we ordered before 11:00 a.m., we would receive 20% off our bill. She looked unimpressed and said she didn’t care about the discount.

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One of the best dishes we tried was the Mushroom and Scallop Congee ($12.99). The scallops were plump and soft. The mushrooms were mild in flavour and silky in texture.

scallop

The congee was simple and delicious, cooked to a thick smooth consistency, lightly seasoned with salt.  I added white pepper because it gives the soup a prominent peppery zip.

shrimp roll piece

My least favourite dish was the Steamed Shrimp Roll ($7.99). There was plenty of large shrimp in the roll, but the shrimp lacked a crunch to it. The noodles, even with the soy sauce, were bland.

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I requested Beef Tendon Rice Rolls ($21.99). The beef was soft but parts of it were dry or fatty. L disagreed and said the beef was delicious.  I enjoyed the rice rolls, which were seared on the edges with a noticeable charred wok hei aroma. The tendon was so gelatinous I didn’t have to chew. I prefer tendon with more of a chew to it.

tend piece.jpg

My mother mentioned several times that the beef tendon wasn’t as good as the other variation she normally orders at Shi-Art, the Braised Beef Brisket and Beef Tendon in Noodles ($21.99). She wrinkled her nose and added that she’s glad she tried this version as I requested it, but her dish was better.

pumplin

Our favourite dish was the Pan Fried Pumpkin with Spicy Salt ($12.99). Ludwig and Boss Lady mentioned this dish isn’t served at many Chinese restaurants. The pumpkin was lightly battered and crisp. Boss Lady enjoyed nibbling on the spicy seasoning of shrimp, fried garlic, green onions and hot peppers. I’d order this again.

shrimp balls

The House Steamed Shrimp Dumplings ($7.39) were tasty. The wrapper was dry and not overly steamed. The shrimp itself was large and plump. Far better than what I can get in Calgary.

roll

We all enjoyed the Preserved and Dried Meat on Chinese Donut Rice Rolls ($7.99). I liked the crunchiness of the deep-fried donut against the softness of the rice wrapper.

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L and Ludwig raved about the Seafood E-Fu Noodle ($18.99). The noodles were piping hot and lightly sauced. The fish, prawns, scallops and squid were nicely cooked. I’d order this again.

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Doug, who appeared to be the day time manager, was chatting up a storm with a customer sitting across from us. My mother interrupted his conversation to ask for some more tea. He didn’t like that one bit and he waved her away with his hand. He took a few steps away, reluctantly turned around and grabbed our tea pot. I saw him dawdle at the tea section and walked slowly back to our table. My father sat up erectly and politely thanked the Doug for the tea. I opened the lid to make sure there was no sign of tampering, like spit.

My mother was pissed. She said the manager is always rude to her and why is he always talking instead of working? I was surprised when ten minutes later, Boss Lady interrupted his conversation again to ask for the bill. Why didn’t she wave someone else over? Doug completely ignored her. Lucky for us, another server got us our bill. L jumped in and snatched the bill before my mother could pay. Our server was impressed. She said it’s rare that young men display such excellent manners. My parents both beamed with pride and chatted with our friendly server for a bit. Boss Lady asked L to ensure we received the 20% discount. With the discount, our bill was around $80.

L and I thought Shi-Art used a lot of MSG because we were both incredibly thirsty after eating there. L enjoyed the food. For the most part, the dishes were fresh, hot and tasty.  I wouldn’t return. I want a dim sum experience without the theatrics. Perhaps the next visit, Boss Lady will permit me to pick the restaurant.

Shi-Art Chinese Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cheap Eats · Chinatown · Chinese · Dim Sum · Restaurants

U & Me – Dim Sum Special

I’m planning a trip to Vegas and I wanted advice from Ms. Biz. She knows her restaurants and she travels to Vegas six times a year. She also dines at some of the best restaurants in the world. I was hoping for her toned-down list, as I’m no baller. For this post, let’s listen to “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton.

I wanted to eat at Chong Fat but the restaurant was closed. Lucky Place was too busy so Ms. Biz suggested U & Me for the dim sum set lunch. For only $42 bucks, we could pick two “A” dishes and five “B” dim sum items.

For our first “A” dish, we picked gai lan, which is similar to broccoli but firmer and sweeter. Ms. Biz gleefully noted that the greens were good looking and not over boiled. I never heard anyone call a vegetable attractive, but yeah, I’ll eat that. The smell of the garlic was intoxicating. The greens were hot temperature wise but still crisp.

Our second “A” dish was the XO Fried Turnip Cake. The turnip was lightly grilled, the exterior browned and crispy. Each piece was steaming hot and pillowy soft. The grilled red peppers and green onions were tossed in a spicy seasoning. The portion was generous.

I don’t normally eat Steamed Beef Beat Balls because there is cilantro in it. However, I indulged because there wasn’t an obvious abundance of the green herb. Ms. Biz said the balls were not over steamed and she liked the texture, which was bouncy and spongy. The flavour of the beef was mild. I would order this again.

The Baked BBQ Pork Buns tasted like it was right out of the oven. The pastry was warm and sweet. The pork filling was very warm. This was my least favourite dish because I didn’t like the sweetness of the pastry and filling.

One of the best dishes was the Shrimp in Rice Roll. The ample amount of shrimp was crunchy. The rice roll was slippery and soft. The light soy sauce was mildly salty, just enough to compliment the shrimp and noodle combination.

My mother would approve of the Meat and Peanut Dumplings. The wrapper wasn’t over steamed. I like the simplicity of the flavours and the clean pop of the boiled peanuts.

The Deep Fried Turnip Cake is a must order. It’s decadent and savoury, with a thousand layers of pastry. We only ate half a cake, because it’s that rich. I think the fried turnip cake is U & Me’s signature dim sum dish.

Ms. Biz gave me her list of go-to restaurants to try in Vegas: Joel Robuchon, Raku, Magul Korean BBQ, Monta Ramen, Bouchan, Wynn Buffet, and KJ Kitchen. I’m knocking off Joel Robuchon because there’s no way I’m paying that much to gain weight. I will hit Raku, Magul Korean BBQ, Monta Ramen and Ping Pang Pong for some late night eats and dim sum.

I kept the bill by my tea cup so I could pay after our meal. However, Cruising is sneaky and went up to the cashier to pay while Ms. Biz held me back. On the walk back to work, Ms. Biz told me Cruising’s birthday is coming up. I told them I was taking them to Caesar’s Steakhouse for lunch. This time, I was paying and there’s no fighting me. Ms. Biz said she would split it with me. I told her no way in hell would I let her. This Chinese etiquette thing is getting ridiculous and I’m no mooch.

I came back to the office and regaled my boss with my description of the food and prices at U & Me. He wants to know the details, so here it is. Every single blessed day, U and Me offers this set lunch from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 pm. If you dine before 11:00 a.m, there are rice and congee deals for only $2.99. There you have it – Calgary’s best dim sum deal.

U & Me Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chinese · Dim Sum · Restaurants · Vancouver/Richmond

Richmond – Continental Seafood

Boss Lady wanted L to experience push cart dim sum at Continental Seafood. I don’t like the cart system because the food sits around for who knows how long. Jacuzzi looked around the restaurant and proclaimed Continental not authentic enough. He likes dirty carpets, a dark and dingy atmosphere, and the room so crowded you have to put your elbows out to exit or enter, like the old Miramar in Kerrisdale.

Boss Lady asked our server why there were no spoons on any of the tables. He said for dim sum, spoons have to be requested. This was the first omen of the ensuing drama that would unfold.

Ludwig mentioned that I never post pictures of the menu on my blog and suggested that I start. I told him pictures of menus are boring and I hate it when people tell me what to write. Having said that, I’m glad I did take pictures to appease Ludwig otherwise I would not have been able to itemize each dish.

We started with Chinese tea ($9.45). Boss Lady complained that we were never asked what type of tea we wanted. He just brought out a teapot, without the customary hot water pot. For this post, let’s listen to “Dear Mamaby 2Pac.

Boss Lady approved of her favourite dish – Beef Chow Fun ($17.80). She said the portion size was generous. L could taste the smoky wok hei in the noodles. I found the noodles oily. I forgot to take a picture of the chow fun, so I stole this photo off Google. Patrick Smith (2018) takes worse pictures than I do!

Jen and Jacuzzi are vegan now, so they ordered Steamed Veggie Dumpling ($6.25). I was tempted to try a dumpling, but L said to leave it for the vegans and my father.


Boss Lady ordered her childhood dish – Steamed Pork and Peanut Dumpling in Chou Zhou Style ($6.25). The wrapper was soggy and broke when I picked the dumpling up with my chopsticks. Boss Lady said the chef put too much water in the dough. I felt the pork and peanut mixture itself was overly moist. She disagreed and said it was the wrapper that made the whole dumpling too wet.


Boss Lady told us the Steamed Scallop Pea Tip Rice Roll ($7.75) was for Jen. I took a bite and warned Jen there was scallop inside it. Jen thanked me. Boss Lady tells little lies. Poor Ludwig has been traumatized so many times. No wonder he’s hesitant to eat anything new.


I enjoyed the Shrimp Stuffed Tofu and Eggplant ($7.75). I thought this one of Continental’s better dishes. The tofu was crispy and the eggplant meaty and flavourful. The sauce tied all the ingredients together.

The Steamed Rice Roll with Chinese Doughnut ($7.75) was delicious. I like the crunch of the still warm, airy doughnut against the soft slippery noodle. The soy sauce gave this dish umami.


I enjoyed the Pea Tips ($22.80). The bright green pea tips were fresh and fragrant from garlic. I ate most of this plate, and the portion was huge.


Jacuzzi and L thought the Soy Sauce Rice Rolls ($7.25) were yummy. I liked the carmelization of the soy sauce but the noodles were too oily.

I didn’t try the Sui Mai ($7.25) but it looked better than Fisherman’s Terrace version. The tobiko was still bright orange and crunchy, and the meat filling looked juicy.

The Har Gow ($6.25) was good. The shrimp was sweet and crunchy. The wrapper was firm and not wet. My niece Har Gow Girl ate about five shrimp dumplings but wouldn’t eat the skin. Funny because her dad would only eat the skin and not the shrimp when he was her age. Narc, my older brother would only eat the shrimp. I would eat both the wrapper and shrimp, but separately.

Boss Lady tried several times to get a few things – like more tea, hot water, and hot sauce. There was one server – an older male – that would blatantly ignore my mother, make a face, or say he would come back but disappear. It was obvious he was avoiding our table. Boss Lady was agitated and began complaining about the service and how rude he was to her. She mentioned again that the server didn’t even ask us what tea we wanted, which is a basic thing to do. Jacuzzi loves egging my mother on when she gets going. He started encouraging her by repeating everything she said.

Boss Lady said at least there wasn’t a ridiculous amount of tea leaves in the pot. She can’t stand it when there are so many tea leaves and the tea is too strong. She started talking about quality control and turned around to Jacuzzi and said, “Is there an echo in here? Why are you repeating everything I’m saying? I feel like I’m being recorded.” I looked over at my father, who sat with quiet resignation. L agreed with my mother and said the service was beyond rude. I wanted to leave. I don’t know if it was the MSG or what, but I was getting flashbacks of unhappier days.


Boss Lady asked for the bill. The female hostess told her to ask the young male server. When my mother told the young male server what the female hostess said, he shook his head and said that was her job.

Jacuzzi tried to pay for the bill but L was determined to win this battle. Boss Lady slipped the young server that helped her a cash tip, and told us to not give a generous tip. I was so annoyed by the whole experience that I told L to not tip. I have never not tipped but there’s a first time for everything.

When we left, I told my parents we were never coming to Continental again. They said in past experiences at dinner, the service were much better. Hitting the Sauce gives this joint two fat thumbs down.

Continental Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brunch · Chinatown · Chinese · New York · Patio · Restaurants · Special Occasion

New York – Bar 54, Ellen’s Stardust Diner and Cheong Fun Cart

Beep Beep wanted to have a drink at Bar 54. She mentioned the bar was overpriced and touristy, but she wanted to see the rooftop view of Chrysler Building and of lower Manhattan. We toasted to her birthday with an Aperol Spritzer ($26) and a Rosolio Spritz ($26). The spritzer tasted gross and reminded me of cough medicine. Pro-tip – stick to wine. We much preferred our glass of Rodney Strong Knights Valley ($19) over the cocktails. After midnight, we decided to call it a night.

We were about to enter the subway when a dirty looking man peeped through the gate and started babbling in a high-pitched baby voice: “Nooo? Yesss! Nooo? Yesss!” Before I could stop myself, I responded “Noooo.” Subway Guy looked excited and repeated “Yesss?” I sternly shook my head and said firmly “No!” Since we hadn’t entered through the gate, he assumed we were looking for another train. He said if we went up the stairs and to the left, the other train would be there. I didn’t like his eagerness and the fact he wanted to continue our ‘conversation’ so we pretended to exit. When I heard him take off, we returned to wait for our train. There was another guy there who there who half-heartedly muttered, “Noooo? Yesss!” We ignored him. For this post, let’s listen to Trouble by Pink.

A minute before our train arrived, Subway Guy came back and told his friend he couldn’t find us. I pulled my large black hood over my head. Beep Beep whispered, “Your disguise sucks. You are not fooling anyone.” She was right because Subway Guy spotted me and said something that is so obscene, I will not repeat it. I’ve already said too much. My father reads my blog. Knowing Ludwig, he will tell on me to my mother. I know I’m going to get a flurry of emails from Boss Lady telling me to quit creating drama and getting into trouble. Sorry ma, old habits die hard.

On the way home, Beep Beep really had to pee. She ran ahead and then would stop, crouch down with her knees pressed together and bellow “Nooo?” Then she turned around to face me and coo, “Yesss!” I doubled over with laughter and couldn’t breathe or walk until she stopped mimicking the Subway Guy. Omigod, we are so immature.

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The next morning, Beep Beep woke me up at 6:30 a.m. so we would to make it to Ellen’s Stardust Diner by 7:00 a.m. Ellen’s is known for its singing wait staff. Beep Beep ordered the Smoked Salmon Plate ($20). The cook forgot to put the cream cheese on the bagel. Our server was absent so she ate her bagel without any cream cheese.

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I wasn’t feeling well, so I ordered a ginger ale and a Fresh Fruit Cup ($9). I found the assortment of cantaloupe, honeydew, grapes and pineapple incredibly fresh and sweet. Beep Beep took a bite and said it was normal fruit, I was just hung over. I ordered a latte ($6.50) that tasted like it come out of a vending machine from the 90s. Beep Beep said I should have just drank her latte, because she didn’t like it either.

I enjoyed the confetti that fluttered down from the ceiling. Some of the wait staff differed in charisma, but I enjoyed listening to them sing. A staffer came come out and gave a long story about how hard the staff worked to both sing and bring your food, so donations for their singing classes would be appreciated. The suggested additional tip was $20 bucks.

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Before we left for the airport, we stopped by Union Square Farmer’s Market, Little Italy and Chinatown. Beep Beep wanted us to try the Cheong Fun Cart. After using Google maps, I found it. Beep Beep asked a waiting customer if this was the famous Cheong Fun Cart. I knew the lady Beep Beep asked had no clue. I looked up the cart on Yelp to confirm the pictures of the cart and location. The lady said no, we needed to go to a cart that was ten minutes away. I told Beep Beep this was the right cart and showed her the matching pictures I found.

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Beep Beep freaked out because there was only a small slit through the metal cart where the vendor’s face would pop out to ask you what you wanted. The elderly woman working there was tiny, and it looked like there was enough room for her and her husband. I requested two small cheong funs ($1.50), one with pork and the other with chicken and an egg (50 cents). I added green onions and requested no cilantro.

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Oh my goodness. If you are into the texture and subtle flavours of Chinese dim sum, you’ll love these silky pools of noodles. The noodles are made fresh for you, and it was everything I was craving. Steaming hot, soft with little specks of meat and sauce to give it the right amount of savoury, salty flavour. Next time I’d omit the egg as I found texture of the yolk too dry. I would also add hot sauce. Since Beep Beep and I were sharing, I didn’t add any.

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Cheong Fun Cart was one of our favourite eats in New York. When Beep Beep complained again about the work conditions, I informed her that the woman working in the cart was the owner, so it was her decision. If she wanted to unionize, she could. Besides, after only three days in the Big Apple, I too would want to be enclosed in a metal container to protect me from being spat on, hustled or spoken to in an indecent manner.

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Before we left for the airport, Beep Beep found me a Trader’s Joe store so I could stock up Everything But the Bagel seasoning and Mushroom & Company Multi-Purpose Umami Seasoning Blend . Happy 40th birthday Beep Beep! I had an amazing time with you.

Ellen's Stardust Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chinese · New York · Restaurants

New York – Cafe China

On the way to Café China, Beep Beep and I walked through High Line, a public park built on a historic freight rail line above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. Still buzzing from the excitement of the morning’s revelation, we marveled at the odds of us being on Wendy’s show when she announced she is living in a sober house. For this post, let’s listen to to “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five.

Beep Beep picked Café China because of its Michelin star and it’s inexpensive. She doesn’t like spicy food so I had a feeling this wouldn’t be her favourite restaurant. Café China only takes reservations for parties of four or larger.

When we arrived, we put our name on the list. We waited about 20 minutes. Beep Beep was irritated because customers who showed up after us got in sooner. There is seating at the counter and the moment someone was finished, the other waiting customers would request to sit there. I need to be more aggressive in New York.

Once we were seated, service was prompt. We ordered cold herbal tea – Wong Lo Kat ($3), a detoxifying beverage. I found the tea too sweet but Beep Beep said it refreshing.

We picked two of the most popular dishes – the Braised Fish Filet with Tofu ($13) and the Spicy Cumin Lamb ($16). Beep Beep asked for no cilantro so I could eat the food. I should have asked for less spice, because Beep Beep found the food too fiery. Our lunch specials included white or brown rice and a choice of hot and sour soup or a spring roll.

The lamb was juicy and tender. The cumin seasoning was strong and rich from the spicy oil. I can handle my spice and I could feel my cheeks flushing from the heat. Poor Beep Beep was not enjoying her lunch.

The fish was soft and blended in with the crumbled pieces of tofu. I liked the the topping of peanuts, which gave the dish some needed texture. I didn’t find the fish hot at all but Beep Beep said it burned her mouth.

The piece of spearmint gum we received at the end of our meal was much appreciated. After eating most of the cumin lamb, my breath needed some help.

If you like spicy northern Chinese food, Cafe China is worth a visit. The ingredients were top notch and the food was more skillfully cooked than what I can get back in Calgary.

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After our meal, we walked through the Upper East Side of Manhattan and then cut across Central Park to the Upper West Side to Milk Bar on Columbus.

Beep Beep wanted to try the crack cake at Milk Bar Bakery because she watched Christina Tosi on Chef’s Table. When the employee learned it was Beep Beep’s birthday, she gave her complimentary birthday truffles.

We took subway back to our hotel in Tribeca to change for the evening. Beep Beep told me how she loves taking the subway in New York because it’s convenient, cheap and gets you around the entire city. She even loves the dirty grittiness of the subway and the grinding noises of the trains on the track.

When we walked to our exit, I heard the sound of someone clearing their throat and then spitting. I felt droplets all over my hair. I turned around to see a tall homeless man with red eyes walking towards me, his arms extended and waving. Beep Beep pushed me forward and told me to keep walking.

Gee Beep Beep – you weren’t exaggerating when you said New York’s subway is gritty. In 2008, I surveyed residents and businesses in the Downtown Eastside, which includes the notorious East Hastings St. Not once did I feel threatened, nor did anyone spit or hustle money out of me. Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Cafe China Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato