Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sno-Crave Tea House--Cupertino, CA

The "Taiwanese Spicy" hot pot
I caught on pretty late to the shaved snow craze, which hit here in the Bay Area in 2012. Once I tried it, though, it immediately became one of my favorite desserts. There's nothing quite like that soft fluffy spoonful of snow melting into a firm, gummy, delicious wad. But, more on that later.

Sno Crave in Cupertino is known as much for their hot pots as their desserts. However, the hot pot I ordered was a disappointment. I ordered the spiciest of the three levels for their "Taiwanese Spicy" soup base. To make it spicy, Sno Crave just dumped a heaping cupful of hot chili oil, which dominated the texture and appearance of the dish. There was so much oil that I took the leftovers home and I've been using the soup as a condiment at dinner.

Though Jenny chose the Japanese Miso soup base, the hotpot didn't feature miso. Still, the broth was flavorful and was even tastier when I ate it as a leftover a day or two later. The dish was a great value--it was packed with delicious protein--and more than enough for even the hungriest diner, especially given one has to save room for the shaved snow. In speaking of which...

 ...we got the honeydew flavored shaved snow with mango popping juice ball topping. Yes, it was delicious and I'd love to come back to Sno Crave again to have some more. However, the texture was just a little hard when it first entered the mouth and it wasn't quite the religious experience I had at Snow-Zen in Mountain View.

The big bonus for the kids--actually, the main draw for them--was that the restaurant played Spider-Man on their multiple flatscreens. The boys loved it and we lost them because of it for most of the dinner. Oh, well.

Sno-Crave Tea House

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ajito--Cupertino, CA

Soboro Don
With the kids away at a birthday party at De Anza College, Jenny and I tried the nearby Ajito in Cupertino. Wanting to try several different items, I started with a couple of skewers. I had the chicken skin skewer with "Sauce" as opposed to "Salt". It was nevertheless very salty. I also had the pork belly skewer, which was a bit spongier than what I was expecting but otherwise fine. Overall, the skewers were small and of questionable value, even at two dollars each.

Chicken Skin skewer

The chicken, rice and egg dish Soboro Don) was, just like the chicken skin skewer before it, quite salty. Also, the egg, poached, was the tiniest I'd ever seen coming from a chicken.  Jenny and I independently thought the ground chicken tasted a lot like pork sung, which isn't necessarily a bad thing--I'd just never had chicken that tasted so much like pork.

Pork Belly skewer
Salmon Avocado Tartare featuring homemade potato chips was a delicious, though. I'd never even thought of potato chips and salmon going together, but it was a combination that worked.
Salmon Avocado Tartare
As surely as boys from Indiana know how to shoot free throws, chefs in Bay Area Japanese restaurants know how to grill fish. Ajito was no exception with their grilled black cod (Gindara Misoyaki), which tasted good just looking at it.

Grilled cod
We finished with a sashimi salad, which wasn't in the same league as the similar offering at Rokko Sushi in Sunnyvale. But, it was a valiant attempt. The sashimi was great, but the presentation was a mish mash. We had no regrets.

Sashimi salad