On a quiet stretch of Wilshire Boulevard, just around the corner from Los Angeles’ famed Restaurant Row, sits Philippe Chow — an upscale Chinese eatery that caters to the rich and famous or anyone aspiring to such things. Naturally, I was rather intrigued when I was invited to a media-comped chef’s tasting, and so I called up my friend Kambra and after trekking through some of the worst LA traffic I’ve endured all year, we made it to the restaurant (albeit, 45 minutes late).
For about a year and a half, I’ve been wanting to try Beijing Pie House — a Chinese eatery in the heart of Monterey Park, CA. The restaurant boasts dumplings the shape of overgrown hockey pucks that squirt searingly hot liquid at the most benign of pokes, and as we all know, benign poking is truly my forte. Nevertheless, while it took me many months to finally visit BPH (as I’ve decided to call it), I finally gathered up a group of friends, including Sly and Abe, and headed East for a dumpling-tastic adventure.
Our group entered the restaurant tentatively — not because we feared what was inside but more because it was so deathly silent we momentarily assumed we had wandered into a library or perhaps funeral home. Not only was there no music, but the diners all spoke in hushed tones, almost as if the bright fluorescent lighting had beaten them into submission. I suppose I naturally assumed the restaurant would be loud and convivial as patrons burned their tongues and lips and chins with scalding hot dumpling liquid. But no. If people were in pain, they bore the brunt of it in steely silence.
Earlier this month, I was invited down to Chinatown in Los Angeles for a media-comped meal at the Plum Tree Inn. The purpose of the dinner was to introduce a dining alternative to the usual turkey and stuffing offerings found on most Thanksgiving tables. As such, if you’re looking for something new and untraditional (or better yet — you just don’t want to slave away in the kitchen), take a look at what the Plum Tree Inn has on deck for Turkey Day.
Local independent TV station KCET has recently launched a web series titled Free Lunch, which treats commenters on kcet.org to — you guessed it — a free lunch in the area. I was lucky enough to participate in the series, and since my ol’ college friend Leah was in town, I invited her to join me for a wonderful meal at Elite Restaurant in Monterey Park, CA.
Elite specializes in delicious dim sum, and since Leah had never tried dim sum before, the experience was especially exciting for her. Needless to say, we ate like kings and left quite full.