Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dim Sum in Sunny Shanghai photo
Dim Sum are among the greatest gifts of Chinese civilization to the world.
When we are California, we almost try to have at least one dim sum meal. They're a heart's delight of numerous and highly varied little treats bought to your table. A dim sum meal is best shared so you can sample more varieties of these dainty, savory and sweet little "dot hearts". While a Cantonese specialty, other regions of China also make them a treat.

In Spanish, they might be equated to "antojitos", or "little whims". But they are almost unknown in Mexico.  On the San Francisco Peninsula of California, the challenge isn't finding a dim sum restaurant, rather to choose one from the long and tempting list of dim sum parlors.

Monday, July 25, 2011

California Dining Part 3: Are You Tigellish?

WARNING: The following post describes an exceedingly decadent, indulgent and expensive meal. Reader discretion advised.

Do you enjoy tigelling? What, you may ask, are tigelle? Here's a nice description, from the website Mangiandobene.
Real life tigelle at Tigelleria
They are similar if not identical to piadine, something a bit like crumpets without the holes, or pikelets, but not sweet. They are pleasant but bland and are best with boldly flavored meats, cheeses or spreads, such as these below.
L-R, clockwise: humus, sundried tomato, olive
I must back up a bit here.
While doing preliminary dining research for our California trip, my brother-in-law sent us a list of suggested restaurants that he and my sister-in-law had enjoyed. Near the top was Tigelleria, billed as "an Organic Italian restaurant."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

California Dining Part 2: Pizza and noise

Two Italians and two Asians walk into a bar...

Not really, although could be hereabouts. The notable restaurants of the latter part of our 10 day visit to the San Jose, CA area were two Italian and two Asian.

The first Italian restaurant, La Pizzeria, was a last minute find via Google Map search last Wednesday. Doña Cuevas and two of her sisters had gone on a drive to view sculpture at Stanford University, then to the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Later, I was asked for suggestions for supper. Pizza and salad sounded good to me, so I brought up Google Maps and typed in "Campbell, CA pizza". The results are below. Click "A" for the top hit.

View Larger Map

At this point, I want to extend my heartiest thanks to Google Maps, Google in general, but a special thanks to Google Maps Street View. In fact, there has been a Street View Car parked not far away from us. It's surprisingly small. I'd been envisioning at least a pickup truck.
My hero!
It's but a short drive to La Pizzeria, in beautiful, affluent downtown Historic Campbell. (Historic for having been a center for orchards and fruit drying in the earlier parts of the XX Century.)

The restaurant is small, noisy but smells delicious. In fact, the noise level at the time of our visit neared the threshold of pain, due in a large part to the group of young, merrymaking ladies whooping it up, seated close to the big front window. We could scarcely talk among ourselves, not to mention our very helpful waitress. But we did successfully order a pretty good antipasti platter to share, three thin crusted pizzas and one calzone.

One of our party also had an Insalata Italiana, which didn't appeal much to me.

Insalata Italiana

We subscribed to the "Less is more." philosophy, so the pizza toppings we chose were fairly simple.

Pizza alla Marinara
Add Pizza Vegetariana
Pizza Valtellina,
And, resembling an Etruscan weapon;
this big calzone
The pizzas had thin, but exceedingly chewy crusts. They also come to the table uncut, a bad combination, in my opinion, although my brother in law liked that. THe sauce was simple but good, and in a couple of instances, we ordered pizzas without cheese. I had a taste of the Pizza Vegetariana and liked it. Mine was the Valtellina, which had bresaola,  thinly sliced cured dried beef, arugula and shavings of Parmesan cheese. I drank a glass of red wine.

Younger sister in law said that her calzone was too done, as evidenced by the blackened blisters on the crust.

Here's the final score, from my viewpoint.

Food: ***
Service: ****
Price: $$-$$$
Ambience: Dimly lit,"Aren't we cool". And NOISY. WHAT??? I SAID NOISY!!!!
Bottom line: kinda good but not worth the money nor the headache.

Next episode: Tigelleria Organic Italian Restaurant. A very different sort of Italian restaurant, only a few blocks away, but also NOISY!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

California Dining Has Become a Reality Part 1

On our trip to the South Bay of the San Francisco Peninsula, we found food, too much food, most of it very good. This will be a capsule report for the most part.

Price key: One $ sign equals about $10 USD a person.

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San Jose, California greeted us with beautiful weather on our arrival. On our flight from Guadalajara, the lovely Volaris flight attendants had given us ample beverages, but the food was little more than packaged cookies and snack food.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Facing the Music

It's been gospel that we don't generally enjoy live musical accompaniment with our restaurant meals, especially when the musicians (some of whom barely qualify for that honorable title) come to our table and start in on "Cielito Lindo" or other chestnuts of Mexican music.

But recently whle in Tonalá, Jalisco, we had to come to terms with live musical entertainment.