Felt hot and lazy, went out for dinner instead. See what I checked out in this weeks article
by Alexander Quebec
The warm weather we’ve been experiencing lately has thrown me off guard this week. I didn’t feel like cooking anyways, so I took myself out to beat the heat (it was almost 80 degrees outside, so the joke was on me). Here’s some new places I checked out
The Kebab Shop (San Jose)
A chain started by a group of siblings in Southern California, you have your basic Shawarma style meats served in your choice of wrap, box or bowl. For this visit, I went with a basic wrap with extra onions with a side of their house made cucumber and dill salad for this hot weather.
My wrap was about the length of my forearm, but it packed quite a bit of flavor. Juicy and savory lamb and beef with the tangy pickled onions paired well with the garlic yogurt sauce inside of the wrap. Speaking of the Garlic Yogurt, they also have a dispenser ready to pour out some of that white, creamy goodness for whatever else you might want to use it for. I got a bit greedy and tried some on my Cucumber salad, which was also a winning combination.
The cucumber salad, I don’t really know how you can make salad exciting, it tends to be the Oates and Garfunkel of the group, but as far as salads go, it was refreshing overall. I guess the metric I look for in a side salad at any place is if they compliment whatever the main course is that I am eating. With a flavor that was light and slightly salty, it did just fine.
Overall, the sauce was the boss on an otherwise good wrap. Next time, I’ll remember to get more of the garlic yogurt sauce while I’m waiting for my food.
Coco-Bar (San Jose)
Right next to Gen Korean BBQ (one of my favorite spots I might add) is a new shop that opened up in the former Popbar location: Coco-Bar. You might be thinking this is just another run of the mill boba shop: but you’re wrong, there’s nary a boba ball to be found here. Instead, you get some refreshing drinks made with coconut and sugarcane water, which I understand is quite popular with the Vietnamese and Filipinos here too. This was actually my second visit since the last time I went, they ran out of Pandan waffle mix to make waffles (Heartbreaking, it really is), but I was in luck as the owner had a huge batch waiting and ready to go.
Oh that pandan waffle was delish; hot and fluffy, fresh from the press is the only way to go. I loved how I got some of that sweet sweet pandan essence with the creamy, freshly baked batter flavor that you can only get from freshly made waffles. It was pretty big too, so I’d advise having a friend ready to help you take this down (or help yourself to the whole thing, I’m a writer, not a dietician).
The Coconut-Sugarcane drink took me some time to get used to, but overall I found its sweetness not overly cloying and a refreshing drink overall if you’re looking for something that doesn’t drown in sweeteners. I think next time, I’d order just plain coconut water as I’m a big fan of staying hydrated, especially in the coming months. I’ll be sure to drop by for more waffles with some of the ice cream they serve in house(The Ube, Mango, and Cookies and Cream flavors were my favorites, and I’d give those a try when you’re in the area.)
Cauldron Ice Cream (San Jose)
I’ll be honest, this was an attempt at a 2nd visit and I was hoping to drop by after the Kebab Shop since they’re across kitty corner from each other, but they were closed that night.
But, I did give them a try during their soft opening period, so I’ll be pretty straightforward. Using liquid nitrogen to make their ice cream, this SoCal based Ice Cream chain has quite a bit of the social media following. As of this posting, this is their first location up here in NorCal, so I’m sure those in the know already have high expectations.
It was crowded for a place that was having a soft opening, even more surprising was that on the night I went, it was raining. The droves weren’t dismayed, however, and I found myself standing arm to arm with people in line waiting for their ice cream.
I don’t know the exact science behind the whole liquid nitrogen ice cream, but I know it works (and I can google it too). I ordered the S’mores ice cream: Chocolate ice cream covered in graham cracker dust topped with melted marshmallow. Aside from the ratio of marshmallow to ice cream feeling a bit off (i figured they might use marshmallow fluff, not an actual marshmallow, but that was a nice touch, don’t get me wrong) I loved the creamy chocolate ice cream when it melted slightly and mixed with the crumbs on the bottom of the cup (another nice touch to the treat). I can see why they have become so popular down South, and if they can keep that momentum going, they should do fine up here in the North.