Saturday, January 26, 2013

Chef Xui!

Sophia says: Hey Readers! Tonight (for my brother's b-day) we went to Chef Xui. It serves Chinese food. When we got there, we noticed it was very small; only eight customer tables, and there was no privacy. We got seated right in the middle of the restaurant. We ordered chicken chow mein, lemon chicken, beef & broccoli, crispy eggplant and vegetable rice. We also ordered lemonade. I noticed that the waiters did not wear uniforms but wore regular clothes. Our lemonade came after we had gotten dinner because they made it fresh squeezed and it was the best lemonade I have ever tasted. Our food took about 10 minutes to come and it was really good but very salty and a lot of garlic! For dessert our waitress surprised Josh with a piece of cake and sesame balls. The cake was rich but good. I would come back but sit in a table against the wall because there is a little more privacy there. 

                       855 W. El Camino Real, Mountain View (650) 988-8820

Josh says: Hi Readers! Yesterday was my birthday and I am now 8! We went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner because I wanted Chinese food. When we got there our waiter sat us right away. And the place is really tiny, just so you know. We ordered chicken chow mein and a bunch of other things. I liked the food and the best part of dinner was the chow mein noodles because I love noodles. I thought the service was great because they were nice and checked on us a lot. At the end of dinner the waitress came with  cake for me and everyone sang to me except for the other customers. And I think they did not want to sing but that's okay because they don't know me. I also got a fortune cookie! I would love to come back! 

Paul says: The food was good and they had big proportions. They only had a few tables but we were able to get right in. It was a special night for Josh and I would definitely come back. 

Jodie says: The restaurant is very small and very casual but we had great service and really good food. Everything tasted delicious but the dish I liked best was the crispy eggplant. It was cooked perfectly and  very garlicky.  Almost all of the tables were filled and people were also coming in for take out. We started Ladybug Restaurant Reviews when Josh had just turned 6 and now he is 8! We had a great night and I would come back again. 

Food: ****
Service: ****
Atmosphere: **1/2

3 1/2 Ladybugs!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Satsuma Sushi!

Sophia says: Tonight we went to Satsuma Sushi for my dads birthday. It has Japanese food. The seated us quickly and we told our waitress it was our dad's birthday. I ordered the chicken terryaki bento box. Our food came quickly and our waitress checked on us multiple times. My chicken tasted good and I loved the tempura. I would come back. 

                                        705 E El Camino Real, Mountain View, CA  (650) 966-1122


Josh says: Hi Readers! Tonight it is my dad's birthday and we went to a sushi restaurant to celebrate! When we got there, the waitress came really fast and got us a seat. She brought us a little bowl of pickled, I'm not sure what it was called. I liked it. I ordered chicken terryaki and vegetable tempera. And the plate looked like a car. It was cool. I liked the rice that came with it. And the big surprise was when the waitresses gave my dad a bowl of ice cream and everyone sang Happy Birthday! And my dad shared some of his ice cream. 

Paul says: My lovely wife and kids took me out to dinner. Atmosphere was nice, it was very lively. I ordered the volcano roll, it was spicy. I liked it but I felt the portions were small for the price. They surprised me with green tea ice cream and a birthday song. 

Jodie says: We were excited to go for sushi and and celebrate Paul's birthday! It was just starting to get busy when we got there but we were seated right away. Our waitress was really friendly and the service was very quick. She checked on us quite a few times. I ordered the crazy roll and it was delicious! The only downside was the back of our booth was wobbly and it moved a lot from the people sitting behind us. We had a nice dinner and we were in and out of there in 45 minutes. 

Food: ***1/2
Service: ****1/2
Atmosphere: **1/2
 3 1/2 Ladybugs!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Menu - Artisan Cuisine of India -with photos!

Hi Readers - Here are the photos of some of the food from The Menu - Artisan Cuisine of India!

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Menu - Artisan Cuisine of India!

Sophia says: Happy New Year Readers! Unfortunately, something is wrong with our computer so this post will not have any pictures. Anyway, tonight we went to an Indian restaurant called The Menu. We have never tried Indian food before so we were very excited. When we got there, I expected it to be a small restaurant but it actually was HUGE! The host was very friendly and led us to a nice booth but we moved to a table because the booth was too deep. They brought us water and Indian flat bread with a very spicy sauce.  My mom thought it was too spicy so they brought out another sauce and it was sweeter. We ordered vegetable fried rice and sizzling chicken and a special bread with 3 types of curry. My mom asked for everything to be not too spicy because she cannot eat spicy food. Our waiter said it would be mild but it turned out to be very spicy for us. Our food came quick and it was delicious even though some of it was too spicy. I tried everything.  For dessert, we ordered Gulab Jamoon which is like a fried donut with a syrup sauce. I really liked it!  I had a lovely and spicy time - I would come back!

The Menu - Artisan Cuisine of India 
2700 W. El Camino Real, Mountain View (408) 800-6368

Josh says: Happy New Year! Tonight my mom took us to an Indian restaurant. When we got there it looked big and there were a lot of tables! I ordered vegetable rice and a special chicken. The chicken had steam coming off of it. Everything was so spicy but tried to eat it. I kind of liked it. My favorite food of all was the rice because I like rice. And there was also bread that you can tear apart with your hands. The sauce that it came with was too spicy so I ate it without any sauce. For dessert we had mini donut balls. They tasted like regular donuts with a sweet sauce. It was perfect.

Jodie says: We have been wanting to try something new and The Menu seemed like a good choice. It is a beautiful and very large restaurant. All of the staff were really friendly and welcoming.  I wanted to love the food but it was too spicy for me.  Our waiter was really nice and tried to show us what was more mild on the menu. I had no idea what to order so I appreciated the suggestions. I really liked the chicken and the vegetable rice but could not eat any of the curry or sauces.  I'm glad I tried something different to start the new year.
Hopefully we will be able to upload photos next!

Food: ****
Service: ****
Atmosphere: *****
                                         4 Ladybugs!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Jamming with Rita!

This is the time of year I absolutely love the best – not for the weather, but for the huge abundance of fruit, most particularly berry and stone fruit. I make jam every year.

My two best favourites are raspberry and strawberry jam. This seems to have been a bumper season for them too. Sometimes the season only lasts for a few weeks, and you don’t see many advertised for jamming.

Hence, the last few weeks have involved Rita out scavenging for fruit (plus sugar) then taking it home to make a cauldron of jam to squirrel away for winter.

At Rita’s house, over the course of each year, not one glass jar and lid gets thrown out. One by one, as they accumulate, they get washed thoroughly in the dishwasher, then stashed in the dedicated jar cupboard. If you’re a serious jam maker, you automatically do this constantly.

I store them with their lids on for two reasons: it keeps any possible dirt, grime, dust etc out of the now-clean jar, and if, when I take the lid off down the track (it might be 8 months later), the residual odour of whatever was previously contained therein hits me, then I know it needs a more thorough washing in hot, sudsy water, then a good rinse in clean hot water.

I also make a point of buying jars at Shiploads, or an equivalent store, over the course of the year - maybe 4 or 6 jars at a time, but you'll inevitably find that at this time of year when/if you get inspired to make jam, or preserves, you can't buy a jar for love or money! So it's best to stock up during the year.

Raspberry and/or strawberry jam are the quickest and easiest jams to make, ever. The berries themselves are small, so they break down fast, and blend with the sugar to make that luscious, viscous red nectar of the gods (for your toast) ever! Ten minutes tops is all it takes to make a vat of raspberry jam.

I scored two x one kilo packs of jam raspberries at today’s Farmers Market for $9 each. You can get them cheaper if you want to travel to Westerway, or further afield, but for convenience, that price suited me fine. Hill Street Grocers has been selling 1 kilo of jam strawberries from Granton for over a month. They come in at $5.99, which is also fine with me. Once again, I could get them cheaper if I went out in the country, or picked them myself, but that’s not feasible now, so I’m happy with the prices I paid.

In the middle of winter, I will love opening a jar of my ‘breath of summer’ fresh raspberry and strawberry jam!

I actually bought proper eating raspberries from Hill St Grocers last week, at the top end price of $7.99 for 250 gm, then jammed them! A shocking waste of money, but I wanted to make my jam at any cost.

Anyway – my old Huon country folklore tells me that for jam making, you use equal quantities of fruit and sugar and that’s it. Well, that is indeed it, if you’re making raspberry jam. For strawberry jam, as strawberries are more watery, and haven’t got enough pectin contained in the fruit, you need to buy a sachet of Fowlers Vacola JamSetta ($1.98 at Hill St, so probably will be cheaper at the supermarket), read the instructions, then ignore them and put twice as much as what they recommend into your strawberry and sugar mix (at the start)!

I did as they advised on the sachet last year, to the letter, and found my strawberry jam was, in fact, beautiful strawberry topping! This year I doubled the recommended amount, and it set perfectly!

The second old wives tale about jamming and preserving is the procedure of washing your jars then putting them in the oven to thoroughly sterilize them for an amount of time.

Many years ago, I simply couldn’t be bothered with all that palaver, so boiled my kettle, filled each jar to the brim with boiled boiling hot water (and the upturned lids as well), then carefully, with tongs, emptied them into the sink and proceeded to fill them with jam. Remember they have already been washed in the dishwasher for two hours before I stored them in the jar cupboard, so it’s not like they’re filthy and germy when I subsequently go to use them!

I have used this method of ‘sterilising’ for 20+ years, and no mould has ever accumulated on my jams, and no one has ever been poisoned either!

So, if you’ve never done it before why not try it today? It is SO satisfying, and tastes so damned good!