|potstickers to dream about|
|Like I said, uglier.|
So we went on our walking excursion and around noon we sat down to our first meal at a recommended dim sum restaurant called the Metropole. I was faint with hunger by then. The Metropole features a vast, vast carpeted banquet hall with low ceilings and animated parties of boisterous people eating and gesticulating and ladies pushing roast duck and egg custard tarts around on carts. It was thrilling to behold. Additionally there was a central hot food station where cooks were frying potstickers and turnip cakes and many more exotic savories on hot, noisy griddles. I wanted to try everything, but we started with the crusty potstickers which were incredible, bulging with meat and scallions barely contained by a thin wrapper. Totally unlike most potstickers I've eaten in the United States in which there tends to be a wide pocket between the dense wrapper and puny ball of filling. My father became obsessed with something called a baby oyster pancake and that was even better than the potsticker, but by then. . .
Okay, here is the sad part of the story. When we got to the restaurant I was so famished I quickly ate a dumpling before either of my companions had even plucked one from the serving plate. Then I drank some tea. I looked around at the wonderful, lively restaurant and thought, this is it, I have arrived at the glorious moment I've been longing for since my obsession with Chinese food took root 14 years ago in Barbara Tropp's cooking class. I ate a second dumpling. I put down my chopsticks, sighed in satisfaction.
And realized that after two dumplings I was completely full.
Oh, I kept eating, but it wasn't as easy as it should have been. Dieting in preparation for an epic eating trip makes about as much sense as lying on the sofa in preparation for a marathon. I will hit my stride, but the training strategy was a little cracked.
|The gray tower in the middle is our darling hotel.|