Bay Area Eats Series & Vegan Ice Cream Recommendation

El Salvadorian Food – El Chalateco

955 Saratoga Ave San Jose, CA 95129

I was incredibly happy to discover an El Salvadorian restaurant in the Bay Area. I highly recommend El Chalateco, the restaurant, and open kitchen are exceptionally clean and up to COVID protocol. They also have outdoor dining. The flavor of the food was fantastic and authentic. I grew up eating El Salvadorian food thanks to my step-dad so I’m picky about flavor. We ordered two pupusas de chicharrón y queso, pupusa de queso, chicken tamales, and tamal de elote (plain sweet corn).

Korean BBQ Truck – BBQ Kalbi Food Truck

305 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95051

This is a new BBQ truck run independently by one woman. She makes simple Korean BBQ dishes like pork with rice or kimchi fried rice. Her portions are big enough to share and her prices are incredibly low. She also adds plenty of vegetables like zucchini!

Upscale Korean Dinning – Chungdam Restaurant

My dining experience at Chungdam was whimsical and memorable. We ordered spicy octopus, short ribs with pumpkin, and the pork belly appetizer. The short ribs with pumpkin had roasted chestnuts and veggies it was sweet and fall-off-the-bone. The pumpkin tasted addicting. They offer outdoor dining under umbrella-covered tables and cell phone scanned menus.

Bubble tea, Red Velvet to Tiramisu – Toco Tea

3074 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95051

The bubble tea at Toco Tea is next level liquid dessert. I loved the tiramisu boba with cream cheese foam and the red velvet flavored boba. Both were as satisfying as eating a bowl of ice cream.

Vegan Ice Cream recommendation: Valsoia Gelato Cones

I picked up these cones on a whim from the supermarket. I had to list them here as a recommendation because they are delicious and dairy-free. I’ve struggled to find dairy-free ice-cream that tastes rich rather than like ice chunks, but this is it. This dairy-free milk ice cream tastes just as velvety as regular ice cream. The bottom of the cone has chocolate too! ❤

See you in the next installment!

Bay Area Eats Series

Takeout & Outdoor Dining Edition

Boiling Crab San Jose – 71 Curtner Ave Suite 20, San Jose, CA 95125 – I prefer the Boiling Crab seafood boil to Kickin’ Crab. We ordered takeout seafood boil in whole-shebang (all sauces mixed) spicy sauce. We got shrimp, sausage, potatoes, corn, and crab. The freshness of the seafood and flavor surpassed our expectations. It was a beautiful meal to have on my patio on a summer evening!

The Sandwich Spot – 5126 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose, CA 95129 – I ordered two takeout sandwiches: the Crab sandwich and the Spartan Special sandwich. The Crab Sandwich uses imitation crab and has a fresh cold summer-like taste while the Spartan Special is the standard turkey bacon sandwich. I preferred the Spartan Special. Still, both sandwiches tasted appetizing. They often have coupons on Grub Hub.

Pizz’A Chicago – 1576 Halford Ave, Santa Clara, CA 95051 – This pizza place does pizza best. I’ve ordered other things on the menu like stuffed mushrooms and I was extremely disappointed. However, their pizzas are super tasty and flavorful. Though they are named after Chicago pizza they do not seem to make deep dish pizza. I’ve ordered two pizzas from here and the best one is pictured above The Southsider pizza. This restaurant has two small tables outside for outdoor dining.

Pacific Catch – 19399 Stevens Creek Blvd Ste 5, Cupertino, CA 95014 – A pleasant outdoor eating restaurant is Pacific Catch. The food is a fusion of different cuisines. They have super tasty cocktails as well. Their food is simple flavor-wise but their service and presentation are excellent. Our waiter was super kind and happy and the restaurant generally has positive vibes. Makes for a nice quick bite!

La Chilanguita Taco Truck – 4179 Moorpark Ave #4167, San Jose, CA 95117 – This authentic taco truck has no frills but still offers a cheap and delicious eating experience. I liked the carne asada tacos most. I think their horchata tastes addicting and tasty as well.

I was going to recommend San Mateo restaurants for outdoor dining because the area had entire streets closed off or set up to cater to outdoor customers however it seems the area may close down again. Pictured above is a quick bite bento box lunch from NI-MO Japanese Cuisine – 73 E 3rd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401 – The food tasted fresh and simple, nothing noteworthy, its a nice place to eat outside.

Do you like hot waffles and cold ice-cream? If you do then you’ll love takeout from Cocohodo Sunnyvale – 1082 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087. They have two small tables and chairs right by the entrance, so we were able to eat outside of the restaurant. I ordered the Green Tea waffle with bananas and green tea ice-cream. We also got shaved mango ice and both dishes tasted delightful!

If you crave a Korean BBQ “feast style” meal the best place to go in the South Bay is Tobang – 1052 Kiely Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95051 – They make grilled meat and serve other popular Korean dishes like seafood pancakes. What makes them stand out is their welcoming customer service and large portions with extra sides if you have a large order.

Somi Somi – 19540 Vallco Pkwy #160, Cupertino, CA 95014 – I’ve been here twice and both experiences were perfect. They offer soft serve and fish shaped waffle cones. I love the black sesame ice-cream and crunchy topping options! ❤

Recommendation ~ Black Girl Magic Wine

I recently came across Black Girl Magic wine at the wine store and fell in love with the owners’ story. The McBrides winery is majority women employed and the owners are two bi-racial sisters who did not know of each other and lived across the world from one another. They eventually found each other and opened a wine business, this is one of few women-owned wine businesses that exist! Read more and see their online store here – https://www.mcbridesisters.com/Sisters-Story

Wine link https://www.mcbridesisters.com/Black-Girl-Magic

Bay Area Eats Series – Takeaway Edition

Fashion Wok

We ordered the Spices Satay Beef Wok at the Fashion Wok restaurant for takeout. The prices are incredibly reasonable with a range of about $12-20 total for two people. The ingredients tasted fresh and the flavors were balanced. Additionally, all of the spices and sauces were packed separately from the food so that we could add as much or at little as we wanted.

Konjoe Burger

I’ve ordered from Konjoe twice and both experiences were amazing. I recommend trying the Galbi burger or Spicy Chicken sandwich with seasoned fries. I like eating here on a cheat day and it’s also a great idea to split a burger to taste something different without over-indulging. The other burger we tried here is the Konjoe Burger but, Galbi beats the Konjoe burger by a landslide flavor-wise in my opinion and the Spicy Chicken Sandwich is a close second!

Grub Burger Bar

This restaurant offers to-go cocktails in addition to food. The customer service is always excellent and the chicken sandwiches we ordered tasted very satisfying and flavorful with varied ingredients and dipping sauces! They offer a chickpea vegetarian burger as well.

Bay Area Eats: Three Price Ranges

Middle Price Range: Fish Market, Roll House, Slapfish (pictures in listed order)

The Fish Market restaurant in Santa Clara has seafood for sale at the front of the restaurant. I ordered a tuna salad that sadly had canned tuna but still tasted satisfying. What I do recommend is the shrimp scampi, it was balanced and simple in flavor. I think this place makes a nice quick pasta lunch spot. A downside is that the menu does not have much variety.

Roll House in Santa Clara sells Korean “soul food,” or homey quick dishes like kimbap, tteokbokki, and seafood ramen. I recommend the tuna kimbap and seafood ramen. They pack the soup with fresh seafood at an affordable price and serve it hot.

Slapfish in San Jose is most well known for lobster rolls. I do feel that Cousins Maine Lobster truck sells better tasting lobster rolls but Slapfish is a close second. The reason I think the lobster truck is better is they serve more lobster and thinner bread rolls. Nevertheless, Slapfish’s side fries are addictive. I recommend choosing it as your side dish of choice.

Semi-upper price range – 10 Butchers in Santa Clara

I had a fantastic service and dining experience at 10 Butchers. It is an upscale Korean BBQ spot on El Camino Real. The waiters all came out and sang Happy Birthday to my relative and made a dessert for us with cookies, strawberries, and whipped cream. They additionally give away many complementary dishes like fish cakes and a dessert beverage made of Yuzu or Yuja. Have you heard of Yuzu before? It was my first time learning about this fruit and the waiter explained it is a hybrid made from mandarin and papeda (citrus).

Learn more about Yuzu here https://citrusvariety.ucr.edu/citrus/yuzu1.html

Semi-upper price range – Seafood Boil in San Jose at Kickin Crab

We ordered the lobster and Dungeness crab seafood boil with the Kickin seasoning (a mix made of all flavors) at Kickin Crab in San Jose. I recommend the Kickin mix with medium spice if you like spicy food because it tasted flavorful yet not overwhelmingly spicy. We also ordered Cajun fries but I do not recommend them because I found them too thin and hard to chew. Overall, I enjoyed the seafood boil at Kickin Crab and I’d rate is 7.5 out of 10.

Upper Price Range: The Calmére Estate Winery in Napa

Calmére Winery is located neck-deep in Napa Valley. After a journey up long roads, that were seemingly unending, lies a small jewel called Calmére. This winery is surrounded by green glowing grass and bright blue skies. I attended their buffet-style Valentine’s day brunch. The event had excellent customer service and food. The waitstaff generously refilled the wine throughout the afternoon. This winery often has events in celebration of holidays and regular wine tastings. ❤

Bay Area Eats Series

Below are recommendations I have from restaurants I’ve visited this winter in the Bay Area:

Hot Stone Korean Kitchen

2190 N Texas St, Fairfield, CA 94533

Fairfield CA does not have the best food. It is hard to find restaurants that are as good as other major cities in California like San Francisco or LA. I scoured the area to find Korean food and the only place that I liked is Hot Stone Korean Kitchen.

They offer pitchers of soju mixed drinks and a wide array of banchan. I recommend trying out the fried mackerel. If you ever end up in Fairfield CA check out Hot Stone for a hot meal and nice service!

House of Phở

1066 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

I prefer pho places that offer substitutions like egg noodles rather than rice noodles and House of Pho has this. The restaurant serves an array of hot and flavorful broth. They also offer boba or bubble tea and can substitute dairy with coconut or almond milk. I tried the red bean smoothie with boba and coconut milk, it was sweet and filling. My table also ordered combination noodles and the dish was expertly seasoned. I can attest that there is super flavorful and addictive food at the House of Pho!

The most flavorful ramen I’ve ever tried at Sake Bomb Sushi!

Sake Bomb Sushi 759 El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

I plan on returning to this restaurant for sure. The broth is so tasty and the noodles taste like they are freshly handmade. I want to bring more people and friends to this restaurant to try out the ramen with me. Memorably delicious!

Try the Ace LA Galbi at Jang Su Jang

3561 El Camino Real #10, Santa Clara, CA 95051

I specifically really enjoy the LA Galbi at Jang Su Jang. I noticed almost every table seated around me also ordered it. This restaurant prepares perfectly salty and sweet LA Galbi. I love how affordable the restaurant is and the nice touches they add to their banchan like fresh apples in the side salad.

See you in the next Bay Area eats installment, comment any restaurant suggestions or review requests below!

Bay Area Eats Series (3 price ranges)

This food series reviews restaurants in the Bay Area at three price ranges: low, medium, and high (or high-ish?). At the end of this series, I hope to compile a list of the best places to eat in the Bay Area.

Lower Price Range:

Pho Huynh Hiep 6

Pho Huynh Hiep 6, located in Walnut Creek, has quick food service and fresh ingredients. I ordered a seafood pho and taro bubble tea. The broth tasted light and simple. I recommend this spot for a light lunch.

Napa Taco Truck – La Condesa

La Condesa taco truck is just spot on. It has perfect prices, great customer service, and fresh ingredients. There are also plenty of spots to park in the Napa neighborhood to eat. I ordered carnita and lengua (tongue) tacos, horchata, and ceviche.

Los Gallos Taqueria

Los Gallos Taqueria, located in Redwood City, has the highest rated food for this post in my opinion. Super fresh seafood on the tostadas, which are loaded with octopus and shrimp, and topped off with avocado. The tacos (intestines) tasted perfectly crispy and extra delicious with extra spicy salsa. I highly recommend this spot and specifically the seafood tostadas.

Medium Price Range:

Korean Souel BBQ

The seafood pancake was flavorful and not as oily or doughy as others at this Oakland based Korean restaurant named Korean Souel BBQ. I enjoyed the taste of ample green onion, squid, and imitation crab meat. The wings tasted were served hot but they were a bit too sweet and lacking in spice. I do recommend visiting this restaurant for the haemul pajeon (seafood pancake), though it is not packed with seafood, there’s enough in the dish to taste filling. For only $18, the seafood pancake is a nice shareable light meal. The owner is super kind and talkative as well.

Miramar Beach Restaurant at Half Moon Beach

I ate a super light salad at the oceanfront restaurant Miramar at Half Moon Beach. I highly recommend this restaurant for the view alone. It’s a very relaxing lunch spot. I also recommend trying the Bomba dessert made with white chocolate and tropical flavored sorbets.

The day we ate there it was super warm but generally, it is recommended to bring a sweater just in case the water makes the area a little chilly. I had a jean jacket with me that I put on before walking near the ocean after lunch. There is free valet parking. I’d recommend getting valet if the restaurant appears full. We tried to park ourselves and ended up having to loop back because there were no spaces.

Slanted Tree

Slated Tree in Fairfield always seems packed. This restaurant has excellent bottomless Mimosas. I recommend this place as a quick brunch spot if you’re in the area. I’ve found it is one of the best places to eat in Fairfield.

Higher Price Range:

Bistro Don Giovanni

I can recommend this restaurant for the surrounding wine vineyards alone. The restaurant’s Napa Valley location is beautiful. Even the parking lot is pretty as you can see from the last picture. The pizza was very balanced in cheese, meat, and vegetables. The best part was the crust. It was harmoniously crispy and chewy. I only wished the menu had more variety and a seafood pizza option. ❤