Sunday, September 30, 2007
Dinner with Eijiro
I am so excited to have found Sushi Tomi, an authentic Japanese restaurant run by Japanese off of Castro in Mountain View. Their appetizers are like what we would get at izakaya in Japan -- hamachi kama (poached yellowtail head), grilled eggplant, ika natto (squid with fermented soybeans), ikura oroshi (salmon roe with grated daikon). Fantastic. Then we got the chef's choice sushi, which was very good. With a few beers, about $50 per person.
635 W. Dana Street, Mountain View, CA 94040
Dinner with Lowell
Barney's is a good burger joint on Steiner and Chestnut. I still like the Counter better, but there are dozens of options for different meats and toppings, and they have good appetizers as well. Beware, while the vegetable platter was very good, it consisted of fried batter and little vegetable, and I think I am now due for a heart attack. Yummy though. I had the Baja burger with avocado, bacon and cheese, which was very good.
3344 Steiner Street, San Francisco, CA 94123
Drinks with Christine
We were recommended Oliver Twist by one of our colleagues who was an expat in Zurich for two years. It is totally an expat bar with English bartenders and Guinness and other UK beers on tap. Fun place though not so Swiss. It is off of Niederdorfstrasse, which runs along the river and has many restaurants and bars.
Rindermarkt 6, 8001 Zurich, Switzerland
Dinner with Christine
Christine and I went to Zeughauskeller at the recommendation of one of our Zurich colleagues. She had said it was very traditional Swiss, easy to get to in center of town, a bit touristy, but good food and she eats there sometimes. Good enough. The restaurant is a quick walk from Paradeplatz, which is a big tram station on Bahnhofstrasse, the shopping street with Fifth Ave stores.
(Another Paradeplatz recommendation is Sprungli on the corner of Paradeplatz and Bahnhofstrasse across from Credit Suisse – phenomenal chocolate shop and it also has a café that looked great)
Zeughauskeller is on the Sprungli side of the plaza there across Bahnhofstrasse. At 8:30pm, the place was packed and we waited a little, but there seemed to be one rush of diners because we were the last ones to have to wait in line.
Zeughauskeller is one cavernous dining room with long wooden tables and random military décor on the walls. I mean a Gattling gun over the door and armor and rifles on the wall. Kind of bizarre. No small table so we shared one with a couple from France.
Started the drinks with Natertrub, an unfiltered grainy draught beer. Next was Schneider Aventinus, which was on the menu as "Bavaria’s best dark wheat beer." I didn't read the fine print on the 8.0 Vol. % and 5.0 dl (half a liter...) but it was definitely my favorite beer of the night. (Check out their website for the beer list, good stuff).
On the food end, I started with a tomato and onion salad with French dressing, really firm fresh tomatoes. Christine had one of their seasonal specials, a butternut squash soup, which was phenomenal and rich. For dinner, I had the Kalbsgeschnetzeltes nach Zürcher Art (yes, I copied and pasted). It is "panfried sliced veal and mushrooms in a delicious creamy white-wine sauce" and came with the Swiss-style hash browns, Rosti. Fantastic cream sauce, and the hash browns were perfect.
I think it ended up being about 45-50 CHF (Swiss francs) per person.
Bahnhofstrasse 28a (near Paradeplatz), 8001 Zürich, Switzerland
0041 044 211 26 90
Drinks with VT
We came across Antica Birreria di Porta Nuova on our walk back to the hotel from a mediocre dinner and unsatisfying bar. Looked so cute and quaint on the corner, we had to go in. We sat in wooden benches on the wall and poured through their beer list. Not so Italian but good stuff. The beers came in little boot shaped glasses or huge cylindrical beer dispensers. Good beer, good atmosphere.
Via Solferino, 56 - Milano, Italy (Ang. Bastioni di Porta Nuova)
Dinner with Europe team
Christine and I were invited to a dinner that Renato was organizing in Bergamo on our first night in Milan. Bergamo is about 45 minutes outside of Milan towards the Alps. We avoided the €90 cab and took the commuter train out from Milan (about 50 min for €6) and then cabbed about 10 minutes up to Da Mimmo. The Italian rail system is not the most reliable in terms of time, so might want to schedule some buffer. We also ended up waiting for a cab at the Bergamo station, but I still think driving in the city would be a nightmare.
We drove up winding hillside streets along these city walls and through stone gates. I imagine the view on this drive would have been magnificent if it wasn’t nighttime. Within the walls, the cab wound up and down narrow one-lane, two-way streets. The restaurant was surprisingly large with several spacious dining rooms, including an outdoor covered patio that probably seated over a hundred. We sat at a long table with a dozen or so of our colleagues.
I have no idea what the wine was, but it was red and wonderful. We left most of our menu selection to the Italians, and started with a fresh pizza and some other shared dishes. Renato suggested that pasta with lobster, which was spaghetti with the entire half of a lobster with the tail and one claw. A wonderfully handy seafood scissor, which I would like to find for myself. Super yummy with a light red sauce.
Then, Renato asks us what we want for secondi… what? Apparently that was just the first course. I was recommended the osso buco polenta and it was amazing. The osso buco braised veal shanks. The northern Italians use a lot of polenta, and it was thicker and richer than what I typically think of polenta. So good. I did have to pass on dessert though.
Fantastic food and I have Bergamo on my list of places to go back to.
via B. Colleoni, 17, 24129 Bergamo – BG, Italy
Dinner with Lowell
Andale is a chain of reasonably priced Mexican restaurants in the Bay Area. Order at the counter and they bring it to you, so not full service. They have a salsa bar and good menu. I had a yummy shrimp quesadilla and Lowell had a ginormous burrito.
2150 Chestnut St, San Francisco CA 94123
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Dinner with Lowell, Kermit and Libby
Ristorante Milano is a wonderful, authentic Italian place in Pac Heights. The waitstaff is totally Italian and the food was really excellent. We started with roasted Peppers and fresh mozzarella with grilled polenta. My dinner was a special of the day, a pork on polenta. It was very good, but I actually had a lot of food envy over Lowell's pasta with scallops and seafood and Libby/Kermit's gnocchi.
1448 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94109
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Lunch with Tayo
Yummy and super efficient Malaysian and Singaporean place in the crazy Asian Milpitas Mall (where Ranch 99 is). We had a fried bean curd (tofu) with peanut sauce for appetizer, which I loved. Main dishes we had a spicy beef saute and a mango and sweet sauce salmon, both were great.
278 Barber Lane, Milpitas, CA 95035
Monday, September 17, 2007
Dinner with Katy and Jason
Yummy traditional Italian place in downtown Palo Alto. We had a block of polenta with mushroom and red sauce for appetizer. Jason's tortellini with a cream sauce and ham looked great, as did Katy's pasta (the really wide flat one). I had a filling fetticine with mushrooms and truffle oil. All together, with two glasses of wine, was about $25 per person. The server was great tonight, but rumor that they will push to turn tables on a busier night.
247 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Birthday dinner with Lowell
I had a lovely birthday dinner for Lowell at Isa, on Steiner and Chestnut in the Marina. I found it on Zagat's (25 for food) and had a 8:15 reservation. We had a funny seat -- it was cute in the end because we were on a date, but we had a little corner table where we sat next to each other facing a window.
I ordered the Frogs Leap Zin 2005 ($49) which was really good. They serve everything family style at Isa. We started with tuna tartare with avocado, edamame and radish and crostini- amazing, we loved it. Flavorful, with lots of depth, and a decent size dish too. We also loved the scallop on bed of mashed potato with corn and beans - also amazing with great juicy scallops. Wonderful, seasonal side of summer corn.We chose the seafood paella over the mushroom risotto because it looked amazing at the table next to us. Unfortunately it was kind of like risotto -- a little soupy, bland, not great. The duck breast was ok. The duck itself wasn't great, though with combination with the beet juice and greens was good.
Dessert brought us back. Grapefruit granite, which turned out to be a sherbet, was just fantastic. Super fresh and not too sweet.
Total cost was $130 (plus tip). I want to go back and try some of their more simple dishes, but overall really liked Isa.
3324 Steiner Street, San Francisco, CA 94123
Brunch with Lowell
One of my favorite brunch places near Lowell in the Marina, Squat & Gobble Cafe & Crepery has awesome crepes, breakfast foods and salads. You order and they bring you your food, but pretty casual place, with tons of people during brunch and lunch times.
I had a shrimp omelet special, which I didn't love, though the marina crepe I had last time was awesome. Lowell's breakfast sandwich on a toasted croissant was pretty amazing. Dishes are about $9. Looks like they have a bunch of locations.
2263 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94123
Dinner with Karen
Oasis Beer Garden is an awesome Stanford burger dive, with cheap beers, burgers and pizza. Pretty awesome Philly cheese steak too.
241 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Lunch with Tiger Team
Parcel 104 is the restaurant at the Marriott in Santa Clara down the street from Cisco's campus. Quite a good menu and good service. We started with great fried seafood/calamari, cheese plate (not super), and bruschetta type toasts. I really enjoyed the bleu cheese burger with carmelized onions. Also switched in a side of zucchini fries instead of normal fries, which was a great idea. Their Arnold Palmers (lemonade and ice tea) comes with frozen lemonade and mint, which made it my favorite non-alcoholic drink for the day.
2700 Mission College Boulevard, Santa Clara CA 95054
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Dinner with team
We had a team dinner at Tanglewood on my second day of work. We met at the bar for a few beers before heading to the table for grilled calamari and seared tuna appetizers while we waited for the rest of the group.
I had two fried soft shell crabs with a curry flavored crust. It was a little heavy but quite good. Two other co-workers also shared foods which were excellent. The duck breast was done well and came with a great homemade gnocchi. The ribs fell off the bone, which is always great.
334 Santana Row, Ste 1000, San Jose, CA 95128
Dinner with the Pipers
Great salads that they build in front of you. You have several choices of greens, meat (steak or chicken I think), 7 toppings (like corn, chickpeas, tomatoes, etc.) and dressing for $6.95. Pretty filling for a salad. Jeff had their hot sandwiches with a side, which I haven't gotten yet but looked pretty good.
482 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA, 94301
Brunch with Lowell's friends
Great brunch and super cheap. It is up metal stairs on the second floor off of the street (tough on crutches). Order at the counter and they bring the food, not super service but food is good and good value. I had a breakfast burrito that I finished about three-quarters before I had to sit back.
2517 Durant Avenue Suite C (between Bowditch St & Telegraph Ave) Berkeley, CA 94704
Take out dinner with Lowell
Great, if a bit expensive, Indian food. We had a curry dish and saag paneer (creamed spinach and cheese, my favorite) with saffron rice and butter naan. All were excellent, extremely filling, and quite satisfying for someone who was not going to get to eat for the next 18 hours pre-surgery :)
They will do take-out up to about 9:45pm.2290 El Camino Real, #9, Mountain View, CA 94040