Category Archives: Restaurants

Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 19

A Friday special at the Village Bakery.
A Friday special at the Village Bakery.

The Village Bakery, Woodside

The colonel’s got nothing on The Village Bakery, when it comes to a grand bucket of fried chicken.

The Woodside restaurant and bakery’s newest offering is “Fried Chicken Fridays.” And if last Friday’s experience was any indication, it’s already a hit. When I went to go pick up my order, the entire bar was covered with takeout bags, most for the chicken.

For $34, you get an actual bucket containing eight pieces of fried chicken, as well as containers of coleslaw, mac ‘n’ cheese, and two buttermilk cheddar-chive biscuits.

Oh, yes!
Oh, yes!

It’s designed to serve 2 to 4. The chicken alone is definitely more than two people can finish in one sitting. As such, you might want to order another biscuit or two ($5 each) to go with the leftovers the next day. Crunchy on top and fluffy inside, the buttery biscuits are definitely hard to resist.

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Three Things to Enliven Shelter In Place, Part 2

Celebrate the Year of the Ox by learning how to make banh chung. (Photo courtesy of the Banh Chung Collective).
Celebrate the Year of the Ox by learning how to make banh chung. (Photo courtesy of the Banh Chung Collective).

Celebrate Tet with A Banh Chung Online Cooking Class

Join in on the festivities for the Vietnamese New Year — from the comfort of your own kitchen — as Los Angeles chef Diep Tran instructs you virtually, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 6, with an ingredients kit you can pick up at participating restaurants in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, and New York.

At the end, you’ll have your own sticky rice dumplings to feast on, filled with pork belly, shallots, and mung beans — all wrapped snuggly in banana leaves.

Festive packages of sticky rice dumplings. (Photo courtesy of the Banh Chung Collective)
Festive packages of sticky rice dumplings. (Photo courtesy of the Banh Chung Collective)

The $46 kit with class also includes a signature New Year dish from the participating restaurant or bakery to enjoy.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the kits can be picked up prior to the class at: Buku Bakes, Little Window, and Noodle Girl.

Tran, who is also the research and development chef for Red Boat Fish Sauce, has been hosting her Banh Chung Collective for the past nine years. This time, she’ll be streaming from Alma Backyard Farms in Compton.

For tickets to this event, click here.

Luv’s Brownies Dessert Truck

South Bay chocoholics will be glad to know there’s a new dessert truck in town. Luv’s Brownies, known for its heart-shaped brownies, has launched its own food truck, which will be bringing sweet creations to the San Jose Rose Garden farmers market on Saturdays, and the Cupertino farmers market on Sundays.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 18

Tandoori lamb chops and garlic naan from Jalsa Catering & Events.
Tandoori lamb chops and garlic naan from Jalsa Catering & Events.

Jalsa Catering & Events, Milpitas and Bay Area

Its name means “celebrate,” and pre-pandemic, Milpitas-based Jalsa Catering & Events was all about that, catering lavish weddings and festive parties all over the Bay Area.

But of course, with large events — and pretty much gatherings of any sort — verboten right now, Jalsa has pivoted to being a meal delivery service instead.

The company was co-founded by Vittal Shetty, who for years was the corporate chef of the Bay Area’s Amber India restaurants; and Reshmi Nair, who was Amber India’s director of events and catering.

Delivery (2 p.m. to 6 p.m.) and pick-up are available on a schedule that depends on what city you live in: Monday and Friday, there’s delivery to San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Saratoga, Cupertino, Los Gatos, and Monte Sereno. Tuesday and Sunday, it’s Palo Alto, Los Altos, Atherton, Redwood City, San Mateo. Thursday, it’s San Carlos, Hillsborough, and San Francisco. Saturday, it’s Fremont, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Dublin, Hayward, and Danville. And Wednesday, pick-up is available at its Milipitas commercial kitchen.

A side salad of pomegranate, mung bean, onions and corn, with crisp taro chips.
A side salad of pomegranate, mung bean, onions and corn, with crisp taro chips.

You don’t know necessarily when the food will show up at your doorstep between 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., but everything heats up well enough in the microwave or a skillet if you want to enjoy it hours later, as I found when I was invited to try some of the food gratis.

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Three Things To Enliven Shelter In Place, Part 1

“Food People Are The Best People”

There’s no denying that those in the food industry are struggling mightily during the pandemic. The new book, “Food People Are The Best People” (Acorn Press) spotlights how 129 renowned California food and beverage professionals are coping and what inspires them during this unprecedented time.

The book is by Oakland-based photographer and storyteller Kristen Loken, who also did the book, “This Is Oakland A Guide to the City’s Most Interesting Places” (Acorn), which published in 2014.

This new book features such local luminaries as Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, Charlie Palmer of the Charlie Palmer Collective, David Kinch of Manresa, Jen Biesty of Shakewell, Michelle Polzine of 20th Century Cafe, and Susan Feniger of Border Grill. Along with a beautiful portrait shot, there is a short Q&A with each of the featured professionals.

Purchase the book here: A regular copy is $35, a signed copy is $50, and a copy of the book along with a chance to get your own porch portrait taken by Loken is $295.

Fifteen percent of all profits will be donated to No Kid Hungry.

Season 2 of “Tanya’s Table”

Following the success of her debut podcast series, Oakland chef Tanya Holland launches season 2 of “Tanya’s Table” on Jan. 19.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 17

Five-spice ribs from Straits restaurant.
Five-spice ribs from Straits restaurant.

Straits, San Jose

There was a time when the Chris Yeo Group was the king of San Jose’s Santana Row, operating three restaurants in this retail-restaurant-housing complex.

Only one remains now, though — Straits. It was his first establishment at Santana Row, and the concept that really made a name for him when he first opened the original Straits in San Francisco (which shuttered long ago). These days, with Yeo mostly retired, it’s his son Julian who runs the restaurant operations.

With its lounge-y, nightclub-like vibe and seductively attired female servers — which can be a plus or minus, depending on your predilection — Straits always drew a lively crowd pre-pandemic. Now, with only takeout and delivery service, the atmosphere is obviously more subdued.

The unexpected hue of the coconut rice.
The unexpected hue of the coconut rice.

While its atmosphere may have overshadowed the food at times, Straits still serves up solid, satisfying Malaysian cuisine.

The braised pork belly buns ($16) come on squishy Hawaiian-bread-like slider rolls, with a succulent thick slice of pork, crisp cucumber, and sweet-tangy pickled onions.

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