A True Cajun & Creole New Orleans Experience at NOLA in Palo Alto

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For Stanford students, there’s only a few bars that everyone goes to. One of the biggest nightlife hotspots is NOLA, an aggressively Mardi Gras themed bar and restaurant that’s gaudily decorated with scattered dangling beaded necklaces. It’s the kind of place that I’d normally write off at first glance, assuming they’d only be able to make stupidly sweet and strong alcoholic punches and serve shitty bar food, but that assumption would be wrong.

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Impeccable Modern American Cuisine at Scratch in Mountain View

It’s not always easy to find quality restaurants in Silicon Valley, but Mountain View has proven time and time and time again that there’s some really excellent places to eat and drink on their main downtown drag. There are not many restaurants that I have loved enough to eat at multiple times out here, but Scratch has sort of become my go-to, not-sure-what-I’m-in-the-mood-for dinner and drinks spot.

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This Is ‘Murica: Greasy Deep-Fried Bar Bites at St. John’s Bar in Sunnyvale

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Ahhh, the Fourth of July. A time when everyone’s amped up about being an American. But what’s more American than a greasy sports bar where you can get rowdy and drink beer and the entire menu either comes out of a deep-fryer or off a flat-top grill?

You might not expect to find a real salt-of-the-earth sports bar in the Silicon Valley town of Sunnyvale, but somehow a great one does exist. With plenty of outdoor dining and drinking space, many TVs for viewing sports games, and of course some serious greasy-ass deep-fried bar food monstrosities, this place represents American food right. ‘Murica.

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Eat Your Heart Out with Offal Thoughts & Other Brilliant Gastropub Fare at Liquid Bread in Campbell

I’ve already gushed on this blog about how much I love Liquid Bread in Campbell on my first visit. Staying in the area once again, I figured it was worth a second trip to try some more of their incredible creations. I knew, in their skilled hands, I’d be fine ordering just about anything so I chose a few dishes that wouldn’t ordinarily entrust to a less skilled and proven restaurant to pull off.

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Great Global Tapas with a Latin American Edge at Cascal in Mountain View

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. It ain’t easy finding great restaurants out in Silicon Valley, but they do exist if you look hard enough. Downtown Mountain View has proven over and over again that it’s loaded with great spots and the Latin inspired tapas joint Cascal is no exception. Buckle up, this is gonna be a long one. But I guess that’s bound to happen when you dine tapas style as a party of eight. I’ll try to keep my commentary concise because honestly all of the food was really awesome.

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For the Best Sushi in Silicon Valley, get Omakase at Sushi Tomi

There are tons of sushi joints in Silicon Valley, especially in Mountain View. A lot of these places are pretty mediocre, but one stands above the rest with its vastly superior fish quality. This place is Sushi Tomi.

As you’d probably suspect with a place of this caliber, the word is out. So any night you try to stop by, you will inevitably need to contend with a line out the door. It’s worth it. You may have noticed that I normally don’t ever wait in lines for food, but this evening we waited a very reasonable twenty minutes for a table for three and were treated to some amazing high quality fish for our patience.

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Big, Hot, Soothing, Bowls of Noodle Soup at Pho Vi Hoa in Los Altos
Big, Hot, Soothing, Bowls of Noodle Soup at Pho Vi Hoa in Los Altos

Big, Hot, Soothing, Bowls of Noodle Soup at Pho Vi Hoa in Los Altos

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Tucked away on the outskirts of Mountain View, CA you’ll find the lesser-known, tiny town of Los Altos. In this town, situated in a nondescript shopping center on the main highway there’s a restaurant called Pho Vi Hoa that serves phenomenal bowls of pho ’til 10 PM. When rain strikes in Silicon Valley, I’ve found nothing more comforting than a big, steaming bowl of Asian noodle soup and I thank Pho Vi Hoa for providing a great one to me.

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Rare Xi’an Region Chinese Specialities at QQ Noodle in Cupertino
Rare Xi’an Region Chinese Specialities at QQ Noodle in Cupertino, CA

Rare Xi’an Region Chinese Specialities at QQ Noodle in Cupertino

I drove 20 minutes across Silicon Valley to quench a Xiao Long Bao craving at Shanghai Dumpling and was sternly turned away at 8:35 by a strong “we’re closed”. The restaurant was still full and running at full speed, which led me to wonder if my blatant whiteness got me rejected from the nearly entirely Asian-filled restaurant. Um, hello, Yelp says you’re supposed to be open until 9:30 on Sunday nights! Way to be racist, Shanghai Dumpling. I acted quick on my feet and went elsewhere to get my Asian food fix that night.

As it turned out, this particular shopping center was a sort of Cupertino Chinatown with a number of Asian dining options to choose from. Directly next door to Shanghai Dumpling there was a similar looking restaurant called QQ Noodle. Sure, why not. It was bright and clean looking and had pretty standard Asian restaurant decor. I figured I’d give it a shot and try to remedy my Asian dinner dilemma.

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Extremely Excessive Burgers & Fries at Brown Chicken Brown Cow in Campbell
Extremely Excessive Burgers & Fries at Brown Chicken Brown Cow in Campbell, CA

Extremely Excessive Burgers & Fries at Brown Chicken Brown Cow in Campbell

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After having a really great experience at Liquid Bread in Downtown Historic Campbell, I knew there was more great dining to be found. While there are many restaurants that line the main drag, I’m fairly certain that most are not worth my time or money, but if I looked hard enough I could find some gems.

Brown Chicken Brown Cow (best pronounced like “Bow Chicka Wow Wow”) definitely makes you look hard to even find it. Armed with Google Maps and their address and I still struggled to find the restaurant on this single-street downtown area. But it was worth the extra effort and their silly name is perfect for the downright pornographic I consumed.

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