Pin It Now! This summer heat wave has me searching out more cold treats to cool me down.  Jimbo's is a small dessert shop in the middle of San Jose's Japantown that serves Bubbie's mochi straight from Hawaii.  Not just your standard mochi ice cream from Trader Joe's or Ranch 99, these mochis come in a wide variety of flavors.  About 15 flavors a month to be exact, with a couple as special flavors of the month.

All 15 flavors this month were:  green tea, mango, guava, strawberry, chocolate peanut butter, passion fruit, pistachio, chocolate coconut, lychee, strawberry dark chocolate, vanilla, and ultimate chocolate.  Vanilla and ultimate chocolate were the special flavors of the month.  While the the standard flavors were good, the taste shockers were pistachio, ultimate chocolate, strawberry dark chocolate, chocolate coconut, and chocolate peanut butter.  Although, they don't really tell you what each of the flavors were when they serve you the tray of bubbies, its sort of fun to guess which ones are what.

Biting into one of the more "exotic" flavors of mochi (this one is chocolate coconut), you can see the exterior (mochi) is a different color than the ice cream inside.  Also, the handmade bubbies have a slightly thinner layer of mochi, which I think works well with the ice cream.  Since they are handmade, the mochi is chewier and more delicate in texture.

The Jimbo roll here is a must get!  A sushi roll made with hot dog ($.75 extra for a hot link) and pickled vegetables (takuan) and a spicy mayo sauce.  A couple slices of amazingly crispy and fresh tasting takuan are give on the side for some added crunch.  The rice to hot dog ratio is spot on.  Just looking at this roll makes it seem like it would be heavy, but its actually quite light and a nice snack size.  Having had many a spam musubi and sushi roll in my lifetime, I left the store still thinking about how delicious this was. 

Address:                  Jimbo's
                                 170 Jackson St.
                                 San Jose, CA
Type:                       dessert/ice cream/Japanese/Hawaiian

Popular chomps:     ice cream
                                 mochi ice cream (bubbies)
                                 Jimbo roll
                                 black sesame sauce
Chomp worthy:        mochi ice cream
                                 Jimbo roll        


Dos Coyotes

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So maybe its not La Palma (see post HERE), or even El Farolito (see post HERE), but Dos Coyotes rings with nostalgia for me.  Probably a step above Chipotle, but I don't care, I love it! 

Unfortunately, Dos Coyotes has yet to grace the Bay Area with their prescence with most of their locations north of Davis. 

As a poor student, the shrimp burrito was one of the rare treats that I indulged in.  Its fluffy rice with plump shrimp (6 to be exact - when you are a student, you count these types of things) and white sauce was amazing!  I've often looked for a  similar substitute in the Bay Area, but never had much luck.

The mahi mahi burrito is another popular choice.  Flakes of mahi mahi fish and their 

Address:                  Dos Coyotes
                                 1411 W. Covell Blvd
                                 Davis, CA

Type:                       Mexican

Popular chomps:     shrimp burrito
                                 mahi mahi burrito
                                 paella burrito
Chomp worthy:        shrimp burrito       


Seoul Gomtang

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Seoul Gomtang is another example of why its a must to cross the bridge into Oakland for some good food.  Most people know Korean food as just grilled meats, but crossing the Bay (also venturing into the South Bay) will get you so much more.  Seoul Gomtang offers a couple dishes that I've never really been able to locate in the city, one being gomtang. 

The kimchee here is scarce, but all quality.  From the green onion and cucumber, pickled daikon, and traditional cabbage, each were soaked in spicy flavors and crunchy.

Seoul Gomtang has several types of gomtangs.  The suk uh gom tang is the mixed beef  version with thin noodles.  Almost like a pho dac biet (combination #1), this soup has beef tongue, tripe, brisket, essentially the works.  The broth is very, very plain and you will need to add something to do, whether it be kimchee, green onions, or salt.  The salt actually brings out the subtle beef flavor in the broth.

The gori gomtang is a milky broth with ox tail pieces.  Compared to the suk uh gom tang broth, this one is a little more flavorful, but no noodles.  Simple, but homey, I can see why this place is packed with people sipping this soup.  It's also a popular hangover soup, in the same category as pho.

Unlike most soups that I'm used to eating, these soups are meant to be flavored.  Usually with a sprinkle of green onions and ....

SALT!  I don't even know when the last time it was that I added salt to a finished food product, especially at a restaurant, but salt is a must for this soup.  I'd say anywhere from 1 to 2 spoonfuls is good enough, anything more makes the last couple drops too salty.

The pickled jalapenos in spicy soy sauce is used for dipping the pieces of meat.  Its the perfect sauce with just the right amount of spicy and saltiness.

No Korean meal is complete without a bowl of rice in a metal bowl.  I like to scoop the rice into the soup to soak up any last bits of flavor.

The mandu (dumplings) here are huge!  They are almost the size of fists.  Being Chinese, I'm used to small dumplings with delicate skins, these are quite opposite.  The wrappers are thick and chewy.  Each dumpling is stuffed with egg, chicken, and tofu.  They aren't super flavorful, but they do grow on you after the first one.

A peek inside the dumpling.

Address:                   Seoul Gomtang
                                  3801 Telegraph Ave.
                                  Oakland, CA
Type:                         Korean

Popular chomps:       hae mool pa jun (seafood pancake)
                                   gomtang (oxtail soup)
                                   jin man doo (dumplings)
                                   soon doo bu  (tofu soup)
                                   samgyetang (chicken ginseng soup)
Chomp worthy:         gomtang (oxtail soup)


Treatbot the Karaoke Ice Cream Truck

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Treatbot ice cream truck is a stationary truck located inside of San Pedro Square.  This shiny yellow truck churns out some of the best ice cream San Jose has to offer.  For the SF folks, it's a mix between Mitchell's famous Asian ice cream flavors (see post HERE) and Humphrey Slocombe wild mixes (see post HERE).  The flavors change on a daily basis with an average of 7-8 flavors every day.

Not just your average waffle cone!  Bacon bits are pressed into the handmade waffle cone giving a salty twist to the sweet snack.  The bottom scoop is banana ice cream speckled with nuts.  The top scoop was surprisingly the best one.  Avocado ice cream with real chunks of avocado.   

Address:                 Treatbot the Karaoke Ice Cream Truck
                                100 N. Almaden 
                                San Jose, CA
Type:                       ice cream/dessert

Popular chomps:     Eastside horchata ice cream
                                 Tin roof Sunday
                                 bacon waffle cone

Chomp worthy:        bacon waffle cone
                                  avocado ice cream     



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With many pizzerias (Delfina see post HERE; Beretta, etc  ) within walking distance, sometimes its hard to distinguish one pizza place from the next.  First thing you notice while seated here is how quiet this place is.  Owned and staffed by deaf servers, its definitely a different SF dining experience.  Having been exposed to this environment my whole life, it wasn't anything new to me.  The servers are friendly and very attentive, just make sure you look at them when you speak so they can read your lips clearly.  There is a some paper and pencil on each table, just in case. 

In a city where an average meal is at least $100, I almost forgot what its like to have a bargain meal.  Mozzeria serves dishes a la carte, but on Tues and Weds, they serve up a pre fixe meal.  The $39 Tues meal includes a choice of 2 small plates, 1 pizza, 1 pasta, and 1 dessert.

I can never say no to a ball of burrata.  For a special menu dinner, this one was quite generous in portion size.  Not as soft and fluffy on the inside as I would have hoped, but it still hit the spot, especially with the chili jam.  It gave a nice kick to the subtle dish.

Crispy balls of goodness sums of what aracinis are.  Deep fried balls of gooey rice and cheese with a nice crispy crust.

My first choice of the  bucatini wasn't available so I had to default to the gnocchi.  Covered in bolognese and fennel with a giant dollop of ricotta on the side, this was not my favorite dish.  The balls of dough were on the heavy and dense side.

The pizza here is definitely the star of this meal.  Super, super thin (possibly the thinnest slice, I've seen in SF) with a nice charred, blistered crust.  Its just a slice that bursts with amazing flavor, from the tomato sauce to the crust.  This pizza is some of the best pizza in SF, second only to Pizzeria Delfina.

The dessert of the day was the bombolino.  They are fried doughnuts filled with lemon curd and rolled cinnamon sugar.  Fluffy and delicious. 

Address:                    Mozzeria
                                   3228 16th St.
                                   San Francisco, CA
Type:                          pizza

Popular chomps:        margherita pizza

Chomp worthy:           margherita pizza   


La Tapatia Mexicatessen

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I'm rarely on this side of the woods, but a semitrustworthy burrito source told me that I had to visit this spot.  It's a good sign when everyone walking out had a burrito in hand. 

The inside reminds me of my favorite burrito spot - La Palma (see post HERE).  Part grocery store and part taqueria,  it sells all the good stuff. 

The super burrito comes with all the fixings.  Although they do add lettuce, which I did not like.  The pieces of chicharones are cut in big chunks on the spot before being rolled into the burrito.  The chicharones are flavorful with just the right amount of fattiness and crispiness, even better than La Palma's.  It doesn't have La Palma's freshly made fluffy tortilla, but their spicy salsa and excellent chicharones make it worth the trip outside the city.   

Address:                  La Tapatia Mexicatessen
Type:                        burrito/Mexican

Popular chomps:      chicharones burrito
                                  carne asada burrito
                                  carnitas burrito

Chomp worthy:         chicharrones burrito     


Suite Foods

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Suite Foods just moved into the 331 Cortland food court, which is also home to Anda Piroshki (see post HERE).  It seems I've been on quite a waffle run lately with Waffle Amore (see post HERE) and Butter & Zeus (see post HERE).  

Instead of going all the way to TCHO (see post HERE), you can get TCHO sipping chocolate here for $3.  The chocolate is so thick you really do have to sip it.  It has a sweet fruity, taste with a deeper chocolate finish.

You can never go wrong with the traditional Liege waffle.  Its sturdy and dense with hints of caramelized sugar bits in the nooks and crannies.

My fascination with runny egg may be getting out of control.  One look at a picture of their poached egg (additional $2) inside their maple bacon waffle and I made it a top priority to eat this asap!  The poached eggs are actually precooked ahead of time and then dropped into a pot of hot water then placed ever so gently inside a freshly made maple bacon waffle.  A perfectly runny egg with just a dash of salt on top made this salty and sweet combination just that much better.    

Address:                   Suite Foods
                                  331 Cortland Ave.
                                  San Francisco, CA
Type:                         dessert

Popular chomps:       liege waffle
                                   maple bacon waffle with poached egg
                                   sipping chocolate

Chomp worthy:          liege waffle
                                   maple bacon waffle with poached egg
                                   sipping chocolate   



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It hard to find a good Vietnamese sandwich in the city, much less in Downtown.  A short hike into Chinatown led me to Munchboxx.  They sell American sandwiches as well as Vietnamese sandwiches, but I was here for the Vietnamese sandwiches.  At almost $6 a sandwich, they are on the pricey side by Vietnamese sandwich standards, but average for what you can find in the Downtown. 

Although the sandwiches are pricey, they are fully stuffed to the brim and quite heavy.

A couple odd things I did notice about these sandwiches.  First of all its stuffed with lettuce as if it was an American sandwich.  Not a big fan of this, but it wasn't as distracting as I expected.  Also, the bread is not typical type Vietnamese sandwich bread.  The exterior looks like a blistered cracker, but it serves the insides of the sandwich well.  Its light and the inside is hollowed out so its more of a shell than a sandwich bread.

The combo sandwich is layered with pate, ham, and headcheese.  The veggies are pickled and crunchy with spicy jalapenos.  A good flavor and a surprising lunchtime find.  I found the combo sandwich to be much better than the chicken and pork sandwich.
There is an option for either bbq pork or 5 spice chicken.  If you can't decide, they have a half and half.  While both the chicken and pork combo has a decent amount of large juicy pieces, the flavor wasn't very strong.
Address:                MunchBoxx
                               643 Clay St.
                               San Francisco, CA
Type:                     Vietnamese/Sandwiches

Popular chomps:   cranberry turkey
                               Vietnamese sandwich

Chomp worthy:      Vietnamese combo sandwich        


Salty's Famous Fishwich

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Salty's Famous Fishwich is one of those hidden gems amongst the tourist traps and chain restaurants.

The fishwich has got to the best tasting fish sandwich I have ever had.  The fish is lightly battered and deep fried.  So fresh that the fish just flakes off with every bite.  The slaw is light and crunchy with a slight vinegar taste.   Its so good that you can even buy a side of it.  The fresh, crunchiness reminds me of Bakesale Betty's slaw (see post HERE).  Its so good its a candidate for my top ten chomps of the year.

For the non fish lovers, there is a chickenwich.  Essentially, the chickenwich is the same sandwich as the fishwich, just with chicken instead of fish.  The lightly battered fried chicken is good, but just a little dry.  The fishwich is MUCH better.

Address:                  Salty's Famous Fishwich
                                 Fisherman's Wharf
                                 Pier 43 1/2
                                 San Francisco, CA
Type:                        seafood/sandwich

Popular chomps:      fishwich
                                 clam chowder
                                 garlic fries

Chomp worthy:        fishwich



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Any place that touts itself as a tapas or even Basque cuisine makes me a little hesitant since I've never found any place that comes close to what I had in San Sebastian.  Michael Chiarello took a stab at it with Coqueta.  The restaurant is small and quaint with a bright, homey feel.  It was fun to look around the restaurant and see small ingredients used as decorations that reminded me of Spain.  While the cuisine still doesn't come close to the fabulous food I had in San Sebastian (see post HERE), its the closer than anything I've in SF so far.

Yay!  Estrella Damn!  A taste of a Barcelona beer was just the start of the Basque meal that took me back to memories of my Spain trip.

One thing I love about the pintxos in Spain was the plentiful seafood dishes.  The calamari were chewy and plated with squid ink aioli and onion aioli.

The wood grilled octopus was one of my favorite dishes of the night.  The octopus was tender, but chewy with a nice smokey, grilled taste.  A little firm, but a little soft, you can never go wrong with fingerling potatoes.

At $2.50 a skewer, its a fun way to snack before the rest of the meal comes.  Today's skewers choices were (right to left): quail egg "Diablo", pickled mustard seed and jamon serrano; house cured boquerones, white anchovies, olives, pearl onions, guindilla peppers; chorizo, roasted artichokes, and piquillo peppers; jamon serrano, manchego, and apricot-sherry conserva; baby beets, caña de cabra cheese, citrus, and spring onion a la plancha.

Trying to save room for the rest of the meal, I only chose 3 skewers (left to right): manchego cheese, quail egg, and chorizo.

Sunny side egg served with shrimp, crispy potato strings, and chorizo dressing.  The "gravy"made of bits of chorizo reminds me of my favorite XO sauce, but it made this dish a little too oily.  The shredded potato strings reminded me of this dish I had in San Sebastian, Spain (see post HERE)

I decided bypass the most obvious rice dish (paella) and choose the arroz cremosa.  Snaps for using the correct rice (bomba rice) for this dish as well as the paella.  The scallops were so lush and tender.  The English peas and sprouts gave this dish a nice fresh taste. 

The pluma seems to be the most popular dish, making its appearance on almost every table in the restaurant.  At $38, this was surprisingly the most expensive dish of the night.  The Iberico de bellota pork shoulder loin was lightly covered with honey chili glaze.  While the meat was cooked to juicy perfection, I was hoping for some charred or grilled taste to the meat.  I found the glaze to be too sweet for the meat and would rather have it with just a dash of salt granules. 

A bottle of chili glaze is given, in case you prefer your meat even sweeter!

Even if you are stuffed, Coqueta offers dessert bites as well as regular sized desserts.  Manchego cheesecake served on sticks with caramel popcorn.  A nice density with very cheese taste and texture.

Another dessert bite was the sangria "pop-rocksickles".  An adult popsickle with a sprinkle of poprocks for childhood nostalgia.  Cute, fun idea, but hard to eat.

Churros con chocolate is a nice way to end the meal.  Having had my fill of churros con churros travelling through Spain, I was excited to see this on the menu.  The drinkable chocolate was mixed with cinnamon and used for dipping the fried dough.  Although the churros had a nice crust, the insides were mushy.  The chocolate sauce was much thinner than the ones that I had in Spain.  It didn't coat the churros nicely.  Pretty disappointing. 

Address:               Coqueta
                              The Embarcadero
                              Pier 5
                              San Francisco, CA
Type:                     Spanish

Popular chomps:   grilled octopus
                               grilled razor clams
                               Chefs Grand Selection of Cured Meats and Cheeses
                               manchego cheesecake bites
                               arroz cremosa
                               roasted padron peppers

Chomp worthy:     grilled octopus
                              arroz cremosa