As you probably know, Din Tai Fung, the glorious dumpling palace that specializes in soup dumplings, or xiao long bao, recently opened in Glendale. And not just anywhere in Glendale but in the ├╝ber-mall of the Americana at Brand. It's the third branch of Din Tai Fung to open in Los Angeles -- the other two are both on Baldwin Avenue in Arcadia -- and the fourth in America. If you're counting, that fourth Din Tai Fung is in Bellevue, Wash., and there's a fifth outpost opening soon in Seattle's university district and plans for yet another branch of the restaurant in South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. As if you needed more reasons to live on the West Coast.
A. Scattergood long xiao bao, Din Tai Fung
What you think about the new Din Tai Fung depends a lot upon your view of malls, specifically the enormous upscale versions of them, with Apple genius bars and Kate Spade shops and actual concierges, where this time of year fake snow falls miraculously from the sky while Frank Sinatra sings his specific mall repertoire.
You may not be a mall person. Or, more accurately, the kinds of malls you like may be the grungy strip malls of the San Gabriel Valley, in which you can park yourself right outside, slide into a booth without a wait and eat your dumplings about 10 minutes later, your tea poured by the same person who poured it last week. We won't argue with that, but we thought we'd come up with five solid reasons why you might want to give the new Din Tai Fung a try.More »