Fireside

Thank you to everyone who commented in the last post. I have to say that I totally agree! Actually writing blog posts is not time-consuming, it is the social media part that accompanies it. When I first started blogging, I thought that photo editing was challenging but now I have everything down packed and I can edit many photos in a short amount of time. I love reading all my friend’s blogs in the morning and when I have short windows throughout the day but do not always have time to comment. I always felt really guilty and would wait to make my rounds before posting a new entry on my blog before realizing that it was really unproductive. Not being so rigid about that took away a lot of the anxiety I had with this hobby and now I can say I fully enjoy it again. 🙂

If possible, do you mind answering the question posted on the bottom?

Anyways, enough of blogger talk. We have food to mesmerize over! I first heard of Chino while eating at Z Cuisine in Denver with my sister back in January. (mmm..still having dreams about their cassoulet)

Our waiter/bartender gave me the inside scoop of this place since his brother-in-law was part of the opening team. I kept it in the back of my mind and my eyes lit up when I saw the sign being put up as I was driving down Guerrero Street. That was a few months ago and I finally had a chance to stop by last Thursday.

I heard from friends that their ambiance was playful but did not expect such a sensory overload. I loved the hanging lights and it made me feel like I should have been dining al fresco under the stars.

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The decor fit the fusion mood perfectly and it was cute to look at various things from my childhood. I do not know if any of you ever made a trip to Toy Boat in the Richmond but that was the first thought to come to my mind with all the vintage 70s toys.

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It did not take us long to get into business since I am pretty knowledgable with Chinese dishes. Our first selection was the (wait for it) Nick Balla’s Dope Ass Japan-O-Mission Wings ($9) with fishy-limey-hot-n-sour sauce.

I expected something different based on their over compensated menu name but these wings still got the job done. I loved how crispy the skin was but the spicy lover in me wished that they had a little bit of kick.

Also, my favorite part about Chino is that everything on their menu is less than $10. You cannot even get a kids meal at McDonald’s in San Francisco for less than $10 these days so I thought it was awesome for them to use that price point.

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I am happy that I cleared up a question burning in the back of my mind for at least 10 years after ordering this dish. Rice cakes are called lean gao in Chinese and I was never able to talk to anyone about it since I did not have the English translation. We ordered these “spicy porkey rice cakes” ($7) with hot pepper paste and braised bok choy and imagine my surprise when I bit into it and realized exactly what it was! Now I am not constrained to the Chinese translation and can order rice cakes at whichever Chinese restaurant I choose. Land of the free, right?

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The staff shipped me to the back to check out the dumpling masters at work. I had a good chat with them in Chinese and they were really fun to talk to. These dumplings look green, I wonder what they were wrapping!

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Chino’s quintessential dish is the Xiao Long Bao ($9) which is what sparked the idea for the restaurant. If you never had XLB before, it’s basically a soup dumpling originating from Shanghai. You take a small bite first to release the steaming hot broth (make sure everything stays in your spoon) and then you eat everything in one bite. When I went to Shanghai a few years ago, I ate almost 30 of these bad boys. They are so good.

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My favorite dish of the night, of course, was the braised pork noodles ($8) with sichuan peppercorns, peanuts and Chinese mustard greens. I could probably use my search bar and pull up 500 times I mentioned how much I love sichuan peppercorns (and how they are my favorite flavor in the whole world) but 501 times will not hurt. Seriously so good, I wish I had ordered two of these so I can have one the next day.

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The cold sesame noodles ($6) were served with cucumber, summer squash and mushroom. I am usually a big fan of cold asian noodles and was really glad I ordered this. However, the dish could have used a teeny bit more flavor. Bland is a frightful word to use when describing food but that is the best adjective my dining companions could come up with.

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Overall, I might have fell into the buzz and hype which is hard not to do with this food-driven city, but I also made sure to keep in mind they have only been opened for less than a month and are still working out the kinks. Totally understandable. I love the ethos of this restaurant and see the great potential they have down the road.

PS: Easy Breezy for dessert.

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What do you wish to see more of on the blog? Restaurants? Recipes? Lifestyle posts? Miscellaneous? All? None? I am putting my big girl panties on for the comment section and can handle any dish you wish to share. 🙂