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.
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

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

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