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Pacifica Cafe


LorettaEChi
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For some time, Fun Guy and I have been meaning to try the Eight Treasures Duck at Pacifica Cafe, 621 Center Point Way, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 301-519-1488 (see the attached article -- the description of Pacifica Cafe is at the end of the article) but the dish is so big even we cannot possibly handle it by ourselves! So we're proposing an event on January 18 (Sunday but a long weekend) at 6pm. I just called the restaurant and was told the dish is now $38 and can feed 10 people. We'll see about that -- they have never seen a Don Rockwell group in action! Reservations must be made at 24 hours in advance since the duck takes a long time to prepare. I would like to keep the group to 10 people.

Three_Tastes_of_China_Article.pdf

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I'll be a tentative 2 (two) for this. Sounds quite intriguing. But, really, one duck for 10 Rockwellians? We should probably order two. Even then it'd be only 8 bucks a person for the duck.

Huh, lotta two's up there.

I think what they're saying is that they can get 10 servings out of the duck, not that we don't also order other dishes.

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It's not just about eating the duck meat. One duck can be shared by 10 people because it's stuffed silly with 8 different items. Of coures if everyone just wants to eat duck meat, you might need two ducks. We're in Vegas for MLK Jr. weekend otherwise I'd be all over it. In fact, if this is done on Monday night (Tuesday is inauguration), I'd be all over it.

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I don't know if I can go, but their menu looks delicious. Here is a copy I found online. It may be old, but it does have 8 treasure duck on there.

http://www.dc495.com/wiki/index.php?title=Pacific_Cafe_Menu

For those who can't read Chinese, the first page is their Chinese menu page. The food are mostly from regions around Shanghai.

On the right side are their specialty dishes that require order in advance.

-8 treasure duck

-some kind of fish dish where the name doesn't tell you anything about the preparation

-lobster meatball

-fried and braised ham hocks

-fermented bean curd pork

-red braised jumbo shrimp

-shrimp roe and sea cucumber

-red braised fish belly

-one fish three styles (red braised fish belly, red braised fish tail, fish head casserole)

The left side does not require order in advance and it seems to have some pretty tasty options as well, such as Shanghai style smoked fish, Lionhead meatball, etc.

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For those who can't read Chinese, the first page is their Chinese menu page. The food are mostly from regions around Shanghai.

On the right side are their specialty dishes that require order in advance.

-8 treasure duck

-some kind of fish dish where the name doesn't tell you anything about the preparation

-lobster meatball

-fried and braised ham hocks

-fermented bean curd pork

-red braised jumbo shrimp

-shrimp roe and sea cucumber

-red braised fish belly

-one fish three styles (red braised fish belly, red braised fish tail, fish head casserole)

The left side does not require order in advance and it seems to have some pretty tasty options as well, such as Shanghai style smoked fish, Lionhead meatball, etc.

Gotta say, beyond 8 treasure duck, "one fish, three styles" sounds amazing. Third place would probably be "fried and braised ham hocks". Mmmm...

Wish they had the prices for those in advance dishes.

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I don't know if I can go, but their menu looks delicious. Here is a copy I found online. It may be old, but it does have 8 treasure duck on there.

http://www.dc495.com/wiki/index.php?title=Pacific_Cafe_Menu

For those who can't read Chinese, the first page is their Chinese menu page. The food are mostly from regions around Shanghai.

Sorry we haven't updated Pacifica Cafe's thread in a while. I posted a draft of their Chinese language menu with help from the owner. They've since edited it and a better version is used at the Cafe.
Gotta say, beyond 8 treasure duck, "one fish, three styles" sounds amazing. Third place would probably be "fried and braised ham hocks". Mmmm...

Wish they had the prices for those in advance dishes.

When the first DR visit occured the prices were:

$35 -8 treasure duck - boneless duck stuffed w/sticky rice, two kinds of sausage, three kinds of nuts and black mushrooms wrapped in a leaf and steamed

$28 -Boneless whole fish, mushrooms, carrots, celery, bamboo shoots, eggs and chopped spinach

$3.95/piece 10 piece minimum -lobster meatball with cream and deep fried

$28 -ham hocks fried and braised 3 hours with spinach and mushroom

$18.95 -Porkbelly deep fried to remove fat then steamed for 2-3 hours and served with red sauce

$4.95/piece, minimum order six -red braised jumbo shrimp with cabbage and rice noodle

$28 -salmon roe and sea cucumber scallion/ginger sauce with or without fishballs

Market Price-Whole fish prepared three ways. Generally Head is made into soup and mid-section & tail prepared from many choices available (e.g., crispy salty, pepper scallion, XO sacuse etc.)

This is a good starting point for understanding their pricing.

Please remember -- these prices were from August 2007 and have probably gone up.

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I think I'm going to have to back out of the dinner this Sunday. My Eagles have surprisingly made it to the NFC Championship game, so I probably couldn't get to Pacifica until closer to 7, not 6.

Looks like there are still 7 people on the list, so the event should still be a go!

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I think I'm going to have to back out of the dinner this Sunday. My Eagles have surprisingly made it to the NFC Championship game, so I probably couldn't get to Pacifica until closer to 7, not 6.

Looks like there are still 7 people on the list, so the event should still be a go!

Football over food? DonRocks, please mete out appropriate punishment.

NB: Now, if it were the Broncos...

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Right now, I have six people including Ray and me. In order to acccomodate our latent Eagles fan, I am willing to change the time to 7pm. Please everyone let me know ASAP as I will put in the reservation today.

TheMatt

Sphere777

hm212

dalii

Football over food? DonRocks, please mete out appropriate punishment.

NB: Now, if it were the Broncos...

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Right now, I have six people including Ray and me. In order to acccomodate our latent Eagles fan, I am willing to change the time to 7pm. Please everyone let me know ASAP as I will put in the reservation today.

TheMatt

Sphere777

hm212

dalii

Uh, I'm a +1! (I count as two.)

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I made reservations for eight people (I can change it to nine) for 7pm. The reservation is under "Loretta". I only reserved one duck as the person who answered the phone said that is enough if we order some other stuff as well.

Loretta

Uh, I'm a +1! (I count as two.)
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I made reservations for eight people (I can change it to nine) for 7pm. The reservation is under "Loretta". I only reserved one duck as the person who answered the phone said that is enough if we order some other stuff as well.

Loretta

Looking forward to Sunday night - Quack Quack
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Ooops! The reservation is under the name Chi, not Loretta (which I believe in a previous email I said was the reservation name). So the reservation is for 12 people at 7pm tonight (Sunday, January 18) at Pacifica Cafe, Gaithersburg, MD under the name Chi. My cell is 301-204-4990.

Loretta Chi

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Wow, wow, wow. 8 dishes between 10 people, everyone walked away with a few extra pounds! Full description and pictures to follow by persons more organized than I.

I don't believe there was a bad word to be had about any dishes. Thank you Loretta!!

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Indeed, it was a very good meal. All the dishes superb, and the price was amazingly reasonable!

Longer descriptions/reviews to come (from me or someone), but here is the list of dishes we had--in pseudo-correct order--for reference:

Wontons in a spicy peanut sauce

Eight treasures duck

Seaweed infused fish

Salty egg shrimp

Golden Bird

Lemongrass chicken

Spinach with fried bean curd

Giant hot pot

NB to those who took home takeout menus: A couple of these (lemongrass chicken and golden bird) are newer dishes than the takeout menu. They were on the real menu at the end of the "Traditional Chinese Dish" section. (i.e., our lemongrass chicken is not the American-Chinese Lemongrass Chicken on the menu)

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Sorry, can't post photos until back to work Wednesday. Number One Son took my iPhone cable for the home computer to Charlottesville. Will post Wednesday. Actually the photos don't do the event justice.

It was quite an event. Every dish was fantastic, there was food left over, and it only cost $18, including tax and tip.

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I don't know if I'd call each dish superb, but most were very good.

The spicy wontons were something of a surprise - I'm used to the Joe's Noodle or A&J renditions, where the sauce is chili oil. This was more like the peanut sauce from dan dan noodles, but with a very good heat kick. Very nice.

The Eight Treasures Duck was essentially Eight Treasure sticky rice stuffed inside of a roast duck and steamed in a lotus leaf. My only complaint was that the ratio of rice to duck was too high, and the duck was mostly lost in this dish. Very rich, though, and still tasty.

The seaweed infused fish was the winner of the night to me. A very mild but firm fish (tilapia?) was lightly battered in a tempura-like batter that was chock full of a finely chopped seaweed. The flavor balance was perfect - sweetness from the fish, salt from the seaweed, a little bit of spice from perhaps white pepper in the batter. Perfect - I'd order this again in a second.

I liked the Salty Egg Shrimp - again batter fried in a very eggy batter that was salty per it's name. Somewhat reminiscient of salt-and-pepper baked shrimp, there was also a peppery kick in the light sauce over it. However, I would have preferred a smaller number of larger shrimp; the smaller size of the shrimp meant the salt and pepper flavor dominated the shrimp. The manager recommended ordering this dish with peeled rather than whole shrimp - I'm not convinced that was good advice.

Golden Bird was tofu skins wrapped around shredded mushrooms and other vegetables, steamed and served with a light brown sauce. I loved this - the steaming was done with a very light hand so there was still crunch to the veggies and mushrooms, and you could taste everything. A real winner.

Lemongrass chicken bore no resemblance to the vietnamese dish of the same name. This was chunks of chicken breast, breaded and fried, served with chopped peppers and onions in a spicy sweet sauce. Tasty, though nothing spectacular - I could barely make out any lemongrass flavor.

Spinach with fried bean curd was exactly as advertised, and a nice complement to the other dishes on the table.

Giant Hot Pot was, in fact, a giant hot pot, with bok choy, bean thread noodles, peanuts pine nuts and walnuts, dumplings, meatballs, mushrooms, tofu, shrimp, and other goodies. The broth was clear, though I thought a bit bland, and while the soup was reasonably good, the shrimp were badly overcooked (probably cooked and then placed into the hot pot - they would have been fine throwing in raw shrimp into the nearly boiling pot right before serving.)

What I think was great about this meal is how easy it has become to find very good authentic Chinese at strip malls all over Montgomery County. I don't know if this place is a destination restaurant and worth a long drive, but I love having a choice of 10 different places within 10-15 minutes of my house with different styles of quality, authentic Chinese food.

Thanks to Loretta for organizing, and for the Rockweilers who came out on a cold, depressing (Eagles lost) night to share in food and cameraderie.

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