Martin’s West Gastropub

The night after I filled up on pho at Saba Cafe, I met with A after work to have dinner at possibly the fanciest restaurant in Redwood City, Martin’s West. One of our beloved writing instructors at USF recommended the place, as does everyone in this one-horse town.

After a long work day (well, maybe not the last hour which consisted of beer and brownies), this restaurant was perfect place to decompress and wear off my buzz. A noted that it the noise level was just right and the tables weren't squashed right next to each other like they always are in the city.

There's no amount of good lighting in the world that could flatter a Scotch egg (6), but I tried. Martin's West make a unique version with quail eggs, and they're clearly a specialty since every table had a plate of these. I took photos of the cross-section and a perfectly gooey yolk, but the image would not amuse. You might also notice that I've been less than vegetarian lately...

Brussel sprouts (6) are always delicious but deep fry them and you get something that tastes akin to bacon.

I tried a bite of A's blue prawns with almond puree and pickled french pear and thought it had a strange aftertaste not unlike sewage. The almond puree was great, but of course, my pedestrian gob thought they were mashed potatoes.

My grilled octopus with butterball potatoes, French beans and salsa verde may be a popular dish because it ranks second on the menu. Seafood is so difficult to cook that I usually leave it to the experts and this was the best octopus experience I can recall. Sweet and tender, but a little too salty since octopus retains salt like mushrooms do. A little bread on the side, and I wouldn't be complaining now.

Happy that every restaurant I’ve tried in Redwood City has been a winner!

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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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