Amabelle, Joe Shanghai, Veniero's

Amabelle arrived today from Chicago for a weekend visit! She sat around in my office for a bit while I finished up for the day, and shortly after, we walked up to Chinatown to eat at Joe Shanghai's -- which we had heard so much about from people who swear by their "xiao long bao."

Well guys, I have to say: I've had better. In fact, even the xia long bao at Koi Palace are better. These had been abnormally injected with way too much fatty juice, and as I picked them up with the tongs and placed them on my soup spoon, my mind couldn't resist conjuring up images of eating tiny Jabba the Huts -- each overflowing over the edges of the spoon. The skins were slightly brownish, and were a little soggy from trying to hold in so much juice.

Amabelle ate three, which left five for me. I had to drain the last two I ate into my plate in order to force them down. The soup that came out of them had little floating ... things in them -- the stuff that coagulates when you let fat/oil that leaks off of cooking meat get cold. Anyway, Joe Shanghai's was an unfortunate disappoinment, but at least now their previously unrefuted good reputation has been laid to rest along with all of the other disappointments stored in my mental files. No more wondering. :)

In the evening we took a cab through the rain (and thunder) to Veniero's Pasticceria to indulge in the decadence of their wide selection of pastries and cakes.

Oh -- on a totally unrelated note, check out this well done, technical discussion about film vs. digital. It might be of interest to those of you out there who are debating getting a digital camera.