sambal

sambal

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Leftover from Bali Trip

This trip didn't happen just recently it was waaay back in summer. I happened to stumbled upon these pictures and decided to post them up. Some eating places we stopped by on our short trip to Bali, Indonesia this summer.

* Babi Guling Ibu Oka *
Heard the name babi guling (suckling pig) before but never thought of trying it out until it was featured on one of Anthony Bourdain's show No Reservation.

Deluxe platter (served with soup)

Very nice color soup


Suckling pig - combo platter
The location we went to wasn't the original location. This one was kinda out in the suburb of Ubud and the place was more touristy. Maybe that's why the items weren't as good as we expected ? The combo platter came with rice, slices of suckling pig, pig skin, greens, fried 'stuffs'. The pig skin was chewy and not crispy at all. I could imagine if it had been crispy we would be convinced of the popularity of this restaurant. But sad as it is, I came to conclusion that other location of that restaurant may have served a fresher suckling pig to Bourdain.
Babi Guling Ibu Oka
Jalan Tegal Sari No. 2, Ubud - Bali, Indonesia

* Bebek Bengil *
When you're in Ubud, make sure to stop by this restaurant. It had changed quite a lot since the last time I've been there about a decade ago ! ha..ha..

Banana pie with ice cream

Bebek Jambul Putih
This time there we stopped by only for the view because that's what reminded of this place. Avoid sitting in the front facing the road and asked to be seated towards the back where you could see the paddy field. Since we were still full from the suckling pig, we only ordered banana pie with vanilla ice cream and Bebek Jambul Putih (which literally means white crested duck). The banana pie was the best I've tasted. Never quite fond of pie before but banana pie there was really good. The white crested duck thingy was some sort of dessert the local usually call es puter which taste like ice cream and has consistency like half melted ice cream. It usually has pieces of jackfruit but the taste was so reminded me of my childhood dessert.

Bebek Bengil (Dirty Duck Diner)
Jalan Sugriwa , Ubud - Bali, Indonesia

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pacific Catch - Campbell

Our office has tradition of going out for holiday dinner each year. I have been the one to make arrangement and also reservations. And most of the time I also get to choose the place since democracy in my office sometimes also means democrazy. Nothing will get done when everybody has their own opinions. :) So I volunteered myself as the dictator and made the decision for them. This year I chose a new restaurant that was just opened a couple of months ago. The idea came from my coworker, the same one that told me about Patxi's.

But Pacific Catch isn't really new in business. They have a few other locations in the Bay Area. I made the reservation through Open Table and got 7:45 pm. But a few days before the H day I called to see if I could change it to 7 and they gladly changed it for me. That was awesome. I was surprised though since I thought they'd be very busy.

When we got there the restaurant was busy but there was no line of people waiting. We waited just a little bit for them to get our table ready. The special that day was cod. But me and my other coworker were already set on the crab feast which was also the special through January 8.

For appetizers we shared Cabo Calamari, Pacific Catch Trio and Thai Coconut Shrimp. Later on we added Inside Out which is the sushi rolls with California roll inside and spicy tuna outside. The calamari and coconut shrimp were good but not impressive. The highlight was the Pacific Catch Trio which consisted of Baja shrimp ceviche, Hawaiian poke and Peruvican ceviche. All three were fresh and very tasty even for some of us who don't usually enjoy eating uncooked fish.

I ordered their whole crab which was on special right now as part of their crab feast. It was whole dungeness crab pan fried and served with garlic noodle. The crab was lightly seasoned so I could taste the sweetness of the crab meat but still has a bit flavor of garlic. It was sooo awesome. I was also provided with some garlic melted butter but I am not fans of melted butter so I totally skipped that.

Their crab chowder was also good. Served on a bowl with scattered crab meat on top. It's rich and bursting with flavor. If digging in the crab isn't your thing, at least give this crab chowder a try.

The other dish that also caught my attention was the swordfish with grilled zucchini and corn on the cob with some green sauce on the side. It was served with sweet potato fries. I so wanted to go back and check this dish out myself.

The rest of the table ordered the island tacos with different combinations. Choose fom crispy True Cod, spice rubbed mahi-mahi, spice rubbed chicken, crispy shrimp or marinated grilled steak. That's also on my list to try for my next visit. ha..ha..

Since we went there as a group, we had chances to try out different desserts. We got the mochi fondue, fried dulce de leche 'spring rolls' and macadamia nut brownie. The mochie fondue was a platter of three mochi with some hot chocolate dipping on the side. The 'spring rolls' as it's called did look like a spring roll served with ice cream. And the macadamia nut brownie was rich. I am not big fans of anything sweet so I gave them a try but I didn't really enjoy any of those. But the rest of the group agreed that the desserts were good.

Pacific Catch
1875 S Bascom Ave, Ste 550 Campbell, CA 95008
(408) 879-9091

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gamjatang (Korean style pork bone soup)

Inspired by our reason visit to Jang Mo Jib when we were in Vancouver, I decided to make my own version of gamjatang. These links are my main sources for the recipe which I combined to make my own :
http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/gamjatang
http://korean-cuisine.blogspot.com/2008/06/gamja-tang.html
http://mykoreankitchen.com/2007/01/31/pork-bone-and-potato-soup-gamjatang/

Even though the name is gamjatang (gamja - potato; tang - soup), the main ingredient is pork bone. It's hard to find pork spine bone so I settled with whatever pork bones I could find. As long as they come with meat instead of just bones. It does take long time to boil the bones. Give yourself around 3 hours time to cook. So if you're preparing it for dinner, get it started earlier or else it will end up as supper. :)

Ingredients :
For soup base :
2 lbs of pork bones
6 cloves of garlic
1 thumb of ginger
10 whole black pepper
1/2 green onion
2 dried shiitake mushroom

For stew :
1/2 napa cabbage
1 medium size bowl of kimchee
1 lb soy bean sprout
1 medium size yukon gold potato
1-2 serrano chilli
1-2 green onion (green parts only)
3-4 perilla leaves

Sauce :
3 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs hot pepper flake
3 tbs rice wine
3 tbs fish sauce
2 tbs kikkoman soy sauce
1 tbs belachan mix (South East Asia style shrimp paste with chilli)
2 tbs Korean hot bean paste (gochujang)

Put the bones in a big pot and covered it with cold water. Make sure the bones will only take up half of the pot. Just because we are going to add more stuffs to it later so reserve enough room in the pot. Put 1/2 ts coffee powder. This supposedly helps to get rid of the smell of pork bones. Put the pot on the stove under high heat. Bring it to a boil and turn it off. Using a colander, pour the bones and water into the colander. Then rinse the bones under cold water. Make sure to wash off all the scums/blood that may stick to the bones. Pour the bones onto a bowl. Meanwhile wash the pot clean. And then put the bones back in the clean pot.




Put all other ingredients for the soup base into the pot with about 10 cups of water. Turn on the stove at medium to high heat. Bring it to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium low just enough for the soup to simmer.
Make sure you set the alarm to check every 30 minutes. Let the soup simmer for about 2-2.5 hours.

While waiting for the soup to get ready. Prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients for sauce.

Also get the greens ready for the stew. Slice the perilla leaves about 1/2 inch wide. Cut the green parts of the green onions about 1.5 inch long. Wash about 1 small bowl of soy bean sprout. Cut 4-5 leaves of napa cabbage about 1 inch wide and 3 inch long.

Peel the potato and cut into 1.5 x 1.5 inch cube. Boil in cold water with a dash of salt until half cooked. Drain the water and set aside.

After 2.5 hours, turn of the stove. Depends on how many people you're preparing the gamjatang for. If you're feeding like 4-6 people, you could use up the whole pot. Since we're only feeding two people. I used another medium size pot and laddle soup from the big pot along with the pork bones. Be careful not to scoop up the onion or ginger etc. Fill half the medium size pot with the soup and bones then arrange the veggies, kimchee and potatoes in the pot as well. Put about 3-4 tbs of the premix sauce in the pot. Slowly mix them well and let it boil for about 10-15 minutes to get all the veggies cook through and the sauce mix well into the soup. Now you're ready to enjoy your gamjatang. It can be served with rice and banchan (Korean style side dish.



Sunday, December 4, 2011

Patxi's - Campbell

Found out about this pizza place from a co-worker at work. Me and hubby love Chicago Pizza and their deep dish style pizza. But since they only have two locations and none close to home so it's only once in a blue moon that we go out of the way to get the pizza.



Patxy's is located at the Pruneyard shopping center. The parking there could be tricky during weekends and especially closer to holiday now. Get ready to fight with those shoppers that go to Marshalls or Trader Joe's.

We called in the order ahead of time and ordered our pizza and just stopped by to pick it up. It was a nice day so we had packed our drinks and planned on having pizza picnic in the park. The order took about 35 minutes to be ready. By the time we got there the pizza was all ready to be devoured.

I didn't pay attention but hubby did make a point that there were almost more employees working than the guests. We were greeted at the door and then pointed to the cashier. A girl at the cashier area asked for my name and went to pick up the order. I handed her the cash but she pointed me to another man who walk over to take my cash and rang me up. Very confusing. We were out pretty quick but then again another guy that looked like waiter said good bye to us on the way out. Wow..

Let's get to the pizza. It was a spicy bacon cheeseburger on Chicago style deep dish pizza. When I opened the box the only thing that caught my attention was the amount of tomato sauce on the pizza. It was all covered up with sauce and the jalapeno was scattered on top of it. The crust didn't taste like bread. It was more like pie ! And as we bit into it, we could taste the bacon and the mince meat in it.

It's different from Pizza Chicago that we tried before even though both claimed to be Chicago style pizza. And I can't say that I like this one better. The amount of tomato sauce kinda of make the pizza taste like tomato pie. It's just not proportional with the toppings and crust.

Patxi's
1875 South Bascom Ave, Suite 405

The Pruneyard Shopping Center
(408) 559-0700
http://patxispizza.com/menu.html

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Getting Around Vancouver

Vancouver just like most metro area has a well structured public transportation. It covered bus, skytrain and water bus. So unlike Singapore which you have to buy separate tickets for MRT and bus, when you're using translink in Vancouver, you could use the same ticket to jump from skytrain to bus.

There are different types of fares available. If you're going to be out whole day travelling from one place to another you should invest on one of the day pass. It costs $9 but it's a better deal because those single tickets could easily add up to more than $9. If you are just going from one place to another use one of those fare saver tickets. The catch with fare saver tickets is you have to buy a booklet of 10. For the one zone tickets the cost is $21 for 10 tickets (compare to $2.5 per ticket if you're paying cash). Or $28.50 for 10 tickets for the two zone tickets (compare to $3.75/ticket cash price).

The first thing you need to figure out is whether you need the one zone or two zone tickets. If you're coming from airport, you'll need two zone ticket to get you downtown. But once you settle downtown and just getting around in the area then you'll just need one zone ticket for the most part. Look at the map below.

For the most part, you could just invest in a booklet of one zone fare saver tickets. You could use the same ticket to travel two zone by adding the difference at the machine just before using it. If you're using the same ticket to travel within one zone just validate it before using it. Once validated, you are given 90 minutes to use the same ticket.

Depends on what you do and where the locations are, you could probably get to a few places with the same ticket. Jumping from station to station on sky train and bus stop to bus stop on buses. Just make sure you get it all done before the expiration time printed on your ticket. If it expired then you need to pull out another ticket from your booklet for your next leg of journey. And so on.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jang Mo Jib - Burnaby, Canada

On the weekend we were in Vancouver, we got together with  friends and met up for dinner. Destination : Jang Mo Jib, Burnaby. I was excited about this since some of those friends are Koreans so if they picked this place it must be a good sign.

When we got there that rainy night the location had small parking lot which was full. So we had to park on the street. Surprisingly the restaurant wasn't very full. But the size was more like a Denny's style diner instead of mom and pop restaurant so it could handle bigger capacity.

We were brought menu as soon as we sat down but I didn't even bother to look at the menu since we had Korean friends with us. Let them do the ordering. They settled with haemul pajeon (seafood pancake), gamja tang (potato stew) and bulgogi. I thought it wouldn't be enough since the gamjatang was only for 3 people.  The rice brought out was only four. One of our friends said that they charged $3 for each bowl of rice. That's how they make money according to them. But we don't really need a lot of rice since the gamjatang came with huge chunk of potatoes.

The seafood pancake wasn't too special. Not enough seafood but it was crunchy since the top had scattered shredded potatoes. Interesting. I had seafood pancake at a few other restaurants before but it didn't taste like this. This one is thinner and slightly crunchier.

The bulgogi was served with tons of sliced onions and rice cakes. That's also new to me. But I guess each restaurant has different way of doing same dish. When we go to Korean restaurant we seldom order bulgogi so I don't care for much of this one either. But I think the whole dish didn't have much meat compared to the onions.

I would say the highlight of the dinner was the gamja tang. That was our first gamjatang experience so I was easily impressed. First the waiter brought us one of those portable propane stove. Then the gamja tang was brought out on a big shallow pot. Of all the stuffs in the pot, the one thing sticking out was big chunk of bones with meat. According to our friends it's pork neck/spine bones. Those bones were already cooked and was just rearrange on the pot with red pepper powder, green onion, slices of onions, slices of serrano chillies, perilla leaves and perilla seeds. Hubby was in charge of manning the stove since he sat closest to it. He laddled soup and slowly mixed all the red pepper powder and other ingredients into the broth. Then we
sort of let it boiled for a good ten to fifteen minutes while we enjoyed other dishes.

When it finally boiled for quite a while then the gamjatang was finally look well mixed and fiery red from the red pepper powder that had blended in. The bones was boiled for hours so the meat came off easily. Even the big chunk of bones wasn't too hard to separate. The broth was not spicy enough (for my taste) but flavorful. Even though our friend warned us that it was spicy but since we are used to spicy food that wasn't a problem at all. I went for second round. And by end of the night I was looking up recipe for it, ready to try it at home myself.

I didn't take pics myself that night. A few pics below courtesy of Wikipedia and Mykoreankitchen.com.



Jang Mo Jib
5075 Kingsway, Burnaby
(604) 439-0712

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Golden House Seafood Restaurant - Vancouver, Canada

This small restaurant at the corner of 49th Ave and Fraser St didn't look like a busy place. But when we went there last week, there were like two tables of big group and another table of smaller group. The similarity of them all are their range of age. It seemed like everyone in the room had an average age of at least 60 years young.

The relatives that brought us there claimed that they served the pork feet with ginger and black vinegar. It is supposedly a dish good for healthy joints. I had a similar dish before at my sis-in-law's house so I was curious about this one.

We were seated quickly and given a paper menu. Simple menu with both Chinese characters and English translation. I noticed typical dim sum items like shu mai and spare ribs. My relatives mentioned a few items that are must try and I checked them on the menu. Some items that I couldn't find, she just told the waitress when she came over and the waitress jotted them on the menu for us.

Service was a bit slow since there's only one waitress serving five tables. She also handled cashier as well. I suspect they only started steaming the dim sum items when an order was placed.

Our first order looked like egg rolls. Upon biting on it, the inside was actually chopped shrimp with mayo. Interesting and yummy too. Just be careful eating it since it's so hot. We also shared an order of the legendary pork feet with ginger and black vinegar. Unlike the one I had before, this one was strong of rice wine. A bit over powering for me and almost too strong. I like the pork feet since it was tender and sweet but I could use less of the alcohol taste.

Another dish worth mentioning was the fried eggplant with ground shrimp. Greasy but yummy served on some sort of black bean sauce.

All we had seven dishes and the total bill was $36 (for four people) before tips. That's a very good value. I would definitely go back again when I have a chance.

Golden House Seafood Restaurant
6520 Fraser Street Vancouver, BC, Canada (604) 321-3866

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mojo Burger San Jose Airport - San Jose

We don't usually eat out for breakfast unless we're travelling. That's when I would have an excuse to stop by McDonald for their breakfast items. So this time flying out early morning from San Jose Airport (SJC) I was looking forward to that. But surprisingly McDonald was no where to be found at that newly constructed terminal B. What a bummer.

So we walked down the corridor checking out other options. Brioche Doree Cafe looked like they only do pastries. Jamba Juice ? Nah..too cold for breakfast. Peet's coffee ? I need something more solid. We decided to stop by at Mojo burger. They do offer breakfast item which consisted of scrambled egg, english muffin, sausage patty and hash brown. Sounds like a no-brainer. So I ordered one of those.

Total $7.57 after tax. It's really nothing much considering what I got (look at the picture). Anyhow I started arranging my sausage and my english muffin and divided it into two to share with hubby. But he decided to dig into the scrambled egg first. After one bite he declared it not edible. Taste of chemical. That's what he said.

I didn't believe him. I thought he was just being picky since he didn't have appetite for breakfast. So I took a bite myself. Yuck. It wasn't chemical that I tasted on the scrambled egg. It tasted rancid. It's most likely from the oil they used. I took another bit just to confirm it and then decided that I'd leave it alone.

Mojo burger. I wouldn't pick you for breakfast again. But I'm also skeptical about their other items though. Mr. Mayor Reed, what happened to the local taste that you wanted to show at our San Jose airport ? Why couldn't I find pho there ? :)

If you want to know what else is available at Terminal B SJC, check out this link.
http://www.sjc.org/travelers.php?page=services/b_services&subtitle=Shops+and+Services+|+Terminal+B

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sushi Kuni - Cupertino

This tiny Japanese restaurant had been around for at least ten years. It’s been a while since we’ve been there. They’re pretty authentic and pricey. We think it's pretty authentic since you could always find a bunch of Japanese businessmen being entertained there.

That’s where we took our guests there last weekend. We got a reservation for 7:15 even though it said on Yelp that they don’t take reservation. I don’t know what happened or whether we were just lucky. So we waited around ten minutes and were whisked into their tatami room. It’s a small but cozy room towards the back of the restaurant. I was a bit worry that I would have to keep my legs crossed the whole time I sat down. Turned out that this tatami seating was ‘westernized’. It had area where we could stick our legs underneath the table. *phew*

We were brought menus. But they have ‘extended’ menu that is usually reserved for Japanese who asked for more homely items that are not usually served at Japanese restaurants. For example I found onigiri which is rice ball with ume (pickled daikon). From the regular menu, we got Chirase (deluxe) which is a bowl with seasoned rice underneath and topped of with slices of yummy sashimi. We saw one of the table got this and we questioned the waiter about it. We also ordered the typical California roll and spicy tuna roll. Agedashi tofu (deep fried tofu) and grilled octopus were the other items we ordered from the regular menu. Those were all yummy especially the octopus. And then we ordered sliced tuna with shredded taro. This dish turned out to be pretty slimy and bland. It’s probably the only one we agreed that it didn’t quite work out for us that night.


After sweeping all those down which wasn’t that much anyway. We looked at the menu again and this time we got the omakase (chef’s special) for sashimi. It’s a platter of different types of fish. Since we already got the special Amber Jack sashimi which was the special of the day. We were given option if we wanted that on our platter again.



After fifteen minutes the sashimi platter arrived. Very pretty with the fish skeleton arranged on one side. This platter of sashimi was as good as the special of the day. The fish were very fresh and soft. Then our waitress came back to collect our plate with the fish skeleton and asked us if wanted the fish skeleton deep fried. Well, of course. It took about fifteen minutes and then it was brought back to us all nice and crispy with a slice of lemon and some salt on the side. We pretty much ate that whole Spanish mackerel all the way to the head. What a deal !

After all those, we still had room for dessert. We shared an order of green tea crème brulee. This one was also a winner. It’s not very sweet and it had a hint of green tea on it. The top was a bit crunchy from the caramelized sugar. Yum..yum..

Sushi Kuni
10211 S De Anza Blvd · Cupertino, CA 95014 · (408) 257-5864

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chavez Supermarket & Taqueria - San Jose, Blossom Hill

 We found out about this place one day when we went next door to Sports Authority. Then we noticed this supermarket and went inside to take a look. We didn't get anything then but took a note that there was a taqueria linked to the supermarket. Last weekend when we felt like having Mexican food off we went to that Chavez Supermarket & Taqueria.

We went there almost lunch time. When we walked in there was only about one table occupied. We were not sure whether we should went straight and sit ourselves. But it seemed like the menu was posted up so we stopped by to look at it. The guy behind the counter greeted us and we told him our orders. From there we walked down to the cashier to pay and order our drinks.

As we sat down, more patrons trickled in. We watched how each one of them ordered like us and we were wondering if anybody would get wrong order since they didn't go by names or numbers. It took about ten minutes for us to get our orders. I got a super quesadilla and hubby got a camarones a la diabla (spicy shrimp). For drinks we got horchata (cinnamon rice milk) and watermelon juice. Both were good and refreshing. Though hubby was rather disappointed that they didn't have tamarindo (tamarind juice).

My super quesadilla was huge. It resembled burrito instead of flat like pancake. It had chunk of roasted chicken, shredded lettuce, shopped tomatoes and juicy with some sort of sauce. Hubby's spicy shrimp was very nice. It's packed with enough heat but not too over powering. The shrimps were huge and very decently priced at $8.99. My super quesadilla was only $6.99. I was so hungry yet in the end I had to request help to finish the quesadilla.

http://www.chavezsuper.com/
Chavez Supermarket & Taqueria
646 Blossom Hill Rd, San Jose, CA 95123  (408) 226-1452

Monday, October 24, 2011

Minh's Restaurant - Sunnyvale

This location was occupied by Pho Binh before. A couple of months ago we went there and the place was closed down with a note that it's going to be taken over by Minh's Restaurant. We haven't been back ever since until today we decided to give it a try.

When we walked in we noticed the place was totally different. Outside may still has the same old look but inside has tiled floor now instead of old carpet. They used dark color tables to give it an expensive look. It helps especially with the combination of white table cloth. There was a big vase of fresh flower arrangements just by the entrance giving it an extra elegance feel to the whole restaurant.

The menu was simple and mostly consisted of noodle and rice. It's different from the other Minh's Restaurant in Milpitas. Hubby picked the grilled pork with rice noodle (Northern style) and I chose the combo rice noodle soup. We both shared an order of fresh spring roll.

For a place that wasn't too busy at the time, our orders took quite a while to come out. The spring roll when it finally came out was pretty good. Though the skin was a bit thick but it was nicely wrapped with enough combination of rice noodle, bean sprout, shrimp etc. The sauce was thick enough too and not runny like some other place.


Hubby's grilled pork with rice noodle was the star of the day. The meat was well marinated and the sauce it came with (a combination of fish sauce and sugar) went well with the rice noodle and fresh herb provided. I suddenly remembered that I had similar item before at a restaurant at San Jose Century Mall. Too bad that restaurant was closed down now.

My combination pho was packed with more meat than I expected which I gladly shared with hubby. Too bad it came with a smaller bowl and the broth wasn't hot enough to heat up the basil and bean sprout. Side by side with the grill meat, the pho broth tasted a bit boring. But I think there was no MSG used that's why the broth wasn't very strong flavored. I still enjoyed it though.

It's a bit harder to decide whether we'll be back since beef pho over there still couldn't beat our fave Pho Hanoi in San Jose. So that leaves us only with a few other items that we could try from their simple menu.


Minh's Restaurant
1274 Persian Drive
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
(408) 734-2200

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bonjour Crepes Company - Cupertino

Purchased groupon for this establishment a month ago and only recently had a chance to redeem it. One thing learnt from using groupon was not to redeem it too early when everybody else are also redeeming it. From Yelp reviews on Bonjour, it seemed that the restaurant was not ready to have so many patrons coming due to the groupons they had. It's sad that groupon which supposed to help them get more business turned out to backfire instead.

But I think the restaurant itself was not set up efficiently. We were there during lunch time and when we walked in a guy behind the registers handed us the menu and told us to take a table to slowly decide what to get. But a few tables that were not taken were all still dirty. So we decided to just sit at a bench by the register area.

We presented our printed groupon and started ordering. One crepe with chicken, mozzarella, avocado, basil pesto and one southwestern chicken with salsa and sour cream crepe. Those crepes will come with french fries. For drinks we wanted cappucino but were told that for the groupon deals, the drinks will only include soft drinks, orange juice, orangina, etc. Fine, so we settled with orange juice. The groupon also gave us each a scoop of ice but we could order them later. The bill came up to $38 some change and we had to pay for the sales tax for that amount. We were given a number and sent our way to grab a table.

Our orange juice came out fast. We never ordered any orange juice in a restaurant before but boy the OJ here came in 3/4 full cup. Not the best deal in town. The crepes came out like ten minutes later. Mine was good though the crepe tasted a bit too sweet so it didn't quite go with the savory theme. Hubby didn't like his gooey filling crepe. My chicken crepe combined with basil pesto and mozzarella was good but didn't last that long. Soon it felt to be too heavy. I think crepes would go better with fruits and creme and not so much with savory filling.

With a combination of french fries and the crepes we were so full that we didn't go back for the scoops of ice cream.

We are not going back there again. It's not a good value for your money. The savory crepes didn't suit our palette. It's a good experience to try savory crepes but in our opinion, crepes should stay with the sweet theme. I'm not sure if they are the only one that venture on savory crepes or is there other place out there that also do savory crepes. I would like to find out.

Bonjour Crepes and Sandwiches
20371 Stevens Creek, Cupertino, CA  (408)973-8553
http://www.bonjourcrepes.com/

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sa By Thai - San Jose Downtown

This restaurant is located on William St in downtown San Jose just a few blocks away from San Jose State University. That afternoon when we walked in there were only two tables occupied. But I think they are busier with patrons that do take out than eat-ins.

The place inside is spacier than what it looks outside. The decor was simple. Some tables on one side and a few booths seatings on the other side.

The menu was nice though and seemed pretty intensive. Noodle soup,  soup, curry, etc. I chose seafood tom yum noodle soup and hubby chose spicy rad na (stir fry rice noodle with gravy).

Our orders came out in like ten minutes. While waiting, I was entertained by their flat screen TV that serves like a picture menus going through so many mouth-watering dishes. Spicy chicken with eggplant, seafood salad, panang salmon were just among a few that caught my attention.

My noodle soup featured spicy sweet sour broth with rice noodle, prawns, squid, imitation crab and fish ball. The spiciness was perfect but it was a bit sweeter than I expected. Other than that, everything else was perfect to my liking.

Hubby's rad na came with chicken. First impression looked yummy. But after he started eating it, the noodle seemed not fried. Rad na supposed to be wok fried first and then has the gravy served on top of it. But the noodle didn't have the typical smoky wok fried smell to it. It's quite a disappointment because it looked so good. Also, even though the plate looked big but the noodle used was actually not that much compared to the veggies (broccoli, carrot, bamboo shoot, etc).

All in all the food was okay since our expectation was a bit high so we were a bit disappointed. I guess our quest continues to find place that serves good Thai style noodles in the South Bay area.

Sa-By Thai
346 East William Street San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 286-5807
http://www.sabythai.com/

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Athena Grill - Santa Clara

Tucked in the neighborhood of warehouses and offices just off Hwy 101 is this Greek restaurant called Athena Grill. We happened to be in the area and decided to swing by. To my surprise even though it was weekend the place was pretty busy considering the location.

We went straight to the counter and ordered. A seafood souvlaki for me and gyro plate for hubby. The gyro plate comes with fries but we were given option to change it to fruits. And we also got this Greek sour cherry drink that comes in a small bottle.

We chose an outdoor round table under the awning. A waitress brought us a plate of bread with some dip which I think was called melitzanosalata. The dip was olive oil based with roasted eggplant, roasted red pepper, lemon and either parsley or green onion. The taste was mild.

My seafood souvlaki came with a skewer of prawn, sword fish and scallop. I was a bit disappointed. I thought the seafood would be a lot more. But it was fresh and well seasoned - a bit too salty for my taste actually. The rice was also seasoned and the platter came with some stewed pumpkin, long bean and zucchini along with the salad. It's a mixture of different taste and texture. Sweetness of the seafood, saltiness of the olive, tenderness of the pumpkin and crunchiness of the lettuce.

Hubby's gyro plate came with a huge pile of fries. The fries was served with some sort of mayo mixed dip. His gyro was huge with slices of beef and chunks of tomatoes. It was almost difficult to fit that big pack in my mouth when I gave it a try. The beef was well seasoned and juicy. The first few bites of fries with the dip tasted wonderful. It's a change from eating fries with ketchup. But in the end we couldn't finish the fries. Maybe we could have been better choosing the fruits as the side. ha..ha..

Athena Grill
1505 Space Park Drive, Santa Clara, CA 95054 (408) 567-9144
www.athenagrill.com

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Something from Eat Real Festival 2011 - Oakland

I missed the first two Eat Real Festival and wasn't keeping it up with it until hubby told me last night that today is going to be the last day for this year's. So we woke up early this morning and found our way there.

We parked on one of the event parking just next to Jack London Square. It cost $10 but I think it's worth every dime of it. I guess being one of the earlier visitors did pay off. It's only a few steps a way from the festival itself.

First we noted the empanadas and the long line next to it. They looked so yummy so I made a note to stop by. I wanted to check out the rest first before deciding on what to eat. There's only a limited amout of space in my tummy so I had to be choosy.

The Eat Real Festival is like a gathering of street food vendors in the area (San Francisco, South Bay, Oakland, etc). It also promotes eat fresh, local and sustainable food. It gives local food stores a chance to come out and meet the potential customers. And for food lovers like me to come to one place where all different food trucks come into one place. Awesome. You don't even have to track them down one by one anymore.

Sam's Chowder House
This truck featured New England clam chowder, mini po' boy shrimp and mini lobster roll. When I got in line I only meant to get their clam chowder. But then while waiting I saw people with the lobster roll and they looked so delish. I just had to give it a try.

For $5 each, I'd say the mini lobster roll was a damn good value. You got chunks of lobster meat. Way more than I could imagine. And it was yummy. The clam chowder was good but not hot enough (for me) and a bit smaller than what I wanted it to be. But they made up for it for the lobster roll. :)

Curry Up Now
This truck offered tikka masala burito and deconstructed samosa. Each with different varieties of topping. We got a chicken deconstructed samosa. It was the second best items we tried for the day (after the lobster roll). The dish had an open up samosa and then topped up with chutney and some chickpea curry with a sprinkle of tiny samosas on the side. Cute and yummy at the same time. It offered different taste altogether. Sweet, spicy, and tangy with a hint of lingering heat left in the mouth afterwards.

El Porteno
This is the empanadas stand that I saw when we just arrived. I made sure to spare room in my tummy for these empanadas. The line was pretty long but it moved every now and then. I didn't see the menu for this but I was thinking of getting a chicken and beef. Turned out that for this event, they only offered carne (beef), champinones (mushroom) and the banana with cream. So heck, we tried each and every one of those. The total bill for three empanadas came to $12. Later on I found out that it was $5 each for the chicken and beef. Pretty steep. They did packed them up with lots of filling though.

There were quite a few other stalls that looked interesting but we simply didn't have room to fit in our tummy. Chairman Bao's truck featured five spice pork belly, crispy garlic tofu, and braised pork shoulder. There was an African cuisine stall that featured slow cooked chicken with spinach and chicken cooked in coconut.

http://eatrealfest.com/event/Oakland/California/2011