Amarin Thai Cuisine – Mountain View

Amarin Thai
174 Castro St
Mountain View, CA 94041

Price – $
Cuisine – Thai

I always find myself on Castro Street wandering up and down deciding what to eat.
Thankfully, Nichole is a bit more decisive than me and I’m very happy with eating Thai cuisine!

We grabbed a early dinner at Amarin Thai.
The restaurant is quite spacious and nicely decorated with Thai inspired pieces.
They have this really cool area for larger groups where you can sit without your shoes – if that makes sense.
I find the area to be versatile for different group sizes.

Panang Curry
This curry is absolutely delicious and Nichole would agree.
It’s creamy, with a hint of coconut and has nice chunks of juicy chicken.

Pad Thai
Is a classic Thai dish that I always lean to and love to eat.
This particular dish I wished came with lime and a bit more flavor.
The noodles appeared to be a bit sticker than usual.
It was a bit average compared to the curry.

Fried Banana with Coconut Ice Cream
Yay! I love dessert. I really enjoyed the warm fried banana with the cool sensation of ice cream.
However, the coconut ice cream reminded me a lot of I think of a soap scent. So I think next time I’d opt for vanilla.

Overall, I would recommend checking out the curries at Amarin Thai.
I had a pleasant experience, nice service and moderate price points.
I would come back again when I’m in the area.

Lunch at Skool

1725 Alameda St
San Francisco, CA 94103

Type – Asian Fusion
Lunch Price is $-$$ (sandwich based) M-F 11:30am-2pm
Happy Hour is $ ( at the bar)  is M-F 5-7pm
Dinner Price is $$$ (seafood based) M-S 5-1opm
*They have vegetarian,  vegan & gluten-free options!*

Skool is a very neat Asian fusion restaurant with impeccable service!
Yes customer service is still alive and it didn’t cost a arm & a foot 🙂
During our congratulations luncheon, we choose it for the location, variety and how they have vegetarians options.

I would highly recommend hitting up this restaurant for their lunch specials!
The atmosphere in the restaurant is uplifting with the decor mixing elements of glass, wood, and cactus plants.
They also have a impressive bar selection.

Skool Lunch Box – Crab Cake Sandwich with Ernygii (Mushroom) Fries and Soup $14
This sandwich was beautifully plated, filling and very delicious.
The crab cake was lump mixture of cold crab meat, warm poached egg, lettuce, tomato and white bun.

Ernygii (Mushroom) Fries

These are by far the highlights of the meal.
We ordered extra as appetizers and I was lucky that a side of them came with my lunch box order.
They are amazing! You must try them. They are lightly battered Ernygii mushrooms. Strange?
The batter is very flavorful and surprises my taste buds.
It’s not necessarily fried or crunchy texture. It’s just plain delicious. I don’t know you just need it.

Soup of the Day – Pumpkin

It was creamy, warm and a wonderful compliment to the meal.

Needless to say my experience at Skool was delightful and everyone went back satisfied.  I say I will be back!
P.S. They make their menu on lined school paper and their happy hour is called “Detention Hall” -how cute!

Bonchon’s Korean Fried Chicken

Bon Chon Chicken
572 E El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087

I was really intrigued about Bon Chon’s Korean fried chicken after seeing Kirbie’s Craving’s post here.
This place was packed on a Friday night so we waited about 45 min. The waiter kept saying 15 min every time I asked how long it would take. Anyways, the atmosphere is nice and friendly. Their menu is pretty simple. It’s either original or spicy, drums or wings, and you get to a side dish with your order of wings. The wings come out to be around $1 each and drums $2?

I’m not sure what is about Korean fried chicken but this is no KFC. The batter is sweet and tangy sticks to the chicken. We got a mix of original and spicy. The drums are considerably bigger than the wings. The chicken was fresh, juicy and tender. I liked how it came with salad and diced radish which were quite refreshing. The portions were decent for two people. We ordered 6 mixed pieces with a side of french fries. We were stuffed from the meal.

It’s not complete without some curly fries!
Btw though we didn’t have any, I do believe they offer a variety of flavored sake. It seems like an interesting combination.

Price – $
Taste – Tasty!
Atmosphere – Friendly place for gatherings with friends
Service – Meh 45 min wait, food arrival was prompt and waiter was ok.
Options – Limited focused on chicken

Overall I would recommend trying out this place as Korean fried chicken is a interesting variation, moderately priced and I thought it was quite tasty. However it is quite a unpredictable wait time so I’d probably either go on weekday or get takeout. 🙂

My Dad’s Famous Spicy Fried Rice (Easy!)

3 cups of day old Jasmine rice
16 oz of frozen vegetables (DO NOT THAW)
2 Chinese Sausages
2-3 slices of thick ham
soy sauce
sweet & sour sauce
rooster spicy chili sauce
green onions
minced garlic
cooking oil
large frying pan
* You can make this recipe without meat or without spice, adjust as needed *

Old Rice is Best!
Make the rice a day ahead to give it stiffness or use less water when preparing
Dice green onion & garlic
Remove the skin off the Chinese sausage
Dice into small pieces the ham & sausage
Do not thaw the vegetables

5-6 servings
difficulty – easy
prep time – 10 min
cook time – 20 min

[How to make My Dad’s Famous Spicy Fried Rice]
1 min – Heat Pot on High
1 min – Add 2 tablespoons of oil
1 min – Add garlic & green onions until aroma appears
2 min – Stir in diced ham and Chinese sausages
2 min – Add 2 teaspoons salt, sprinkle pepper – (to taste)
Remove meat from pan into separate bowl

2 min – 2 tablespoons of oil + stir 16oz frozen vegetables
2 min – Mix vegetables, meat, and rice
6 min – stir in 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of rooster spicy sauce, and 2 tablespoons of sweet & sour sauce

~ Enjoy!

Verdict – Deliciousness!

Sophie’s Spectacular Food Adventures in the Bay Area #2 (Ramen, Coffee, and Fortunes)

Philly Cheese Steak @ The Cheese Steak Shop
We stopped by for a quick bite to eat before the Michael Jackson Cirque du Soliel show.
It comes with thinly sliced cheese steak, spicy peppers, provolone cheese and white roll.
For additional charge, the shop offers a variety of choices and topping to customize your burger.
San Jose, California
Verdict – It was ok and they had prompt service.

Cafe Sua Doa @ Hai Ky Mi Gia
Iced french dripped dark roasted coffee with condensed milk
San Francisco, California
Verdict – Right down my alley as I’ve grown to like the strong roasted flavor and the sweetness.

Butter Corn Ramen @ Ramen House Ryowa
It actually had a slab of butter in the salt based ramen soup! (seen in picture)
I enjoyed the loads of sweet corn and consistency of the egg noodles.
Mountain View, California
Verdict – Would come back to try other ramen soup bases and friendly server

Chinese Food with our friends Hoang & Minh (I forgot the name)
This was a pretty sweet deal as it was $7 and we got to try like 6 different dishes.
There was wonton soup, fried rice, fried noodle, sweet & sour pork, broccoli with beef, and almond chicken.
San Francisco, California
Verdict – Food was average but the company was wonderful, plenty to eat, and the lady was friendly.

This was my fortune…

Sophie’s Spectacular Random Food Adventures in the Bay Area #1 (Ikea and Little Saigon)

Multilayer Icee Creation @ San Jose Flea Market
The machines are self serve. So I got cherry, blue raspberry, lemonade and orange Icee flavors!
San Jose, California
Verdict – Sugar rush goodness 🙂

French Onion Soup and Turkey Sandwich on White @ Panera Bread
This is my ideal of a delicious lunch where I can get half and half
San Jose, California – chain store
Verdict – Coming back and next time I’m getting lemonade too.

Braised Duck with Wontons, Thin Egg Noodles and Soup @ Hai Ky Mi Gia
Thanks to Andrew, I was able to discovered this restaurant wedged in a street corner of Little Saigon.
The duck is so good, moist and tender. Yum! Yum!
San Francisco, California
Verdict – I desire to be a regular at this establishment

Chicken Curry Thali Lunch Plate @ Kennedy’s Irish Pub & Curry House
Honestly, this restaurant is a bit odd because it’s an Indian restaurant joined with a Irish pub.
I find the food to be absolutely delicious, flavorful and served in large quantities.
I really enjoyed the lunch plate served 11-2pm as it offers a bit of everything.
San Francisco, California
Verdict – This might be able to persuade me to love Indian Food. Yes it’s that good.

Swedish Meatball Combo Plate @ Ikea (Food Marketplace)
After a day of exhausting furniture shopping, I am pleased to find myself in the haven known as the Ikea food court.
The food court is very reasonable priced and filled with swedish food.
Also These items can also be purchased frozen to cook at home.

The plate is only 5.99 it comes with swedish meatballs, gravy, mashed potatoes, ligon berry sauce and side of garden salad. Since I love desserts we had to have a slice apple pie with cream custard sauce. Needless to say I was stuffed!
Oakland, California – chain store
Verdict – When you are fleeing from shopping the food court is a must detour!

I just finished reading the Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.
It’s about supernatural beings that maintain the balance between good and evil that centers around a girl with shape changing powers and her pursuit to find her brother. It’s considered a prequel to the Eternal Devices series. I found it a interesting fast read. I am looking forward to getting my hands on the next book called the Clockwork Prince. (sci-fi, young adult)

*Everything pictured was under $10 and highly recommended!

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Jasmine Thai Restaurant Review

Jasmine Thai
1710 Berryessa Rd
San Jose, CA 95133
Type – Thai

This is a cute little restaurant tucked away in a plaza strip. My roommate and I were craving a bit of Thai food and after looking at some yelp reviews we ended up here. It was a quiet night so there was no wait, the pricing was moderate $ and food arrived quickly.

Pineapple Fried Rice $12
Pineapple fried rice is my favorite dish so I’m quite critical about it. I was pleased with the color array and  it was ample amount of food with plenty to share. My concern was that I didn’t find the pineapple was able to properly flavor the rice. The rice was quite plain in taste. The dish contains both shrimp / chicken. However only 1-2 shrimp in it.

Would I order again – Eh, it was ok. I would prefer to try something new.

Pad Thai Noodles $8
The pad thai noodles were very yummy! It was what I expected pad thai to taste like. There was a good balance of ingredient, textures and properly cooked noodles.

Would I order again – Yes

Fried Bananas with Coconut Ice Cream $5
It’s a not a night out with some tasty dessert! These are lightly battered fried bananas with coconut and pineapple ice cream. I like the contrasting flavors and temperatures in this dessert.

Would I order again – Probably

Overall I really enjoyed going out with my roomies ❤ and I would probably recommend Jasmine Thai if I was craving some Thai food near my area. (Total Rating = B / Average)

What we do.

Recipe – Learning how to make Chinese Stir Fry Nian Gao

During the winter holiday, I went back to Minnesota and my mother taught me how to make stir-fry nian gao (rice cakes)
It’s one of my favorite dishes because I love the chewy texture of the noodles.

Nian Gao
Is a flat noodle that’s made from glutinous rice. It’s usually white, molded flat shape and in this recipe needs to be re-hydrated. (1 day ahead preparation)

This dish is very affordable, easy to make and delicious!

2 skinless chicken breasts
bok choy
nian gao (rice cakes – dried package / rehydrate)
Kikkoman soy sauce
Pearl River Bridge dark soy sauce
corn starch, salt, sugar, oil
stirring device, skillet pan

Level – Easy
Time – 45 min (including prep time)
You will need to soak the nian gao noodles the NIGHT before


Cut the chicken into long strips
Soak to color  in a mixture of Kikkoman soy sauce, 1/2 tablespoon of corn starch, 1 teaspoon of salt

[Bok Choy]
Rinse/Wash the vegetable

[Nian Gao]
Soak noodles in water for approx 1 day

For Each Component – Meat – Vegetable – Noodle cook separately*
This recipe is easy to do for both vegetarians and meat eaters.
Also the meat and vegetables can be substitute for any other variation according to your preferences.

1. Heat Pan with Oil

2. Thoroughly cook meat in the pan until tender and not pink, remove

3.  Stir fry bok choy in pan with oil and sprinkling of salt. Cook until vegetables shrink in size and are malleable, remove

4. Cook the nian gao noodles until they become softer in texture and will stick together or appear sticky
5. Add Pearl River Bridge dark soy sauce (approx 2 tablespoons) basically color the noodles to light brown
6. Add Meat + Vegetable + Nian Gao + Pinch of Salt & Sugar = Mix

Ta Da! You have achieved it!

The most cumbersome part is that it’s best to cook everything separately for stronger flavors and then combine it in the end. You can also have 2 pans going at the same time to cut cooking time.

Food Travels – What I ate in Minnesota!

People’s Organic Cafe
3545 Galleria
Edina, MN 55435
Type – American cafe focusing on organic & local foods

Quiche and House saladSeasonal – Winter Hash / Vegetables
Dessert – White/Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta
This was the first time I tried panna cotta. It has a thicker consistency, creamy and delicious.

Tea Garden Restaurant
So this is a bit strange…I thought it was called the Tea Garden, branch from the uptown location.
However I can’t seem to find it on yelp. Anyways the restaurant is has amazing upscale Asian decor and the food is great/moderately priced. It’s located in the Twin Cities, Minnesota ~ somewhere? ><

Type: modern chinese cuisine (specialty in spicy dishes)

Spicy Fish Soup
Drunken Beef Noodles
Spicy Beef Soup

Teppanyaki Grill & Supreme Buffet
2216 E Lake St
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Type: Buffet, self serve, sushi/teppanyaki

This place is awesome! I would recommend this buffet and I’ve been to a lot of Minnesotan buffets.
It has tons of variety and the lunch only $7 per person!

My guilty pleasure are these fried doughnuts covered in sugar! Yum!
I really like their apple sushi salad.

Ikea Restaurant (inside Ikea)
8000 Ikea Way
Minneapolis, MN 55425

Usually Ikea is associated with furniture…however I’ve also had a thing for the Ikea food. Perhaps it’s the fact that I always become exhausted in Ikea layout or how much I love ligonberry sauce.  Anyways, their food is tasty and good value as the entrees $4-6 and desserts $1-3. Currently, if you join their free Ikea family card you will get free coffee or tea any time you go to Ikea! Pretty sweet deal.

Spicy Buffalo Chicken Wrap
Swedish Meatballs, Mash, and Ligonberry Sauce ( I love the sauce!)
Cream Cake (aka I want to call it Princess cake)
I think this dessert looks so cute and adorable. It’s wrapped in marzipan and the insides are filled with cream, jam and cake. It’s not too sweet and I really like the layers of flavors. It’s about the size of dinner roll. It was only $1!

Next => Stuff we ate at home
I’ll be doing full recipes on these following dishes as my parents have been teaching me how to cook 🙂

Hot Pot – similar to fondue
You take raw & fresh food then you dip/cook it in the pot. The pot has a broth that is kept simmering while you cook your food. My family has special hot pot pot that has separator in the middle so that we can do both spicy and regular broth. After cooking the food, we make our own dipping sauce to make it extra good.

Common food for hot pot are fish cakes, mushrooms, cabbage, shrimp, tofu, clear noodles, and meat balls.
If you want to learn more about hot pot I’d suggest look at this wiki site as it does a good job explaining it.

Stir Fry Rice Cakes & Vegetables – Nian Gao
~ my mother made this dish and it’s one of my absolute favorites!
* a detailed recipe blog post coming very soon*

My Dad’s Famous Spicy Fried Rice

* a detailed recipe blog post coming very soon*
Stir fry fish filet with assorted vegetables
* a detailed recipe blog post coming very soon*

Dinner Date with Nena at Shezan

Cuisine – Indian
216 Castro St
Mountain View, CA 94041

Say Hello to my friend Nena! We were actually attempting to take photos of each other at the same time. Anyways, I was so happy to be able to meet up with her since it’s been a whole year since Expo. When Nena not having fabulous dinners with me, she’s getting her PHD in Maryland. Pretty snazzy! Though perhaps her beau can convince to move to Norcal and then I’ll get to have meals with her all the time.

First off I’ve been missing all my eateries in San Diego! Gosh I love my Mexican food and that’s hard to come by in all deliciousness up north.

However, the benefit is that I get to try new places. While we were walking up and down Castro street, Nena picked out Shezan to try. I’m glad that I’m getting out and about because there’s so many different restaurants, cuisines and interesting things to look at on Castro Street in Mountain View. It’s also very close to the Mountain View Caltrain station!

Shezan has a lovely interior design. It’s got a golden cast atmosphere with gorgeous modern feel chandeliers. Ha perfect date place! We were seated immediately and the server was quite attentive. I suppose it because we ate earlier dinner because the restaurant had just re-opened for supper. Another thing to note is that on their door they have sign that says they have $10 lunch buffet. Shezan dinner prices range from $7-12.
You can also purchase naan and rice as a la carte items like we did.

Mango Lassi – Yogurt & Mango Fruit Drink

I really liked the mango lassi I ordered as had a strong mango flavor. However it is a very thick drink so it can be quite filling by itself.

Regular Naan – bread
It was good but nothing special.

Basmati Rice

Matta Paneer (Vegetarian, cheese, peas)
It was a very creamy sauce. However there’s wasn’t much paneer cheese in the mixture. Nevertheless this was a way better rendition then the one I had at the Yahoo cafeteria so I was quite pleased with the outcome.

Chicken Tikka Masala (a classic chicken curry dish)
First off, I love to eat chicken so I had to try their chicken tikka masala. Their waitress even recommended it. Overall I liked it. It had nice flavor, taste and texture. It wasn’t too spicy (ha thank goodness to my intolerance of spice).

The entrees were a decent size and it was filling meal. We even had some curry leftovers to take home. I think I would love to come back to try their lunch special.

It’s funny how this meal made me quite nostaglic for Masala Art restaurant in the Expo center. Shezan was a nice restaurant, but it doesn’t hold a torch next to Masala Art. I hope next time I visit Shanghai that restaurant will still be there because I need some more of that buttery chicken.

That’s it for now