Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Top Nosh Cafe Opens in Willow Glen

While I have been working at the Diabetes Society on the top floor of the Garden Theater building in Willow Glen, I have also been waiting for the new Top Nosh Cafe on the ground floor.  Today it opened!  I was on my way across the street to Peet’s for some morning coffee when someone said that Top Nosh is now open and selling Espresso drinks for half off! The Peet’s on Lincoln Avenue usually has an all-day crowd inside and in front, complete with dogs and bikes. I have loved Peet’s coffee ever since I was at U.C. Berkeley, near where Peet’s was born.

Nonetheless, I went inside to see Willow Glen’s newest restaurant. The brown paper is indeed off the windows at last and Top Nosh is open.  I was delighted to find a friend behind the counter.  Yasmin Tyebjee is the CEO and Owner of the Top Nosh Cafe and a very good cook.  She is also the Mom of one of my daughter’s Middle School classmates.  Top Nosh serves breakfast and lunch and take out dinners.  Check it out!

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Images 2010 Copyright Katy Dickinson

Two Auctions

Every year, I attend two charity fund raising auctions: the Via Ball which benefits Via Services, and the SAMA Middle Eastern Feast and Auction, sponsored by St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Saratoga, benefiting medical relief programs in Haiti, the Holy Land, and Africa.

Via is most famous for the year-round Camp Costanoan, a residential, outdoor education, recreation and learning center for children and adults with physical and/or developmental disabilities and special needs. Via was established in 1945 as the Crippled Children’s Society of Santa Clara County. This year was the 15th Annual Via Ball: a grand event held at Villa Ragusa in Campbell. People with big hearts and Silicon Valley celebrities with big wallets dress up fancy to bid at the auction, have executive chefs and master sommeliers compete for their attention, and dance after dinner. Top auction bids go to Felicia Horowitz’s annual hand-made mosaic quilt, which this year was an amazing 7,000+ piece tribute to Van Gogh’s sunflowers and by itself raised over $10,000. At this year’s Via Ball, my husband John and I bought forty pounds of dried figs (split with another family who were also bidding), our table’s flower centerpiece, and some gift certificates. I get many of my ideas for how to improve the SAMA auction from going to the Via Ball.

SAMA has been holding its annual dinner for 11 years but SAMA’s auction fundraiser is only three years old. Our SAMA committee is entirely made up of volunteers and the event is held in the St. Andrew’s Episcopal School hall. SAMA uses the same auction management software as does the Via Ball – see my 2008 review of Auction! for details. SAMA’s 2010 Middle Eastern Feast was prepared by Nina Amireh, Lucy Asfour, and Andrew Bate plus an energetic crew of volunteers from St. Andrew’s youth group. Entertainment was provided by Gregangelo and Velocity Arts and Entertainment, a whirling dervish.

Each year, the most popular SAMA auction items are in the food and wine category, with the Willow Glen Caboose Brunch and Nina’s “Middle Eastern Dinner for 8” getting top bids in 2010. The Robert Lewis oil painting “New Vineyard, Old Manor” raised the most money of any single auction item. Our family bought a silver dish, a set of Bart Ehrman’s New Testament Lectures on CD, plus an inlaid mosaic frame and chessboard made by Izzat Ashkar of Syria. The entire SAMA auction raised just a few thousand dollars more than Felicia Horowitz’s quilt. SAMA supports programs such as The Four Homes of Mercy, a refuge for the severely disabled based in Jerusalem.

Via Ball

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SAMA Auction and Middle Eastern Feast

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Images Copyright 2010 by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher

SMUM Thanks Volunteers

For over 25 years, Santa Maria Urban Ministry or SMUM has been a safe place of welcome, service and positive transformation. SMUM is at 778 South Almaden in San Jose, CA. SMUM works with Second Harvest Food Bank to distribute food to the hungry, offers educational program that include ABC Playtime for little kids and the Studio homework and computer club for grade school children, and (of particular interest at this time of year) the VITA income tax preparation service in many languages.

The small SMUM building is very well used: the VITA and Studio programs use the same well-managed computer lab at different times of day. Although SMUM is the official charity of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real, its free community services are supported mostly by grants and donations by the Friends of Santa Maria.

On 27 February, SMUM held its annual volunteer appreciation lunch at Trinity Cathedral in downtown San Jose. Constructed in 1863, Trinity is the oldest church building in San Jose.

Dozens of volunteers, from the middle and high school tutors for Studio to the retirees who staff the welcome desk, gathered to eat tamales, fried rice, fruit salad and Tres Leches Cake.  Many of the volunteers arrived at the lunch directly after working the morning food warehouse shift.

Everyone was given a green t-shirt and a Certificate of Appreciation.  There was much applause for Rev. Lawrence Robles (SMUM’s Executive Director) and his wife Carmen (who manages the warehouse).

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Images Copyright 2010 by Katy Dickinson

Dine Downtown Restaurant Festival

dine-downtownDine Downtown is a restaurant food festival that will take place in San Jose from June 3 – 13.  This is your chance to sample incredible food at some great prices by ordering from a prix-fixe menu available at each restaurant.  When I looked at the list I was surprised at how many fantastic eating establishments we have in downtown San Jose; there are 26 separate places participating in Dine Downtown!  There should be no complaining about a lack of places to eat downtown these days, and Dine Downtown is a great way for these restaurants to introduce themselves.

There are $20, $30 and $40 prix-fixe menus, with several restaurants offering a choice.  Each menu offers an appetizer, a main course and dessert.  If you ever wanted to try one of the upscale eateries downtown this is a great time to do so at a great price.  The event begins June 3 with $3-or-less sampler plates at the City Bites Kick Off Sampler Event.

Visit the website to see a complete list of participating restaurants, with links to the prix-fixe menus for each.  Then choose a couple hot summer nights to give up cooking in your kitchen and come downtown for a great dinner.  You can even make your reservations online.  26 restaurants, eleven days – Don’t miss out on this culinary extravaganza!

Sushi Coast

You know how you drive past a small restaurant a billion times and yet never go in, despite feeling rather curious about it? That’s basically how my boyfriend and I have been for the past year or so as we drive past Sushi Coast on 4th St. in San Jose. Well we finally decided to give it a try and I gotta say, it wasn’t that bad.

Dragon Roll @ Sushi CoastNow by no means am I a sushi expert and I’m not that daring to boot. We tried some the same kind of rolls we like at other places and they were all quite tasty.

  • Dragon Roll (Shrimp, Crab, Eel & Avocado)
  • California Roll
  • Sunny California Roll (Deep-fried California Roll)
  • Lion Queen Roll (Crab, Avocado, Broiled Jumbo Scallops)
  • Shrimp Tempura Roll

The rolls are rather large and you get quite a few pieces (6-10 for the ones mentioned above) – we were quite stuffed and had to bring home a good portion of them. The service was great — but we went around 7 o’clock on a Tuesday and there were not a lot of customers. Decor was typical, however they had a slew of wooden boats I wanted to take a photo of but there were a few people in the way. Maybe next time!

We also checked reviews online, like the reviews at Yelp – 3.5 stars. My philosophy is if there are a considerable about of positive reviews it’s worth trying out for yourself.

Looking back at my old post here about sushi, a reader named Eric pointed out Sushi Coast in the comments! And it only took me almost two years to try the place out.. ah well!

DooF-a-Palooza at Google HQ

Our busy take-out lifestyle has helped childhood obesity become epidemic, and I was shocked to hear the recent American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that cholesterol-fighting drugs be given to some young children. Luckily, DooF (food spelled backwards) the new PBS program that is all about helping kids to make healthier food choices will begin airing in 2009.

DooF-a-Palooza 2008:
Help raise funds for DooF while having family fun – A DooF-a-Palooza admission ticket includes hands-on activities, games, food, music, free stuff, and a silent auction for the adults.

The place to be with the kids this Saturday: Purchase Tickets and Information

Google Headquarters
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View
Saturday, July 12, 2008
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

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