Tuesday, June 21

Burma Cafe - Daly City

A trip up to Daly City for other things brought me to lunch at Burma Cafe in a seedy looking plaza. Inside the decor is actually very clean and stylish in the sort of Thai/East Asian kind of vibe.
($13) Grapeleaf salad - tossed with raw sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, golden raisins, shredded cabbage, tomatoes, fried garlic, fried split peas, and sweet chili sauce
I wanted to try something other than the tea leaf salad. This grape leaf salad was much milder than the tea leaf salad. It lacked the strong fermented flavor that I enjoy about tea leaf. Otherwise it was very similar. I'm glad I had it but I will stay true to the tea leaf salad.

($13) Catfish chowder - mohinga - ground catfish in a lemongrass soup with rice noodles, eggs, and split pea fritters.
This was an interesting soup. It's flavorful and the lemongrass is very forward. The ground catfish floats all over the soup and is in every bite rather than in balls or clumps. It reminded me of many Vietnamese noodle soups. 

($13) Rainbow salad - rice noodle, wheat noodle, green papaya, crispy tofu, red onion, carrots, and cucumbers. All in a sweet chili sauce.
This was a refreshing salad with slightly warm noodles but mostly a cold dish. The sauce is not spicy, more tangy like fish sauce. Think of it as a deconstructed vermicelli bowl. All good things!

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS
Don't judge Burma Cafe by the plaza or the exterior. It's clean and stylish inside and the food is good. I have no complaints about the service and liked my experience.

Saturday, June 18

Shanghai Dumpling - Cupertino

Last year, I reviewed Shanghai Dumpling for Metro News and became a converted fan. It's not a perfect place but it was tasty, convenient, and affordable. After Din Tai Fung opened and I had a taste of some better XLB, it reignited my cravings for XLB so I went back to Shanghai Dumpling because I dont' want to deal with the DTF hype.

($6.50) Steamed Pork Soup Dumpling - The soup flavor is nice. The meat inside is tasty but sometimes a bit too hard (overcooked?). The wrapper was not as thin as DTF and a bit too chewy at the top where all the folds meet.

($8.95) Pork chop and rice with vegetable and ham - We needed to order something filling to supplement the dumplings and out came this big portion of rice in an interesting wooden bowl. The pork chops were very good and the rice was bland but together they balanced. Not stupendous in flavor yet very interesting presentation.

($5.95) Mixed bean curd salad - The bean curd noodles were very soft and slightly warm. The seasoning was mild and acidic. I enjoyed this dish and would get it again as a side.

($6.50) Wonton with spicy sauce - I was very impressed with this dish the first time I had it. This second time, there seemed to be too much peanut and peanut sauce. Maybe my standards have risen after the incredible version from DTF, or maybe memory doesn't serve me well. It's still good though and has decent heat.
($5.95) Cucumber with garlic - the cucumber side dish is a must when eatign all these heavy disehs. It helps me cleanse the palate for the next round of dumplings.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS
Service was very slow here for no apparent reason. FOH seemed to be staffed ok but we still had to wait at the front. The hostesses/waiters were moving about in a chaotic way and not really communicating with each other about which guest needed what. Aside from that, the food is as I remembered it and is still a good place for XLB in the South Bay for those who aren't on the hunt for extravagant prices and long waits. I went here on a whim but for DTF I made a reservation for next month.

Friday, June 17

Colin's First Birthday Party - Piyo Piyo Theme

Our little bear turned 1 last month and we had a fun party for him.
The theme was Piyo Piyo, the cute yellow duck from the scissors we use to trim his nails. They're such a life saver. I was terrible at clipping his nails until we got these scissors.
We suggested guests wear yellow to fit the theme. Colin had a special outfit but it was a few sizes too small so he was camel toeing at the diaper pretty obviously. I changed him into a Warriors shirt for comfort.



We had some toys around the house for the kiddos.

Like this inflatable duck that's actually a baby bath. I can't imagine anyone giving their baby a bath in this. It makes a much better pool toy.




The kids didn't seem to care about the other activities. This ball pit was unanimously the most popular thing. We ordered it on Amazon but it doesn't come with balls so we had to order two separate bags of balls. 800 balls is a good amount for this size. This ball pit is still in our living room and we all play with it everyday.




Vietnamese food catering (not pictured) was from our fave caterer in San Jose, Cha Ca Long Phung
The cake is a passion fruit flavored cake from Whole Foods, not special order, picked up the same day. I prefer not to have passion fruit but it was the only cake that was all white.
Large macaron cookie lettering, Piyo figurine, and small Piyo macaron cookies were by MacAhhRun in San Jose.

The ducks are from this bath set we bought for him. He uses the little babies in the bath and the big mommy as a squeaky toy.





Picked up a dozen assorted Sprinkles cupcakes. I'm too cheap to buy enough to have one letter per cupcake so this was my solution. Like that solo Y?

I haz all da sugarz!

Colin received the Piyo feeding set as a gift from his grandma which we are very excited to use when he's ready.




And a big thanks to Piyo Piyo USA for gifting him the hair brush and rattle.




Yesterday was Piyo Piyo's 25th anniversary! Happy birthday Piyo!


Sunday, June 12

Yalla Mediterranean Offers Free Meal to Warriors Fans - Monday June 13 - Fremont

UPDATE:
It came to my attention yesterday after the promotion period already passed that this was actually a BOGO deal, not complimentary. I used the text that was given to me by the PR firm. At the time I posted this, Yalla's FB page did not have any posts for the offer so I did not see the details.  I apologize for anyone who felt misled by this post.

---


Yalla Mediterranean, a polished, authentic fast-casual concept with seven locations across California and headquartered in the Bay Area, will offer a special complimentary wrap, salad or plate between 3-6PM on Monday June 13th for guests wearing Golden State Warriors gear.

Saturday, June 11

Kula Revolving Sushi Bar - Cupertino

Poke box with rice, imitation crab, mayo, slices of assorted sashimi, and tobiko
Getting in line for food seems to be a regular occurrence for me lately with my assignments to review GEN BBQ, Din Tai Fung, and The ByWater. Sometimes I do it of my own choosing though, like last week when I waited 2.5 hours in line for Kula Revolving Sushi. Social media has made it so easy to hype up something. 

Kula is a chain restaurant. The concept of conveyor belt sushi is from Japan. There is the belt with dishes or pre-made rolls that make its rounds through each diner's station. You can grab what you want. This has become ubiquitous in America. It's also done with a boat floating on a trough of water. 

Kula adds an option to order extra items through a screen at the seat (pictured above). These orders arrive quickly through a second conveyor belt above the first. It runs quickly and stops right in front of your seat. Used plates are deposited through a slot at the seat and added up by the computer. A waitress still needs to confirm the count, especially of items with plates too large for the slot.

I don't remember the price of each item, but the total of all the dishes you will see below was about $19. It's quite affordable.

Sunomono - pickled veggies and cold items. The cucumbers were not pickled here. They just put slices in a quick vinegar. 

Uni roll - sea urchin gonads (for those who don't know)
This was gross. I'm a big fan of uni so this is not coming from someone who just hates the thought of gonads. There was just something not so fresh with this particular pair. Very iodiney and briney.

Red Dragon Roll - like a California roll with tuna and srirarcha mayo on top. This one was ok.

Spicy Scallop Hand Roll - This was one of the better rolls of the night. Everything tasted good. The scallops at least didn't taste old.

Tuna Yukhoe - cooked egg yolk and some spicy tuna. It was rather plain. Looks cooler than it tastes.

NOT PICTURED: 
Some terrible Beef Yakiniku roll. Just don't get any of the beef items. It's dry.


Strawberry and Mango mochi - Probably prepackaged. Also the best thing we ate all night.

PROS:
It's cheap sushi. Service doesn't matter since it's a conveyor belt. It's something interesting (read gimmicky)

CONS:
The sushi is basic at best. Bland/dry/stale at worst. The wait is very long.

OVERALL:
It's not worth the wait. Maybe in a few months (after people read my review, hehe) the line will die down, then it's worth a try for fun. But only once. This place is fine if you just want cheap basic rolls for a quick lunch or something once the hype settles down.

Kula Revolving Sushi
Address: 19600 Vallco Parkway, Suite 160, Cupertino, CA 95014
Phone: 408-861-0155

Sun.-Thu.
11:00am-10:00pm
(Last Seating, Last Order 9:45pm)

Fri.-Sat.
11:00am-10:30pm
(Last Seating, Last Order10:15pm)

Friday, June 10

1000 Degrees Pizza - Cupertino

Cupertino welcomes the latest fast-casual pizzeria, 1000 Degrees Pizza, from New Jersey. The chain is a franchise and the Cupertino location is currently the only one in California. I was invited by the chain for a complimentary meal. Here are my thoughts.

They serve personal sized pizzas made from authentic Neapolitan flour. The dough is never frozen and is made fresh. It bakes in this very stylish round oven with a rotating stone base. The stone turns around like a Lazy Susan and it evenly distributes the heat. The pizza is done within about 2 minutes.

($7.95) 10" Classic Margherita with Pepperoni - I ordered my favorite, the Classic Margherita with pepperoni. It was very satisfying. I could not be more pleased with the dough. They actually spin it out by hand and the shape is endearingly not a perfect round. It had just the right amount of air but was still thin.

($8.95) Customized 10"- Sriracha marinara, mozzarella, all meat except ham, mushrooms, jalapeno, onions
They allow unlimited toppings here. Phil always loves that because he adds almost all the meat then a few choice vegetables. This was an excellent combo.The Sriracha marinara sauce does add a bit of zing to the pie.


Between the two fast-casual pizzeries I have tried so far, Blaze and Pieology, 1000 Degrees has the best dough. It rises a bit more than Blaze's and it has a crust unlike Pieology's.

Check out 1000 Degrees in Cupertino
20589 Homestead Rd.
Cupertino, California
(408) 861-9495

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