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January 4-10, 2006

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5 Things to Love

Stett's Top 10 Dishes of 2005: Part 2


By Stett Holbrook

IT was a very good year for small-town girls, Cuban food and Japanese fusion pizza. Here's Part 2 of the Top 10 dishes I encountered in 2005. (Click here to read Part 1.) The list is in no particular order.

Kung Pao Chicken Lollipops These chicken skewers lacquered in a sweet, salty and spicy glaze are like meat candy and make for an irresistible starter. Sino, 377 Santana Row, San Jose.

Kaki Bacon I love bacon. And I really like oysters. Putting them together is gastronomic bliss. At Saizo, bacon-wrapped oysters are grilled until plump and blistered and bursting with hot, savory juices. Saizo, 592 E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale.

Fusion Pizza Fusion dishes often produce confusing results, but not here. The pleasantly blistered crust is made from rice paper and is wonderfully light and crunchy. The mentai kinoki pizza combines a better-than-it-sounds combination of spicy cod roe, snow crab meat, wild mushrooms, bacon and cheese. The roe floats in a rich mayonnaise that forms the pizza's "sauce." Gochi, 19980 Homestead Road, Cupertino.

Hokkaido Scallops Alexander's Steakhouse is justly known for its excellent Kobe and dry-aged steaks, but it was the smaller plates of seafood that really stood out for me. Particularly these scallops. Looking like they were fashioned by a jewel cutter, seared day-boat scallops are topped with a plum compote and crispy prosciutto lapped by a basil oil-dappled buerre blanc sauce. Alexander's Steakhouse, 10330 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino.

Lechon Asado on a Plate This dish doesn't look like much. But what flavor! The roast pork arrives in a small bowl alongside rice, fantastic black beans and fried plantains. Once I finished off the pork, I spooned the meaty broth onto the rice. Together with the black beans and plantanos, this is Cuba on a plate. Los Cubanos, 22 N. Almaden Ave, San Jose.



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