Thursday, December 7, 2017

Is Longo Seafood Waking Los Angeles From Its Dim Sum Slumber?

As indicated in my summer LA Weekly piece on the recently opened Xiang Yuan Gourmet in Temple City, the Los Angeles area has not welcomed a new dim sum contender to challenge the existing stalwarts in nearly a decade.   While Los Angeles continues to generally widen the lead over the rest of the United States in purveying the best Chinese food in the country, the Los Angeles area dominance in dim sum which was so wide a decade ago has completely evaporated. The San Francisco Bay area is now the US king of dim sum with its powerhouse lineup including Dragon Beaux, Koi Palace, Hong Kong Lounge #1, the unrelated Hong Kong Lounge #2, and Lai Hong Lounge.  In the words of Chinese restaurant industry maven Robert Lu (known as the irrepressible "ipsedixit" for nearly two decades on Los Angeles area food message boards), Los Angeles area dim sum "has largely stagnated in terms of innovation."  In contrast, the Bay Area has stepped up with new and better varieties of dim sum to catch, and now pass Los Angeles in the past three years or so.  Shades of much of the 20th Century, when Angelinos used to travel up to San Francisco to get a better brand of Chinese food, and it's deja vu again insofar as dim sum is concerned.

However, the worm may be starting to turn, first with Xiang Yuan Gourmet, but especially now with the opening a few weeks ago of Longo Seafood in Rosemead at 7540 E. Garvey Ave.   Game changing dim sum at this street location would be wholly unexpected.  Not that there's anything wrong with this location per se, given that it has hosted at least 10 different dim sum eateries in a three decade period.  It's just that over this period, it has been home to so many undistinguished dim sum restaurants that finding high quality dim sum in this building would be nearly unimaginable.  With the exception of Donald Lam's Seafood City, the first dim sum restaurant to occupy this spot and which reigned here in the mid-1980s, dim sum at this location had been known more for value pricing and not gourmet quality. 

But with the arrival of Longo Seafood, everything has changed.  In hindsight, there were small clues that something was happening here.  Where replacement restaurants at this location previously took just days or maybe a few weeks to open up, this location was closed for the better part of a year while renovations were in progress.  And it wasn't that the remodel was dragging along slowly, as there was clearly continuously activity.   This all made sense when the restaurant opened earlier this fall, revealing a sleek, total and upscale upgrade to the location, highlighted by its gigantic chandelier and similarly gigantic TV screen.  Longo Seafood is definitely one of the nicest Chinese restaurant dining rooms in the San Gabriel Valley.

Of course good decor is nice, but everybody's interested in the food, and the crowds have been enthusiastic, sometimes filling the restaurant by 11 am even on weekdays.  No surprise given the existence of dim sum items not ordinarily seen in Los Angeles, such as lobster rolls at eight pieces for $19.99, black truffle shumai (below) at six pieces for $15.99, and foie gras shrimp dumplings also at six pieces for $15.99.

Steamed rice rolls are not the rectangular cheung fun typically seen at dimsum, but as seen below are elongated rice noodle twists served on regular plates with varieties such as wagyu beef, vegetable and truffles, shredded duck, and using red rice rolls, spareribs.   With their extensive dim sum menu it'll take several visits to get a complete reading on Longo Seafood, but certainly it's so far, so good.

Why Chip Kelly Is A Better Fit for UCLA than USC

For the past few years, UCLA and USC football fans have fantasized about being able to hire Chip Kelly to be their school's football coach.  Between his prickly personality and his brush with the NCAA, however, Kelly becoming coach of either school was clearly a pipe dream.   UCLA was particularly a farfetched destination given that UCLA never had the financial resources like powerhouse schools in Texas and the South, and hiring Kelly would first entail firing Jim Mora and paying off his $12 million buyout clause, which presumably was beyond the school's athletic budget, not to mention a big paycheck for Kelly which would be seemingly be even further beyond the budget.  Yet, UCLA was able to come up with the money to pull the trigger on both.

So how and why did all this become a reality?   With the proper context it now all makes sense.  In the past few years UCLA has upgraded its athletic facilities tremendously, from the Pauley Pavilion remodel, to the new Wasserman football facility and the Ostin basketball facility, which added up to hundreds of millions of dollars.  These were financed through a combination of fundraising, the lucrative Pac 12 media contract, and the record athletic wear sponsorship deal with UnderArmour.    In the context of all the capital expenditures, the extra millions needed to upgrade the coaching situation seem relatively insignificant.   It turns out Coach Mora would have been fired even if UCLA had beaten USC, as the school needed a different kind of football coach to lead the football program to level needed to match the new facilities.  And it wouldn't be surprising to learn if UnderArmour added to the pot, as they were in dire need of establishing a flagship university for their brand.

So why is Chip Kelly not a good fit for USC, but an acceptable fit for UCLA?  Two reasons.  First of all is the NCAA issue.  Chip Kelly was under an NCAA show cause order due to the fact that Oregon made illegal payments to a Texas scouting service.  There was no evidence that Kelly knew of the payments, but as head of the football program he bore ultimate responsibility, and jumping to the NFL probably closed the book on that violation.  Personally I can't believe that Kelly did not have actual knowledge of those payments.  With this in mind, there's no way that USC could have hired Kelly to replace Steve Sarkisian.  Given their NCAA problems in both football in basketball, USC could not afford to hire a coach with any hint of a problem, so Kelly would be a nonstarter.  Furthermore, Kelly is all football and is not the kind of coach to shmooze the alumni and be friends with all of the wealthy donors.  USC is certainly not the kind of place for that kind of coach.

So how is UCLA the better fit?  Well, it's athletic director Dan Guerrero is a highly respected member of the NCAA infrastructure and is known for doing everything above board.  Rick Neuheisel came to UCLA as football coach with a reputation of sometime pushing the envelope with the NCAA, and in his four years as coach there was nary a problem.  Guerrero will keep Kelly under control if there is a need to do so.  Secondly, UCLA does not have the cadre of alumni donors that need to be stroked like USC and many other schools have.  Indeed, there is just Casey Wasserman and probably a couple of others.  So Chip Kelly can spend his time on football, rather than donor relations.

It would have been great had I been able to attend last Monday's introductory press conference with Chip Kelly.  I received an invitation to attend just two hours before the event began, apparently a reward for being a 30 year season ticket holder.  It probably wouldn't have been worth taking four hours off on a workday to attend a 30 minute press conference with just a select number of fans in attendance.  But it would have been fun.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Week of Dining in San Diego and New York

Last month's trip from LA to San Diego to New York produced a number of dining highlights.  Actually San Diego was mostly onsite hotel meals, with only one restaurant visit.  Del Mar Rendezvous, is a Chinese restaurant I would never had heard of except for the fact that Clarissa Wei had included it in the handful of California Chinese restaurants in her article on the 50 best Chinese restaurants in the US that she had written for CNN.   In reading Yelp their signature dish seemed to be the marinated duck breast, so we ordered that plus the Singapore mei fun.  Because the duck required preparation time, the mei fun came out first and was clearly the worst version of that dish we ever ate, moist and bland.   The $26 duck on a bed of string beans came out later, and it was OK, but certainly no better than the roast duck you could get in Chinatown or the San Gabriel Valley for much less.  Strangely the tweet I posted saying that this was the worse mei fun I had ever eaten was retweeted by a San Diego magazine and another San Diego tweeter with a large social media presence–between them the two tweeters had 10,000 followers.  I wonder whether they realized that my tweet was so negative.  I also wonder why Del Mar Rendezvous made CNN's national Top 50.

We took an afternoon flight out of San Diego for New York, and by the time we got our luggage and rode the taxi into town it was 11 pm, so I was still debating whether to eat.  However since the Halal Guys were just a block away from the Sheraton we headed there and luckily the line was short.  The chicken rice was as good as ever. 

For me, the highlight of the trip was the next morning at Tim Ho Wan in East Village.  Tim Ho Wan invented the crispy baked bbq pork bun, and the bun helped their Hong Kong location become the first restaurant in the $10pp category to garner a Michelin star.  When they first opened in New York about a year ago, the waiting time was as much as 3 to 4 hours, so I decided to get there early, at 10:30 am.  I was relieved to find that it was only half full when I arrived there.  I presume that by now that novelty has worn out, plus the fact that aside from the crispy bbq pork bun, the word has gotten out that the rest of the stuff on the menu isn’t particularly good.  I had two orders of the crispy buns which while not as good as the Hong Kong branch, or even versions of the same item in the Bay Area, were still good enough to make me happy.

Next most notable meal was dinner at Hakkasan.   The NY Hakkasan menu was largely different from the San Francisco branch, and we had the lamb wrap (similar to the now ubiquitous Shandong beef rolls), seabass with Chinese honey (the best dish of the night), and the curry seafood hotpot with fried bread, plus a bowl of chicken soup.  In addition, because they misplaced our order for a while, they comped us their special passionfruit dessert, which was a dab of passionfruit sorbet, a small chocolate square with passionfruit in the center, and a small passionfruit gel.  The $15 retail price for the dessert made for a $150 dinner in total, which while quite good, really wasn’t worth that hefty of a price. 

A nice side trip was a subway ride to Columbia University to check out the Chinese food trucks I had written about.  The ride was short from Midtown, and it took a few minutes more to figure out that the trucks were parked near the main gate.  There were a half dozen trucks parked, four Chinese though the others were also Asian.  I  spotted the Uncle Luoyang trick and had the tofu skin salad which was quite good, eating it while looking out over the main courtyard.  

Another nice trip was going out to Flushing where  we went to New Mulan Seafood restaurant as it was the only major dim sum location in Flushing I had never been to.  The bad news was that it was full up with people waiting for dim sum, but the offsetting news was they had a separate dining room that did not serve dim sum, which was largely empty and was good enough for me.  It was actually one of the nicest dining rooms I’ve seen in a Cantonese restaurant in a Chinese community.  The regular menu had a high price point, but they also had a nice menu of $10 lunch specials.  The best dish was the throwback Cantonese fillet steak, almost never seen in California before where everybody serves the better tasting French cut filet mignon instead.  Another sign of how New York Chinese food badly trails the west coast.  

The rest of the food in New York was good to average.  It was interesting going to the original Eataly in Chelsea after having visited the Chicago Eataly twice.  The pappardelle with black truffle cream was excellent, but the lasagna wasn't, as the noodles were much too thin.  Chinatown dinners at Canton Lounge and Shanghai Heping were ordinary, as was breakfast at Hoy Wong.   However, the fish jian bing at Yinwahmen, the first I’ve ever seen, was very interesting, basically like a McDonald’s filet of fish but spicy with pickled vegetables.   And Kam Hing Coffee Shop turned out to be a real gem, the only restaurant on Baxter St., a street I passed dozens of times but never bothered to check out since their signature item being sponge cake wasn't that much of an attraction to me.  Kam Hing has one of the shortest menus I’ve ever seen in a Chinese restaurant.  But in addition to the sponge cake, they have fish balls, and rice noodle logs, and they do a booming business both with sit downs and take outs.  

Last mention goes to the Lexington Ave. street fair, one of the rotating street fair locations put on by a company called Mardi Gras Productions, which ran over a dozen blocks.   Several food vendors sold arapas, a Colombian cornmeal patty made with mozzarella cheese.   Very interesting and I thought also very good.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

How Sausage and Laws Are Made--Behind Today's LA Weekly Review of Noodle(s) Time(s)

In the course of writing dozens of Chinese restaurant related articles, most of the articles are written over an extended period of time, from a few weeks to several months, though the actual total elapsed writing time is not that great.  But once in a while the timing for inception to publication is rapid, sometimes breathtakingly so.  A good example of this is my article in today's LA Weekly on Noodles Time restaurant.  I had no idea Noodles Time even existed until 2 pm on Tuesday, and it was a fluke that I found it.  While I often drive through Chinatown, I seldom actually stop because parking is so problematic, particularly on weekdays.  Occasionally I need to visit Cathay Bank, but typically go to Monterey Park or Alhambra where there's convenient parking.  But  on Tuesday I decided go to the Chinatown branch which does have parking, albeit with an inconveniently located parking entrance.  Anyway, road construction sent me off track and right by Alpine Plaza where I noticed the strange sign saying "Vegan."  So after visiting the bank I decided to stroll down the block where I found this restaurant with its unusual menu and setting.

After leaving the restaurant I decided that it was interesting enough to share, but certainly there wasn't enough for any extended kind of writeup.  I was just going to do a paragraph on the food message board about how Noodles Time had been open for a year in Chinatown and hadn't been noticed by myself or anybody else, and how remarkably different it was.   However, when I started writing on Tuesday evening it got a little bit too long for a message board post, so I decided to do a post on this blog.  But the post didn't read very well so I put it aside.

The next morning I decided to update the post to make it flow a lot better.  At this point, remembering the admonition of LA Weekly food editor Katherine Spiers as to why I hadn't submitted a prior Chandavkl blog post item to be run as an LA Weekly article, I started to think about what would be needed to make it suitable for outside publication.  Since what I had written was way short lengthwise of what would be needed, I did some additional background research about Alpine Plaza.  That's when I found out about plans to build a Blossom Plaza like project on the current site of Alpine Plaza.  Initially this was a bad thing, because it contradicted the tone of my article about how the area around Alpine Plaza had yet to be affected by the boom in Chinatown.  Furthermore, it seemed to make the story less interesting and less likely to be published since it raised the possibility that the restaurant's existence might be transitory.  However, I managed to rework the article with the new information, and into something that not only was coherent, but much better than what I had originally written.  So I sent the article in to LA Weekly on Wednesday afternoon, and it published on Thursday morning, less than 48 hours after I first became aware of the restaurant.

And that's how sausage and laws are sometimes made.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

An Afternoon In Iowa City

On my recent visit to Chicago, I took a side trip to visit Des Moines and Omaha, two of a relatively short list of large American cities that I have never visited.  Indeed, my list of target cities that I have not visited is now down to three locales--Pittsburgh, Charlotte and Kansas City.  Also, when I was a kid my mom once received a package with crumpled newspapers used as packing material, and one such newspaper was the front page of the Des Moines Register which I saved for many years.  It would be fitting if I could one day visit Des Moines and purchase my own copy of the Register..

However, the highlight of the side trip was clearly Iowa City.  Many of my Chinese dining articles have made reference to the proliferation of authentic Chinese restaurants in college towns across the country, which have arisen to meet the demands of the hundreds of thousands of Mainland Chinese college students now in the country.  While I have observed exemplars of campus adjacent Chinese dining in the past, I had not visited a true college town affected by the surge of Mainland Chinese students in the past decade.  I was especially intrigued by a lengthy CNN article  that focused on the University of Iowa in Iowa City with its student body of thousands of Chinese students.  So seeing Iowa City was on the way to Des Moines and Omaha was a bonus that overshadowed the original purpose of the trip.

I had done my homework and determined that the best Chinese food in Iowa City was at a restaurant called Food Republic, so I made a bee line there.  Unfortunately as I drove by, I saw the windows papered over with a “temporarily closed” sign.  Fortunately I remember passing a restaurant on the same street with a “Hotpot” sign, so I turned around and went to Uncle Sun instead.  I was surprised when I saw Uncle Sun’s menu because I had assumed they would have an Americanized section for the locals and non-Chinese, and a Sichuan section for the Mainland Chinese students who are largely from that area.  While there was a separate Sichuan section in back, labeled ‘Hometown Dishes”, the front part of the menu was also quite authentic, too.  At first we ordered the chicken dumplings, the fish with preserved cabbage, and the Chinese broccoli.  But when we ordered the broccoli, the waitress warned us that this was a white vegetable, which made no sense to us.  We told her we wanted the green broccoli, and she said OK.  However, when the dish came out, it was American broccoli.  Starving for vegetables, we kept the dish and it turned out to be quite good, along with the other stuff.  Still puzzled by the Chinese broccoli, I pulled up a picture of it on my Blackberry and showed it to them. They said they didn’t have that dish.  So what was their “Chinese broccoli”?  Napa?  The fish dish turned out to be a soup dish, which I had a few times in California, and was so good that I threw rice into the leftover broth to use it up.  Anyway, we were so impressed we ordered more American broccoli to take for dinner  plus fish with wood ear fungus, as this seemed to be a safer bet than looking for food when we arrived at the day's final destination of Des Moines.

We then crossed over from downtown Iowa City across Clinton St. to the University of Iowa campus, which for some reason seemed reminiscent of Cal Berkeley.  The campus was huge and we only saw a small part of it.  But I was very happy to visit the campus since I had been to all of the other original Big 10 campuses.  (Note that there's a curve ball to the statement.  I have never been to Michigan State--but that school was added to the Big 10 only after the University of Chicago dropped out, and is not one of the original Big 10.  I have been to the Chicago campus.)  Crossing back later into downtown, we passed another restaurant called Dumpling Darling, which I had assumed to be a typical Chinese dumpling restaurant.  However while there was a mix of Chinese and white customers, and served Pan-Asian dumplings, it was manned by a couple of white guys.  I decided to add to my dinner cache with an order of bison momo and steamed chicken artichoke bao.  We then stopped by Encore Life, a Chinese boba shop, for a mixed fruit drink.

Downtown Iowa City was very illuminating for me, having written about campus town Chinese food, to see how it manifests itself today, but seeing the Mainland China version for the first time.  As one of the workers at Uncle Sun, a theater arts major from Yunnan put it, there’s no “Chinatown” there, but rather the Chinese businesses were spread throughout downtown.  I guess I had expected a greater physical concentration of Chinese eating and drinking places based on the CNN story which talked about Iowa City having three times as many boba shops as Starbucks.  While a true statement, that was slightly misleading because there were 3 boba shops and 1 Starbucks in Iowa City when that was written, now 4 boba shops and 2 Starbucks, so it’s not like there’s boba on every corner.   And I suspect this is what the Mainland Chinese student presence is like in other college towns--subtle, but also unmistakable.

What's My Sign? Here It Is: "Road Closed"

A couple of years ago I wrote this piece about L.A city government stupidity dealing with traffic issues caused by people looking for the Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory in and around my Los Feliz Oaks neighborhood, which is adjacent to, but does not provide access to these attractions.   More recently the Los Angeles Times described the inability of the city to implement safety improvements in our neighborhood even though residents raised the funds for the improvements themselves.  Or, as I titled my original piece, "If The Government Only Had A Brain."

My previous piece dealt with the western access to our neighborhood along Franklin Ave. and Bronson Ave., but we had more egregious city government stupidity on our eastern flank along the Fern Dell Dr. entrance.  Fern Dell Dr. is one of two access roads to the Griffith Observatory, and indirectly, the Greek Theater.  The other access to both is Vermont Ave.  Fern Dell Dr. is also the western border to Griffith Park.  Griffith Park closes daily at sunset.  The Observatory does not.  But in order to enforce the closure of the main park, at nightfall Fern Dell is blocked at Red Oak Dr., just north of Los Feliz Blvd.  However there was nothing to alert travelers along Los Feliz Blvd. who want access the observatory that Fern Dell Dr. is blocked ahead, so every night legions of unsuspecting drivers hit the road block and are forced to either make a U-turn and head back to Los Feliz Blvd. or turn left onto Red Oak Dr. into our neighborhood, where they wander like lost ants through our residential streets, perhaps never to be heard from again.

This has been going on for quite a while, and we had actually gotten used to it, though how difficult would it be to inform drivers turning onto Fern Dell Dr. that they are taking the road to nowhere?  Then one evening there were encouraging signs.  There were two traffic control officers in the area, one on Los Feliz Blvd. and one on Fern Dell Dr.  At last!  The officers were going to inform drivers that unless they were headed into the Los Feliz Oaks, they should not turn onto Fern Dell Dr. because it was blocked ahead!  Well, not really.  The officers were actually throwing gasoline onto the fire because they were directing traffic to make it EASIER for cars to turn from Los Feliz Blvd. onto Fern Dell Dr. and running into the dead end.

All this led me to contact the 4th District Los Angeles City Council office in an email I entitled "Traffic Control Insanity."  While I had no illusions that this would improve anything, at least it made me feel better.  But a funny thing happened.   After a few weeks I was contacted by a sympathetic city bureaucrat who suggested I contact my homeowners association to sponsor a request to the city.  I demurred, indicating that I didn't want to get involved with a long, drawn out process.  But she responded that she would contact the homeowners association, which she did.  The homeowners quickly agreed and guess what?   They put up a sign on Los Feliz Blvd. and Fern Dell Dr. that alternately flashed "Road Closed At 6 pm" and "No Observatory Access."   Hooray!  You can fight city hall!  And the government does have a brain.

Unfortunately my euphoria only lasted a few weeks.  For some reason, while the signs were still there, they were turned off.  And then the signs were carted away.  Perhaps they thought the signs had done their job, though obviously even before the signs went up, it was a new bunch of drivers lured into the trap of driving into the road closure every day.   So it's not like having the sign up there for a few weeks would permanently stop cars from trying to access the Observatory on a closed road.

Then suddenly the signs came back!  You think that would make me happy, but it doesn't, and for one simple reason.  The signs were not replaced at the corner of Los Feliz Blvd. and Fern Dell Dr. where cars could see the warning before they turned onto Fern Dell Dr., and avoid the roadblock.  No, the new signs have been placed just a few feet in front of the roadblock.  Which means that by the time you see the signs, it's too late to avoid the road closure.  And you'll have to make a U-turn, or wander around our neighborhood like lost ants, perhaps never to be heard from again.

Alas, if the government only had a brain.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Enter The Dim Sum Contender (Illustrated Version of My L.A. Weekly Article)

The past decade or so has produced a sea change in Chinese dining in Los Angeles, as well as the rest of the United States.  Decades of Cantonese dining dominance have nearly evaporated as regional cuisines representing the entire breadth of Chinese cooking has come to the United States in great numbers, reflecting the migration of Mainland Chinese residents and money to our shores.  Indeed, in recent years, new Cantonese restaurant openings in the San Gabriel Valley have dwindled to roughly 10 percent of total new Chinese restaurants opening in the SGV.

However, while Cantonese food may be down, it is not out in our local Chinese community.  The toughest ticket continues to be the most popular dim sum palaces on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, and the greatest wish among Chinese diners is that despite the high quality of our local dim sum purveyors, some new dim sum player, equal to or better than the existing dim sum leaders, will open their doors.  In this regard, the past few years have been a disappointment in that we have had the same leaders of the dim sum pack for several years.   As it has for the past 15 years, Sea Harbour in Rosemead is on the top of most people’s dim sum list, followed variously by Lunasia and King Hua in Alhambra, Happy Harbor in Rowland Heights and Elite in Monterey Park, all of which date back 2008 or earlier.  The only newcomer in the top tier of local dim sum is Arcadia’s China Red, which opened in 2013, and it sits at the bottom of this top tier.

Not that new operators haven’t tried to crack the top group.  In 2014, Shi Hai opened up in Alhambra with the express purpose of becoming the top dog, dim sum wise, in the San Gabriel Valley.  However that endeavor gave up unsuccessfully last year when Shi Hai rebranded as World Seafood, with a new, lower price point menu.  Other dim sum palaces have opened in the same time period, such as Shanghai #1 Seafood Village in San Gabriel, Grand Harbor in Temple City and Pleasure Ocean in Hacienda Heights, but while certainly purveying good dim sum, they do not match up to our historic leaders.

However, a newly opened restaurant in Temple City may prove to be the new contender that everyone has been hoping for.  Xiang Yuan Gourmet opened up last month (9556 Las Tunas) and is already showing great promise. 

First of all, it serves its dim sum from a menu, as does every other restaurant listed in this article.  While romantics may gush about dim sum carts representing the true dim sum experience (although there was no such thing as a dim sum cart in Los Angeles until introduced by Miriwa Restaurant in Chinatown in 1976), the best dim sum comes from a menu since it arrives fresh and cooked to other.  Secondly, Xian Yuan Gourmet shows a creativity and imagination in some of their dim sum creations that is consistent with that found at the top tier dim sum restaurants noted above.  While it is important that a dim sum restaurant gets it har gow, bbq pork buns, beef cheung fun rice noodle rolls, siu mai, and other favorites right, it is the unusual dish that sets the top tier dim sum restaurants apart.

Here is Xiang Yuan Gourmet’s crispy bamboo shoot paste ball.

This is their mushroom filled mushroom bun (complete with partial stem at the bottom)

Deep fried shrimp rolls

Egg and seaweed rolls

Other interesting dim sum items include sauteed chicken feet with chili and ginger, crispy seafood cheung fun, spare rib cheung fun, pork blood jelly with chives, and baked almond cream bun.

One unique thing about Xiang Yuan Gourmet is their dinner menu.  Every other dim sum restaurant in this article serves Hong Kong style seafood at dinnertime, with the except of Shanghai #1 Seafood Village.  However Xiang Yuan Gourmet’s dinner fare is a mixture of Hong Kong style seafood and “Traditional Hunan Cuisine.”  Which merely shows the direction of Chinese food in the San Gabriel Valley these days.