Posted in Food

A Hankering for Fish

My pal Sab and I wanted to meet for dinner after work one night in downtown Mountain View, but we weren’t exactly in the mood for anything Asian.  And if you’re familiar with Castro Street in Mountain View, you know that leaves you with considerably less options.

I’d passed by The Cantankerous Fish several times, but never felt compelled to try it.  This seemed like as good a time as any.  We weren’t expecting much.

We realized that the owners of the joint also own Scott’s Seafood in Palo Alto, which does a decent job with their food.  But the decor of this place is much more sophisticated.  And they even have live music on Friday and Saturday nights.  If the weather ever gets warm enough (!), there’s even patio seating.

So we both started with the Beet Salad, which had both red and gold beets around the plate with a sprinkling of blue cheese, baby spinach, and an orange vinaigrette.  I loved it, though Sab thought the blue cheese was a bit overpowering.

I ordered the Seafood Jambalaya for my entree.  Though it was a moderate sized portion of food, it filled me up quickly.  There was no shortage of shrimp, scallops, fish, and sausage.  It was smoky, spicy, and very tasty.  I was impressed!

Sab’s sea bass was a nice portion as well.  Sea bass is hard to mess up since it’s got such a wonderful texture and is full of buttery flavor.  The sauce was strong but worked well with the sweet fish.  It probably should have spent just a minute less in the pan, but other than that, it was another strong dish.

We ended with the Chocolate Souffle cake served with raspberry sorbet.  It was probably the weakest dish of the night.  The oozing chocolate fudge spilling out of the cake was fine, but the cake itself had spent too much time baking and was a bit dry and flavorless.

All in all it was a very enjoyable experience.  The decor and atmosphere were nice, though the service could’ve been a bit more personable.  That and the dessert would probably be my only complaint.  But the savory dishes were a surprise and are worth a repeat visit.

The Cantankerous Fish – 420 Castro St. – Mountain View – 650.966.8124

Posted in San Francisco, Shopping

Did you know about this? I didn’t know about this!

One of my favorite retail stores is Anthropologie.

Yes, their merchandise is WAY overpriced.

Yes, the quality of some of their flimsy clothes is questionable (especially given the prices). But who can resist those richly embellished tops, brightly colored jackets, or flowery summer skirts? And if you check out the sale rack in the back of every store, you may be able find a few dare-I-say “affordable” gems.

Anyways, I was surfing some blogs over the weekend and came across this wonderfully juicy tidbit of info for us bargain shopping chicks with champagne tastes (and less of the wallet to match).

Anthropologie notoriously never offers free shipping offers, coupon codes or promotions for shopping their website. But they now offer the “anthro card” for frequent shoppers. It’s a bit like a supermarket club card where they can track your shopping habits in their store for their marketing purposes (fortunately they DON’T sell your information to any third parties, so don’t worry). But for you the card holder, you get some nifty perks!

Once you sign up for one online or in-store, they’ll send you a card in the mail (eventually). Here’s what you get:

  • Free shipping with all online orders (you have to link up your email to your card’s account online first)
  • Receipt-free returns on all in-store purchase for the full purchase price
  • First look at all of the newest merchandise so you can purchase it before it hits the stores or online.

I just received my card and it even came with a cute little drawstring bag.

My wallet is already cringing…

Anthropologie – Various locations nationwide

Posted in Food, Travel

Finally, some decent BBQ!

 Courtesy of

After my last quest to find decent Bay Area BBQ went awry, I was hesitant to try anymore for a while.  MSG-dry mouth is not a fun post dining experience.

But my recently relocated friends from Texas tried the Famous Daves all the way in Gilroy recently and gave it the all important thumbs up.  It was time for us to try again…

Famous Daves is a chain started by Dave Anderson 25 years ago in the midwest.  His ribs and sauces have won more than 300 awards across the country.  Closer to home, he won the big Reno BBQ Rib Cook-off last year: the biggest BBQ competition on the west coast.

Gilroy is the closest Famous Dave’s outlet to the Bay Area, so we drove down to try some tasty pork.  And it was tasty, indeed.

First off, the menu is huge!  Every combo you can think of (ribs and chicken, catfish fingers and roasted chicken, brisket and ribs, and on and on…) is possible with the way they’ve arranged things.  Most items include at least one side dish, many with two.

We loved many things of the things we tried, but a few truly stood out:

  • St. Louis Style BBQ Pork Ribs
  • Chicken Wings w/BBQ sauce
  • Catfish Fingers & Chicken Tenders
  • The Sides! (beans & cornbread, especially)

The ribs are St. Louis style with a nice coat of sweet yet tangy sauce.  I loved them.  They were super meaty ribs, perfectly smoked and very tender and moist.  The sauce was just great.  They also have five other sauces at the table you can use too.

Now, I’m not usually a huge fan of buffalo wings, or chicken wings in general.  But these are definitely worth trying.  They’re moist, tender, and the sauce (there’s two BBQ and one buffalo) that slathers the meat is “finger-lickin’ good.”

Those catfish and chicken fingers were so good, I could’ve gone for another order of both.  Mmmmm….  The fish was moist and tender inside with a fantastic light breading on the outside.  And the chicken fingers had a coating that tasted like…well…cheese flavored Pringles.  Yes, cheese flavored Pringles.  You have to try them.  Trust me.

And those sides!  Yum on the baked beans, cole slaw, cornbread, and texas toast.  It helps round out a meat filled meal, and does it very well.

I was ecstatic to have tried this place.  And though it may be a chain, they’ve obviously earned their keep.

Famous Dave’s – 6925 Camino Arroyo, Gilroy, CA – 408.842.1400

Posted in Shopping, Travel

A Different Bookstore Experience

 Courtesy of

My hubby and I love to visit bookstores.  We can browse, read, and wander for hours.  If you’re on the Peninsula, your options are mostly limited to either Barnes & Noble, Borders or the occasional Books Inc.  But when we’re in the mood to drive just a little further south, we go to my favorite bookstore, BookBuyers on Castro St. in Mountain View.

It’s a great street to get a good meal (there are so many great Asian restaurants up and down Castro).  And after your meal, you can walk right on over to BookBuyers.

There are lots of reasons to love this place.  First, there’s no better place to buy a calendar anytime of year.  The calendars are ALWAYS 50% off the retail price and you won’t find a bigger selection anywhere.  They’ve got calendars of every kind, size, theme and design you could ever want or think of.

Second, it’s a great spot to sell your used software, books, CDs, magazines, and movies.  They’ll buy them from you, which explains their great selection of merchandise…

And that’s my favorite thing about this place.  There are aisles and aisles and aisles of all kinds of books that are much less than at a regular bookstore because most are used.  There are books, magazines, and CDs that are out of print and you can find a lot of great literary treasures.  I love to shop for travel books and cookbooks here because many are barely used and in great condition.  The selection is remarkable and so are the prices.

I tend to spend more time here than at a conventional bookstore.  It’s like a vast well organized treasure hunt, and you’re bound to find more than a few gems. 

BookBuyers – 317 Castro Street, Mountain View – 650.968.7323