Monday, July 31, 2006

back... sorta

It turns out I've been MIA much longer than I had anticipated. Our DSL is up; it just doesn't work in our house. It's pretty annoying, but hopefully it'll be fixed later in the week. I've been very busy lately with visitors, job interviews, and getting settled into our new place. Right now, our friends from Kentucky and Mr. Cupcake are watching Battlestar Galactica. I can't seem to get into it, and our temporary Internet appears to be working, so Blogger it is!

A few weeks ago, Mr. Cupcake and I decided to go to dinner. Our kitchen was packed up, so we couldn't really eat at home. It was the perfect excuse to go to Saizo in Sunnyvale. Saizo has been on my radar for some time. It's one of those izakayas that serves Japanese tapas and sake. I'm not a drinker at all (it does not agree with me), so it was all tapas for me.

Saizo is located in a strip mall next to Albertson's. It's a little tricky to find off of El Camino. We did not pay attention to the "East" in the address and found ourselves at a car dealership. We finally found it and the restaurant was packed at 7:30 on a Thursday evening. Granted, it's not a very large place at all. There's only a handful of tables and a bar. We could have waited for a table, but opted to sit at the bar. I'm actually glad we did because it was interesting to watch the cooks prepare everything.

We started out with the spicy garlic edamame. At first we weren't sure how to eat it. I mean, normally we shell the beans before we eat them, but the spicy sauce threw us off. Fortunately, it was a popular dish (the cook made three batches at once) and we watched someone from a nearby table eat one. He put it in his mouth and then slid the beans out with his teeth. Brilliant. Why didn't we think to do that? Once we figured out the technique, we were very pleased. The beans were spicy and addictive. A great way to start off the meal.

Next up was the gyoza. They're just Japanese potstickers, but Mr. Cupcake is fond of them. The outside was thin and crispy and the inside was filled with pork and a lot of ginger. It was pretty standard stuff.

Saizo offers a lot of skewered grilled and deep fried meats. I always go for deep fried even though my body pleads against it. What can I say? I'm weak. In an attempt to go light on the fried foods, we only ordered 2 skewers. This one was the Kushikatsu which was described as a "pork cutlet and onion". We couldn't tell what it was when we first bit into it. This was due to there being a big pieces of soft onion. I liked this skewer because the pork was very tender and I also like onions. Fried food is good.

The other skewer we ordered was probably my least favorite dish of the night. It was the shiso chicken. It was chicken wrapped in shiso basil. It tasted odd. I'm not really sure how to describe it. The chicken was very tender and soft, but the basil was interesting. Mr. Cupcake did not like it at all. I ended up squeezing some lemon the skewer and the flavor improved. It still wasn't the best thing ever.

Mr. Cupcake wanted to get some soup, so we ordered some udon noodles. Specifically the Nabeyaki Udon which was described as "tempura, vegetable, chicken, and more in a clay pot". The more turned out to be an egg. Our server asked us how we wanted our egg prepared because it's usually served raw. She suggested having it cooked, so we agreed. This dish was my favorite of the night. The texture of the udon noodles was perfect. They were soft, but still had a bite to them. The broth was lovely. The only thing I didn't like was the tempura shrimp because it wilted away in the broth. I would go back just for the soup.

Our final dish was the Yaki-Onigiri described as "grilled rice balls with green onion, miso, and ginger". They started cooking our rice balls the moment we ordered them and it was the last dish to arrive. The outside was crispy but chewy and had a sort of sweet char flavor to it. I was expecting more green onions (perhaps inside the rice?), but there were only a few flakes here and there on the outside. Overall it was pretty good, but I didn't love it. There were also some kind of green pickled vegetable. They looked scarier than they tasted. I couldn't identify them though.

Our bill before tip was just over $33 including Mr. Cupcake's beer. I loved Saizo. It's one of the more memorable meals I've had in awhile. I have been itching to go back, but sadly have not had time. I want to go again soon, but will have to do the group dinner thing so I can sample a bigger variety of items. Though, if you decide to go with more than two people, it's a good idea to make a reservation. Also, they only take credit cards if the bill is above $20.

I have a lot more things to write about. I hope to get it out there soon, but life has been busy. I can't believe that in less than an hour we'll be heading into August. Hopefully our DSL will be working inside in the very near future. I should also have more time on my hands later this week and I have two goals for the rest of my free time: blog a lot and find a job. I am looking forward to one, the other not so much.

No comments: