sambal

sambal

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Alexander's Steak House - Cupertino

This year's company holiday dinner was held at Alexander's steak house in Cupertino. The restaurant has moved from the Vallco mall location to the new Main St at Cupertino facing Stevens Creek Blvd.

I was going to order the fillet mignon but another coworker asked if anyone wanted to share with her. I thought why not and asked her what she had on mind. She wanted to try surf and turf and I thought that was a better idea. So we agreed on that.

The bread selection was fantastic. Most of the restaurants I went to only serve plain bread but Alexander's actually served different types of bread from regular bread to mini onion cheese croissant and herb ciabatta (?). We couldn't help but asked for seconds.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Pho Ha Noi is back !

Years ago  there was a Pho Hanoi in the Evergreen area of San Jose (Capitol Expressway and Silvercreek Rd, I think). One day we found out that it was closed. We were devastated as that was the only place we knew that served northern style pho noodle soup with fresh noodle.

A few days ago as I was browsing my Facebook page, I saw a posting mentioning a new restaurant that just opened with the same name. Only one way to find out which is to give it a try.

So this weekend we decided to drop by and check it out. The location is at the Vietnam Town shopping center which is next to Grand Century Mall on Story Rd in San Jose. The shopping mall has been completed at least a few years by now. But sadly there were still a lot of empty shops. The restaurant is located at the end corner from Story Rd so just keep on going once you make a turn into the shopping mall.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Revisited : Zeni Ethiopian Restaurant, San Jose

The dishes were served on a big platter with the injera bread as under lining.
Tried this restaurant about 2 years ago. This time we had some visitors from out of town and decided to give them a different cuisine to try.

We were there on Friday night after Thanksgiving. The restaurant was pretty busy during dinner time. We got a table on one of those lower ethnic table next to the guy playing live music. I didn't even know that they have live music. It could be new or it could be only on a certain night which we didn't get to experience last time.

Since we didn't quite enjoy some of the dishes we got before so we decided not to order the combo. We got more heads this time so we got more people giving opinions. In the end we settled with 4 meat dishes and 1 chickpea dish. And I actually enjoyed it way better this time.

I think the dishes we ordered were shuro wot (chickpea dish), ye doro wot which was made of chicken drumstick with spices and served with egg and home made cheese. Another chicken dish was called ye doro kitfo which was made of ground chicken and cooked with spices. And the last one was tibs firfir which was cubed lean beef sauteed with onion, tomato and green pepper.

Zeni Ethiopian Restaurant
The Plaza Shopping Center, 1320 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129
Phone: (408) 615-8282

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Spicy Galbi Jjim (Korean style braised pork ribs)

Picture revised 03/05/2017


Ribs and potatoes on the baking dish before going into the oven
The first time I found out about this dish was on one of the episode of Late Night Restaurant which was a Korean drama show that was released last year. Anyway, if you like Korean food you may actually like that drama because it showed case a lot of different kind of Korean dishes.

When I googled recipe for spicy galbi jjim I found a recipe by Hyosun from Korean Bapsang. Her version which was the recipe I posted here was cooked on slow cooker. No worry if you don't have one. I cooked mine on a ceramic bakeware covered with aluminum foil on 350 degree for 2 hours. The result was tender ribs with meat fall of the bones.

Ingredients
3 pounds pork baby back ribs
1 medium onion, cut into big chunks
1 large potato, cut into big chunks
2 scallions, cut into big chunks
6 to 7 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1-1/2 inch ginger, thinly sliced

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tofu Plus - Cupertino

Side dish display outside restaurant. I feel like being cheated because the real side dishes didn't look like that
Located in the shopping mall of Cupertino Village where parking could be a nightmare on weekends. I have heard about this Korean restaurant but didn't have an occasion to go all the way there to check it out. Last weekend a friend suggested that we met up there for dinner. This was Saturday night so I was a bit reluctant knowing how messy parking could be over there. But, surprisingly it was not too bad. We got a spot within minutes of arriving. Must be the rain that deter everyone from coming out.

In general most restaurants were kinda slow. But Tofu Plus was busy that night maybe because it's relatively new and people were still curious. We waited for about 15 minutes and the wait line spilled out the restaurant. So I was standing with my umbrella outside just to cover myself from the drizzling rain. That's when I took pictures of those fake wax dishes.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Stagnaro Bros - Santa Cruz

We just wanted some light snack to munch on before going for our lunch. So we decided to stop by here and grab a combo calamari and fries. I was afraid that it was going to be just a lot of fries and not much calamari. But it turned out to be plenty of calamari.

The calamari was tender and the fries were pretty crispy.  Our order came with two tiny container of dipping sauce which were tar tar sauce and hot sauce. Ketchup was available on the counter in a pump tub.

In the end we got tired of the calamari and were wishing for more fries. It's really not a bad deal for $13.

Stagnaro Bros
59 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 423-2180
stagnarobros.com

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Rooster & Rice - San Francisco


I came across this restaurant when I was looking for places to try out in San Francisco. It's been hard to check it out because they were not open on Sundays. So finally we had a chance to try it out last weekend.

The place is small and more for take out place. There were three bar seating inside and about three more tables outside for another six more people. When I was there around 12:30 all but the indoor seats were taken. 

This restaurant serves Thai chicken rice. Their menu was simple The Original (breast and thigh with jasmine white rice), The Marina (all breast with organic brown rice) and The Vegetarian (organic tofu, brown rice and vegetables). One can pay for extra soup, side of vegetable, chicken, rice, etc.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Yummy Tofu & BBQ

Went there for dinner on a Friday night. Looking at the name I thought they only served tofu stew and bbq. But I was delighted to see that they offered quite an expansive dishes that were not very typical Korean restaurants. Among those dishes were gamja jeongol (pork bone stew with potato) and bossam (boiled pork served with wrapped). There were also a few other stew like seafood stew and goat stew. So far there was only another small mom and pop restaurant in Santa Clara that served those type of stews.

There were four of us so we ordered a gamja jeongol, a stir fry squid with pork belly on spicy sauce (ohsam bokkeum) and a non spicy beef bulgogi. The gamja jeongol was served on a hot pot style stove top to keep the soup hot. This stew was served with some sort of green veggies which I haven't seen being used on the soup before. I am sure each family has a different way of cooking their stew. The broth had deep flavor and had a hint of spicy peppery taste to it.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cherimoya 2

Lemon grass grill pork on vermicelli with Thai ice tea
We were in Golden Gate Park area on our pokemon hunt and decided to stop by this place. My original planned lunch location turned out to be closed on Sunday. I was disappointed but this place got a high customer rating so I was curious to check it out.

When we got there it was lunch time. The place was small and more suitable for take out place. There were maybe 5 tables altogether with some plastic chairs and some built-in seating along the wall. Quite interesting. The wall was painted cheerful bright green. And when we walked in I was expecting someone to sit us down. But then there was a register just outside their small kitchen opening with the sign “order here”. Their menu was small and more or less a repeat. You can have grilled lemon grass pork/chicken/beef/tofu as topping for garlic noodle/vermicelli/rice/salad. And then there was menu for the spring roll and a few drinks. That’s pretty much it. Nothing soupy like noodle soup.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Bangkok West - Roseburg, OR

Stir fry vermicelli with tofu
We found this restaurant sort of last minute as we were cruising on highway 5 approaching Eugene, Oregon. This restaurant was located in a small town just off Eugene though. Our Google navigation brought us there and we looked around having difficulty locating the restaurant. Turned out that it was at a corner of a deserted strip mall.

I was a bit skeptical but there were a few cars parked outside even though it wasn’t quite dinner time yet. So we went in and I was surprised to see that there was a big table of 8 people and a few other smaller tables occupied.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Blurr Kitchen - Santa Clara

grilled pork banh mi (Vietnanese style sandwich) side by side with garlic fries
We found this establishment on Yelp when we were looking up restaurants in the Santa Clara area. It’s located at the corner of San Tomas Expy and El Camino Real in a busy strip mall. Parking was a nightmare since that location now has 2 restaurants, Starbucks, T-Mobile and Noah’s Bagel. We ended up parking on a smaller side street about a block away.

When we walked in there was only like 2 customers in there finishing up. It was around 2pm so I wasn’t expecting too many people in. They offer a small menu consisting of Vietnamese sandwich (banh mi), cooked food (Panda Express style) and some appetizers made to order. The girl on the counter was very nice and gave me a sample of the lemon grass fish dish. I wish they had display of the name of the dishes so we didn’t have to ask.

I picked a five spiced marinated chicken on my fried rice combo and picked the stir fried green bean as my greens. Hubby chose the banh mi with roasted pork since everyone seemed to be talking about it on Yelp. For side, he chose the garlic fries over salad. I wonder if anyone ever chose salad instead.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Northern Style Pho - San Francisco

Chicken pho @ Turtle Tower Restaurant
The following 2 Vietnamese noodle place mentioned below have been around forever. I had the review from the previous visit to Turtle Tower Restaurant here. And Pho Quan Ngon here. We have been able to stop by these two restaurants recently just to refresh our memory.

Turtle Tower Restaurant

This northern style pho restaurant has a few locations in San Francisco according to Google. I am not sure if they're related. The one we went to was on Geary. The other two were on Larkin and on 6th St.

The pho served here uses fresh rice noodle which was a bit wider and more slippery. But since it's fresh so it absorbed the broth flavor better. At this location we ordered chicken pho and bun cha hanoi which were more typical to the northern style Vietnamese cuisine.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

It Ends With Us - Colleen Hover

Lily Bloom met a rich, handsome stranger who happened to be a neurosurgeon. She ended up spilling some of her darkest secret thinking they never meet each other again. One day they ran into each other. Each of them had different principle when it comes to relationship so initially they were sure they’d never date each other. Till one of them change their minds.

But then, one of Lily’s darkest secret came back in her life in a form of a chef owner of a restaurant. By now, readers were already filled in with how they got to know each other. And it’s really hard to decide. Both men are handsome. One is a neurosurgeon and the other is a chef. Hmm.

Ipoh Garden - San Jose

Ipoh Garden Hainamese chicken
This review is so over due. We went there around end of August on a Saturday afternoon. We brought with us our friends’ kids. I was excited to check out this place because it’s a relatively new Malaysian restaurant. And I thought so far no Malaysian restaurant has come close to our expectation when we are missing any food from that region.

It was past lunch time when we got there around 2 pm. But there were like four tables occupied so I guess business was decent. The décor inside was simple and modern. The wooden table and the chairs made the place looked elegant and a bit more expensive.

The kids love char kway teow and roti paratha so we made sure to order those two items. Beside they didn't care for anything else. I sort of went over board and lost track of our orders and went with Hainamese chicken rice and prawn noodle. Forgot that hubby already ordered mee siam. But in the end was happy that we got to try a few items.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

American Eatery - San Francisco

Prathertarian paleo bowl : kale, pull pork, cauliflower
We were in San Francisco one weekend and was looking for a place for lunch. Since we were close to Ferry Building we decided to take a look inside. It’s been a while since we actually went in. We found this small restaurant call American Eatery which was part of Prather Ranch Meat. It wasn’t quite lunch time yet but the small seating area outside this restaurant were all taken. But no worries, it was a beautiful day outside so we just placed our order to go.

We got our orders within the promised time. About ten minutes I guess. The order came in a cute paper bag. Too nice for our take out order but the handle came handy.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Jang Mo Jib - Burnaby, Canada

We have been to this restaurant years ago. A Korean friend brought me and husband there. This time we actually didn’t plan on coming here. But last minute there was a change in plan and we were in the Kingsway area. So I suggested that we went back there.

It was Thursday night and the parking lot got a few cars. When we walked to the restaurant, I noticed a man looking at our car. Then when we walked in there was a sign telling us to let them know the license plate of the car. I guess they had issue with people parking there but not going to the restaurant ? As we proceeded to give the information, the man that I saw earlier told us that he saw our car and told us it’s going to be fine.

Econolodge - Medford, OR

Medford, Oregon was our choice for stop over on our road trip back to San Jose. Medford is located very close to California border so we won't have to drive too much the following day.

We got there pretty late around 9 pm. Check in was pretty fast since we already made reservation through TripAdvisor. We got our key and drove closer to our room to park. I estimated that their occupancy rate was less than 60% that night. The street where the hotel was located got a lot of hotels so competition was high.

Our room was on the second floor facing the swimming pool. Room was clean and so was the bedsheet. The sink was outside the bathroom. All the standard amenities were provided like microwave, hairdryer, and coffee maker. Surprisingly I noticed an ironing board with iron was also provided. Breakfast was provided according to the front desk but we didn't get to check it out.

We'll keep this hotel in mind if we ever need to stop over again in the future.

Econolodge
1015 S Riverside Ave, Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 773-8266

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bonnie's Bread Bakery - Vancouver, Canada

Located at Champlain Square, this bakery sold yummy chicken curry puff. At a price of CAD 1.95 (US$ 1.6) these are by no means cheap but they worth every pennies. The tip given by the locals is make sure to buy at least 6 to avoid paying tax. I know it's weird but it's so true.

When I went back the second time in the morning of our departure, I saw the bakers busily preparing bread at the back of the store. Too bad we don't live there otherwise I would make sure to go back and check out their other items as well.
chicken curry puff - up close and personal
chicken curry puff

Bonnie's Bread Bakery
7180 Kerr St, Vancouver, BC V5S 3E3, Canada
+1 604-434-1111

Preparing For a Road Trip

We just came back from our road trip !! Yay. This is our second road trip to Vancouver, BC, Canada. So I thought I shared some of my tips.

Map out your route ahead of time
These days technology made it way easier. We used Google maps to give us a ball park of the distance and time needed. From San Jose to Vancouver it’s a total of almost 17 hours. No way we’ll make it in one day.  So we picked a mid point or more than mid point so we didn’t need to have a lot of distance the following day.

Hotel reservation
Once we picked our rest city then we went online and made a hotel reservation. When it comes to hotel I don’t care much for a lot of amenities. We’ll be there for a night only. My main concern is the cleanliness and safety. So before I made reservation I always double check the reviews on TripAdvisor.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sabai Cafe & Bar - Eugene, OR

Pad kee mao (drunken noodles - stir fry rice noodle with veggie)
I had this restaurant on my restaurant list for Eugene. It proved that the list came handy when we were on road trip. What I wasn't prepared for was how fancy this establishment was. Our navigation system brought us to this mall with shops like Talbot, Chico, Nordstrom, etc. We couldn't see any restaurants from our car so we concluded that the restaurant must be hidden behind those stores.

True enough, in between those stores there was a court yard area with a few restaurants with outdoor seatings. There we found this Sabai Cafe. Immediately I was worry that it's going to cost too much for our meals. The whole mall settings was like San Jose Santana Row but in a smaller scale. But to back out of this would take away a lot of our time and we were already behind schedule.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Fresh Slice Pizza - Vancouver, Canada

Passed by this pizza place just off Joyce Station Vancouver. Smelled pretty good from outside so we decided to give it a try. They specialized in selling pizza by slices. Each slice was $2 but if you buy 8 slices (whole pizza) it's only $12.60. Which was a total steal especially with the conversion right now it's only about US$ 10. The price of Costco pizza. But we got to pick different flavor.

 www.freshslice.com

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Lakeview Inn - Centralia

This time on our road trip to Vancouver, Canada we decided to cover more distance on first day. Centralia became our choice. It's a small town and accommodation is slightly cheaper compare to like Eugene, OR. Though in the end it felt too tiring for us. We didn't check in until 10:20 pm.


The premise itself sat off highway 5. Most rooms have shared back balconies over looking a lake.

The room felt old but was maintained and clean. The blanket was those old style fury and itchy layered with bed sheet. TV was old big screen but got quite a lot of channels. We didn't really have time to watch it since we got in late and left early the next morning.

Shampoo, soap and towels were provided. Room also had coffee machine and refrigerator.

Free continental breakfast was provided between 7:15 and 10:00 but we didn't care for it. We didn't check it out either.

Lakeview Inn
1325 Lakeshore Dr
Centralia, WA 98531

Friday, August 19, 2016

Epic N Easy Banana Bread

This recipe was adapted from Eating Clean by Amie Valpone.

1/4 cup melted coconut oil, more for coating loaf pan
3 large or 5 medium size ripe bananas, mashed
1 tbs flaxseed soaked with 3 tbs water
3 tbs pure maple syrup
2 tbs pure vanilla extract
3 cups gluten free oat flour, store bought or grind up some oat meal in food processor until they reach fine consistency
1/2 cup slivered raw almonds
1/4 cup shelled raw sunflower seeds
1/2 ts aluminum-free baking powder
1 ts unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 ts ground cinnamon
1 ts baking soda
1/2 ts sea salt
Almond butter, for serving

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Mum Fresh - San Jose

grill pork on noodle
The past Sunday was one of the longest time I have ever spent time dropping off car for service at Sears Oakridge Mall. Normally we got out there in like 2 hours. But anyway, that's another rant and not for this posting. Because our car still wasn't done by lunch time so we decided to check out the food court. My eyes caught the name "Mum Fresh" - Vietnamese cuisine ?? Really ? That deserved a try especially since we were planning to go to East San Jose for Vietnamese noodle.

The menu was more like those food court menu - concise and with numbers preceding. So we ordered #1 - rice noodle soup with beef and beef ball and #7 grilled pork with choice of brown rice, rice noodle or veggies. I chose mine with rice noodle (bun).

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Athena Grill : Revisited - Santa Clara

octopus mezes
We've been to this establishment years ago. I didn't quite remember where it was but hubby found the location which was surprisingly close to my office. ha..ha..

Though looked like a sit down restaurant but you actually have to order and pay at the counter then wait for the food to be delivered. We ordered a small octopus mezes, moussaka and lamb souvlaki plate.

I liked the octopus mezes though it seemed a bit pricey for a small plate of sliced grilled octopus on bed of arugula. It came with 2 slices of lemon and just a squeeze of it was sufficient to balance the savory part of the octopus. Simple but delicious.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Chimek - Santa Clara

Ever since I found out about this fried chicken place I have been wanting to try it out. They only open for dinner but they open late till 2 AM. So finally after a long delay we made it there last Sunday.

It was early on Sunday evening so the place was sort of empty. Only about a few tables occupied. The girl behind the counter told us to pick a table ourselves. So we did and she came by to drop off the menu.

Chimek in Korean meaning chicken and mekju (beer). A big portion of the menu consisted of chicken of course. We ordered a small size of original fried chicken with the spicy level of hot and a small soy garlic chicken. There were three big screen TVs showing different channel. Most of the seatings were tables except a few tables with bar stools.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Pho Lovers - Sunnyvale

This restaurant was located at a strip mall on Maude Ave. Next door to it was a Mexican market and the parking lot was kinda tiny and everything was marked for the market. So parking was a bit challenging for us. Being the first time there we didn't want to risk our car being towed by parking at a spot marked for the market.

But inside the restaurant was actually pretty spacious and cozy. There were a few booth seating and we got one of them. It felt homely. We ordered a garlic noodle with grilled pork, a bowl of noodle soup and an order of grill pork roll. The garlic noodle was not as garlicky or greasy as the garlic noodle I had before. Hubby actually liked this noodle better. And it came with an abundant of grill pork. Yum. The grill pork spring roll was good too. Though the sauce was not as sweet as I thought it would be.

Pho Lovers
253 E Maude Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94085
Phone: (408) 530-8583

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

QQ Noodle - Milpitas

Hot oil noodle - dry
We just passed by this restaurant the week before and I remembered telling hubby what kind of dish is this "pita bread soaked in lamb soup" which was posted outside this restaurant. It didn't sound appetizing to me.

We never would have tried this restaurant ourselves had our friend didn't ask to meet there. I thought it was a great opportunity to give it a try. They open at 11:30 on Sunday and when we got there around 11:15 there were a lot of people waiting outside. Good sign.

Their tables were heavy very natural looking tables that looked like it was carved out of a huge tree trunk. The seatings were heavy benches and on some smaller tables were regular wood chairs. There were huge pictures of different types of dishes on the wall. I meant really big kinda of pictures but nicely done that made them looked like part of its decor. The menu was simple though but full of pictures. Very easy to order especially for people like me who don't read Chinese. The pictures on the wall were actually similar to the ones on the menu. I think they only offered like 10 dishes and not more than 15. I guess they do well with those dishes.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Tanto Japanese Restaurant - Sunnyvale

crab gratin 
We have a gathering and a friend suggested this place. Yelpers suggested to make reservation so we did. The restaurant just opened at 6 and I arrived at 6:15 and the parking lot was all full but one spot left. The lot was shared with a few more stores and easily filled up. And the restaurant itself was already full with few people waiting outside.

We got a table sort of tucked away at a corner which almost felt like a private room separated with curtain. There were two more parties on our right and left hand side tables which also were separated just with curtain. It's a cozy setting. I love it.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Truong Thanh Restaurant revisited - Milpitas

#11 Hu Tieu ba nam sa dec - rice noodle with prawn and minced meat
It's been a while ago we checked out this restaurant and we happened to be in the area again today and decided to drop by. I knew at least one great dish there so I was excited about it.

Apparently the parking lot there were so busy and we couldn't find a spot. But nothing a short walking distance can't take care off. So we parked next door and walked back. I guess the new 85 degree bakery located in the same mall  was so popular and everyone flocked there.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Tasty Pot - San Jose

Inspired by a recent posting on Facebook regarding Boiling Point brought me to Tasty pot on Story Road in San Jose. It’s been a long time since we ever visited any hot pot restaurant. So I was curious to give it a try.

We got there on Saturday afternoon and the restaurant wasn’t too busy. In my opinion, their location wasn’t the best. At the corner with at least another 5 more businesses around and very limited parking space could probably drive people away. A lot of yelpers suggested to park at Grand Century Mall next door so we did.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Vons Chicken - Sunnyvale

Crispy chicken-mild
Nothing seemed to be more perfect for 4th of July gathering than fried chicken. So for our 4th of July gathering, I decided it's time to check out the Korean fried chicken place that I have been meaning to try.

They open at 11 and we got there at 11:20 and there were like 5 people sitting there waiting for their take out orders. Wow. Other than fried chicken they also offer oven chicken.  I settled with half order of crispy spicy, full order of crispy mild and half order of oven garlic flavor. I like that you could choose your preference of either drumstick or combo (drumstick and wings) Then we went next door to Hankook supermarket to do our banchan run.

Banchan is side dish in Korean. Korean restaurants normally serve a few complimentary side dish to the dish that we order. So to make our Korean fried chicken meal more complete, we decided to get some side dish to go with it. And nothing is better than Hankook supermarket which has tons of banchan and also cooked dish.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Thaiphoon - San Jose

khao soy - northern style Thai curry noodle
Hubby was craving Khao soy - it's a northern style Thai curry noodle. His recent encounter with it in Chiang Rai sort of brought all the memory back. Looking around, it seems that Dusita and Thaiphoon were the only restaurants in the area offer that dish. So off we went to Thaiphoon.

Thaiphoon is located on a strip mall on Stevens Creek. Parking was available in the front and the rear but there were so many business there so it was quite a challenge. The decor inside was  modern with some cushioned seating along the wall with leather like upholstery. The chairs looked expensive with similar color covering.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Chiang Rai Nightlife : Tawandang

Looks from parking lot (photo source : www.tawandangnachiangrai.com)
When we were told that we could see live performances including dancing, I thought Tawandang was more like Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center. But when we got there and went in, the place was more like a night club. Similar to Hard Rock Café but with a Thai frill.

There were like eight of us sharing a table. Our host, Rie, took charge of ordering the food. I was too busy gawking at the stage. A singer and a few dancers were already performing. When the guy was done then he retreated and there was a moment of silent while they prepared for the next performer. Then a different singer or singers would show up. The songs varied from traditional Thai song, pop Thai song and even some dance music with voice of DJ in between.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Punjab Cafe - San Jose

There are two locations for this restaurant. But this review was for the San Carlos location. We went there on a Saturday afternoon and saw a big road side sign about their lunch buffet. I could see from outside that there was one table occupied. It was past lunch time so it was a good sign that they still had patrons.

We walked in curious about the price. There was nobody at the register. The kitchen door was open so we could see people busy at the back. We waited for at least a few minutes before a man came out. The price for lunch buffet was $8.99. We went and helped ourselves with our first plates while the man brought our water to the closest table.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Lee's Sandwiches - San Jose

This location on Santa Clara St in San Jose was supposedly the original location of Lee's Sandwiches before they branched out. It's been a few years since we were last there and the inside has been remodeled. It looked chic and modern. Wood tables and nice digital menu display. A huge mural near the corner with history of the company.

We ordered a #9 banh mi sardine and a banh mi bowl with white rice, lemongrass tofu and Vietnamese dressing. We didn't see this banh mi bowl before so decided to give it a try. It's a custom order bowl similar to Chipotle. Pick your carb (jasmine white rice, brown rice, etc), pick your protein (pork, chicken, etc) add a sauce or for $1.5 add an extra. The base price was $7.95. This wasn't very economy compared to the huge banh mi that only cost $4.95.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Na Rak O Resort - Chiang Rai, Thailand

We were going to stay at the same hotel we did ten years ago Wangcome which was located close to the night bazaar. But as it turned out the rate for that hotel was around USD 60. For a night or two would probably be fine. But since we were going to be there for 4 nights, I tried to find a cheaper accommodation.

Na Rak O Resort though sounds expensive but it's not exactly a "resort". It's more like a modest hotel with a homely feel to it. Our room was downstairs with a small common area for snacks and tea. Upstairs got more rooms with a tiny pantry area serves as breakfast place where guests can prepare their own breakfast in the morning.

Revisited again : Cheon Joo Young-Yang Dolsot

This was the third time we visited this restaurant. At this time we have decided that the strength of this restaurant was in their not very typical Korean restaurant menu. Come here for the stews or jeongol (casseroles) because you won't be able to find it else where.

I was going to order the beef and octopus casserole (bul nak ji jeongol) but didn't see it on the menu anymore. So we went with seafood casserole instead (hae mul jeongol).


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Get Wet At Songkran Celebration in Thailand

I guess that's how we looked like getting splashed from bystanders
We arranged our trip to Thailand to coincide with the Thai new year celebration Songkran. What I didn’t know was Songkran was such a huge celebration there for the local and of course for the visitors like us.

We were in Chiang Mai on the first day of new year.  The biggest mall there (Maya) had set up this huge stage along with huge screen and was testing their sound systems getting ready for the celebration. At the same time, the hotel at the catty corner already started the celebration with loud music blaring and a crowd of hundreds of people dancing and getting sprayed with water coming out of a hose every so often.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Masala Toast

Was doing research on Indian food when I stumbled across this recipe from Tarla Dalal on Youtube. I was intrigued and decided that I need to make it myself to find out what it tasted like. The recipe below was a simplified version. The original version can be found here.

Garlic green chutney

Yield : 4 toast

Ingredients :
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped coriander
1/4 cup dried shredded coconut
1 tbsp roughly chopped garlic
2 tbsp roughly chopped green chillies
salt to taste
a few drops of lemon juice
1/4 cup water

Using a food processor, blend all the above ingredients until it resembles a paste similar to the consistency of yogurt. Set it aside.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Dee Dee's - Santa Clara

A mixture of rice and different dishes with puri on the side
Last weekend we were contemplating on what food to eat. And while checking out Indian buffet we came across Dee Dee's. I was surprised to see how close the restaurant to our house. And then a light bulb suddenly turned on. We passed by this restaurant before and there were lots of people waiting outside. Intrigued by the good reviews we decided that we need to check it out.

By the time we got there it was passed 1 pm. I thought the line shouldn't be too long. Wrong. There were at least 20 people waiting outside. The restaurant was kind of tiny. Probably fit like 30 people.

We waited like about 40 minutes before we got our table. The buffet selection were not bad. I couldn't name any of those dishes though because I was unfamiliar with them. I recognized those puffy crunchy hollow cracker thingy which later on I found out were called mini poori or puri.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Thai Breakfast - Thailand

khao soy - northern style curry based noodle soup
When we were in Thailand our hotels both in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai didn't offer breakfast. So every morning we went out to look for food. So what kind of breakfast do we normally come across ?

Noodle soup
There are quite a few types of noodle soup. When we were in Chiang Mai I got the tom yum noodle soup with the wide rice noodle. The soup was clear pork (?) broth with fish ball, minced pork  and fried wonton skin and chopped celery leaves as topping.
tom yum noodle soup

When we were in Chiang Rai, hubby had khao soy which was typical to northern Thailand. Khao soy is curry based noodle soup with topping like crispy noodle. The curry broth wasn't very rich but more on the lighter side.
fish ball soup with rice noodle

Also in Chiang Rai, I had the fish ball soup with some clear broth served with rice noodle. In a quite a few places, they actually offer different types of noodle. So choose wisely. I normally like it with the thin rice stick. Though the fresh wide noodle was also nice.

Stir fry noodle
Pad thai was probably the most popular Thai noodle dish known to Americans. But it's just one of so many other stir fry noodle in Thailand. I did try pad thai once just to see how the real one supposed to taste like. It's different from the American version. It wasn't as sweet and color was more lighter instead of hint of reddish.
pad thai - lacked of chives ?

Hubby normally like the rad na which was served with the fresh wide noodle topped of with sauce.

rat na with abundant sauce

Friday, May 6, 2016

Orenchi Ramen - Santa Clara

Okonomiyaki fries
One of a few things that I sort of craved after we came back from our two weeks trip was ramen. So this past weekend we finally were able to get our hands on the famous Orenchi ramen in Santa Clara. I said famous because I couldn't wait for the long line on my first visit.

This time we got there like around 11:20 and there were quite a lot of people already. Mind you, they were not open yet until 11:30 but they allowed patrons to come and put names on wait list. And there were at least 40 people in front of us on the wait list. But don't worry, once the restaurant was open, the line moved pretty fast. We were seated like around 12:15 and got our food around 12:30. So allow at least one hour for wait. Don't go there too hungry because you'll be miserable.