It’s so hard to choose my favorite type of cuisine. I’ll take the entire continent of Asia plus the Indian subcontinent, please…
Thai: Thai Basil in Sunnyvale, CA.
Indian: Banjara in Sunnyvale is pretty good; they have mango soft-serve ice cream included with the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet… But, I still recall the little cafe we ate at in Siliguri, West Bengal, India… it was very yummy. Very hot. The name started with K but I can’t remember now… Rob Foster, wherever you are, help me out here…
Japanese: OK, yeah – the best Japanese food I’ve had was in Japan. duh. But, there are good places in Sunnyvale – Seto and Midori come to mind. I love all kinds of sushi and sashimi, but I’m also partial to tempura, and udon noodles.
[Gosh, I miss Sunnyvale… or at least the food!!!]
Chinese: Chef Li in San Jose. Best ever, bar none. For a cheap lunch, Lucky Gourmet in Mountain View. Two items with chow mein, please! And of course, P.F. Chang’s is a bit overpriced for what you get but a sure thing for a delicious dinner. Nice atmosphere.
Falafel: Something about falafel is just magic. If I’m sitting down with my falafel pita in hand and I’m really hungry, I’ve been known to gush about how much I looooove falafel… Good falafel in Santa Cruz, Falafel House just off Pacific on Walnut or somewhere close…
Pho Bo: Vietnamese noodle soup. Pass the hoisin sauce! It’s pretty hard to mess this up. Had it lots of good places. Look for a hole-in-the-wall or the chain Pho Hoa. As BN and I like to say, it’s nose-dripping good.
Mexican: Here in Eugene we really miss Una Mas. It’s consistently good, fresh-mex – I guess Mexican with a California twist to it. I crave their fish tacos, grilled, with chipotle cream sauce and shredded cabbage. Gotta love it. I had tacos in Mexico on my high school missions trip – that was the first and best Mexican food I ever had. Just street vendor fare, with a twist of lime. It changed my life.
Home cooking: I love, love, love to cook. I totally feel happy when I’m in progress on making a yummy dinner. There are elements of suspense, like, can I really pull off a multi-dish extravaganza and get everything finished at one time? I’m still working on that. But for the most part it makes me feel relaxed and satisfied that I am creating a delicious, nourishing and even beautiful meal to enjoy with family and/or friends. I get a kick out of cooking FOR people, like for church potlucks or meals-on-wheels for someone who’s recuperating from illness. One such mother told me last week that her son, who usually distains vegetables, liked my salad. Rock on!! I also get a thrill from creating an ethnic specialty at home, like Curry, Sushi, Hot-n-Sour Soup, Pho Bo, even Falafel. If you ever need recipes, I got recipes, happy to share. I favor recipes that deliver great food for not much fuss; my absolute favorite cookbook is Frances Price’s Healthy Cooking for Two or Just You. This woman taught me how to cook – practically every recipe I’ve tried in this book has become a favorite, or at least was quite good and easy to make. I love cooking but I’m not really into baking. I guess I like a hands-on approach with the freedom to improvise. I do follow recipes, but I like to modify them to suit my taste and preferences. Also, baking is mostly about dessert and dessert is extraneous. Dinner is a necessity. I’m very practical deep down, so maybe that has something to do with it. Like I just don’t do Fine Art. I’m truly a designer at heart – I like filling needs and solving problems, in a creative and beautiful way. Cooking is one way for me to do that.
Favorite Recipes (leave a comment and I’ll send you the recipe.)
Tamale Pie (Thanks, Mom!)
Rosemary Lemon Chicken & Pasta Primavera
Hopping John Risotto
Couscous with Sweet Potatoes and Zucchini
Spinach Pockets with Carrot Fries
Falafel with Yogurt Dip
Slow-cook Teryaki Honey Chicken
Teriyaki Salmon with Green Tea Rice
Hong Kong Primavera
Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
Szechuan Chicken in Lettuce Bundles
Curry-in-a-Hurry (my own adaptation of more complex curry recipes)
Thai Beef Curry with Peanut Sauce
Chicken & Onion Pie
Sushi Maki (easier than you think, and raw fish is not required for great results)
Hot & Sour Soup (just like the restaurants, but better)
French Onion Soup
Chili and Cornbread
Moroccan Orange Salad
Wasabi Three-Bean Salad
Chinese Cabbage Salad
(I always make my own salad dressings: Balsamic/Dijon, Honey Mustard, Sesame, Caesar…)
Thai Peach Salsa
Clafouti (French-style Apple dessert)
Lemon Bars (BN’s favorite)
Crepes with mixed berry fruit sauce