On a recent LA trip, the BF and I stopped by Lu Dumpling House, which is owned by the people who own MaMa’s Lu. Being a big fan of Mama’s Lu, I had to check it out after reading about its opening on mmm-yoso.

Lu Dumpling House is a very small restaurant with only a handful of tables. It is only open Mon-Sat and only until 6pm. It seems most of its business is selling the frozen dumplings, which you can see the employees making in the kitchen. While the short hours may be a negative for some, I was happy to see that they are open in between lunch and dinner hours.

For our last few road trips, BF and I have been trying to make them shorter. We haven’t been able to visit Mama’s Lu since they are closed in the afternoon.

We had already eaten when we got to Lu Dumpling House. I was only interested in checking out a few dumplings and was mainly interested in bringing some frozen goodies home.

Once seated, we were given some complimentary peanuts and pickled cucumbers.

We ordered the scallion pancake, one of my favorite items from Mama’s Lu. For some reason while this pancake tasted good, it didn’t taste as good as I remembered from my visits at Mama’s Lu. Perhaps they didn’t cook it in enough oil or something. I’m not sure, but something was off.

I wanted to choose some dumpling flavors that I hadn’t tried before so we chose fennel pork dumplings.

The fennel taste was really strong, which took a little getting used to but I really enjoyed these and loved how juicy they were.

We also got some pumpkin and pork fried dumplings. I thought I would like this more but I didn’t really like this one and neither did the BF. I think the pumpkin flavor didn’t go very well with the pork filling and was a little bland.

I’ve tried to get frozen scallion pancakes and chive pockets from Mama’s Lu but they are often sold out. I had a hunch that with Lu Dumpling House I would have a better chance of getting them since they were mainly doing business through selling their frozen dumplings. Sure enough, I was able to get bags of each.
Service was great and we’ll definitely be back to pick up more frozen dumplings. The dine in menu unfortunately is not as big as the one at Mama’s Lu. Here is the menu here:

Lu Dumpling House
330 N Garfield Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 307-2700

It’s Girl Scout season. This weekend I saw my local girl scout troops camped outside of the grocery stores. Of course I couldn’t resist and bought a few boxes. I immediately knew what I wanted to do with my box of thin mints.

The last few weeks, a recipe for chocolate chip cookies stuffed with oreos has been making its way around the food blogs. The original recipe was created by Picky Palate. An oreo stuffed inside a chocolate chip cookie sounds both delicious and very unhealthy. Like one of those things that belong on that site “This is Why You Are Fat.”

Anyhow, I wanted to make a version of this cookie, but with something a little lighter than an oreo. Since an oreo is so thick, to cover the cookie in chocolate chip cookie dough really makes it almost three cookies in one (a chocolate chip cookie on top, an oreo, and a chocolate chip cookie on the bottom).  I wanted the chocolate and the crunch of the oreo cookie but without the heft. So I thought of thin mints.

The thin mints are thin enough that these cookies are only slightly large than the normal chocolate chip cookies I make. I was surprised at how these turned out. I really really like them. That extra crunch in the middle with a hint of mint brought these chocolate chip cookies to a whole new level.

I was inspired by picky palate‘s idea, but I didn’t follow her recipe. Instead I used my favorite soft chocolate chip cookie recipe and a box of thin mints.

Stuffed chocolate chip cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • about 14 thin mints

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white
    sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. About 2-3 minutes.
  3. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs
    and vanilla.
  4. Blend in the flour mixture until combined.
  5. Stir in the semi-sweet chocolate chips.
  6. Take a large scoop of dough and wrap it around a thin mint so that the thin mint fits in the middle and is completely covered. Place cookies about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for about 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

For a while I was exploring various pho places to find a new “go to” pho spot. While I’m still open to checking out new places and there are still many I need to visit, I’ve sort of settled on pho cow cali as my “go to” spot. You can read about my first visit here. I thought I had taken a picture of the menu on my last visit, so I didn’t take pictures of the menu this time but apparently I didn’t take pictures of the menu last time. Oops.

I like the friendly service, the extra long egg rolls, and the large amounts of meat in my pho. This spot is also very kid friendly as they have a helium tank to make balloons for the kids to take home. This little extra treat for the kids actually is more of a negative for me. I’ve never liked those helium tanks and am very jumpy around them because I hate the sound of balloons popping.

I had gotten used to the machine in the last few visits, but on this visit, a little boy was standing right next to me when his balloon popped. My left ear was ringing for hours after. Surprisingly, the kid didn’t even cry. He just stared in disbelief at what had happened to his balloon and then went and got a new one a few moments later. I’m pretty sure I would have been bawling at that age had it happened to me.

Anyhow, we ordered the egg rolls as usual. The eggrolls here are extra long compared to the eggrolls at other pho spots and they are fried just right (some places have ones that are sort of burned looking). I think the filling is just perfect, not too salty and not too bland. There are actually 6 per order but I forgot to take a picture at the beginning.

My usual order is #15 (tripe and rare steak). I only took a picture of my bowl of pho and no one else’s because they all pretty much look the same.

Here are the various garnishes to put in the soup including the saw-leaf herb I like.

BF chose a broken rice dish. I think I took a bite but I don’t remember. He seemed to enjoy it a lot though.

Pho Cow usually gives a discount in the receipt for the frozen yogurt shop next door which has the most adorable little hamster icon, where you only pay $.25/oz for the yogurt.

We went over after to get some dessert, but apparently they changed the system. Rather than charging by weight, they have set cup sizes and you can fill to your heart’s content on yogurt and toppings. The prices are very reasonable. I didn’t take a picture, but it was something like $2.00 for an extra small, $2.20 for a small, $3.20 for a medium, and around $5 for a large.

It reminded me of the  fast food mongolian bbq food places and I had brief flashbacks of stuffing my bowl full of raw ingredients and trying to cram as much as possible into my bowl.

I didn’t do that here. But I did get a lot of yogurt and my favorite toppings for ~$2.20. I filled up mainly on taro yogurt and the pastel colored mochi balls.

Little brother managed to make stack quite a bit of yogurt in his cup (also a size small).

Pho Cow Cali Express
9170 Mira Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92126
(858) 271-8341
www.phocowcaliexpress.com

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