Amazon Links

Sunday, May 31, 2009

'Foodies' dissed by Anthony Bourdain!

I know I have said this in previous blog postings, but I have to state again that the reason my posts have been fewer and further between lately is that, due to the current economic situation, my dining partner and I are on a strict food budget. Not to sound defensive, but I have recieved many inquiries as to future and current reviews. Until things pick up, I can not reliably predict when/where I will be able to review new restaurants.

Ok, since I am not the one to spew BS wholeheartedly, I must confess I have had several great dining adventures since my last posting, but they were such socially significant events, honestly, my purpose was to enjoy the experience, not review a restaurant.

Do not be discouraged!! I will soon begin my foosiast ramblings again....and they will be in greater numbers! To take the place of my normal "do yourself a favor and eat here" advise, I wanted to discuss something that made me think recently.

As I have also stated previously, the Food Network has been the main inspiration for this blog. So many great shows can be found for foosiasts, but look to the Travel Channel for one that combines food, traveling, culture, and general snobishness into one. Anthony Bourdain hosts the show No Reservations. Mr. Bourdain is a chef who travels and comments on the people and experiences he has, with the central theme being, of course, food.

I have seen several episodes and enjoy them very much, but one comment he made during the eposide on Vietnam really made me think. Vietnam and the cuisine was the focus, but he was also looking for a place to live, and stopped by one location that he liked, but was near an establishment that gave cooking classes to 'foodies'. Now, I've heard of attending food demonstrations while traveling, but it sounded like these were a type of people he definitely could not stand. I have never actually attended an advertised 'free cooking demonstration' or the like while traveling, as I always thought, "I can look up that recipe later, right now I am here to travel.....not sit in class!" It just seemed odd that someone who travels for a living to sample food would have such a dislike for those who are doing basically the same thing.

I do consider Mr Bourdain an expert in food reviewing, and hope to distance this blog from those people that he dislikes so. With his blessing, the foosiast moniker can be something bigger, better, and more sustainable than the played out 'foodie' label.

-Tom W Tell

Monday, May 11, 2009

Heavens Dog is a Yummy Fusion

If the title of this blog entry is confusing to you, read on. First off, I only occasionaly venture out of the south bay on foosiast excursions, but, when dining while out and about, I like to bring my readers along for the ride. Last Monday night, I had a meeting at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commision building on Market St between 7th & 8th and I took my dining partner along, as I had a feeling it would be a late dinner. It was raining that night, and we decided that we would duck into any place we found on our way back to the parking garage.

We came around the corner onto Mission and found this cool little place tucked in between a hotel/condo building and the parking garage. The sign was simple 'heavens dog.' The name doesn't really tell you what kind of food they serve, so we had no idea what to expect....thats the fun part about being a foosiast!! It is a quiet, dimly lit, and tastefully decorated chinese style restaurant that features an impressive bar (see pic) and hip urbanites enjoying life (making sure you notice them enjoying it).

Having no preconceptions on how or what the food would be like, we glanced through the menu to find the creative takes on some familiar chinese dishes. My dining partner and I split 3 dishes, that night we opted for the florida shrimp (awesome), spicy chicken (killer), dan dan mein noodles (kick-a$$), with some jasmine rice (rice-y). They boast using local organic suppliers for their ingredients, and, my god, the flavors were like no other. This is not the chinese food you normally have (at least not on a San Jose medium priced food budget). We know a little about getting complementary dishes, and the spicy/tangy/mild flavors of eahc of our dishes just went sooo well together. Even our hot tea (chrysanthemum) was actual flower bulbs in hot water - it was like drinking the flower. Awesome.
Having thoroughly enjoyed everything so far, we went for it for desert. We ordered the chocolate something. I know this is amatuer, but I can't remember the name of it, but I will NEVER forget the taste. I came with a bitter white sauce, that our server confirmed was indeed a sour cream sauce. Sour cream with chocolate for desert...who the f thinks if this sutff?? The mix of very sweet with very sour was like nothing I've had.

The 'heaven' reference I definitely get, not sure how the 'dog' fits in (I will NOT make the crude reference to K9 eating some countries). Dear readers, I emplore you, experience this place once in your life, maybe twice, and let me know what the connection is!

-Tom W Tell

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Don't Skip the Pita Pit

Having our global headquaters located in downtown San Jose, and with so many options these days for lunch in the area, it is a joy to attempt to try each of them during my work breaks. It was Cinco de Mayo, and, like everyone else, I was in the mood for Mexican food. I didn't have a lot of time, so I just thought I would walk over to Baja Fresh on the Paseo de San Antonio and grab a quick steak Burrito Ultimo. Unfortunately, everyone else working downtown had the same idea. Fortunately, it made me decide to finally try out the Pita Pit on 2nd Street.

I had been told to try this place several times, and I know what pita bread is, but I was exactly sure what to expect. Upon entering, I was immediately struck by the uber-cool graphics of huge food characters all over the wall (see pic). The place is small, but, lucky for me, everyone else was out looking for Mexican flavors that day. There were only 2 people working the place, which was fine; a cashier and a food preparer. The menu is rather extensive, and was a little daunting given the plethora of combinations an choices available. I went for the wheat pita, and the cashier kindly pointed me to even more choices in the days specials. The buffalo chicken caught my eye, so I went for it. I then was handed over to the food prep area, where I was allowed to choose anything else I wanted on it.
It is like Togos or Subway where you tell the preparer what you want or don't want, any they make it to order. I like this, but it takes a little of blame off the preparer, because if you don't like it, well, it's your own fault!
Fortunately, as a professional foosiast, I am very in tune with my taste buds. I tried to match other buffalo chicken sandwiches I've enjoyed, with some veggies and ranch dressing and swiss cheese. What made it different, was simply the fact that it was wrapped in pita bread. It was a nice change, but I think this particular sandwich is better served on a bun.
The service was fine, the price great, and the choices plentiful. My total order with the drink/chips combo came out to around $7, which was way less than I expected. I do recommend visiting this establishment, I know I will, and with so many choices, never getting the same thing twice!
On a side, SJFR would like to thank Jatbar, for their great south bay foosiast website, and their help and encouragement. In the mood for food research while listening to your Ipod? Well, there's and app for that, and if you can stand it, their Hall of Shame provides lots of, um, extra-protein-related fun!
-Tom W Tell