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K’s Dumpling
Katy’s Dumpling house
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prologue
This is certainly not new to LTHforum. JeffB has mentioned it many times:
"I like Katy's soup noodles."
"once more cry out in the wilderness for my favorite soup noodles at Katy's (aka K's) Dumpling House"
"Katy's (aka "K's") Dumpling House, Cass & Ogden" Finally an address*! :)
" you owe it to yourself to try this at Katy's in Westmont, where the noodles are hand pulled." (to Rich about the dan-dan noodles)
Another fleeting mention in Ed’s Potsticker House thread


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In the Niu Rou Mian (Chinese Beef Noodle Soup) Recipes thread JeffB mentioned that it may be worth checking if Katy's would make shaved noodles. The idea of fresh noodles by itself was very appealing and coupled with a friend's then recent relocation nearabouts, we decided to go there. This was sometime towards the end of December last year and since then I've been back a few times to sample more and each time has been as least as good as my first wonderful visit.

Katy's Dumpling House or K's (or as the Chinese characters, I'm told, say "Zhao's second kid's house of 'small eats'/snacks) is in a very interesting strip mall on just North of Ogden on Cass. In that strip mall is a small Chinese store, three or four Indian restaurants (including Shree – which my friend who's been there warns me vehemently against) and stores (one of which I saw had small potted curry leaf plants; $10). There is also a Thai restaurant there. Yet I don't think I can get myself to not go into Katy's anytime I'm anywhere near there.
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My first visit there was on a cold snowy day. I couldn't have asked for better food on a day like that. With the Niu Rou Mian thread and memories of the knife shaved noodles in Philly dancing in my head, I asked the person behind the counter for Niu rou mien and if they had dao xiao (knive shaved) noodles. The person behind the counter gave me a quizzical look then smiled at me and the Chinese lady waiting to order behind me, shook his head and said they didn't have any dao xiao ('x' pronounced 'ksh' as in xiaolin) mien. As my friend remarked, in places like this – small, serving predominantly an ethnic group – the interface between the kitchen and customer is usually lacking. I think though that my initial exchange broke the ice and I've had very pleasant service there (including, on my last visit there, free lessons in Chinese pronunciation :) ).
We had on that first visit potstickers, which were crisp and hot and still juicy inside (watch out, hot juices!). The house made chili oil (la jiao yu) was a good accompaniment. Soon I got my
Niu Rou Mien
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the beef in it was very tender, imbued with a hint of star anise in an excellent broth slightly spicy from the chili oil and redolent with fresh cilantro. The pickled greens add a nice note of crunchy sourness. The star in that dish though was
the noodles
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fresh handmade thick chewy juicy noodles (no apologies for the adjective soup)
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Fresh hand made noodles (ga mien? though not hand-pulled la mien like in nr706's pic). The noodles were chewy and with the broth and meat made for a great bowl of soup noodles. As A2Fay, who had been craving the shaved noodles we had in Philly, put it - this was different, didn't satisfy that craving but instead might start another craving. We tried also a plate of the
spicy fried noodles
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This had a nice smokiness, great wok hay, with refreshingly chewy noodles and ample pieces of meats and shrimp (also krab). One can get this with a choice of meats.
One of us also had chicken noodle soup and liked it. I tried a bit and it had a delicious mild broth – a comforting bowl if anyone ever needed one. I was busy enjoying my beef noodle soup though, but then I tried what was the best dish that day - A2Fay's
Dan dan mien
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the Sichuan street specialty. A complex spicy broth, it had a bit sweetness - I thought I detected a hint of lemongrass (but that can't be) – maybe from the Sichuan peppercorn (hua jiao that gives a minty cooling numbness. I had a few spoons (I thought) and next thing I know A2Fay grabs the bowl with a "Get your own if you are going to inhale my lunch" look in her brows and portions me some in a small bowl.
(another pic from another visit) Image


That was a terrific first lunch – in my top ten for 2005.
We went to a movie later that evening and I remember sitting there thinking before it started that no matter how good or bad the movie is going to be, thanks to the lunch, I'm going to leave with a smile on my face. I'm positive I did (but I can't recall which movie).

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Further Explorations

On that first trip there I enjoyed myself so much that I knew I would go back. I had taken pictures of the limited menu on the wall, two of three which were unintelligible to me. The third clearly must be the dumpling menu – since it higher quantities and prices. There were also a fair number of people who would come in, go to the low window ordering area and leave with bags of dumplings, taken out from the freezer near the cash register.

Fresh Noodles Menu
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House Specials Board and Dumplings Poster
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Translations posted here - please post comments, corrections and clarifications below this thread (i.e., here, not there) and I'll edit the translation.

Armed with the names of the dishes, we sampled some of the 'House Specials' – these are in transparent covered plastic containers in the refrigerator next to the cash register. As far as I can tell these are eaten cold or at room temperature (well, maybe not the meatballs – this is in a congealed sauce and I've never picked it up).

marinated duck wings and Shanghai smoked fish
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The duck wings were alright, good duck flavor though a little tough and since it's wings there's limited meat. I enjoyed the smoked fish (though A2Fay found it a bit 'fishy'). Not really smoky, it comes in a star anise flavoured sweetish sauce. For a point of reference - Moon Palace has this (cold appetizer) which was a smaller portion but had larger pieces of fish. The Moon Palace version was much sweeter and I preferred (marginally) Katy's version, although the pieces of fish at MP were bigger, thicker cut. FWIW later I've seen boxes at Katy's with larger pieces of fish.

The Szechwan Noodle Soup
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comes in a spicy broth (though not as much as the dan dan noodles) with chili and Sichuan peppercorns, filled with meats, shrimp, squid and vegetables.

The Beef Tendon Noodle Soup
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I liked a lot. The broth was the same as the NRM, I liked the soft cartilegenous tendon that must have been simmered for ages. The tendon pieces were permeated with a star anise flavour and were soft enough to cut in two by pinching between chopsticks, the chewy noodles were a great counterpoint. If I could get a mix of beef and the beef tendon - that would be the perfect bowl.

I should note that these bowls are quite substantial. I would advice against leaving some unfinished to take home. As these are fresh noodles, reheating in the broth renders them mushy.

Katy's also makes good fried rice, nice smoky taste - though my friend (who ordered it) said on a subsequent visit it wasn't as good as when we got it.
Fried rice
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It's hard to go wrong with the noodles though, if not in soup then stir fried.
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Dumplings
The pork and bok choy ones we had (10 for $3.95) had not too thick a skin, with ample and juicy filling.
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Along with something from the refrigerator they make a good meal.

The best item I've had from the refrigerator has to be the marinated pork shank(?) slices.
(On the right of the spicy beef tendon (ma la niu jing))
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Jiang Xiao Joe was described to me as shank or foot (opinions were divided over what exactly it was; I should have asked the chef, I suppose). At any rate, they are soft slices of very flavorful meat*. It's no wonder that I've always seen it on some table whenever I've been at Katy's. It comes with a small tub of a very tasty soy sauce. The house chili oil (ask for it) went well with it as well. This pork makes for some incredible sandwiches.
*No no no, I will not say porcine delight, though that is exactly what it is :twisted:
Jiang Xiao Joe
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I really wish Katy's was closer to me – why isn't there a place in Chinatown that has such wonderful fresh noodles? As the ethnic populations grow, the best places will be found closer to those pockets.
Want good food, will travel. Thank you JeffB!


Katy's Dumpling House
665 N. Cass Ave.
Westmont, IL 60559
(630) 323-9393

Hours: 11am – 9pm
Closed Mondays
Cash only
Last edited by sazerac on March 20th 2006, 7:12am, edited 2 times in total.
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wow, i'm impressed with your photos, definitely brings back good memories.
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Yes.

That is a fantastic post. Sazerac, you have illustrated what I had barely started to convey about the place. Katy's is the goods.

Thanks.
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If those aren't the most alluring photos.....

Amazingly enticing post, Mr Sazerac.

Trix and I have already booked a room in Westmont so we can try it out.
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Fantastic post; I've been looking for a place just like this - the only thing missing from the place I used to frequent, growing up, were these excellent steamed vegetable dumplings with home-made skins. Maybe they have 'em...
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Sybaris is very nearby.
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JeffB wrote:Sybaris is very nearby.

So speaks the voice of experience. :)
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Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

Low & Slow
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Vow, nice pictures! I have driven by this place, but didn't know it was that good/authentic. It's on the top of my list to try out now.
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JeffB wrote:Katy's is the goods.


JeffB, thanks for the corroboration. :)

And you really should post adresses of places you recommend. :twisted:
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sazerac wrote:Katy's Dumpling House or K's (or as the Chinese characters, I'm told, say "Zhao's second kid's house of 'small eats'/snacks) is in a very interesting strip mall on just North of Ogden on Cass.

Sazerac,

Having just read your post for the third time I'm sitting here at 7am planing my week around at least one, most likely two, visits to Katy's Dumpling House.

Terrific post and thanks to both you and Jeff for the continued reinforcement of Katy's, which looks to, finally, be enough to get me beyond O'Hare. :)

Enjoy,
Gary
_______________________________________

Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

Low & Slow
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There's an interesting guy who works there, he claims that they make the best noodles in town. The place is quite small though, and if the owner has nothing to do he'll watch you savor every bite. He spoke to us in mandarin asking, "How is everything? Not too salty? Spicy? How are the noodles?" The whole dining experience kind of reminded me of a chinese version of Tampopo. Anyways, I totally recommend the beef noodle soup, so much better than Fabulous Noodles and Ed's Potsticker.
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G Wiv wrote:Terrific post and thanks to both you and Jeff for the continued reinforcement of Katy's, which looks to, finally, be enough to get me beyond O'Hare. :)


Thanks, I know you'll enjoy your visits (though I hope I'm not pushing expectations impossibly high).

You won't have to go O'Hare-wards. Katy's is South of 290 and North of 55. Google map. The Seven Bridges movie theatre (and Imax) is close, with a Krispy Kreme next to it - for dessert if you will. South of Katy's off 355 (one exit north of I-55) is the Bolingbrook Meijer - the only Chicagoland store where I've found Texas Pete hot sauce. (I didn't find much else of interest there though)

If you are making a day of it, light homesytle Indian food can be had at Kohinoor (call ahead, they close when they feel like)

Meijer #169
225 N Weber Rd
Bolingbrook, IL 60490
(630) 679-6500

Kohinoor Restaurant
2309 Maple Ave
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 968-3130
Google mapped
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Sazerac,

What an excellent post! The close-up of the noodles is almost too much to bear... Amata and I -- like others here, I'm sure -- are being drawn thither. Many thanks to you and also to JeffB for originally recommending this place.

Antonius
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Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
- aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
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Na sir is na seachain an cath.
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Gary, call me as I'd love to meet you for a bowl of stir fired noodles and dumplings this week.
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I used to think the brain was the most important part of the body. Then I realized who was telling me that.
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Well, as long as ya'll are going out there, you might stop by Westbrook Market, on Cass at 63rd Street, south of Katy's by a couple of miles.

If you want local products and unusual produce, you'll like this other place that I have been pushing for some time. As an example of the esoterica Westbrook stocks, in verifying the address for Westbrook, Josie's Czech dumpling company, of Stickney, came up as one of the first hits...

http://www.josiesdumplings.com/p5.htm

You might also explore the Hong Kong style Chinese Kitchen, Cass and 65th, in the Falcon Plaza. This strip mall is also home to a Lithuanian cafe, a couple of Indian businesses that seem to come and go but us. include a restaurant and a store, and a Mexican restaurant that changes name and ownership regularly. I've had some decent birria and lamb barbacoa there.

PS, the beef place in the Cass/Ogden strip mall, Johnny's, is very old and is pretty good. There is, of course, lots more out there, but this is a start.
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Sazerac,

Your commentary (and accompanying food porn) made my lunch decision easy today. Even though I have driven past this intersection hundreds of times I have never seen K's. When I arrived around 12:45 the place was about half full. They have 7-8 wooden tables surrounded by plain wooden chairs. I promptly ordered the beef noodle soup and took a seat.

Man was this stuff tasty, and you ain't kidding about the portion size. This would have been enough for two people if they had eaten breakfast. The noodles were nice and toothsome with a rich broth.

Now I have to make a decision when I want soup noodles. I can go to the standby of Fabulouse Noodles in Lisle or now stroll over to K's. Thank you for putting this on the suburban chow map.

Anyone interested in visiting please PM, email, or call me on my Cell at 630-222-9797, I'd be willing to join whenever I'm in the area and available.

Flip
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"Beer is proof God loves us, and wants us to be Happy"
-Ben Franklin-
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Thanks for the post.

I too get out this way rather often and have never noticed Katy's. I'm going to be sure to try to get over there sometime this week. The pictures alone have me craving soup and dumplings.
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Can anyone translate the menus? My hubby can make out some of it but not all of it. Funny that we never noticed this place... but thanks to this board we now will :D
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mby385 wrote:Can anyone translate the menus? My hubby can make out some of it but not all of it. Funny that we never noticed this place... but thanks to this board we now will :D


See the sticky re: translated menus - OP's original post also has the links to the translated menu.
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sazerac wrote:Katy's Dumpling House or K's (or as the Chinese characters, I'm told, say "Zhao's second kid's house of 'small eats'/snacks)

I have nothing productive to add except:

1) this place is rec'd by even the old school Shanghainese ladies in the office who proclaimed: us Chinese don't know how to have fun in America, so we eat.

2) the 2nd and 3rd character in the restaurant's name:,"lao er" (as always, pardon my pinyin), can also mean... penis; the second in command, etc.
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Octarine wrote:Gary, call me as I'd love to meet you for a bowl of stir fired noodles and dumplings this week.

Octarine,

Great Idea, I just posted lunch at Katy's today [Tuesday] on the event's board.

All are welcome, the more the merrier.

Enjoy,
Gary

Lunch 12:45 Tuesday March, 21
Katy's Dumpling House
665 N. Cass Ave.
Westmont, IL 60559
(630) 323-9393
_______________________________________

Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

Low & Slow
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Wow. I'll bet some enterprising journalist discovers Katy's soon. :wink: If so, good for Katy's!
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That looks absolutely phenominal. I will have to make the 20 mile trek down there soon to try it out.

Thanks for the post!
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sazerac wrote:I really wish Katy's was closer to me

Sazerac,

You and me both!

Lunch yesterday was terrific, with handmade noodles the star of the show. I very much enjoyed the Chinese beef noodle soup and the spicy fried noodles are a dish that will bring me back time and time again, but it was Dan dan mien I found myself thinking about this morning as I woke up. In fact, I was mentally planning my day around another visit to Katy's when, crestfallen, I realized they were closed on Wednesdays.

We had a nice sized group for an impromptu lunch so we were able to order a number of items, dumplings, while austere in flavor, were satisfying and nicely enlivened by a hint or two of vinegar.

Katy's Dumplings
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Pork slices were terrific, Steve Z thought they would be perfect for a Cuban sandwich, and the Northern Smoked Chicken flesh was dense and flavorful, though there was the very slightest hint of bitter from smoke on the skin.

From top clockwise: Sliced pork, Northern Smoked Chicken, Meatballs w/fried egg on top
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Beef meatballs included a couple of eggs that seemed to defy logic as they were hard cooked in the exact shape of an egg without an outer layer to contain the shape.

From bottom left: Egg, dumpling, sliced pork
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In his post Sazerac briefly mentioned the the seeming lack of (initial) friendliness, though as we were fortunate enough to have both Sazerac and A2Fay with us for lunch, who had already broken the ice, the owner, or at least who I am assuming is the owner (yes, I know, one should not assume) the ice was well melted. It also didn't hurt when Geli spoke to him in Mandarin.*

Katy's Dumpling House
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Our lunch group was rounded out by Flip and Octarine and a very enjoyable lunch it was. A sincere thank you to JeffB for hoeing the field and Sazerac for planting the seed.

Enjoy,
Gary

*The various and wide ranging abilities of LTHers never cease to amaze me
_______________________________________

Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

Low & Slow
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G Wiv wrote:
sazerac wrote:I really wish Katy's was closer to me

... a couple of eggs that seemed to defy logic as they were hard cooked in the exact shape of an egg without an outer layer to contain the shape.


That, Gary, is an ancient Chinese secret... I can tell you, but I will have to kill you... hehehe ... ;)

Actually the egg is hard boiled, then fried. Sometimes it is covered with a layer of ground pork before frying. I think it is called "Son-In-Law Eggs". I heard that the name came about because even the most inept son-in-law can cook hard boiled eggs and fry them to impress his mother-in-law...
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Whew, glad I didn't drive out there today! I was fully planning on it but the day got away from me. I will be there tomorrow for another plate of the stir fried noodles with shrimp or pork...or both, both is good.

I'm trying to think of a way to describe how good the noodles were and I'm failing. The closest I can come is the time I ate at a friend's house in Schwabisch Gmund and his grandmother made spaetzele from scratch in front of us and served it up with roast pork and home made red cabbage. One of the best meals I ever had. I got the same feeling of personal care and dare I say it, love put into the pasta at Katy's.
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I used to think the brain was the most important part of the body. Then I realized who was telling me that.
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Last May we were discussing the best hand-made pasta in Chicago. It was a thread about Via Stato. The focus was Italian, but my nominees were Katy's and Andrezj Grill. Still my opinion. Pasta's not just for us Italians. I am really glad people are enjoying this food. For me, it is an essential experience, because I have not had noodles like this elsewhere and there is nothing at Katy's but the food.

I'd sure like to know how they make them. Some people have a knack for getting behind the scenes, some speak Mandarin....
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Went in to the office today and fielded a couple puzzled looks from the staff, "two times in one week? Are you quitting?"

No, I simply needed an excuse to stop by Katy's again. Today it was packed, I got the only free table. I ordered stir fried noodles with shrimp and as expected it was extraordinary. I was blown away by the quantity of shrimp, I estimate that my 9" plate of noodles had no less than 20 good shrimp that I strongly suspect were freshly peeled. A nice drizzle of chili oil and away I went.

I have a small leftover container and I am curious if I will be able to hold off till 7 to have them like I am planning. The place has a predominantly Chinese clientele; aside from one man in the corner when I arrived and a group of three who came in as I left, everyone else was Chinese and without exception they ordered the beef in noodle soup at the minimum. A few plates of pot stickers walked by and they looked even better than the dumplings.
_______________________________________

I used to think the brain was the most important part of the body. Then I realized who was telling me that.
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Finally made it out late this afternoon.

Started with Dan Dan noodles. Sauce, spinach, ground pork, and heat level were similar to renditions at Spring World and Mandarin Kitchen, but once you bite into those noodles, any similarity is immediately forgotten. I haven't had a better noodle anywhere in Chicagoland.

Octarine, those special stir fried shrimp noodles are indeed special, the quality of the shrimp stands up especially well to the noodle.

Cold szechwan noodles were particularly good in my opinion. Like a cooler, drier version of dan dan, with julienne cucumber standing in for the spinach.

Potstickers were enjoyable. Wonton soup was enjoyable enough but didn't stand a chance against all the competition.

I look forward to trying the tendon soup soon (Say tendon soup soon 10 times, quickly). JeffB, thank you for doing the grunt work on this one. Thanks to you, I will be doing a little extra of my own grunt work this evening, when I get up on the treadmill. :roll:

:twisted:
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So far, everyone has been eating in. Do they do takeout entrees...? That is, in addition to the frozen stuff...?

=gordon=
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