San Jose Blogger Meet-Up

After my flight landed in San Jose on Saturday night, I had the pleasure of meeting up with some fantastic ladies for dinner. Emilia and I made plans a few days before my trip to meet up with Nicole and Natalie at a highly-rated vegetarian restaurant in downtown San Jose called the Vegetarian House.

Cute and quaint…and blue!

From their website:
Vegetarian House [is a restaurant] serving fresh organic cuisine with a wide range of flavors from all over the world.

I knew as soon as I opened the FIVE page menu that my tastebuds were surely in for a treat…though I’m sorry to say it cost us a little more patience than we had anticipated. After waiting for nearly 15 minutes, we were finally able to flag down a waiter JUST to take our drink order. Our round of waters (big surprise coming from a table of food bloggers, right? Save money on drinks and go for the food! ;)) came the table a good 10 minutes later.

Strike one, VH…strike ONE.

On the bright side, the four of us had PLENTY of time to look over the menu, forget about actually having to decide on what to order, talking about our lives, school, work, latest and greatest in cooking, baking, and eating, and then finally get back to the menu with a decision of indecision: when in doubt, order a smorgasbord of entrees to share!

The raw pad thai was the first thing that caught our eyes…never-mind the fact that there was a huge color picture of the dish in the first flap of the menu with the words “today’s special” written below…no, we’ll just call it fate.

A mountain of raw veggie goodness, scattered with slivered almonds and drizzled with a dressing that had the perfect proportions of citrus and ginger.

The next thing that we decided on was the quinoa sushi.
Oh yes, you heard read me write right, that would be sushi, with quinoa…

and carrot, mushrooms, onion, pickle, and avocado
with a delicious creamy sauce.

Besides being a bit fragile (there’s quite a bit of difference in the consistency of sushi rice and quinoa), these definitely hit the spot…I may or may not have swiped the last one when no one was looking! 😉

Next up was what was called the “Joy Luck Deluxe”

From their website:
Tofu, mushroom, carrot and soy protein sauteed in a seasoned brown sauce,
surrounded by steamed broccoli and carrot

Sadly, this dish was the biggest disappointment. The broccoli was perfectly steamed and tasted great, but both the texture and the flavor of the tofu and “soy protein” left something to be desired. Before ordering, we actually asked our waitress what the “soy protein” was exactly, but due to a bit of a language barrier, we were as sure of it’s origin after the question as before.

Strike two, VH…strike TWO.

Little did we know it would be the SPAM of their vegetarian menu…

Luckily we had a bowl Hot and Sour Soup and a side order of wild rice to make up for the flavor lacking faux-meat dish.

A little on the spicy side (just enough to get your sinuses going), I thought the soup was great! The flavors of cilantro and jalapenos seemed to permeate the every ounce of the broth making each bite warm and welcoming!

Unfortunately, we were all so hungry by the time the food FINALLY arrived that the only pic I have of our meeting is a shot of Nicole working her camera muscles! 😉

When it came time for the check, I explained to our waitress that we simply wanted to take our bill and split it evenly four ways…well obviously, that was a bit much for her to wrap her head around at the end of a Saturday night because it took me explaining it FOUR more times, before she even looked like she understood me! Oh and that was before she dropped off the check and then disappeared for TEN minutes!

Strike three, VH…you’re OUT!

All in all, I’d say from a dinning perspective, the Vegetarian House had a great selection of entrees and a wide variety in flavors, but from a diner perspective, their waitstaff could use a little help. I was also a little disappointed in the fact that nearly every dish featured some form of faux-meat.

Perhaps it should be renamed the Tofu House?

Although I wasn’t pleased enough with the restaurant services to be singing it’s praises anytime in the near (or distant) future, I’m so happy to have met both Nicole and Natalie! I had a  great time getting to know you ladies and would LOVE the chance to do it again before the end of my trip!

How was your last dining out experience?

Do you always tip the same or does it depend on the service?
I am a firm believer that you shouldn’t positively reinforce bad behavior…whatever the case may be. I do my best to give the waiter/waitress a couple of chances, but honestly, I’d say the majority of the time, they start off at 20% and work their way down from there…although I have been known to leave more than that if I was EXTREMELY satisfied with my service!

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