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Monday, September 19, 2005

jayne hat, fbs progress and dumpling adventure part #1

This weekend involved alot of settlers playing, and some work and part 1 of an amazing dumpling adventure.

I did see ervy's new cube. Here's ervy at work

Sunday, instead of going to work out, Ervy and I decided to embark on a tour de dumplings. We roped fu into our journey, and although we had about 9 dumpling places to try on our list, we only got through 3 of them before being defeated by the fullness of our tummies.

Part 1 included the Taipei Stone House, A&J, and the Tong Dumpling Pot - all of which were in Cupertino.

1. Taipei Stone House:
0877 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino, CA 95014
Cupertino Village (Ranch 99 Complex)
(408) 255-8886

This is not only a dumpling restaurant. It is a normal Chinese restaurant, and I must say, while waiting for our dumplings, we saw many other delicious looking dishes heading to other tables. Also, fu and I had much guilt about going to a full restaurant and only ordering a couple dishes of dumplings. Fu apologized before ordering (in Chinese), but the owner/waiter was nothing but polite and happy to serve us. We had an order of xiao long bao ("pork steamed buns" on the menu) and an order of fried dumplings/potstickers. The first to arrive was the xiao long bao. Our waiter brought it out in a large full size bamboo steamer (not one of the tiny ones, so the dumplings were able to rest far apart from each other, getting rid of the risk of sticking to each other and breaking, losing precious soup). He also brought us all soup spoons to eat the dumplings with and a dish of black Chinese vinegar and shredded ginger. He explained how we should eat it, and then revealed the dumplings with flourish. OMFG. They were fantastic. The wrappers were thin and perfect (not the thick chewiness you might find on others), the soup was wonderful, and intact in the dumplings due to the care in spacing as mentioned above. Wow. Afterwards, the waiter/owner man explained that they are actually famous for their xiao long bao (although I'm not sure what he means by 'famous.' articles? awards?). After finishing the first dumplings he brought out our fried potstickers (jiao zi(sp?)). These were made in an interesting way. Instead of fully enclosing the meat with the wrappers, the dumplings were wrapped more like open ended egg rolls. Very simple, but wonderfully fried and nicely flavorful. A++++... I'm going back for sure.

2. The second spot we hit was A&J also in Cupertino Village
10893 N WOLFE RD 160C CUPERTINO, CA 95014-0605
PHONE (408)873-8298

We've been here previously for other yummy taiwanese/Chinese snacks. We couldn't help ordering a non-dumpling dish of sliced pig ear in sichuan peppercorn oil. That was delicious. Unfortunately, the dumplings were not as tasty - at all. The xiao long bao were unfortunate. the wrappers were too thick and chewy at the top. Plus all the dumplings were shoved together in the smallest of steamers such that in picking one up, you'd rip the dough and lose the soup and possibly any filling. We also had some vegetarian dumplings and beef dumplings. The beef dumplings were especially average. The veggi ones were ok, but most lost filling when picked up. Also, the waiter was a bit annoyed with us for just ordering a few dumplings and pig ear. I like A&J, but I wouldn't order dumplings there ever again.

3. Lastly, we hit Tong Dumpling Pot
in cupertino, follow Wolfe Rd past the dead mall (Vallco?) as it turns into Miller. When you hit Bollinger, turn left and go into the Safeway parking lot. Go past the Chef Woo side and turn the corner. It's near the water place. Maybe 6184 Bollinger?
This place is mainly a dumpling spot, so there were no worries about just ordering dumplings. The prices were quite reasonable 12 dumplings (boiled or fried depending on your choice) for $5.50 (for lunch it's $5.50 for 12 dumplings + soup or porridge + snack). You can also buy them frozen in packs of 50 for about $12+. They have 4 choices of pork dumplings, one vegetarian choice, two lamb dumpling choices, and 3 chicken dumpling choices (i think). We ordered the pork with shrimp and chives dumplings, the vegetarian dumplings, and the lamb and squash dumplings. It's a very small shop, but since it was the middle of the afternoon, we were the only ones besides the owners who were there. They have a small counter where you can sit and watch them make the dumplings (they handmake them from the wrappers to the fillings.. yay!). Indeed, the handmade wrappers were highly praised by fu. The first set of dumplings we received were the pork/shrimp/chives. These were ok, but had an odd aftertaste that we attributed to the shrimp. Get the ones w/o the shrimp, and I'm sure they'll be good. 2nd came the lamb/squash dumplings. Fu and Ervy LOVED these. They are unique and lamby tasting. (I actually detest the taste of lamb so after one bite of half of one of those dumplings, I passed the rest of it off to ervy). The veggie ones were also good. They tasted highly of mushrooms (so if you don't like mushrooms, do NOT eat this), plus it had yummy noodle bits in them. I would go back here.

The dumpling adventure left us full and lethargic. Even tho we had tea at each place, ervy and I craved espresso. We headed off to Castro (after pulling Adam with us). Ervy and I got yummy Americanos from Red Rock, and we headed across the street to Tapioco Express so Adam and Fu could get pearl milk teas. While there, ervy and I tried to remember how to play Chinese checkers... I lost.

Jayne hat:
I bought the yarn for my hat Friday afternoon and got cracking right away... I realize that the photo I posted from Firefly doesn't show the color of Jayne's hat very well. There are some better images here. Anyway, I grabbed 2 skeins of Lamb's Pride bulky (1 in a red color, 1 in an orange color). There wasn't a yellow I liked enough in LPB, so I bought a bulky in Numero Uno by Lana Grossa. Here was the finished hat Saturday:

You might notice the colors are a bit brighter than Jayne's hat's colors are... So last night I tea dyed the hat. Unfortunately it didn't tone down the red enough... I plan to dip dye just the bottom half of the hat (the red part) in coffee this evening to darken it down a bit.

Flower Basket Shawl Progress

I stopped by Uncommon Threads on Friday to pick up some yarn for my Jayne hat, and while I was there, one of the workers... (Carolyn?) helped me figure out the lace charts on FBS. (I totally didn't realize that the first 2 and last 2 squares on the charts were stitches I was actually supposed to KNIT! (i thought they were just designating purl or knit....). That's why I wasn't ending up with the right number of stitches... duh!

Also, my sp5 Nancy is still rocking my world!!! She sent me a great link to some notes on the fbs which is perfect for right now as I'm just moving on to the lower fbs chart. The site she sent already answered my question about the repeats!

Here's where I am now (although at this point it doesn't look like much unless I stretch out the stitches (then I can see some of the first "leaf" pattern repeats). Oh and if you can see where I made my mistakes... shh! I am actually having a hard time keeping track of where I am on the charts as I often knit while watching tv... this type of knitting seems to require a little more attention than i'm used to giving.


Anonymous said...

Hey crazy dumpling hunter!

Do you like doing other boardgames (not just settlers) and/or other kinds of gaming, too?

fishgirl182 said...

mmm those dumplings sound delish. i will have to try some the next time i am at home visiting the parents. and you finished your hat so quick. i just bought yarn to make one, but i think i am going to make the bottom a rust orange color instead of red. the dvd has such vague color. but of course, i can't find that color anywhere. anyhow- sounds like you had a delicious weekend.

CynCyn said...

droooooooooooolllllllll... LORI! you're so cruel... i'm seriously drooling over here, and it's past midnight. Dumplings. The open ended egg roll like dumplings you described are called box dumplings, and are fairly traditional in Taiwan (that's how a lot of the guo tia- potstickers - are made there). MMMM. There's one taiwanese dumpling place here in Denver, and I feel so fortunate. To have TWELVE? I'd be a 400 lb woman within a year.

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