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HAIL FSM!~ Din Tai Fung to open @ Americana

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wowowow, no longer having to drive to SGV would be AWESOME....as long as the Americana markup isn't ridiculous.

"Din Tai Fung at Americana, which Caruso declared, "one of the greatest Chinese restaurants in the world," will serve a cadre of noodles, pot stickers, fried rice, soups, and truffle dumplings. At this point, the famous xiao long bao, or mini soup-dumplings, will only be available on the weekends. Debut date for DTF is as early as September 15,"

http://la.eater.com/archives/2013/04/...

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  1. It will probably be about 19 or 20 bucks for an order of dumplings. But hey, it may save some gas for some.

    But from West LA to Glendale or Arcadia ain't much idfferent.

      1. re: kevin

        flying spaghetti monster (see: wikipedia)

        1. re: ns1

          On the Chowboard, Flying Orrechiette Monster.

          1. re: ns1

            The very very appropriate diety for a foodie*. :-)

            *Disclaimer: "foodie" used non-pejoratively. Use of "foodie" may cause wet mouth, weight gain, and unusual food cravings.

            1. re: PeterCC

              Don't make me quote from the Chowhound manifesto...

              Diety - Hilarious! I like how you misspelled 'deity' on purpose to propagate the irony.

        2. Yesss! Now maybe the lines at arcadia can die down a bit so I can go without ridiculous waits!

          Not understanding the weekend only xlb tho... That's kinda what ppl go for...

          1. Just good to see that DTF is going to "ROC" the Chinese food scene in the greater LA area a bit...(g).

            I predict that your "Debut date" will become the "Dispute Date" or perhaps the "Debate Date" as well...

            4 Replies
            1. re: Servorg

              I'd rather DTF move into ROC's space (not to wish ill upon ROC, just much prefer DTF).

              1. re: PeterCC

                Well, with this move into the Americana space your wish may come true yet (not in the ROC space, but on the west side somewhere else).

            2. So what would make Caruso so knowledgeable about Chinese restaurants?

              2 Replies
              1. re: Tripeler

                Caruso is actually Chowhound extraordinaire chandavkl !!! Not.

                1. re: J.L.

                  Hey Mr. Caruso...How about one at the Grove?

              2. Yes! It's on my way home from work.

                3 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Well, that will teach me to read the whole post. haha

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      I think they meant the mini XLB were only available on weekends. Same as DTF Arcadia. The ones pictured in yelp photos 101, 156, 170.

                  2. At this point, the famous xiao long bao, or mini soup-dumplings, will only be available on the weekends.
                    ==================
                    I wonder if he meant the xiao long TANG bao aka mini soup dumplings (per DTF nomenclature) will only be available on weekends. As opposed to the regular sized soup dumplings aka xiao long bao.

                    The mini soup dumplings (little XLB served with a side of soup, weird/silly, I know) is also only available weekends at DTF Arcadia and usually is very limited in supply.

                    Weird that they would open one there instead of SF or down here in OC but far be it from me to question their business model.

                    38 Replies
                    1. re: Porthos

                      Weird that they would open one there instead of SF or down here in OC but far be it from me to question their business model.
                      __________________________

                      All hail FSM.

                      Do not anger the spirits.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        You got your wish, apparently South Coast Plaza is in the works.

                            1. re: PeterCC

                              Nice! Thanks for the link.

                              Didn't know it was as easy as asking ;-)

                              Get a SinBala down here and the OC is all set.

                              1. re: Porthos

                                Not so fast, is Sea Harbor confirmed? ;>)

                                  1. re: JAB

                                    SinBala would be more useful since there is nothing like it in OC (specifically the braised pork with bamboo over rice and the pork belly with preserved vegetables) but Sam Woo has the Cantonese seafood part covered.

                                    Greedy would be asking for Shufeng Garden at the same time :-)

                                    1. re: Porthos

                                      "braised pork with bamboo over rice and the pork belly"

                                      It. Is. So. Simple. Yet. Good.

                                      1. re: blimpbinge

                                        Definitely top 3 for a last meal kind of request...probably easily #1 the more I think about it.

                                        Is that the RH branch? I think the bamboos at the RH branch are lighter in color vs the Arcadia one. I could easily be wrong.

                                        1. re: Porthos

                                          it's the Arcadia one. Will def need to try the RH one, but since I'm closer to this location, I end up here quite often.

                                          Just finished breakfast, but already debating whether or not i should get that for a late lunch hmm

                                          1. re: blimpbinge

                                            Meet you there? :-)

                                            Jonesing for some unagi rice.

                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              Stomach still digesting greasy diner food :x

                                              Where would be a good place to try unagi rice?

                                              1. re: blimpbinge

                                                Where would be a good place to try unagi rice?
                                                _____________________

                                                SinBaLa of course.

                                                They call it "Eel Rice" ... guess it's the bastardized Taiwanese version of Unagi-Don.

                                                But whatever. I *like* it.

                                            2. re: blimpbinge

                                              Oh yeah, always gotta get some to go ;-)

                                              Like when I'm at 101 Noodle House. Always pick up a pack of frozen wild vegetable dumplings to go.

                                          2. re: blimpbinge

                                            It is why it is my *favorite* restaurant.

                                      2. re: Porthos

                                        But there's already a Class 302. Same shit, different chairs?

                                        DTF is taking over McDonald's, and is set to become the next destination "mall food" in LA. And why not, it has already happened for all the franchisees in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia., etc.

                                        1. re: TonyC

                                          SinBaLa is a Taiwanese small eats place that has shaved ice/desserts.

                                          Class 302 is a shaved snow/dessert/boba place that happens to have a selection of Taiwanese meal plates.

                                          The housemade sausages alone at SinBaLa separate the 2.

                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              Spoken as if shaved ice isn't also a Taiwanese point of pride. (Of course it Is, cause Wei says so: http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/08/ta...

                                              Shaved ice @C302 sits on throne next to SBL's Taiwanese sau-su-gees. The lines are a testament to this. Same shit, different day; especially because Quang Tran stuffs a better Taiwanese wiener better than a Taiwanese.

                                              1. re: TonyC

                                                do you know if quang tran does it cantonese style, tw style, or both styles?

                                                the pics I see seem to point towards cantonese style, but I have not had a chance to visit because i tend to buy the ones from the mkts

                                                1. re: TonyC

                                                  The shaved ice does look pretty impressive but I don't crave that stuff.

                                                  Looked through about 200 yelp photos and haven't come across any pork and bamboo over rice or pork belly and preserved vegetables with rice. Those two things are done pretty well at SinBala and what I crave the most. Does Class 302 have either dish?

                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                    No

                                                    But they have shabu-shabu.

                                                    And now they have a Cerritos branch. 'Natch.

                                                  2. re: TonyC

                                                    NO one goes to SinBaLa solely for shaved ice, or boba. If you did, it would be like going to Langer's because you craved tuna salad.

                                                    And like I said, the raison d'ĂȘtre for SinBaLa is their sausages, raw and cooked.

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                        I thought Sin Ba La was mainly a place to go for those boba drinks and some small plates dishes as well as dogs, but nothing exactly gastronomically exceptional.

                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                            I think them may be fightin' words... :-)

                                                            Still haven't made it to SinBaLa but definitely on my to-do list to try their xiang chang.

                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                but nothing exactly gastronomically exceptional.
                                                                ============================
                                                                Spoken like someone who has never had the pork and bamboo over rice ;-)

                                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                                  Ok, ok, ok.

                                                                  I will get there soon. it's basically a half block from Din Tai Fung, right ?

                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                    It's not unheard of to walk over and grab a bite to eat while waiting for DTF if the line at DTF is more than an hour...

                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                      Half block?

                                                                      More like where you park your car if you are eating at DTF during peak times.

                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                              FSM says ... chi is not yet full for IPO.

                                              2. "under construction" signage is up @ SCP location. They took over the old McDonalds next to Sears. Mind = blown; I ate soooooo many meals at that McDonalds in my childhood. Pretty sure my first McRib was at that McDonalds.

                                                4 Replies
                                                    1. re: ns1

                                                      I had my first McDonalds pizza there.

                                                      1. re: A5 KOBE

                                                        McDonald's pizza ????

                                                        Oh, man.

                                                        I wish it were still around again. I'd actually make a return visit.

                                                1. ... re-bumping.

                                                  It's now October, and DTF is still not open yet at The Americana. The (very friendly; almost too friendly) Americana concierge on the other end of my inquiry call basically had no friggin' idea when it will be...

                                                  15 Replies
                                                    1. re: J.L.

                                                      When it opens I will hit it up, so I can do some one-stop shopping.

                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                        Do you think there might be an 8 hour line when it opens?

                                                        1. re: jgilbert1000

                                                          Who knows ??? But if you happen to live in West LA or Santa Monica it's not that much closer than Arcadia.

                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                            FYI: If I recall Americana's website, their famous pork XLBs will ONLY be available on weekends.

                                                            My prediction: It'd probably be faster to get XLBs if you got into your car at the Americana, drove over to Arcadia DTF, found parking, waited in line there, and ordered your XLBs from that location.

                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                              http://www.americanaatbrand.com//m/fe...

                                                              "Weekend guests will enjoy the signature mini soup dumplings."

                                                              Their regular XLB will be available during regular business hours but the mini ones are only available on the weekends while supplies last. Same as the Arcadia store.

                                                              Incidentally, I've never gotten there early enough on a weekend to try the mini ones. Anyone know if they are simply smaller or if they're prepared a different way?

                                                              1. re: PeterCC

                                                                as far as i can tell, they're just mini ones (and for some reason, flipped upside down). it also comes with a soup.

                                                                i don't think it was worth waking up so early and lining up before they even opened (got there at 9:45am and there's already a line..) to be one of the parties to get it. if you miss out, just order one more regular xlb.

                                                                pics: mini vs regular

                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                1. re: blimpbinge

                                                                  Weird that they're upside down. You mean a separate soup, not the "soup" inside the bao themselves, right? What kind of soup do they come with?

                                                                  1. re: PeterCC

                                                                    ya separate small soup. It was very very very light, possibly chicken (??) based, not herbal like their other chicken soup. Has slices of egg. Not memorable. I'd rather order their chicken soup.

                                                                    I found a pic on yelp:
                                                                    http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/din-ta...

                                                                    1. re: PeterCC

                                                                      I also found a pic of "you tofu" (yong tau foo??) from the yelp:
                                                                      http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/din-ta...

                                                                      I may need to go back and look for it, didn't see it before!

                                                                  2. re: PeterCC

                                                                    The mini ones are a joke. It's mini XLB with a bowl of clear soup (chicken I think but not the nice steamed chicken soup that they serve) on the side. It's a ploy and barely worth getting once only to satisfy one's curiosity.

                                                                    1. re: Porthos

                                                                      Thanks blimpbinge and Porthos. Now I feel like I haven't missed anything...

                                                                      1. re: PeterCC

                                                                        I heard my friends going to try.. somehow they were always able to get an order.. i just had to get it myself. I don't think my expectations were different on that day, as I also had the normal sized xlb in the same sitting.

                                                                        Like porthos said, once for curiosity. I probably won't order it again haha

                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                            Chandavkl's got it covered: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/922449 :-)

                                                            Though it's good that the notification will go to everyone else on this thread.

                                                            1. re: PeterCC

                                                              The topic title could use some work.

                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                Agreed. Too bad it's not editable past 2 hours.

                                                          2. Tried to stop by today. 12pm, rainy as hell, 1 hour wait. We left.

                                                            1. Nice decor! Good move to spread their wings beyond SgV

                                                              1. Had some time to kill between shopping and waiting for the snowfall event @ 7pm at the Americana so I ended up at DTF, and it was definitely a sad experience.

                                                                First of all their waiting system is flawed. I appreciate the fact that they take down your phone # and call when your table is ready give or take ~5-10 min, but it made zero sense to have them call you only to wait another 20-30 minutes or so for them to reset a table. Secondly the line to queue up after being called in is terribly disorganized as it lines people up in a very small space next to the window where they assemble the dumplings. Whats worse is people ignore or is unaware of this line so cutting, unintentional or otherwise, occurs.

                                                                Onto the food. The term "fallen from grace" comes to mind. I've always cherished Arcadia's DTF's xlb for its delicate skin, as it's usually the first and lasting indicator of care and quality of a good xlb. Delicate in my mind because of it's thinner nature compared to other restaurants, delicate because of being made to order as opposed to steamed from frozen. Not a lot of places can do this due to the sheer volume of dumplings DTF serves. Sadly, at this location the skin just had a texture that was just not there, and more so it had a slight gummy blandness to it.

                                                                My party of four ended up with the traditional pork soup dumpling, crab and pork soup dumpling, and shrimp and pork dumplings. While I have no issues with the quality of the soup for all (pork and crab had great crab flavor, etc.), I feel like there is less of it compared to Arcadia. Here, it's a sip instead of a burst. More so I found the meat to be on the dryer more crumbly side..I'm presuming due to a lacking of fat in the mixture.

                                                                We also ordered shanghai rice cake...flavors are there but lacking "wok hay" that I remember Arcadia having. Spicy pork noodles was also underwhelming.

                                                                All things considered I'd skip the pretentiousness and lackluster quality and go for the better deal at many better options in the SGV. This is a Din Tai Fung in poor standing and while it can aspire it lacks the soul of a good DTF.

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: Xan7hos

                                                                  <All things considered I'd skip the pretentiousness and lackluster quality and go for the better deal at many better options in the SGV. This is a Din Tai Fung in poor standing and while it can aspire it lacks the soul of a good DTF.>

                                                                  You are the 2nd to make this comment to me in the past 24 hours!

                                                                    1. re: carter

                                                                      In same boat as X. Went to DTF in Glendale because we were already there. Even though DTF is considered the McDonalds of XLB by some, it is reliable. I will not ever purposely go back to the Glendale outpost. Under-seasoned and over-salted. There were 5 of us so I justified ordering the truffle soup dumplings--$22.50 for 5. I am still miffed that I got suckered. We were told when being served to not use any dipping sauce so as to not mask the truffle taste. What truffle taste? It was masked by salt. When I complained to our very sweet, very young, very um, white waitress that they were more salty than anything else, she mused that it must be because of the broth. I just got off the phone with management to tell them of my experience for no other reason than I just wanted to vent. He thanked me and said they would check with the kitchen and we said our goodbyes. So, don't waste $22.50 on the truffle dumplings!

                                                                      1. re: Fru

                                                                        do you think the waitress would have mused differently if she were purple with pink polka dots?

                                                                  1. FSM? What, Free Speech Movement?

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: mc michael

                                                                      The Flying Spaghetti Monster. My diety of choice.

                                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                                        Drop the "y" and suck it up...

                                                                    2. Friend at 24hour fitness wanted to eat at DTF, but the long lines annoyed him. So, when I suggested we get there at opening, 11am, he said, "For lunch?" I reminded him that dim sum was a breakfast item, but he did agree to go.

                                                                      We got there at 11:30, seated immediately, a weekday, not too many folks just yet. Overly polite waiter explained the menu and made suggestions. But we both knew what we wanted but listen to him intently.

                                                                      Our order: cucumbers, hot and sour soup, and pork soup dumplings.

                                                                      Cukes arrived first, sleekly covered in oil, sliced about 1/2 inch thick, looking extremely attractive. But no taste.

                                                                      Soup next. Wasn't Hot or Sour (I added lotsa vinegar) It was borderline cold. In the midst of our soup, the dumplings arrived covered with a lid, which the waiter immediately removed, and I couldn't get his attention to bring it back. Soooo, the dumplings sat, their top-knot drying, while we consumed the soup before it got even more cold. The dumping wrapper tops were thick, and the bottoms too thin. A bite into the skin for the soup, even though I held the dumpling in the spoon, spilled into it, and to make matters worse. the pork was tepid and not too tasty.

                                                                      It's apparent that whoever supervises the staff hasn't instructed them on when and how to clear the table. Cuke plate empty, it disappeared - fine. We finished the dumplings, and those plates, including the ginger strips went. Some soup still remained, my friend finished his, and it was swept away. I had my bowl in front of me, with spoon in my mouth, a bit more in the bowl, and a teeny amount left in the serving bowl, but that disappeared. And with the spoon still in my mouth, the unasked-for check was plopped on the table.

                                                                      I'm certain the locals love it, "It's so Chinese." Last time there for me. I'll stick to the SGV.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: toitoi

                                                                          wow, really? I was just talking to a friend of mine who went to this location last nite for the first time and she said that the service was a bit odd, but that the food was the same as the SGV location. Bummer. I had heard mixed reviews and was hoping to check this location out since I'm in Glendale every Sat. morning to practice tai chi and this is only a couple blocks up the street :(