Friday, December 31, 2010

California Cafe - Los Gatos

A bunch of us from our office had dinner together the other night. Our destination California Cafe in Los Gatos. The menu online looked delicioso. Plan had been made since the week before. It was unfortunate that the weather that night was not on our side. It was wet and cold. I circled around the parking lot and couldn't find any spot. Argh..of course, when you most needed a spot closer to the restaurant on a stormy night and you couldn't find any.

Finally I made it in. We got a round table next to the kitchen. From where I sat I could see the big fire on their pizza oven. It's a very cozy feeling. I like the ambiance and I couldn't wait to try their food.

We agreed to share a few appetizers. Our first order was crab cake but was told that there was only one crab cake per order (of $8.75). Oops...not a good choice. So we stick with the jamaican spiced calamari and decided on the pizza instead.

It was quiet night at the restaurant so we got our orders pretty fast. The calamari was on a light batter and tossed together with alfalfa sprout, cashew nuts and some sweet spicy tangy dressing. Awesome. The pizza was also top notch. Thin crust, with mozzarella cheese, prosciutto, caramelized onion and arugula. Easily one of the best pizza I've ever had.

For entree I had green tea encrusted ahi tuna. Three pieces of tuna on a bed of greens (pea sprout?) with some sort of sauce. I also had a side of grilled broccolini that had wonderful smoky flavor but a bit too tough for my liking. The green tea they used was toasted tea leaves which was interesting. It gave a bit crunchiness to the outside of tuna and a bit hint of green tea when you bit on it. That was the second time I actually had tea leaves on any dishes ever since the tea leaf salad.

California Cafe is a nice place to have a quiet dinner with your loved one and friends. May not be family friendly especially with younger kids. In term of food, I liked most of the food I tried that night. But since it's on the pricey side I guess I won't be able to be back there soon enough.

California Cafe
50 University Ave Los Gatos, CA 95030   (408) 354-8300

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

La Bodeguita Del Medio

A couple of nightd ago we had a chance to try out this Cuban restaurant in Palo Alto, La Bodeguita del Medio. We drove passed but couldn't see the restaurant so we picked a parking lot and walked back. The night was cold and the air was crispy. The street was quiet almost had a deserted feel to it. A few restaurants we passed by was quiet. But to our surprise when we got to La Bodeguita, it was almost packed and very busy. There were 2 tables left and we chose one by the corner. The bar area was full too.

Most of the restaurants in the area were small but this one seemed like it had been widened by taking over the space next to them. We were brought the menus but I kinda know what I wanted already. Hubby ordered a ginger beer after he was told that the Cuban beer that he wanted was not available anymore. It turned ou that the ginger beer was actually from Australia !

Our appetizer was awesome. Camarones con mojo, I believe that's the name. Medium size prawns perched on top of toasted slice of bread with spicy tangy sauce. We can see slices of habanero pepper and garlic along with chopped pepper (?).

For entrees, I got masitas - spicy pork with rice and black beans. Hubby got ropa vieja - shredd flank steak with plaintain and yellow rice. I took a bit of his plaintain....sooo good. I envy his order. My masitas wasn't too spicy. It had more of sweetness on it than savory and left me with a bit heat in my mouth after the meal. Very nice.

It was our first experience with Cuban cuisine. I look forward to trying out more dishes from the area in the future.

La Bodeguita del Medio
463 South California Avenue  Palo Alto, CA 94306 (650) 326-7762

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Mogo BBQ - around SF Bay Area

So I found out about this food truck by the name Mogo BBQ about a month ago. Finally a couple of nights ago had a chance to check it out.

We drove there and ordered spicy pork quesadilla and short ribs burrito to go. Within 10 minutes we got our order and went home to dissect it.

My first look at my quesadilla was like love at first sight. I love quesadilla and this one was just the one I was looking for. A bit browned on the tortilla and the smell was awesome. It had a drizzle of mixture of mayo (and cheese ?) on top of it. It was quite a healthy size for $7. I finished my first wedge and was eyeing my partner's burrito. My verdict : quesadilla was good but the spicy pork was a bit too much sodium for my liking. The quesadilla could use a little salad on the side.

The burrito looked compact but it sure got a lot of features. A good combination of rice, meat and veggies. It's, in my opinion, a balance meal. We could use one of those next time.

All in all was a good satisfying meal. We'll look forward to check out the other stuffs on their menu. Let's Mogo !

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Khanh's Restaurant - San Jose

We were in Santana Row on one weekend and wanted something different than just mall food. We found Khanh's Restaurant on Yelp and it was just around the corner from Santana Row (on Winchester Ave).

Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted and quickly seated. The place was a lot bigger than what it seemed outside. Menu was huge with varieties of noodle soup, appetizers, rice plates and even some selections for kids. We selected combination rice noodle soup for hubby, tofu rolls and saigon crepe (banh xeo) for me.

Tofu rolls came out fast. Nothing too special about it. It's like a regular spring roll minus the prawn and pork. The dipping sauce was a bit too watery for my taste.

We were done with our rolls within minutes. The waiters were quick in removing our plates. That's a plus. But from then on, it seemed like our orders took a while to come out. I suspected my crepe was slowing down hubby's noodle soup order.

Finally our orders came out. My crepe looked delicioso with huge plate of greens on the side. Hubby's noodle soup looked a bit plain with only a bit sprinkle of green onion on top. I know he likes his soup with tons of condiments. Not like regular pho that usually comes with basil and bean sprout, this one only came with bean sprout and iceberg lettuce. He claimed that his broth wasn't rich enough.

I actually enjoyed my crepe though it was quite a lot of work. See, you're supposed to wrap the crepe on lettuce with some mints, basil, coriander or whatever herbs they provided you. Then you dip the wrap in the dipping sauce. But it was worthwhile.

All in all we enjoyed our meal. The service was excellent. I had a chance to use the restroom and it was very clean. We may go back if we happen to be in the area.

Khanh's Restaurant
335 South Winchester Boulevard San Jose, CA 95128-2036   (408) 241-4940

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lulu is learning to knit

I had this desire to knit quite a while ago. Yeah..I know. Seriously, who knits these days ? I went to Michael's a couple of times to check out on starter kit. But it stopped right there. I wasn't too sure where to begin.

Then a couple of months ago, I had this little project - making a vest for my Halloween costume. All those visits to the fabric store, looking at those tiny, cuty, colorful crafts items just brought back my hidden desire. This time I decided to follow my call.

First stop the library. I searched on knitting and found a few books. Then based on a simple beginner's project I started my own first project. Now, knitting a simple scarf seemed a bit 'boring' for me. I'm ready to tackle more complicated projects eventhough I'm rather intimidated when I saw the pattern.

Btw, Youtube is a good source for beginners. The books I got had tons of pictures and projects but Youtube helped with stitches that's hard to understand on pictures.