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Feb 27, 2007 01:46 PM

In Search of Best Tri Tip in South Bay!

Hello Everyone!

I am looking for the best tri tip in the San Jose and surrounding areas. It would be greatly appreciated if you could help me out!!


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  1. Cosentino's Markets in Santa Clara has carried it

    also Dittmer's Gourmet Meats in Mountain View.

    I grew up with Tri Tip being from Santa Barbara one of the tri counties where tri tip came from, it is sometimes called Santa Maria Steak.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Lori SF

      Come on, Lori...tri-tip originated at the Safeway in Santa Maria. Don't try to give Santa Barbara any credit for it. (SB's already got the looks and reputation, the least you can do is give SM high marks for it's meat.:)))

      1. re: Bostonbob3

        LOL, I give it all to Santa Maria.

        I particularly miss the bbq carts in random parking lots in both Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo.

        We use to put the tri tip in a komodo, let it smoke most of the day, WOW talk about flavor.

        1. re: Lori SF

          I want a kamado, darn it! Do you still have one?

    2. The tri-tip sold at Trader Joe's is fantastic. We almost always have it on hand in our freezer. It's incredibly flavorful. I never buy the marinated versions.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Atomica

        I wonder if they all carry it? Good to know, though.

        1. re: Lori SF

          I've seen it at all the TJ's I've been to. I usually shop at the Westlake (Daly City) store or the store near 9th & Bryant. As for the marinating, this cut of meat is so flavorful that all it needs is salt, in my opinion.

          1. re: Atomica

            I will check it out! I love grilling it slightly med. more on the rare side, slice in very thinly, roasted red peppers in olive oil and a good roll, that make a great sandwich.

        2. re: Atomica

          I agree - the TJ marinated version is yucky. My favorite tri-tips are at Zanotto's Markets: two different versions, both cooked (in the deli section) or uncooked (in the meat section). They're even better than a Fred's!

          1. re: Atomica

            I agree! I love both the marinated one (which is great b/c it is the 'real' santa maria seasoning that my parents send me since they live in Templeton right near there) and the unmarinated one. The marinated one is good if you don't have time to marinate yourself b/c a piece of meat that large really benefits from a longer marinating time. However, when I buy the unmarinated one, I will usually marinate it in a simple marinade of 1 bottle of beer, 1 cup of soy sauce, a handful of smashed garlic cloves, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. I used to work for TJ's and this is a recipe I acquired while working there... its fabulous! Just marinate and grill or broil.

          2. Every tuesday at St John's Bar and Grill in Sunnyvale, they have a hardwood grilled/smoked santa maria tri-tip sliced up on a sandwich for lunch. It is so fricking awesome. I always get the one with extra meat, cause it's so well smokd and flavorful.

            3 Replies
            1. re: nianfong

              Thanks for this tip; I've never heard of this place before. The lunch and nightly specials seem like good deals. How do you like their burgers here?


              1. re: Carb Lover

                I worked in the area for ~17 years. St John's in the 80s/90s was sort of a Cheers type place.

                I liked the (mushroom) Cheese Steaks over the burgers. Lots of variety in the burgers. Fries are skin on and cost extra (2 sizes), bag of chips come with the sandwiches.

                Bread/buns are (were) from Roma Bakery (San Jose).

                Self Serve: order/pay at the counter, get a pager, find a table (booths and tables), utensils/napkins are on a shelf under the counter, condiments (mustard/ketchup) are across from the counter. Outside patio. Good assortment of beer (ales) on tap, good assortment of bottled soda too. Full (small) bar. Happy hour. 3-4 Televisions.

                I didn't like their tri tip sandwiches, too much smoke "taste", salsa was too spicy. They have daily lunch specials, Fridays were fish and chips, baby back ribs on ??? (maybe Thursday).

                1. re: Alan408

                  The smoke taste is why it's so awesome!
                  a cheater's tip: if the line is too long, call in your order via cell phone for takeout, then just pick up and eat anywhere you want. I used to eat in the outside patio.

            2. a friend said alot of co-workers went to Armadillo Willy's for tri-tip at lunch. think they only serve it once a week.

              2 Replies
              1. re: kc72

                Armadillo Willy's and St John's are (or used to be) owned by the same person (group).

                1. re: Alan408

                  thanks.. had no idea. have been to St Johns many times, but haven't tried AW yet.