Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Palo Alto is now home to a Sancho's Taqueria and the world's best fish taco is right downtown. Sancho's started in Redwood City and became an instant success, soon moving to larger quarters. The owners also ran the taqueria in an East Palo Alto market, but have now switched to Lytton and Cowper in Palo Alto. Although they have most of the standard Mexican fare done satisfactorily, their fish tacos, either fried or grilled, are just superb ($3.95). 3 make a good meal for 2 people. The ceviche is also excellent and their chips and salsas are fresh and tasty. They use sustainable ingredients and biodegradable paper products, which is very commendable for their reasonable prices. I wish them lots of success.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
We returned to Nopa Thanksgiving weekend and were thankful we did. Nopa is one of our favorite SF restaurants, reliably excellent and the service is always great. We know the owner- chef, but it's so great not to have to fake our enthusiasm for this restaurant. When we made our reservation we asked for a quiet table as it's noisy in there, but a few tables are under a balcony so you can hear your tablemates. Sheila calls it the senior section. We started with mussels (all open and very plump Penn Cove), flatbread with butternut squash, baked egg with tomato gratin, and litle fried fish. All superb. If you like pork, you must order their pork chop, consistently perfect, the best in the Bay Area. The lamb shank was also good but pales next to the pork; the swordfish was done perfectly. Warm chocolate cookies with sweet milk made a homey dessert and a thing I love about Nopa is you can get hot chocalate after dinner. I'm not a coffee drinker so it's quite a thrill having a rich, dark cup of cocoa. Vahlrona too! The wine list is superb, almost too long. Our server talked us into 2 great but for us pricey wines, an incredible white, Mathiessen sauvignon blanc-ribolla cialla-semillon, and an excellent red, a 1999 rioja from Lopez de Heredia. Both worth it and key parts of a great meal.
And now, presenting a fabulous breakfast, at Brenda's French Soul Food on Polk near Eddy. Small and mighty, Brenda's serves the best biscuit I have ever had and it came with a really fine hangtown fry(eggs, oysters, bacon), a daily special. The weakest part was a large serving of potato hash, but that would have been a star at another restaurant. Sheila had Bananas Fosters French Toast, another special, each under $10 (prices are great too), and it was wonderfully buttery and carmelly. I didn't try their beignets and hope to soon, although I may not be able to resist that incredible biscuit. A trip to the restroom takes you through the little kitchen, by Brenda cooking and past the biscuit and beignet stations. What a find!
And lastly, a good, cheap dinner in the Mission: Limon Peruvian Rotisserie, a sister to Limon which recently reopened on Valencia. This one's in a small corner buildng on So. Van Ness and 21st. The free-range rotisserie chicken is cooked perfectly and you know, there's nothing like a good roast chicken. A whole chicken is $16.95 including 2 large sides (we opted for excellent fried potatoes and sweet potatoes) and 2 dipping sauces. Our group of 4 also split a ceviche mixto, with prawns, halibut, and calamari (delicious) and an unusual but tasty ensalada de vegetales, cooked seasonal veggies in an orange/Dijon dressing. Also enjoyed the mango mojitos made with sake. We skipped dessert there and walked to Bi-Rite Ice Cream on 18th for my first taste of their famous ice creams. Wow! Salted caramel and brown sugar with ginger swirl both immediately entered my pantheon of great ice cream.
Monday, November 23, 2009
In Kamakura, we had a delicous soba with tempura lunch at Nakamura-an. In Nara, we had terrific okonomiyaki, a new favorite dish, at Okaru. A homey pancake-omelet filled with seafood or assorted meat and vegetables is made on a tabletop griddle. In Kyoto, we had a nice meal in a private room at Mame-cha in the Gion district where we stayed in a lovely, small ryokan, Uemura. Mrs. Uemura serves a fantastic American or Japanese breakfast. We had lunch in Ryoan-Ji temple at a tofu restaurant, Yudofu Seigenin, beautiful setting, pure food.
Other food highlights were a great fish cake from the Kyoto market, roasted gingko nuts and chestnuts, yakatori, lots of miso soup. But I'm not wild about sitting on a tatami mat while eating-- so uncomfortable. At one restaurant we asked if they had chairs and they were so insulted, they turned us away. We also learned to love saki and the nice induced drunken state.
And now, back to home territory. A lovely day today to go to Half Moon Bay where I found myself returning to Mezzalune. Their Mezzalune Salad with home-made focaccia and a glass of wine makes a perfect lunch and I always find myself ordering it. Their pastas are nice too, but for $8.50, you get very fresh greens topped with lots of just cooked and cooled calamari, shrimp, salmon, and a scallop. A perfect seaside lunch.
I was very excited to take a walk around San Jose State and spot a Korean taco truck on 10th near San Carlos. They're the rage in LA. I had just bought a good lengua burrito from the old stand-by, Super Taqueria, but I knew I had to return to the truck and try it. So I did and got a bulgogi taco and one spicy chicken taco, each $2. Bulgogi BBQ has a sign that says 2 tacos for $4 (duh) or 3 for $5. They were both OK, no Wow factor and nothing to make me think what a great combination Korean and Mexican food make. The truck kitchen is very clean. They also serve burritos and burgers for $5. I enjoyed my lengua burrito more.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
I also recently stopped in at Dittmer's on San Antonio. I adore their paprika sausage and also like to get a couple of turkey, chicken, and/or duck legs which are nice to have around for a quick lunch or snack. Everything is of very high quality, it's family-run, and a food highlight of the mid-Peninsula.
Xanh's in Mountain View is a beautiful neo-Vietnamese restaurant on Castro that now has only a buffet at lunch, but it's one of the best deals around at $12. Almost all of the favorites from the dinner menu are there. Things are refreshed regularly and everything is good, some great, and it feels like healthy dining. Highlights were the fried chicken wings, 2 soups, short ribs, papaya salad, brown rice, catfish, and different rolls. Their excellent shaking beef and eggplant are not on the lunch buffet so it's worth coming back for dinner.
We met friends in San Francisco for a walk through the Presidio to take advantage of a beautiful day and see the Andy Goldsworthy tree tower. It and the view were really beautiful and the Presidio is a great place to explore. We wanted to stay near there for dinner and found a great Burmese/Chinese restaurant, Mandalay, on California. I had never been there but it's been around since 1984 and says it's the first Burmese restaurant in San Francisco. It's 2 blocks away from the wildly popular Burma Superstar, but service was friendlier and we found parking close by (maybe just lucky). Service was so friendly we felt like longtime patrons. We had excellent fish chowder, tea leaf salad, chicken with pumpkin (actually kambucha), eggplant in basil sauce and seafood in a basket. The last 2 were more Chinese than Burmese, but everything was fresh and delicious. For me a new discovery I'll go back to.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
We were going to go there one evening but they close at 6:30 and did not think we would make it, so we ended up at Cafe Athena in Pacific Beach with no regrets. Excellent Greek food in a pleasant setting with good service. Prices are very reasonable and portions are large. The fried calamari was excellent, the Greek salad fresh and satisfying with lovely pita (must be homemade). The moussaka's eggplant was well-cooked and the Bechamel sauce perfect. The Cretan Salmon was broiled just right and served with 2 incredible sides, spanaki lemonato (cold spinach) and skordalia (garlic with mashed potatoes). The Shrimp Scorpio, broiled large shrimp in a tomato-herb sauce, was delicious. For dessert we shared a perfect galacto-boureko, rolls of filo filled with custard and orange zest.
We had a good lunch at DZ Akins, a real delicatessan, which seems to expand each time I go. It's no Carnegie Deli, but it has very decent corned beef and brisket sandwiches and each table had a great bowl of pickles at different ripenesses. They have a huge menu so there's something for everybody. It's also fun to see the photos of what passes for celebrities in SD.
Before the book talk in La Jolla, we had an always delightful meal at George's Ocean Terrace. One feels on top of the world looking out over beautiful La Jolla Cove. We stick with appetizers and end up with a reasonably-priced, delicious meal. The chicken and bean soup has great depth of flavor, the roasted mussles are superb, the fish tacos are OK, and the salads are fresh and lovely. The cocktail and wine lists are good and service is pleasant,
The other fine meal we had was at Kensington Grill. It's in a part of town where I had several relatives living and always seemed dull, but now it's a great neighborhood. Their hamburger is about the best I've ever had and really puts the one at DB Bistro Moderne (see NY restaurants) to shame. Their macaroni and cheese is superb with just a hint of truffle oil, but richly cheesy wirh orchiette which provide the perfect vessel. Their bruschetta appetizer is a great idea-- your choice of 3 different global types served on baguettes, such as fresh mozzarella with tomatoes, smoked salmon, or pancetta and fava beans. The ribeye steak is perfect and all accompaniments are really good. Very nice wine list with an especially pleasant Vouvray by the glass.
We hit LA in time to have lunch at Tito's Tacos in Culver City, truly one of my all-time favorites. It has been the same since I first went there in like 1976 even though they moved 30 years ago. Always a line and most get tacos ($1.70 without cheese, which I prefer). They are fried and then filled with lettuce and yoou get a cup of this incredible salsa that just makes it come alive. I also love the meat only burrito with large chunks of tender meat in a rich chili sauce. They always give you lots of chips to dip in the salsa, but their guacamole is substandard.
After the booktalk in West Hollywood, a group of us went to Angeli Caffe on Melrose, owned by Evan Kleiman. We have her coobook, Mare. Their pizzas and pasta were great, especially the gnocchi. They serve an amazing pizza bread. That plus a salad would be a nice meal and I suspect their sandwiches must be great. We also had eggplant croquettes and aggplant rotinis, both excellent.
We cannot leave LA without stopping at Beverlywood Bakery on Pico. I adore their chocolate chip Danish, mandel brot, and corn rye. Their bagels, however, are awful, bready and dull. Sheila's gone there since childhood. We miss the old Jewish ladies who used to work there and always say, "What else? no matter how much you ordered.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Several people recommended Stanley, right on Jackson Square, where we had eggs benedict with and without fried oysters. Very good, but not awe-inspriing. We did partake of the famous beignets at Cafe du Monde and there really is something special about eating there. We were on our way to try Elizabeth's which many say is the best Creole place in town and a 2 mile walk from our hotel so Cafe du Monde was a good stopping place. Alas when we finally arrived, Elizabeth's does not open until 11 AM and we were there at 9:30. Check the hours at New Orleans restaurants!
Our first dinner, after an 11 hour flight from New York (don't ask!) was at NOLA's, an Emeril restaurant that I've eaten at each of my trips to New Orleans and it is consistently good. Locals seem to sneer a little but food combinations are great, portions are large, prices reasonable, and service strives to be excellent. We shared appetizers of barbequed shrimp, flatbread with duck confit, an arugula salad, and an entree of smoked duck over grits. We took home about 1/3 of the duck to leave a little room for a wonderful chocolate pecan tart, each bite better than the last. I had screwed up our reservation but they were very accommodating.
While Sheila gave a booktalk through the Garden District Book Shop, I took advantage of the conference's A Taste of New Orleans. Large tastes from some of the finest NO chefs, such as pickled shrimp from Susan Spicer's Bayona, Pork cheeks over dirty rice from Emeril (himself was there), pork belly with a mint sauce from Donald Link's Cochon, seared ahi from del Porto, Drago's BBQ'd oysters, and my 2 favorites, sweetbreads with bacon jus over truffled grits from MiLa and short rib over sunchoke/cauliflower puree from Patois. Famous cocktails like the Sazerac were also served. And a lovely pear cake from Milette was for dessert. I was so full that when Sheila got back from the book talk and we walked to the Roosevelt Hotel to have a drink and get her some food, I could only have a small portion of lovely fresh cold heirloom tomato soup, while Sheila had bresaola with arugula and octopus carpaccio at Domenica, John Besh's latest restaurant.
Speaking of Besh, the awards dinner was at his flaghsip restaurant, Restaurant August, in a beautiful banquet room on the 3rd floor. We started with fried oysters and caviar served in a spoon French Laundry-style, Fricos (a light pastry cup) with andouille mousse (the best), and rabbit boudin. First course was white shrimp carpaccio with a remoulade sauce and mache (what a ton of work thinly slicing the shrimp, but a great way to spread a few shrimp over many plates). The next course was my favorite, featuring pumpkin agnolotti served in a roasted quail pho with porcini-- elegant contrast of textures and flavors. Main dish was slow cooked venison over grits wth elderberries and graine de paradis ( a flavorful pepper-like spice). No thrill but pleasant. Dessert was a brown butter quince tarte. I'm a sucker whenever I see those words "brown butter" together. It was tasty but the crust was so hard it was almost impossible to cut with a fork. Each course was served with a matching wine; we ended with a reserve Muscat de Beaumes Venise, which always leaves me very happy.
A last New Orleans treat was Angelo Borcato ice cream where I had a deliciously creamy panna cotta gelato. It's right off the Canal streetcar line and worth a little trek. One needs weeks to try all the great eating possibilities in this unique, recovering, and special city.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
The other change-my-life find was the Cuban sandwich place, Paseo. I heard about this the last time I went to Seattle and was thrilled to try it this time. We went to the Ballard locks before we had to get back to the airport and fortunately there's one in Ballard on Seaview Avenue. OMG! We had to wait until we got on the plane to eat so they were a little soggy but the roasted pork sandwich is one of if not the best sandwich anywhere (gives the meatball sandwich at Mario's in SF a run for its money). Huge chunks of incredibly tender pork shoulder with a garlic aioli, carmelized onions, lettuce, jalapenos on a baguette roll. Also had their original grilled pork (very nice) and the seared scallop with a 3 out of 5 hotness request. Unique and very good but the pork shoulder was the clear winner. I want one now.
We also had a pleasant French meal at Le Pichet right near Pike's Place Market. Highlights were the roast chicken for 2, lentil salad, falafel, and sardines. The hazelnut-crusted fish was a real salty miss but they took it off the bill, a real service-focused thing to do. It's very French with an excellent apperitif and wine list and recommended. In Bellvue, we had a satisfying lunch at Tao on 110th Ave. NE, a block from the library. Good variety of Japanese food with a few Korean dishes. The bento boxes are a great deal for $8.50 and you get a little cup of frozen yogurt at the end of the meal, which was just perfect.
Breakfast at Jimmy's on 1st in the Silver Cloud Inn-Stadium (our hotel via Priceline) was better than one might expect. Bagel with smoked salmon was generously layered with wild salmon, tomatoes, capers and chives for $10. In Pioneer Square we discovered Grand Central Baking Company, which makes the excellent baguettes for Le Pichet, above. They have a daily coffee cake that was terrific as well as healthy tasting muffins and scones. Everything looks good and everything we tried had satisfying texture. We had an excellent, albeit a little pricey sandwich at the famous Salumi, run by Mario Batali's father. The meats were so flavorful complimented nicely by tapenade, although the rolls could have been better. I was walking along Broadway and saw a long line at Dick's, a classic looking drive-in. Tried a burger (OK) but thought the fries were really good. I wasn't hungry enough to try their 1/4 pounder, which most people were getting.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
We got the lowest price family dinner, $268 for 10 people plus one other dish to make up for one of our party's being allergic to shrimp. The dinner consisted of generous portions of: a cold BBQ meat platter with jellyfish and seaweed too (pork very fresh), soup with seafood and tofu, glazed (giant) prawns with walnut, scallop and chicken in black bean sauce (scallops a little overcooked), braised broccoli and bok choy with black mushrooms, pepper fried whole crab (2), Peking duck (excellent), pan fried sea bass (very tender and fresh), seafood fried rice, and red bean soup. The added dish was beef tenderloin in capital sauce with lovely sauteed onions.
Their dinners for 10 are also available for 5, which is unusual and welcome. It was a great meal and a good start to a new year, albeit traif.
A couple of weeks ago, we went to the BATS (Bay Area Theatersports) Theater at Fort Mason for a terrifc night of improvisation, Jane Austen Unscripted, by Impro Theater of Los Angeles. Before the show, we went to Yukol Palace, at Lombard and Scott for some very fine and pretty inexpensive Thai food. We parked near Fort MAson and walked. It's nice to know about it as it is away from the Chestnut Street crowds and so reasonable. Their Yum Ma Keur, charbroiled japanese eggplant in lemon dressing topped with shrimp, chicken, and accompanied with slices of hard boiled egg is a wonderful way to start. We followed this up with beef larb, pad thai, Panang chicken curry, and brown rice. All dishes were under $10. Look for the daily specials. They also have some easy drinking cocktails.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
But dinner at Ame in the St. Regis across from SFMOMA was sublime. I thought I would be disappointed after our great meal at Delfina but this was a totally different experience. I got the tasting menu, 5 courses for $85 with matching wines for $65-- worth every cent. Sheila got appetizers and dessert with 3 wines/sakes by the glass. First course was 3 sashimis--a fresh halibut crudo, a red ocean trout, and himachi. Each had its own tiny accompaniments. Sheila had Campechana, a ceviche-like assortment of seafood in an incredible tomato water gelee with hints of chile pepper. Sublime. My next course was a sweet corn soup with a lobster hushpuppy-- very fresh, inetense corn taste served with a lovely Foxen Chenin Blanc (I've got to buy some of that). Sheila then had ezo abalone with padrone peppers and mushrooms and other goodies--there were 5 small abalones, which I thougt wa spretty impressive for $17.
I then got the signature Broiled Sake Marinated Alaskan Black Cod and Shrimp Dumplings in Shiso Broth and it was fantastic. We had this years ago at Terra, their sister restaurant in St. Helena, and have fond memories now refreshed. Light with intense flavor served with a Volnay, surprisingly appropriate. My last entree was Kurabata pork chop with a foie gras sauce, very tender, very delicious. Sheila's last course was Chawan-Mushi, a Japanese custard with urchin and mushrooms and geoduck clam-- I believe one should never pass up an opportunity to try chawan-mushi-- texturally comforting but with wonderful flavors and this one is a must.
I had a peach hand pie with a vanilla shake for dessert and Sheila had green tea affogato poured over pistachio ice cream, both great. The affogato was refreshing and felt cleansing, a nice touch after an intense meal. The pie had a light, crispy buttery crust with many chunks of peach, yummy. My dessert wine was an Adelsheim late harvest Pinot Noir. Ahh, glorious dining and an apt celebration.
And speaking of peaches, the next morning we stopped by the Sentinel at 50 New Montgomery, a take-out counter run by Dennis Leary, owner-chef at Canteen, another great SF place. We had a terrific piece of cinamonny coffee cake while we waited for the peach muffins to come out of the oven. The lovely muffin was filled with chunks of fresh peach. Both were great comfort foods. We wanted to return for lunch but the line was too long and we had to get our car before I got a ticket. After breakfast we went to SFMOMA and really enjoyed the Avedon show. Also saw the Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams. I know we're supposed to idolize O'Keefe but I don't. But Adams is always great.
Here's my SF parking secret. If you're coming after 2 PM, drive to Glen Park and find a 4 hour space then take BART into town. $3.50 round trip is a lot cheaper than parking if you're going to Union Square area. Since we were staying the night, we had to get back by 1 PM to take advantage of the 4 hour morning parking. It worked out great with easy freeway access. This time I took Bosworth to Mission and we stopped for lunch at Joe's Cable Car for an excellent burger and patty melt. The burger is $9 and melt is $12 so it ain't cheap, but the burgers are fresh-ground and organic so they are special. And Joe is right there as he has been for 40 years. I was watching the in-house butcher cut up beautiful beef to be ground up for our enjoyment. Nice.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
And life was made ever more grateful-inducing with a really terrific dinner at Delfina, the ever-popular Mission Italian on 18th near Gerrero. Dear, deeply dear friends Ellen and Neal took us there for retirement & anniversary celebration. Sevice is always perfect, everyone is nice, they serve Tartine bread (ask for it); it's just as a star restaurant should be. The food: Grilled calamari is their standard appetizer and it was terrific as ever with cannellini beans and the grilled sardines were plump and bursting with sea flavor. Too bad Neal doesn't like sardines so we had to eat his portion. A hand-stretched FRESH mozzarella with heirloom tomato salad was sublime, a perfect dish to share.
Then I had rosemary tagliatelle with a guinea hen ragu, like a lighter but more flavorful bolognese. It was great. The gnocchi were also lovely as was the fregnacce (strips of pasta) with Louisiana white shrimp. As an aniversary gift, they brought an order of the chicken tortellini, light and simply sauced. Again too bad that N&E don't eat meat so Sheila and I were forced to eat them. How we suffered!
We ordered the profiteroles to share and as a bonus they brought the lemon panna cotta which was sublimely wonderful. My mouth is watering writing about it. The profiteroles were very nice too, light but crispy shells filled with espresso ice cream.
And all accompanied by a smooth, fruity, yet dry Barbera d'Alba. Thank you E&N for a truly great meal and that wasn't all--a comfy terry cloth robe and slippers for my days of leisure.
A drinking note: Before dinner Sheila and I stopped at Luna Park (Valencia and 18th) for their justifiably famous mojito. I've been there 4-5 times and the mojito is always perfect. Well-balanced, lots of lime, mint, and just sweet enough. How do they do it. I asked. The lovely bartender said she muddles not only the mint but the lime. Could be the secret!
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
We then stuck with primi and skipped secondi, saving room for dessert. The pizza bianco with speck and arugula was very nice with a crisp thin crust. Then 2 pastas, a papardelle with lamb sagu in a tomato-based sauce and a pesto corzetti pasta. And we got a side of the roasted tomoatoes which were sublime. We asked for bread to sop up all juices. I could have eaten the plates too. We had a reasonably priced Barbera d'Asti at the table.
And then dessert. An incredible chocolate budino sprinked with sea salt and topped with a big wallop of espresso whipped cream. Perfect texture with a deep chocolate flavor. And a nice berry crostado.
The menu changes constantly it seems but everything seemed at the height of its season. We thought the service was great, that our server loved the fact we loved the food. And we were seated towards the back so it was about the quietest of the new popular and noisy restaurants. We got one of the tables with a kid, but the other table didn't leave until 1/2 way through ours. How rude! (415) 826-7000, http://www.flourandwater.com/
Monday, August 24, 2009
Then off to San Francisco, where we met Jake, and walked to Dol Ho for some great dim sum. A real dive on Pacific just west of Stockton. 4 of us ate for $23! Their har gow are excellent as is su mai and other dishes with shrimp. Parchment chicken just so so, and stuffed eggplant would be better if eggplant was cooked more. Always reliable and cheap.
Then saw August, Osage County at the Curran, which was one of those really enjoyable theatrical experiences that make you think this is what theater is all about. Great script, acting, set. Sat in balcony which was fine, although a little trouble hearing osme of the lines.
And then dinner at Colibri right across from the theater. A nice surprise. $10 for guacamole seems a bit steep especially when the menu says it's prepared at your table but it isn't. Very nice margaritas, home made corn tortillas, papas in gratin. I had duck in a green mole sauce that was very nice and Sheila had the special, a shredded pork dish from Quintana Roo. So convenient to the theters, we would go back.
Friday, August 14, 2009
What do I love about this library system? Let me count the ways (EBB). I have been able to get involved with library problems that have always bothered me and San Jose gave me a chance to help solve in positive ways. Jane Light has the greatest vision of any library director in the country and allows us to create new library worlds without micromanaging, while she deals with the never-ending politics and depressing budget issues.
Here are my library wishes that San Jose has made great progress on:
1. Signage—should be intuitive and 8 ½ X 11 flyers kept to a minimum, and similar in all library facilities so you know you’re in a branch of the same system. And wayfinding intuitive. We do that!
2. Cross training of staff—look for people’s skills and encourage them to grow and thrive; try to listen to staff at all levels who are doing the work. Teamwork works best; not one of us has all the answers. Make the most of your professional staff. Single service points. We do that (most of the time).
3. Library as place—attractive buildings as real community focal points to do all kinds of things in a safe, delightful environment. People being comfortable. Our branches are gifts to the community. We do that.
4. Efficient processing of materials. Libraries spend a huge amount of staff and time resources handling materials without really analyzing how they can do it better and more efficiently. We do that.
5. Self-service and changing as customers’ needs change. A library needs to be flexible and use technology to save people’s times, both staff and customers. Our self-checks, self-registration, holds pick-ups are ways we do that.
6.Greet people. Get out from behind a desk and look to see if someone needs any help. A simple smile and greeting is the best public relations move we can make. And some people are afraid of service desks, although many of us feel safer there. We’re doing that, slowly but surely.
7. Hold onto our values. All improvements made preserve the wonder of the public library, free to all, a truly democratic place. We welcome everyone and even offer information on despicable subjects. How’s that for freedom of information? We uphold that.
8. Treat people equally. One quote that means a lot to me is from Plato: Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. Remember that when a customer seems especially grouchy.
9. Never be satisfied with the status quo. Create an environment of continuous improvement. We do that.
10. Lastly, have fun in your work. We are doing great things for people and although we work hard we should also be having some fun. Laugh at least twice a day. I do that. And I even recommend a song once a day, although anyone within earshot of my voice would probably not recommend it.
You are an incredible staff, resilient, smart, and reflective of our community. I have been so proud to be associated with all of you and genuinely feel we are the best large library system in the country for the resources we have. My special thanks to the Admin group with whom I’ve spent most of most days. They’ve always allowed me to “be myself” through many trying times.
And now some final food notes. I’ve had a lot of great and cheap meals in San Jose and recommended many, but I want to leave you with my final list of great eats. Most are near the King Library but some are near branches too.
Dakao, an excellent Vietnamese deli on the corner of San Salvador and 3rd, with very fine eggrolls, spring rolls, Sweet potato and shrimp fritters, banh mi (sandwiches) and a personal favorite of Banh xeo, which they call Vietnamese taco. This is a crepe with pork, shrimp, beansprouts, and onions. Take a piece and wrap it in lettuce with herbs and dip in sauce—wonderful and less than $5.
China Chen, right across 3rd from Dakao, has a wide variety of Vietnamese soups. I love their shrimp wontons. Their roast chicken is great as is their rice cake.
Chalateco (several locations including 10th and Reed and Alum Rock and King), has food from Mexico City and El Salvador. And that means papusas, a cornmeal pancake with a choice of filling and served with a spicy cabbage salad. Each is about $2 and 2 make a great meal. They also have delightfully light tamales.
Suvianda Market, the new store on Santa Clara and 7th, has a taco stand inside with 99 cent tacos, 2 small tortillas with a good-sized hunk of meat, including a tasty pork pastor and sometimes goat. Burritos are big and less than $4 and sometimes they have daily specials like a ceviche tostado for $1.50. They also sell superior tortilla chips and pan dulce.
Taqueria La Costa, on Monterey Hgwy and Senter and Alum Rock near King), has terrific ceviche tostadas, great lingua (tongue) tacos, and fresh fruit smoothies all at exceptional prices.
La Penita, on 1st and Reed, is a classic family-run Mexican restaurant, with a chile relleno that I can’t help but ordering. And it comes with fresh made corn tortillas. They are also justifiably famous for their cocida, a beef soup with all kinds of goodies.
Mexico Bakery on Santa Clara near 3rd. Great tortas on fresh made rolls and this terrific chocolate covered pound cake.
Kaito in Japantown at 215 Jackson, my favorite small Japanese restaurant, with very nice teriyaki, tempura, and daily specials.
Vung Tao, Santa Clara and 12th, excellent Vietnamese food in a fairly classy environemnet. Looks like a lot of Vietnamese businessmen go there. Love their egg rolls, carmelized chicken, beef rolls, and shrimp salad.
May you all have many wonderful meals in your future.