Town and Country Village - Palo Alto
Met some friends for coffee at Peet's here today, my first time, and I was amazed at all the restaurants and how bustling it was (could barely get a parking space and I'm sure it will be even MORE crowded when Trader Joe's opens). I see that Mayfield's Bakery and Cafe has been covered here on CH:
but wonder what people think of other places there like Calafia, Sushi House (which I've heard of but never been), Douce France, a Korean BBQ place, and...? Maybe there are more. I'm not a Hobee's fan and I have been to other branches of Scott's over the years. But anyway I was heartened to see some interesting choices here (a nice alternative to Univ Avenue though it seems some places don't stay open late) and will definitely come back.
Parking is limited so it seems to be busy, a walk will reveal ~25% of the shops closed, Town and Country Shopping Centers were not designed to house Longs/Trader Joes. Even though TD hasn't opened, construction eliminated most of the "employee" parking. I like Sushi House for family style Japanese. I also like Scotts; their bar and bar food. On some Fridays, they have a live band. There is a small restaurant between Sushi House and Scotts, I ate there several years ago, I had their cheese steak, was good, I don't remember the name and forgot about them until I saw them in January going from Sushi House to Scotts. Sushi House closes "early", maybe 8:00.
Kirk's Steakburgers is in T&C, facing Embarcadero/Paly (High School), I have eaten at the Cupertino location and like their burgers, but if I was close to T&C, I would get a burger at Oasis in Menlo Park vs Kirk's Palo Alto.
Yes, parking a minor nightmare recently. Three of us (who do this a lot, at different restaurants) met for lunch to try Calafia recently and had a great time. (Other than the traffic which, by the way, afflicts bicyclists too.)
Two (different) small lunch pizzas -- one with Jalapenos, the other goat cheese, herbs, a little meat -- named honorifically (or mockingly?) "Wolfgang" -- had thin toasty crusts, a sense of balance so vital in pizzas -- just enough cheese, for instance -- and were very tasteful all agreed. Rice bowl with spiced pork and fried spring rolls seemed fresh and well-executed though less exotic locally. One of those Peninsula microbrews is featured and tasted very good to me. An unusual format for a restaurant: Open kitchen plus both bar and a serving counter, tables everywhere, and also "deli" business. Asked, a server said it opened in January (28th?). Impressive, I'd like to return.
Palo Alto T&C has come some way since there was mostly Stickney's (?sp) and its steam tables on the prominent corner near El Camino. Half the shops look relatively recent. Mayfield's Bakery furnished extremely serviceable baguettes and impressive (but dear) desserts. Please avoid the "lemon drops" (we'll take care of them).
I don't know, Stickney's Hickory House in its prime had better baked goods than Mayfields. They had one of my favorite things ever, cupckes in the shape of green frogs. I still miss those. Stickney's obit
Town and Country ebbs and flows. At one time it was great. There was a really nice breakfast place there which has long since closed and a good market. Nice to hear it might be on the upswing again.Town and Country history.
I liked Kirk's when it was on California, but I haven't read many good things about them in Town and Country.
855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA
Mayfield Bakery & Cafe
855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301
Forgot the link for Town and Country which has the website with list of businesses there ... coming soon ... Howie's Artisan Pizza ... "Howard Bulka, founding chef of Marche Restaurant, will offer ... pizza straight from the wood brick oven. Made with fresh, locally grown, natural ingredients. Also serving ... house-made soft-serve ice cream"
The current list
Cold Stone Creamery
The Village Cheese House
Peet's Coffee & Tea
Mayfield Bakery & Cafe
Town and Country Village
855 El, Camino Real Palo Alto, CA
I enjoyed Stickney's as an old-fashioned family restaurant. But used to hear protests about going there, from fellow adults. Although Stickney's was more independent, I remember it sharing some of that old US bland-enough-for-all style, long identified in the East Bay with Emil Villa's "Hickory Pit," and elsewhere with the Harry's Hofbrau cafeterias (which also created some misimpressions locally about German cooking).
One of the Mercury News food editors alerted me that RW had linked to my Stickney's obit. My goodness that was a long time ago. A different life. RW must have the memory of an elephant to find that column -- or Google, perhaps.
So yes, in response to a couple e-mails tonight, Sushi Monster is in fact one-in-the-same with the guy who did the Stickney's piece. No mystery there, kids ....
Kirk's on California was the only good one. I've eaten at Campbell and Cupertino locations - don't know how such a simple formula can be screwed up, but they can't hold a candle to Kirk's 1.0.
That shopping center used to have an Edy's ice cream store that was a high school late night mecca.
My nostalgia meltdown is for Holey Bagels. When that small shop closed, we lost the most righteous bagels in the Bay Area IMHO.
It was a simple bagel shop.
I note that one SF branch, in Noe Valley, still exists. I have never gone there because I heard that it's only the name ... it's not the same.
Not true- their premier location was on El Camino Real in South Palo Alto, back in the 50's. THIS was the best- no french fries, no specialty sandwiches. Just burgers (single, double and pineapple), Hot Dogs, soft drinks, shakes and malts. No inside seating, they had tables, but they were stand up only. Lots of outside benches, just like California Ave.
Douce France has an exceptional cookie I'd like to recommend: two soft white cookies sandwiching lemon curd and dipped in chocolate. No server I've asked can give me the name of it - they just shrug. I usually don't like lemon and chocolate together, but the textures and sweet/acid balance of this cookie is exceptional.
We live closeby and have been thrilled with the changes - in fact our family likes T&C better than the mall for a stroll/window shopping. More for kids, better food. Convenient to Caltrain, Stanford shuttle, walking, biking (our mode of transport), so I don't know about parking.
We tried Lulu's last night. They were giving out free mini chx burritos. Husband said it was bland, but son (5 yrs) loved it. Carnitas taco was moist, not crispy fried, if you like that style and had flavor, but tortillas weren't great. Chicken taco was all white meat and bland/dry. One son, who is squarely in the dark meat camp, wouldn't eat it, but the younger one did. Overall, I can see us getting a quick bite for kids there, but didn't shine for us. In all fairness though we didn't try much and it was super busy. We are just more used to RWC taquerias. Service was nice.
Calafia to go is open now. I took a look, and bought a day old muffin, which husband said was good, but would have been best day of of course. I like that they sell day old baked goods for $1.
I do miss Village Cheese House's bigger store though. Now just really a deli.
Noon is crazy b/c of the high school though.