Adventure is out there, and is nearer than anticipated. The harsh reality is that the only times most people want to go on adventures around the Bay Area is when they have been planned far in advance, or when they are close to home. Sometimes, the simplest adventure only requires a Caltrain day pass and a companion.
This adventure does not even require much exercise — which many might appreciate. Besides the popular Caltrain destinations such as T-Pumps in Burlingame, there are many hidden gems to be discovered. These small, but charming, food stops at multiple Caltrain stations feature different and diverse foods that are worth trying.
Redwood City: Gourmet Haus Staudt Walking out of the Redwood City Train Station.
The familiar food chains are easy to spot, as the iconic logos of Peet’s Coffee and Tea and Noah’s Bagels draw almost all attention. On the corner of Broadway and Perry streets lies a charming, simple store that is easy to overlook, but opening the door is a complex sweet aroma of chocolates and goods. When first walking in, the customer is greeted with stacks upon stacks of chocolate bars, along with buckets of German snacks and assorted condiments on different wooden tables. This festive German shop is a small but homey place for everyone.
“Whenever I bring my kids, they always go for the Kinder and Milka chocolate bars, and they spend at least 20 minutes just trying to pick out a flavor,” Gourmet Haus Staudt frequenter Laura Burchess said. “There are a lot of Christmas-inspired things here, so I am excited to shop for those, especially the chocolate and ginger cookies.”
The back of the store features a small cafe that serves simple traditional German plates. The menu contains many conventional German sausages, accompanied by different side plates. One of the most renowned dishes served is the cheese and salami giant pretzel, which is freshly made and served warm to the customers.
“The [pretzels are] soft and warm, which are so much better than the pretzels you get at baseball games,”first-time customer Ryan Depson said. “It’s really filling and I love the sweet and standard mustards that come with it.”
The food may not be for everyone, but Gourmet Haus Staudt is a friendly and unique place to experience German culture, and provides a great chance to taste genuine, imported German snacks.
San Mateo: Eggettes.
Many people have different predilections about boba shops, but Eggettes features do-it-yourself boba drinks, so that customers can add different condiments to tailor drinks to their own likings. Though Eggettes is a small shop on 47 S. B St., hidden behind Donuts Delite, the store is glowing with music and lights. Eggettes is named after their signature pull apart egg puff snacks that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside to create a enjoyable texture and flavor. The shop serves different flavors of eggettes, such as classic original, chocolate and coconut, and an assortment of Asian snacks, ranging from salt and pepper popcorn chicken to rice rolls.
“I love that [the Eggettes are] light and not too sweet, because the boba is sweet too,” local resident Elton Chen said. “They make them in front of you and give them to you when they are warm, which I like when it is cold outside.”
Eggettes has an extensive array of pre-made boba drinks that range from $3 to $3.50 and customers can pay $2.50 to make their own drink at the do it yourself bar. Unlike many other boba stores which rely on syrup to make boba tea, Eggettes instead adds in fresh fruits to make their refreshing drinks.
“The food is similar to the food we would eat in Hong Kong, so it is a good reminder of Hong Kong,” regular customer Kent Mo said.
Mountain View: Kolbeh Restaurant Kolbeh.
A small Persian restaurant located on 1414 W. El Camino Real, strives to serve authentic Persian dishes to bring a taste of the Middle Eastern foods to the Bay Area. Kolbeh servers are welcoming along with a friendly setting with flowers and paintings of small towns in the Middle East. Many people are familiar with kebabs as sticks stacked with meats and vegetables, but Kolbeh serves authentic kebabs that have been marinated in spices for at least 24 hours to ensure that they are flavorful and high quality with sides of rice and a choice of sides. Along with the kebabs, Kolbeh also serves an assortment of small plates such as baba ghanoush, which is baked eggplant with a creamy tahini sauce, garlic and oil served with pita.
“When I come, I usually will order small side plates, and it is just as filling [as a normal plate],” Kolbeh frequenter Blake Williams said. “Where I live, there is not a lot of restaurants as diverse like this, so I come here when I want some Middle Eastern food.”
Kolbeh’s menu also contains dishes that are fit for vegetarians such as the falafel wrap and Persian soup. The dishes are served with baklava, which is handmade by a family member and served warm. Although Kolbeh is a bit far from the Mountain View Caltrain station it is well worth the walk.
Morgan Hill: A-Jay’s Cheesesteaks Philadelphia’s cheesesteaks are a civic icon, but it proves difficult to find an authentic cheesesteak in the Bay Area. A-Jay’s Cheesesteaks a family-owned shop on 17400 Monterey St. The menu contains over a dozen versions of cheesesteaks along with different styles of fries. The wait is usually short, depending on how crowded the store is, but the satisfying bite through the crunchy bread and the hot combination of onions, ribeye steak, and cheese is worth any wait.
“I like that there is an even ratio, rather than a cheesesteak that is mostly just cheese,” regular customer Elaine Giles said. “I always order their sweet potato or curly fries and they have always been really fresh and hot.”
A-Jay’s also serves burgers and salads, which certainly require more than one napkin. A-Jay’s is a relaxed place to eat, especially for San Francisco Giant’s fans, who can get the “Dodgers Suck” cheesesteak.
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