sambal

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Thai Grata - San Jose

With the crazy stormy weather that went through San Jose the past weekend, I woke up Sunday morning hungry. I craved the smell and taste of fried noodle. Rice noodle is even better. I put my brain to work. What's around our neighborhood that didn't require driving like 20 miles in that kind of weather. Voila. There's this Thai restaurant that we haven't had the chance to try yet. Thai Grata. And I know that they do have fried rice noodle on their menu because I saw their menu before.


So I looked up their phone number and menu online. Waited until 12:30 to call to give them enough time to warm up their wok and get rid of the previous day's left over. A woman picked up the phone and I told her my order. One pad see euw (fried rice noodle with egg and broccoli with meat) and pad kee maw (fried rice noodle with bell pepper, tomato, and basil). The fried noodle can be served with different types of meat - chicken, pork, beef or calamari.

Fifteen minutes later I was already over there picking up my order. There was only one table occupied. I walked up, paid and left with my lunch. One guy came in when I walked out.

Both fried noodles were yummy. The pad see euw supposed to be hubby's order but he liked mine better. The same goes with me, I liked his order better. The pad kee maw had some sort of sweet sauce on it that made it a little bit damp. But the sauce also made it sweet, that's why I didn't like it as much. The pad see euw was more simple and closer to my taste bud.

All in all we were happy and full with our orders. We may not go back pretty soon unless there's another storm again. :) The price was a bit high - average $9.5 /order before tax.

Thai Grata
846 Blossom Hill Road San Jose, CA 95123 (408) 224-8600

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Athena - Korean drama

The long awaited Athena finally was out. Aired on SBS started end of December 2010 and came to the last episode in February 2011. I purposely waited until it was almost coming to an end before I started watching it. Can't wait so long for each episode to come out. It's just too much torture.

The first few episode were pretty slow. Not like Iris which was very intriguing since the first episode. But I waited patiently for the plot to develop. Yes, there was a lot of action in the beginning, but it was kinda confusing as to who was the bad guy and who was the good ones. I was lost there.

Then finally the main character came out, Lee Jung Woo, a special agent with the NTS (National Anti-Terror Service). On one of his survaillance, he met Yoon Hye In which later on he knew worked as a guide at NIS (National Intelligence Service). As viewers, we knew from the beginning that Hye In was not as innocence as Jung Woo thought she was. Then the story continued and we can guess that Jung Woo will fall for her and of course he did. And viewers can only swear and scream wanting Jung Woo not to like her. At least that's what I hope. ha..ha..Especially later on when another female character showed up, Han Jae Hee whom was Jung Woo previous lover. They had to break up because of Jae Hee's father.

But this drama is not just about their love triangle or love square when Son Hyuk also played a big role in it. Son Hyuk was the main bad guy in this drama. I wasn't too sure if he was ever in love with Hye In or was he mostly just care about her as a big brother. Anyhow, Son Hyuk and Hye In were just a few members of Athena, a secret terrorist organization with so many members around the world. Their target was to control energy source around the world.

Jung Woo Sung as Lee Jung Woo didn't leave quite a deep impression at first. He didn't have that bad boy look on him. He didn't look like he could kick ass. I started to give him a bit respect after he showed his ability to save the president's daughter (episode 3 or 4). Supposedly he injured his ankle during the filming because he jumped out of the glass window and got run over by the kidnapper's car. You can see where I'm coming right ? I love Lee Byung Hun in Iris. He was the perfect cast for that character.

Son Hyuk on the other hand was played well by Cha Seung Won. Seriously, without the moustache, he might as well play Jung Woo since he looked so innocence. ha..ha.. I actually felt pity towards him in the end because his love was so deep for Hye In. He still cared for her even though Hye In by then was pretty much on the other side.

All in all Athena was an interesting action drama. Though the ending could have been done better. It seems like the writer was rushed into ending it. I guess they're capped to making only 20 episodes. :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bonchon Chicken - Sunnyvale

Last week, as we drove along El Camino in Sunnyvale, we spotted a sign on one of the strip mall. The sign said 'Bon Chon Chicken'. Hubby was like what's that. I recognized the name as one of the franchised Korean style fried chicken that made it into Korea Town in Los Angeles. We haven't had it yet in SF Bay Area and I've been wanting to try.


So we made time to drive back to the location. Checked out the menu outside before we walked in. Place was kinda dark because the outside light came only through the glass door. The rest of the front side store was brick wall. There were only like two tables occupied when we walked in. One girl came, greeted us and seated us. Then we sat down for like a good five minutes or more. There was not too many patrons around so I ruled out the possibility that they were busy. So finally hubby went to the counter to order. The guy there told him that he'll be taking our order at the table (which was said on the sign at the counter). He and also the girl that seated us earlier apologized for the mishap.


The menu was small. Pick the size platter for the chicken, choose the flavor (spicy or soy sauce), choose the side dish. For medium size platter, we get a free side dish. Large size platter will get two free side dish. Additional side dish can be ordered at extra cost. We got medium size platter combo (mixture of drums and wings) and mixture of spicy and soy sauce. For side dish we requested kimchee coleslaw. We also ordered a portion of sweet potato fries. Then I looked at the menu and thought hmm...scallion korean  pancake sounds yummy. I think we should get one of those.

Then our waiter brought our order, a big platter of chicken. I was too busy with my thoughts about the pancake but I noticed hm...that's quite a big platter. Guess what. The other girl came and told him that the plate wasn't for us. Bummer ! I was already drooling. So the guy took the plate away and brought it to the big table. He came back to us and apologized....again. We just laughed about it. But I was thinking it wasn't a busy day what caused all those mishaps. Imagine the place were packed. More people would be ignored and more orders sent to wrong tables.



Let's get to the food itself. Sweet potato fries were yummy. I'm a fan of sweet potato fries. They did it right. A bit dust of flour gave it the crunchy outside. The chicken were okay. Nothing too special. The spicy ones had a bit heat to them. But the soy sauce ones were just crunchy on the skin but inside were not too flavorful. According to the waiter, the LA area one had more spiciness on their chicken. Darn it ! Then I still have to go down there next time.

And don't even bother ordering the scallion pancake. It's so greasy. I don't know if they supposed to be like that. But the two different types of sauce they gave us didn't add flavor or make it better. Sorry.

Bon Chon Chicken
572 East El Camino Real Sunnyvale, CA 94087   (408) 720-8689

Friday, March 11, 2011

Nothing Bundt Cake

One of my co-worker brought us a bunch of bundt cake from this place in Los Gatos. They were all nicely and cutely package. Easy to transport and perfect as gift. They came in different flavors. Cinnamon swirl, chocolate chocolate, red velvet, just to name a few.

The cake was moist and the middle part was filled with icing. I am not a dessert or anything sweet person. But I got to try a few flavor just because there were so many available. I think the lemon flavor one was best with fresh citrus flavor.

But in general I wasn't impressed. There's nothing really special about the cakes. They were too sweet for my taste. Surprisingly when  I checked out their website, they seem to have quite a few locations around the nation. Not just limited to SF Bay Area.

http://www.nothingbundtcakes.com/

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Habana Cuba - San Jose

Had an office party here on a Friday night. The location was pretty easy to find. Just off San Carlos on Race Street. Parking on a busy night could be tricky. I pulled over to a parking lot next to the sign. Then I saw this big sign saying no restaurant parking beyond this point. And I was thinking, where is the parking for the restaurant then ? But just continue and you'll see on the other side of the building the real parking area for the restaurant.


They have quite a selection for drinks - both alcoholic and non. I can't say much about the alcoholic one even though I really wanted to try the mojitos. But I ended with a coconut soda - coco rico. It tasted quite different. Imagine combination of coconut juice and soda water. Yup..interesting taste. But another co-worker ordered Franca - peruvian beer. And they offer a few other imported drinks and a bunch of other juices like guava and pineapple.

We shared a combo appetizer. Plaintain chips, masitas (awesome !!), croquetoes (awesome !), yuca frita taste just like french fries served with garlic dipping sauce. But seriously the garlic dipping sauce was pretty bland. It's just chopped garlic in oil. A bit more seasoning would bring out more taste. But the masitas was the star of the platter. It's pretty much fried pork. Almost like carnitas in Mexican food.

For entre I got camarones al ajillo. It's huge prawns cooked in garlic, olive and white wine. Served on bed of rice and plaintain. The prawns were okay. Had a bit smell to it and another co-worker said it was overcooked. It was actually less garlicky than I thought it'll be. And for entree, there was option between salad or soup. I opted for soup which turned out to be pretty good. Chunk of chicken,corn and noodle in tomato based soup.

Pictures here were not taken by me. Borrowed from a few fellow yelpers (Tiffany M and Jackie S).



Habana Cuba
238 Race Street, San Jose, CA  (408) 998-CUBA
www.998cuba.com

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Taverna Bistro - Sunnyvale

Finally get to use our groupon that I purchased like almost two months ago. We haven't been to downtown Sunnyvale for like ages. It resemblance Castro in Mt. View but a shorter form of it. When we were there yesterday, the weather was cold and wet. The street was deserted. The patio seatings were empty. We found Taverna Bistro and quickly stepped in, eager to hide from the cold wind.

The place was pretty empty. Just around three tables occupied. Quite surprising because it was lunch time but then looking at the weather I wouldn't be surprised if people decided to stay in. We picked a booth seating and sat down. The wall was decorated with stone paintings. It looked like paintings but we can clearly saw tiny cobbles that made it up. Interesting. During day time, the place already gave a cozy feelings. I'm sure it will be cozier at night when it's dark outside and the lights inside gives out warmth.


We shared a thin crust pizza-like appetizer called lamachun. It was soo good. Crispy with minced meat on top. For entree I chose chicken kebab with rice and steamed veggies. I love the rice, it's lightly salted and very fragrant. The chicken was all white breast meat so it was a bit dry. But I like it dry so no compain there. Hubby got the kobe beef burger. It came with a platter with french fries and salad. The patty looked thick and juicy. First bite into it, everything was good (because he was hungry) !! But then as the chewing continued, he declared that the satisfaction went down to 2.5 star (from 3 star). He said that the patty was made up of chewy meat (tendon ?) And the patty was dry.  I had a bite or two of his burger. I think it was okay. I wasn't much of a burger person.

It's most likely going to be our only visit to Taverna Bistro. The food wasn't to die for. Neither was the price. Hubby wasn't impressed so it would be hard to convince him to go back. But it was a good deal to be able to try it with groupon. Mind you, though they claimed to be organic Mediterranean cuisine, but not all the dishes were organic. Or at least they put down which was organic.


Taverna Bistro
133 S Murphy Ave Sunnyvale, CA 94086 (408) 735-9971