Monday, May 5, 2008

Noodling at Marco Polo; dubious dim sum at X. O. Cafe

Given SYB's fondness for the noodles with Peking sauce at Marco Polo Noodle Shop, it was only a matter of time before he and I, out of ideas for where to go one evening, would end up there for dinner.

Once seated, SYB didn't even bother reaching for a menu; this was a man with a plan. When his order of noodles arrived (along with some fried dumplings), I watched with amusement as he stirred in the thick, sweet, porky sauce with almost ritual meticulousness, making sure each strand was evenly coated. Then he dug in. After trying a bite, I understood why he liked the dish so much: the slightly spicy bowl of warm and chewy noodles was true comfort food.

I spotted another woman eating a bowl of what looked like wide knife-shaved noodles at the next table, and suggested to SYB that he try ordering his Peking sauce on top of those for a change. But though he nodded, I doubt he's going to take me up on that idea anytime soon.
As for me, I got beef chow fun, because I love that stuff. Well, except for when it is super greasy and makes me feel disgusting afterwards…like this one did.
So afterwards, we decided to get dessert. Y'know, a little sweetness to chase away the salt and oil. At X.O. Cafe & Grill a few blocks away, I ordered this black sesame shake, as well as two other items to share:
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"Nut-filled glutinous rice dumplings," which are small mochi balls filled with sweetened black sesame paste, rolled in coconut shreds and chopped peanuts…
…and from the "Special Dim Sum" menu, these taro dumplings. Which turned out to be wholly unlike what I had envisioned. Actually, they were unlike anything I had envisioned ever, unless you include the egg sacs of aliens. I mean seriously. Do they not look like pods for some kind of freaky spawn?
After poking at the trio with my spoon (they didn't start moving), I hefted one onto my plate and cut the damn thing open. Out oozed its sweet, pasty guts. I bravely popped a piece into my mouth and chewed. And it was…well, it was okay. I wasn't eating unformed alien offspring, but the tapioca skin was completely without taste and the taro filling wasn't sweet enough to balance it out. And after I watched SYB slurp one into his mouth whole, leaving a sticky coating of tapioca goo across his lips, I was just done, completely and without question, for the night.
On the way out I spotted this sign taped above the beverage listings, which amused me. Though you serve me alien dumplings, I will always love you Chinatown.


  1. I think the food was more fun than tasty at XO.

  2. Thanks for the love! Every time I look at your blog I get hungry- go figure. Well, expect for the tapioca coated dumplings... those just scare me...