RSS

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

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

 

Tags: , ,

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.

 
4 Comments

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

 

Tags: ,

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)

 
2 Comments

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

 

Tags: , , ,

Lasagna roll at Pismo Beach eatery is healthy, guilt-free comfort food

The Hand-Rolled Lasagna with Chicken Sausage at Pismo Beach's Graze Kitchen.

The Hand-Rolled Lasagna with Chicken Sausage at Pismo Beach’s Graze Kitchen.

I was not standing in that long line again.

It was about 1 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon in Pismo Beach, and the number of customers waiting to taste Splash Cafe’s award-winning clam chowder was quickly increasing. I already did the 40-minute wait for the popular restaurant’s creamy, rich chowder nestled in a warm sourdough bread bowl the night before.

(Related: Fancy fruit tarts, unbelievable clam chowder and more, Everywhere, California)

The traffic on the sidewalks and streets was getting heavier as more beach-goers were coming into the popular coastal town, so I decided to head back to Silicon Valley sooner than I wanted in order to make good time.

As I was walking to my car, I came across Graze Kitchen, a “farm and sea to table” restaurant that has a menu boasting several vegetarian and vegan entrees. Since I pigged out on delicious, high-calorie chowder the night before, I figured my belly deserved something a little healthier. And it was already grumbling.

The Hand-Rolled Lasagna with Chicken Sausage at Pismo Beach's Graze Kitchen.

The Hand-Rolled Lasagna with Chicken Sausage at Pismo Beach’s Graze Kitchen.

Dish of Choice

The gentleman who took my order, who I assumed was the owner, was very descriptive about the food and was clearly passionate about the craft of cooking.

I was convinced to try one of the day’s specials, a hand-rolled lasagna made with chicken sausage. It was filled with mozzarella, tomato sauce, spinach and onion. The lasagna roll was accompanied with a side salad dressed in vinaigrette. My bill came out to about $12, including tax.

The Taste

This dish was enjoyable because it felt like nothing but good, wholesome ingredients were going into my body. It was comfort food without the guilt.

The chicken sausage had a smoky, spicy kick, and the noodle was tender. There was a good portion of fresh spinach and onions, which were not mushy or overcooked, and the tomatoes were hearty and fresh.

It was just enough food without leaving me feeling stuffed, which I appreciated with the three-hour drive ahead of me.

Side salad with parmesan, arugula and vinaigrette at Pismo Beach's Graze Kitchen.

Side salad with parmesan, arugula and vinaigrette at Pismo Beach’s Graze Kitchen.

Other Details

The restaurant seemed to have a good sense of humor about itself, as evidenced by some of the signs on the walls: “I love tourist, taste like chicken!” and “No working during drinking hours.”

It was a relaxing, comforting atmosphere, and there was an open kitchen in front so customers could see the staff preparing their food. That kind of transparency was welcoming.

Graze Kitchen is located at 841 Dolliver St. in Pismo Beach. The restaurant prides itself on using local, organic and sustainable ingredients and offers tastings of California-made wines and beers.

Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and the restaurant is available for private parties on Mondays and Tuesdays. For more information, call (805) 773-4024 or visit www.grazekitchen.com.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 29, 2015 in comfort food, food, Italian, Pismo Beach

 

Tags: , , ,

Delicious chocolate mess: flourless Ghirardelli peanut butter cookies

Flourless peanut butter cookie with Ghirardelli chocolate.

Flourless peanut butter cookie with Ghirardelli chocolate.

That Ghirardelli chocolate square looks like a messy blob on top of that cookie, but you can’t go wrong when you combine the flavors of peanut butter and chocolate.

I came up with this random recipe when I saw all the chocolate I had left from the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival. Baking it with what was already in the kitchen appealed to the lazy baker in me.

(Related: Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival in San Francisco leads to sugar overload for good cause)

Flourless peanut butter cookies work because they only require a few ingredients, they’re easy to make and they turn out deliciously. They taste like genuine, flour-included cookies, and breaking off the edges of the cookie and dipping them in the melty chocolate center made the treat even more scrumptious.

It’s my own sloppy twist on the peanut butter blossom cookie (I’ll bake the chocolate inside the cookie next time!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Click here for the original flourless peanut butter cookie recipe, courtesy of Food Network/Claire Robinson. The following is my edited version, including personalized notes and suggestions:

All the ingredients you need for the recipe (I omitted the salt).

All the ingredients you need for the recipe (I omitted the salt).

Ingredients: 1 cup peanut butter; 1 cup sugar; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract;1 large egg

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the peanut butter, sugar, vanilla and egg until it is well combined. The mixture may look a little grainy due to the sugar, but no worries: the cookies will not tasty grainy.

Spoon a hearty tablespoon of the mixture and ball it up in your hands. Set each mound of mixture about 1 inch apart from each other on an ungreased baking sheet. Flatten the mounds by using the tines of a fork, making a crosshatch pattern on the cookies. Place a Ghirardelli mini in the center of each cookie.

Bake until golden around the edges, about 12 minutes, turning the position of the sheet halfway through baking. Take the cookies out of the oven and let them rest for about 5 minutes. Enjoy!

 
 

Tags: , , , ,

Mountain View Art & Wine Festival offers hodge podge of artwork, food and live entertainment

A collection of lockets and necklaces by local jewelry maker Melissa Huntsman.

A collection of lockets and necklaces by local jewelry maker Melissa Huntsman.

The Mountain View Art & Wine Festival was such a random cluster of so many things that it was hard to just focus on the art and wine.

The event attracted hundreds, if not thousands, of people to downtown Mountain View and was a hodge podge of vendors selling just about everything: trinkets and knick-knacks, clothing, jewelry, food, commercial business services, political campaigns, etc.

There was a big mix of things to browse and buy at the event, which was contained between Evelyn Avenue and El Camino Real on Saturday, Sept. 12 and Sunday, Sept. 13.

There was also a live concert stage for local bands, big screen television for guests to enjoy live football games, and a kids’ park with face painting, balloons and bouncy houses. It was a “come one, come all” kind of event.

My focus was mostly people-watching and checking out some of the unique artwork and creations. Check out the gallery of some of those finds from the festival.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 17, 2015 in art, live music, wine

 

Tags: , ,

Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival in San Francisco leads to sugar overload for good cause

So. Much. Chocolate. A sample of brownies from Arizona-based Fairytale Brownies.

So. Much. Chocolate. A sample of brownies from Phoenix, Ariz.-based Fairytale Brownies.

I never thought I would say this, but here it goes: There is such a thing as too much chocolate.

I discovered this after my visit to the 20th Annual Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival, which easily brought out thousands of chocolate lovers to Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco. For my $40 ticket, I received 15 chocolate samples, as well as 12 additional samples from the event’s chocolate and wine pavilion. I definitely got my money’s worth.

My stomach was not happy with me afterwards, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to try sample upon sample of rich, sweet chocolate creations from more than 50 vendors along the San Francisco Bay.

The Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival, which also featured a chocolate school and ice cream eating contest, benefited Project Open Hand. The San Francisco-based nonprofit provides healthy, nourishing meals to thousands of Bay Area residents battling serious, life-threatening diseases. For more information, call (415) 447-2300 or visit www.openhand.org.

Check out the gallery of some of the treats I saw and tasted on Sunday, Sept. 13.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 15, 2015 in baked goods, chocolate, dessert, food

 

Tags: , , ,