Barely Working Lunch at Saba Cafe

I’m approaching my second month at my editorial job in Redwood City, and enjoying everything about it. The one feature our office lacks is a room to eat lunch, which results in many a meal eaten at my desk, in front of the computer. The upside is that it’s common practice to go out for lunch, which is what I did with some of editorial (we’re all girls) on Friday.

We chose a new Vietnamese place that's everyone's been recommending, just two steps from our building. Good call, since the rain was moving in. Saba's vision is modern and simple, guaranteeing fresh food that takes American tastes (and vegetarians) in mind. I usually have my best Asian food experiences at these places.

Saba gets packed after 12:30, like most of the business lunchy places in the 'hood. I will say this: it takes five girls a long time to decide on what to order, especially if everything on their menu looks good, from the appetizers to sandwiches to curries.

After thawing off and sipping some intensely flavored cucumber water, our food arrived. This vegetarian pho with bok choy, broccoli, enoki mushroom and tofu in a rich ginger broth (8) was perfect for a rainy day. I haven't had pho in about three years because some childhood conditioning instilled in me a distrust of noodles, but this was aight. The various types of faux meat were a nice surprise menu. Next time, I'm going for the vegan rolls and grilled salmon rolls.

It doesn’t get any better than good food with great coworkers.

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Yeah, Chaya!

Hello, dear friends. My avocado is still a-go-going but I just haven’t been planning out the eats and photo-taking as well as I should be. Plus, I don’t think the Whole Foods salad bar or another post of Intermezzo needs to be added. I want to bring only what’s new and imperative. So yeah Chaya! This lovely little place was just remodeled and I waited for months to bring you the latest in vegan sushi. What is there to bring, you may ask? Frankly, not a whole lot of surprises. Which is why I did not go for the sushi, but for the wide array of special noodle and rice dishes. What I loved most was that every item on the menu had at least seven different ingredients, many focused on sea vegetables and macrobiotic darlings, such as burdock, daikon, lotus root and kabocha. Totally exciting yes!

Beautiful day in the gourmet (ghetto).

After much deliberation, I went with the Taku-Sui ($8) served with rice and miso soup. That's gyoza and tofu, zucchini, napa cabbage, snap peas, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, silver noodles, and mushrooms in a light broth and served with a ponzu citrus sauce. How could I resist! Alas, and this is the hardest part to write, I did not love it. The soup was bland and the potstickers were the same frozen ones my dad buys from the Asian market. It tasted like a mediocre version of something my mother makes for me when I'm sick. Granted, she does make a mean pot of soup.

I should've realized that noodles rarely satisfy me, and ordered one of their gorgeous fried dishes. Like this one above, for E. Why yes, that's a fried stuffed eggplant with satsuma potato, corn, hijiki, carrots, and soy beans. It looked amazing, though E said that without the flavorful sauce, the dish would have been just okay. But those beautiful layers seem like a culinary feat worth tasting for yourself. Move over, turducken.

To sum up, Chaya didn’t exceed my expectations, but there are more exotic dishes to try. For such beautiful, high quality food at such a low price, I will be back for another round.


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