Saturday, December 15, 2012

Thiên Long

Another San Jose restaurant that I frequent is Thiên Long.  They cater to a mostly Vietnamese crowd, but the guys working there are friendly and will teach you how to eat their most popular dish, a grilled fish dish called bún chả cá lã vọng.  You get grilled fish cooked with onions and dill, rice noodles and garnish, and also rice paper with which to wrap everything up.  It's delicious.

However, the dish I like the best there is the steamed version called cá hấp thit cuốn bánh tráng. I think it's a bit healthier and has less sodium, plus I like the mushrooms and vegetables that come with it. And, I ask them to prepare the dish without pork, which they accommodate without issue.

One order easily feeds two people. If you like fish and fresh tasting foods, you definitely should check it out. I highly recommend this place.

Here are some pictures of my favorite dish there.

Rice Noodles, Fish Sauce, Cucumbers, Fresh Perilla Leaves

Steamed Fish, Vegetables and Mushrooms

Preparing to Roll Up the Fish, Vegetables, and Garnish

All Wrapped Up and Ready to Eat

Sunday, December 09, 2012

The Village Pub

I recently had brunch at The Village Pub in Woodside.  It's a somewhat fancy establishment, but prices are quite reasonable for brunch.  Both the service and the food were excellent.  I think I'm going to have to try doing dinner there some time.

Here are a few pictures.  Enjoy.

The Village Pub

SMIP Ranch Harvest Salad

Smoked Trout with Pumpernickel Toast

Sugar Pie Pumpkin Pancakes

Check Sleeve

Vegetarian House (Cult Restaurant)

I'm not sure why I haven't posted anything about the Vegetarian House in San Jose until now.  It's one of my favorite restaurants in the area.  Yes, it is run by a cult (Quan Yin Method) under the rule of the Supreme Master Ching Hai.  Aside from all the cult paraphernalia, they don't try to induct you or anything.  And, from what I can tell it's a fairly harmless cult.

It's a vegan restaurant, but the food there is incredible.  I can say that nearly everything I've had there is amazingly good -- though, I do try to stay away from the fried items.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of the dishes they serve there.  Unfortunately, one of my favorites, Three Cup Wonder, is no longer available.  Hopefully, they can bring it back.  Apparently, they switched providers for one of the ingredients and the recipe didn't work with the new product.

If you're in the area and want to have a nice vegan meal, give them a try.  You won't be disappointed.  And, if you really didn't enjoy the food, you can always walk across the street and hit up Vung Tau, which I am quite fond of as well.

Vegetarian House Sign

Clay Pot Sensation - the best dish in my opinion

Sizzling Tofu

Three Cup Wonder - no longer available (hope that changes)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

State Bird Provisions

I had the good fortune of dining at the State Bird Provisions ( a couple days ago.  A friend was very much on top of the situation and was able to make a Friday night reservation happen.  There was a lot of build-up leading to the dinner itself, as reservations had been made a full two months in advance.

The restaurant has been getting great reviews, and the style is interesting.  They serve small plates to share, some of which are ordered from the menu and others from trays that circle around the tables in dim sum fashion.

The primary downer for the meal was that I was feeling a bit under the weather.  So, I was not a great dinner companion, and I probably didn't get the true experience as I'm sure my taste buds were not 100% on their game.

Anyway, the food was overall very good for the price.  A few dishes were spectacular, but overall they weren't out of this world.  But, that was totally fine as the price tag was not outrageous. The only dish that our group thought was a miss was the Seafood and Pork Belly Pancake.  That dish was simply overly salty and did not taste much like anything we expected.  The staff explained it was due to the kimchi, but I would disagree, as the salty flavor did not resemble kimchi at all.

As for returning for another meal... it basically comes down to the difficulty of obtaining a reservation.  If it weren't for that, then I am certain that I would be coming back to try their other dishes, which change with some regularity, I hear.  Of course, I could try getting a seat as a walk-in some time.

Here are some photos.  Enjoy!

State Bird Provisions Menu

California Quail

Cumin Lamb

Duck Liver Mousse and Almond Biscuits

Huckleberry Marinated Beets with Goat Cheese

Raw Oysters

Red Trout, Mandarin, Hazelnut Brown Butter

Seafood and Pork Belly Pancake

Seafood Salsa

Shrimp, Avocado, and Nori Chips

Sweetbread with Figs

Sweet Corn and Garlic Chive Pancake

Braised Beef Curry, Bok Choy, and French Crêpes

Plum Jam Ice Cream Sandwich, Cocoa Nib Macaron

Monday, October 22, 2012

Good-bye Peet, Hello Glatfelter

Looks like a long time holding of mine, PH Glatfelter (GLT), is joining the S&P Small Cap 600.   It and Coherent (COHR) are replacing Lawson Products (LAWS) and Peet's Coffee and Tea (PEET).  Hope this bodes well for the company's share price and the public's general interest.

I started buying shares of GLT in early 2007, and I've been adding steadily ever since then.  It has done reasonably well providing a nice total return over the years.  I still like them and will likely continue adding to my position for the long-term.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

European Mantis (Mantis religiosa)

Here are a few photos of a European Mantis (Mantis religiosa) hanging out on the side of my house. I haven't seen a praying mantis around here in quite some time, and I'm glad I was able to get some reasonably good shots. Too bad I didn't have the DSLR handy, but I think these came out good enough.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Portola Redwoods State Park

There are a number of small parks to the west of San Jose that offer some nice hiking trails.  Just this past weekend, I did a relatively easy 6.5 mile hike in the Portola Redwoods State Park.  I would say that it's worth checking out, especially if you live in the area, as it is a reasonably short drive to get there.

Here are some pictures taken on the hike.  One thing that fascinated me somewhat was that there were spiders and cool looking webs all over the redwood trees.  After much effort, I managed to get a few nice shots of the spiders and their webs.

Park Entrance

Spider Webs on Redwood Tree

Sierra Dome Spider (Neriene litigiosa)

Spider Web

Redwood Trees

Banana Slug (Ariolimax columbianus)

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Kings Canyon National Park

Over the holiday weekend, we went camping at Kings Canyon National Park.  Since I'm lazy, I'm going to let the pictures do the talking.  However, I will mention that we had two close bear encounters on one of our hikes, including one with a mother and her two cubs.  Enjoy.

Kings Canyon

Zumwalt Meadow

Horsetail Reed at Zumwalt Meadow

Lone Black Bear

Mother Bear and Cubs

Bear Cub Looking Sheepish

Douglas Squirrel

Giant Sequoia

Burl at Base of a Giant Sequoia

Mist Falls

Butterfly Close-up

Damselfly in Flight

Grasshopper with Blue Legs
Knapp's Cabin (Oldest Building in Cedar Grove)