Monday, February 09, 2009

More Bay Area Eating

Park Place Cypress HotelOne of the things I really enjoy in the US is a hearty breakfast before beginning my work-day. You can never go wrong with Hobees when in the Silicon Valley; just make sure you order something that comes with their famous Blueberry Coffee-cake. It was in the USA I first discovered the difference between poached and fried eggs; in India, when people order poached eggs, they usually means fried eggs!

Speaking of poached eggs, if you are ever in the vicinity of Union Square in San Francisco, drop into Pinecrest Diner - especially if is late in the night when everything else is closed. The best eggs, bacon and hash can be had here any hour of the day!

Pinecrest is (in)famous for being the scene of a terrible murder. One day, in July 1997, a pretty girl came into Pinecrest and ordered poached eggs, which were not on the menu. The chef, a Jordanian immigrant called Hashem Zayed, agreed to cook this for her. Probably resenting the attention paid to the girl, waitress Helen Menicou publicly berated Zayed and told him not to cook the dish. Next morning, Hashem brought a semi-automatic handgun to work and shot Menicou – a Pinecrest veteran of 20 years – dead. Five hundred people attended her funeral; Zayed died in prison and no motive was ever uncovered for her murder, except the business with the poached eggs – which remain off the menu to date!

Sushi chefs at work at Fuki Sushi
Sushi platter at Fuki Sushi
Prawn Tempura at Fuki SushiDuring this trip I also discovered a new sushi place in Palo Alto. Fuki Sushi has been here for a long time, but I got a chance to try it only now. Shoji-screened windows, native Japanese waitresses and a large sushi bar gives this place an authentic Japanese ambiance. More importantly, the fish is fresh and the sushi pretty good.

Sashimi Sampler at Fuki Sushi
Miso Soup at Fuki SushiWe stuck to basic stuff with platters of sashimi, sushi, miso soup and prawn tempura washed down with sake. The most interesting sushi on my plate tonight was probably the Tobiko - roe of flying fish. The Mochi Ice-creams for dessert were delightful. These are ice-creams wrapped in a soft, rice-cake; both Kona coffee and creamy strawberry flavors were pretty good.

Mochi Ice Creams at Fuki SushiOn another day, I was back at Arya to end a tiring day on a good note with some Persian food. The Dolmeh was very good; this dish is made of cooked grape leaves, filled with ground beef, rice, tarragon, split peas, green onions, basil, parsley and other fresh herb.

Dolmeh at Arya CupertinoI followed with the Chelo Kabab, two skewers of juicy charbroiled strips of seasoned ground beef, served with Basmati rice and charbroiled tomato. On top of that heap of rice, you are expected to add dollops of butter too! As you can imagine, a lovely meal when you don't have to think about the calories. :)

Chelo Kababs at AryaIt was the dessert that was really interesting. The Bastani ice-cream is a Persian creation made of French vanilla ice cream blended with saffron and rosewater, with frozen bits of cream, pistachios and cardomom.

Bastani Ice Creams at AryaPark Place at my hotel, The Cypress, is good for an occasional dinner. The Cedar planked Steelhead salmon with pumpkin risotto, brussels sprouts and smoked maple jus was every bit as exciting to eat as it sounds. The Warm Molten Chocolate Cake with a molten center and creme fraiche ice cream ended the dinner just fine.

Salmon Entree at Park Place Cupertino
Molten Chocolate Cake at Park Place CupertinoFinally, another quick pizza lunch on the day I was flying back home. At my favorite Pizza My Heart outlet across the road from the hotel. With no more meetings in the day, I could indulge in the garlicky Big Sur, named after a picturesque part of the California coast. This pizza, voted the best in a 2007 West Coast competition, is made of large cloves of roasted garlic, organic tomato pizza sauce, pepperoni, sausage, Portebello Mushrooms & green onions. Doesn't get much better than this!

A Slice at Pizza My HeartThe airports in San Francisco, Hong Kong and Singapore seemed emptier than usual. Which is always a good thing. Then I read United Airlines is going to start charging for the blankets and pillows very soon, and Singapore Airlines is reducing 100+ flights...

18 comments:

Ravi said...

Came across this fantastic blog recently! I wish I could travel as much as you do.
My only gripe about your blog is that there's almost nothing here that appeals to my vegetarian palate. I find it hard to believe that you did not visit a single vegetarian or at least veg-friendly restaurant while in the bay area (where I live).
Anyway...keep up the good work!

John Gult said...

PS: What is it about meat-eaters that makes them stay away from sampling herbivorous fare as a matter of principle?
Pardon my rant...

John Gult said...

Sorry for spamming. The above two comments are from the same person. Hit 'submit' too early. Pliss to pardon.

Aathira said...

I have never tried Sushi, have had a thing which kept me away from it.

Now looking at the shapes and colours, I think I need to rethink that! :)

PS: Wish I had a travelling job!

RennyBA said...

I hope you don't get bored of my visit and always same comments, but I can't resist; What a great seafood feast and it looks so delicious.

I love Sushi too, especially when my American wife made it for me :-)

Shantanu said...

@Ravi, John: Point taken! This has become a frequent complaint, so I will try some veggie stuff soon. :)

@Aathira: You will like it, if you love sea-food.

@RennyBA: Not at all, my friend. Cool, you actually get sushi at home?

Lakshmi said...

tell me how do u manage not to put on weight :)

and talking abt murders, Ive been into agatha christie for the last one week

HAREKRISHNAJI said...

how is Royal Orchid ,Kalyani Nagar ?

Shantanu said...

@Lakshmi: By compensating on the days I don't eat out, I guess! I read most of Agatha Christie's books in my late teens - I still have a lot of them with me. :)

@Harekrishnaji: They have a decent lunch buffet, but I prefer going to BBQ Nation which is way better, and very close from Royal Orchid.

indicaspecies said...

Dolma is also made without ground or minced meat filling, when it can be stuffed with nuts and raisins instead.

These desserts look delicious. I'm suddenly hungry!

Vamsee said...

I don't know why I kept away from sushi. The tempura looks delicious.

I miss American Salmon here....and of course that chocolate lave cake looks awesome.

I find myself browsing your website before traveling to a new city, so keep up the good work. I am going to Calcutta tomorrow and can't wait to try their biryani as you mentioned in your blog.

kyh said...

You always have the opp to savour fine dining in America or wherever you travel. I'm envious! And yes, sushis are simple yet delicious!

HAREKRISHNAJI said...

We were in Pin xx , Royal Orchid yesterday. Wished I should have taken your advice much before.

It was very very crowded , food strictly ok, nothing great.
Only advantage was their "Free for Companion" scheme during this week.

GMG said...

Hi Shantanu! With a hearty breakfast my weight would be even worse... ;))

Interested in Rajasthan? Blogtrotter has it! ;) Enjoy, comment and have a great weekend!

Shantanu said...

@indicaspecies: Oh yes, I liked the one I had at the Azulia in Chennai.

@Vamsee: Sometimes people with an aversion to sea-food find sushi easy to eat, primarily because there is very little 'fishy' smell. Especially in the rolls. Hope you are enjoying your Kolkata trip.

@kyh: :)

Shantanu said...

@Harekrishnaji: Try BBQ Nation next time; they have a large dining area and good food.

@GMG: Ha, ha! I can afford to do this once in a while.

Zhu said...

I love American breakfast! French usually just have a pastrie, or nothing at all.

Pizza on the other hand... I like it in Italy best!

Shantanu said...

@zhu: Good to see you back here. I have been following your travels across South America with great interest!