Monday, April 18

Vanessa's Dumplings

My friend Caitlin and I made our way over to Vanessa's Dumplings (located on 14th St. between 2nd & 3rd Ave) last Thursday for dinner.  The prices were low and the food was delicious.  As I continually suffer from San Francisco-style-dim-sum withdrawal, this was an important evening for me.

That said, this place did not serve dim sum, but the dumplings more than made up for that fact.  I bought an order of fried pork and chive dumplings, a sesame pancake, a red bean steamed bun, and a cup of taro bubble tea.  Final price was like $10 or something.  Chyea.

The dumplings were delicious.  There were five of them, they were all cutely lined up together, and I inhaled them.  Caitlin ordered the vegetarian dumplings and I think we managed to exchange a few words in between bites.

vegetable dumplings, boiled

Like I said, the dumplings were gone within minutes and the sesame pancake was similarly consumed.  I think this was my first pancake of this kind and I definitely recommend it.  I can't even really describe it other than to say that the pancake was perfectly doughy (without being too much so) and the various fillings were subtle and delicious.  It was one of those dishes that is good in an unexpected way, and you keep taking bites because you just have to figure it out.  If that made sense.

I was not a fan of the red bean steamed bun.  The bun part was fine, but the red bean paste was artificially sweetened (and not in a good way) and there was very little of that authentically red-beanie texture to it.  On the other hand, the bubble tea was the best taro-flavored tea I have ever had, even if bubbles did stick together in disturbingly frog-egg-like ways.  This was Caitlin's first bubble tea experience, which was worth the trip down to 14th St. in and of itself.  She wasn't enthralled by the little slimy balls of gelatinous goo and that made it all the more entertaining.

taro bubble tea, sesame pancake, red bean steamed bun

This was another one of those hole-in-the-wall places, but it didn't have that charming quality that makes other places, like the Caracas Arepa Bar, so endearing.  For dumplings, I can easily deal with this.

Take-home message?  We like Vanessa's Dumplings.

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