Mario and I took Wednesday off to do some material shopping for our new home’s renovation. We had scheduled to meet with our contractor, Mr. Li, in San Gabriel area at 10AM. Since L.A. traffic is so unpredictable, we started our trip early and it turned out we arrived nearly an hour twenty minutes early. There’s only one thing to do to fill the time: go enjoy dim sum for breakfast!
Since Ravi came, going out to restaurant for any meal is a luxury. We wanted to make the most out of this rare opportunity. Since our most favorite dim sum restaurants (Sea Harbor and Lunasia) don’t open till 11AM, we had to pick a different place. Our first choice was Empress Harbor on Atlantic Blvd and Garvey. We found the place still closed when we arrived. So where else to go? There’s only one other place I could think of that always open early, and that is the New Capital Seafood Restaurant on Del Mar and Vally Blvd. So Mario and I got back into our car and speed toward our new destination. We check the time and there’s only an hour and 10 minutes left before our appointment. We had doubts if we could actually finish a meal and drive over to the meeting place within that time, but we were filled with excitement and nothing was going to deter from our goal. What the heck, we can always come up with excuses.
New Capital is an extremely popular restaurant within the Chinese community, mostly because of their low price, high/medium quality, and fast service approach to their food. To me their food is not top notch, but heck of a deal given the prices and variety they serve. As a result, it is guaranteed to find their large parking lot jam packed during every meal times. New Capital is located on the fourth floor of a plaza with large windows overlooking the San Gabriel valley. It is specially spectacular at night overlooking all the lights beneath our feet. It also has one of the largest dinning area among Chinese restaurants, with separate seating areas for banquets and special events. Even so, there’s always dozens of parties waiting in the lobby around every meal time. I remember we were quoted wait time of over an hour before!
We arrived to New Capital at exactly 9AM. There was still plenty of parking space. Well, it is a weekday and still early in the morning. Once we arrived, we were seated immediately. At this time, the giant dinning area was only filled to about 20% of its capacity. Dim sum carts arrived immediately and we made 2 orders right off the bat, even before our tea arrived!
Shu Mai is one of Mario’s favorites, so we always end up ordering those at dim sum. It was actually pretty good served fresh and hot. I began to think I should give New Capital more credit for their food.
We sat back to relax while enjoying cups of hot Chrysanthemum and Po-Er tea. I turned around to look at other guests. I have to admit that I was curious as who these people are that can enjoy a relaxing breakfast during a weekday. Are they retirees? Students? Unemployed? It must be nice to be able to do this on a regular basis. But there were all kinds of people, parent with college aged children, grandparents with toddlers, middle aged couples…etc. Quite a few had buried their heads into news papers and occasionally reach out their hands for the tea cup.
More food arrived. I ordered curry fish ball for Mario, but he didn’t seem to like it that much and made me finish the last piece.
Another one of Mario’s favorite at dim sum is egg custard bun, so I kept an eye out for that. As it turned out, they only had the pineapple version. It looked really good and we decided to give it a try. Mario loved the crunchy top, super soft bread bun, and the nice milky custard, but he didn’t like the pineapple pieces in it. But overall, he gave it an A and would definitely order again.
I introduced Mario to porridge a long time ago, but he only recently warmed up to the idea. Since it was a relatively cold morning, I ordered a porridge and served Mario a half. He loved it so much we ordered another one! Very tasty and comforting, and not much calorie at all.
We were feeling pretty full by 9:35 so we got our bill right away. New Capital offers discount prices for dim sum on weekdays. We ate 6 orders, total cost plus tea and taxes came to little over $13. With tips, we paid $15 for two people. Considering we paid $28 without tips last time we ate at Sea Harbor, this price is fantastic! Of course I have to point out we ordered only 6 compared to the 7 we ordered at Sea Harbor.
It was barely 9:40AM when we left New Capital and we had plenty of time to get to our appointment. That’s a new record for us, dim sum within 40 minutes! Mario even had time to get a cup of coffee on way to meet Mr. Li. Overall we rate this experience A+, and hope we can come back and do it again real soon.