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





What I Ate: April 15, 2009 (Lucy's Tamale Factory, Lee's Sandwiches, Ramen Halu, Pinkberry)

Posted 15 April, 2009 at 11:48pm by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Food, What I Ate)

Our moving company, Moovers, Inc., came today and took all of our stuff. Well, almost all of it. It's amazing how the little things that you tell the movers not to take add up to a lot of stuff. We threw a lot of it away, recycled a bunch, gave away more, and packed a few more boxes for the car. Tina did some painting and then we decided it was time for lunch. I had to return my Comcast cable box so we found ourselves in San Jose and decided on going to Lee's Sandwiches (which is a San Jose institution). I pulled into the parking lot and we saw Lucy's Tamale Factory (974 Story Rd, San Jose, CA‎ - (408) 275-8262). I had never been to this one but Lucy's Tamale Factory makes great tamales. We ordered a pork, a sweet (cinnamon and raisins), and a chicken tamale. As usual, the tamales were good.
Lucy’s Tamale Factory - Pork Tamale, Chicken Tamale, Sweet Tamale

We then walked over to Lee's Sandwiches (990 Story Rd # 30, San Jose, CA‎ - (408) 295-3402‎) and ordered a Special Combination #11 to share. There is a Vietnamese community in Austin, but I don't know what their Vietnamese sandwich shops are like (yet). We usually go to the Lee's Sandwiches in Sunnyvale or the one in Milpitas. This one's #11 tasted a little different than the others we were used to. I think it had to do with the addition of cucumber to the filling.
Lee’s Sandwiches - Special Combination Sandwich #11

After some more clean up at our condo, we headed off to dinner at Ramen Halu (375 Saratoga Ave # M, San Jose, CA‎ - (408) 295-4510). We started with appetizers of potato salad and okara (soy pulp - a byproduct of tofu manufacturing) with soy bean salad.
Ramen Halu - Potato Salad
Ramen Halu - Okara and Soy Bean Salad

Tina and I both got the Halu Ramen (my favorite ramen in the Bay Area - yes, I like it even more than Santa Ramen). The broth is actually to broths blended together. The first is made with pork, whole chicken and seaweed. The other from vegetables, dried bonito, mackerel, anchovies, seaweed, chicken and pork. These are blended together with a Japanese fish broth and soy sauce to form the final soup. It's served with a slice of pork tenderloin, woodear mushrooms, seasoned bamboo, spinach, menma, green onions, and nori. Not only are the broth and toppings excellent, the ramen noodles are flavorful and have just the right amount of chewy and resistance.
Ramen Halu - Halu Ramen

You know it's good ramen when all that's left is this. (They have their own bowls - the chop on the bowl is Ramen Halu's logo. The owner of Ramen Halu is really into surfing.)
Ramen Halu - The Empty Bowl

I then headed over to Santana Row to try Pinkberry (368 Santana Row, San Jose, CA‎ - (408) 557-8333‎) which opened last month (or was it the month before?). Pinkberry is another thing that I won't be able to try once I'm in Austin, so I figured I check it off my list before I leave (tomorrow).

If you're not aware, Pinkberry started this fad/revolution that's brought back frozen yogurts as a popular food. The difference between these new frozen yogurt places when compared to the Penguins and TCBY's of my youth are that they actually taste like yogurt. The older frozen yogurt places seemed to revel in their remarkable ability to render a frozen dessert made from yogurt to taste absolutely nothing like yogurt. Most of the new frozen yogurt places serve a slightly tart to astoundingly tart (sometimes accompanied by odd flavors) that are as varied as the vast differences between "regular" yogurts. Ignoring the ingredient controversy (Pinkberry didn't disclose their ingredients fully in the past and when they did a lot of people complained it wasn't really yogurt or wasn't as natural as they were led to believe. I see nothing in the ingredient list that is out of the ordinary for making an ice cream (or in this case a frozen yogurt which is similar to an iced milk) with non-fat ingredients. In case you're interested and don't want to do a search to find the ingredient list, the original flavor has the following ingredients: Nonfat milk, sugar, cultured pasteurized nonfat milk with live and active cultures, contains less than 2%: cultured nonfat milk powder,fructose, dextrose, natural and artificial flavors, citric acid, guar gum, maltodextrin, mono-and diglycerides, lactogylcerides, propylene glycol esters, rice starch, silicon dioxide (anticaking).), I think Pinkberry actually makes one of the best tasting frozen yogurt products available. There's a good balance between the tartness, mild sweetness, and creaminess that reminds me of a really good tasting yogurt (and not just a frozen yogurt that's trying too hard to taste like yogurt - which is how I feel about other frozen yogurt places). Is it really worth forking over $4 a cup? I don't think so, but it makes me want to try to make frozen yogurts at home. If I was going to keep living in the Bay Area, I'd definitely try with Straus Family Creamery's European Style Vanilla Yogurt (my favorite yogurt). Since I'm moving, I'll have to find another yogurt that I'll have access to that I like the taste of to experiment with.
Pinkberry - Serving Frozen Yogurt

Oh, yeah. We had the Original flavor frozen yogurt with mochi and strawberry as our toppings. I was told this was their most popular combination and it really was quite delicious.
Pinkberry - Original Flavor with Strawberries and Mochi

2 comments to What I Ate: April 15, 2009 (Lucy's Tamale Factory, Lee's Sandwiches, Ramen Halu, Pinkberry)

Nate, April 16th, 2009 at 12:03 am:

  • I can't stand Lee's sandwiches - the baguette they use is too hard to chew. I prefer Saigon Bakery on Story and McLaughlin.

    Austin's Viet community isn't as big as Houston but you should be able to find what you need to satisfy a Vietnamese food craving.

    Ah, Halu's ramen. We had it and thought it was pretty good, but darn expensive. Was there a line out the door when you went?

    Too bad Tokushima do-Henkotsu isn't still around. Their ramen was uniquely delicious.

    Safe travels!

Don, April 16th, 2009 at 6:43 am:

  • Yes, thanks for all the tips to Bay Area dining! I hope you find a lot of interesting places in Austin to try.