Orthogonal Thought | Random musings from the creator of Cooking For Engineers and Lead Architect of Fanpop





What I Ate: February 26, 2009 (Armadillo Willy's, Sino)

Posted 27 February, 2009 at 3:05am by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Food, What I Ate)

I couldn't decide on what to eat for lunch, so Papa suggested that I eat pork. Unable to come up with a concrete food item I asked for something specific and the first thing he suggested was "Pulled Pork". So, off I went to the nearest place where I thought I could get a pulled pork sandwich - Armadillo Willy's (161 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA‎ - (408) 245-5300‎) which as a California-based chain that supposedly serves up real Texas barbecue (although I've never liked it and I've been to Texas several times in the last year and the barbecue doesn't taste like the stuff I was getting out there). No matter, I was going to just get a pulled pork sandwich (Papa didn't say it had to be "good"). It was a little dry, but otherwise not to bad. I opted for a corn salad as a side dish.
Armadillo Willy’s - Pulled Pork Sandwich

Dinner was on my own as well since Tina went out with her team from work. I tried to figure out where I could go that normally Tina wouldn't want to go. I ended up choosing Sino (377 Santana Row # 1000, San Jose, CA‎ - (408) 247-8880) since it's sort-of Chinese food. Tina prefers her Chinese to be authentic. Like pizza (I like many different styles), I think there's room for various kinds of Chinese food, and they can all be tasty. Sino (a bit more Asian than P. F. Chang's) is an upmarket Western-influenced Chinese restaurant. We've had their dim sum (not the best but extremely accessible - I'd recommend it to first timers to dim sum) as well as a typical lunch, but I had never eaten dinner there. The bar was packed with people and the music on so loud I thought I was going to a concert. I ordered a couple dishes and, although pricey, it's not bad especially if you're looking for a fun, hip place to eat Asian flavors while being waited on by attractive, friendly staff and surrounded by a good looking young crowd.

XO Seafood Fried Rice - Crab, Shrimp, Sea Bass, Toasted Pine Nuts. I didn't find any pine nuts in my dish, but there was edamame which I liked. Overall, it was flavorful with a slight spiciness. For just $1 more than the Emperor's Fried Rice, if you're going to get fried rice at Sino, this is the one to get. (The rice was the moist and sticky kind; not the individual drier grains of day old rice that I expect and, personally, prefer.)
Sino Restaurant - XO Seafood Fried Rice

Crispy Shrimp Dumplings with sweet chili sauce. The dumplings where crisp on the outside, meaty on the inside. The flavor was quite shrimpy as well as herbaceous (celery and cilantro). 3 of the 4 were good but the last one was mostly fried shell and half the interior was an extra fold of fried skin and air. I had two plain and two with the sweet chili sauce. I thought it was pretty good by itself (and considered putting a little soy sauce on it but didn't) but the ones I had with chili sauce were much better. The sweetness of the sauce really worked well with the briney savoriness of the dumpling.
Sino Restaurant - Crispy Shrimp Dumplings

I also ordered the Taste of Heaven sake flight just to taste (why not? Probably my last time dining here and not too many places will do a sake flight). It came with three sakes of varying sweetness: Hoyo "Manamusume" (the driest of the three) which tasted like "normal" sake to me (you can really taste the flavor of the rice), Dewazakura "Oka" which started off with a rice flavor and then followed with a strong after taste of over ripe Asian pears (my favorite of the three), and Tedorigawa "Yamahai Daiginjo" which was quite sweet - almost honey-like. I like flights since tasting is more fun to me than the drinking itself, but it's always such a waste since I only drink about 20% of what's served to me.
Sino Restaurant - Taste of Heaven Sake Flight

3 comments to What I Ate: February 26, 2009 (Armadillo Willy's, Sino)

Scott, February 27th, 2009 at 9:30 pm:

  • Have you ever eaten at either IHOB (International House of Barbeque) or Rib Shack (apparently they use organic meats)?

    I've always meant to try them, but that whole stretch of El Camino does nothing for my appetite.

    Apparently (not sure how true this is) Obama likes Rib Shack:

Michael Chu, February 27th, 2009 at 11:40 pm:

  • Is IHOB still open? Where is Rib Shack - the one in San Bruno? I'll have to go give it a try.

    Did you cut and paste the correct link because that's a picture of a guitar…

Scott, February 28th, 2009 at 12:40 am: