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Jul 25, 2006 05:39 AM

chowish destinations in Mountain View vicinity?

I'm having lunch at Google with my brother-in-law Thursday. So as to get full value for the gas/bridge toll expenditure, are there any other chow stops I should make: bakeries, delis, ethnic markets, etc.? Anywhere between Sunnyvale and San Mateo.

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  1. If you're into smoked meats Dittmer's in Mountain View is pretty cool. Very near by is The Milk Pail Market, which is good for cheeses.

    1. Rihab Bakery in Belmont is a must if open. Melanie's old post:

      A-Lot-A Gelato, I'd call them before going. Here's my old post:

      what about Toto's Pizza, Belmont:

      Gartner's chocolatier Desiree, Sunnyvale..Melanie's post:

      Back-A-Yard, Menlo Park: for jerked chicken, jerked pork, corn festivals, ox-tail, etc. My old post:

      Ruth please report back where you end up and get. Lucky you get to eat at Goggle!!

      7 Replies
      1. re: hhc

        Thanks! Since I'm having lunch I won't be interested in pizza, but I'm always interested in smoked meat, chocolate and good Middle Eastern bakery/delis.

        I'm looking forward to eating at Google -- the hard part is going to be deciding which of the cafes there to eat at!

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Hungry or not, Rihab's pizzas are worth being interested in. They're for takeaway -- can be eaten later if you can resist that long.

          I got a tiny pesto one two weeks ago that was so good. Whatever's in the back cooling off (breads, meat pies, etc). I always regret not buying more once I get home.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler


            So, it was a mixed bag: I decided to go down by way of 237 to Sunnyvale, but Desiree was closed for vacation, and because I got a late start I didn't have time to swing by Olson's.

            Are we allowed to review restaurants that aren't open to the public? because lunch at Google was quite impressive. We went to Cafe 7 run by the former Vionier chef (who was actually right there when we came in the door). I got into a discussion with my host (BIL), about whether anyone has ever actually counted how many separate dishes are offered to Google employees every day. At this cafe (one of seven, and a medium-sized one by Google standards) there were a couple of dozen: in addition to the salad bar and sandwich bar, there were a composed salad, sandwich of the day, four soups, three veggie sides, three grain sides, three meat entrees, four pizza/calzone type offerings, and four desserts (one of them being a selection of artisan cheeses!). There were also baskets on the tables with a selection of interesting breads (pumpkin-seeded pretzels and cheese twists, among others) and the picillo pepper "spread of the day." Everything was made with high-quality ingredients and impeccably cooked -- my chicken was the perfect degree of doneness (cooked through, and not a second more).

            So after lunch, between the food and the warm (although thankfully not as hot as it had been!) southbay day, I didn't feel much like foraging. I went by Dittmer's, and although it was fun to check out and everything looked delicious, nothing struck me as a must-buy at that moment. I cruised past the Milk Pail but didn't go in. I saved my flagging energy for Crossroads, and it was well worth it. What a fun place! I stocked up on Greek yogurt/lebne and bought some of the Zergut Bulgarian multi-flower honey I've been looking for. This morning I put them together to see it they paired as well as I remembered, and the answer was a resounding yes.

            Thanks to all of you! My sister and BIL are househunting in that area, so I'll be frequenting it more often in the future. They and I will have more opportunities to check out the rest of these recommendations.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Ruth, thanks for the report on Goggle. You're so lucky!
              I was hoping you were gonna get lots of goodies and report on all of it, I think you're slowing down on the chowfront.

              Where did you end up on your last birthday too, I don't remember that report.

              1. re: hhc

                You got me, hhc! I do owe the board a report on my birthday dinner.

                And I have been slowing down -- I've been spending most of my free time with my new hound, rather than chowhounding!

              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                My understanding is that Google is now the single largest consumer of organic produce in the state of the California. They have some funny metric, like no employee should ever be more 100 feet from food.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  worked at the goog for a few years, and can definitely say that not all cafes are up to this level of quality; there were some dark days when almost no cafe appealed. they all start quite well, but some peter out. but there is no question that the ingredients google chefs work with are sublime.

            2. Rose International Market in Mountain View is a small middle eastern grocery store which also has a good deli. You can order charcoaled grilled kababs, they're pretty good.

              Uncle Frank's BBQ in Mountain View has excellent brisket. They have odd hours so you might want to call ahead to see if they're open.

              1. The fruit season has been odd, so maybe the fruit was delayed ... stop by CJ Olson and see if they have their LOCAL Bleinhem apricots and Santa Rosa plums. These are both exquisite. I can't believe I was too busy this year to make it down there, first time in 20 years I've missed the cherries at Olson's.

                WinMart European Deli on 833 West El Camino in Sunnyvale just up the street from Olson's. I got a bit carried away with this post. It was the first decent Eastern European Market I found. Anyway, worth taking a peek and they do lots of samples. Unless you have TONS of time, you can skip this LONG post about my first visit. Yeah, I can't find the reference to the pickles, but I mention them in my Polish recap, so I must have liked them ... not the tomatoes or mushrooms though.


                If you check out Ditmars, your MUST ... MUST ... go to Crossroads Market On the corner of San Antonio and Middlefield. They have the best, most sinful greek yogurt in the Bay Area. Nice feta selection too. They have these little tiny white dried figs there too. LOTS and LOTS of imported goods. Hope you are bringing a cooler with ice in it. They have a store Hayward-ish, but it isn't as good. Get the fresh pretels if they have them.

                Ditmars if you have never been there. Finding my old post (only by using the search term 'mozart loaf'), it was the equuisite Chicken Schinekenwurst that I was so taken with ... and yeah ... the smoked lamb ribs ... drool.


                Dittmer's Gourmet Meats & Wurst-Haus, Inc.
                400 San Antonio Road
                Mountain View, CA
                (650) 941 - 3800

                You might want to check out Milk Pail's cheeses. They are pre-cut, but there is stuff there they don't carry up this way.

                The cheese I so liked was the lovely Fougerus rouzaire, decorated with a fern. The fern was used both for decoration and to impart a woodsy, earthy scent to the cheese. The flavor is sweet and milky, typical of Brie but with more depth. Sigh. Yeah.


                The Milk Pail Market,
                2585 California St. (at San Antonio across the street from DittmarÂ’s
                )Mountain View, CA

                Samovar Russian Deli that has excellent baked goods like an excellent blueberry turnover. It is in a strip mall where Safeway is located, across the street from Milk Pail.

                Just because I don't want them to go out of business, Polish Deli in Palo Alto just off El Camino, the next street up from California. Don't know if you like Polish sausage, but this is the best. You'll be there on a Thursday so you might be able to get the pate. I have never had this but the man keeps mentioning it every time I stop. It comes in on Wednesday and is usually sold out by time I make it on Saturday.

                Polish Deli
                456 Cambridge Ave (between El Camino and Birch, up the street from California Ave) next to Hair of Today and a Methodist Church.
                Palo Alto

                IIRC, you don't like coffee, but on my to-do list is that Venetian place in Palo Alto.

                Couldn't find the hours of this place, but you can give them a call since I think they close around 3 pm. They sell at stores and farmers markets, but it is not their full line and there is stuff there that they don't sell elsewhere. Great lemon and anise biscotti.


                La Biscotteria
                2747 El Camino Real
                Redwood City, CA 94061
                (650) 366-2747

                Ok, any location between Redwood City and South San Francisco has me fuzzy, so if these are out of your area ...

                Obviously Back-a-yard. You can always do take-out if you are too full to eat, but this is SO high on my list.

                In that EXACT area is the biggest Brazilian market in the Bay Area. Haven't been yet, but it might be interesting to check out.

                As I said, I'll get the details and update this reply later today.

                9 Replies
                1. re: rworange

                  Are you referring to AVP in San Mateo (on 25th) as the Brazilian market? That's on the site of the old Spark's grocery store. I've been a couple of times -- it's right next to my dentist -- and they have a little kitchen in the back serving interesting-sounding dishes, but the ones I've tried were hit-or-miss.

                  1. re: PekoePeony

                    Yep, that's it. Thanks for the feedback. So, I'd skip that Ruth. I'm still going to stop by when I'm in the area because I have this Brazilian thing going and I want to catch the feojeda on the week-end. Yeah, some Brazilian food can be underwhelming, but I haven't found a Brazilian fresh fruit drink I don't like.

                    1. re: PekoePeony

                      I visited AVP on 25th ave in san mateo. It is the biggest Brazilian market in the Bay Area. It really has a wide selection...guarana, picanha, easter eggs... The food they serve is also great! I had a wonderful Brazilian plate... bife acebolado ( steak and onions with rice and beans) and coxinhas (brazilian appetizer)! It was great! The people there are all very nice, they were even giving out free samples of their pizza.

                    2. re: rworange

                      Thanks for suggesting I bring a cooler -- obviously I'm going to need it. Now I'm going to have to get out the map and plot my route!

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        OK, I updated the first reply with suggestions and addresses. The most bang for the chow buck is that Mountain View area with Milk Pail, Crossroads, Dittmars and Samovar's.

                        Depending on your driving route up and down, you might consider.

                        Bobby Lee's Country Smokehouse
                        850 Sycamore at Mission
                        Hayward, Cs 94544


                        But Dittmar's is the better meat destination.

                        1. re: rworange

                          It is with great sadness that I must report that Bobbie Lee's Country Smokehouse is closed. Does anyone know where to buy comparable Boudin Sausage (Fully Cooked Pork, Pork Liver, White Rice, Scallions, Onion, Spices) in the SF Bay Area?

                          1. re: roberty

                            Try Taylor's Sausages in the Housewives Market in Old Oakland.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              Thanks, Ruth, for the suggestion. I did try their products but they are nothing like Bobby Lee's Boudin which I really, really liked. I'm still searching and would be very grateful for any help in this quest.

                      2. re: rworange

                        If you go to CJ Olson, you could stop in at AG Ferrari in the same shopping center. Not a "must visit" on its own, but doesn't hurt to browse and sample (they love to give out samples there!).

                        Dittmer's for sure.

                        Milk Pail is worth it if you're in the area, but not a "must visit" on its own IMO. Some of their cheeses are interesting and reasonably priced; however, I only bought cooking cheese as I'd rather go to a real cheesemonger for good eating cheese. I also liked the Callebaut baking chips to use for choc desserts. They do sell Marianne's ice cream from Santa Cruz, but that may be a tricky purchase in this heat.

                        Have fun and please report back! Am curious to get the scoop on Google's gourmet cafeteria...

                      3. Check out the Spanish market attached to Iberia restaurant in Menlo Park (along RR tracks by train station). Nice selection of Spanish goods, including olive oil, vinegar, paella pans, and deli goods (jamon serrano). I also love the Milk Pail, Rose Mkt, and Dittmers.