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MOE in LA: Chinese Dinner


rjwong
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The 2nd annual Chinese Food Festival in downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 27-28, 2005 provides the perfect opportunity for eGullet members and their guests to gather for a Member Organized Event (MOE) in LA: Chinese Dinner during that time.

After spending an afternoon with thousands of attendees at the Chinese Food Festival, what a better way to end the day with a multi-course, Cantonese-style Chinese dinner at the Empress Pavilion, the “Grand Dame of Los Angeles' Chinatown.” Attendees can share their experiences about the Festival, while learning and tasting the distinctives of the Cantonese style of Chinese cuisine.

Here's some basic information:

What: A multi-course Chinese dinner, organized by members of the eGullet Society of Culinary Arts & Letters

Who can attend: eGullet members & their guests, as well as the general public

Where: Empress Pavilion; 2nd floor, Bamboo Plaza; 988 N. Hill St.; Los Angeles, CA 90012; (213) 617-9898

When: Either on Sat. 27 Aug. or on Sun. 28 Aug., 5:00-8:00 p.m., depending on which day is more desirable by the majority of attendees.

How much: About $30 per person (or hopefully less), which will include the dinner, tax & gratuity. A more exact price will be available depending on how many will attend.

Please respond so I can determine if there's enough interest, by posting on this thread with the following information:

* how many persons attending, including you

* which day you would attend (Sat., Sun., or Either)

* how adventurous are you, in terms of eating (jellyfish? abalone? squid? whole fish with the head intact & the eyes looking at you?)

Please come and join the fun!

This event has been organized through eG Forums by members but is not sponsored by the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters or eG Forums. The event is open to all eGullet Society participating members, contributors and their guests. By participating in this event, you confirm your understanding and acceptance of the

eG Calendar and Events Policy, to which all eGullet Society members have already agreed.

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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I've been contacted via my private email by some new members regarding posting priviliges, so I'd like to remind all our new members to click on the 'Upgrade' button next to your username in the upper left corner. Please apply for 'Participating' status. It's free, and will allow you to post in the eGullet Society threads. Cheers!

_____________________

Mary Baker

Solid Communications

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When I lived in Tulsa I had a British/Malaysian girlfriend. She wanted to make me bat soup like her family made it--a real delicacy, she claimed. But she said you need to get your bats freshly killed and hanging in the market stalls, as she could in Singapore. She bemoaned the fact that the one Oriental market in our area had only "freeze-dried, black market" bats.

She also said the only things her mother and MIL agreed upon were fish lips and chicken feet.

Her British husband, Duncan, related the first (and only) time he tried birds' nest soup, also in Singapore. The soup is apparently made from the conical nests of a particular kind of swallow. The nests are boiled until they disintegrate, the debris is strained out, and what is left is a sort of bird spit reduction. This is served warm, in a glass cup. Dunc said he tried to take only one small sip, but discovered to no small degree of unpleasant surprise that he was unable to sever the viscous goo into separate gulps, and had to suck the whole thing down at once.

I wish I could attend the Festival and dinner. I'm sure the majority of offerings will be more familiar Chinese dishes, but if they offer some unusual stuff I think I would try everything except sea slugs and birds' nest soup. :laugh:

_____________________

Mary Baker

Solid Communications

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I'm interested!

One person, Saturday or Sunday are equally good. As to how adventurous, I'm middling. Happy to watch others eat eyeballs, not too likely to partake myself. :wink:

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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* how many persons attending, including you - 2

* which day you would attend (Sat., Sun., or Either) - Sunday

* how adventurous are you, in terms of eating (jellyfish? abalone? squid? whole fish with the head intact & the eyes looking at you?)

We're game for pretty much anything except ducks feet!

Whole fish is great!

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* how many persons attending, including you - 2

* which day you would attend (Sat., Sun., or Either) - Sunday

* how adventurous are you, in terms of eating (jellyfish? abalone? squid? whole fish with the head intact & the eyes looking at you?)

I'm adventurous! As long as there's no soylent green! :wink:

the tall drink of water...
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With about three weeks away, here's the summary of responses so far:

rjwong

Ore

tejon

Matsu + 1 guest

Radio7 + 1 guest

That's 7 people. Not bad, for a start ... :hmmm: Perhaps, people are squeezing in their vacation trips before Sept.

It looks like Sunday 28 Aug. seems to work for everybody. So, let me update the basic information:

What: A multi-course Chinese dinner, organized by members of the eGullet Society of Culinary Arts & Letters

Who can attend: eGullet members & their guests, as well as the general public

Where: Empress Pavilion; 2nd floor, Bamboo Plaza; 988 N. Hill St.; Los Angeles, CA 90012; (213) 617-9898

When: Sun. 28 Aug., 5:00-8:00 p.m.

How much: About $30 per person (or hopefully less), which will include the dinner, tax & gratuity. A more exact price will be available depending on how many will attend.

As for the menu, I want to order a whole variety of dishes to sample. Some of the more exotic dishes tend to be more expensive. Mind you, this is NOT going to be a glorified Panda Express-type of dinner, but there'll be a chicken dish and a beef dish. I want to include some chilled jellyfish, the steamed whole fish (with the head & the eyes ...), and shark fin soup.

And as for the two eGullet forum hosts who responded:

I wish I could attend the Festival and dinner.  I'm sure the majority of offerings will be more familiar Chinese dishes, but if they offer some unusual stuff I think I would try everything except sea slugs and birds' nest soup.
Grrr.... Stuck out here on the east coast....

I want photos, damn you! Many, many photos!!

You two can do something about that, can't you? Hmmmm??? :hmmm:

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Two more weeks until the Chinese dinner at Empress Pavilion!!

So far, I got 7 people saying "Yes", with 3 more saying "Maybe."

Well, here's the menu, subject to change depending on how many more people say "Yes":

Appetizer plate with BBQ meats and chilled jellyfish

Soup: seafood soup or winter melon soup

Whole crispy chicken

Stir-fried scallops with vegetables

Sizzling beef plate

Chinese clay pot

Stir-fried clams with black bean sauce

Chinese vegetables

Steamed whole fish

To reiterate, the cost is about $30, which includes dinner, tax and gratuity. Drinks & cocktails are extra and on your own.

Because the dinner coincides with the LA Chinese Food Festival, parking is at a premium. I'll get back to all of you with some more parking information. You are encouraged to use public transportation to get to Chinatown during that weekend of Aug. 27-28, 2005. Metro is a transportation partner with the Festival.

By next Sunday night (Aug. 21), if possible, I would like a definite, final count of how many are planning to come, so I can finalize things with the restaurant a few days before.

I ask you, my fellow eGulleteers, to please seriously consider coming to this Chinese dinner on the 28th of Aug., starting at 5:00 p.m. It's a really good menu with a variety of Cantonese dishes. I spared no expense in consulting a Chinese food expert (my SIL!!) in preparing this menu.

So please come. Bring your friends, those who don't mind a culinary adventure. I hope you see you all at Empress Pavilion on Sun., Aug. 28.

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Grrr.... Stuck out here on the east coast....

I want photos, damn you! Many, many photos!!

Dittos on the sentiment. East coast, instead of the chinease food festival we have the oppressive heat and humidity. Please post pictures.

Soup

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Is it too late to get in on this action? If not, count me in with one guest!

No, it's not too late. You and your guest are counted in!!

That makes it 9 "Yes", 2 "Maybe", with 2 East Coasters demanding photos & 1 West Coaster politely asking for documentation ...

I'll be PMing those of you attending with info about cost, travelling directions & parking early next week.

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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5 more days left before the MOE in LA: Chinese Dinner!!

I have 8 "Yes" and 2 "Maybe" right now, according to my count.

I'll be heading over to Empress Pavilion to finalize arrangements for Sunday night at 5 p.m. I reserved one table for 10 people. Hopefully, that will work out fine.

Yes, I even bought a Minolta DImage X50 digital camera to take some photos of the event.

Soup, my apologies. You did ask politely, unlike that other East Coaster who seemingly demanded photos in a rather profane manner. If I didn't know any better, that person was acting like ... a preschooler ... :raz:

This is going to be fun. I hope there's enough food for everybody ...

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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gallery_24802_1668_98703.jpg

This should be my last post before the Chinese dinner at Empress Pavilion on Sunday 28 August 2005 at 5:00 p.m.

Final count: 9 people

rjwong

Radio7 + 1 guest

Ore

Matsu + 1 guest

LainaAS + 1 guest

archestratus

Let's all meet outside the restaurant by the "Empress Pavilion" sign a few minutes before, please.

Last minute information: The restaurant validates parking for one and a half hours. Afterwards, it's 60 cents for every 30 minutes. The cost is about $30 per person. I went to the restaurant on Wed. and had to order in advance the winter melon soup. The rest of the menu is pretty much the same as previously posted. The clay pot is more of a seafood clay pot with vegetables and tofu.

As for posting the dinner photos, it may take a week or so because my computer is having some hard drive problems. :sad: Well, Murphy was an optimist ...

That's about it until Sunday. If you haven't eaten a 9-course meal, try to pace yourselves. I hope there's enough food for everyone ... :unsure:

See you on Sunday!!

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Member-Organized Event in Los Angeles: Chinese Dinner

August 28, 2005, Empress Pavilion

gallery_24802_1699_73879.jpg

We were standing around in front of the restaurant, waiting for a couple of more people. A family matter, an accident, a reggae concert ... Whatever the reasons, it was going to be six of us ultimately. A James Beard Award-winning author, a worker from King's Hawaiian, an employee who works for the Grammys, a couple of spouses, and a librarian.

Who would have thought that these six people would have enjoyed a nine-course Cantonese-style Chinese banquet at Empress Pavilion in the heart of Los Angeles Chinatown? Well, we did. Here's how the banquet went ...

It started off with appetizers:

gallery_24802_1699_57451.jpg

Soy sauce chicken with chilled jellyfish.

It should have been BBQ pork and roast duck, but it would have taken an extra thirty minutes ... Everybody seemed to like the jellyfish. This was a good sign.

The winter melon soup had to be ordered in advance. It takes several hours to cook this entire baby:

gallery_24802_1699_76474.jpg

gallery_24802_1699_103852.jpg

And what a presentation! By concensus, this dish was worth the price of admission!

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Whole crispy chicken

Along with some shrimp chips, the chicken comes complete with its head:

gallery_24802_1699_73774.jpg

Suddenly, there ensued an onslaught of dishes, one right after another. Trying to keep up with taking food photos was not easy:

gallery_24802_1699_18071.jpg

Scallops with garden vegetables

gallery_24802_1699_14213.jpg

gallery_24802_1699_105216.jpg

Sizzling filet of beef with Cantonese sauce

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Empress Pavilion clay pot

gallery_24802_1699_15758.jpg

Whole clams in black bean sauce

gallery_24802_1699_103229.jpg

Sauteed green beans with dry style

gallery_24802_1699_57144.jpg

Steamed whole rock cods with ginger and green onions

The culinary deluge ended. No more photos right now. We're eating ...

All right! Here's one more picture with everything except the appetizers:

gallery_24802_1699_75354.jpg

And to end the meal, Chinese fortune cookies ... :

gallery_24802_1699_75315.jpg

The Chinese banquet was enjoyed by all, except for a few ...

gallery_24802_1699_73774.jpg

gallery_24802_1699_96077.jpg

Might have to do another MOE in LA sometime later ...

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
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