Fourth of July: Sushi, Karaoke, KBBQ & Fireworks

7:30:00 AM

Good Eats, Drinks and Great Company


Diet and exercise, be damned… because it’s Independence Day!

Fourth of July was last weekend and I had Friday off, making it a long weekend which means time to eat! And boy did I eat a lot this weekend..

Lets break it down, shall we?

Friday Afternoon, 12:00 PM


Kicking it off with lunch on Friday!  Dad decided he finally wanted to take me up on the Father’s Day dinner offer.

Except it became lunch.

We drove over to Fremont and had dim sum at Fu Lam Moon. I’ve been there twice, but both times only for dinner and as a guest of my aunt for her company’s dinner.

How was the dim sum?

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. Service was slow and there weren’t that many carts going around. I don’t know if it’s due to the fact that it’s Friday or because they normally just don’t. We had to special order a few items because they don’t have it on the carts-- coughdurianpuffscough

Last time I was here, they had a good looking server that night, but he wasn’t in this afternoon… What?! There’s nothing wrong with looking out for eye candy. The “cute server” theme came back up later that day.

Fu Lam Moon
40460 Albrae St.
Fremont, CA 94538

Friday Afternoon, 2:00 PM


I decided to grab milk tea after the lunch and dropped by Chatime near my house. This needs no explanation as it’s one of the nearest boba shop to my house and therefore the deadliest to my diet.

I’ve written a review of this place a while back, so if you want to read my thoughts about Chatime, just click on the link. They did a lot of renovations since then to improve the seatings and make it easy to accommodate larger groups of people.

My order?

Oolong Milk Tea. 70% sweetness. 70% ice. Add boba. $4

There wasn’t anybody else in the store at that time, so I got in and out really quickly.

311 N. Capitol Ave
Ste C
San Jose, CA 95133

Friday Night, 6:30 PM


My friends and I were planning to grab some drinks later that night, so PC and I decided to go out first to grab some dinner to help with the alcohol before heading to the place. I found Tai Kee Wonton on Yelp that day and decided that it was worth the try since it was fairly close to where I lived and I haven’t heard of them before.

And that’s because.. they were tucked in this corner near the business parks where nobody goes on the weekend. Or well… nobody frequents the plaza during the weekend.


With the exception of that restaurant because it was pretty crowded inside. We ordered one of the pork chop combo plate which came with a serving of their famous wonton soup. The combo plate was huge with thick slices of pork chop, rice with a hardboiled egg, chopped boiled cabbage, pickled greens and broccoli.

Four large wontons.
We also had a side of cold eggplant that was… not cold. PC and I were hypothesizing that perhaps they ran out of cold eggplant, so we ended up with piping hot eggplant. So hot that I nearly burnt my tongue. And five-spiced fried tofu, which packed a punch.

Huge servings. Nice older ladies serving you. A hidden gem overshadowed by the two larger Asian plazas. Definitely worth a visit if you like Taiwanese food.

2092 Concourse Dr.
Ste 1
San Jose, CA 95131

Friday Night, 7:30 PM


We had some time on our hands before meeting up with everybody else, so PC and I went over to Gong Cha. PC wanted something to drink since she wasn’t a fan of alcohol. I already had milk tea earlier during the day, so it was only right that I restrained myself.

Heh.

It was a calm before the storm.

After PC ordered and got her drink (oolong crema with boba), a swarm of people came through the doors and the line only continued to get longer while we sat there and chatted for a bit.

I guess everybody had the same idea of grabbing a drink after dinner.

We left around 8:30 and the line was out the door.

1701 Lundy Ave
Ste 170
San Jose, 95131

Friday Night, 9:00 PM


Bottoms up!

A couple of us were planning to get together at a fairly new Korean lounge to try out some of their mixed soju.

To be honest, we were mainly the for the gimmick-y dry ice and alcohol in a hollowed fruit container. Hey, it made for great photos!

Ooo~ Ahhh~
And videos!

video

We also ordered a couple of appetizers and snacks to munch on with the alcohol. I didn’t take any photos, but we had french fries, spicy squid stir fry and dukbokki with ramen.

Seeing as how my spicy tolerance isn’t that high, I only ate a little bit because that was about all I could handle.

As for alcohol, we started out with the watermelon and pineapple soju. Our opinions were about split though. I preferred watermelon over pineapple. Though I think because there was watermelon residue left on the cup, the pineapple soju tasted odd.

Pineapple Soju.
Towards the middle of our stay there, we also ordered the yakult soju, which seemed liked the strongest out of the three. It was a good thing we didn’t order anymore because YL and I ended up drinking the remainder of all the alcohol.

Full review to come at a later time, but it was fun! We talked about random things, played catch-up on what was happening in our lives and the lounge had a good atmosphere. Maybe… because they were playing Superman Returns on the TV screens? Who knows?

I visited the same location previously when it was called STIX, but they weren’t as good as Daebak. Although, I guess having a cute server working there also helps. cough

Dae Bak
3284 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95051

Saturday Afternoon, 12:30 PM


It’s Fourth of July! And we had some plans in store. First, we were planning to head over to Hukilau in Japantown to satisfy our Hawaiian cravings.

Unfortunately they were closed…

We’ll come back for you!

So PC and I headed over to Kazoo Restaurant (they happened to be open, which meant they got a lot of business) for some sushi and appetizers.

The restaurant was packed because everybody seemed to have a similar idea of grabbing lunch, but with no luck. But luckily for us, Kazoo to the rescue!

Totally forgot that last one.
We had the Yamakake (raw tuna with grated yam), Tempura, Delta roll, Spicy Mr. Nobu and one more.. that I already forgotten the name of.

The kitchen was backed up on orders so there was a bit of a wait before our orders started to come out. I think out of all the dishes, my favorite had to be the yamakake. Something about the grated yam is so clean and refreshing paired with the tuna.

Our total came to about $28 and adding tips, it was about $16 per person, which wasn’t too bad. The prices were reasonable for a Japanese restaurant. And besides, it was Fourth of July! It’s a cause for celebration!

When we left, we saw a steady line growing down the street at Shuei-Do for their shaved ice. That’s certainly one way to cool down from the heat!

250 Jackson St.
San Jose, CA 95112

Saturday Afternoon, 3:00 PM


Our real reason to hang out that day was to… karaoke. Yes, karaoke! But before you get carried away and wondered if my friends and I were chugging shots and singing “My Heart Will Go On” in front of a crowd of equally inebriated Fourth of July celebrators, I’ll have to stop you there.

There weren’t any crowds. Or drinks going around, unless you count a huge cup of milk tea. We karaoked in the privacy of a personal room, where the only people who had to endure my atrocious singing were my lucky friends.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Asian karaoke, you rent a room by the hour and there’s a karaoke system already set up inside. You and your friends can sing as long as you like and there’s usually a wide selection of songs in different languages to choose from. You can also orders drinks and snacks to pass the time and stifle the hunger pangs.  

Usually when we go karaoking, we head over to Music Tunnel KTV on De Anza, but Focus KTV recently opened up not too far away and they were offering a fantastic deal. For a small room (1-6 people), you can karaoke for 4 hours for only $40. To my knowledge, they’re still having this deal. However, for how much longer, I can’t be sure because they didn’t tell us when asked.

This place is brand spankin’ new so the microphones and sound system were great, the rooms were clean and everything felt like it wasn’t properly broken in yet.

They have a huge assortment of Japanese music, much more so than Music Tunnel. The only problem is.. the karaoke system is all in Chinese. As in, if you can’t read Chinese, you basically couldn’t operate the machine. Granted, you can fiddle with the buttons and eventually figure things out, but it’s still troublesome. Management should really do something about that if they don’t want to alienate other people.

And because they’re new, they’re still figuring out the kinks. For instance, their snacks and drinks menu is severely limited and there’s no boba… to go with your milk tea.

BYOB? Not bring your own booze. Bring your own boba.

1336 Saratoga Ave
San Jose, CA 95129

Saturday Night. 7:30 PM


We ended the night with some good old fashioned BBQ-- Korean style. The three of us have been craving BBQ ever since we thought we were going to hang out with a couple other friends. But something came up and we ended up not eating the BBQ.

NOT THAT DAY!

Han Sung BBQ is a favorite of ours and out of all the Korean BBQs I’ve been to so far (not counting the one in Seoul), this one is my favorite. They use charcoal rather than a gas burner, so that the meat have a nice smoky quality. Refer to my past review of them for more details.

It's beautiful! Photo Credit: PC
Enter in the ban chans, BAM! Then the meat, BAM BAM! And then the fierce ahjummas who cook our meat. BAM BAM BAM! Except, they didn’t really attend to us this visit. I found myself turning over the meat several times, trying to make sure that we don’t end up with crispy and charred spicy pork.

They spent the majority of the time tending to the elderly couple next to us, who looked like regulars. They ate a frighteningly large amount of meat for someone who looks to be in their 70s.

Han Sung BBQ
2644 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95051

Saturday Night, 9:30 PM


After that incredible dinner (thank you PC! BBQ cravings satisfied!), we decided to catch some fireworks. This was July 4th after all. Cruising down San Tomas Expressway, we drove over to find a spot to park near Great America.

Look! We were all bundled up and ready for the fireworks, but we ended up sprinting.
Ironically, we found ourselves back inside the old business park I worked previously and parked there and sat on a patch of grass with about 100 other people.

Little did we know that we couldn’t see anything from where we were sitting. Turns out the fireworks were shot much lower than we initially predicted. But we weren’t going to let that deter us. After getting the idea that this wasn’t going to work out, we switched to PLAN B.

We ran across Great America Parkway. Don’t worry, the crosswalk was on, and ran towards the sound of the fireworks. That led us towards the side of Gold Striker. We were running out of options because we still couldn’t see the fireworks… so we decided to run up the parking garage.

Four flight of stairs later, we were on the roof with about 30 other people already present and watching the remainder of the not-so-impressive fireworks set off by Great America.

Most of my photos came out badly. Photo Credit: YL
Thank goodness, I was wearing comfortable shoes that day.

video

Sunday Afternoon, 2:15 PM


Time to.. work it off! Or at least that was the original plan.

I headed to Chatime for the second time these past three days to pick up two cups of boba before heading over to PC’s house.


My Order: Roasted Milk Tea + 50% sweetness + 50% ice + boba
PC’s Order: Roasted Milk Tea + 75% sweetness + 50% ice + boba

She invited me over to play Just Dance at her house and that was what we did… for like 30 minutes. I quickly ran out of steam after realizing just how out of shape I was. That and I always put too much energy in jumping around…

311 N. Capitol Ave
Ste C
San Jose, CA 95133


And that was how I spent this year’s Independence Day. I say 3 days well spent. I ate a lot and drank a lot (of milk tea and alcohol) and spend some quality time with my friends and family. Full reviews to come for most of the places I’ve visited. If you’re dying to read more about a certain place, leave me a comment and I’ll do that one first. How was your Fourth of July?

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