Sunday, April 25, 2010

Minh's Restaurant - San Jose

When we got there about three tables were occupied and we were seated immediately. I wasn't too concerned because it was way past lunch hours. But while waiting for our orders to arrived, a few more tables were filled. It's a good sign.

We got stuffed escargot for appetizer and Vietnamese hot pot (lau) with catfish. I went in with curiosity and not much expectation since I'm totally unfamiliar with those two dishes that we ordered.

The stuffed escargot wasn't scary at all. Even hubby who is usually not as adventurous in trying new stuff enjoyed it. Our bowl came with six escargots and dipping sauce on the side. The dipping sauce was fish sauce and chopped garlic with a bit sambal oelek on top. The escargot meat was mixed with minced pork and mushroom with a thinly slice garlic. All those then stuffed back into the escargot. Quite an interesting idea.

The hot pot was a surprising flavor. Our waiter came with one of those portable gas stove and set it next to us. He also brought along a dipping sauce bowl with soy sauce and slices of serrano chilli pepper. Then a few minutes later our hot pot came filled to the top. Look at the picture. We could see slices of green herb on top of wedges of tomatoes and slices of spongy green veggies along with chunk of catfish. Then another man brought a plate of bun (rice vermicelli) to go along with the hot pot. Using the laddle provided to us I pushed the veggies down to absorb the broth. Upon trying the broth I was surprised to find out that it's a bit sweet and sour. It's totally different from the Chinese style one that we usually do at home. After devouring half of it we figured out that the lau tasted better after the spongy veggies was totally wilted and started to taste like ham choy (chinese pickled cabbage). We enjoyed it to the last drop.

We know we'll be back to Minh's for more. Too bad they don't have menu online so we could decide ahead of time or research more on it. I find it a bit intimidating sometimes walking into a restaurant not knowing what a certain dish will look like or taste like. But hey..that's the adventure, right ?

Minh's Restaurant
1422 Dempsey Rd, Milpitas, CA 95035  (408) 956-1000

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Scarecrow - Michael Connelly

If you like Michael Connelly's books, you should totally read this one as well. Just like his other books, The Scarecrow was intriguing from the beginning all the way to the end. His book is always very captivating, once you start you just couldn't put it down anymore.

The main character in this book is the journalist Jack McEvoy who had appeared in his other books before like the Poet, The Brass Verdict, etc. Jack was pursuing his last story for The Times when he discovered more than just an innocent victim. What seems to be a drug dealing gone wrong turned out to be more serious that involved Rachel Walling, his former lover who is a FBI agent stationed in Los Angeles.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lee Noodle House - San Jose

We were there during lunch time on a Friday afternoon. It wasn't too many people when we walked in. There were another 2 tables occupied, we were the third and there were another table they came in almost the same as we did. It was a cold day and I was salivating on an idea of a hot bowl of pho. It wasn't that long for us to decide on our orders. The lady was actually trying to upsell us bread for the soup and soft drinks. Wow..that was the first time we've been in a noodle joint that they actually trying to sell something beside just taking order.

I ordered #1 Combo special pho with everything but the kitchen sink. Hubby ordered #25 hot and sour seafood soup. We would share an order of banh xeo. We waited and waited..and the order didn't come out. There were not too many customers. I wondered why it took so long. Finally after around 15 minutes then we saw our bowls of noodle came out.

My #1 soup was a bit too oily for my taste. I don't remember it being so oily at another pho place. The soup was seasoned too well for my liking. I don't like soup that is too salty that will cause me to down gallons of water later on. So I ended up didn't drink the soup at all. That's really the opposite of my dream lunch. I was looking forward to some hot soup.

Hubby's #25 looked like Thai tom yum soup. The taste though was different. Even though advertised as seafood soup but the broth itself tasted more like beef/pork broth instead of seafood. There's not much seafood on it either, but 2 shrimps and a few pieces of squid. He didn't like the oily taste of the broth either.

And then we waited for our banh xeo. We were done with everything and was going to pay thinking that they forgot our order. But..voila..the waiter brought us our banh xeo. It looked gorgeous in golden color on bed of greens. We wondered for a while whether we could finish it but tummy was half empty from my noodle soup that wasn't filling at all. So we dug in. Even though the banh xeo looked big but it was light. Pretty much the whole thing was just bean sprout and 3 shrimps with a few tiny slices of pork. Oh well...maybe they ran out of shrimps that's why it took a while to prepare.

I guess we won't be back in the future.

Lee Noodle House
2569 S King Rd Ste C9
San Jose, CA 95122
(408) 238-6888

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Isabella's - San Jose

Found this restaurant quite a while ago but haven't worked out enough guts to go check it out. I like to try out new cuisine but hubby was more reluctant when it comes to South American cuisine. He is anti beans ! But finally I was able to drag him there.

It was around 7:30 on Saturday night but there were only three tables occupied. We took a corner one and was given 2 tiny containers with corn kernels and green chilli paste. The corn kernels were huge...fried and lightly salted. It's nice to chew on it while looking at the menu. A man came and told us the specials and offered empanadas for appetizer. I chose beef empanadas to share.

The empanadas came out in a minute, hot enough but not too hot. We cut it open and each took half to taste. That was my first time trying empanadas. It's quite similar to the South East Asian curry puff except for the pastry part which was more doughy instead of flaky. It's good for breakfast. While chewing on our empanada, we ordered our entree. Hubby got bistec a la pobre and I cebiche mixto.

Order came out in like 15 minutes maybe, it didn't feel that long. Mine looked very appetizing, a mountain of thinly sliced red onion on sliced octopus, ring of squid, prawns, mussel, and fish. All seasoned well with combination of lime, chili and other spices. On one side of the platter was a cut of steamed sweet potatoes, very soft and tender. The cebiche also came with deep fried corn kernel on one side and boiled corn kernel on another. I love corn, regular or huge kernel.

Hubby's bistec came decent size. He was worry that it was going to be huge. The steak was thinner than regular but cooked to his liking. Steak came with rice, sunny side up egg, fried plaintain (yum) and beans !!

We both enjoyed what we ordered and total bill was $35 without tips. Hubby actually ordered chicha morada for drink. It's a purple non alcoholic drink made of corn. We'll be back to try other dishes in the future.

700 S Winchester Blvd

San Jose, CA 95128
(408) 248-7378