Bijan Bakery, San Jose, CA
Okayama Japanese Restaurant, San Jose, CA
Diligent servers. Attentive service.
Okayama in San Jose Japantown always have a special place in my heart.
One of those days when you just wanted a decent meal at a really odd hour (late lunch? early dinner?), Okayama is a restaurant you can count on. They open 7 days a week without any ‘off’ hours between lunch and dinner. That alone deserves a merit.
Having said that, I can’t say I am in love with the food. The portion is generous. The food is prepared with care. It’s just that the quality of the fish they used for sushi and rolls are only mediocre. The saba was too lean and tuna was a little stringy. Of course, the quality is still more than reasonable for the price they charge. Just don’t expect anything fancy.
Phat Tri, San Jose, CA
Less than 6 bucks for a 2 feet long sandwich.
Seriously. I though they gave me someone else order when I pick up the paper bag loaded with two (longer than subway) foot long. These aren’t even skinny like Lee’s.
The #1 special banh mi is a kitchen sink with almost everything they offer. I like it. The bread - crisp. The pickles - flavorful. The pate and meat - tasty.
Cheap and fulfilling. I really can’t complain.
Store is cash only. Make sure you have enough in case you want to pick up some French imported goodies or cooked food as well.
Shao Mountain, Fremont, CA
Those who like Hunan or Szechuan style spicy Chinese food would be easily allured by Shao Mountain. This restaurant is extremely popular among Chinese patrons. A line out the door before the restaurant even open is nothing unusual.
The food is decent. They have a few signature dishes that everybody seem to love - lotus root, cauliflower, duo flavors fish filet, just to name a few. If you are not a big fan of spicy food you might find the food boring. The spices and seasoning used in all these dishes could be rather similar.
Service is terrible. You get seated after waiting for an hour. Order quickly. Eat your food. And they expect you to clear out of your table promptly. Don’t expect to sit around and have a nice chat with your friends. Flag down your server if you need anything.
Snowflake Teahouse, Fremont, CA
A very popular hangout spot in this strip mall. Not surprised since it is strategically located near a brunch of spicy restaurants.
The texture of their snowflake could really be better. It is far from the creamy yet airy mouthfeel that I was hoping for. The flavors was there but it was just a bit icy.
Service is really slow. If you find yourself not getting enough attention just flag down any of the server. I could only imagine what a madhouse it would be when summer days are here.
Posh Chocolat from Missoula, Montana
Sakana Sushi, San Francisco, CA
For a sushi restaurant that serve food until midnight Sakana is more than decent. I had their dinner combination with sashimi, tempura and hamachi kama. It was a simple and well prepared meal. The hamachi kama was particularity interesting. It was perfectly moist and tender inside. Definitely one of the better ones I had that came with a economic combo dinner. Tempura could be crisper but I like the light batter and light radish sauce. Sashimi is a standard fare. I don’t find the fish quality particularly excellent. Some pieces even appeared a bit stringy.
If you are ever in the area for a late meal, can’t go wrong with Sakana.
Cafe Legato, San Jose, CA
There are two things that will bring me back to Cafe Legato - Coffee and Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
The coffee is good. Smooth texture. Strong aroma. Well balanced aftertaste. You won’t be disappointed even if you are the most serious kind of coffee drinkers (although I can’t guarantee you will be wowed).
Their grilled cheese sandwich is a little piece of joy. Simple and tasty. I had their veggie variety and enjoyed every bite of it.
Panini and other pastries were alright but didn’t leave a strong impression.
The classical music theme of the cafe is really charming but I wish they actually play real classical music instead of pop songs. The atmosphere is great though. It is a warm, friendly and welcoming place.
La Mission, Berkeley, CA
If you ever crave some good mole poblana, La Mission is your answer. Tender slow cooked pork generously immersed in a dark rich sauce, carefully wrapped in a fresh tortilla - the result is a lovely mole burrito that is sure to please any palate.
La Mission is not your typical taco joint that serves greasy Mexican food. The tacos and burritos, despite their hearty portions, are all relatively clean creations.
The restaurant is tiny with indoor seating that could accommodate no more than 10. They do have a fairly large outdoor patio with large tables. On a nice sunny day it would be great to enjoy some nice food outdoor. Parking lot is small and fills up rather easily. Street parking is your best bet.
Caffe Sapore, San Francisco, CA
Caffe Sapore is your friendly neighborhood cafe that serves up some decent sandwiches. The coffee though, was a slight disappointment. The brewed coffee tasted awfully sour. The cappuccino lacked brightness. The only saving grace was the extra thick foam.
I did rather enjoy their focaccia sandwiches, especially the Cortina. It was made with smoked salmon, avocado, capers, lemon juice and olive oil. Ingredients were clean and simple and it just tasted wonderful. Kool Guy was decent for a vegetarian sandwich although I found the mustard a bit too strong for me to handle.
Not a bad place to grab a quick breakfast but I really expect the coffee to be better. Much better.
Starbucks Coffee, Sausalito, CA
Chicken and Hummus Box
Miyabi Sushi, San Francisco, CA
Given Miyabi’s close proximity to the super touristy Fisherman’s wharf, one can’t help to be a little wary. It took me some courage and a very hungry stomach to venture into this establishment.
The restaurant was rather quiet on a Saturday night. The huge dining room was only half full during prime dinner hour and the sushi bar was almost completely empty. My expectation was low and I was thankfully not disappointed.
Miyabi is a typical Korean owned sushi restaurant. If saucy sushi rolls suit your fancy, there are a lot of choices on the menu. Quality of the fish was average. Nigiri was passable but the rolls were actually more likable. Portion is huge. One roll could be enough as a light meal for some.