Saturday, November 28, 2009

Funny commercial

Funny shiny suds commercial. Watch those bubbles. They're hilarious.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Villa 08- Mountain View

When we called for the lunch price, we were told that it's $16.99. By the time we got there, there was a huge sign : Lunch $9.99, Dinner $14.99. When we entered, the lady there asked us in Mandarin how many people. And then when she knew that we understood Mandarin, she explained to us that if we pay cash, it's going to be $15.99 - $1 discount per person. We agreed on that and we were ushered to our seats. She also told us that they had lobster and turkey today. Awesome !

I passed the first station because they look like all salad. And I saw a bunch people were attacking just one particular dish. Intrigued, I went closer to take a look. Apparently they just took out a new batch of lobster. Looking yummy, I jumped in pushed a few people aside and took a few pieces as well. ha..ha..

The hot and sour soup was actually good. Spicy and tangy. Too bad got too much starch.

I like the dimsum station. They just stacked all the bamboo steamers there and let you pick whatever you want. You basically pick up the whole steamer and stack it on your plate to avoid dripping water. The selection was good too. Shumai, chicken feet, tripe, pork ribs, buns, sticky rice, rice in bamboo wrap, etc.

The dimsum tripe was soo good. I love tripe and its texture. But seriously no MSG ?? Come on, that's a bit stretchy there. Yet as soon as I walked in, I saw this big sign. Look below.
Everything was good. And me and hubby were ready to give them like 3 stars. Very bright stars. Until hubby came back with a plate of desserts and we went through each of them one by one. The yellow tiny cake was very sweet and the color was too bright too NOT be artificial. The round shiny bun actually had something that look like charsiu (barbecue pork). Huh ?? I thought that was bad until I tried the egg custard. Wow..first's kinda dry and crispy instead of flaky. But then I swallowed it and I tasted the rancid taste. It's old. Really old.

Ending note : this place is good but stay away from the dessert and you'll be fine.
Villa 08 * 895 Villa StMountain View, CA 94041 * (650) 964-2222

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Christmas shopping deals don't start on Black Friday anymore

Not having much to do on Thanksgiving Day, I went and check my emails to see what kind of deals available on my inbox. Having sign up on certain website and also shopped online in the past, I get emails every now and then (or almost one every other day). :)

These are just a few samples of deals I found today :

Just a few points to remember :
- When you shop online, set up an email account just for the purpose of shopping online. So you won't get bombarded with too many emails that you don't want filling up your main email account.
- Check your emails for any deals - don't just delete them.
- Compare deals for almost similar items. Some place may offer discount, some may offer both discount and free shipping. :)
Happy THanksGiVing and HaPpy SHopPing !

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pho Nguyen - Milpitas

Our comfort food for cold day is a bowl of hot noodle soup. Well, actually it's more than just cold day, on any day in fact. ha..ha.. But of course it's always best when it's cold outside. So last Saturday when it was freezing we all lined up at Pho Nguyen to get a table. That's the only time we ever had to wait. I guessed everybody love hot noodle soup on cold day.

I decided on Hu Tieu My Tho and hubby on seafood pho. I'm curious as to the difference between those two. And of course we always like a spring roll (goi cuon) on the side.

Spring roll at Pho Nguyen is actually the biggest we ever had at any pho stores. I think they charged like $4.50 but the spring roll portion is huge. Four full rolls with really decent size prawns. You can see the prawns behind the translucent rice paper wrap. The sauce was also good, thick and not runny with chopped peanuts on top.

It turned out that my hu tieu my tho is almost the same as seafood pho except for slices of pork and a few quail eggs. So hu tieu my tho has prawns, squid, slices of pork, minced pork. While seafood pho has prawns, squid, imitation crab and fish cake.
-Hu tieu my tho-

-Seafood pho with sriracha sauce on top-

- A 'dressed up' hu tieu my tho ready to be slurped-

Pho Nguyen * 275 W Calaveras BlvdMilpitas, CA 95035 * (408) 945-5909

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sonny's Cafe - San Jose

After a long walk on Sunday, we were craving for bowl of noodle soup. Vowing to always look for a new place to slurp noodle soup, I then went on yelp. The chosen business this time was Sonny's Cafe. We jumped in the car and off we went on our adventure.

The location of the business was in a mall on Cottle Road, sharing space with OSH, Baskin Robbins and other businesses. When we walked in, there was only a table occupied. We were seated immediately and I noticed two tables were not cleared yet. As soon as we placed our order, a family of five came in, followed by a family of three.
Our appetizer, goi cuon (spring roll) came out in like ten minutes. Two decent size roll cut into four pieces with peanut sauce on the side. One bite into it I noticed the roll was cold and the bean sprout looked like frozen. It was quite a cold day but I don't think that was the reason. I think the roll was premade earlier and kept in the refrigerator. The rice paper skin was extra thick and chewy to bite. Not good eats.

Not long then our bowl of noodles came. Mine was combination noodle soup with rice noodle, beef meat ball, bits of chicken meat, imitation crab and two prawns. Too bad the fried garlic they put in the soup was burnt. They should probably leave it out since it was burnt. Most customers would rather not have fried garlic then bitter burnt garlic. I ended removing those garlic anyway. The soup was a bit bland, no MSG.

Hubby's bowl was good 'ol pho with rare meat and meat ball (tai bo vien). Too bad the rare meat wasn't rare at all, it tasted a bit dry. Soup was okay with a stronger smell of star anise. After a while, hubby complaint about the soup being too peppery. It takes about half a bowl before the peppery soup started to built up.

The best part was the meat ball. They tasted like home made, just a bit chewy and not much taste of flour. Very homely taste.

The other table seemed to enjoy their sandwich just fine. From what we heard, the other two tables ordered egg roll for appetizer. I guess their egg rolls were more popular. We should have ordered that. If we ever go back there, we'd probably try the sandwiches instead.

Sonny's Cafe * 5643 Cottle Rd San Jose, CA 95123 * (408) 281-7899

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Curry Laksa

If you love curry and coconut milk, you're going to love this curry laksa. The real one requires lots of pounding ten thousand spices, but I'm going to show you the short cut to it. :)

First, go to your local Asian grocery store and look for the South East Asian food aisle. In the picture above, I showed two different types of curry laksa paste. Either one is good. The one on the right we got it from Maxim grocery store in Cupertino. The one of the left was bought in Vancouver, Canada. I'm sure there'll be different ones out there. So far the good ones had been from Malaysia where the origin of the curry laksa came from. But of course, each country has their own version. Indonesia actually has its own too, not as rich and don't require use of shrimp paste (aka belachan). While you're there, look for sambal terasi (chilli mixed with shrimp paste) like the one above. Or there is another version from Singapore - nonya sambal chilli. Both are equally good.

Okay, once you got your curry laksa paste then you can go get the other ingredients :
1/2 lb chicken thigh meat, cut in cubes of 3/4 inch.
1/2 lb medium size prawns, deveined
1/2 medium size onion, peeled, sliced.

Put a bit oil in a wok big enough to contain all the above ingredients. Put in onion, saute till fragrant. Put in the rest of the ingredients, stir around until they are cook through. Season lightly with fish sauce. Put aside.

1 English cucumber, peeled, half lengthwise, slice thinly
1 lb bean sprout, lightly put in hot water. Don't let it cook too long. It will loose crunchyness.
3 hard boil eggs. Peeled. Cut lenghtwise.
1 package of rice noodle. Put in hot water to let it soften but don't over cook or it will be soggy.
1 package of fried tofu or fried tofu skin.

Mix 1 tbs of sambal terasi or nonya sambal mixture with juice from 1 lime. Stir well until they become like chilli sauce.
Follow instruction on the package to prepare the curry laksa sauce. Put in the fried tofu to cook with the laksa sauce to absorb the flavor. Arrange the rice noodle, vegetables and meat on a serving bowl. Scoop the sauce onto the bowl. Season to taste with the belachan/chilli sauce mixture. Enjoy !

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tatami sushi and seafood restaurant - Cupertino

Having found out that there is a replacement of Todai in Cupertino.We decided that we needed to give it a try.

When we arrived it was 12:30 on Saturday afternoon. The place was in full swing. There were two parties going on. Looking at the sign posted, I found out that the price of lunch was $14.99. So we waited to be seated.
Having two parties going on, most of the space were taken at each opposite corner. So we were seated in the middle of the room. I almost asked to get another table but decided against it. It's a wise decision afterwards because from where we sat I could see when they refill the food at the hot food section. Wonderful. It gave us a chance to get the food at its fresh condition - which is just after cooked. ha..ha..
As usual, we started from the sushi side. Each of us took a plate filled with sushi roll. Hubby got more sushi on his plate. Looking at the roll I suspected their style is the same as Todai. They probably still employ the same chef. Rolls are big and filling. Rice a bit dry. But I haven't had sushi for a while so I down them and went to get some soup. They had selection of seafood and miso soup. On the way there I saw a new addition that I've never seen at Todai - Sukiyaki. A few patrons were attacking them. I decided I had to give it a try.

These were the dishes we tried.
Sushi/cold dish section :
- Eggplant salad
- Edamame
- Rolls : Philadelphia, California, Tuna/avocado, spicy tuna, etc
- Nigiri sushi : ebi, white fish, octopus, etc
- Spicy crab - blue crab legs with spicy korean sauce

Hot dish section :
- Tempura
- Pork katsu
- Udon noodle soup - customized
- Grilled octopus

New dishes that weren't there during Todai era :
- Customized udon made to order
- Grilled beef - Yummy
- Spicy calamari
- Dimsum - tiny shumai and hargow
- Sukiyaki- Chocolate and white chocolate fondue with banana and marshmallow

I liked the customized udon they offer. There is a selection of vegetables (napa cabbage, bokchoy, spinach), fish cakes, octopus to choose from. Put the stuffs you want in your bowl and give it to the cook behind line and he'll cook it with the udon for you. Get your hot bowl of udon and select your topping : green onion, seaweed or shredded ginger. Sprinkle some fried garlic or hot pepper powder and you are good to go. To make it perfect, get yourself some tempura and you get tempura udon. Yum..yum..

I guess we got lucky to go on the weekend when there were parties going on. Food were gone pretty fast and get refilled pretty quick. Though there were a few occasions when I had to pass by a few empty trays and just had to be happy to know what were supposed to be there. But from where we sat we were fortunate to know when those trays get refilled. :) For a buffet place, I guess busy time will be a good determination of freshly cooked food. I guess next time if we go back I wanted to go on a busy weekend too.

10123 N Wolfe Rd, Cupertino, CA 95014 * (408) 996-3444

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Loy Krathong Festival - Fremont

This time we went to the Wat Buddhanusorn for the Loy Krathong Festival. This festival according to Wiki was most likely adopted from Hindu festival similar to Deepavali as thanksgiving to the deity of the Ganges with floating lanterns for giving life throughout the year. The temple has a little pond on its front yard. That's where they release the 'krathong'.In Thailand, the festival is usually done at night so the floating lanterns will be more pronounced.And after that of course, what kind of festival without food. So we went ahead and got some noodle soup. There was no name on the stall but I guess it's similar to tom yum noodle because they use minced pork and fried garlic. Seasoned it to taste and they're good to go.

I thought I saw Kao soy there, but when I went back to pick up one it wasn't. It's actually namya curry. What the heck, it's something different so I pick one up. This one seemed to be pretty plain. Just a few fish ball, julienned cabbage and sour pickle mustard. When we made it ourselves we also used hard boiled egg, basil and bean sprout.
When those two bowls were done. Hubby wanted another bowl of soup and he wanted yen ta foo. This one we knew the name because it was posted on the stall. :) Beside the pink color that was a bit unusual for us, it actually was very tasty. Of course, you have to season to taste. That's why fish sauce, vinegar, chilli paste and chilli powder were all provided on site.

And to complete the day, we took home papaya salad and some small cake with green onion that later on I found out was khanom krog. This khanom krog was made of flour and baked on little mold the diameter of 1.5 inches. Each was half round and they were served by putting on face to face to make it almost round. The middle flat portion contained coconut cream with a few green onion to taste. That's the interesting part. I totally didn't expect green onion on a little cake. The cake itself wasn't very sweet but the coconut cream gave a bit savory flavor. I loved it.