Dim Sum Comes to Princeton & The Pillsbury Bake-off Evolves

No Carts, but Excellent Dim Sim at Peony Pavilion

Assorted dim sum, Peony Pavilion

Assorted dim sum @ Peony Pavilion

The Princeton area has long suffered from a dearth of dim sum. In particular, good dim sum. Which is why I jumped at the chance to try that of Peony Pavilion, which otherwise tags itself an “Asian fusion” restaurant. This stylish spot opened late last year in the space that had been Sunny Garden, and ever since I have been pleasantly surprised by its excellent sushi and successful fusion dishes. One example of the latter, pictured below, is miso-glazed Chilean sea bass with cinnamon-scented Korean black rice, sautéed East and West vegetables (e.g., baby bok choy, Brussels sprouts, and carrots), herb oil, & hoisin reduction.

Peony Pavilion Chilean Sea Bass

Peony Pavilion Chilean Sea Bass

Prices for the fusion entrees hover around the mid-twenties, which is of a piece with their quality and with the modern East-meets-West decor. (The rest of the menu, given over to pan-Asian noodle and rice dishes such as Pad Thai and teriyaki, skews lower.)

Bean curd skin rolls. Dim sum @ Peony Pavilion

Bean curd skin rolls. Dim sum @ Peony Pavilion

So when Peony Pavilion’s owner Lisa Shao – who also has the highly regarded Szechuan House in Hamilton – invited me to stop by for the dim sum that’s offered on weekend afternoons, I jumped at the chance.

And I was not disappointed. The selection and the execution reflect the restaurant’s overall aesthetic: authentic yet tweaked to be modern, made with first-rate ingredients, prepared by knowing chefs, and beautifully presented. Here are examples:

Shrimp Dumplings, Peony Pavilion

Delicate shrimp dumplings with translucent wrappers, Peony Pavilion

Beef with Rice Noodles, Peony Pavilion

Beef with Rice Noodles, Peony Pavilion. Silky rolled noodles, tender black mushrooms, succulent shredded beef.

Pork & preserved egg congee, Peony Pavilion. I could eat this every day.

Pork & preserved egg congee, Peony Pavilion. So soul-satisfying I could eat this every day. In the rear: crisp crab dumplings, the dim sum chef’s specialty.

Steam golden buns, Peony Pavilion.

Steam golden buns @ Peony Pavilion.

A sweet mixture of lotus seed paste & egg gives the golden bun its name. Peony Pavilion

A sweet mixture of lotus seed paste & egg gives the golden bun its name. @ Peony Pavilion

These are just a fraction of what I enjoyed and of what’s available. Prices range from $3.95 to $7.95. Dim sum is served on Saturday, 11 am to 3 pm and Sunday, 11 am to 4 pm. Peony Pavilion serves Alba Vineyards wines, but BYO is welcome.

Changes Made to the Pillsbury Bake-Off. Gluten-Free Bakers Take Note!

Pillsbury BakeoffIt’s that time again. You can enter to win the $1 million prize or, for the first time ever, you can cast a vote to determine this year’s winner. Plus, there’s a new gluten-free category. Here’s the scoop, straight from the Pillsbury folks:

“Start your ovens! The iconic 47th Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest is redesigned and calling home cooks to compete for the $1 million Grand Prize. This year’s contest, which is now open for entries at www.BakeOff.com, will culminate at the finals November 3, 2014, at the Omni Nashville Hotel in Nashville, Tenn.
What’s new?

  • For the first time, America’s vote will be combined with the judges’ decisions to determine the Grand Prize Winner.
  • The Contest ingredient list has been expanded to include Pillsbury’s Gluten Free line of products.
    • Judges will award the Pillsbury® Gluten Free Award to the Finalist with the best recipe which uses a Pillsbury® Gluten Free product and does not contain wheat or any products that include wheat as an ingredient.
  • The Bake-Off® Contest now features four recipe categories with two separate entry periods.

Participants have two chances to enter and vote. The first entry period includes the Simply Sweet Treats and Savory Snacks & Sides categories and is open for entries from now until March 27 (11:59 a.m. CDT), 2014. The second contest entry period runs from March 27 (1:00 p.m. CDT) to May 8 (11:59 a.m. CDT), 2014 and calls for Weekend Breakfast Wows and Amazing Doable Dinners recipes.”

One response to “Dim Sum Comes to Princeton & The Pillsbury Bake-off Evolves

  1. Pat, thank you for these pictures. I have bumped into dim sum at Peony Pavilion and Shanghai Garden (at the Princeton Shopping Center) twice lately. However, I was daunted by the need to know what to order by name. The dim sum experiences of my life always involved carts and helpful cart-pushers and pointing at whatever appealed. I’ll think on this and keep your pictures.

    I have not been delighted by either visit to Peony Pavilion — it always seems to promise more than it delivers. And the inability to get a pot of tea remains an enormous stumbling block for me. I would like to be as enthused about this new place as are you and Faith.

    Thanks

    Carolyn Edelmann

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