Archive for July, 2011

More Than Just Pizza – Pizza Hut

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

The FoodLover family sometimes have pizza for lunch on weekends. Pizza Hut has a pretty good website that allows customers to pick all kinds of combination of toppings and crust. After ordering two large pies and some cheese sticks, I noticed that Pizza Hut was pushing Tuscani pasta with pop-ups. The US$8 Tuscani Meaty Marinara looked attractive so I placed an order for that too. This tray would come with 5 bread sticks and be big enough to serve two.

I went to pick up the food instead of waiting for delivery as the nearest Pizza Hut store was only 5 minutes away. The pizzas were decent as usual. I was impressed by the pasta. The screw pasta was pretty firm – not mushy as one would expect of fast food. Meat sauce was tasty too; everybody seemed to like it. Next time, I will try the Tuscani Creamy Chicken Alfredo which is another pasta offering at Pizza Hut. On Tuesdays, two orders of these pasta trays only cost US$10.

Another Good Choice in Mid-Peninsula – Hong Kong Causeway Bay 榮樺酒家(聖馬刁)

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

The FoodLover had not seen Philip Chan since 1969 and was very happy to hear that he was coming to town. After a brief exchange of email messages among the regular group of SFX 老饕s, we dicided to try Hong Kong Causeway Bay 榮樺酒家 in San Mateo. Two days before the dinner, I had a dim sum lunch there and reserved a table for the dinner. The lady who took the reservation said that they would let us have the large table by the window so we could enjoy the street view.

Knowing that our South Bay God of Cookery (南灣食神) would be mad if he couldn’t taste the restaurant’s famous Soy Sauce Chicken, I called ahead to reserve one. Having heard that this restaurant was very popular, I was surprised to see only a few parties there when Philip and I arrived at 7pm. The manager told us that the place had been always full over weekends but quieter on weekdays. Well, on the positive side, we would get better service with fewer customers. In fact, the service was very good. The servers were friendly; they changed plates frequently without our asking.

We ordered a set dinner with the exception of Soy Sauce Chicken. The Combination Platter was not bad especially when we were hungry. I was never crazy about frozen prawns but this one was appetizing.

Stir Fried Beef was above average. Shark fin was OK and I could see real shark fin in the bowl. The restaurant will have to serve other soups when California forbids shark fin.

Braised Abalone with Mushroom meant that slices of abalone would be served with “abalone mushroom”. While others had the fortune to taste real abalone, both slices I had were of the mushroom variety. Soy Sauce Chicken was one of the famous dishes here (招牌菜) and deservedly so. It was tender, moist and delicious.

When you use fresh seafood and don’t overcook, it is usually pretty good. The lobster and fish dishes did not disappoint us.

The fried rice tasted good but most of us were already full at that time. I had to compliment the chef for preparing our desserts right before they were served. Both Malay Egg Custard Cake 奶皇馬拉糕 and Salt Egg Custard Bun 流沙包 were steaming hot when delivered to our table. The Salt Egg Custard Bun was especially yummy. Philip liked it.

Food quality in general was pretty good but not better than what one would get in other good Cantonese restaurants in the Bay area. However, with good service, convenient location and parking, this will be my preferred eatery for family gathering in the future. Don’t forget to call ahead for the Soy Sauce Chicken!

In case food quality is the only important factor for choosing a place for dinner, you should go to Koi Palace in Daly City. You will enjoy circling around for 15-30 minutes to park your car before waiting another hour for a table in cramped space. Then rude servers will try to turn you away by insulting you repeatedly. If you are still there, they may serve you good food. I have not been there for over ten years.

Hong Kong Causeway Bay 榮樺酒家
111 East 4th Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94401
Tel: +1-342-8388