Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sushi 85

Thursday nights are a general "out" night for us, as I've apparently only just figured out, but maybe you guys have seen this pattern for a while now. Jim and Viv joined us for all-you-can-eat sushi at Sushi 85. For $25, you don't get a buffet, you get a laminated list of rolls and nigiri, and just mark off what you want! Each person can order three items at a time, so you get a great variety pretty fast.

I wasn't in the mood for a lot of nigiri (same with the rest of the table), so I ordered a couple pieces of ebi (cooked, split shrimp) and a couple unagi (eel) and called it a day. Ebi was average and unagi was a little dry, which doesn't jive well, since it's already served with sauce. JB got two orders of sake (raw salmon), as he really likes their salmon. I wasn't as big a fan, but it could be my pieces (toppers to rolls, will mention soon) were more stringy than his.

There were several rolls on the table I didn't try, since they had crab in them (like the California. the Green Dragon. the Rainbow). But they were generally gobbled up, so I'm guessing there were no complaints!

The worst roll goes to the New York Roll, which was (cooked) shrimp and cucumber. Cucumber was too overwhelming when there weren't a lot of flavors present. Of course we ordered a Philly Roll (salmon and cream cheese), and it was good, although a lil heavy on the cream cheese. JB insisted on a Lion King Roll, which was immense. Easily the largest I've ever seen (even bigger than the Beauty & the Beast at Siam Orchid, which previously held this record in my eyes). It was a crab and avocado roll with baked salmon and a special sauce on top. I ate a few pieces of the top salmon, and it was really different (in a good way). [the photo to the right is a stock photo I found online, but in the left corner you can see the craziness that is the Lion King Roll] Then there was the Tai Ji Roll, which was eel and cucumber with white tuna on top. That was a slight letdown, probably because I treasure a tasty eel, and theirs isn't top-notch. We had an overpowering choice... the Ocean Roll... it had too much in it... tuna, salmon, albacore, spicy tuna, and cucumber. The final roll of the night was the Popcorn Shrimp, and it was great!! It wasn't the crumbly popcorn shrimp like you'd get at KFC, it was more like a sweet-and-sour-type fried shrimp. It and a yummy sauce topped a roll that had shrimp and cucumber in it.

Overall, it was good. The variety was a lot greater, but there were no sashimi options and the nigiri wasn't too impressive.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Bangkok Spoon

On a Sunday afternoon, we went downtown and tried Bangkok Spoon. It was an interesting place. The decor was really neat. The server was the most American Asian guy we've had in California. He spoke like a New York Pizzeria owner, and was pretty friendly.

Jonathan had the Panang Curry, with chicken and rice. He enjoyed it quite a bit. I had the Bangkok Spoon Clay Pot, a house specialty. I didn't care for it, though Jonathan liked it quite a bit when he tried it. The glass noodles were really sticky and sweet, and the bits of bacon were strange. Prawns and cilantro rounded out the dish, which I just couldn't get into. I took home leftovers, but they didn't get eaten and had to be thrown out in the end.

Overall, I enjoyed the place for its decor and staff, but didn't care too much for my dish. I don't really think I'd go back, mainly since the pad thai (the safety Thai dish, let's not lie) has tofu in it, and that's just not gonna fly with me. It was also a bit pricey for lunch, but not disturbingly expensive.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fast Food Chinese

One night, after the gym, we wanted to try this Chinese place around the corner. Well, actually we've tried to eat there at least two other times, but they close early. REALLY early. Like 8pm, even on weekends. Which is rather ridiculous, considering this is not a small town by any means. But anyway...

We went to Express 7 Chinese Fast Food, and picked up some takeout. Everyone online recommends you get takeout, but eat it there or take it home, since they give you more that way. I find this interesting, but our boxes were HEAPING full, so I guess it's true! Mine made for three meals! Anyway, it's set-up like any Chinese place in a mall... you pick rice or chow mein, then 1-3 entrees. You have the option to add a soup or an eggroll (or a fortune cookie for a dime, which is ridiculous, since they're free EVERYWHERE ELSE). We were there about 7:15-7:30, so it was nearing the end of their day, and as you can imagine several of the items were completely gone. I can't comment on the full menu because of this, especially since I might have ordered different items if they had been available.

Jonathan chose the fried rice (which had peas in it, so it was a no-go for me), and I got the chow mein. He said the rice was average. The chow mein was probably the worst I've ever had... it had LARGE chunks of celery, too much cabbage, and the onions were almost raw. The noodles were also very plain, so I'm glad I could add some soy sauce. Jonathan chose the beef-and-broccoli and the dai chin chicken. The beef-and-broccoli was very standard, but the dai chin chicken was fabulous. Easily the best thing that either of us ordered. I tried the honey chicken and the five-flavor chicken. The honey chicken was strange. As in, it tasted more like honey-barbecue than honey. Think: KFC honey-barbecue chicken. Yikes. The five-flavor, on the other hand, was rather bland for being labeled 'spicy' at the place... AND I even asked the server how spicy it was, and she emphasized "spicy."

It is also worth mentioning that I've pretty much given up forks when it comes to Asian food. It's just so much more efficient to use chopsticks. Really. Because of this, I need restaurants to provide me with quality chopsticks. Unfortunately, the chopsticks here were the absolute worst I have ever been issued. They were very thin, and very splintery. I actually put them down after a piece of wood got into my mouth, and switched over to a fork. Another thing worth mentioning... they only take cash. But the only place you can see that this is the case is above the cash register... so it doesn't help you after you've already ordered and had your food boxed up. Luckily, they have an ATM in the corner of the restaurant, otherwise Jonathan would have had to drive home and get more cash than we had on us (clearly I don't bring my purse to the gym). So between the mall-level food and the need for cash, it's not that great of a place. Especially when Hangen is not even a mile away from the apartment, and so much better.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Smoke Eaters

After the show we were hungry, so Eilbroun took us to a place he likes (he went to SJSU for undergrad, so he knows the area a bit), Smoke Eaters Hot Wings. I was pretty impressed with the place for its sandwich... not so much for its wings. But, that's just me. They only have the "hot" flavors, and I really prefer the more creative flavors, like honey bbq, mustard chipotle, cherriyaki, etc. They have seven levels of heat, and the three of them got level 4: Nuclear. Yeah, I thought that sounded fierce too, but the scale goes: mild, traditional, atomic, nuclear, traditional death, 4 alarm, inferno... so go figure. They were also like 80 cents per wing, which is ridiculous. I had the Gilroy Garlic chicken sandwich, which was a steal at $5. It's a chicken breast in a very original coating, fried golden brown, then covered in a monterrey-jack-type-cheese and a garlic spread. On a soft bun. Excellent. We also got some fries and a coke, but I wouldn't get the fries again, they were very bland and boring, even with ketchup. I might do the cheese curly fries though, they sound much better.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

San Jose Improv

We went to the San Jose Improv club with Eilbroun and Carmen. The show started at 8pm, and we got there just after 7pm, which worked out well. We picked up two more hurricane glasses there, as there's a 2-item minimum per person, and ordering a special take-home glass satisfies that requirement. The drinks were pretty weak, but at least they were original.

We shared some appetizers at the table, none of which I'd brag about, recommend, or order again. We got the nachos (beans on the side) which were disappointing. The cheese was really runny and there were more jalapenos on there than tomatoes and onions combined. We got the chicken tenders, which were more like chicken fingers (short, thin, little coating), and horribly overpriced when you receive 5 of them for $9. Then there was the calamari. Not that much, and it was really rubbery. Plus the cocktail sauce wasn't that good and there was no tartar option. At least there was plenty of lemon. Lesson learned: eat before you go.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Blue Cow Eatery

It was really hot, so we stopped for ice cream on the way out of that area at Blue Cow Eatery, a very local place with friendly servers. I had a vanilla milkshake and Kathy has a chocolate malt. Both were prety good, and the menu looked pretty neat too, if anyone is every up in Morrison, CO, hehe.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mr. Sushi

Lunch at Mr. Sushi in Littleton. Emmanuel swears that it’s the best sushi ever. While the pieces of fish are quite large, it’s not the best place ever in Jonathan’s or my opinions. There were probably 12 or so of us at lunch, and I was the only one not to order miso soup or sunomono salad, so my entrĂ©e came first. I got the shrimp yakisoba, which was a semi-spicy stir-fried dish with noodles and veggies. It was pretty good. JB got the chicken teriyaki, and we split a Philly Roll (cream cheese and salmon). The teriyaki sauce was great, and I added some to my rice (which somehow came as a side to my noodle dish, LoL). I tried some of Kathy’s Ace roll but it had tempura in it so I wasn’t a huge fan. Andy had some great-looking eel, and Vanessa got a SkyDiver roll… with tuna, salmon, crab, and a ton of stuff.
Emmanuel and the boat
my shrimp yakisoba
JB's chicken teriyaki and sunomono salad

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Casa Bonita

We met up with everyone to head to Casa Bonita for dinner and entertainment.
While it’s a pretty cool place, we timed it poorly. We didn’t arrive until after 8pm, and apparently nobody called to find out that they closed at 9pm that night. This meant that by the time we finished eating, the shows were all over and we didn’t have much time to walk through the attractions. The place is gigantic, and seats like 1100 people. There are cliff divers, mariachis, and gunmen (all of which we saw) among the events taking place. We missed out on the puppet shows, fire jugglers, a gorilla (which we briefly saw but not really), magicians, and dancers. There are also mines and caves to tour, plus various other things to explore. It’s really designed for kids, but is pretty fun.
Advice: you have to purchase a dinner, but the food is pretty bad. So get the cheapest thing, since you won’t eat it anyway. Save the room for the sopapillas, which are free and all-you-can-eat, and DELICIOUS. We went with the fajitas, since they have the best reviews… but they weren’t worth even half the price (and they were about $18!). Cheap-tasting and salty. Bleh. And the tortillas were in a Ziploc.

Noodles & Company

Thursday afternoon the group was free from all other activities, so we re-commenced being tourists. We ate lunch at Noodles & Company, which was pretty average. I had the Pesto Cavatappi, which was spiral noodles and pesto sauce with parmesan-crusted chicken, tomatoes, and garlic (hold the mushrooms). Jonathan had the macaroni and cheese with chicken, also average.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Phantom Canyon Brewery

One dinner, a group of like 25 people headed to Phantom Canyon Brewery, which had some of the weirdest combinations I have ever encountered. For instance, there was a shrimp and lobster spaghetti in avocado citrus sauce. No lie. The Chipotle Caesar had buffalo shrimp and pita bread in it! Anyway, I ordered the chicken quesadillas, which were served with sour cream, mild salsa, and salsa verde, so they were fabulous (and among the thickest quesadillas I had ever seen!). Jonathan had fish and chips, pretty average. But what stole the meal was the appetizer we ordered: three soft pretzels with beer-cheese dip and stoneground mustard. DELICIOUS.

Old Chicago

I ended up eating alone at Old Chicago, since everyone else had work that night. Old Chicago is a pizza/pasta/draft house place, if that makes sense. I got the chicken parmiagiana and it was fabulous. Unfortunately, it took an hour just for me, but I wasn’t really in a hurry so it wasn’t that big of a deal.And I didn't get a chance to eat my leftovers, which was a shame. The next day, I met up with the group for lunch there, and JB and I had pepperoni pizza, which ranked up there with the Top 5 slices I’ve ever had, I’m pretty sure. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pikes Peak Donuts

We tried some of the World Famous Pikes Peak donuts. They were nothing special. 

Del Taco

For dinner one night in Denver, we tried out Del Taco, since we keep hearing how much better than Taco Bell it is. NOPE. It was one of the worst meals I’ve EVER eaten, and Jonathan didn’t care much for it, either. I had the classic chicken burrito, which was only lukewarm in a crappy tortilla. The fries were cold and rather soggy, plus they weren’t that well-done anyway. Jonathan had a beef burrito and a chicken soft taco… the taco was gross but the burrito was halfway-decent. Neither of us ever plans on going there again, LoL.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Jim & Nick's BBQ

For lunch we were originally going to do Pizza Hut, for the lunch buffet. We both really love their buffet. Unfortunately, the one near us didn’t have that option. So we decided that we’d be bold and exciting and head to the local Texas de Brazil (it’s a Brazilian steakhouse, and we’ve been to the one in Orlando a few times, and they sent us an email coupon for our anniversary). We get there and it turns out they only serve lunch on FRIDAYS. How bizarre! Since this was near a shopping center, we walked around a bit and stumbled upon another Qdoba. But, we ultimately chose to go to Jim & Nick’s Bar-B-Q, which was next door. They had a good sweet tea, and FANTASTIC nachos. They were out of chicken, so we had pork on ours. They had sour cream, cheese, queso, peppers, tomatoes, salsa, lettuce, and probably more I can’t remember now. It was a steal for $8. Jonathan had the sliced beef sandwich with macaroni and cheese, and I had pulled pork with fries. The fries were so-so, as was the macaroni. The sauces weren’t that exciting (a regular and a hot), and the waiter thought I was crazy for not getting the second half of my sandwich to-go (it was only average and we’re on vacation so fridges aren’t prevalent).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Good Fries at ESPNZone

We stopped to eat at the ESPNZone while we were in Denver. We caught the Magic/Celtics game while we ate. I had a bacon cheeseburger that was decent, but great fries.