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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Indian black-pepper chicken curry brings subtle, smoky spice at new Silicon Valley restaurant

Close-up of the Black Pepper Chicken Curry at Indian Street Cafe in Sunnyvale.

Close-up of the Black Pepper Chicken Curry at Indian Street Cafe in Sunnyvale.

Pieces of black peppercorns were stuck between my teeth after I was done, but it was worth it.

The black pepper chicken curry, prepared by the new Indian Street Cafe in Sunnyvale, is going to make me a regular customer at the restaurant. The chicken was so tender that no knife was needed to cut through it. The peppercorns throughout the dish brought a smoky spice and subtle, growing heat with every bite, and the cilantro added extra liveliness to the curry.

The entree, which cost about $9, came with a side of white rice and a fresh side salad. I would also recommend the paneer paratha, a white-flour flatbread filled with spiced and shredded paneer, a fresh, soft cheese common in Indian cuisine. The paneer paratha was warm and soft with a mild flavor and paired perfectly with the spicy curry.

The Ambiance

Indian Street Cafe is not buffet style, like several Indian restaurants in the area. The host takes your order near the front of the restaurant and gives you a number to set on your table. The waiter then brings your food to the table.

The Paneer Paratha at Indian Street Cafe in Sunnyvale.

The Paneer Paratha at Indian Street Cafe in Sunnyvale.

The setting is casual, with wooden cabin-like tables and benches to sit on, an exposed ceiling showing industrial piping and a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that look unto the street. Another wall is decorated with various foreign-film posters.

I also like the “Foodie Philosophy” mural near the kitchen, which states that the restaurant doesn’t microwave, freeze or deep-fry its foods. “We believe food is one of life’s greatest joys,” the mural states. “We aim to strike a balance between delicious and healthy.”

Other Details

Indian Street Cafe is located inside Arques Square strip mall at 927 E. Arques Ave. Use the door that is located inside of the plaza. The door located at the corner of Arques and De Guigne Drive was not accessible when I went this past week.

For hours and more information, call (669) 246-5034 or visit www.indianstreetcafe.com.

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Posted by on October 22, 2015 in chicken, food, Indian

 

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Juicy Umami Burger with parmesan frico and shiitake mushroom

The Umami Burger at Umami Burger in Palo Alto.

The Umami Burger at Umami Burger in Palo Alto.

The juices were dripping onto the plate from the burger as I grabbed it to take my first bite. Knowing how often I end up wearing my food in public, I set the burger back down and started eating it with a knife and fork.

I probably looked ridiculous, but the Umami Burger was the juiciest, melt-in-your-mouth beef sandwich I’ve had in recent memory. I could tell the beef was of top-choice quality, and the medium rare patty was not salty, like some burgers can be. The soft bun was like a sponge for the juices, but it didn’t get soggy or fall apart.

My favorite part about the burger, besides the patty, was the parmesan frico. I had to Google what that was: it’s basically cheese, baked or fried until it turns into a crispy wafer of deliciousness. So, a cheese chip. I loved it, and it just added more savoriness to the burger.

I also enjoyed the Umami house ketchup, which had a sweet and tangy flavor, and I picked up a slight marinara taste as well.

The only recommendation that my friend had was that the restaurant needs some wet wipes at the table, just in case you get beef juices down your hands. Other than that, Umami Burger will be in my South Bay dining rotation and a place I’ll take out-of-town visitors.

Umami Burger in Palo Alto is decorated with tall shelves of books, like a library or study.

Umami Burger in Palo Alto is decorated with tall shelves of books, like a library or study.

Other Details

I try to stay away from reviewing restaurants that have a footprint outside of the West Coast. I’ve done a few in the past, but I quickly realized I wanted to focus on locally-owned establishments.

Umami Burger has three locations in New York, one in Illinois and one in Nevada. However, the restaurant was born in Southern California, and 80 percent of its locations are in this state.

With it being so close to Stanford University, I like that the Palo Alto location looks like a library or study with its tall shelves of books, wooden furniture and artwork. I felt like I could just order a cup of coffee and read a good book for hours.

Umami Burger’s Palo Alto location is situated at 452 University Ave. For more information, call 650-321-8626 or visit www.umamiburger.com.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2015 in burgers, comfort food

 

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Sunday Brunch: Brioche french toast with huckleberry compote and Grand Marnier creme

The Brioche French Toast at Sam's Chowder House in Palo Alto.

The Brioche French Toast at Sam’s Chowder House in Palo Alto.

The huckleberry compote and the Grand Marnier creme were what drew me in to the brioche french toast at Sam’s Chowder House. I typically stay away from french toast (having too much egg makes me nauseated), but the Sunday brunch entrée at the Palo Alto restaurant was too tempting to pass up.

The Home Fries at Sam's Chowder House in Palo Alto.

The Home Fries at Sam’s Chowder House in Palo Alto.

Luckily, the egg did not dominate the taste of the french toast, which was thick, pillowy soft on the inside, and nicely toasted on the outside. The compote was sweet with a little tartness, and this berry sauce soaked into the toast, making it that much more moist. The Grand Marnier added a subtle citrusy taste to the light and smooth cream. If you’re a fan of french toast, make sure this entrée is on your list.

The Sunday brunch menu at Sam’s Chowder House is not extensive, but there are some intriguing items, including the Dungeness Crab Deviled Eggs and the Smoked Salmon Soft Scramble with tarragon and home fries. The brunch menu also offers bottomless mimosas and a “Build Your Own Bloody Mary” bar with more than 20 ingredients to choose from.

The Nueske's Bacon at Sam's Chowder House in Palo Alto.

The Nueske’s Bacon at Sam’s Chowder House in Palo Alto.

The restaurant also serves lunchtime items, such as sandwiches, appetizers and seafood house specialties, if you’re not in the mood for brunch. Hours for brunch are 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sundays.

Sam’s Chowder House in Palo Alto is located at 185 University Ave. For more information, call (650) 614-1177 or visit samschowderhousepa.com.

(Related: Big clam helpings by the spoonful at Sam’s Chowder House in Palo Alto)

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2015 in breakfast, brunch, comfort food, food

 

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