By Will Reisman, @WillReisman
Forget Yelp. If you have any questions about where to eat in San Carlos, your best bet is to sit down and consult with SamTrans project manager Hubert Chan. As part of a yearlong theme that will focus on “good eats” near district offices and transit facilities, the public affairs team went in search of recommendations from employees on their favorite spots in the San Carlos area. We received some very thoughtful emails from a handful of employees, but Chan went above and beyond his duty, delivering an 800-word treatise that meticulously detailed all of his favorite haunts, even breaking down the choices into categories by ethnic cuisine. As if the list wasn’t complete enough, he added in links to the restaurant homepages to accompany every one of his entries. Have questions about where to feast upon some Mexican food? Gourmand Chan has your answer: “With Mexican, I get conflicted. There are too many choices. I always feel allegiance to La Hacienda, as Miguel has been there forever and the taco salad he serves are what I ate for years working here. La Corneta makes some great burritos. And if you want real Mexican style tacos, you must make your way to Gemelos with their handmade tortillas. There is El Charittas and Lu Lu as well. Love Mexican food, which helps me maintain my shape.”
What about if you’re in the mood to nosh on some Italian grub? Chan’s got the answers for you, even mixing in a little economic insight with his review: “Positano is a great choice. The owner there has to be one of the friendliest and gracious guys. Their ingredients are so fresh that I would probably like vegetables, if I had money to eat there often. OK, maybe not. Sure there are many great places on Laurel such as Piacere and La Tosca, but I will have to mortgage my house to eat there often.” Thinking about something a little more outré, perhaps some French food? Chan has you covered: “Cuisinett is my kind of place. No stuffy escargot type food here, but good home-cooked style soups and sandwiches. Another place with ingredients so fresh, I even like eating salads there. Oh yeah, the owner there is even more entertaining and gracious than the dude at Positano.” Even if you have that rare urge to eat at a place that combines baked pastries with Cambodian food, Chan knows exactly where to go: “Here’s the pro tip. If you are in my kinda shape, you likely have been to Chuck’s Doughnuts by the 7/11 near Old County and Holly. What most folks may not know is that they serve Cambodian/Vietnamese food there at lunch on Fridays. The shop keeper there cooks a mean noodle soup.” From sushi to Indian to Cajun, Chan is the San Carlos foodie of choice for SamTrans employees, but his range of expertise doesn’t stop at the city’s limits. He can offer up keen insight on the best dishes in Menlo Park and San Jose as well. And with a prose that is both detail-oriented and self-deprecating, Chan’s food reviews can stir up your appetite while also tickling your funny bone.