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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My favorite Mediterranean restaurant: Fireside Caffé

For most of my life I mistakenly thought I didn't like Mediterranean food. I'd tried the stuffed grape leaves, a mediocre hummus and a baba ghanoush I didn't care for at all. In my ignorance I decided that Mediterranean food just wasn't "my thing." Kind of like how I thought I didn't like Indian food after not liking it the first time I tried it. Then one day I tried the food at New Delhi restaurant in downtown San Francisco and discovered that I actually love Indian food. Or at least I love the food at New Delhi restaurant. LOL.

The Vegetarian Combo Plate: 3 Falafel Balls, Hummus dip garnished with olive oil and lemon juice, Tabooleh salad, Tzatziki Sauce, a pickled baby cucumber, and Pita Bread chips.

Recently hubby introduced me to a Mediterranean restaurant whose food I love. And because it's not in a mall, it's not a chain and it's not a stand alone building it could be easy to overlook. So, it's the kind of place you really need someone to tell you about, which I'm happy to do. It's called the Fireside Caffé and it's located just a couple of blocks west of Valley Fair Mall on Stevens Creek Blvd in San Jose, CA.

I've been there three times now and tried three different dishes. Hubby has eaten there almost once a week for over a year, Yelpers love the food and staff, and I've been told their Chicken Curry Delight (menu item #26) is their most popular dish. Their hours vary. Some days they only serve breakfast and lunch and other days they add dinner so be sure to check out their website or give them a call if you're going for dinner.

Last Saturday I had dinner there with my friend Harpreet and ordered the Vegetarian Combo Platter. It was beautifully plated and tasted even better than it looked.

Hummus with Olive Oil and Lemon Juice

In the past I've had some terrible hummus (once it tasted like old paint) and many times it wasn't particularly good or bad, just average. But this, this was the best hummus I've ever had. The flavors of the beans, olive oil and lemon juice were so bright and light it transformed what I've always thought of as a humble side dish and turned it into the star of the combo platter.

Tabooleh Salad

And while I have never cared for parsley I really enjoyed the Tabooleh Salad made of, minced parsley! Again, the flavors were so light, bright and fresh it won me over.

Falafel

Their falafels were perfectly prepared. What I've found over the years is a lot of places overcook them making the crust too hard and the filling dried out. I wish I'd thought to take a picture of the interior of the falafel. It was a nice bright green. The flavor was spot on, the Tzatziki dipping sauce complemented perfectly, and the interior texture was nice and fluffy.

Pita Chips

When we first sat down we were served some warm pita chips with olive oil and herbs to dip them in. Yum!

My Vegetarian Wrap

On my first visit I ordered a Vegetarian Wrap. It was filled with fresh veggies and I think had hummus and a dressing. The lavash wrap itself was thin, grilled and delicious. I'll definitely go back and order it again.

Portions are generous so you may not have room for dessert. If you do want a sweet treat they serve both crepes and gelato.

To my friends who always say "Let's get together for lunch" let's do. Let's meet up at the Fireside Caffé!


You'll find the them at:

Fireside Caffé
3245 Steven Creek Blvd (view map)
San Jose, CA 95117
408-244-4424

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