Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday speed round, part 1

A summary of some recent dining experiences in Palo Alto, sadly without complete pictures:

1. Falafel roll at Cafe220: still one of the best meals $7 (plus tax) can buy.  Plenty of falafel, hummus, baba ghanoush and sauce, well-balanced with lettuce and tomato, served in toasty lavash.  In case it wasn't obvious, I totally disagree with the 3-star rating on Yelp.

2. Dinner at Nola, where I ordered and quite enjoyed the crab trio tasting: little crab cakes with meyer lemon aioli, crab tostaditas, and "crabamole" (guacamole with crabmeat).  This dish is on the appetizers section of the menu, but was a pretty good portion for a light dinner.  I'm a sucker for avocado and - after the past summer - know that I can eat it sans allergic reaction as long as it's in moderate quantities.

Dining companion ordered jambalaya, which was apparently comfort food-ish; my comment was that it is essentially Cajun fried rice.

3. The chocolate plate at Shokolaat: four types of chocolate, for which I picked two dark and two (gasp!) white, for variety's sake.  I think some of the flavors were a little too complicated to pin down upon tasting, but I won't deny that the chocolates were very well crafted and very pretty.
4. Vegetable soup and sponge cake at Chez J: a successful clean-out-the-fridge-before-going-home effort.  The soup had corn, beans, zucchini, potatoes, onions, and probably something else, with a tomato-based and vaguely Southwestern flavoring.  For the sponge cake we used this recipe from Diana's Desserts, but with slightly reduced sugar, seven eggs instead of six, and whole wheat flour in place of all-purpose flour.  The result was both tender and kind of nutty, due to the whole wheat.