Sunday, November 16, 2008

My California Adventure... Part Two: Finding my way to San Jose...eating, again!

When I went up to San Jose, I really didn't know what to expect. San Jose isn't the culinary mecca that San Francisco is known as, nor is it the "wine country" even farther north. But you know what, it really doesnt matter to me!!! Food is food, and really, I did hear very good things about San Jose before I went up. Having successfully run through much of my food "to do list" in Los Angeles, I was able to amble about the San Jose/ Sunnyvale/ Santa Clara area footloose and fancy free... and by driving up solo, I REALLY could do anything I wanted! So here begins my list of places I ate at up north in San Jose...

  • Taqueria Los Charros (www.taquerialoscharros.com): MY first meal in San Jose was arguably my most memorable one. Let's just say that I'm a fan for life of Los Charros' jumbo carnitas burrito. MMMMM... Carnitas.... I had never had carnitas before, so when Tina said they come to this place often just for it, I had to get it. And I was not disappointed. So good: the contrast in textures of the juicy, slow roasted pork and its crunchy fried exterior, the veggies, hot sauce. You can't beat it! I was told that Mexican food is unparalleled in California and call this "exhibit number one". I will defintely be on the hunt for some sembelance of that back here in Hawaii, so if you find something, let me know, but honestly, I'm not holding my breath...
  • Amber Indian Restaurant (www.amber-india.com): I am not what you can adventurous, but with me being on vacation, I decided to try something different and interesting. Amber was located at Santana Row in San Jose, a place where there were MANY restaurants and bars, and I initially wanted to go to Thea Mediterranean (http://www.thearestaurant.com/) for Greek, but decided to think out of the box and go Indian. So NOT disappointed!!! IF this is what all Indian food is like, sign me up for it at least once a month, if not once a week! Again, being unable to decide on anything, I went full apps again. Potato Peas Samosa- pretty good, Murg Tinka Kebab (chicken skewers)- decent, but unspectacular, Kalaunji Baingan (eggplant)- tasty, stuffed naan- always a good thing; but the killer app of the night: the Gobi Manchurian (deep fried cauliflower). You go there, you get the cauliflower... do it, you won't be disappointed. You hate cauliflower you say? It'll be your new fav veg like this! And to top it off, for dessert we had the Filter "Kaapi" Crème Brulee. I'm not necessarily a total creme brulee fan, but this put me on the team now!
  • Baja Fresh (www.bajafresh.com): Baja Fresh was one of those chain restaurants that I didn't necessarily need to go to, but sounded pretty good since people said it was far and away superior to Taco Bell, a place that is near and dear to my heart. I was hungry, it was there... and I needed to satisfy my carnitas fix, so I popped in and gave it a try. Needless to say, it wasn't as good as Los Charros, but you know what, it was STILL better than a lot of places here in Hawaii! I went Burrtio Ultimo, Enchilado Style, with carnitas. While it probably was much better warm, it was still good about an hour after I got it.
  • Costco: Yeah, I was hngry, it was there, I ate a hot dog... But really it was for the next thing...
  • Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (http://www.krispykreme.com/): Ooohhh... Yeah, they have one in Hawaii, but it's in MAUI!!! Chocolate iced with custard (and with Kreme) and glazed with raspberry filling... SOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOODDDD!! ! It just melted in my mouth like buttah! I should have gotten more!
  • Daphne's Greek Cafe (www.daphnes.biz): In my last day there I decided to get some lunch. While shopping at Trader Joe's, I stumbled on a Greek take out place. There were a few choices that stood out to me on the menu, the Vegetarian Lunch (with hummus, falafels, and spanakopita), and a kabob lunch, but I went with the standard, Gyros Pita & Fires with a side of pitas & hummus, and a baklava. I thoroughly enjoyed my Greek food and if there was a place near me like Daphne's, I'd probably go there just about every week.
  • Khahn's Garden Restaurant: Like I mentioned in my LA section, I was trying to avoid the Asian food thing while I was up here. But as stated before, I don't normally eat Thai or Vietnamese (which this place is), but I decided to once again, step outside of my usual and give it a try! Unfortunately when I was there, I wasn't so adventurous and only got the BBQ chicken long rice salad. It was very good, but not anything I couldn't get here in Hawaii. Kathy went with the BBQ pork and shrimp spring rolls. I never had to make them myself before, so that was pretty cool. The BBQ pork was very good and I think I would get that!

I actually also got some home cooking thanks to Tina's husband, Mark. He made curry and naan from Trader Joes (which is awesome!!!)... It was so nice to have some home cooking after going out so much up there, so I was very appreciative of it.

Aside from a few odds and ends I ate (like some Clif Bars and whatever was on Tina's snack table), it didn't seem like I ate that much up in San Jose. But what I did eat was memorable and I'm looking forward to find comparable culinary bits here in Hawaii.

My next post will be my thank yous and final thoughts on my vacation...

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