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Go to Sandwich Spot

My favorite go to sandwich and bakery spot has got to be the restaurant food chain “Panera.”  They have so many choices to choose from and are always adding something new to try on their menu.

Panera restaurants have expanded throughout the country and continue to grow as well as their menu.  a newer feature they have included is their special of ‘you pick two.”  This allows you to get the best of both worlds by choosing two of your favorite menu items.  I’m always indecisive of what I want to try and I love trying multiple things so this was the perfect option for me.

I’m a big fan of their mac and cheese because it is the perfect white cheddar and creamy bowl of noodles to indulge in, so of course this was my top pick.  The noodles they use for this are shell pasta, which in my opinion captures the sauce flavor the best.  It’s a blend of rich cheeses including their tangy Vermont white cheddar cheese sauce to add the perfect amount of creaminess.

My second pick I opted for was a half size of their Italian sandwich.  This included smoked, lean ham, Chianti wine salami, spicy sopressa and provolone cheese with spicy glardiniera, basil mayo, and fresh arugula on a Hoagie Roll.  All of these toppings gave the sandwich a fresh and savory taste, and was especially good when dipped into the mac and cheese.

All of this came out to under $10 and filled me up perfectly without feeling overly bloated.  Check out your local Panera and find your perfect combination of items.

https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/home.html

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King of Thai

Authentic Thai food can be found all over, but the trick is finding the one at a great price and with a great taste, “King of Thai” in San Francisco, California has both!  With various locations in the San Francisco area you’re sure to bump into one to try out some items from their wide variety of dishes.

I’m a huge fan of Thai food and on a cold San Francisco day it was the perfect place to escape from the cold and warm up with some of their spices.  I shared a few items with a friend to try out a few things.  We had one of their soups, a pad thai, and a meat dish.

The soup we tried was called ‘Tom Kha Gai,” and combined a variety of spices and ingredients.  It was a Thai style sour soup with sliced chicken, coconut milk, mushrooms, white onions, glangal, and lemongrass.  The flavors all mixed perfectly together, I’m not a huge fan of spicy food mainly for the fact that I can’t handle it so adding in the coconut milk and lemongrass helped to make it mild but still gave it a little bit of a kick.  This soup was served in a big size bowl which was more than enough to split between two people and only came out to be $6.50.

We of course had to get a plate of their Pad Thai as well.  Theirs included a stir fried small rice noodle, shrimp, cooked egg, ground peanuts, tofu, and bean sprouts with red paprika powder and lime juice.  Pad Thai is one of my favorite things to have and every restaurant prepares theirs differently and gives you a different taste.  This one was exceptionally cooked and it was nice to see their kitchen out in the open on how they prepared it.  This also came to a low cost of $6.50 and the quantity size gave us enough to take home.

The meat dish we had was their version of cashew chicken, and with their it gave more flavor than the overpowering cashew taste that many dishes seem to present.  This included pieces of chicken mixed with cashews, their sauce, a mixture of various bell peppers and onions.  What made this dish nice as well is that they included steamed white rice with it without the additional cost at most places.

King of Thai definitely lived up to its name and gained another loyal customer.  If you ever find yourself in the San Francisco area look around to see if you bump into a restaurant and indulge in their flavorful and affordable dishes.

http://kingofthainoodlehouse.com

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The Infamous Aqui Swirls

A Silicon Valley favorite restaurant for many ages is “Aqui Cal-Mex,” shortened by many as “Aquis” hold the favorite drink by many.  This restaurant has drawn in not only an older crowd by its great food but also a younger crowd from its specialty drinks called “swirls.”

They offer a wide selection of fresh Mexican food, many of their dishes have more of an American Mexican style taste to them, and isn’t known for being authentic Mexican food.  But their food is served fresh daily and is more of a healthier route for customers to indulge in.  Aside from their food their specialty swirl drinks have attracted many as a great pre-game spot before going out, or just a great social gathering spot with friends.

I’ve tried numerous items from their menu, but the one I tried recently stood out to me because it was a mix of Thai and Mexican food.  I got the ‘Thai Chicken Burrito,”  along with their mango organic greens salad and served in a wheat tortilla.  The burrito included grilled chicken breast with Thai peanut sauce, citrus carrots, green rice, organic spinach, and mango dressing wrapped in a wheat tortilla.  This dish gave the Thai taste but in a Mexican style burrito that I would have never guessed to pair together, but together they tasted wonderful.

And of course I couldn’t leave without having one of their famous swirls.  I had their ‘sunrise swirl,” which is a combination of many alcohols but is hidden by the other flavors mixed in.  It includes their sangria and paradise patron swirled with their blended industrial strength margarita.  These have attracted many individuals going out for a good time with friends and since these drinks are so strong there is a 2 drink limit from the restaurant.

If you’re looking for a great hang out spot with friends or a place to pre-game before heading out to the bars try Aquis for great food and drinks.  Their affordable prices attract many and keep their customers coming back for more!

http://www.aquicalmex.com

Opa!

Some of the best Greek food in town with a friendly atmosphere is “Opa!”  Its sit down restaurant style gives family and friends the perfect social gathering spot to enjoy a wide selection of delicious Greek food.

My first experience trying “Opa!” out was for my younger sister’s birthday and it did not disappoint.  We each order something different off the menu and had a beautiful and unique presentation of our food.

As an appetizer we got their Saganaki also known as their flaming cheese, which was served table side and literally on fire.  It was grilled Kasseri cheese served flaming on a flat iron skillet, along with warm pita bread to dip in it.  The type of cheese had a savory flavor to it, but the best part about this was its presentation and literally seeing it on fire.

For my main dish I got their lamb pita, which was served along with their wild rice pilaf.  Everything was cooked to perfection and they loaded their pita up with lamb, tomatoes, onions, mint, and tzatziki sauce.  The flavors all stood out so well to create one of the best pitas I’ve had.  My sister got their Greek burger, which was very juicy from their ground beef and lamb patty.  But, what stood out to me the most from her dish was the fries they served along with the burger.  Their fries were normal potato fries but to top them off they added crumbled feta cheese to them to give them and extra flavor, so ketchup was unnecessary.

And to finish off our meal we got their Baklava.  This included layers of phyllo dough, walnuts, cinnamon, sugar, and Greek honey.  All these flavors combined created a savory delicate dessert that we will always make room for after a big meal.

If you like Greek food “Opa!” has a wide selection of foods to try as well as a beautiful presentation of their foods.  For a sit down restaurant all their prices were pleasantly very affordable especially considering the amount of food and the great taste with it.

http://www.opaauthenticgreek.com/index.html

Pizza Toppings Galore

Mod pizza specializes in individual style pizzas with toppings of your choice served in minutes.  However they do also offer their own topping pizzas to choose from as well.  If you choose to go the unlimited topping route you have an endless choice of which toppings you’d like to add to your pizza.

When I went I decided to go the unlimited topping route with choosing just about every topping offered.  Aside from various toppings they also have choices of different sauces, seasonings, and drizzles to add on.  My sister on the other hand decided to go with their style of hawaiian pizza, which also included a BBQ sauce drizzle to finish it off.  You first start with the sauces, seasonings, and type of cheese.  Once you have completed that you choose which ever toppings look most appealing to you.  After that it is put into the oven for a short amount of time, and to finish it off you can add on your choice of a drizzle or dry topping.

All of these pizzas come to a cost under $10, to fill you up with your choice of everything.  It’s quick and easy and satisfying for everyone.  With so many locations throughout San Jose it’s easy to pop into one if you’re in the mood for a great pizza made your way.

https://modpizza.com

 

L.A. Halal

Halal has grown to become more popular and has expanded throughout the United States and creating their own restaurants with their specialties.  Zankou first originated and opened a restaurant in Beirut, Lebanon and then a few years later expanded to Los Angeles, California.  It attracted many with its great tasting food at an affordable price.

Zankou prides themselves on their 100% natural foods that are prepared fresh daily.  Their ingredients are prepared and made daily only using fresh foods and avoiding any cans, freezers, microwave ovens, preservatives, and artificial ingredients.  The most common plate they have are their halal meat plates.

When I visited one of their locations in L.A. I got a combination of their try-tip shawerma and their chicken tarn.  The plate was also served with pickled beats and other vegetables, their sauce, hummus, and pita bread.  All of their flavors stood out individually but also blended very well together.  And one thing with having halal meat is that you’re guaranteed to have tender and flavorful meat.

Their serving sizes are very generous giving you the most for your money’s worth and leaving you extra to enjoy for later.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that my total for the amount of food I received was under $10.  If you ever happen to be in the L.A. area Zankou is definitely a place to try!

http://zankouchicken.com

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Perfect Mall Food

Whenever I go to the mall I always have a big craving for any type of Asian style food.  Sarku Japan satisfies my craving every time with their most popular plate that is made right in front of you after you order it.

Their main dish they offer is the teriyaki chicken with rice that is normally their special of the day and under $7.  I always get this plate but instead substitute the rice for their noodles.

The teriyaki chicken is made tenderly along with their sauce they grill it right in front of you after you have ordered it.  I also got hooked on this item because in the food court they always hand out samples of the chicken so I had to give it a try.  Their noodles are wide and also prepared on the grill and combine perfectly with the chicken.  The dish is also topped off with steamed vegetables to mix in.

If you ever find yourself with an Asian style food craving stop by Sarku Japan to help satisfy it.  Aside from their affordable price for a teriyaki chicken plate they also features many other dishes and sides to try out.

http://www.sarkujapan.com/#homeunnamed-11.jpg

Noodles and More

“Noodles and Company” gives customers an option of whatever type of noodle dish they are craving from all around the world.  They have anything from mac and cheese to pho and more, they also offer gluten free dishes so there’s bound to be something for anyone to enjoy.

Aside from their noodle dishes they also have shareable plates, sides, soups, salads, and desserts to go along with your main course.  You can choose from their selection of dishes that contain their own ingredients and mixtures in them, as well as adding in extra items into them to enjoy.  Their small serving bowl is plenty to have by yourself, and the regular size makes a perfect size to share with one other person since they give out a generous amount.

My favorite to get from here is their pesto cavatappi, which includes curly noodles, basil pesto, garlic, mushrooms, tomato, wine, cream, and parmesan.  I also choose to add in their parmesan-crusted chicken breast to add in a meat.

Depending on what you choose to add in a basic small dish can be under $5 and their regular size under $7.  I highly recommend trying “Noodles and Company” out because it gives you a great taste and allows everyone to be able to find something they’ll enjoy.

http://order.noodles.com/home/

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Chaat Cafe

Is another Bay Area known restaurant serving up some of the best Indian food.  They offer a wide variety of dishes to try and share with family and friends at affordable prices and a great taste.

Most of their items are meant to be served family style since they come in large quantities, and it also makes it the perfect way to try a few of their  dishes they offer.  Each of their dishes has a unique taste enriched with many of their spices.

When I went here I ordered four of their dishes along with a stuffed naan and a plain naan to go along with it.  I tried their chicken pesto stuffed naan, that contained chicken, pesto, a blend of bell peppers along with other spices.  I also got their tikka masala curry and their chicken tikka plate and paired it with their plain naan.  Each of these dishes had many seasonings and spices in them to create the perfect blend of flavors.  I’m not a fan of spicy food

http://www.chaatcafes.com

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Minty Coffee

One of San Jose State University’s most popular coffee shops features unique drinks to wake students and local workers up and keep them going throughout the day.  “Philz Coffee” handcrafts their drinks and have caught the tastebuds of many frequent customers with its taste and its capability of keeping people energized and awake.

Philz Coffee is based in San Francisco but has expanded to 36 locations in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. areas.  Their goal is to give customers a personalized drink so it is perfected to the way they like it.

My favorite order to get here is their ‘mint mojito iced coffee,’ it has the perfect blend of flavors I would have never thought of to be blended together.  It’s one of their specialty coffee choices and is a blend of their iced coffee with a fresh mint taste to it.  It also is typically served sweet and creamy to balance out the taste, and crushed mint leaves on the bottom, and topped with mint leaves.  This drink always does the job for me and with having a handcrafted drink just the way I like a cup under $5 keeps bringing me back.

http://www.philzcoffee.com/our-coffeeunnamed-8