I've had a crazy day! Meetings down in the OC led to a lunch of Dim Sum on my way back from Monterey Park. We ended up eating at Elite Restaurant as it was recently written up in Los Angeles Magazine. Upon pulling up I was a little nervous because I noticed the "B" health rating hanging in the window, but I didn't let that stop me.
We walked into what felt like a different world. Everyone was Chinese and the waitstaff hardly spoke English. We were presented with a menu with photos as well as a check list to place our order. There are no carts at this dim sum restaurant and while, it does take some of the fun out of it, it also allows you to have a better idea of what you are ordering, rather than pointing to a dumpling that could be filled with...god knows what!
Trusty Yelp told me to order their har gow and shu mai, and the Los Angeles Magazine had written them up for great steamed and baked BBQ pork buns (go for the baked!). We ordered several other things including a mushroom and meet dumpling, noodles filled with pork and corn and a crispy duck. Almost all of the food was fantastic. I particularly loved the baked BBQ pork buns as well as the har gow.
We had a fried version of the har gow that was pretty fantastic as well. The duck was crispy and rich and came with a sweet and sour sauce (is this typical? I thought duck always came with plum sauce...). We literally had a feast! There was so much food on the table. The bill? $35! And that included a beer! What a steal! If only they were closer. I'd love to have them cater a party :)
So now onto dinner. I called this food day for a reason. On our way back from Monterey Park we stopped at Whole Foods and picked up some ingredients for Scarpetta's famous spaghetti. I've had this spaghetti at 3 of the Scarpetta locations - Miami, New York and LA. So I figured I'd try and make it. It is supposedly a simple dish - but I've been in the kitchen for an hour and a half, stewing tomatoes, infusing oil with garlic and basil and I'm still not done.
For those of you wanting to attempt this recipe yourselves here is a good version: http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/10/making-scarpetta-tomato-basil-spaghetti-scott-conant-scarpetta-meatpacking-district-nyce.html
I recommend reading the WHOLE recipe before you begin as it's a little confusing what goes where.
And there is always room for dessert! I have a few cupcakes from Dot's in Pasadena that were brought to me. I already had a nibble of a few last night - Apple pie cupcake, oreo cupcake and vanilla cupcake. The oreo and apple pie are my favorite.
Elite Restaurant 700 S. Atlantic Blvd. Monterey Park, CA (626) 282-9998
Dot's Cupcakes 21 North Fair Oaks Ave. Pasadena (626) 744-7719