Sunday, February 26, 2012

Saturday activities : river clean up

About a few weeks ago, I happened to hear that there's a river clean up event this Saturday. So we went ahead and signed ourselves up. There was no confirmation whatsoever. I was thinking of giving them a call since the H day was getting closer. But finally an email came with directions how to get there and what to expect.

We met in front of the Guadalupe River Visitor and Education Center on Coleman Ave in San Jose. Packs of gloves, sanitizer, trash bags and pick stick were waiting to be utilized. After a short briefing we were all dispersed to the trail which was next to the Guadalupe River. Most of us were just going around looking for a spot to clean. The trail and surrounding was well maintained. But between the trail and the river there was a thick wooded area so it's hard to even see whether the river was from the trail. Both me and hubby worked around it and finally found a trail to go behind the wooded area. From there we could finally reached the river bank.
Plastic bags and other debris stuck to the trees by the river bank
Guadalupe river - not exactly pristine

Some of the interesting trash we picked up were roller blade, shoes and some clothing that apparently were left behind by transients living behind the bushes. Most common trash we found were plastic cups, styrofoam packaging and different size of plastic bottles.
One of the clean up crew with a bag full of trash

We stayed until almost 3 pm and went back to the center to drop off our tools and gloves. In return we received a Chinook (coupon) Book.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Five Guys Burger - San Jose

This restaurant I think has opened for a year or so. It's sharing the same plaza where Costco and Trader Joe's are. So I guess they in a way benefited from traffic that goes to those other two businesses. Anyhow we finally got to try it out last weekend.

As we walked in, there was a sign that pointed to the left side of the building where they built a permanent divider so guests could line up along the wall waiting to place the orders. And as we got closer to the registers, it became clear that those boxes stacked up in front of the registers were boxes of peanuts with paper trays. So while waiting for your orders to be prepared, go help yourself with some peanuts.

It took maybe around ten minutes for us to get our orders. I got a cheese burger with everything (mushroom, onion, mustard, etc) and hubby got a bacon cheese burger with everything plus grilled jalapeno.

First impression, the buns were really soft and mushy even before I started eating it. The buns were regular white buns so it's hard to contain the mushroom, mustard, pickle, tomato and grease. ha..ha.. The patty was not very strongly seasoned - a little bit bland in fact for my taste. I guess that's what sets them apart from like McD ? I can't quite say much since I haven't had too many burgers in my life.

The cajun fries that we ordered was the highlight of the day. It was nicely seasoned and gave a bit twist to the regular fries. Hubby said that his bacon cheeseburger still couldn't beat the one he had at Armadillo Willy's. I guess it'll be a while before we set our foot there again.

Five Guys Burger & Fries
5353 Almaden Expressway
San Jose, CA95118

(480) 264-9300

Sunday, February 19, 2012

SGD Tofu House - San Jose

This restaurant took over the RIP New Kang Nam restaurant that closed down about 1.5 years ago. Hubby was so excited about it when he found out that the spot was finally taken over by another Korean restaurant. So we picked a day to go and check it out. The auspicious day was Valentine's Day.

We went early to beat everybody but there were already at least five tables occupied when we arrived. It's only after six pm. Don't these people need to work or what ?

We were seated and given a small menu. Not just physically small, the menu was mostly consisted of soft tofu stew (soon do bu) with different varieties of combination (eg beef, seafood, kimchee, etc). They offered a few appetizers like seafood pancake (haemul pajeon), spicy rice cake (tteok bok ki with squid), steam pork and oyster with spicy vegetables. We settled with a seafood tofu stew and a bbq spicy pork.
banchan (side dishes)

While waiting for the banchan to be served which took a while I noticed the same song was played three times within fifteen minutes. Was the CD skipped and replayed it again or maybe the person that burnt the CD loved the song so much and decided to put it every other songs...ha..ha..
spicy bbq pork

We felt that the service was a bit slow and at the time it wasn't very busy. And I guess it wasn't us that felt that way because I noticed another patron asking for the banchan to be served as well. They came in after us. And as we were eating our dinner the few earlier tables were already done and left but the tables weren't cleared. So when more guests came they had to wait for those tables to be cleaned first.

The banchan were typical napa cabbage kimchee, soy bean sprout, fish cake, stir fry vermicelli (japchae) and pickled seaweed. Nothing too special about the banchan. I noticed some of them were pretty bland.

The soft tofu stew was very flavorful and packed with tons of seafood. The bbq spicy pork was abundant but not sizzling enough. I wasn't sure if they were too busy to heat up the iron plate hot enough to make it sizzle but it seemed like the plate wasn't even hot and the pork was just piled high on it.

Well, all in all it wasn't all satisfactory on every aspects. This restaurant is close to home so we'll be back again. Hopefully they'll be more efficient in the future.

SGD Tofu House
832 Blossom Hill Rd, San Jose, CA 95123  
Ph (408) 227-8583

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

photo : chocolate and vanilla cheesecake from Wholefoods Market.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Use those leftover food : mashed potato omelette

The recipe I tried out the other night was inspired by a recipe I found on Epicurious.

Ingredients :
1 cup rough chop broccoli
1 cup sliced mushroom (use your fave mushroom)
2 slices prosciutto - slice thinly (use canadian bacon or bacon bits)
1 medium size onion - slice thinly
5 medium size eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed potato (from about 3 medium size yellow potato)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese
1/2 tea spoon salt
a little bit ground black pepper (optional)
3 tbs oil
ketchup (optional)

Preparation :
Preheat the oven at 325.

Heat up about 1 tbs of oil on a medium size frying pan. Fry the onion until fragrant about 1 minute. Toss in the broccoli, stir around for another 1 minute. Toss in the mushroom. Pour in about 1/2 cup of water and cover the frying pan to make sure the veggies and mushroom become tender (about 5 minutes). Stir in prosciutto and let it fry another minute. Turn off the fry and set the stir fry veggie combo aside.

On a big bowl, crack all the eggs, pour in the milk and add salt and pepper. Beat the egg well using a whisker.  Put in the mashed potato and cheese and stir well to combine.

Put in the stir fry veggie combo to the egg mixture and stir to combine.

Heat up a clean frying pan with 2 tbs oil on medium heat until hot but not smoking. Pour in the egg mixture and set the frying pan in the middle of the oven to bake. If the handle of the frying pan is plastic make sure to wrap it with double thickness of aluminum foil. Or use a corelle or pyrex baking dish (but make sure to brush some oil or spray a thin layer of oil).

Bake the omelette in the oven at 325 for about 25 minutes. Then increase it to 375 and bake another 10 minutes or until the egg is set.

Take it out from oven and let it cool off slightly. Serve warm with ketchup if desired.

sliced onion

thinly sliced prosciutoo

stir fry onion on hot skillet
toss in broccoli and mushroom

Last item to add to the egg mixture is the stir fry veggie combo. Mix well.

Voila. After 35 minutes, the omelette is ready to be served.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Thai Spice - Los Gatos

This weekend we went to do take out from this restaurant. The place is small and cozy and busy when we walked in. We placed our order and went about doing other errands and went back about 25 minutes later to pick up the order.

We got eggplant with garlic and basil, fish cake (tod mun), pad thai (rice noodle with peanuts), pad see ew (stir fry wide rice noodle with broccoli) and the chef's special crispy trout with mango salad.

Since everybody was hungry I didn't think of taking any pictures this time. But in general the food was so so. We have better Thai food elsewhere so none of the dishes were impressive. The crispy trout came out a winner this time since we have nothing to compare to. It was trout fillet with light batter presented on a bed of shredded iceberg, julienned green mango and cucumber and thinly sliced green onion. A cup of sweet, tangy chilli dressing was on the side.

The fish cake came out a bit dry and seemed tired. Twice fried, maybe ? The pad thai and pad see ew were on the sweet side which didn't suit my palette. The eggplant was too soggy. All in all I am sure we won't go back again.

Thai Spice
337 N Santa Cruz Ave
Los Gatos, CA 95032
(408) 354-2785