Monday, August 3, 2015

San Jose CA: Falafel's Drive In

Falafel's Drive In is a San Jose institution that has also received national media attention. And it's easy to see why. Not only is the food great, but where else can you get great middle Eastern food with old fashioned drive-in atmosphere?

Here is the business end of the menu. They also have a variety of other items, including the usual hot dogs, etc. I must say that the banana shake was very tempting but I haven't been good enough lately to justify that treat.

I ordered the falafel salad. The lettuce and tomato salad comes with a tahini dressing that is light but pretty tasty. It is chock full of falafels. Break into one and you see an incredibly green interior, which I take as an indication of the quality of the ingredients. The outside of each is crispy, the inside is soft and tender. Great stuff.

Falafel’s Drive In

Sunnyvale CA: Ananda Bhavan

I stopped by Ananda Bhavan for a quick, enjoyable snack. The Sunnyvale location is located near the Sunnyvale Fry's. It is one of several locations in the Bay Area. The decor is unpretentious and the hours are pretty long, befitting a restaurant that serves chaat.

The photo of my vadawasn't saved (damn you, Android!) but I love those tasty lentil donuts. This photo is of my mini idli. I would compare them to ravioli but they don't have any stuffing. They were very satisfying, with just a bit of kick in the sauce.

Ananda Bhavan

Milpitas CA: Luu New Tung Kee Noodle

Ti-Yen and I have a long-overdue reunion and a great lunch at Luu New Tung Kee Noodle. This is one of several locations around the Bay Area. The decor and atmosphere are clean and efficient, just as one would expect from this place. The noise level is low and talking is easy.

I ordered a large combination won ton noodle soup. Combination means beef, chicken, pork, and prawns. The broth had a nice chicken flavor. The noodles tasted great and had just the right amount of toothiness. The won tons combined the best of the pasta and meats. Everything about my bowl was warm and homey.

Luu New Tung Kee Noodle

ATL: An IHOP With Wine?

I was at ATL the other day waiting to pick up someone and noticed that the IHOP in the atrium serves wine. Of course, I had to try it.

What wine do you order scrambled eggs? Beats the heck out of me, so I ordered the Malbec. My server was clearly surprised---I don't think they get a lot of wine orders at breakfast. I must admit that I only took a sip of the wine---I was most interested in the concept. They serve beer as well. ATL has limited options for sit-down food, so this is probably a good option for people who want to relax before or after a flight. I still wonder what wine you pair with a stack of IHOP strawberry and whipped cream pancakes...

IHOP Express

Saturday, August 1, 2015


I joined Grant and Marie for an enjoyable dinner at Panahar. Grant and I started with mulligatawny:

For my main course, I ordered chicken korma and a whole wheat bread. The bread had a great wheaty taste; although it was cooked in butter, it wasn't greasy. Marie ordered a vegetarian dish while Grant ordered a beef dish and beef-stuffed bread.

Panahar - A Bangladeshi Place

Friday, July 31, 2015

Doraville: Mamak

I just tried a wonderful dish at Mamak named Yong Tau Foo. Based on the description, I thought it would be a simple and homey dish, but it was actually quite sophisticated. As you can see from the photo, it has three distinct components. Two large cubes of soft tofu were capped with some fish stuffing. They absorbed the sauce very well and the softness of the tofu was comforting. A pair of peppers stuffed with fish and shrimp paste was at the opposite end of the scale---hot in that sneaky, wait for 5 seconds before it hits kind of way. And the pair of stuffed eggplant slices were in the middle, the eggplant nicely conveying the flavor of both the stuffing and the sauce. I really enjoyed all the flavors in this dish. And it was a very satisfying meal.

Mamak Malaysian Kitchen

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Boulder CO: The Boulder Dushanbe Tea House

Karl and Rhonda introduced me to a gem of Boulder, the Boulder Dushanbe Tea House. The building is a gift from Boulder's sister city, Dushanbe, Tajikistan. As you can see from the photo below, the building is decorated ground-to-roof with handmade tile sculptures. The amount of work required to create these ceramics is astonishing; the care with which they were transported half way around the world is impressive.

The restaurant presents a world cuisine, as you will see from our dishes.

The meal started with an egg-dough bread served with olive oil.

Rhonda and I enjoyed the cheese soup which, as Karl pointed out, is not an obvious dish for a tea house but illustrates their commitment to world cuisine. Some cheese soups can be heavy and overbearing, but this soup hit the sweet spot for flavor and consistency.

These are my Indonesian noodles with peanut sauce. The sauce had a medium heat kick to it that goes very well with the peanuts.

This is Rhonda's tamarind shrimp, which she said was excellent.

And this is Karl's tagliatelle (world cuisine, indeed), which he clearly enjoyed.

Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse