Food! Of course there are tons of places to eat in this area and many of them are both tasty and unique but we cannot comment on all of them because have not been to all of them! These are the places we ate at/ from while we lived in San Jose for a year. How do I remember them all? Because I recorded them all and also almost always took at least a picture. Despite our tight budget, we generally ate something out 1-3 times per month due to Kyle’s insistence that we experience local cuisine. We are pretty big foodies and while we make a variety of dishes, we often find new inspiration for food to make at home when we try out new places.
Regular Food (All in San Jose, unless otherwise noted.)
1. The Old Spaghetti Factory. This is a place, on the other hand, that I insisted on. I first had this in Salt Lake with my family and always remembered how much I enjoyed their food, specifically the spaghetti with mizithrah cheese which is their specialty dish. I convinced a reluctant Kyle (he thought it was just any old chain) to go there for our 3.5 year anniversary and it was delicious as I remembered and also a good deal for a nice, sit-down restaurant. Our meals came with bread, salad (with a great tasting restaurant-made dressing) and after the main course, a dessert of spumoni. Our meals were both somewhere in the 10-13 range. We went again for our 1 month wedding anniversary.
2. Ike’s. So good! This place is very delicious and a new favorite of mine. I have tried two of their vegetarian sandwiches and they are some of the best sandwiches I have ever had. They also give out caramel apple lollipops for dessert.
3. Falafel’s Drive In. This was the first place we ate at when we came to San Jose. It is on a food channel show and is really good! It’s not bad price-wise either. We went there a couple times and I would get a falafel and Kyle would get a gyro. I also tried their banana shake one time which was yummy.
4. Walia Ethiopian. We had a sambusa appetizer and for the meal, injera with 2 veggie toppings (for me) and two meat ones (for Kyle). It was good.
5. Blue Line Pizza. I went here with a friend of mine (Tani) from when I had lived in California before. I will say it was difficult to find parking, but it was nice catching up and the food was good. I had a personal margherita pizza.
6. Round Table Pizza. When I lived in California growing up I had enjoyed Round Table. Kyle had it at work and liked it too so we got this a couple times. I only wish we got the breadsticks before we left because that was the thing I remembered liking most as a child.
7. La Paloma. We bought a groupon for this place using part of a groupon gift certificate we had (so it was free) and it was delicious! Kyle had fish tacos and I had spinach and mushroom enchiladas.
8. The Sandwich Spot. This is another good sandwich place. We went once.
9. The Veggie Grill. The highlight of this place was actually the appetizer, a cauliflower dish. We both got burgers (veg) with mine being a portobello and they were both decent.
10. Golden Buddha Chinese Restaurant. One night we decided we wanted Chinese food and so we attempted to find this place and had trouble. We eventually figure out we needed to walk around and went inside. We had a great appetizer (fried Chinese eggplant) which inspired us to attempt the dish ourselves later.
11. 99 Bottles. We tried this place after a hike in Santa Cruz (the restaurant is also in Santa Cruz.) I got a veggie pita thing which I enjoyed. It had plenty of feta (yum!) and fries. Kyle got the Chipotle burger and sweet potato fries which he seemed to really enjoy as well. The beer was too expensive for us.
12. Cannery Pizza. (Monterey) We went here part way through our Monterey Aquarium visit as it was just down the street. We both thought it was good and I enjoyed being able to get feta and pesto on mine.
13. Kyle’s parents gave us gift cards for PF Changs and the Cheesecake Factory for Kyle’s birthday so we were able to go to those places as well. I have always liked both. Picture is an appetizer at PF Changs that we had never had that turned out to be good.
1. IT’s IT. IT’S ITs are ice cream sandwiches (2 cookies with ice cream in between) dipped in chocolate. They originate in Burlingame (south of San Francisco and north of San Jose) and are popular in the west, particularly California and Hawaii and cannot be found in many/most areas of the US. My mom had them as a teenager in Hawaii and I had them growing up in the west as well (including CA and HI). I had not been to the store (the only store) which houses the factory. You cannot really sit down inside or visit the factory but it is still really neat. Usually only one or two flavors are available in the grocery stores here but in the IT’s IT store they have all 6 flavors (Vanilla, Chocolate, Cappuccino, Pumpkin, Strawberry, and Mint). They also have chocolate covered cookies. We were debating between two groupons and decided to get the one with the chocolate covered cookies and were glad. We chose two IT’s ITs of every flavor and the chocolate covered cookies were really good too.
2. Psycho Donuts. (San Jose) I had read about these donuts online and thought they looked pretty neat and unique so we decided to check it out. We did not know about donut day coming up and went the day before. Darn! Anyway, the donuts were pretty good. Kyle really enjoyed his while I thought mine was good but mediocre. The added flavoring was nice but the donut was a little dry. What is special about the place is the neat names, themes, and designs for the donuts. We also went in the afternoon so they may be fresher in the morning.
3. Happy Donuts. (San Jose) We stopped here once on our way to a hike and the donuts were good.
4. Tasty Donuts. (San Jose) Same as above. Yes, I know. Most of these are donut places but did you know donuts are both delicious and cheap?
1. Yardhouse and Vbar. We went to these locations (located in Santana Row) when one of Kyle’s coworkers got a new job. We only had alcohol so cannot comment the food but the alcohol was good. I had some seasonal ciders at yardhouse which had more of a restaurant or sports bar atmosphere. V-bar was upstairs in Santana Row and a little more classy. We both had another beer and then a girl there bought me a couple drinks which were really good. I must have been allergic to something in them, though, because I later developed a rash. I don’t think we went anywhere else out to drink. We usually just drank the cheapest wine we could find at home.