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Lillie Mae’s House of Soul Food


Is there Soul Food in Santa Clara? You know the shabby looking wood building down the street from the San Jose Airport… well, they have a new tenant. Lillie Mae has moved in and is cookin’ up all your soul food favorites like BBQ ribs, brisket, catfish, collard greens, mac & cheese and of course fried chicken.

We arrived early on a Saturday night and as we got out of our car we were blown away by the intense aroma of BBQ. We knew we were in the right place. We headed to the counter ordered our meals then sat and waited for our # to be called. I knew things were going to go well when I saw a variety of hot sauces on the table. The food arrived after about a 15 minute wait. I had the fried chicken with mac & cheese, boomin’ baked beans and cornbread along with sweet tea. Mike chose the beef brisket/bbq chicken combo with collard greens, sweet potato fries and cornbread along with grape kool-aid. Yes…we went all in, taking no prisoners.

Let me start with a blow-by blow of my dinner. The fried chicken was just how I make it. Nothing fancy just downright good. Salty crispy skin and tender chicken. My mac was peppery and super cheesy and the baked beans were some of the best I’ve ever had — very unique rendition that tasted like sweet chili with big chunks of hamburger. They should change the name to Bangin’ baked beans! I had enough leftovers to take home for lunch the next day.

Mike on the other hand cleaned his plate. The smokey brisket & chicken was demolished along with the vinegary collard greens that he adored. The fries were standard fare and the only downer for Mike and I was the cornbread. It had a weird yeasty flavor. Everyone seems to rave over it so maybe we just got a bad batch.

We were really surprised to find tasty soul food in such an unexpected location (if you’ve been to Santa Clara you know what I’m talking about… let’s just say it’s not very soulful). Next time I’m leaving room for dessert…love me some peach cobbler!

Note: If you are into chicken & waffles they have them on the weekends. To avoid lines come early (b4 7pm).

Rating: 

Website: http://www.houseofsoulfood.net/

Lillie Mae's House of soul food on Urbanspoon

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Book signing with Giada

Mike and I spent Sunday afternoon with celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis. Actually we stood in line for 2.5 hours and talked to her for about 30 seconds.

So, I hear about a Q&A and book signing with Giada at Santana Row for her new cookbook Giada’s Kitchen. It sounded like fun so I purchased a book from Sur La Table and with it came a ticket to the event (I had #6). This was our first book signing so we had no idea what to expect. We arrived 45 minutes early to scope things out. Since it was a ticketed event I thought there would be no more than 50-100 people allowed to see her. I WAS SO, SO WRONG! When we walked up to Sur la Table there was already a line around the corner and into the 2nd section of the parking lot (at least 150 people). So what did we do? We got in line of course. Then I sent Mike on a recon mission to see why the heck the line was so long and what happened to the Q&A. He returned to tell me that the line was for the signing and that the Q&A was at the stage set up in the center of the row and that if I wanted to see it I would have to lose my place in line. The person in line before us had ticket number 395 which she had purchased the day before so there was potentially going to be 500 + people waiting with their bag-o-books. We decided not to leave the line and take turns going to hear Giada speak. She promptly arrived at noon and did a 10 minute Q&A which wasn’t super informative because I assume her die hard fans were standing in line. We heard about her new baby, taping of the upcoming shows … typical questions. Flash forward two hours and we had our signed book and a moment with Giada. If you know Mike he wasn’t gonna just say “Hi” and take his book he needed a little chit chit time (which he took 😆). She was nice and we were ushered to the side where you are allowed to take a photo.

The day didn’t go as expected but we can scratch this off our bucket list. I will think long and hard before going to another Sur La Table signing. I really think the function could have been run better. I was happy to hear that Giada was going to stay until the very last book was signed otherwise I’m sure you would have read about a pot & pan riot in the SJ Mercury news the next day.

Farm Fresh To You – Organic Produce Delivery Service

Over the last couple months I have heard about people/neighborhoods getting produce deliveries from local farmers. I thought it was a wonderful idea but didn’t know if it was available in my area. While perusing a fellow bay area foodies blog I noticed he was getting deliveries from Farm Fresh to You, a family run farm in Capay Valley, CA. As soon as I visited their company website and saw that they would deliver to my house I immediately signed up. By doing this we hope to start eating more fruit and expanding the variety of vegetables we consume. We just received our first regular box of organic goodies:

a view inside the box

Heirloom tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Red sweet peppers
Garlic
Yellow onions
Honeydew melon
Arugula
Sugerpie pumpkin
Gala apples
Asian pears
Broccoli

All this for $29 (delivery included). This should last us 1.5-2 weeks.

We were very happy with our shipment. You will see recipes using these items soon.

If you decide to give this a go, here is a $10 off coupon for your first order.

Note: this is the real deal direct from the farm so expect some dirt and maybe even a few bugs!

Website: http://www.farmfreshtoyou.com/

Solbar at Solage

I had heard rave reviews about Solbar the restaurant in the new Solage resort in Calistoga. A bit off the beaten path, Solbar is an interesting mix of hip Napa style and a tropical island. The dining area is split in two — indoor and outdoor. It’s very open and airy and when you are inside you still feel like you are outside, as one main wall is open to the patio. Very much like you would find in a Hawaiian restaurant. Our group of 6 decided to sit on the patio next to the beautiful fire/water display. Mike and I had dinner with 4 friends so we sampled the majority of the menu (Hi- DB, CB, R & JB). We started off with a couple orders of the flatbreads & spreads to share and a bevy of unique mixed drinks. The breads were light and flavorful and the drinks refreshing. The appetizers that followed were the sliders, a mixed green salad and I had the asparagus soup. No complaints there. The dishes were enjoyed by all. Dinner then arrived for everyone except me. I had ordered the sliders as my main course and the kitchen forgot them. No worries …I was actually not super hungry that evening — for a change. Our server was very apologetic for the mix-up and she removed the charge from the bill. Other entrees included the yellow fin tuna, barbecued pork buns, pasta with fava beans and roasted lamb. When my sliders with bacon, cheddar and ten-hour onions arrived they were not all that they had been built up to be. Prior to coming I had a bunch of people tell me to try the sliders. They were tasty but a bit bland, they needed a sauce of some kind (maybe it was left off in the rush to get to my table?). I actually prefer the sliders at the Paragon restaurant in San Jose. For dessert we had the cinnamon sugar doughnut holes and a mix of house made sorbets. The sorbets were the hit of the night. Some were still talking about them the next day.

The food was good but the setting was magnificent. It was a great spot to hang out with our friends. I would go back to have cocktails and dessert anytime.

Rating:

Website: http://www.solagecalistoga.com/dining/index.shtml

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