Saturday, July 24, 2010

Doña Maria (our favorite!), Cascal (updated), and Xanh restaurant reviews

Doña Maria (5/5):  Mexican. No website but they have a Google Place page. San Jose, CA.

This is very favorite Mexican restaurant.  It's not a 'sit down, order a margarita' kind of place. Instead it's a 'omg the best chips and salsa ever', and I can order just one sope, perfectly fried, topped with al pastor meat, refried beans, cheese, lettuce, tomato and excellent crema.  It's the perfect amount of food and really, really tasty food at that. My husband loves the flautas.
Cascal (3/5): Spanish tapas. Their website and Google Place page. Mountain View, CA.
Updated 7/2010: I met friends here recently for a small dinner after work.  We stuck to sangria and tapas: the mixed plate, extra tortilla, and dates stuffed with a blue cheese and wrapped in Serrano ham.  I'd still recommend avoiding the paellas and other more fancy dishes, but it was a fun, if very loud, place to have a drink and catch up with friends.  I'd visit again for similar purposes.  

They have a decent-sized bar space if you just want a drink and maybe a small bite.  There are also a lot of outside tables that are very popular on warm nights.

Original review: The last few times I've been there the food has been terrible and pricey.  A bad combination.  With all the new restaurants in dowtown Mountain View, there is no excuse to eat at Cascal.
Xanh (3/5):  Modern Vietnamese. Their website and Google Place page. Mountain View, CA.
It's a very lounge-y, trendy atmosphere. 
The Good: The service, cocktails, and food presentation were all excellent. They were also quite knowledgeable about gluten-free and the manager went through the menu with me and let me know what I could eat and made sure the kitchen knew as well.
The Not-So-Good: Nearly all the meat dishes are marinated in soy sauce, so as a gluten free person you're limited to the vegetarian and some fish dishes. Additionally, the point out that their kitchen is very small so while they will do their best to avoid cross contamination, they can't guarantee it won't happen. I really appreciated their honesty! On a good note I wasn't sick later. I'm just a little sensitive to small amounts of gluten, though. 
The biggest reason I may not come back very often except for drinks is just that the food was decent but not amazing. The prices are on par with Three Seasons but not nearly as good. I'd rather just save up and go to Tamarine less frequently. Tamarine has a much wider selection of things I can eat that are gluten free and excellent presentation and taste.

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