Sunday, June 28, 2009

Great Buffet

***UPDATE*** We passed by this restaurant on October 4, 2009 and it was now an Indian and Pakistani restaurant. Too bad, I actually liked this buffet place and may have go back again.

I've been planning for this buffet for quite a while. Haven't been to any buffet recently, I was actually craving for one. But then it comes to the day, and I didn't know where to go. Talking about options. It seems that all the reviews for buffets on yelp haven't been good. And I also found out that the Todai in Cupertino has already been shut down. So sad. It was actually quite a decent place for sushi buffet.

I decided to give Great Buffet a try. It was supposedly owned by an Indonesian. Not that it matters that much but I thought I should give it a try and give them a bit business. Hubby was a bit worry, but I told him, if upon looking into the restaurant there were no people, then we should leave. A lot of the reviews talked about stale food. I can see that happened only on days when they were not busy. But weekends shouldn't be one of those days. But again, you never know.

Parking lot was quite decently filled. Still lots of space available at the back of the restaurant. When we approached the restaurant, there was a sign that said Father's Day $15.99 all day. I totally forgot about Father's Day, and I worried that the restaurant may be packed. But upon entering there wasn't any line. It wasn't completely empty, but it had quite an amount of patrons. There were some more private area on the left hand side of the door that was occupied by a huge group. Later on they were playing music and showing off slides/video through an overhead projector.

There was a sign by the entrance that showed price for weekend lunch to be $12.99. So I confirmed that with the waitress and she said that Father's Day had special price . When I asked whether the menu was different from the regular weekend lunch, she said it's different. Hmm...

The first thing I went to check was the sushi table. Not too many selections and we were kinda guessing as to what's on display because there were no label on them. I like the rolls because they were smaller than usual but they fit right in my mouth so it wasn't messy. But they didn't taste fresh and were kinda dry.

There were quite a lot selections of food. Dimsum - siumay, pao, steam lotus cake. Seafood - oyster with green onion and sesame oil, steam giant snow crab leg, deep fried salt and pepper prawn, steam fish fillet. Usual fares - beef broccoli (which I actually enjoyed), sweet and sour prawn, chow mein, fried rice, fried dumplings. Soups - fish ball soup, hot and sour soup (good and not MSG loaded), egg drop soup.

One thing that we liked about this buffet was the freshly grilled meat. They provided marinated beef, chicken, squid and mackerel fillet. Pick your selection and bring it to the grilling man and he'd do the rest for you. Yes, it took about 15 minutes, depending on the traffic. What we did was dropped of the plate at the counter and went to our table to enjoy the other cooked selection. Went back to the grilling counter later on to pick up our plate. You do have to know yourselves which one was yours because there's no number provided. Mine was pretty easy because we loved squid so ours was mostly squid.

Hubby especially loved the ice cream selection too. At other buffet mostly they provided vanilla ice cream on cones. But this one had an array of at least six different flavor ice cream. I loved the orange and coffee ones. Grab a bowl and try a few selection to know which one you like !

Great Buffet
20030 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA 95014 * (408)255-2828

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Achieving new high...

picture source :

My marathon training reached a new milestone today. I finally broke through the 12 mile distance. For once I actually did a 15 mile ! It didn't come with smile and victory though. It was more like pain and suffering. ha..ha..It wasn't that bad actually. I started early in the morning around 7 am. Planning on finishing it by 10:30 but it took longer than that.

The distance was more like 17 miles, but I only covered around 15 mile by running and the rest walking. Didn't plan on going so far but due to the triathlon that was held that weekend it drew more runners on the trail. So me and hubby had to go further out of their way.

I completed around 13 mile running and thought I would just walk the rest of it. Walked for one mile and started shuffling my legs. First very slow, just slightly faster than walking, slowly faster and faster. First I felt my legs were very heavy, slowly I could actually picked up my speed. Soon I was running with my normal speed again. It felt good.

San Francisco Marathon. Ready or not, I'm going.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pho Kim Long - San Jose

Pho Kim Long probably doesn't need another review from me since they were already so very busy. If you're going on weekends, get ready to wait if you arrive between 12 to 1. Don't worry about the wait though, they are very good at getting the line moving. Our average wait there has been around 5-10 minutes.

This time we got there about 15 minutes before 12. No line at all. There were a few empty tables. We were seated in like 5 seconds. Me and hubby ordered the same thing, rice noodle with seafood combo (I think it was #21). Their seafood combo is the best value you could get in the market. Plenty of noodle and huge prawns, beef meatball, shredded chicken breast meat and sliced of pork. Imagine all the meat you could imagine and they are all in your bowl. Same as always, we got our bowl of noodle in 5 minutes. Hot and ready to be seasoned to perfection.

As we slurped our noodles, people started flowing in. When we left around 12:15, there were a small line outside. But it's no problem, our table was ready to be used even before we left. The people there were so efficient, as soon as they sensed that you're done with your bowls, they came and whisked them away. I don't have problem with that at all. It feels just like in Asia minus people waiting by your table. Seriously, back in Indonesia, we frequented this noodle house that was always busy and people would just wait by your table if you're showing signs of finishing your meal.

Pho Kim Long
2082 N Capitol Ave, San Jose, CA 95132

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Wat Mongkolratanaram - Berkeley

We were planning on visiting this Thai Temple last week, but then last minute I found out about the temple in Fremont and went to that one instead. Same as the other Thai temple, there are food stalls there set up on Sunday to help the temple. This one supposedly draws more visitors and people were advised to come earlier.
Me and hubby got there around ten minutes before 10 AM. Though it looked quiet we decided to go in. Volunteers were already busy setting up the stalls. A few patrons were lingering around the tables set up on the not so big area. We chose a spot under the sun to warm up. All of a sudden, a group of twenty people walked in at the same time. If I didn't know better I would think they all came on a bus. I looked at hubby and he was thinking the same thing. Finally it looked like what they said on yelp. Hubby was skeptical earlier when I told him to go earlier.
With hubby sitting down 'guarding' our seats, I lined up for a bowl of beef noodle soup. Choice was given on size of noodle, small-medium-wide rice noodle. Soup was served on a melamine bowl instead of styrofoam, I credited them on this. I don't like my soup on the styrofoam bowl. It generated a lot of waste. Soup consisted of a few beef ball, a few slices of beef, chopped celery, fried garlic, tongchai and bean sprout. After paying them 6 tokens (equal to $6), I stepped aside to dress my soup. There were two different types of chilli. Regular sambal oelek paste and some rough grind red chillies. I put in both along with the pickled green serrano and its vinegar. A few squirt of fish sauce for good measure and I was ready to slurp it in.

All in all the beef noodle soup satisfied our taste for breakfast/brunch because it was hot, just perfect for the chilly morning in Berkeley. The soup after a while started to get to me because it's a bit too sweet for my taste. It kinda reminded me of the Thai boat noodle I had in LA.

Hubby ended up ordering another bowl of noodle soup because the other options just didn't fit his taste for breakfast. There were stalls for rice with dishes either vegetarian or non-vegetarian. These stalls were actually very busy. Rice with one dish would cost 5 tokens, two dishes 6 tokens, three dishes 7 tokens. There were also fried chicken with sticky rice, papaya salad, spring rolls and dessert like mango sticky rice and coconut flavor Thai style dorayaki. :)

We also shared mango sticky rice (5 tokens). Sticky rice consisted of brown and white sticky rice with generous amount of mango. Yummy. Before we left, we had one dish to go without rice. I wasn't too sure what's the name. It was made of minced pork with basil and green beans. Very good but not spicy enough.

I expected some fried banana so I was disappointed when none was found. It was still a good experience, though for that distance I don't think we'll be back to that location again.