Archive for July, 2011

Starbucks summer promotion – Grande cold drink for USD$2

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

If you visit Starbucks for coffee in the morning (before 2 PM), you should keep their receipt since you could get an iced Grande drink for USD$2 after 2 PM (same day). This promotion, according to another website, will be ended on Sept 5th, 2011. I also confirmed with a Starbucks employee that one could buy almost anything at Starbucks to get that receipt. But, that employee could not confirm the end day for this summer promotion.

The receipt is printed exactly like this:

Make a purchase prior to 2pm
Bring receipt in today after
2pm for a Grande cold drink
for $2 (+tax if applicable.)
Participating stores. Same day
only. Value 1/100 cent.

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Sangam Indian Cuisine (San Jose, CA)

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Today’s lunch, I had an Indian buffet for lunch at Sangam Indian Cuisine (North First St, San Jose, CA). It’s about USD$12 per person. This is almost my fourth time there, and I have no complaint about this restaurant. First of all, their chicken is very good, say B+ grade. I like their Butter Chicken as well as their Tandoori Chicken. It is very tender, and juicy. It is just right, and there is no better words to describe this. Their rices are also good. It comes with two different flavors: white rice, and a lemon yellow rice. Both are perfectly steamed. They went well with the Butter Chicken and its sauce. I will re-visit them again and again!

Comparing their Butter Chicken with Shiva’s (Mountain View, CA), Shiva’s Butter Chicken is a lot stronger in taste, and much much creamer. That means, it has much more butter which may not be what you want. Besides, Shiva’s lunch buffet is expensive, it’s about USD$17 out the door!

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Specialty’s (San Jose, CA) spinach, berry & goat cheese salad

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Yesterday, I had a salad for lunch at Specialty’s. I first ordered online at their website, paid with my credit card (around USD $9), select to have the salad to be made at the San Jose North First St (-x- Trimble Rd) store, and request to have it done ASAP (or, less than 15 minutes). It’s a good idea to print the payment and order confirmation page, and bring it with you.

When I get there, I looked for the shelf where prepared online orders will be placed. So, I ordered this Spinach, berry & goat cheese salad. Here is their description of this item: “Fresh goat cheese, seasonal berries and candied walnuts on a bed of fresh spinach. raspberry walnut vinaigrette dressing…”. First of all, I love spinach and goat cheese. I always think they are the best combination. It would have been different it the spinach were to be paired up with other cheeses with a harder structure like the Swiss cheese. Unlike the others, the goat cheese is soft, creamy, and tasty. The soft structure of the goat cheese really went well with the soft spinach. Then, here comes the strawberry, and their special “raspberry walnut vinaigrette dressing”. I am not a fan of raspberry, but the raspberry salad dressing was not bad. It was not too sweet, and it does not taste like the cherry flavor of Robitussin. By the way, many candies or food with cherry or raspberry flavor ended up tasting like Robitussin. I hate that! This raspberry salad dressing does not taste like that, so I don’t hate it. This Specialty’s salad also comes with a small piece of thyme focaccia bread which looks like their Mediterranean sandwich. It’s important to have this bread in the salad, otherwise, I will get hungry within 2 hours. With that, I got hungry after 5 hours.

Compare this salad with Carl’s Jr’s Cranberry Apple Walnut Grilled Chicken salad (USD $5, price varies from stores, this is the store on North First Street x- Trimble, San Jose, CA), this Specialty’s salad is two times more expensive, but it’s ingredient have been carefully selected and prepared. I could taste the freshness of the spinach, strawberry, and walnut. The walnut is not as sweet as those in Carl’s Jr. If you have diabetes, you should avoid those. This Carl’s Jr also comes with a similar salad dressing, the color is a lot lighter, and it looks pink. And, it has a weaker berry taste. However, it does not taste like Robitussin which is great!

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All you can eat: Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot at Cupertino, CA

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

On July 5th, 2011, my family had an all you can eat hot pot lunch at the Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot at the Cupertino, CA store. It was USD$21 per person, and I don’t think it is worth USD$21 since we could not eat that much during lunch. Moreover, the beef for the all you can eat seems to be not as fresh as the other. Our first dish of beef has been defrosted for a long time.

They changed two things compare to last year:

  • The menu for the all you can eat has less item (i.e. no more high quality beef).
  • The price was around USD$16 last year. This year, it’s USD$21.

Next time, we will just have the set lunch of hot pot for USD$10 per person. As for the all you can eat, it is only available on Tuesday (USD$21 for lunch or dinner) until Aug 31, 2011.

Oh, do remember to order the Leek sauce to dip your food with. It’s great!

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Coupa Cafe (Downtown Palo Alto, CA) – small Latte

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

This morning (July 5th, 2011), I had an appointment at the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at Standford University for the baby seat installation and inspection. Afterwards, I visited the Coupa Cafe on 538 Ramona St., Downtown Palo Alto, CA (nearby University Ave.) for a small cup of Latte (US$3.00). As I approached the cafe, I could see 60% of the customers with their MacBook and they kept typing and typing. Most of them are well-dressed, smart causal kind. Well, I don’t care how they dress as long as there is no homeless people sitting around.

When my cup of latte is ready, they called my name, and I walked to my table. The first impression is that they created a tree like image on the latte with the foamed cream. This is so much similar to Coffee Society at Cupertino (across from De Anza College). I wonder how did they come up with the same image. Perhaps, they were all trained by the same guy, or perhaps, they all think like the same..?!! Anyway, back to the cafe itself, I could relate the taste with Peet’s Coffee which is strong, bold, bitter, intense… It’s great. I realize that sometimes I like Peet’s, and sometimes I like Starbucks. As for Starbucks’s Latte, it has more milk than coffee. I do like milk, or milky taste, so I don’t mind to have more milk than coffee.

In terms of the overall environment of the cafe, it’s comfortable, professional (full of well-dressed, well-mannered people except myself), the thing I don’t like about this place is that it does not has too many power plugs for laptop computers, I could only find a few on one side of the wall, and the free WiFi is only available from Monday to Friday. So, I can’t work there during weekends. Perhaps, the cafe is trying to encourage more customers to interact with other human beings rather than the machines!

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Shanghai Dim Sum (Cupertino, CA)

Monday, July 4th, 2011

Last Saturday (June 25, 2011), my friend and his family had dinner with my family at the Shanghai Dim Sum restaurant in Cupertino, CA. This was our first time at this restaurant, and I am not familiar with Shanghai food, but I can definitely compare their food quality with other restaurant. We ordered a plate of stir fried noodle with chicken and vegetables, seafood soup, and something else that I could not remember. All I remember is that I will not go back again. Compare this restaurant with Shanghai Bistro in Millbrae, CA, this restaurant in Cupertino needs a change in their cooking skills. I give a D- grade for the stir fried noodle itself. The noodle seems to be overly cooked in the boiled water, and for a long long time. The noodle becomes very weak, but the chef is able to stir fried
the noodle before it is totally broken into pieces. Then, the chef puts a lot of oil to stir fried it. I can say that the chef was either missed the MSG, or attempted to lower the saltiness of the noodle. However, the chef was not trying to cook healthily as I could see a lot of oil being used. At this moment, for one thing that I am sure of is that even Panda Express has better stir fried noodles ! I give Panda Express stir fried noodle a B grade. Then, here comes the soup that we ordered, I was very disappointed. I feel like I could make this soup myself at home. The soup, I forgot the dish name, but it has seafood in it. I was expecting the same kind of soup from Shanghai Bistro (Millbrae, CA), but I was wrong, of course. If the seafood, especially the shrimp, is not fresh, I will throw up, and yes, I had to drink a lot of iced water preventing myself from throwing up.

Oh, I just remember why we have to dine at this restaurant, we saw a poster outside this restaurant which has special deal which is 3 dinner items for US$21, so we decided to try these 3 items. Then, the restaurant told us that
those special deals are only for to go. But, the poster outside did not mention that. Are they trying to lure the customer into the restaurant with this special deal which does not exist ?

One thing good about them is that they have very friendly waiter and waitress. This restaurant has been there for 7 months since the beginning of this year 2011. I wish they could improve their food, otherwise, they will have a hard time to continue….

My overall experience of their food feels like I had a few dishes of re-heated left over Chinese food from another C grade restaurant. I give a D grade for re-heated C grade food !

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