Sunday, May 25, 2014

Skipolini's Pizza--Antioch, CA

We went to Skipolini's tonight for dinner in Antioch after fruit-picking with Jenny's brother. The best part of the experience wasn't the food, but the friendly service, the sawdust on the floor (how cool is that?) and the playstructure to keep the kids busy.

Now, about that pizza. Having kids, we had a large with half cheese and half mushroom and chicken. We went with the white sauce pizza. The crust was chewy when dry. But, it wasn't absorbent enough to hold the moisture from the toppings. In other words, it was soggy. What I really wanted was a specialty pizza. The problem is, if you order half cheese, you get charged the full specialty (treated as five toppings) price.

The kid-friendliness, though, with the crayons, play area and abundant outdoor seating won me over. Sure, the pizza was so-so, but how can anyone enjoy pizza at all if the kids keep pestering you?

Well, not always true unfortunately...
Skipolini's Pizza
901 Fitzuren Rd
Antioch, CA

Friday, May 23, 2014

Ryowa--Mountain View, CA

I ate lunch with Jenny today at Ryowa, one of her favorite local spots for ramen. We got there at 1:20 and still had to wait for a table. Get there at 1:40, though, and you can show up with a van-load of people and be seated right away. Most of the seating is at a winding counter that S-curves its way through the restaurant.

The R1
We got the "R1" or Ryowa with three potstickers and a bowl of rice. The Ryowa itself features ramen, pork and egg in a sesame paste soup. Be aware the soup is spicy, but nothing a seasoned palate can't take. At $9.50, the R1 is only 50 cents more than the Ryowa on its own (meaning the extra four bits buys you 3 dumplings and more rice than you could possibly need), making the R1, as far as I could tell, the most popular item in the house. The dumplings were adequate, but nothing special--a bit soft and luke warm. The main event is the noodle soup and that egg--just on the firm side of runny--was spot on.

Neither Jenny nor I could really figure out what the bowl of rice was intended to go with. In any case, I dumped it into what was left of the soup at the end of lunch--it made a great filler. By the way, I'd never been served room-temperature tea before today. When coupled with the hot soup, though, it really worked! I thought it odd they served tea at room temperature, but actually I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Pastis Bistro--Palo Alto, CA

We ate at Pastis for Mother's Day. We got there before the restaurant opened at 9:30, but still ended up waiting for nearly an hour. The wait was mitigated by the Farmers Market on California, which kept us busy. You can't stray too far for too long, though! If they call your name for your table and you're not there to hear it, you get dropped.

Jenny and I went for their specials: the Crab Cake Eggs Benedict and the omelet with bay shrimp, sea bass and salmon. And, for the kids, we basically fed them chocolate for brunch: We got the Nutella Parisien and the Pain au Chocolat.

We enjoyed just about everything, but if anything was worth the fifty-five minute wait, it was the omelet, which hit the mouth buttery and hot (but not scorching). I didn't quite detect the sea bass, but the shrimp was terrific and made the omelet.

The roasted potatoes that came with the Eggs Benedict were a big hit with Jenny. She liked the seasoning and the fluffy texture. The chocolate items were heavy and we were all surprised that Tyler couldn't quite finish. Still, the leftovers made a great dessert.

Pastis Bistro
447 S California Ave.
Palo Alto, CA
(650) 324-1355