Labor Day Weekend Recap

Let’s pretend for a minute that it’s still Monday of Labor Day. Because that is when I intended to post this, so I could do a summary of my weekend and wish everyone a Happy Labor Day.

Hopefully those of you working got the day off like me. I have really been looking forward to this three day weekend. Two days just aren’t enough. I feel like I’m constantly on the go during my weekends, trying to get everything done that I couldn’t do during the work week. But having an extra day really helps. I spent the extra day relaxing and recharging.

I had some fun activities and lots of food as well.

Friday night started with my attempt to capture pictures of the Blue Moon.

On Saturday I had to say goodbye to a dear friend who moved to Washington DC for a new job opportunity. Before she left, we went to Ramen Yamadaya because she really loves ramen. We sat at the bar, which probably wasn’t such a great idea because it was super hot. The restaurant was already warm with no air conditioning, but at the bar next to the steaming pots, it was even worse. We were sweaty, sticky, and eating hot ramen soup. It kind of felt like we were in Asia.

I also baked some Oreo Truffle Chocolate Chip Cookies for her.

For dinner, DH and I enjoyed a nice night out at Fleming’s.

The next day we drove up to LA to help celebrate the first birthday of CattyCritic’s son. I can’t believe he’s already 1. It seems like only yesterday, CattyCritic was live tweeting from the hospital after she had already gone into labor. He’s not quite walking on his own yet, but he’s definitely preparing!

He had a Totoro themed party. So cute! Little dustballs decorated the cupcake stands and hung from the tents. As party favors, they made cookies that looked like acorns. Our friend Limer35 also made brownie pops.

Okay, they may not be perfect. But they are super crunchy and easy to make. You don’t need a heavy duty fryer and you don’t need to double fry.

I’ve come across a lot of articles on making perfect French fries. Most require the double frying technique, along with some other elements as well. These do not.

Single fry, half the time, and just as crunchy as a double fry. In fact, I even did a second batch using the double fry method and they looked and tasted exactly same as the single fry method.

Restaurant Week is almost here (September 16-21) and I recently was invited to preview the Restaurant Week menu at Del Mar Rendezvous (“DMR”). In addition, I’m giving away a dinner for 2 at DMR during restaurant week! Details at the bottom of this post. DMR is offering a $30 prix fixe menu and has extended their RW from September 8-30.

DMR remains the only Chinese American restaurant to date that I actually enjoy dining at. My first visit can be found here. The key distinction is that the restaurant doesn’t served Americanized Chinese Food, but rather something more like Chinese food with American influences. Co-owner and Head Chef Tony Su is of Taiwanese descent (his parents own Dumpling Inn) and learned to cook traditional, authentic Chinese dishes.  The menu consists mostly of traditional Chinese dishes that are more suitable to the Western palate, with some unconventional elements. There are also some items which you would never find at a traditional Chinese restaurant, such as options for a gluten free or vegetarian menu and a large selection of wine and beers.

Manager and co-owner Dan Schreiber, one of my favorite restaurant managers to chat with, also arranged for us to try out a new on demand private driving company, Uber. Uber offers private town car and limo transportation with prices comparable to a taxi service. You don’t need to reserve ahead, instead you simply text them about 20 minutes before you need to leave and they will promptly give you an ETA. You can follow the progress of the driver with your phone app if you want, and they will also text and call you right before they arrive too. (More information on my review of Uber at the end of this post.) DMR guests during restaurant week will also receive $30 credit to try Uber for themselves.

We started dinner off with some teas and wine. I chose the plum oolong tea, my favorite one here. DH opted for his own pot of green tea. The Restaurant Week menu offers discounted wine flights. Or if you really like wine, come dine on a Sunday where bottles are 50% off! We were seriously tempted to get a bottle but knew we wouldn’t be able to finish.

Steamed Dumpling Sampler: 2 Ha Gau (Shrimp), 2 Su Jiao (Vegetable), and 2 Xiao Long Bao (Pork) dumplings

There are five appetizers to choose from on the RW menu and I chose to try the steamed dumpling sampler. Last time I had tried the XLB here and commented that it was odd that it wasn’t served with vinegar and fresh ginger. The manager took that to heart and now they serve the XLB with fresh ginger, vinegar and a soup soon. Technically, XLB is traditionally served with a black rice vinegar, which has a less acidic taste than the table white vinegar we were offered, but I’m happy they made an effort.

The shrimp dumplings had little bits of chopped water chestnuts mixed with the shrimp. Since I love water chestnuts, I loved this addition. DH prefers the traditional shrimp only version served often at dim sum.