This food thing is hard!

Granted I haven’t been focusing super much on food for awhile, but I don’t remember it being this hard!  Like today, I added one of those little packages of liquid creamer to my coffee when we went out to breakfast today without thinking anything of it.  During a lull in the conversation I thought “I wonder what’s in that.”  I looked at the package and saw that it listed 2% milk, heavy cream, and some weird additive.  Three ingredients, but one of them was weird.  *sigh*

Then I ordered a Denver omelet.  Sounded right: eggs, ham, bell pepper, onion and cheese.  I should have ordered it without the cheese – who knows what’s in the cheese that makes it orange?  Side of hash browns that I only ate two bites of, and a slice of wheat toast.  Notice it’s not 100% whole wheat?

OK, OK, it’s basically day 1, right?  I’m out of the habit of analyzing everything on the menu and all the pieces of a particular plate when I’m ordering.  I just need to do better.  I’ll know better for date night on Wednesday.

Tonight should be easier for dinner.  My brother is coming over to make us some dinner.  He’s making his “California Salad” with tilapia on top and we’re pairing it with an amber ale.  He’s a chef and the author of  It only has one entry so far because he caught a nasty cold right after the first meal.  He’s back tonight.  I’ve had the California Salad before, but this time it will be a little different.  We couldn’t find the strawberries that he’d normally use so he’ll be substituting with raspberries.  And normally there isn’t any meat added in, but since it will be a main dish salad there needs to be something to go with it.  I’m totally looking forward to it.  Since we moved out a few years ago, I haven’t been able to spend a whole lot of time with him and I kinda miss him.

OK…  now onto the exercise portion of things.  I’m pretty limited in what I can do since I fell and cracked a rib a couple weeks ago.  I’m moving better now, but I can’t run or lift anything heavier than 5 pounds right now.  And even lifting 2 pounds repeatedly makes me cry.  So as soon as I finish with this entry, I’m planning on trying some lower body stuff just to get moving.  Squats, calf raises, going up and down the stairs, that kind of thing.  Nothing that requires twisting or using my abs too much – I don’t want to hurt myself worse!

And I weighed myself last night with my trusty Wii balance board…  I’m at 159.4 pounds.  Ugh.  I need to be around 145 to be at a healthy BMI.  So that means I have 14.4 pounds to lose.  I know BMI isn’t the be-all of health and fitness, but it’s a gauge to use.

Time to do some light exercise to get things moving.

Restaurant Review: The First Street Alehouse in Livermore, CA

My sister-in-law celebrated her birthday over the weekend.  The in-laws all went to The First Street Alehouse in Livermore because of previous positive experiences there…  and because they had big screen televisions to watch the Super Bowl on.

For those who enjoy drinking beer, this place is pretty awesome.  There are a bunch of microbrews on tap – I think 20 or so.  I was driving, so DH ordered a pilsner that was pretty good.  If we were to go again it would be my turn and I’d order a porter (my favorite type of beer).

Don’t expect fancy fare from the First Street Alehouse.  It’s all burgers, sandwiches, fried foods and a few salads.  The burgers are half-pounders, so bring your appetite.  I ordered the California Chicken Sandwich, which was basically a grilled chicken sandwich topped with guacamole, bacon, tomato, onion and lettuce.  The flavors were basic and good.  I ate most of it, even though I probably should have limited myself to half.  My only complaint is that the sandwich was super messy to eat.  The people who ordered the burgers had the same problem.

In spite of the yumminess of the food, there was one problem: my sister-in-law found a hair in her burger.  They were quick to replace the burger, gave us extra fries and comped her meal.  Other than that hiccup, all was good.

Date Night: iSushi in Castro Valley

Every Thursday is date night, and this past Thursday was no exception.  Because we’re always looking for new restaurants with great food, and we hadn’t yet tried this one, we chose to eat at iSushi for date night.

DH and I walked in and noticed how cramped the place was.  Well, there’s not a lot you can do about that when space is at a premium, so we asked to be seated at the tall table in the far corner.  We figured it would give us extra room.  Then we opened the menu.

There are lots and lots of different rolls and appetizers and things, but it’s difficult to tell how many pieces you get with each roll and appetizer.  You can’t base it off of price either because all of the choices (except for rice and soup) were $10+.  I ordered the Jada and a miso soup, DH ordered the iSushi.  We shared a sake sampler.

I saw the different plates come out to all of the tables and had a very bad feeling.  Most of the plates only had 3-4 pieces on them instead of the normal 6-8 pieces you get with a roll anywhere else.  Then ours came out…  the Jada, while very tasty only had 2 pieces and the iSushi had 5 slices of tuna.

Even though we were both still hungry, neither one of us could stomach paying for more.

So, bottom line is: if you like feeling crowded and want to pretend to be a millionaire, eat at iSushi.  The food is really yummy, and the sake sampler was tasty.  The people were nice too.

Date Night: Massimo’s in Fremont, CA

I’ve driven past Massimo’s for years but never tried it.  Any time I suggested it as a kid, I’d be “shushed” because it was out of my family’s price range.  Then I started on this quest to try a new restaurant every week.  My husband suggested Massimo’s for this week’s dinner.

I made reservations, and we arrived about 15 minutes late.  Damn you BART for making my husband be late getting home!  They sat us quickly anyway.

The dining room was nice and quiet.  There weren’t any small children running around and screaming, and there wasn’t a bench seat in sight!  The waiter asked what we’d like to drink then brought over a wine list at my request.  I looked for something familiar, but I know nothing about wine so it all blended together in one big smooshy mess.  I finally ordered a Shirley Temple and my husband ordered an iced tea.  We ordered garlic bread too.

For dinner, I ordered the raviolis with shrimp sauce.  My husband ordered the ahi tuna special and clam chowder.

The garlic bread came out after the chowder.  It was tasty.  The chowder was “meh” but my husband finished it.

We waited quite awhile for our entrees.  It was weird.  A lot of people were waiting and looking around at one another.  Finally our food came so we started eating.

My raviolis were OK, just a bit bland and heavy.  They grew on me even though I could only eat about half of it because I filled up on bread.  I brought the rest home to have for lunch tomorrow.

My husband liked his tuna, but I thought it was a little disappointing.  The server said that it was “sashimi grade” but it didn’t look that way to me.  When I tasted it it seemed a little rubbery.  The flavor was OK though.

We didn’t have dessert because we didn’t want to wait forever for that to come too.

I can’t explain why the experience was so odd.  It just felt weird.  I doubt I’ll go back just to go, but if someone else was paying I might eat there again.

Week 11 – Tandoor, Hayward, CA

My mission to try a new restaurant each week continued today at Tandoor restaurant in Hayward, CA.  My fiance’s mom attended a baby shower that Tandoor catered.  She liked it so much that she wanted to eat at the restaurant today and I needed a new restaurant STAT, so we all piled into a couple of cars and stopped in to eat.

The decor is a bit bland, and the buffet is set up on three tables.  The people were really nice.  They could tell that all of us were first-timers.

We all ate from the buffet.  We took a little bit of everything, since most of us had never really eaten Indian food before.  It was really good!  Not too spicy either.  My fiance talked to the guys running the place, and they indicated that if we were to order from the menu next time they could alter the spiciness of the food.

My niece was really nervous about trying the food, but then again, she’s 8 years old.  We finally got her to try the naan (2 thumbs up from her), the rice (we liked it, but she didn’t), the curry chicken (everyone liked it), the tandoori chicken (everyone liked it, but she was freaked out by the red color) and the butter chicken (she didn’t like it at all, but I thought it was good).

It was a good experience, and affordable.  I’d probably order takeout next time so that I have leftovers.

Week 10 – Burrito Shop, Castro Valley

The next installment in my continuing mission to try a new restaurant every week…


Last week was a close one – I almost didn’t meet the requirements of this resolution!  Originally my hunny and I were going to try a new restaurant before we saw Chicago at CSUEB, but then he got home late and we resorted to Taco Bell.  So, that left only one day to get my restaurant in… and I had to work that day!  So, I thought about the restaurants near work, and remembered the Burrito Shop in Castro Valley.  Believe it or not, I’ve never eaten at a Burrito Shop, so I thought I’d try it for lunch.

The location is a 3 minute walk from the staff entrance at work, but if you’re driving you might have to battle for parking.  The inside isn’t much to speak of: a few tables and chairs, and a big barrier of a counter with the menu posted above.  It’s definitely a fast food place, but when you only have a 30 minute lunch break you’re not looking for fancy!

I ordered the first gourmet burrito on their menu: the Santa Fe Chicken.  The girl rang me up, and my food came out shortly after.  It wasn’t until I’d had time to study the menu that I realized I could have asked for my choice of beans and tortillas, including whole wheat, at no extra cost.  Eh, next time, right?  I walked back to work to eat my meal, mostly because the Shop didn’t feel super welcoming.

My burrito was decent.  There was a good balance of rice, beans, and veggies, but it could have used more chicken.  I have to admit that eating zucchini in my burrito was different, but the flavors meshed well.

Overall, I’d probably go back for another quick meal if I forgot my lunch or the cafe in our building doesn’t have anything to offer.  I doubt I’d make a special effort to visit though.

Week 9 – Simply Thai, Newark CA

My continuing quest to try a new restaurant every week in 2010…


On Wednesday, my sister and I stopped in at Simply Thai in Newark for lunch.  She’d eaten here a few times before, but I hadn’t so it fit in with my need for a new restaurant every week.

We were seated promptly at one of the few bench seats (grrr) in the restaurant at the tail end of lunch.  They quickly filled our water glasses, but took quite a while to take our order.  Just as I started to become impatient the waiter arrived.  I ordered the Panang Chicken lunch and she ordered the BBQ Chicken lunch.

The food arrived relatively quickly.  The curry sauce for the Panang Chicken was creamy and yummy.  It reminded me of a mix between yellow and red curry, but the menu said that it’s actually a different kind.  My sister’s BBQ chicken was good as well.  The flavor of the chicken was similar to satay chicken, but the sauce was not.  She said the sauce was sweet and yummy.  We each also received a bowl of soup, an egg roll, white rice, and salad with peanut sauce (nut allergies beware!).

Our water glasses were kept filled throughout the meal and our bill was handled quickly.  I also liked that every time I said “thank you” they actually responded with “you’re welcome.”  Not a grunt, not a nod, actual words!

For our two meals and one cup of tea it was under $20 plus tip for lunch.

Week 8 – Kaenyama, Fremont CA

In my quest to try a new restaurant every week, my fiance and I decided to try this restaurant on for size on Sunday afternoon. From the outside it looked closed, but the number of cars in the parking lot was a better indicator of its open status.

We were immediately greeted and seated. The host showed us the list of specials for the day and went back to his post. Our waitress asked us “What do you want to drink?” No other words passed her lips. We responded “tea please.” She rolled her eyes and walked off. 10 minutes later our tea arrived, but she didn’t stick around to take our order.

We overheard her at the next table saying “What do you want to eat?” Then she came to us and asked the same question. My fiance ordered a couple of rolls (they weren’t memorable). I ordered the tropical shrimp. Both meals were OK. His fish seemed fresh. I finished most of mine, but thought that the sauce they put on the fruit did nothing for the flavoring.

Overall, the place has a cool look, but the mediocre food and abrupt wait staff didn’t make me want to return. It might be fun to try the teppanyaki with a larger group, but I’m not impressed with this restaurant.

Week 7 – City Bistro, Hayward & Palomares Cafe, Castro Valley

This week I ate at 2 new restaurants – Yay!


After being trapped in an airport and on a plane for several hours, the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was cook.  One of my friends recommended City Bistro in Hayward to me a few months back, so I grabbed my Fiance and headed out.

We were immediately greeted by a man (the owner, I think) who said that we could sit anywhere we’d like.  Since we had the place to ourselves we chose the bench seating along the wall.  I know, I know…  I’m vocal about my disdain for bench seating.  To be fair, this place has minimal bench seating, with well over half the restaurant being made up of tables and chairs.

The guy brought our menus and stayed to chat for a moment.  I like it when they do that – gives the waiter/manager guy some personality.  I ordered a lemonade and the reuben.  My Fiance ordered a coffee and the Rudolph Giuliani.

The sandwiches were huge!  I couldn’t get my mouth around mine.  They came with a potato salad (yum), coleslaw (OK), and a pasta salad (meh).  Both sandwiches were tasty.

The only odd things that happened were that someone started cleaning the windows with a very strong smelling window cleaner just as we received our orders.  And the lady who brought out the orders didn’t smile and was a bit abrupt.  Even with that bit of weirdness, I’d still eat there and recommend it to others.


A group of about 10 of us visited Palomares Cafe for a retirement party last night.  Originally there were only going to be 6 people… and as more showed up they let us move.  They were super accommodating which was nice.

All of the food we were served looked good.  It must have tasted good too because all of our plates were empty by the end of the meal.  I had the Mediterranean Pasta with Creme Brulee for dessert.  My pasta was a bit firm for my taste, but the prawns were cooked to perfection.  The creme brulee was creamy and flavorful.

At the end of the meal they were kind enough to take group pictures with several cameras.  As we were leaving the band in the bar started up.  I wish I had time to hang out and listen. Maybe the next time I come in I’ll be able to enjoy the music.  Definitely good for date night.

Week 6 – Tacos & Tequila, Las Vegas

For Valentine’s weekend my hunny and I decided to visit Las Vegas.  I’d missed Vegas, so I was excited for the chance to go again.  And I figured that finding a place I hadn’t eaten at before would be easy. I’d been wanting to try Tacos and Tequila since we passed by it while exploring the Luxor.  My fiance and I thought “We like tacos.  We also like tequila.  This seems like a sure thing!”  So, we made sure to try it our last afternoon in Vegas.

We walked in and were asked to wait for a seat.  Confused, since there were 4-5 empty tables spread throughout the restaurant we agreed.  I leaned against a wall and noticed a young lady who was dressed nicely sitting attentively in a chair.  I figured she was waiting for her date so I didn’t think much of it.  After 20 minutes we were sat directly in front of the lady who I’d noticed.

We placed our orders.  He ordered the first margarita on the list, and the chicken tacos.  I ordered the ginger mango margarita and the crab tostadas.

They brought out chips and two types of salsa; both were yummy.

The margaritas tasted good.  The tequilas chosen complimented the base flavors nicely.  They weren’t the basic Silver or Gold tequilas that you find in most restaurant margaritas.  They were well worth the $12 each we paid.

My fiance liked his tacos, but noted that they were a bit small.  He cleaned his plate, and that almost never happens.

My crab tostadas were small as well.  Think of it as 3 round tortilla chips piled high with a mayonnaise-y crab and avocado mix.  They were hard to eat – kind of messy, you know?  But on the plus side, the crab was real crab.

As we were eating, we overheard our waiter talk to the girl who had been waiting since before we arrived.  She was there for an interview.  Just before we finished our meal, the hostess went to the girl and said “I don’t know when he’ll be here to talk to you.  You might want to go.”

I would have liked this place more if they didn’t leave the poor girl waiting.  It also would have helped if the portion sizes were a bit bigger.  I was left feeling vaguely dissatisfied, like I could have eaten another course, but after $60 I couldn’t stomach the thought of adding on another $15 for dessert.

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