Friday, December 21, 2012

The Himalayas in Sausalito

Although we live in Redwood City, we pretty much drive everywhere between Sonoma and San Jose on a typical weekend, exploring and revisiting favorite haunts. Last weekend, I had a craving to go to Sausalito, a pretty and upscale town north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Their main street is touristy due to the San Francisco - Sausalito ferry, but the restaurants are not exactly tacky. However, after some YELPing, we decided on a small Nepalese restaurant called 'A Taste of the Himalayas' located a little farther away from the visiting throngs.

The GPS took us a couple of blocks away from 2633 Bridgeway - their address advertised on Yelp; the restaurant is just before the intersection of Coloma and Bridgeway, on the right, going southbound on Bridgeway. It's a small establishment next to a Mexican restaurant, and has a cozy and bright interior, painted in warm colors.

As soon as you walk in, the kitchen is to your right, and friendly staff get you settled in right away. Pictures of Himalayan landscapes adorn the red wall, and the quiet location in the middle of the hills does make it feel as if you've escaped the drudgery of everyday life. The menu is a mix of Nepalese and Indian food, and is quite eclectic. A dish which wowed us instantly was 'Samosa Chaat' - I've had samosas and chat separately, but never a combination. 'Chaat' is a savory and spicy combination of ingredients like puffed rice, pieces of boiled potato, garbanzo beans, peas etc and tomatoes, raw onions,  chillies, all mixed up in a tangy tamarind and yogurt sauce. It's considered a snack in India, and a favorite of all age groups. The unlikely marriage with crispy and fresh hot samosas was enticing and delicious. Then, we ordered some momos  - they were essentially potstickers, but with an aromatic and medium spicy chicken filling, which was unique. The presentation was pretty, with six momos laying on a bed of a well-seasoned sauce. I believe the appetizers were around $8 each, and the entrees around $14. Again, the entrees were a mix of Nepalese and Indian, and came with either steamed rice, or vegetables. The portions were generous, and the price reasonable for the quality and freshness. Service was friendly and swift, and the ambience peaceful. Thumbs up!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Turkish Delight

Nestled between the vintage Fox Theatre and the delectable bakery Pamplemousse on 2399 Broadway in Redwood City, California, is a hidden gem, New Kapadokia. It is inconspicuous and demure at its location, but full of substance and quality. I was seriously craving Mediterranean food - Greek, Lebanese - that sort of thing, and did not want to drive around. I searched online, and found that this Turkish restaurant had some decent reviews.

As soon as you enter and are faced with a long and narrow rectangular aisle flanking tables on both sides, a friendly    face is there to greet and guide you. We were exquisitely swished onto a nearby table, and a bread basket arrived even before we sat down. The service throughout the meal was impeccable. The menu is extensive and eclectic - I have to recommend any Kebab dish! The meat on the skewers were as tender as they were bursting with barbecued flavors. The Turkish beer that my husband ordered was rich as a stout, chocolaty and wholesome. I only wish I sampled their Turkish wines, but that's for my next visit.

The restaurant is clean, pleasant, and the Turkish music in the backgrounds transports you to a quaint establishment in the back streets of Istanbul. It's not cheap, but it doesn't break the bank either. The price reflects the high quality of the meal, and if you've never tried Turkish, you owe it to yourself to try something different. Street parking might be hard on a weekend, but the Century 20 parking lot is only a few blocks away.

The only caveat for me are the early closing times - between 9 and 10 pm depending on the day. I have this vision stuck in my head: mingling with people smoking hookahs, drinking Turkish wine and dancing to the exotic tunes into the wee hours of the morning, but I guess I'll just have to visit Turkey for that.

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