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[whitespace] Appetizing Antipasti

Seeing the light (meal) in Sunnyvale

By Christina Waters

TO SOME, it's the official Sunnyvale Sheraton restaurant. To others, it's one of the most elegant, inviting Mediterranean restaurants in the Silicon Valley area. However you look at it, Faz Sunnyvale (1108 N. Mathilda Ave.; 408.752.8000) is always on the mark. Last week we joined some out-of-town friends for a light meal before attending a lecture. Along with a glass of Edmeades zinfandel I tried the Antipasti Platter, while my three companions sampled the wonderful Mezza Platter. Each under $10, and each mouthwateringly beautiful to look at, the plates contained mini-samplers of ripe Mediterranean flavors. Silken hummus went well with a lavish round of fresh pita bread, brought to the table with flourish. It was easily two feet across, and we each dipped tears of the soft bread into the hummus and succulent baba ghanoush. My dish came with flawless dried prosciutto, various olives, salads and marinated tomatoes that were spectacular and intensely spiced. With great service, exciting flavors and an attractively spacious dining room, Faz should be on anyone's list of dining and meeting places. The happy-hour appetizer table alone will make you want to linger for hours.

Upmarket and Worth It

You bet I've been a big fan of the Oakville Grocery ever since I discovered it up in--you guessed it--Oakville, many moons ago. I never fail to stop by on my visits to Stanford Shopping Center (all genuflect), and now I make regular pilgrimages to the lovely Los Gatos branch. (Actually, I love the entire new Old Town makeover.) We all know that Oakville stocks the thinking woman's glittering array of wines--including lots of splits. I picked up a beefy Eberle syrah last week and then cruised the hardwood floors for a few choice dinner items. I look at Oakville as the enlightened alternative to chain fast food. It's just as fast, believe me, and much, much healthier. If you aren't feeding a family, it's even affordable. For example, we feasted on a gorgeous, succulent slab of poached salmon, along with smoky grilled asparagus and oven-roasted tomatoes (to kill for) and my new favorite prepared salad, Beet & Barley ($15 total for dinner for two plus some fresh potato bread). A $3.50 container of the addictive, shocking-pink salad (beets, you know, make everything pink) lasted for two meals. The second night we perched a scoop of the salad--crunchy with walnuts and barley, succulent with long julienned slices of beet and fennel--on a bed of lettuces, added a few tiny yellow and orange cherry tomatoes and felt like extras from Dynasty. Oakville Grocery is next to the California Cafe, in Old Town (50 University Ave., Los Gatos); call 408.399.9902.

Cluck It

Those of you who like a lot of lead time for cooking projects might want to start tweaking your favorite chicken recipe now. The National Chicken Cooking Contest is offering a $25,000 first prize for best chicken recipe. Relax, you've got plenty of time--the deadline for submitting recipes is Oct. 15. Still, you can't have too much practice. The only requirements are that the recipe must be original (nothing that's already been in print), it must make four to eight servings and take no more than three hours to prepare twice (I have no idea why), and it must contain chicken. Last year's first-prize winner was something called Japanese Amazu Chicken. In fact, four out of five of last year's winning recipes involved Asian cookery seasonings and techniques: e.g., Asian Chicken Noodle Soup, Tea-Smoked Chicken with Sesame Vegetable Relish, and Mandarin Chicken Wraps. The deal is, if the judges like your recipe you may be chosen to represent the state of California at the gala cook-off, held in Sacramento on April 6, 2001. Details are available at www.eatchicken.com.

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From the March 9-15, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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