Archive for January, 2013

California Style Vietnamese Cuisine – Tamarine

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

The FoodLovers felt like trying some different for lunch and found this Vietnamese restaurant on University Avenue in Palo Alto – Tamarine. The place was bright and had clean and simple decor that gave this comfortable feel.

We started with the Tamarine Taste which was a combination dish with Taro Root Rolls, Tea Leaf Beef, Shrimp Spring Rolls & Papaya Salad. The rolls were pretty good in general and I especially enjoyed the Tea Leaf Beef which had a light sweet taste similar to that of beef jerky 牛肉乾.

Tamarine 2013.1.22

My lamb chops were grilled with hoisin, garlic and rosemary and served with baby bok choy and sweet potato fries. Mrs. FoodLover’s seared duck breast was drizzled with spiced honey and served with grilled pineapple and radish cake. Both dishes were delicious and cooked just right.

Tamarine 2013.1.22Tamarine 2013.1.22

This is a restaurant that we will definitely come back again. Food quality and service were good and atmosphere was pleasant and relaxing.

546 University Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301
Tel: +1-650-325-8500

Heaven and Earth 天與地

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

The FoodLovers had two Japanese lunches in three days.

Sushi Sam’s Edomata is a popular sushi joint in San Mateo. We got there at around 1pm and the place was still pretty full. Sushi and Sashima looked great and service was good. The only problem was that most of the fish pieces were marinated with super strong lemon taste. That might be the preferred taste of regular customers there; or the chef was trying to hide something with lemon juice. The fat part of the Toro was pretty smooth and oily but the meaty part was a little tougher than what Miss FoodLover and I would enjoy. Carving skill of the chef obviously has plenty of room for improvement.

Cantonese like the FoodLover would feel very much at home there because all the servers could speak fluent Cantonese. This is a perfect sushi place for those trendy eaters who don’t really like sushi.

20130108 Sushi Sam B20130108 Sushi Sam C20130108 Sushi Sam A20130108 Sushi Sam D20130108 Sushi Sam E20130108 Sushi Sam F20130108 Sushi Sam G

A couple days later we had lunch at Sushi Kei in Millbrae which was highly recommended by Wallace. The sushi and sashimi there looked pretty bland and ordinary so we were plesently surprised when we started to taste them. Ginger was appetizing. The fish pieces were fresh and professionally prepared in a very traditional way. That’s what I like. When I have sushi, I want to enjoy the taste of the fish, not lemon juice.

There was only one Japanese lady running around to serve the 10-20 customers, so you might not want to go there during busy hours. Your patience will be rewarded with delicious traditional sushi though. The FoodLover will definitely go back to Sushi Kei again.

20130110 Sushi Kei B20130110 Sushi Kei D20130110 Sushi Kei C20130110 Sushi Kei E20130110 Sushi Kei F20130110 Sushi Kei A

So what does “Heaven and Earth” have anything to do with these restaurants? Sushi Sam’s will do well in heaven because God and the angels can appreciate the beautiful presentation of the dishes without having to tolerate the terrible taste. They don’t need to eat, right?

Sushi Kei is a place for us humans on earth who want to enjoy good tasting food.

Sushi Sam’s Edomata
218 E.3rd Ave. San Mateo, CA94401-4015
Tel: +1-650-344-0888

Sushi Kei
407 Broadway, Millbrae, CA 94030
Tel: +1-650-692-0100

New American Cuisine – Basil Carmel (by Phyllis)

Monday, January 7th, 2013

We spent the afternoon driving around Carmel and stopped by the cute, European-village-style downtown area to look for an early dinner (5pm-ish). Basil Carmel was a pretty easy choice as it was the only non-European non-Japanese restaurant that was ranked highly on Yelp and open. It was a great choice and I would highly recommend it if you’re in the area and want some New American cuisine featuring fresh local seafood and produce (good wine too).

The restaurant was pretty quiet at 5pm, but there was another couple there and swing music was playing in the background. It was cosy, probably seating 20 on the inside and another 20 outside (we visited in January so there were heat lamps). We were given straight-out-of-the-oven bread with pesto sauce (a little different but delicious and obviously they like basil) while we waited for our appetizers.

The menu is seasonal; when we visited, a few ingredients (Monterey squid, Shaft’s blue cheese, Brussels sprouts and black mission figs) appeared in several dishes. All of our dishes felt fresh and had interesting flavors, mixing savory with fruity. The squid was accompanied by eggplant, raisins, pine nuts and basil. The gnocchi was mixed with a creamy blue cheese sauce that wasn’t too strong. The sea bass was topped with olives and tangy kumquats, and the venison was served with a fig reduction.

We were too full to have dessert. Maybe next time!

20130107 Basil Carmel A20130107 Basil Carmel B20130107 Basil Carmel C20130107 Basil Carmel D

Basil Carmel
San Carlos Between Ocean & 7th. Carmel By The Sea, CA 93921
Tel: +1-831-626-8226