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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Milpitas Blush will Freeze Your Insides

Heard about the Milpitas Blush grand opening on Yelp! and decided to drop by after my Cheesesteak lunch across the parking lot. I heard it was orignally free at the opening, then it was buy-one-get-one-free, then it became a raffle ticket. I was one of the first 300 visitors, so I got to enter the raffle (haven't heard back yet...not holding my breath...never win those things). The place seems to be following the trend of other frozen yogurt places (Pinkberry, Red Mango, YogoTango), which is a great trend. Big flat panels on the walls which have the menu, and one devoted to their twitter postings for visitors to read (not sure what the point of that is, since you already there....).

The staff was VERY nice, we even got ice water brought to our table while we were eating our mango/strawberry mix with bluberries and strawberries (lover of fruity deserts!) They had their Ipod mounted on the wall, showing the info of the music that was playing over the soundsystem, which was cool, but could I change the music if I didn't like it? I should have asked....

Great fro-yo, great service, average price, convenient location. Just hope not too many of these places popup; it would be as shame to have this trend played out.

-Tom W Tell

Cheesesteak at, well, The Cheesesteak Shop!

The Cheesesteak Shop is just a great lunch place. I can't remember the last time I had Cheesesteak, but this is how I remember it! I just get mine with onions, no peppers, and side of onion rings (I gave up french fries about 18 months ago) and a coke. It was about 1pm this Saturday, and I just walked right up to the counter and ordered! The sandwich was ready in about 5 minutes (maybe less) and it was great! Just enough grease oozing out to be moist, but not all over my hands.

I believe this place moved in after the Safeway remodel, so it is still new and clean. The decor is not groundbreaking, and they have the mandatory giant-menu-on-the-wall and the days SJ Merc on the wall to read while you wait. The completely uncreative name says it all, you get cheesesteak, and not much else....and I wouldn't have it any other way!

-Tom W Tell

Dish Dash is Bad-Ass

My dining partner had visited this place in Sunnyvale (on Murphy Ave) for a office/lunch thing awhile ago and said is was cool. Longing for something good after what happened recently, we went for it. All I knew was that it was mediterranean, I did not how COOL it was!

Murphy Ave in Sunnyvale (for those that don't know) is the original intimate retail dining/shopping experience (before Mt View's Castro St or Santana Row), and its always buzzing on weekends. Many good places to eat, drink, and just hang out, especially during the summer months, when you can take advantage of the outdoor seating. Since summer is not quite in full swing for us here in the South Bay (still quite chilly at night) we decided to go for an inside table.

Dish-Dash is right right on the end of Murhpy Ave, so it can't be any closer to the abundant mall parking across Washington St. We put our name in (about a 30 min wait) and strolled around a bit, and nowhere else was as busy as Dish-Dash. That is usually a good sign, so I was okay with the half-hour wait. We came back just in time and was shown to our nice raised table near the bar area (see pic). The decor was spot-on; imagine tasteful mediterranean, and thats it. Cool dim accent lighting all over, great color pallete for the walls and ceiling, and one room had a neat hanging material in the ceiling to give it a tent-like feel (see other pic). Our waiter was EXTREMELY friendly and courteous, even when we completely butchered the names of the dishes!

I ordered the chicken dish, which had onions and spices baked inside a fried/breaded outer wrap. Oddly, it was swimming in a yogurt sauce, which was a little too pungent for my taste. I did my best to keep it out of the rest of the dish, but some made it in, and sadly overpowered the rest of the dish. Could have done without the yogurt sauce, thanks. They didn't have hot tea, but did put some mint leaves in hot water for us, which was a nice alternative. It was somewhat new to me, but I can say it was good for my first time.

The two of us got our of there for less than $50, including tip, which is reasonable considering the great service, interesting food, and fun atmosphere. I like places that attract many different types of people, from local to foreign, old and young, hi-tech and lo-tech. Makes me feel apart of something. Do yourself a favor, eat here!
-Tom W Tell

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ariake Sushi - This Space (should be) for Lease

After many years or reliable food, service, and prices, Ariake Sushi on Blossom Hill Road (sorry, they have no website) has been removed from my list of places to eat when in south San Jose. True, there is seldom a wait and have a very nicely decorated interior, but the recent downward spiral of the whole experience is just sad.

I review a lot of Japanese food restaruants, and some do it right, some don't. This place no longer does. It is especially sad when you find a place like this in an area that is overrun with national chains stores and overpriced average/barely edible food. Ariake was a haven for south San Jose residents and shoppers alike who needed a semi-authentic sushi place to call their own. And it was that, for several years. Often, it can be blamed on a change in ownership, and I am not sure if that is the case here, but something definitely has happened.

Last night, I dined here after a several-month lapse in visits, mainly due to some apprehension on the side of my dining partners since our last few visits were so-so. I stuck with an assortment of rolls, which came out VERY slowly during the course of our visit, when we requested they come out before the bentos. They were okay, not as good as Sen-Dai or Tofu House/Chocolate Sushi, or even as they used to be here. Water glasses were left empty for some time before we could get refills (HUGE mistake). The place was not extremely busy, but the service seemed unorganized.

The kicker was in the seafood sampler platter. It comes with an assortment of deep fried fish pieces, which were semi-edible. A few of the pieces were either fried oysters, clams, or some type of muscle, which was absolutley disgusting. I sampled a small piece and could barely swallow. Even my dining partners, who love that kind of stuff, could not eat them. My stomach was churning all night to digest it!!

Fellow foosiasts that have offered their opinions have said the same thing. I give this place 6 more months before they close down. They have a great space next to Wells Fargo, someone will pick it up quick I am sure.

-Tom W Tell

Friday, June 12, 2009

Test Mobile Blog

This is stray mobile blog from my handheld device in preparation for
my Food and Music Festival experiment yee ha!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Poor House Bistro is the Bomb-Stro

Finally convinced my usual dining partner to join me in checking out the Poor House Bistro near the arena in downtown SJ. Being that the SJFR global corporate headquarters is located downtown, there are some restaurants that we get referred to over and over again. PHB is one of them. We had recieved their cool ad coupons the in the mail and had seen their promos in the Wave and Metro, and this place has been on my 'to-do' list for some time.

We attended the SoFA SubZero festival last night, so it was a perfect time to visit. This is what I love about being a foosiast/food blogger. We loved it. Live blues/rock music! Not a huge crowd! Great (I mean GREAT) New Orleans style food! Cool old-house-turned-local-eatery vibe! We shared the red beans and rice plate (just right), the BBQ shrimp plate (OMG), and a cup of shrimp gumbo (spicy!). They come with bread and a cornbread muffin for dipping in the incredible sauce as you eat. The food was just and I remembered it from our trip to NOLA earlier this year.

Do yourself a favor and eat here. The only minor grievance I have is the prices. A few dollars to high if you ask me, but it's hard to complain when the food and atmosphere (complete with grungy bikers and downtown politicos) is so right. The 2 of us got out of there for $33 very full AND satisfied. That included drinks, and there's no need for a tip, since it's all self serve.
-Tom W Tell

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Panera Bread BAD

SO SORRY PANERA......I gave a shameless plug for your free offer, and I was disappointed in what I got. Wanting to support my own recommendations, I visited the Panera Bread on Coleman Ave near Target and nicely asked about the free samples. I was given a piece of stale bagel and dixie-cup sized frozen lemonade. The rest of my lunch was $10, which included the new strawberry-poppyseed salad (okay, okay, the salad was very refreshing...a mix of sweet, sour, salty...and colorful!) and the chicken chipotle sandwich (also good, lots of melted cheese and a little spicy...a nice compliment to the salad). It was good, but still, should have been around $7.

To be fair, it was during a busy lunch hour, but hey, isn't that what where a sandwich place makes its $$? Good food, but your marketing ploy has backfired, at least on this prominent foosiast.

Check it out, y'all!! I always like to pass on offers for free promo food!
Panera Bread Bakery-Cafes Invite Customers to Enjoy the Warmth of Summer with Samples of its New Chopped Cobb Salad and Returning Summer Favorites

WHAT: On Thursday, June 11, 2009, San Jose-area Panera Bread bakery-cafes are inviting customers to celebrate the taste of summer with free samples of its new Chopped Cobb Salad, beloved Strawberry Poppyseed Salad and refreshing frozen drinks, all inspired by the season's freshest ingredients.

Panera's newest addition, the Chopped Cobb Salad, is a clear example of the bakery-cafe's approach to developing new menu items. This flavorful salad is a hybrid of a traditional Cobb and a Chopped salad. This salad features all-natural, antibiotic-free pepper-mustard chicken, Applewood-smoked bacon, crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, fresh tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs and crisp romaine lettuce tossed with an herb vinaigrette dressing.

Panera's beloved Strawberry Poppyseed Salad also returns to bakery-cafes this summer. Made with freshly-picked romaine lettuce, crunchy pecans, fat-free reduced sugar Poppyseed dressing and an assortment of fresh fruit, the Strawberry Poppyseed Salad is a refreshingly lighter choice for the warm weather months.Panera Bread has also developed several enticing frozen beverages for those looking to beat the summer heat. Samples of the Low-fat Strawberry Smoothie, Frozen Lemonade and Frozen Mocha will also be available.
WHO: Participating Panera Bread bakery-cafes
WHEN: Thursday, June 11, 2009 (6 a.m. to 9 p.m.).
WHERE: Panera Bread bakery-cafes in San Jose

-Tom W Tell

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Great American Food and Music Festival-UPDATE

UPDATE: It just didn't sound right to me (see first line of my pre-event blog below); how can they serve such a selection of food to so many people? Well, I hate to say it, but I should have gone with my instincts. If you have not already read the scathing comments left on the event listing on Yelp! or the comments left on this blog posting, the event was a disaster. If this event were about anything but comfort food, an all-out riot would have broken out. I personally waited in line for 4.5 hours before I realized that the New York original Buffalo Wings were not going to happen for me. If they ever hold this event again......DO NOT EVEN THINK OF GOING!

I am sooo sorry for promoting this event. The silver lining was Guy Fieri's food presentation and book signing, he and his production crew are genuinely entertaining bunch (I watched all their antics while standing in line)

The Great American Food and Music Festival will be taking place on June 13, the Shoreline Amphitheater?? I have been to many concerts there in Mt View, but a food festival? With the Food Networks Bobby Flay and Guy F hamming it up, it should be a foosiasts dream. I have never bought tickets to a food festival before, but the event promo's look "out-of-bounds."

I already got tickets for the cheap seats (acutally, they're general admission lawn seating) and can't wait to try some the food I have seen from around the country. I am glad it is not all about the Food Network and their cheesy TV show hosts, but more about promotion of the independently owned restaurants (at least it seems).

I will be blogging via mobile, so as to let my readers know how it is as it happens!

-Tom W Tell