If you enjoy dim sum and a bargain, I highly recommend checking out Monterey Palace next time you’re in the Monterey Park area. With all items priced at $2.09, this was one of the cheapest dim sum experiences I’ve had and the quality of food is pretty good too.

DH and I recently stopped for lunch on our way to see our friends’ adorable new baby. I got the recommendation from my friend KFP, who informed me that the chef is actually the former chef from Elite, which is one of our favorite high end dim sum spots in the area (along with Sea Harbor).

The LA trend for dim sum has been to do away with the cart system and use the menu checklist ordering system, which I prefer. Yes there is a certain charm in seeing the foods pushed around in the carts, but it’s also frustrating waiting for that one cart to come around with the item you want. Through this ordering system, you check off everything you want, pass the sheet to a server, and soon hot, steaming dim sum is delivered to you in a hurry.

I thought the item choices were slightly more limited than some of the other dim sum places I’ve eaten at in LA, but it was still a decent selection, especially priced at $2.09 a plate.

Steamed Shrimp Dumpling

Shrimp and Scallop Dumpling

Steamed Bean Curd Roll

Baked Egg Tart

Because I’ve been pumpkin crazy and I’ve been trying to turn everything into pumpkin, after I made the eggless custard cake, I immediately had plans to try to make a pumpkin version.

I originally planned to make a pure pumpkin cake without the spices. But the taste wasn’t exactly to my liking, so I think a little cinnamon is necessary.

This cake came out soft and almost melts in your mouth thanks to the custard powder The custard powder which is available on Amazon. The pumpkin version is a little more dense and I prefer the original more, but this was still tasty.


San Diegans who have been patiently waiting for good snow ice to arrive, rejoice! Snow/snowflake shaved ice has finally hit San Diego, with a flurry of restaurants and dessert cafes now offering it. After two very mediocre renditions at Liang’s Kitchen and Up 2 You, I had given up on San Diego producing a good version.

Then this weekend, I received a tip from a reader (Thanks Susan!) that Yogurt Swirl now offers snow shaved ice. I was out the door almost immediately.

Sure enough, when I arrived, a large sign was displayed on the exterior stating that they now serve snow ice and Hawaiian shaved ice. Located next to Pho Cow Cali, Yogurt Swirl has always been a favorite of mine. Their cheap prices, good toppings, and adorable hamster mascot keep me coming.

Yogurt Swirl’s snow ice follows in the more popular new trend of what I like to call a fusion of traditional Taiwanese snow ice mixed with a frozen yogurt set-up. They take the Taiwanese-style snow shaved ice concept (water mixed directly with milk is frozen into blocks to create a creamier and fluffier shaved ice that takes longer to melt), but offer more snow ice flavors than the traditional Taiwanese ones and the topping choices are typical frozen yogurt toppings.

When we arrived, we immediately spotted the brand of machines that we’ve seen used at a lot of these new fro-yo-meets-snow-ice shops in Orange County and LA. Definitely a good sign. A small cup is $4.99 and a large is $6.99. There are about 12 flavors of snow ice, and you get to choose two toppings. They also add condensed milk for free.

Because the owner is so nice and they weren’t too busy when we first arrived, he agreed to let us have two flavors in our small (usually you can only ask for two flavors for the large size).

Coconut and Milk Snow Ice with mango and mochi