sambal

sambal

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Last Day in KL : Sampai Jumpa Kuala Lumpur

Hakka noodle
Breakfast by the road side
I woke up hungry since we had light dinner the night before. This hotel didn't provide breakfast. I don't know if there was an option to get breakfast through hotel. But there was a small cafe downstairs next to lobby area.

We're in Kuala Lumpur, I felt that it's a waste of room in our tummies if we just settled with typical hotel breakfast. So we were out looking for breakfast around 8 in the morning. Worst comes to worst we just head to McDonald for breakfast if we couldn't find anything opened.

We started walking towards the left hand side of the hotel, going through the construction site (MRT project) walking along Jalan Bukit Bintang. Most of the restaurants were not opened and the opened ones didn't look appetizing. In the end, we turned around towards the back of hotel and just two doors down from our hotel there was this establishment that looked like a small coffee shop style restaurant.

Village Park Restaurant - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Food display
Located at a busy strip mall, this business looked just like any other businesses in the area. When we walked in there was people lining up to pay. Well, it was sort of early for lunch, so imagine how busy it would be during lunch rush.

The seating are wasn't very big so we got a table just next to the food staging area. So strategic. That's where I took a short video of one of the employee chopping up awesome looking golden color fried chicken leg and placed them on plates of rice. Just looking at the video made me hungry again.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Third Day : Around Bukit Bintang

Nasi lemak with egg and sambal
We told our host friend family that we'll check in the hotel the day after. Even though they insisted that we stay with them. But we convinced them that we still wanted to check out the city. So in the end they gave up and went according our plan. We made a reservation online through Agoda and by end of day on Sunday we already had accommodation for Monday night.

We were ready to take train back to Bukit Bintang area. But we were offered a ride to town along with free lunch. Who could refuse that kind of offer ?

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Money Wreath

I don't know why people try to avoid giving out plain cash as christmas presents. I am Chinese and we give out red envelope for Chinese new year. But you can give this a try if you want to make it a bit different and more fun. I came across this posting about making money wreath. Check out the original link here for a tutorial video.

I used 15 pieces of $1 bills. A bit fabric ribbons of whatever I had in my collection box and a few stickers. But you could always come up with whatever ideas you have to decorate your money wreath. Have fun.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Second Day in KL : Seafood Feast !

We checked out early from our hotel and hired a cab to our friend's house. We were going to spent a few days at his house but he got called out for a job out of town. So we rushed there to spend a few hours instead.

As soon as we got to his house, he walked us to a nearby coffee shop to have breakfast together. We were too busy catching up so I didn't have a chance to take any pictures. The whole morning and afternoon were spent with him and his family. I was glad to be able to just relax and do nothing much. Then his family treated us to a feast of seafood at Coconut Flower Restaurant in Klang.

The restaurant was busy though it was almost in the middle of nowhere. It's always a good sign when a restaurant is busy even though the location wasn't so hot. So I started with a good note on it. We got two types of crab - a simple plain steam and another one in black pepper I believe. Both were packed with natural sweet flavor. I enjoyed it with cautious since I had an allergy attack after my dinner of fried oyster in Penang. But luckily I survived this one. Phew.


Coconut Flower Restaurant
Address: 702, Jalan Udang Galah, Telok Gong, 42000 Pelabuhan Klang, Selangor, Malaysia
Phone:+60 3-3134 1218

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sagar Vegstaurant - Santa Clara

The plate used had different compartment for different types of dishes
*Update 06/10/17: this business has closed down permanently*

Located on a strip mall on El Camino, this restaurant could be easily missed. It was small and next to an adult video store. When we walked in there were two tables occupied and nobody to greet us. We stood for like a minute. Then I saw a lady in the kitchen looking out to us so I waved to her. Then another lady came out and told us to sit ourselves.

They offered quite a vast array of vegetarian dishes though I didn't know any of them. ha..ha.. There were also two types of rice, the plain one and the yellow one. I started with the plain rice and picked a dish with peas on it and another dish with potato and something else. Drinks were included on the buffet price of $10.99 so I went to the drinks area and got a glass of water and another glass of hot tea with milk. One of the Yelp reviews mentioned free soda. But apparently either the soda machine was out of order or they stop offering it but didn't want to look cheap so posted sign that the machine was out of order instaed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Munlustay 88 Hotel - Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

I found this hotel through Agoda and decided that the location and price was just what we were looking for. It's close to most eateries that we wanted to try and also next to the big road Jalan Dato Keramat which was one of the roads passed by most buses. So if you are planning a trip that includes travelling by public transportation, this could be the hotel for you too. Keep reading !

The hotel was just few minutes walk from Times Square which food court offered a varieties of food for everyone. Also very close to the hotel was the New Lane hawker street famous for it's street food. Don't forget to check out my posting about Penang food.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Ansa Hotel - Kuala Lumpur


This hotel was previously known as Piccolo Hotel. We didn't get the notice that the name was changing to Ansa Hotel so were surprised when we got there and found a different name.

Location wise, this hotel was in the heart of Bukit Bintang area which is the main tourist attraction in Kuala Lumpur. Our room was on the fourth floor with window facing the road (Jalan Bukit Bintang). Room was upgraded with laminate floor that looked like wood. Shower room was separated from toilet so that was a plus as well. In fact, the sink was outside the shower room just next to the desk.

All in all we were satisfied with the room considering the price we got was pretty decent. Until that night when we went back to hotel. We didn't know that just below our room on the street level was a club ( I think it was called Club Del Mundo). And music was blaring all night long. I'm not kidding. All night long till at least 4 in the morning. Needless to say our sleep wasn't very sound that night.

Ansa Hotel
101, Jalan Bukit Bintang
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
60 3 2146 5000

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Post Thanksgiving Lunch

My boss was nice to offer to buy lunch since we had to work on Black Friday. I chose something light from Panera lentil quinoa bowl with chicken. The picture on their website looked pretty good but the bowl that I got was lighter with less quinoa. But instead I got some french baguette to go with it. What a shame. If the bowl turned out as thick as the one on the picture one could have gone without the baguette and cut the carb amount.

The soup was pretty tasty but very high in sodium. The chicken on the soup was drier than any chicken breast I have ever had but it was organic chicken. All in all the broth bowl priced as $9.79 was okay. Not something I would want to jump on it again anytime soon.




Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving : Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprout, and Bread Stuffing with Apples

Original recipe by Gene Hamshaw and the link is here. The one posted here is my version which is adapted from that recipe. I left out bread, pecan, a few herbs and added mushroom instead based on another reviewer comment.

Ingredients :
1 pound butternut squash, cubed
1 pound brussels sprouts, halved
1 medium gala apple, cut into a 1/2 inch dice
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided into 2 tbsp and 1 tbsp
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Method :
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash, brussels sprouts, apples, and shallots in 2 tbsp oil and season well with salt and pepper. Put the mix veggies on an open baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Take the tray out and cover with aluminum foil and put it back in the oven. Lower the oven temperature to 375 and bake another 15 minutes. By now the veggies should be tender. Take the tray out and set aside.

Heat other tbsp oil in a large pot. Sautee the onion and celery till translucent (about 5-8 min). Add a dash of salt and pepper. Remove from  fire. Add the mixture to the roasted mixed veggies. Put in the cranberry and stir all to combine. Serve hot.





Sunday, November 22, 2015

Penang to Kuala Lumpur : First Day in Kuala Lumpur

Flight from Penang to Kuala Lumpur was 1 hour. We spent most of it sleeping - still jet lag and catching up on sleep. Most of the times in Penang I woke up early around 5, looking at itinerary for the day and making last minute changes on our plan.

KLIA Express
So by the time we arrived at KLIA 2 we were both fresh and ready to go. The walk from the terminal to the KLIA express station was quite far. Since we were not familiar, I was worry that we went the wrong direction. But then every so often another sign would show up pointing a direction to the KLIA express. That was helpful.
Inside KLIA Express


Food of Penang

Our first trip to Penang this time was more focused on food. Our itinerary was built around where to eat and what to eat. Then the sightseeing part was just the filler.

Char koay teow
Char koay teow is a stir fry rice noodle almost similar to the thai rad na. But Penang char koay teow usually served a bit spicy. So if you don't like it spicy as not to put chili in it.

Talk about char koay teow everybody has different opinion on which was considered the best char koay teow. So this time we decided to try a few especially the recommended ones. We had chance to try four different locations and these were the verdict by hubby :

#4 Kimberley Street char koay teow
This stall was located in front of  Sin Guat Keong coffee shop and popular as the char koay teow with the mantis prawn. When hubby ordered though he declined the mantis prawn. This char koay teow was on the wet side with only egg, bean sprout and 1 prawn. No chives.




The stall was busy when we were there. They employed 2 additional persons other than the chef and the sous chef. But our order was delivered pretty fast. I think a plate set us back RM4.50.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Day 3 : Last Day in Penang

One of the famous Penang street art
Our last day in Penang wasn't exactly a full day. So more pressure to make the most out of it. As usual in Asia, it's always a good idea to start your day early when it's not hot and humid yet. By now we were pretty good at catching bus. For short distance each ride only cost RM1.4 (hardly USD 0.35). And where our hotel was located which was just off Jalan Dato Keramat seemed to be the major road passed by so many different bus route.

Breakfast at Chowrasta Market
Our plan that morning was to get to Chowrasta Market and get some fruits for breakfast. Just something light to get us going and catch something a bit heavier later on. So we got a vegetarian potato curry puff and a pack of jackfruit. The jackfruit was sweet and juicy and gave us energy to continue walking.

Street Art of Penang
I was too busy thinking and planning on our food itinerary and didn't really plan too much on sight seeing other than Kek Lok Si Temple (for the assam laksa actually). So now that most of the items on our list have been fulfilled I decided to venture out and check out the famous Penang Street Art. Just google Penang Street Art and you'll be able to get a list of the street art including the map of where they are located.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Day 2 : Around Georgetown

Wonton noodle at Kheng Pin Cafe
We woke up in the morning and looked out the window to see that it was raining. Yiipee. We hoped that the rain would wipe the haze away. But it didn't help much. Mean while we were still wondering if we needed to get masks to protect ourselves.

Breakfast Penang Style
I wanted to check out the Chowrasta Market to see if there was any breakfast material. But then going to market hungry could not be good. So I went down the list on my food itinerary. It's Kheng Pin Cafe which was popular with the wonton noodle and the lor bak.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Day 1 : Jakarta - Penang via Singapore

This is the reason why we stopped by Changi airport : Hainamese chicken rice
Changi Singapore
On this trip we were going to go to Penang and Kuala Lumpur. We contemplated on either Jakarta-Penang-KL - Jakarta or the other way around. Looking at different flight options and different airlines before we decided to fly to Penang through Singapore instead. There were only so many direct flights from Jakarta to Penang while there were more from Singapore. Beside going through Changi gave us a chance to check out some food before we arrived in Penang.

We took the earliest flight offered by Air Asia and arrived at Changi at around 10 am. By the time we got to the employee cafeteria the food was just ready and waiting for us. If you are interested to check it out next time, the employee cafeteria is at Terminal 2 at level 3M. So when you're at Terminal 2 walk towards the parking area and then take the elevator to level 3. Get out of the elevator and take one flight of stairs to level 3M. I believe there was a sign indicating where the cafeteria is. And believe me, the food at the cafeteria are as good as any kopi tiams in Singapore. So if you're just transiting and didn't have time to go out to city but yet missed the Singaporean food just check out the employee cafeteria.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Pop! Hotel Airport Jakarta - Jakarta

View as soon as we walk through the door
Last minute just a day before we left for our trip, I realized it would be too hard to try to get to the airport in Jakarta trying to catch a 7 am flight. So I decided to book a night at any hotel near Soekarno-Hatta airport. Surprisingly there were so many options with very reasonable price between USD 35-USD45.

I finally decided to reserve a night at Pop! Hotel. The hotel picture looked very colorful almost like kindergarten class rooms. Reviews on this hotel were good and the price was very reasonable around USD33 a night which included shuttle pick up to and from airport, free breakfast and one bakmi (noodle) and one spa reflexiology.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Bandung Trip 2015 : Around Bandung

The back ground was the Tangkuban Perahu crater - nothing impressive
Woke up fresh the next morning due to the comfort bed at Mercure Hotel but still influenced by jet lag. Me and hubby got ready and walked down with my parents to the breakfast area. We walked around the pool to enjoy the green scenery and inhaled in the fresh morning air. At the same time we took a chance to check out the fitness center which was towards the side of the hotel next to a children's playing area.

After breakfast we got in our car and headed towards Tangkuban Perahu crater. Drive there was not bad. It was only around 9 when we left hotel so not much traffic yet. We reached the bottom of the mountain where the ticket office was in like 25 minutes. By then I remembered that I forgot to tell my dad that there was a price difference for locals and foreigners. And my cell phone didn't have any bars. Oh crap. A man approached our car and started asking where I am from. I told him Jakarta. He then asked about my mom sitting at the back seat. And proceed to ask about my hubby. I told him we're all from Jakarta. He didn't believe me and started asking my mom. No problem for my mom. But issue came when he asked hubby. His bahasa Indonesia wasn't exactly smooth. So we were slapped with a ticket for foreigner and two tickets for local. Worst for my dad's car. He got my cousin, his wife, my aunt and uncle and they all didn't speak bahasa Indonesia fluently. That was one expensive trip to see a crater ! The ticket for local was IDR 20000 (approx USD 1.48) while the fare for foreigner was IDR 200000 - ten times at approx USD 14.8.

Kampung Daun - Lembang, Bandung

Barbecue chicken served with cone shape rice
I came across this restaurant as I was researching Bandung for our trip. And then a friend also recommended to check out this place at night. But since I wasn't familiar with the area I decided it's better to go there for lunch.

The menu was surprisingly pretty big and covered pretty much everyone's palette. From traditional Sundanese cuisine like nasi timbel to pop cuisine like blackpepper beef. For us that were looking to try traditional Indonesian cuisine, the menu offered other ethnic cuisine like Soto Kudus (Javanese style chicken soup) and gurame with dabu-dabu sauce.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Jing Paradise - Bandung

Jing Paradise is a fine dining restaurant just next door to Mercure Hotel Setiabudi. We had our dinner there on our first night in Bandung due to convenience. And beside I thought a break from some traditional Indonesian cuisine would be nice.

Just like what it said. Fine dining. So I expected a slightly higher price but still I was surprise to see the price of soup per person. It's equivalent to about US$3 ! But the good thing is because it was counted per person then each person could order different type of soup. In our group, six of us ordered the asparagus egg drop soup and the rest ordered cream of corn soup.

We shared stir fry green bean szechuan style, cucumber with mei cai, chinese style cold plate with roast chicken and jelly fish. The dishes were on the smaller side but it's night time so I think it was sort of suitable and not too filling for everyone.

All in all the dishes were good and tasted natural with very little or no use of MSG. It's not a very good value of your money but it's quite satisfying at the same time.

Jing Paradise
Mercure Bandung Setiabudi Hotel
Jl. Dr. Setiabudi No. 269-275, Kec. Sukasari, Jawa Barat 40141 
Phone  62 22 2012610



Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Breakfast at Mercure Setiabudi Hotel - Bandung

A few shots from the breakfast room of Mercure Setiabudi Hotel Bandung.




Raja Sunda - Bandung, Indonesia

Located just off the Pasteur exit of Cipularang highway, this Raja Sunda restaurant was a perfect choice to stop by for visitors from Jakarta when entering Bandung. Parking isn't an issue because the restaurant has parking area in front and on the side of the restaurant. When we got there it wasn't really lunch time yet so parking was a breeze.

My parents have been here numerous times so my dad suggested to stop by there for our lunch. There were eight of us so I decided to get one of those lunch package for 4 and ordered additional dishes. The package include deep fried gourami fish, barbecue chicken, kangkung hotplate, deep fried squid, peanut fritters and veggie filled fried tofu. We added chicken satay and stir fry salted fish and bean sprout.

The chili paste (sambal) was good condiment to go with whatever dishes presented. The sambal was a balance combination of chili, onion, shrimp paste etc.

If you do stop by make sure to try the kangkung hotplate, barbecue chicken, deep fried gourami fish and chicken satay.

Raja Sunda
Jl. Terusan Pasteur No. 63, Jawa Barat
(022) 6037688

Mercure Setiabudi Hotel - Bandung

After browsing through hundreds of reviews on Agoda. I decided to choose this hotel. This trip my dad was hosting a few guests from Singapore and also my other relatives from Hong Kong. So I decided to splurge a bit.

We got deluxe rooms and each room was nicely decorated with huge painting on the wall on the back of the beds. There was a purple color lounge chair with pillow and a desk and chair. A French door opened out to a balcony with view of mountain and swimming pool below. The bathroom had standing shower and magnifying mirror which I found useful when applying make up. ha..ha..

Bandung Trip 2015 : Jakarta - Bandung

Because of my cousin's wedding, we got some relatives coming from Singapore. My dad planned a road trip to Bandung for them. A good chance to introduce Indonesia tourism. ha..ha..

We left early on Monday morning from the Pluit area of North Jakarta. We had to pick up our relatives who stayed at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski in the financial district area of Jakarta. There is a strict 3 person in a car rule imposed from 7-10 on weekdays for cars entering that area. We tried to beat that rule by getting to the hotel earlier.

Traffic was getting heavy and I was stressed out that we couldn't make it there on time. It's been a while for me to drive in that area. But we managed to get there and collected them on time. Next thing : hit the road baby !

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Indonesia Tourist Visa Exemption

I was looking up information for our annual Asia trip and came across some information on Indonesia Tourist Visa Exemption. Apparently effective June 10, 2015, US Citizens and foreign nationals of 45 countries and territories are eligible for Tourist Visa Exemption. Read the full information here.

I looked up some travel forums to verify this information and to see whether there are any tips given to smoother the process. The information I found was mixed. Some were successful going through immigration and using this new exemption. Others were not due to lack of proofs as tourists. What do you need to proof yourselves as tourists ?

One person on the TripAdvisor forum came through Soekarno Hatta airport and was rejected by Immigration Authorities when he tried to leave through Bandung airport. He was told that when using the tourist visa exemption he needed to come through and leave through the same airport. Though that piece of information was not mentioned anywhere on the link above.
http://www.tripadvisor.com.my/ShowTopic-g294229-i9444-k8570825-My_experience_entering_Indonesia_visa_free_June_16th-Jakarta_Java.html

At the same time I was confused as to why US was still listed as country whose nationals are eligible to apply for Visa On Arrival. But an email to the Indonesia Embassy made it a bit clearer. The Tourist Visa Exemption is meant for tourists only. If you're visiting Indonesia for other purpose other than being a tourist then you need to pay for the Visa On Arrival.

With these information on hand I was still a bit stressed out over our arrival in Soekarno Hatta on October 17 afternoon. We were one of the few that got out of the plane. There was no line on the visa payment line and there were only a few people on the immigration line for foreign nationals. Hubby got in front of me and he got through without getting sent back to pay for the Visa On Arrival. And then my turn. The officer asked what was the purpose of the visit and how many days will I stay. I answered those questions and got my stamp. Phew.

Another change that I noted also but I didn't know when it started taking effect was the elimination of arrival card. The only form we needed to complete was the custom form (one for each family).

Friday, October 2, 2015

Paris Baguette - Santa Clara

Fruit shaved ice



We tried these dessert here at the peak of summer. During one of those heat wave days in Silicon Valley. But even that enjoying these shaved ice in the ac room made me chilled after a few spoonfuls.
Well being shaved ice

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Soong Soong - San Jose

braised pork belly with preserved veggies
Found out this restaurant when I was searching on Yelp about any Hakka restaurant. And surprisingly as it turned out that they actually serve the braised pork with preserved vegetables (mei cai gou rou). This dish is very work extensive so even though I tried to make it before I would rather just enjoy it.

So we suggested that place to our friends and they agreed to meet us there for dinner. We were there on a Sunday evening around 7 pm. The place was pretty busy. People came and went with their take out orders. It’s a good sign.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Silicon Valley Capital Club - San Jose



Recently my company had an event held at Silicon Valley Capital Club. It was on a Thursday afternoon during lunch time. I got there about 30 minutes earlier just because I live very close. Parking was a breeze and I found the venue place up on the 17th floor.

The venue for our event was at the corner of the 17th floor so with the amount of people close to 70 it felt crammed. Especially walking between the tables to get to the drinks area I was worry that someone might elbow me and my cup of coffee. That wouldn't be pretty.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Revisited : Hakka Restaurant - San Francisco

Braised pork belly with preserved green mustard
We went there with hubby's big family a few years ago. Original posting here. It's hakka cuisine chinese food restaurant tucked in the neighborhood of outer Richmond area of San Francisco. Their specialty is mei cai gou rou (梅菜扣肉) braised pork belly with preserved mustard green.

Last month a friend of hubby came to visit and since we were in the area we decided to introduce him to this restaurant. We just had to order that braised pork belly dish. And we noticed a lot of tables also ordered that dish. It's that good and everybody knew that.  Then we ordered the salt baked chicken and the fried pumpkin with salted egg yolk.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Thai Chili Cuisine - Santa Clara

chiang mai noodle @ Thai Chili Cuisine
We’ve been to this restaurant years ago. We decided to go back on one very hot weekend. It was around lunch time and when we walked in there were like 3 tables occupied. We were seated and given the menu. But then it took forever for them to come and took our order. I noticed that none of the patrons were eating yet. It was early but it seemed the kitchen maybe a bit slow. After about like 15 minutes and hubby was about to get upset, the lady that seated us finally came and took our order.

I ordered a Chiang Mai stir fry noodle and was surprised that she asked me how spicy I want it to be. I said spicy. She then told me that the spicy here is quite spicy. I told her as long as it’s not Thai spicy then I’m fine. Hubby ordered a pad kee mao and requested spicy as well. I was happy that they asked for the level of spiciness. I feel that stir fry noodle with chili would taste better than if you try to spice it up yourself after the dish was brought to the table.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Las Cazuelas - San Jose

combo chile relleno and pork tamale
Haven’t had any Mexican food for quite a while so last weekend I craved Mexican food and I talked hubby into it. We looked around our neighborhood and found one on Race street. The location on Race street is just off Alameda so it’s quite a good location. But it’s street parking only. The good thing is the location is next to residential so parking wasn’t an issue.

The restaurant is located at a corner of Race and a smaller residential street so they have plenty of land at the side of the building for outdoor seating. We went in to order and paid and took our drinks and chips with salsa to the outdoor seating area. It was a nice day to be sitting outside.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

House of Thai - San Francisco

Pad thai
After so long haven’t been able to visit this place again, we finally were in the city attending SF Marathon. Afterwards, we were looking for a lunch place and decided to come here again. It’s been a while and the name seemed to have change from Thai House Express to Thai House. Location wise still the same but maybe change of ownership ?

I order tom yum noodle soup and hubby ordered pad see ew and radna. Our guest ordered pad thai. There was a sign that said if you checked in prior to ordering, you’ll get a free thai ice tea. So hubby and our guest checked in and showed our waitress the proof to get their ice tea. The ice tea was good. Maybe because it was free ?? ha..ha..

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hyatt Regency Hotel - San Francisco

This hotel was endorsed as official hotel for the San Francisco Marathon. I said it couldn’t have been better in term of location. All you need to do is sleep late, wake up, walk downstairs and you’re pretty much there to start your run.

We got a double queen bed room. It was spacious with a rolling door opening to Drumm St which is back street of the hotel. I liked this door because during the day we pretty much turned off the air con and popped open the door for some fresh air. Be careful with this rolling door though if you have younger kids because there was only a railing between your room and the street down there. I held on to my cell phone so hard when I stood there to take pictures of the street down. I don’t think my phone would survive if it accidentally slipped of my fingers.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Kotetsu - Santa Clara

Original kuro ramen @ Kotetsu
After a failed ramen experience, I decided to check out a different ramen place. This time I chose Kotetsu in Santa Clara. One time we passed by this ramen place and it wasn’t even opened yet but there was already a line outside. The pictures on Yelp looked inviting so I was glad that we finally had a chance to check it out.

We got there at around 8 pm on Monday. There was no line outside which I thought was good. Maybe we could be seated immediately since I was hungry already. But no, we had to put our names on the wait list and waited for about ten minutes.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Ramen Underground - San Francisco

spicy miso ramen @ ramen underground
We were in San Francisco with a friend from out of town for the SF Marathon. We happened to pass by this ramen place and decided to give it a try. We got there around 7. The place was tiny with maybe around 6 tables and a few more bar seating area. We put our names down and waited outside. It was starting to get chilly though it was a nice day earlier in the day.

The wait was maybe around 15-20 minutes. Since we waited for quite some time, we had enough time to study the menu and made up our minds. By the time we got seated at the bar, we were all ready with the order. I got a habanero ramen (yes, there is such thing). Hubby and his friend got spicy miso ramen. We got our hot tea which was so hot, even by the time I finished my ramen, the tea was still too hot for me to finish.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Restaurant Chung Dam - Santa Clara

side dish for wrapping with sliced pork (bossam platter)
Found out about this restaurant on Yelp when I was looking for certain type of Korean dishes. Apparently this restaurant was still pretty new. So we decided to give it a try on a Thursday night thinking it wouldn’t be too busy. When we pulled in the parking lot, we saw group of people walking to the restaurant. The parking lot which the restaurant shared with Motel 6 was full. And at that time it’s only 6:30 !

We found one spot and made our way to the restaurant. The restaurant was huge with nice waiting area. The hostess took my name and told me the wait would be 20 minutes. The décor in the waiting area was nice and made the restaurant felt upscale. There was this huge lighted display in Hangul (Korean characters) that I didn’t understand but I assumed probably some poem ?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fogo De Chao - San Jose

My salad plate 
I have heard about churrascaria for quite a few years now. A churrascaria is a place where meat is cooked the churrasco style which is roughly translated from Portuguese for barbecue. In short it's widely known as Brazilian style steak house. There are some restaurants that specialize in all you can eat style. One of them is Fogo De Chao,

I have heard about all these Brazilian buffet for quite a while but couldn't bring myself and hubby to go there. Me being cheap just didn't want to pay $50 to have all the meat I can eat. Beside I am not much a meat eater these days. That's why I was so excited when my boss decided that our office would go out have dinner there. Yay.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Gogo Pho - Cupertino

Bun thit nuong - rice vermicelli noodle with bbq pork and assorted salad and herbs
We went and checked out this place for an early lunch on Saturday. The restaurant is located on a strip mall sharing parking lot with a nail place and a salon. And the amount of parking spaces weren't too many. I couldn't quite imagine on a busy time, it must be a bit tricky trying to find a parking spot.

I ordered a vermicelli bowl with bbq pork and hubby as usual went for the noodle soup. I would recommend the vermicelli bowl with bbq pork, or you could select chicken if you don't like pork. The shredded veggie that came with it makes the meal fresh and crunchy. Normally for this type of dish, the shredded veggies consisted of pickled carrot, cucumber and romaine lettuce. But this place also used mango and pear. Mango and pear gave a bit more sweetness to the greens. It was a nice twist to the conventional style bun thit nuong.

The noodle soup was nothing special. If we go back again, I'd try different dishes that looked more like fusion style.

Gogo Pho
5025 Stevens Creek Blvd
Santa Clara, CA 95051
408 345 4646

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dae Bak Bon Ga : revisited - Vancouver, Canada

Gamja tang - Korean style pork bone soup
I just found out about this dish called jokbal which is a Korean style pig trotter cooked in soy sauce. It could be made spicy as well. Ever since I saw it in a Korean drama I was on a mission to find it and check it out.

So visiting Vancouver this time I sought out my friend who also love Korean food. She recommended that we checked this place out since they offer jokbal. So there we went.

Our first visit a year ago we tried the bul nak ji jeongol which was the beef and octopus stew served on a hotpot. This time we ordered the jokbal, bul nak ji jeongol and gamja tang since I was curious about it.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Ebisu - Vancouver, Canada

sushi roll
Located in downtown Vancouver close to Robson St, this restaurant offers benefit of opening late. Coming from San Jose, where most places close at 9 pm, it's quite amazing to have a place to hang out until late at night.

We got there at around 10 and there were still quite a few tables occupied. Next to our table were a guy and a girl who looked like they're on a date. Though I think the music was a bit loud to be able to carry on comfortable conversation. The other side of our table were a group of girls that order a platter of oysters. ha..ha..

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Kedah House - Vancouver, Canada

Kedah House, Malaysian food buffet in Vancouver
I can finally check this off our list of to do things in Vancouver. We've been eyeing the buffet at this restaurant for quite some time now. This time we finally made it there.

We went on a Wednesday night. Traffic was horrible because there was a fire near by. When we finally went in, the place was quite busy. There were at least 15 people inside. We were seated at one of the booths. The buffet line was against the wall almost next to the kitchen door where the cashier/owner sat.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Pink Elephant - Vancouver, Canada

filing for lettuce wrap
Our friend took us here because she has been here before. The same reason why we went there around 6 pm just in time for their appy hour menu. Since she knew better, we let her order for us. Appy hour menu is lighter, more appetizer like items.

We had a late lunch so we weren't very hungry and the appetizers that we ordered were just perfect. We had lettuce wrap with chicken, shrimp cake (tod man kung), vermicelli salad (yam wun sen), thai calamari, and thai ice tea.

The highlight of that meal was the lettuce wrap. So a stack of iceberg lettuce leaves were provided on the side. For the filing was minced chicken stir fried with cubes of carrot, sliver of basil and some crunchy fried vermicelli. When I bit into the wrap it was a burst of fresh lettuce leaves, crunchiness of the vermicelli and savory of the chicken.

papaya salad @ pink elephant

I love thai papaya salad and vermicelli salad. So both salads were up to my expectation it's been a while since the last time we had those.
thai spicy calamari

The thai calamari though wasn't really thai, not in my opinion. It tasted more like salt and pepper calamari the chinese way.
vermicelli salad

Pink Elephant
1152 Alberni Street Vancouver, BC, Canada
1 604 646 8899

Friday, June 12, 2015

Banana Leaf - Vancouver, Canada

green papaya mango kerabu
This review was for the Kitsilano location. Me and hubby and another of his friend met up on our last day in Vancouver to have lunch together. The place wasn’t very busy for lunch. I was actually surprise to see that it wasn’t busy. Years ago we went to the one on Broadway off 12th and it was busy. Through out the years they opened more locations now.

It was a hot day (for Vancouver standard, I guess) but inside the building was cool. There were big windows so the air circulate. The place was nice and cozy. We looked through the menu and decided on pumpkin curry ( I was trying to bring back part of my vegetarian life), green papaya and mango kerabu and seafood nasi lemak. Hubby chose an iced calamansi which I wrongly communicated to our waitress. But later on she was nice enough to come back and told me that calamansi is better served cold instead of hot. I don’t know what’s wrong with me that day. What I thought and what came out of my mouth was different. Yikes !

Friday, June 5, 2015

Red Chicken - Vancouver, Canada

Fried chicken with sauce ( I think it's no 2c on the menu - spicy)
We were in downtown Vancouver one night and ran into this restaurant. A friend brought us to the restaurant next to it and I was curious and asked her whether this restaurant was any good. Because of that question, she suggested that we check it out the following night. Yay !

When we were back the following night, it was around 10 pm on Friday night. The restaurant wasn't too busy. Maybe around two tables occupied. We were seated and brought menu. I honestly wasn't really hungry because we just had dinner around 7! But I figured I could sneak in one or two pieces of fried chicken. ha..ha..

Thursday, June 4, 2015

River Rock Casino Food Court - Richmond, BC, Canada

Singapore style rice noodle
The food court at River Rock Casino has three different stalls. Haven't had the chance to try the other two but the Chinese noodle shop is pretty good. The menu spread from noodle soup to stir fry noodle to fried rice to porridge. Last time I was there I tried the egg porridge and it was not bad. If you like your porridge with the long Chinese doughnut, you could request it on the side for additional charge.

This time our party of four, we ordered a plate of Yang Chow fried rice, Singapore style rice noodle and a plate of stir fry veggies. I wasn't too sure about the stir fry veggies being on the menu. But we happened to see it being prepared and it looked quite appetizing.

All in all not a bad deal if you happened to be in the casino. Just step away from your slot machine to have lunch and easily go back to your activities without much interruption.


Yang Chow fried rice

River Rock Casino Resort
8811 River Rock
Richmond, BC, Canada
V6X 3P8
www.riverrock.com