Sunday, February 27, 2011

Liang's Village Cuisine

So me and hubby went and picked up his sister on Sunday. I didn't know that it was her birthday until the little one started mentioning it. So later on we all went out to have dinner together. Her chosen place was Liang's Kitchen in Cupertino. More like I kinda push the idea to her because I'm curious about the place. We've been to the mall before and saw that restaurant. But I never thought of going ourselves just because it's harder to order just two dishes when it's just the two of us. While with bigger group we can order and try more dishes.

We went in two cars and they got there first and was looking at the menu when we were trying to look for them. The place was not as big as I thought it was. It can only contain like 60 patrons all together. Even the waiting area was tiny and everybody kinda lined up against the wall.

I noted one item that was mentioned on a few reviews on Yelp which was the beef wrap. One thing learned though. Going to restaurant starving is as bad as doing grocery hungry. We ordered like mad. And some of the items we ordered double because we thought the size was going to be small. But actually the size was pretty decent. So that's other thing to note on.

When the first few items came out, we gobbled down like there's no tomorrow. The beef wrap was soo good. The skin was crispy. It kinda remind me of quesadilla in a roll. No cheese though. Spicy wonton, we had it at another restaurant. Good but nothing new. The garlic flavor went well with the wonton but it's kinda oily because of the chili oil they used. That night we ordered a bunch of little plates (that's not really little). In the end that's what this Liang's Kitchen is all about. They offered a varieties of small dishes, noodles (dry/wet), rice plate and dessert.

As you can notice from the pics, some of the dishes were very homely. Just a platter of rice, preserved veggies (hamchoy), minced pork and half an egg. Like something my mom would have made at home. I guess you live alone, eating out at this place won't break a bank. Average dishes go around $4-$6. It seemed that they started in Southern California (Arcadia, San Gabriel) and spreaded up here (North San Jose) and now in Cupertino.

Liang's Village Cuisine
19772 Stevens Creek Boulevard Cupertino, CA 95014-2456 - (408) 725-9999

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Song Ngu Restaurant - Milpitas

Always in search of a new pho place - that's our motto. So last weekend me and hubby decided to check this place out. I happened to see Song Ngu Restaurant when we were in the area a couple of weeks ago.

It was a wet, cold Saturday afternoon. Way passed lunch time. There were around two tables with guests when we walked in. The place was bright, spacious and clean. I picked a table for two by the huge window. Well the location by the corner and also the glass covering made the place looked bright even though outside was gloomy and wet.

I chose #1 pho dac biet - rice noodle soup with everything and hubby chose seafood pho. For appetizer I opted for honey glazed chicken wings. Something different since we were so used to spring rolls.

While waiting, we were already brought our drinks. Actually as soon as we were seated, the guy already took our drinks order. The music on the background was different. Not just intrumental, but more like remix instrumental. Interesting for a pho restaurant. :)

The highlight of the day was the chicken wings. Crispy on the skin but not dry. The skin still had a bit fat left. Bad. I know. But sooo good. Wings were lightly marinated with a hint of garlic. Our pho were good. I like the broth and the meat balls. The meat balls had a bit tendon that gave it a bit chewiness. Yumm. The only thing that I didn't quite agree was the noodle they used. The noodle was slightly thinner than regular rice noodle. Because of that the noodle even though didn't look mushy but tasted a bit too tender/overly cooked.

Song Ngu Restaurant
1203 East Calaveras Boulevard, Milpitas, CA 95035 (408) 946-5747

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kong Tofu & BBQ - Cupertino

Now that this Korean restaurant opens in Cupertino, we don't have to go all the way to Korea Town in Santa Clara. Yay ! When I first found out about Kong, I told hubby we got to give it a try. So there we went on a sunny weekend afternoon.

We were seated immediately. I took a look around and everything look very clean and new. Supposedly they took over what used to be Wahoo - fish taco. Their menu was decent. They have most of the dishes we liked plus they also have dduk bok ki - the spicy rice cake. Awesome. I ordered one of those. Hubby got a soon do bu (tofu stew) with seafood. I ordered a seafood bibimbap on stone pot. And we sat there waiting for our orders when the banchan were brought out. Spicy cucumber, kimchi, bean sprout and potato. Pretty basic.

The dduk bok ki was good. Enough heat without being too sweet. Too bad, it didn't come with squid like the one in the Korea Town food court. There was a stall in the food court (the corner one) that sells dduk bok ki with squid. It was soooo good.

The soon dobu and bibimbap filled the spot. We found a replacement for our Kang Nam Korean restaurant. And when we were finished with our food, we got free cold yogurt drink. What else could we expect ? Oh yeah..maybe for Kong Tofu to add spicy squid/octopus to their menu. Then everything would be perfect. Yes.

Kong Tofu & BBQ
19626 Stevens Creek Blvd,  Cupertino, CA 95014   (408) 863-0234

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Steps of India - San Jose

This restaurant is very close to my office. I have seen their signage by the roadside more than a few times. But nobody in my office had the chance to give it a try yet. So one weekend, I took hubby here for lunch. It's time for testing it.

When we walked in there was only one table occupied. From the hubby's look, I knew he wanted to bolt. LOL. We try to avoid going to a new place when there was nobody in or very few patrons in. It's just not a good sign. But I was happy that we sticked around and gave it a try. As soon as we sat down, a few more groups came in. And before we knew it, the place was alive !

The restaurant itself was not very big. One corner next to register was used as buffet table. It was a shor L shaped buffet line. Mixed vegetable pakora, tandoori chicken, and chicken tikka masala were a few dishes I remembered we had that day. Everything were freshly made. The rice was not just plain rice, it was cooked in some sort of curry type - yellow with a few pieces of cauliflower and onion here and there. Very nice. The naan was brought to our table. And the only waiter there was quick to bring us a fresh plate when he noticed it was empty.

I ordered mango lassi which was like a yogurt drink. By then since it was busy already, our waiter forgot about it. When I finally asked about it, another man (perhaps the owner ?) apologized and brought it out within minutes and said it was on the house. It was a very pleasant surprise. I didn't feel like we deserved it so in return we tipped generously afterward.

This will be our new togo place for Indian fare when we crave it. It's close to home. Clean place, fresh and very good food.

Steps of India
2062 Curtner Ave  San Jose, CA 95124   (408) 369-1888

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Health care becoming more commercial

I had to visit an opthalmologist this week. No. I don't have red eye. No. I don't have any pain. No itchiness. It all started with my visit to an optometrist about two weeks ago. I haven't been to one in like ages. And this one I just picked because a few of my coworkers went there.

The doctor was talkative but pretty attentive and helpful. The eye exams were pretty thorough which involved dilating pupil and looked into eye nerves etc. I didn't remember any of those done by my previous optometrist. But then again it was ages ago. Maybe the standard changed. Who knows.

Okay, so during the exam, my optometrist found out that my eye nerves looked different from each other. And beside that, my eyes pressure were pretty high. He put me as 'glaucoma suspect' category. He told me nothing serious and probably nothing at all but it's best to have it checked.

So here I found myself visiting an opthalmologist who told me after his exam that my eyes were normal. Nothing to worry about and the optometrist was most likely being overly conservative.

But then it brought me into thinking. Really ? Was he just overly conservative or did he actually see that as an opportunity to send me as a referral to his opthalmologist 'friend/partner' ? And that would have worked out if I were not with Kaiser. And had I still with United Health Care, that visit to Opthalmologist would have caused me about $100 or more.

A couple of months ago, I went to see a dentist because my tooth was hurting. The dentist took care of it for like a minute. Pretty much took it out right there right then. But my concern was actually a wisdom tooth that I think is due to come out (and I was pretty sure was the source of the pain). I told him that but he didn't seem to pay much attention to it. He was too busy trying to get me to change my crown. That's because my wisdom tooth would have to be taken care by a surgeon. And also from hubby's experience, the price of crown was pretty much negotiable. That gives my dentist a lot of room to work with.

Seriously. There's nothing wrong with trying to sell your product.  Yes, doctors should present the options for their patients. But leave it right there and be neutral about it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tomi Sushi and Seafood Buffet - Eastridge Mall, San Jose

It has been a while since we had buffet so last weekend we decided to try one out. We chose Tomi Sushi which replaced Todai at Eastridge. It seemed to me that they were just opened recently since they still offer 10% discount until February 18.

We got there around 1 pm and saw like 20 over people sitting outside the restaurants waiting for their numbers to be called. I went and got a number and was told it won't be long. It took about 15 minutes before we finally got our table, so it wasn't too bad at all.

The food selection was good. Tons of sushi and sushi rolls. Then on the hot dishes were deep fried stuffs like tempura, fried prawns on batter, fried scallops on batter, egg roll, gyoza (dumpling). Then dishes like clams, charsiu, bbq pork, new york steak (yeah..really !). If you like noodle soup, select from wonton soup, wonton soup with yellow noodle or rice noodle with spicy peppery soup *yum..yum*. All noodle soup were made to order. Not to mention other soups like corn eggdrop soup, miso soup, hot and sour soup, lotus and papaya soup (sweet) and herbal chicken soup. Just for the varieties of soups alone, I'd give them 4 stars !. Last but not least, the dessert. There were varieties of ice cream - from plain vanilla, mango, green tea, strawberry cake and chocolate. And then the one we liked a lot was mochi with sesame paste. Yummy and freshly made.

Totally worth the $13.99/person. Give it a try while the food selections are still good. Hopefully they can maintain the selections and also the qualities.

Tomi Sushi and Seafood Buffet
Eastridge Mall - near JC Penney