Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

I was reading not long ago that Stephen King likes to have grilled cheese and tomato soup when the weather is inclement. I don’t really like his books, but I respect him for selling so many.

I had this at The Melt, a cheese-themed chain restaurant, located on Sunset and Vine in Hollywood.

There were three or more types of cheese in the sandwich which was greasy, salty and delicious. The soup was tangy and tasted fresh.

It was a pleasant comfort food experience.

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Xiaolongbao (小笼包)

My brother from Colorado was in town for the holidays, so I told him about the legendary xiaolongbao of Din Tai Fung. Off we went to the city/suburb of Glendale where in a giant mall was located a location of that Shanghaiese by way of Taiwan restaurant.

Behold!

Were the dumplings, full of minced pork and broth as good as they were in Singapore?

Yes. They were perfect. While the menu here is shorter than the menu at the Singapore locations (and no chicken rice, sadly) the Din Tai Fung machine does its job well. The broth was porky and hot, but not hot enough to burn the mouth.

Chicken dumplings were likewise amazing. The broth was intensely flavorful.

Water spinach was not on the menu, so we got spinach and garlic.

It was also perfectly cooked. There were no particles of sand in the spinach at all.

Pork steamed buns were great.

Red bean dumplings were good, but after having five I was finished. They were sweet, but not overly so.