Showing posts with label san jose food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label san jose food. Show all posts

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Taco Throwdown 2024

The Silicon Valley Taco Throwdown takes place today at Blanco Urban in San Pedro Square. It features tons of the hottest chefs, restaurants, and food trucks. $49 let's you sample 5 tacos. If you have an appetite $79 gets you an all-you-can-eat feast. For more info click here.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Elyse: elevated French Vietnamese cuisine in the heart of Downtown San Jose

Before we talk about about the new Elyse, I have to spend a moment to honor the original. Elyse was the first French Vietnamese restaurant in Downtown San Jose and took residence in the former House of Siam space that old school San Joseans will remember well. The first time I went, I was just happy that a Downtown space that sat vacant for years was finally filled up with a new restaurant. However, I was completely blown away by the cuisine, cocktails, and how romantic the space was. Despite my mission to eat at every restaurant in Downtown San Jose (I'm at 258 so far) I returned several more times and would easily place it in my Top 10 for all Downtown San Jose restaurants.

This was in 2018. Fast forward to the pandemic. During the early 2020s the owner endured multiple hardships including including the passing of her mom, break-ins, property damage, looting, a divorce, and then some. It was an incredibly challenging time, and Elyse closed their doors for an extended period. 

Now, not only is Elyse back... but they have a new location that is bigger and better than ever. This key corner space once belonged to Nemea at the corner of San Fernando and 1st Street. Like House of Siam, it has also been vacant for years. There is a lot of pressure on Elyse to bring something special to this high-traffic part of Downtown--and they delivered.

The space is open and inviting. There is a bar area, main dining room, a cellar-style wine room, a private dining space, and outdoor seating. There are large works of art themed around both France and Vietnam. The lit Eiffel Tower was my favorite.

I was fortunate to sample eight of their dishes. For the appetizers we had caviar blinis, mushroom tartlette (crowd favorite), head-on grilled shrimp, fried Brussel sprouts, mussels, and garlic noodles. I would recommend any of these. The caviar was a nice surprise since I don't remember that on the original menu and I'm not aware of any other restaurant in Downtown San Jose that has that available. As decadent as that was, my favorite app was the mushroom tartlette followed by the giant shrimp skewers with Vietnamese seasonings.

After the appetizers we had two of the mains--a glazed seabass with sauted bok choy and cofit as well as a braised short rib bourguignon with bone-in braised Angus beef short rib and Belgian style fries.

Both were phenomenal. I'm normally a carnivore and prefer steak, but the pan seared glazed seabass was truly outstanding and would likely be my choice. If you're out on a date, it's the perfect opportunity to get two different dishes and share. 

Unfortunately I had to leave the media preview night early to get to our baby at home and did not have a chance to try the desserts. They had a black sesame panna cotta and a Belgian chocolate lava cake, both of which I would have loved to try. I'm planning to head back there this weekend to get those desserts and try more of their dishes. I'm especially looking forward to trying some items that lean more towards the Vietnamese side and a cocktail or two.

In summary, Elyse gets two huge thumbs up. Please give them a try and let us know what you think! Could this be San Jose's next Michelin-recommended restaurant? Petiscos needs some company, and this may be it.

Elyse is located at 96 South 1st Street and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm to 9pm. Street parking is free after 6pm and pretty easy to get within a couple blocks of the restaurant. You can make reservations here as well as read more reviews (spoiler, they have a well-deserved 4.5/5 stars on Yelp). 

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Elyse has a full-blown wine room

Finally, tomorrow I'll have the full write-up for Elyse. There is too much content for one post (not even talking about the fist fight outside during the mayor's interview). One quick item I'll break out for today is that Elyse isn't just a restaurant, they are also a wine merchant.

They have a beautiful room that feels like a wine cellar and can store thousands of bottles of wine. I know they dabbled in making their own products, so it will be interesting to see which bottles are available for purchase.

Since Zanatto's and The Market by Safeway closed, this part of Downtown San Jose has not had a great spot to buy wines. That all changes very soon. You can find Elyse at 96 S. First St. (former Nemea corner space). 


Sunday, April 28, 2024

Campus Burgers will offer $2 Hamburgers and $3 Cheeseburgers in Downtown San Jose

A new burger sport is opening at 108 Paseo de San Antonio and they are offering $1.99 smash burgers. That isn't a promotion, it appears to be their standard pricing. In fact, they proudly only have four items on the menu:
  • Hamburger $1.99
  • Cheeseburger $2.99
  • Fries $3.99
  • Sodas $2.29
That's it. Given their location between the SJSU campus and SJSU student housing at the former Fairmont Annex/Signia San Jose, this could become a very popular spot. 

For those that miss Johnny Rockets, we'll have a dedicated burger spot in Downtown San Jose again very soon. Their grand opening is scheduled for May I believe.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

New food hall is officially open in Downtown San Jose

A new "cloud kitchen" is now open on Santa Clara Street called the Downtown Food Hall. The concept is optimized for take-out food and delivery services like Doordash, but there will be a dine-in option for all of the eateries there.

One of the first restaurants to have their soft opening is Halal Taqueria, and anywhere from 11 to 19 more will soon follow. For more information on what's coming, head over here.

Source: NBC Bay Area

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

iChina hires a rockstar chef, obviously aiming for the stars

By aiming for the stars, of course I'm talking about those rare Michelin Stars. As our one and only Michelin Star restaurant--Adega--closed their doors in 2023, iChina is our next best shot.

Yesterday iChina announced that Singapoean Chef Chen Zhinengh is joining the team as Executive Chef. He has worked at multiple Michelin-star restaurants including Hakkasan in New York, Empress By Boon in SF, and 3 Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurants.

Below is the full text from the email blast. I'll look forward to trying iChina soon after his updated menu is live.

Introducing Chef Chen Zhinengh
We are thrilled to announce Chef Chen Zhinengh has joined iCHiNA to lead our kitchens. Because eight is an auspicious number, here are eight reasons we’re lucky to have him.

Born in Singapore, Chef Chen started working in restaurants at the age of 16.

He has cooked at some of the top restaurants in Singapore including the Mandarin Oriental and Ritz Carlton Hotels.

Chef Chen was part of the opening team for Hakkasan New York and went on to help oversee all US locations.

Prior to joining iCHiNA Chef Chen was Executive Chef at the Michelin-starred Empress By Boon, in San Francisco.

A master of Peking Duck—one of our signature dishes—Chef Chen has combined culinary methods from top restaurants around the world to create a Peking Duck with  distinctive taste and a richer texture.

Chef Chen has cooked at 3 Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurants.

This video starring Chef Chen making dumplings has been viewed over 54,000 times. If it doesn’t make you want to try our dim sum, we don’t know what will!

Chef Chen is developing some amazing specials to offer during Lunar New Year including 魚生撈起 (Prosperity Salad) and 红豆汤 (Red Bean Glutinous Rice Soup) to bring you health and prosperity in the new year. 

Book a table now for a taste of Chef Chen’s exquisite cooking. Some of his new dishes include Golden Tofu Lobster featuring lobster, pumpkin, and silken tofu and Black Bean Prawns with housemade black bean sauce and fresh gai lan.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Bay Area Michelin Star Restaurants - 2024 Edition (Part 1)

It has been a long while since doing a post about Michelin recommended/starred restaurants--2019 in fact.

The Michelin guide is the most renowned rubric in the world for measuring culinary success. Unfortunately, we have some bad news this year. San Jose's first and only Michelin Star restaurant ever, Adega in Little Portugal, is now permanently closed. The silver lining is that it will be replaced with a second Petiscos restaurant. The original Petiscos is in Downtown San Jose's SoFA District and is not only featured in the guide but is one of San Jose's first two Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants (a step below a Star and signifying a restaurant is of outstanding value for the quality).

Michelin has three different star categories:
  • One Star - A very good restaurant in its category with cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard. A good place to stop on your journey.
  • Two Stars - Excellent cuisine, skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality. Worth a detour.
  • Three Stars - Exceptional cuisine with distinctive dishes and superlative ingredients. Worth a special journey.
New last year were "Green Stars" for restaurants that are at the forefront of sustainable, environmental, and ethical standards.

There are also restaurants in the Michelin guide that do not get a star, but are considered "Michelin Recommended." This is already a significant honor that a very small percentage of restaurants achieve. This distinction has gotten more rare since the guide now covers all of California instead of just the Bay Area. San Jose has a total of 4 Michelin Recommended restaurants (one of which is now closed), which is down 4 restaurants from 2019. LeYou Ethiopian is the only newcomer.

San Jose Michelin Recommended Restaurants:
  • Downtown
    • Petiscos $$ (Bib Gourmand)
  • East San Jose
    • Adega $$$$ (Closed)
  • Midtown
    • Luna Mexican Kitchen $$ (Bib Gourmand)
  • North San Jose
    • LeYou $$

I also created a Google doc listing all of the star recipients for 2023, along with tabs for all previous years and some general statistics. 2020-2022 were crazy years and I still have to update data there. I also expect new stars and restaurants to be announced this summer. There is no longer a physical book for California, but Michelin will update their site after new stars are awarded.

Below is an image capture from the doc. This year there were a total of 45 Bay Area restaurants that were awarded Michelin stars, which is down 12 from before the pandemic in 2019. 60% of the restaurants are locating in SF, 18% in Silicon Valley (split evenly between the South Bay and the Peninsula), 18% in Wine Country, 2% in the East Bay, and 2% in Marin. There are 3 new restaurants on the list for 2023 and several that no longer made the cut or were closed down. There were no new Silicon Valley restaurants on the list from 2022, but Selby's and Sushi Shin were both added post-pandemic.

This post is entitled Part 1. As previously mentioned Michelin will announce updates to the guide for Bay Area restaurants this summer. It will be interesting if San Jose can get back in the guide with a starred restaurant. There are certainly several that deserve it. Some of my top picks for addition would be iChina, Le Papillion, and Rollati. We'll have to see if anyone will come along and fill Adega's shoes in Part 2 later this year.

Friday, December 15, 2023

San Jose Winter Wonder Market this weekend at Westgate Center

A unique SJ Made event is going down this weekend inside of Westgate Center. Instead of taking place in a convention center or outside in a parking lot, they are utilizing all of the free space within the mall (see map below).

San Jose Winter Wonder Market will feature 150 makers, artists, designers, and creators. All of the Westgate Center stores will still be open, so you can do the rest of your Christmas shopping in one convenient place and support local small businesses at the same time.

Hours for the event will be from 11am-5pm on Dec 16th and 17th. Attendance and parking is free. There is also a VTA Bus Station on-site called "Campbell & Saratoga." Below you can find a hand map sorted both alphabetically and by booth number. For more info, head over here.

Vendor Lineup (sorted alphabetically)

(the) Lisa Inez - N02
2pomelo - K16
9 Lunas Accessories - B03
A Jar of Pickles - D01
A Jar of Pickles - D02
A Miyako M - Q03
Accessories NAGAOKA - Q01
Alice Yang - A21
Alpine Soapery - A15
Art by Julia - R02
Aubluvion - O02
Bad Art by Nice - H04
Bad Witch Crystals - Q02
bananabbean - D03
bb mad designs - P09
Boho Moon Art - F05
Browned Butter Babe Co. - P06
Bunniejing Studio - P10
Buppydogs - H01
BVanSoi - D05
Candy Paint Cafe - R04
CasaPlants Bay Area - P08
Ceramics By Jane - B15
Charlotte Truffles - K18
cherrypugpie - O01
Chibi-Oneechan - Q10
Christine's Cookie Co - M04
CloverLeafPie - A17
Cocochoon - K13
CositasContreras - G09
crochetwhispers - Q05
Cupcakes for College - Q07
Deercassette - Q08
Derptiles - P11
Dezireecustoms - F12
Draw Jess Draw - B14
DrawnbyIvy - B05
Dream Fields Indigo - K03
Earthside Candles Co - F07
eelsilog - A20
Eizel’s Bakery - K22
EnV Bags LLC - F01
Escama Studio - E03
Eternal Trinket - G08
Euphoric Sun - B10
Exhilo Apparel - A19
Fern Flower Studio - K11
Fine Art & Illustration by Tabitha Jensen | Pabkins - O04
Florabel - F03
Fluffed Animals - F11
Fonzie's Artisanal Goods - H08
Franci Cakes - H03
Future Bloom Apparel - F08
fuwaffy - A22
Fuzzlecat - R03
Gabbie Gallery - A12
Gabriel Edwards - E08
Galaxsea Emporium - K07
Girthybobastraw - K15
Golden Circle - P01
Golden Lemon Studio LLC - Q06
Golden Luxe Jewels - K04
goyangii - G07
Hachi Bit - F13
Hannah Hillam Illustration - G02
Happy Goods - E02
Hello Lily - E04
homeyviis - F06
Homie SF - A06
Huang Pottery - A07
ItsKleine - G11
Jale - K02
Jaliren - A09
JaneLi.Co - B02
Jellybee Jewelry - A08
Joce - O03
Jodi408 - J03
Joy Blossoms Clay - G01
Kawaii Glass Co - B13
Kelsiekishidraws - P04
Kindred Caramels - G04
Krafttee - C04
Kristine Chen Ceramics - K05
Kuailin Studio - K12
La Paloma Imports - B04
Le Petit Elefant - M02
Leila's Divine Designs - F10
LettucePunch - K10
Limpachi - K01
Linked By Trini - K09
Magnote - J01
McKinnon Collective - B01
Meelee Art - H05
Menmin Made - P05
Midori Chan - A14
MiGi Cera Candle Co - P07
mintimelon marbles - K21
Misul Studios - A10
momofresh - K14
Motif's Art Studio - D04
Munespice - A05
Naptime Doodler - C01
Naptime Doodler - C02
Neko-Oi - Q11
No Thread No Life - A11
Nyaomikyu - K08
Out of the Woods - K24
Painting With James - B16
Panty Cat - H09
Paper Picture Mama - G06
Parasol Paper - P02
Peachirou - K23
Pink Little Clouds - A18
PinoyShotArt - A13
Prachie Studio - Q09
Prosecco Rose - H06
RainandJas - H10
rinihimme - K25
Rolilomi's Market - F04
Ronin Decals - F14
Rose Gold Jelly - Q12
Sakai Harts & Crafts - G03
sakuradragon - B18
sakuradragon - B20
Sam's Gourmet Jams - G10
Same Same Goods - E07
sanshocat studio - N01
Seto Arts - E01
Sherry Lou Studio - H07
shoyuscribbles - E06
Snippet Studios - B17
Snippet Studios - B19
soobiumi - A16
SoyFeliz - B09
Starry Droplets - K17
Sudibear - G05
Sundrop Studios - G12
Sweeter than Honey Bakery - H02
Teappo - P12
thanksxu - B12
The DLT Jewel Co. - K26
The Hungry Sloth - F02
The Joyful Thoughts - Q04
The Knotty Corgi - F09
The Little Forest Ceramic Shop - P03
The Little Red House - R01
Thrive Culture - E05
Treasure California - K06
Two Thicc Asians - B11
VinoBurrito - J02
Wild Rina - C03
Woofboard LLC - A24
Yanchako - B06
Yinaya - B07
Yours Truly, Mary Anne - A23


Vendor Lineup (sorted by booth number + row)

A05 - Munespice
A07 - Huang Pottery
A09 - Jaliren
A11 - No Thread No Life
A13 - PinoyShotArt
A15 - Alpine Soapery
A17 - CloverLeafPie
A19 - Exhilo Apparel
A21 - Alice Yang
A23 - Yours Truly, Mary Anne

A06 - Homie SF
A08 - Jellybee Jewelry
A10 - Misul Studios
A12 - Gabbie Gallery
A14 - Midori Chan
A16 - soobiumi
A18 - Pink Little Clouds
A20 - eelsilog
A22 - fuwaffy
A24 - Woofboard LLC

B01 - McKinnon Collective
B03 - 9 Lunas Accessories
B05 - DrawnbyIvy
B07 - Yinaya
B09 - SoyFeliz
B11 - Two Thicc Asians
B13 - Kawaii Glass Co
B15 - Ceramics By Jane
B17 - Snippet Studios
B19 - Snippet Studios

B02 - JaneLi.Co
B04 - La Paloma Imports
B06 - Yanchako
B10 - Euphoric Sun
B12 - thanksxu
B14 - Draw Jess Draw
B16 - Painting With James
B18 - sakuradragon
B20 - sakuradragon

C01 - Naptime Doodler
C02 - Naptime Doodler
C03 - Wild Rina
C04 - Krafttee

D01 - A Jar of Pickles
D02 - A Jar of Pickles
D03 - bananabbean
D04 - Motif's Art Studio
D05 - BVanSoi

E01 - Seto Arts
E03 - Escama Studio
E05 - Thrive Culture
E07 - Same Same Goods

E02 - Happy Goods
E04 - Hello Lily
E06 - shoyuscribbles
E08 - Gabriel Edwards

F01 - EnV Bags LLC
F03 - Florabel
F05 - Boho Moon Art
F07 - Earthside Candles Co
F09 - The Knotty Corgi
F11 - Fluffed Animals
F13 - Hachi Bit

F02 - The Hungry Sloth
F04 - Rolilomi's Market
F06 - homeyviis
F08 - Future Bloom Apparel
F10 - Leila's Divine Designs
F12 - Dezireecustoms
F14 - Ronin Decals

G01 - Joy Blossoms Clay
G03 - Sakai Harts & Crafts
G05 - Sudibear
G07 - goyangii
G09 - CositasContreras
G11 - ItsKleine

G02 - Hannah Hillam Illustration
G04 - Kindred Caramels
G06 - Paper Picture Mama
G08 - Eternal Trinket
G10 - Sam's Gourmet Jams
G12 - Sundrop Studios

H01 - Buppydogs
H03 - Franci Cakes
H05 - Meelee Art
H07 - Sherry Lou Studio
H09 - Panty Cat

H02 - Sweeter than Honey Bakery
H04 - Bad Art by Nice
H06 - Prosecco Rose
H08 - Fonzie's Artisanal Goods
H10 - RainandJas


J01 - Magnote
J02 - VinoBurrito
J03 - Jodi408

K01 - Limpachi
K03 - Dream Fields Indigo
K05 - Kristine Chen Ceramics
K07 - Galaxsea Emporium
K09 - Linked By Trini
K11 - Fern Flower Studio
K13 - Cocochoon
K15 - Girthybobastraw
K17 - Starry Droplets
K21 - mintimelon marbles
K23 - Peachirou
K25 - rinihimme

K02 - Jale
K04 - Golden Luxe Jewels
K06 - Treasure California
K08 - Nyaomikyu
K10 - LettucePunch
K12 - Kuailin Studio
K14 - momofresh
K16 - 2pomelo
K18 - Charlotte Truffles
K22 - Eizel’s Bakery
K24 - Out of the Woods
K26 - The DLT Jewel Co.

M02 - Le Petit Elefant
M04 - Christine's Cookie Co

N01 - sanshocat studio
N02 - (the) Lisa Inez

O01 - cherrypugpie
O02 - Aubluvion
O03 - Joce
O04 - Fine Art & Illustration by Tabitha Jensen | Pabkins

P01 - Golden Circle
P03 - The Little Forest Ceramic Shop
P05 - Menmin Made
P07 - MiGi Cera Candle Co
P09 - bb mad designs
P11 - Derptiles

P02 - Parasol Paper
P04 - Kelsiekishidraws
P06 - Browned Butter Babe Co.
P08 - CasaPlants Bay Area
P10 - Bunniejing Studio
P12 - Teappo

Q01 - Accessories NAGAOKA
Q03 - A Miyako M
Q05 - crochetwhispers
Q07 - Cupcakes for College
Q09 - Prachie Studio
Q11 - Neko-Oi

Q02 - Bad Witch Crystals
Q04 - The Joyful Thoughts
Q06 - Golden Lemon Studio LLC
Q08 - Deercassette
Q10 - Chibi-Oneechan
Q12 - Rose Gold Jelly

R01 - The Little Red House
R02 - Art by Julia
R03 - Fuzzlecat
R04 - Candy Paint Cafe

Thursday, December 14, 2023

More details emerge about "San Jose's Downtown Food Hall" on Santa Clara Street

A few tidbits are starting to leak out for one of San Jose's most mysterious projects--a food hall backed by the co-founder of Uber in the old Hank's Downtown Furniture retail spot. The location can support up to 26 kitchens and there will be a central ordering area for walk-ins. However, it will be optimized for to-go orders and deliveries.

Some of the restraunteur-oriented advertising for the project highlights that there are 1.1 million residents, 647,000 worker, and 44,000 students within a 15 minute drive. All of the order pickup and processing can be handled by the hall instead of the individual business.

The restaurants lined up so far include:
  • Forza Italia Kitchen
  • Y-Linh Sandwiches
  • Sophia's Sweets
  • Silk Road Kitchen
  • Cosmic Cuisine Halal,
  • Mercy Mediterranean
  • Monosushi
  • TeaZeer
  • Sam & Curry
  • Azuma San Jose
  • Cinco Milpas
Some of the menus are even already available over here. Even more interesting, several of the restaurants are slated to open at the end of December. This will be one project to keep an eye out for. You'll be able to access it at 82 E. Santa Clara Street.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

VeggieFest 2023 in Downtown San Jose Today 🥕

Today from 11am to 5pm in Plaza de Cesar Chavez you can experience a celebration of healthy and sustainable living. There is a lot going on including live music, arts & crafts, and of course fresh veggies to eat. I've posted all of the details below. 

Tickets are free and available here.

🌿 San Jose VeggieFest 2023: A Celebration of Healthy and Sustainable Living 🌿

Join us for a day filled with joy, flavor, and community at San Jose VeggieFest! With an inclusive theme that embraces healthy living, sustainability, community engagement, local economic support, and cultural celebration, we are thrilled to host a day that brings people together for a common cause.

🎶 Featuring Las Cafeteras: Join us for a soul-stirring performance by Las Cafeteras, a band renowned for their infectious blend of Afro-Mexican beats, rhythms, and rhymes. Las Cafeteras' meaningful lyrics tell stories of social justice, community, and celebration, resonating with the core values of VeggieFest. Their music creates connections across cultures and generations, promising an inspiring and unforgettable experience at San Jose VeggieFest 2023!

🥦 What to Expect

Promoting Healthy Living: Explore a variety of mouthwatering plant-based foods and beverages that encourage healthier dietary choices.

Community Engagement: Enjoy live entertainment and connect with individuals from all backgrounds.

Economic Support for Local Businesses: Discover local small businesses that share the event's values.

Cultural Celebration: Engage in multicultural performances and diverse culinary offerings.

🎉 Confirmed Participants:

Food & Beverage : Azalea's Creations, Açaí do Amazonas, Casita Vegana SF, Churros El Guero, Green Flour Bakery, Green Wolf Foods, Jaguar Baker, The Giving Pies, The Lemonade Bar, Souley Vegan Food, Juice Alize, and many more!

Education & Community Services: Evergreen Valley College, Fresh Approach, CAL FIRE, California Highway Patrol, SCC Public Health, Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters, Elected Representatives, and more!

Art & Crafts: Art Pocket SJ, Beaux Nails, Bethinketh LLC, Eminence Candle, Harji Naturals LLC, Ivy Indigo, Jellybee Jewelry, Luna Glow, Sacred Source, SuccsLife, The Source Zero, and more!

🎟️ Tickets: FREE ENTRY!! Please register through Eventbrite, will be scanning tickets at entrance.

Free entry for all ages!

📢 Join Us:

Be part of this joyful and meaningful event that brings together our community for a day of fun, learning, and connection. Whether you're a vegan food lover, an environmental enthusiast, or simply someone who enjoys a great gathering, San Jose VeggieFest is the place to be.

For more information, please contact Juan Rodriguez at

Monday, September 25, 2023

Little Italy San Jose Street Festival this weekend

The 6th Annual Little Italy San Jose Festival kicks off this Saturday, September 30th from 6-10pm and continues on Sunday, October 1st from 11am-7pm. It'll feature authentic Italian cuisine, entertainment, Cal-Italia wine tasting, Italian supercars, arts & crafts, and will of course highlight both the existing and new Little Italy San Jose businesses. There is also a silent auction to benefit the Italian Museum & Cultural Center which is located right inside Little Italy.

The list of sponsors includes some big names like Google and The Sobrato Organization, which is great since over 15,000 people could participate this year. It's always a fun event and a great way to explore one of San Jose's newest districts. I would recommend parking at San Pedro Square and walking over or using Uber/Lyft so you can really enjoy those Cal-Italian wines.

For more information head over here!

Monday, September 18, 2023

La Ca Phe now open on 740 Story Road in San Jose near Vietnam Town

La Ca Phe is a Vietnamese Coffee shop specializing in a variety of specialties that are not easy to find in the Bay Area. Their Eggspresso Hanoi is a special egg-based coffee drink that I last tried in Vietnam and it blew my mind. They also have Ube Coffee and a wide variety of other Vietnamese and Southeast Asian-style drinks.

They have been working on this coffee shop for three years and opened to huge demand. La Ca Phe is at 740 Story Road. Instead of doing your typical Starbucks routine, come try out some unique and truly delicious coffee someplace new!

Source: Insta

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Menu for Maui at the Signia San Jose

Executive Sous Chef Joe Derla has a strong personal connection to the islands and crafted a unique menu offering to benefit the Kokua Hospitality and Restaurant Fund. It's called Menu for Maui and it's available at the Fountain Restaurant every Sunday until October 1st. Proceeds will assist fellow restaurant, bar, and hospitality workers displaced be the wildfires in West Maui.

The menu includes items such as ube custard French toast with candied macadamia nuts, braised short rib loco moco with kimchee fried rice, fish with poi, and a pineapple mimosa with Hawaiian salt.

It's a great menu for a great cause. The Signia is located right in front of Plaza de Cesar Chavez in the middle of Downtown San Jose.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

The WOW Festival 2023 in Downtown San Jose

A three-day music festival is taking place this Labor Day Weekend at Plaza de Cesar Chavez. The WOW Festival is showcase of emerging talent from San Jose and beyond, curated by Outside Live and featuring genres like indie rock, hip hop, EDM, folk, and more. 

Within the festival will be a variety of attractions, activities, food, a full bar, and "good vibes." Speaking of which, bad vibes are explicitly prohibited from this event according to their website.

It's open to all ages, although VIP tickets are 21 and over. The WOW festival runs from September 1st to 3rd, starting at noon each day and most musical acts ending around 10pm. For more info, head over here.

Friday, August 25, 2023

2nd Taco Bell *Cantina* opens in San Jose

If you have ever been to Taco Bell and wished there was something with a little more kick to wash those tacos down, today is your lucky day. A new Taco Bell Cantina opened next to the Century Theaters at Oakridge Mall. Unlike other Taco Bells, the "Cantina" variety serve alcohol including blended margaritas and beers and usually stay open until midnight.

It's a surreal experience getting your alcoholic beverages at a Taco Bell, but they were surprisingly good and affordable. I would take this over your typical movie theater food any day of the week.

There is one other Taco Bell Cantina at 19 Market St. in Downtown San Jose. I'll never forget that location as it's the only place where I personally experienced a crime. As I sat down to eat, a young man in a peacoat asked if he could have one of my Cheesy Gordita Crunch tacos. I said I'm good. Then he tried to trade me his peacoat for the taco. While tempting and likely a trade in my favor, I still said no. When I got up to tell one of the managers I was getting a bit uncomfortable, he grabbed my taco and ran away! He didn't even leave the peacoat. Thankfully customer service was excellent and Taco Bell Cantina staff immediately replaced my pilfered Cheesy Gordita Crunch taco at no additional charge. No police report was filed.

True random story aside, if you enjoy Taco Bell this is the best one to go to. Their fancy frozen margaritas can also be made without alcohol and they have nicer seating they your typical Taco Bell. This new one even has a patio with a fireplace.

Source: Fox KTVU

Friday, August 18, 2023

Egghead Sando opens new locations in San Jose and Santa Clara

One of my favorite sandwich places has opened two new locations. You can now enjoy Egghead Sando Cafe in South San Jose at 6201 Santa Teresa Blvd. and in Santa Clara at 3957 Rivermark Plaza (North San Jose area).

They are known for their fluffy egg-centric toasted brioche sandwiches, which are often paired with bacon, spam, or chicken. My go-to is the B.E.C. sandwich which has thick-cut bacon, an over medium egg, cheddar, and house sauce. They also have a specialty called the Eggy which is a poached egg on top of a potato puree topped topped with bacon and chives. It's a perfect complement to any sandwich, especially with tater tots. 

They're open from 7am to 3pm on the weekdays and 8am to 4pm on the weekends. Egghead also has two other locations off of Capital Expressway and in Downtown San Jose.

Source: The Merc

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Famous Korean BBQ spot Baekjeong opens first Northern California location in San Jose

Speaking of BBQ (see previous post today), Baekjeong is opening their very first location in Northern California at Westfield Valley Fair. This is a chain owned by Korean celebrity Kang Ho-dong and is extremely popular in LA and New York. San Jose will be one of just a two locations to accept reservations and they are already going fast on Resy.

While many malls around the country are struggling, Valley Fair somehow is continuing to expand and attract compelling restaurants. Eataly, Din Tai Fung, iChina, Maestro's, Kingfish, and Ramen Nagi are some of the other flagship dining destinations within the mall.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

100 Things To Do In San Jose Before You Die - 2nd Edition

Welcome to the blog post that has stayed in "draft" the longest. I started writing this right as COVID had just started to spread and decided to table it until the pandemic was over. Then last year, life got crazy... so this has been in draft for over three years!

Five Eight years ago I read the first edition of Susannah Greenwood's "100 Things To Do in San Jose Before You Die." As a hardcore San Jose aficionado, I was shocked (and delighted) that I had only done 54 out of the 100 things to do in the book. There is so much to do and see in San Jose.

25% of the entries on the second edition are new, and the rest have been updates with extended tips. I have used the book as sort of a checklist to see how many I can do. The answer is 52. In the 2nd Edition I have been able to do 52/100.

Some of the new entries include:
  • Hiking Mount Umunhum
  • Having a picnic at the Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve
  • Bike, Blade, and Board at Viva CalleSJ
  • Letting your taste buds travel with a Little Ethiopian in Little Ethiopia
  • Indulge at Adega (I think this will be updated for the 3rd Edition)
  • Pair farm-fresh food with gorgeous valley views at the Mount Hamilton GrandView Restaurant
  • Celebrating the geekiest week of the year with Star Wars Day and Free Comic Book Day
...and many, many more. It's a great book and still very relevant, especially if you want to get the most out of the beautiful place where you live and uncover as many hidden gems and fun attractions as possible in your own home. San Jose is one of the most underrated cities in the United States, and this book will help explain why.

If I haven't been super clear, I highly recommend the 2nd edition (even if you have the first). You can get the book in paperback or Kindle form over here.

"In sitting down to revise the book, I thought a lot about San Jose, how it has and continues to change, as well as what a successful travel experience for me personally constitutes. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to 6 continents and I examined what my favorite places were and why they ranked so. Certainly natural beauty, history, cultural offerings and great weather all play a part in connecting one to a destination and creating a positive travel memory, but what it really comes down to for me, are the people. That is the x factor. The people you meet, at least in my experience, can leave as much of a lasting impression in many cases as the food or the views or the activities you engage in. The people you meet have the power to transform a moment into a story and create a shared experience that extends its impact well after you’ve returned home. In short; conversations create connection and that connection is ripe for the picking in San Jose.

They say it’s not about the destination - it’s the journey, but I think San Jose truly proves they’re both very much intertwined. The featured places and events in the book were especially selected to not only represent our culture and highlight our tremendous natural landscape, but to underscore our strong sense of community. Each of the entries certainly qualifies as a stand-alone adventure, but each of them also strives to put the participant directly in the path of our cities most magical asset; San Joseans. These are the places you’re most likely to strike up that all important conversation with the most passionate and knowledgeable secret tour guides, each genuinely eager to enhance and elevate your experience with additional history, tidbits, and previously undocumented advice. It’s less of a guide to physical places perhaps as it is a curation of potential conversations by which one can better understand and enjoy our awesome City.

Whether you're a first time visitor to this biggest little city in the heart of Silicon Valley, a regular traveler to the area, or a local this 2nd edition is a great catalyst to exploring what makes San Jose tick and getting to know the authentic San Jose." -Susannah Greenwood

Monday, July 31, 2023

San Jose has the largest share of Vietnamese restaurants in the country and exciting projects to come

I believe San Jose has the largest Vietnamese community of any city in the US. At the County-level, it is only second to Orange County down south. However, despite having a slightly smaller Vietnamese population than Orange County (180k vs. 120k in here), Silicon Valley has the highest concentration of Vietnamese restaurants in the US. 6% of all restaurants in Santa Clara County are Vietnamese, featuring some of my favorite foods like pho, banh mi, and other delicacies.

SJ Today has great guides for both the top Pho and Banh Mi shops in San Jose. There are also lots of other types of restaurants featuring spicy Bun Bo Hue and Nuoc Mia (sugarcane juice) that you can find throughout San Jose.

The strength of the Vietnamese community here is one of the reasons why there is a proposal on the table to build a 260,000 SQFT Vietnamese indoor market modeled after a Ho Chi Minh City landmark (image below) where Sears used to be in Eastridge. It would be called Hello Ben Thanh Indoor Market and would have a combination of retail stores, massive food courts with as many as 50 booths, an entertainment center, and banquet hall. The project would take over both floors of the old Sears building. Think of it as a Vietnamese version of Eataly that will be accessible from both inside and outside the mall.

There is no formal ETA, but the developer Intelli has already secured the space for $24.8 million.

Source: The Merc, NextShark

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Santa Clara County Fair

The Santa Clara County Fair is back with a vengeance today after a COVID-related hiatus. Instead of running for three or four days, it will do a full 10-day run for the first time in 25+ years.

Today there will be a VIP ribbon cutting around 2:30pm followed by a 7pm parade. Each day there will be entertainment such as live music, magic, and even a hypnotist. The list of events and exhibits are too long to mention, so check out the full schedule and get tickets over here.

Source: The Merc