Thursday, December 31, 2009

California Cafe

Yesterday for lunch Jenny and I went to California Cafe in Palo Alto. Although it was 1:00, the restaurant was nearly full, and for good reason. My wife had the crab melt and I the seared beef tenderloin tips and paparadelli pasta.

What grabbed me about Jenny's sandwich was the crisp yet soft bread, which was undoubtedly fried in an abundant amount of butter. The crab itself was adequate. The salad that came with the sandwich was good, but generic--the big box of organic salad you'd get at Costco comes to mind.

Although the lunch was late and I had a healthy appetite, I ordered a half dish suspecting the cream sauce would fill me up. I was right. To end it there wouldn't do the entree justice, though. My pasta bowl was packed with beef cubes, each of them tender but not flavorful. The sun-dried tomatoes were a good touch. My wife enjoyed the paparadelli. Any trace of lingering hunger we may have had was eliminated by their delicious fresh-baked bread and olive oil.

We will return again someday, but perhaps only for a special occasion, such as a parents' night out. The $14 for a sandwich would be otherwise difficult to justify.

California Cafe
700 Welch Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304-1519
(650) 325-2233

Welcome to the new restaurant blog!

I'm excited to begin a new blog featuring my experience at restaurants, primarily around the Bay Area. Beginning about a year and a half ago I reviewed restaurants at my website However, I believe a blog format allows me to be brief and is therefore a better fit for the limited time I have available for writing (pretty much restricted to the evenings as I wait for my twin boys to fall asleep). In my original restaurant review website I had the description below which is still apt today:

While I am an equal opportunity eater, I'm still discriminating. I can notice the obvious. I know when noodles are home-made or if fruits are out of season. And, as my friends know all too well, I can easily detect bad service and get cranky from it. More crucial, though, is the secret weapon that accompanies me on just about every meal I review: my wife. If I'm a glutton, she's a connoisseur. From a single bite, she can identify—and often determine the provenance of—just about every herb, spice, fruit, vegetable and extract on her plate. At times she can put a dent in my dining experience by mentioning failings I wouldn't have otherwise noticed. Not long before this website began I was enjoying what I thought was a perfectly good lunch at Kirk's Steakburgers until my fair critic across the table pointed out the mushrooms in my burger were from a can. And, right she was!

So, here we are at your service: your dedicated dining duo out to turn over every coffee mug, warming-tray lid, soup-bowl cover and yes, every hamburger bun, to give you the story of what satisfies most: the pleasures of the table.

Please stop by often! I promise to be brief.