Yesterday I met friends for lunch to continue the celebration of my best friend’s birthday. I don’t remember what prompted us to do this; but, a few years ago we fell into the habit of celebrating each other’s birthdays with multiple get togethers…we jokingly say we “celebrate our birthday month…all month long.” We’re glad to be alive and grateful to feel good so, what the heck, we celebrate.
Our meeting spot was the Irvine Spectrum, a major entertainment destination for shopping, movies, and restaurants in South Orange County, Ca. We had decided where to meet, but not on the restaurant …I was early and parked in the wrong lot … but it worked out fabulously for me because I came across a fairly new, gorgeous, large, dim sum restaurant called Capital Seafood. I looked in the window and saw darling petite square white tea cups on the tables (covered with white table cloths), and then saw servers wheeling around dim sum carts. I hurriedly called my friends and told them where I was parked and that I found our place for lunch. They were game…we had a wonderful time. Their oolong tea was delicious with the dim sum. What a find, we’ll be back.
I love anything called a dumpling…so, several years ago, when I discovered that there were dim sum restaurants, I was thrilled. Servers pushing carts filled with dozens of varieties of steamed, pan fried, and fried dumplings come by your table and you get to point and choose and nosh and gobble up the most tasty little bites of food. We enjoyed delicate steamed shiu mai filled with minced pork, shrimp har gow, BBQ pork buns (char siu bao), Shanghai dumplings and more. The steamed dumplings are my favorites. The sticky, chewy, texture of the almost translucent rice wrapper of a har gow makes you feel like you’re in China as you bite into one. It’s an exciting, bustling environment.
We had no idea what each item cost and were pleasantly surprised at how reasonable the bill was when we got it. We highly recommend Capital Seafood Restaurant. And if you have little time, this is the place, they move fast.
Dim Sum means “touch the heart.” One of my favorite tea experiences is a dim sum tea I prepared for ten friends a few years ago. It’s a featured menu in my tea book, along with several recipes of dim sum. I made everything from scratch for that afternoon tea. It took me 16 hours. My husband steamed the dumplings and served while I paired and poured three different teas to our group. It was fun and thrilling. But, gotta tell you, I found going to the this high quality dim sum restaurant as fun and more thrilling as I got to point and eat versus doing the work of preparing fillings and wrapping dozens of dumplings :-). I have a great deal of respect for the detail, skill and effort that goes into preparing dim sum.
Eat dim sum… drink tea …