We like any excuse to celebrate so we use themes across all cultures and religions. This week, not only is there Fat Tuesday, but Thursday rings in the year of the rat on the Chinese calendar. We are giving you an early notice of that in case you would like to celebrate early by taking advantage of the weekend dim sum at Shanghai Lil's (www.shanghai-lil.com). Of course, this would be an ideal restaurant to have dinner on Thursday (last year they wished us Happy New Year when we went in on the Chinese New Year day) but dim sum that is offered on the weekends is such a nice way to try several different dishes. It isn't served on carts, as many dim sum services are. You check off the dishes that you want and they are served to you in stages.
If you'd rather make something at home, they are a lot of options. You could easily make a stir fry or, even easier, pick up some frozen goodies at Trader Joe's or Saraga Grocery. Trader Joe's has tasty Shu Mai varieties. They are bite sized dumplings filled with vegetables, chicken, or shrimp. Saraga, the international grocery store on the west side, has full sized dumplings filled with anything and everything imaginable. Be sure to complete your at home celebration with decorations and party favors from a party store such as Party Tree(partytree.net) even if it is just for you and your family. It's February, we need excuses to brighten things up with some color and fun.