September 21, 2006

unspeakably tasty

I have written on this site before about the goodness to be had at the Caribbean Baking Company on Howard Street between Sheridan and the El. But today I was reminded anew of the tastiest thing yet that i have had there: the jerk chicken patties.

The beef patties are excellent, canonical renditions of spicy ground meat in bright yellow pastry. The curry chicken patties are even better, sweet indian-style curry in a paler yellow pastry, flaky and wonderful. But the jerk chicken, sweet jesus, these things are perfect. Surprisingly spicy, faintly sweet, deeply savory, and in a shatteringly flaky, pale, almost-sweet-but-not-quite pasty shell.that perfectly complements the filling.

If you haven't already, get yourself there. Yum.

Posted by foodnerd at 06:00 PM | Comments (1)

September 12, 2006

darda seafood

I managed to connect with Cindy from FoodMigration this time out, and we dragged ourselves through rush hour to Milpitas to check out the Chinese Muslim cuisine at Darda Seafood.


As you might imagine, Muslim Chinese hail largely from the northern and western parts of China, and the food leans strongly to lamb and wheat. We ordered the thick sesame-scallion bread and the cold ox-tendon terrine, both recommended by the magic article from Gourmet, along with a dish of pan-fried hand cut noodles with lamb that we saw on the table next to us. (Cindy took one for the team and leaned over to ask our neighbors what they were eating -- just one of many reasons why she is such a delightful dining companion.) After some consultation with the waitress, who by this time in our ordering had figured out that we were not just a couple of amateurs wanting General Gao's Chicken, we chose a black cod steamed with salted vegetables and a plate of sauteed pea tendrils with cloves of roasted garlic to round out the dinner.

Everything was delicious. The gamy lambiness made the noodles more interesting than usual, and the noodles themselves were thick and chewy, sparked with bean sprouts, shreds of cabbage & bits of cilantro. The pea tendrils, well, not much need be said about pea tendrils other than yum. The tendon terrine was beautiful, all marbled shades of brown, savory with a bit of five-spice, and just slightly chewy, becoming more yielding as it warmed. The cod was perfectly cooked and tasty, and the bread, oh my god -- the smell alone, all yeasty and oniony, is just dreamy.

There's a ton of other places in this same mall, which as described in the magic article is indeed huge and almost entirely Asian, so if you are in the area, stop by and explore. (The mall itself is tucked into the corner of the junction of the 237 and the 880 freeways, so it's conveniently accessible to many locations, assuming it's not rush hour.)

Posted by foodnerd at 11:35 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2006

porridge place

I really wish I lived near a Porridge Place, because the one that I've been eating at here in Cupertino is so awesome. Good Chinese food, fast and cheap, and intensely satisfying. You walk in, pick from the steam trays and platters behind the glass counter, and the waitresses bring you your tasty bits along with hot tea and a big tub of steaming rice porridge with cubes of sweet potato floating in it. I will post pictures once I am back home, because I think I managed to forget my download cable. Duh.

I ate there last night, because I'd been in bed all day with a head cold (three cheers for exhaustion!) and really wanted hot comfort food. I got some ground pork in a thin juicy sauce with slivers of mushroom, tasting faintly of ginger & soy, and a pile of mildly garlicky greens, and an extremely savory tea egg. This turned out to be particularly excellent because the liquid from the pork thinned out the rather thick congee and made it just the way I like it, and the greens gave the right note of bright freshness.

I still feel sort of crappy, so I went back again tonight. This time I spied some 1000-year-old eggs with tofu, so I got that, along with some napa cabbage braised with shiitakes & dried shrimp, and a plate of chewy-crunchy salted turnip with spicy red pepper. Then they asked me if I wanted pork sung with my egg-and-tofu, and when I said yes they drowned the bowl with fluffy pork goodness, which made me happy, happy, happy. I just love rice porridge with sweet-salty pork threads dissolved in it, and the spicy turnip & fermented eggs were awesome with it. Delicious. I ate not even half of what I ordered, and I am stuffed to the ears, and the whole works set me back $11 and change. Three people could easily eat on what I ordered, and two would be stuffed, so this is cheap eats for sure.

I am toying with bringing my two coworkers here one night after meetings -- there are some scary looking foods (which I am sure are delish) like tiny whole squids or soybeans mixed with tiny silver dried anchovies, but the vast majority of dishes are highly approachable: tofu, sausage, cabbage, green beans, cucumber, ground pork, fish, shrimp.

It looks to me like at least half the patrons get takeaway, to be used as a quickie dinner. Geeky bachelors and young families walk out with a few cardboard cartons of savory prepared dishes and a tub of congee, which beats the hell out of Domino's Pizza any day. It reminds me of the prepared foods counter at Whole Foods, only better. And if you choose to eat in, it feels more like a Chinese version of tapas, comfort-food style. It's just awesome, and I will be sad not to have it near me when my work at Apple is done.

Posted by foodnerd at 11:15 PM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2006

so sorry, very busy

hi everyone, sorry i haven't been posting. Was at dance camp for a week -- woot! -- and am back in Chicago for less than 24 hours to drop off some luggage & make sure the house hasn't burned down, then I am back to Cupertino for another week. There are some posts about Chinese food in Silicon Valley, with more fodder coming up soon, for sure a Chinese Muslim place in Milpitas, and a few other odds and ends, though none from camp, since the food there is borderline school-cafeteria quality, at best. We mack down a ton of it anyway, since we are burning calories at an insane rate, but it is hardly up to standards. Alas. So stay tuned -- hopefully i will have time for a few posts while I am in CA.

Posted by foodnerd at 09:53 PM | Comments (0)