The main course was just what you would expect from a Chinatown restaurant--Beijing (Peking) duck (above), followed by soup made from the duck bones.
Then came two-flavored shrimp, one version orange and spicy and the other translucent and delicate, then giant lion's head meatballs; sweet crispy beef, kon pao that combined shrimp, fish and scallops and asparagus covered with fat black mushrooms.
Oh yes, and minced chicken in lettuce cups (below) for a first course, nice if you're not a turkey fan.
Dessert was quintessentially Chinese, a hot clear soup with tiny dumplings lightly flavored with sesame and barely sweet--a much better dessert after a gluttonous feast than the usual pumpkin pie.
Plum Tree Inn, 913 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Tel: (213) 613-1819.
3/4 (16-ounce) jar plum jam
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Chicken and Lettuce:
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup minced water chestnuts
2/3 cup minced green and red bell peppers
3 tablespoons minced onion
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
4 to 5 leaves of iceberg lettuce
To make the plum sauce, combine the jam, vinegar, brown sugar, dried onion, red pepper flakes, garlic and ginger in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To prepare the chicken, coat the chicken breasts evenly with the cornstarch and salt.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wok over high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool, then mince.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the wok over high heat. Add the water chestnuts, peppers and minced onion and stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Add the chicken to the wok, then stir in the sugar, soy sauce and white pepper and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Spoon the chicken mixture into the lettuce cups, adding some of the plum sauce.
Makes 4 to 5 servings.