I can safely assume that you know of Chinese New Year which passed last Saturday, but you might not know that this holiday is actually the Lunar New Year that is celebrated by many non-Chinese cultures as well, including Korea’s. Since I wasn’t home this year to eat rice cakes and dumpling soup with my family, I went out with a group of six other girls into Chinatown for some early dinner, dessert, and fun.
The place we went to for dinner was Gourmet Dumpling House, and we ordered spicy beef noodles, spicy chicken, sautéed vegetables, and two orders of — wait for it — soup dumplings! I had never had these before though my friends often raved about them, and I was delighted to find that they were super juicy and savory. I didn’t actually take pictures of the food because we were too hungry already by the time we ordered, but they were perfect to eat family-style. The only downsides of this place were that some foods were a bit too salty and some of the teacups were dirty. Though I am far from an expert on Chinese food, I would go back again and recommend that others go too.
“But Jamie,” you may ask, “what does that meal have to do with double chins and hairs?”
I’m glad you asked. It doesn’t.
My title is, however, related to the place we went to for dessert. Double Chin is a medium-sized cafe on another corner street in Chinatown, a couple blocks from Gourmet Dumpling House. They serve meals, drinks, and desserts, but I was forewarned to avoid the meals by a few local friends. The interior was cute and welcoming, with soft colors, lights, plants, games and books along a wall, and a wooden swinging bench with a photo-booth-like machine in front of it that my friends and I took advantage of (see Image 2).
Together, we ordered a “Matcha Ma Call It” Cube Toast, which includes green tea ice cream, red bean, fresh fruit, mochi, matcha milk, cereal, and four Pocky sticks stuck into the ice cream, all over a cube of sweet french toast. Personally, I have had similar desserts back home in California, but for some of my friends, it was a glorious new discovery. I would say that it is a good dessert to have with friends because of its large size and variety of ingredients (except that one friend was allergic to peaches). Not to mention that I’m absolutely weak for ice cream.
We had almost devoured the entire first cube toast when — notice I said “first” — we noticed a thin, long strand of black woven into the bread. “Is this… from a banana?” one concerned friend inquired, hopeful. The rest of our heads swarmed inwards with curious, beady eyes. “Uhh,” I exclaimed as I pulled back with slight horror and disgust,”I don’t think so. It’s definitely a hair.”
Both reality and silence fell upon us at once. Suddenly, the dessert wasn’t so enticing anymore as our uncomfortable eyes darted back and forth while our mouths pulled back grimly. Well, darn. Since no one was going to eat it now, my friends dedicated me to report the unfortunate incident to the workers.
I didn’t remember the last time I had seen someone so ashamed, equally disgusted, and as sorry as us. The waiter immediately asked if we would like a new one. Again, uncertain silence consumed us. That is, until my eager, cube-toast-novice friend finally exclaimed, “Yes!”
So that is how we came to guzzle down another *free* Cube Toast that, thankfully, had no hair in it before playing Jenga, embarrassing ourselves by playing multiple rounds of the Pepero Game (two people hold opposite ends of a Pocky/Pepero stick in their mouths and bite inwards as much as they can. The goal is to end with the smallest Pepero piece remaining, and multiple pairs compete against each other.), and taking group pictures until we left, possibly with a few newly-developed double chins. 🙂