Thursday, August 19, 2010

China Moon, Laguna Niguel

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About a year and a half ago a couple came into B's work and bought a bike from him. As they chatted he found out that they owned a local Chinese food restaurant called China Moon. B couldn't have been happier.

B loves Chinese food almost as much as he loves me. Or maybe more depending on the day :)

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A while later we headed into the restaurant to check it out. They greeted us with happy smiles and open arms and brought a never ending amount of food... and it was all incredible.

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A few months later we got married and we kept meaning to go back in but life just got crazy.

So we popped in on Monday night and the moment we walked in the door Jackson greeted us with a huge smile. He remembered B's name and remembered we had gotten married in December. I mean, we haven't seen him in over a year! He remembered me and was so excited to see we were expecting. I'm still impressed. Do you know how many people come in a restaurant in a year?

Pictured above are house-made dumplings or shu mai. They aren't on the menu but they had them from a very large order made for the St. Regis hotel's brunch. I think they should put these on the menu.

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Did I mention that when we were walking towards the door of the restaurant a man with a very large to go order passed us by? He very loudly told us that it was his 6th night in a row there... and it would have been 7 but they are closed on Tuesdays. Not that we asked but I thought it was cute he wanted us to know that.

This is the chicken, crab and asparagus soup. It is so incredibly flavorful. We ordered the small and it is enough to serve out 4 of these small bowls. It's delicate and unusual and our leftover soup didn't make it past breakfast the next morning.

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My personal favorite is the two flavor shrimp. A combination of both the sesame shrimp (left) and the tangy aromatic shrimp (right). The shrimp is perfectly cooked. It's crispy on the outside without being breaded and both sauces are phenomenal. I also love any dish that allows me to be indecisive and try more dishes.

Get this shrimp.

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Sauteed green beans with scallions, ginger and garlic. Again, perfectly cooked. You want your green beans al dente and the flavor is amazing. Scallions, ginger and garlic and I'm sold.

At some point Jackson's wife Vanessa came by the table and excitedly rubbed my stomach and asked me questions about the baby. She was genuinely happy for us and it was incredibly sweet. I told B is was like seeing an aunt and uncle and delivering all our good news.

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Originally we thought we might try lemon chicken but the server thought that was too similar to the shrimp dishes and suggested the peppercorn chicken.

I love that he suggested something different than what we already had. When it came to the table he tossed the chicken and vegetables onto a hot plate to finish it. All I can say is sizzle, steam, sigh.

You'll love this dish too.

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During dinner I listened to the couple at the booth behind us talk about how coming there is like visiting family. I'm not sure how often they are there but it sounds like quite a bit.

I'm also impressed that Jackson and Vanessa repeatedly came by our table and poured water or cleared dishes or did whatever they could to help the servers. Unfortunately you sometimes see managers and owners that don't take an active roll in service. Everyone helped each other throughout the evening.

We can't wait to go back and try some new dishes... that is if we can tear ourselves away from the ones we've already tried.

Every have one of those all around fantastic dinners? This was just what we needed that day.

Do you have a place you go that has great food and gives you the warm fuzzies?

8 comments:

  1. The three fishes in Great Mitton, Lancashire! It's all locally produced ingredients, classic English food and utterly amazing. There are pictures of the farmers and food producers lining the walls. The atmosphere is like the warm cottage you wished you lived in when the weather is bad and the nights are drawing in!

    Those beans look delicious - what makes the sauce look red?

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  2. Nommmm! That sauteed green bean dish is one of my favorite dishes to order. I think the direct translation of its Chinese name is "Four Season Beans." ;) And those shrimps look SO yummy. I love shrimps and so does Z, but for some reason, J absolutely hates them! He would even tell Z to stay away from him and not touch him when she eats shrimp. He says he can't stand the smell! =S

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  3. OOOOOOOO dumplings. I love them so.

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  4. There's a Chinese restaurant here that does the most amazing long beans during the summer. I try and get in there once a week or so for them! Your story reminded me of a couple who ran a Chinese restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale, FL where I lived when my kids were young. We went in there so much, that we actually became quite close to the owners. They gave us a little going away party when we moved!

    Great pics and such beautiful food....

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  5. THIS is where I want to eat if I ever get out there for a visit. Every thing looked absolutely wonderful!! I am so hungry now I can hardly stand it!

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  6. Oh, I am so wanting to visit the China Moon. We have a Chinese restaurant but the food never looks this wonderful!

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  7. Everything looked soooo delicious! And your photos are so bright and vibrant--the colors are all so beautiful.

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  8. Ok then. I'm going to have to go get Chinese for dinner tonight. Though I doubt we'll get such incredible food. I'm a little envious, I must admit.

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Your comments make my day- thanks for visiting!

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