Monday, July 24, 2017

Honolulu: The Signature Prime Steak and Seafood House

Chris, Anne, and I relaxed after CVPR with views and appetizers at The Signature. This is the rooftop restaurant of the Ala Moana Hotel. The views of Honolulu Bay and Waikiki made a nice change after being in meeting rooms all day. We sampled two appetizers. First, the raw tuna was delicate and kissed with soy sauce. Second, the calamari was very tender on the inside with a light but crispy coating on the outside.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Honolulu: Wailana Coffee House

My cab driver from the airport recommended Wailana Coffee House. His recommendation turned out to be outstanding. It is in a low-key setting across from the Hilton on Waikiki. Inside, it is classic mid-century coffee shop. The food is excellent and the service everything you expect from a coffee shop experience---warm and generous.

My cab driver also pointed out an organic papaya tree growing next to the highway so I decided to try some here. I don't eat papaya often and I really enjoyed it. Like all great fruits, it combines sweetness and acidity in the right mix to give a bright, clean taste. The texture was soft and inviting.

My omelet was perfectly cooked. The green peppers were the standout filling---clearly very fresh with a nice snap and vibrant taste. The potatoes were excellent as well.

I enjoyed my experience so much that I went back for dinner the next day. My Portugese soup was hearty with a nice taste of beans.

My pork tenderloin was just right, crunch on the outside and porky on the inside. The option of brown rice was a very nice surprise.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Cherry Turnovers

This has been a big year for cherries and the large crop has stimulated my curiosity. I decided to make cherry turnovers, something I haven't tried before. The turnover dough is a pie dough with the addition of sour cream. The result is a very rich and soft dough. Here are some turnovers being assembled. And yes, I didn't make these very regular. I probably should have sealed them a little more thoroughly, too.

But boy, they sure taste good. I made some right away for a breakfast treat. The rest went into the freezer for future breakfasts, one of which happens to be today. My beauty is cooling as I type.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

On Airport Breakfasts

Eating breakfast at airports is a hit-or-miss affair. The majority of airports have very limited options, notably carb-heavy, for travelers who arrive for early morning flights.

A happy exception to this rule is Seattle. I recently ate breakfast at Anbthony's, located in the central hall at SEA. My veggie omelet was very fluffy; the home fries gave the perfect balance of carmelization and creamy centers; and the blueberry coffee cake was a great.

Now consider my sad little morning repast at San Jose's airport. I did arrive a little earlier to SJC but I saw no indication that my options would have been substantially better an hour later. Why so many minimal, not-so-good breakfasts at airports? Isn't breakfast The Most Important Meal of the Day? Am I the only person who wants a balanced morning meal with protein as well as carbohydrates? Do all those road warriors who crowd the hotel gyms at 6 AM put up with these unhealthy breakfasts? Or do they perhaps carry stashes of soylent green in their laptop bags?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

San Jose CA: Original Joe's of San Jose

Tom and I decompressed from our all-day meeting with an outstanding dinner at Original Joe's in downtown San Jose. This restaurant is distinct from the Original Joe's which sprang from San Francisco and spread across the Bay Area. It is a classic Italian steakhouse: wood paneling, padded seats, gracious service, big steaks. The place was packed; the clientele was not the computer crowd but seemed to be the more traditional residents of San Jose. Original Joe's has been here for over 60 years and clearly remains a favorite of the locals. I visited here once many years ago and my fond memories brought me back.

The bread was very good. Tom and I both went with a double dose of fat: butter plus olive oil.

I ordered what I have dreamed about for the past week, a rich, thick ribeye steak. I added on the fresh mushrooms; the spaghetti was my choice of sides. The steak was of very high quality, marbled with fat, and nicely broiled to medium rare. The mushrooms were outstanding. They had a firm, moist texture and were packed with umami flavor. The spaghetti cooked al dente and the meat sauce was rich.

Here is Tom's veal parmesan. He let me sample it: the veal was very tender and the sauce was rich with tomato, cheese, and meat flavor.

This is Tom's tiramisu, which he pronounced good.

My cheesecake was excellent. It was made in the style of Brooklyn. The cake was dense and moist with cheese; the crust was graham cracker. I didn't need it after that steak but it sure was good.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

San Jose CA: Flames

I wanted to get out a little for breakfast and get an early start on the day. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from Flames. I found that it is a classic coffee shop---comfortable casual booths and tables, hearty American food, lots of coffee, friendly service.

Here is my spinach and mushroom omelet. It was nicely done and very satisfying. The hash browns were nice and crunchy. The sourdough bread gave a nice chew. It's good to see that the coffee shop tradition hasn't totally faded away.

Monday, July 17, 2017

San Jose CA: Social Policy

Social Policy, a.k.a. So/Po, is in the heart of downtown San Jose. I'm not sure where the name comes from. Their menu includes a big range of coffee drinks plus light, healthy foods.

I went with a quinoa oatmeal bowl. As you can see, it was sprinkled with walnuts and a few other goodies. The taste and texture were very different from a straight oatmeal bowl. The quinoa was a star ingredient, not just an add-on. Overall, it was both healthy feeling and tasty. After a transcontinental flight, a little healthy eating feels good.