mandeelish photo

i always have room for food

i eat. a lot.

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Bay Leaf

 122 S Sunnyvale Ave
Sunnyvale, CA
 

Indo goodness

I’ve been waiting for a solid Indonesian restaurant to come to the South Bay, and now I have it at Bay Leaf.

They call themselves a Thai-Indonesian restaurant. It’s not mixing the two flavors, though. They have separate menus. Whenever I go, I usually stick with the Indonesian foods.

The service is friendly, and the place is usually not too crowded during dinner/weekend hours, but can get busy with the lunchtime office crowd.

Now the food isn’t the best Indonesian food I’ve had, but there aren’t many choices around here. I’ve tried places that have come and gone, and this is one of the better ones.

Java Style Fried Noodle (Mie Tek-Tek)

My favorite on their menu. A good, spicy noodle dish.

Drunken Fish

On the Thai menu, this fish has been praised by many, especially me!

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Buttercup Bake Shop

 973 2nd Ave
New York, NY
 

Cupcake Wars - Buttercup wins

First thing I noticed at Buttercup was that there wasn’t a line out the door! Yay!

I tried the red devil cupcake, and ate it right away. The frosting wasn’t too sweet and the cake was moist. A few days earlier, I had Magnolia’s. There was a line, and I ate the cupcake later in the day. But the frosting was super sweet, and the cake was dry. I’m all for sweet stuff, but that frosting was too sweet. Hurt my teeth!

I also like how at Buttercup, someone gets the cupcakes for you. At Magnolia’s it’s self-serve…which means lots of bare hands touching cupcakes.

Next time I’m in NY, I’m hitting up Buttercup!

Red Devil Cupcake

Not too sweet with a moist cake. Yums.

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Clinton St Baking Co & Rest

 4 Clinton St
New York, NY
 

Fluffy pancakes come with long waits

The first time I tried coming here was on a Sunday morning, before noon. Too bad, because tons of people were outside and the wait was 1.5-2 hours. Forget that!

Instead I came Tuesday around 11am. The place was full except for one table. Lucky us. (It is a small restaurant, I think it seats less than 40).

I ordered the banana walnut pancakes, and not only did it look good, but it is pretty much the best pancake I’ve ever had. They were light and airy, and the syrup made it even better.

If anyone knows how they do it, please let me know. So I don’t have to fly all the way to NY to have some more.

Pancakes

Fluffy, yummy, and sweet. The best!

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Gyro's House

 212 Castro St
Mountain View, CA
 

Don't pass this house

I’ve always walked by Gyro’s House on Castro, but never stopped in. Well I finally did and I wasn’t disappointed.

I went on a Friday during lunch, and the crowd initally attracted me. If there’s a crowd, there must be something good inside.

The place is small and very simple. It’s fast Mediterranean food. You order at the counter, get a number, and find a seat.

I ordered the chicken kebab sandwich, and it came wrapped like a burrito in a pita tortilla. The first few bites were good, but I felt like I needed some more sauce. Well it came towards the middle and made the sandwich so much better.

The sandwich came alone, but they also serve entree style, which will come with more sides.

So if you’re looking for a quick bite, try this place out. Did I mention it’s cheap? It is. And the sandwich ain’t that small.

Chicken Kebab Sandwich

Tasted slightly dry in the very beginning, but once the sauce kicked in, it was a delight!

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Tommy Toy's Haute Cuisine

 655 Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA
 

High class Chinese food?

This is definitely the first time I’ve had Chinese food described as haute cuisine. But that’s what Tommy Toy’s does.

You walk in, and the look is very opulent, but in a traditional Chinese way. Almost gawdy, I have to say.

I had their dine about town menu, which had 4 courses – appetizer, soup, and 2 main entrees. I didn’t get to see their regular menu, but looking at other patrons’ tables, looks like there isn’t family style dining served here.

Food was unique, and presented well. The servers were courteous and explained dishes as they arrived.

My favorite course was the soup. It was a lobster bisque served on what looked like a ceramic coconut shell. But on top was a puffed pastry baked onto the bowl. So the soup had a huge pastry bubble on it. I must say the pastry mixed with the soup was good. And I love bisque, and this one wasn’t too heavy.

I almost forgot I was in a Chinese restaurant though, and the food I don’t know if I’d call it Chinese, either. But it was an interesting dining experience.

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Kappo Nami Nami

 240 Castro St
Mountain View, CA
 

Nami Nami is yummy yummy, and pretty.

Nami Nami is a new restaurant on Castro, although you may miss it because there isn’t a big sign on the front.

During lunch time, they have bento sets. But these aren’t your typical chickent teriyaki/tempura bentos. They’ve got unique items that are presented so well!

Prices for lunch are typical for Japanese food, but you get a good amount. Each set comes with rice, salad, miso soup, and a cold dish of the day.

I’ve also come here for dinner. The menu is different, and it is izakaya style. The variety isn’t as varied as Gochi, but still they’ve got unique dishes that are still presented beautifully. Not only are they pretty to look at, but good too.

It’s new, so there are still some rough edges for them to work out. My lunch took awhile to arrive, and during dinner an order of sushi took way too long to arrive. The dessert came out before it! But they held onto the dessert and made sure we got our sushi after that.

I’d recommend making reservations for dinner. We came on a Saturday right when it opened, so there were tables. But after that, people got wait time of 1.5 hours since there were several reservations.

The ambience is casual, but very modern. And a good place to bring groups!

Tofu and vegetables in hot pot

It also came with ponzu sauce, but I could’ve used more taste. Presentation though was splendid.

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Masa's Restaurant

 648 Bush St
San Francisco, CA
 

Top service and top food

I came here on Valentine’s Day, and they had a special menu for two. Each course came with two different dishes, one for each person. Each dish was also accompanied with a wine. I liked the thought they put into it, so that couples could share their dishes.

Servings of each dish were small, but since there were several courses, I was filled up. Each dish came with an explanation and I enjoyed all of it. The sommelier also explained his wine pairings, and all wines were unique in some way.

When you first walk in, the restaurant has a modern feel. But once you enter the dining room, it’s more cozy and antique-ish. It’s a small restaurant, but they spaced out the tables well. And there was a large mirror which provided a good view for people watching.

Service was impeccable, and all the staff was friendly. It’s a high class restaurant (boys, don’t forget that jacket), but didn’t have that stuffy, snobby feel to it.

If you just got a very big bonus, and have something to celebrate, I’d recommend this place.

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Stacks

 361 California Dr
Burlingame, CA
 

Weekend at Stacks'

Whenever I come to Stacks’, I arrive there hungry and impatient. I do come out feeling super full and satisfied for my weekend brunch craving.

Warning, the wait here can be long over the weekend. But if it’s a nice day, you can walk around Burlingame Ave. and do some shopping. Or relax outside the restaurant. They usually have some chairs, and some coffee/tea.

Once you get in, the one thing you’ve got to try here is the banana macadamia nut and coconut pancakes. They are biiig, and sweet. So I suggest sharing them with someone, and ordering something salty also.

Service here has always been friendly, and the atmosphere is very casual.

They have lots of other locations, so find one close by you!

Banana Macadamia Nut & Coconut Pancake

Such a good combination for a pancake, and irresistably good.

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Giovanni's Pizza

 1127 N Lawrence Expy
Sunnyvale, CA
 

Good pizza and sandwiches

My work is close by to Giovanni’s. So whenever we need to feed a lot of people, we call Giovanni up. The pizzas here are solid. Not too greasy. I wouldn’t say I’m wowed by it, but it’s pretty good.

When I do come into the restaurant though, I usually order one of their sandwiches. They have a variety, but I go for their Philly cheesesteak hoagie. It comes on toasted bread and with some Italian dressing. It’s one of the best Philly cheesesteaks I’ve had.

The place is pretty big, so it’s good for groups, and you normally don’t have a long wait. Lunches during the week are typically more crowded.

Philly Cheesesteak Hoagie

I think it’s the italian dressing they add that makes it so good.

Veggie Sandwich

When I’m not in the mood for meat, I opt for the roasted vegetables here. It’s good!

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Bacar

 448 Brannan St
San Francisco, CA
 

Skip the entree, fill up on appetizers

Upon first glance, the appetizers at this restaurant are on the pricey side. But once you get it, you get what you pay for.

I ordered the duck foie gras with sausage. And I was expecting those little breakfast-sized sausages, but what arrived was a big fat sausage! It really filled me up. My friend also had mussels, and it came in a large bucket. She could barely finish it.

Our entrees, however, lacked flavor. My tuna by itself tasted bland, but if I ate it with the sides, then it became too salty.

Desserts brought the place back up. They had a wide variety, and my flapjacks weren’t as sweet as I thought it would be. So it was a good ending to the meal.

Service was good and attentive. The waiter explained the specials right away and was very friendly.

The decor is modern and sleek. There’s usually live entertainment, but I think it’d be way too noisy with it. The night we went there was no band, so the noise level was tolerable and we didn’t have to yell at each other.

Another tip is to make a reservation online. When I called in, there was loud music playing and the hostess could barely hear me. I had to repeat my name several times. They need to fix this part.

housemade duck & foie gras sausage

A unique dish that turned out really good!

mesquite grilled ahi tuna

Served seared, but tasted quite bland.

apple pecan buttermilk flapjacks

Not too sweet, and came with a scoop of gelato! Mmm.

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