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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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Pulled pork waffle & Indian-style tacos highlight trip to Moveable Feast’s SJ Taco Festival

Paneer Crazy Tacos at San Jose/Bay Area's Got Curry?

Paneer Crazy Tacos at San Jose/Bay Area’s Got Curry?

There are three types of food that I will never get tired of: Seafood, Indian food and tacos. So when I found out that Moveable Feast was hosting a festival dedicated to the latter, I knew I had to go.

The company hosted the 4th annual San Jose Taco Festival of Innovation at the city’s History Park, Saturday, May 23 through Sunday, May 24. The festival brought a fleet of food trucks from around the greater Bay area that introduced their own twist on the traditional Mexican dish. The great thing about the festival: All the plates were $6 or less, so you could get full for a reasonable price.

Waffle Amore, San Jose

My first stop at the taco festival was Waffle Amore, which is focused on bringing “the taste of authentic Liege and Brussels waffles” to its customers, according to the food truck’s website. Its toppings include Belgian chocolate hot fudge, maple bacon butter and Speculoos, a type of shortcrust biscuit.

I went for the savory side of the menu and ordered The Porkwich, a crisp waffle sandwich with pulled pork, braised with spices and topped with BBQ sauce and Waffle Amore’s own crunchy Granny Smith Apple fennel cabbage slaw.

The Porkwich at San Jose's Waffle Amore.

The Porkwich at San Jose’s Waffle Amore.

The food truck was generous with the pulled pork, which was tender and moist. The BBQ sauce was sweet and tangy and was a great complement to the slaw, which had a nice crunch and subtle apple flavor. Best of all, the waffle was soft in the middle but crispy on the outside. I didn’t necessarily think “taco” as I ate the dish, but I was not disappointed.

For more information about Waffle Amore, call (408) 645-5351 or visit waffleamore.com and www.facebook.com/WaffleAmore.

Got Curry?, Bay Area/San Jose

After Waffle Amore, I headed over to Got Curry?, a Bay Area food truck that specializes in Indian-Mexican fusion, according to its Facebook page. I was happy to see two of my favorite cuisines coming together. My eyes automatically went to the Paneer Crazy Tacos, soft tortillas topped with cheese cubes, topped with tikka masala sauce, rice, onions, bell peppers and Indian spices.

My tacos did not come with bell peppers, but they were dressed with cilantro, which I think was better anyway. The tikka masala sauce was creamy, and the aioli brought extra spice and tang to the dish. The paneer tasted fresh and had a soft texture, while the cilantro and onions added the taste of a traditional taco.

Despite their small size, these tacos were filling, and I was debating on if I could make a trip to another food truck. It was a great value for $6. For more information about Got Curry?, call (510) 501-5022 or visit www.facebook.com/gotcurry.

Treatbot, San Jose

I wanted to grab a fish taco, but I knew I would be too full for dessert. And I really wanted an ice cream taco.

The Ice Cream Taco at San Jose's Treatbot.

The Ice Cream Taco at San Jose’s Treatbot.

My third and final stop was Treatbot, which specializes in ice cream and karaoke. I ordered the ice cream taco, a waffle cone in the shape of a taco and filled with two scoops of ice cream. Customers could choose from Mexican Chocolate, Pineapple Mojito Sorbet, and Eastside Horchata, a rice milk-flavored ice cream infused with cinnamon. I went with a scoop of Mexican Chocolate and Eastside Horchata.

The ice cream was rich and creamy without being overly sweet. I loved the strong cinnamon flavor in the Eastside Horchata. The Mexican Chocolate was also tasty, but I didn’t see what made it different from regular chocolate. I was expecting the flavor of Mexican hot chocolate, which is flavored with cinnamon and the spicy kick of chili pepper.

I really enjoyed the waffle part of the taco, which was subtly sweet and crisp. I’ve been on a waffle kick lately.

I would like to try some of the other flavors on Treatbot’s regular menu, including The 408 (caramel ice cream with fudge and Oreo cookies) and Macapuno (coconut ice cream with coconut chunks).

For more information about Treatbot, call (408) 548-7328 or visit Treatbot.com or www.facebook.com/Treatbot.

 
 

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Curry Up Now’s unique flatbread sandwich brings the spice at Off The Grid food-truck event

The Kathi Roll with chickent from San Mateo's Curry Up Now.

The Kathi Roll with chicken from San Mateo’s Curry Up Now.

I’ve always been curious to stop by one of those food trucks that serves up tacos and Indian food as I drive down El Camino Real every week. So I was happy to discover that a local event — Off The Grid — hosts a number of food trucks with diverse cuisine in one setting on a weekly basis in Sunnyvale.

Since food trucks have hit mainstream popularity in the last five or so years — Food Network even has a show called “The Great Food Truck Race” — I figured I might not be able to find a parking spot near the event. It turns out Off The Grid was not that busy Thursday evening, which was good for the diners because it allowed us to sample a variety of food without having to wait in long lines.

Dish of Choice

I made my way to two food trucks that evening (I had to restrain myself for the sake of my wallet and stomach): I ventured to San Mateo’s Curry Up Now, which offers Indian street food, and San Francisco-based We Sushi, which serves Japanese cuisine.

At Curry Up Now, I ordered the Kathi Roll, which was made with mughlai paratha (flatbread prepared with a pan-fried egg), sliced onions and chutney, rolled with your choice of beef, chicken, paneer (cheese) or vegan style. I went with chicken. With tax, my Kathi Roll came out to about $9.

The Crispy California Roll from San Francisco's We Sushi.

The Crispy California Roll from San Francisco’s We Sushi.

At We Sushi, I ordered the Crispy California Roll, which was made with crab and avocado wrapped in seaweed and rice, then fried in a tempura breading and drizzled with a spicy aioli. With tax, the Crispy California Roll cost about $8.

The Taste

Let me start with the Kathi Roll: My stepmom says you know a meal is good if you end up wearing it. Well, I was definitely wearing the juice from the wrap sandwich on my shirt, but I didn’t mind. The chicken was tender with a spicy marinade, and I liked how the egg was soft on the inside but crispy on the edges. The flatbread was toasted just enough without being crunchy, and the chutney brought some heat without burning your mouth. I would describe it as medium spicy. This was a sandwich that I would definitely get again.

The Crispy California Roll did not wow me as much as the Kathi Roll, but it was still tasty. The tempura breading had a nice crispiness on the outside without being heavy or greasy. The aioli reminded me of a Thousand Island dressing, but with a little more kick. The dish came with eight pieces of sushi roll, so there was enough there to walk away satisfied.

Off The Grid's weekly Thursday market at 1177 Kern Ave. in Sunnyvale, CA, next door to Sports Basement.

Off The Grid’s weekly Thursday market at 1177 Kern Ave. in Sunnyvale, CA, next door to Sports Basement.

The Ambiance

Off The Grid had a laidback vibe and was located in a lot next to a local sports equipment store. People could easily walk from truck to truck without feeling like they were bumping into each other. There were plenty of seats for people to enjoy their food and have a casual conversation with other diners. I wish there were tables because it was kind of hard to juggle all that food on your lap. Other than that, it was a great event to get outdoors and try some outside-the-box cuisine.

Other Details

Off The Grid was started in 2010 and currently operates 35 weekly public markets throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, according to its website. It works with more than 200 food, bar and amenities vendors weekly and offers catering for groups ranging from 100 to 10,000 people. To check out its market schedules and vendors, visit offthegridsf.com.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2015 in Indian, sandwiches, sushi

 

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Savory samosas, tender Chicken Tikka Masala served at Sunnyvale’s Chaats & Currys

The Chicken Tikka Masala lunch special at Chaats & Currys in Sunnyvale.

The Chicken Tikka Masala lunch special at Chaats & Currys in Sunnyvale.

I have been looking for a good Indian restaurant in the area that offers lunch without having to go through a buffet line. It is flu season, so you can’t be too careful. Plus, I’ve had my share of dining at buffets as a child, so I think I have an aversion to them now.

Luckily, I found a place called Chaats & Currys in Sunnyvale through Yelp.com, and it received four out of five stars with more than 300 reviews.

You order the food at the counter, and the staff brings the food to your table. No buffet.

Dish of Choice

As part of the menu, the restaurant has daily $7.99 and $9.99 vegetarian and non-vegetarian specials, according to its website. One of today’s specials was Chicken Tikka Masala, a curry dish made with boneless chicken in a creamy tomato-based sauce. The special included a fountain drink, rice, naan (flatbread) and dal, which is a dish made from lentils, from what I have been able to find online.You can order entrees spicy, medium or mild, so I went with medium to be on the safe side.

Samosas at Chaats & Currys in Sunnyvale.

Samosas at Chaats & Currys in Sunnyvale.

The Taste

I would give the Chicken Tikka Masala three out of four stars. The chicken was tender and the sauce had a good, creamy texture, but I wish I would have gone with spicy for a little more bite. The naan and the rice also were great. I also ordered a side of samosas (turnovers filled with peas and potatoes), which were crisp and savory.

The special gives you more than enough food. I actually took half of it home, so I think it’s a good value.

The Ambiance

The family-run restaurant is a small, clean and no-frills kind of place. It seats about 30 people. The restaurant had a steady lunch crowd without being overly crowded. The staff was also courteous.

Other Details

Chaats & Currys is located at 520 Lawrence Expressway, Suite 310 in Sunnyvale. Its hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Saturday, according to its website, www.chaatsandcurrys.com. Dining in, takeout and online ordering through Eat24.com are available. The restaurant can be reached at (408) 746-9192.

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Indian

 

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