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[whitespace] Around the Corner

Mother-daughter team serves nostalgic comfort food in downtown Campbell

By Joe Mangelli

BEFORE THERE were S.D.T., there was B.L.T. Before Amazon.com, there was Valley Fair. And even before Valley Fair, there was Orchard City. The orchards are gone, but the concept of historic downtown Campbell on a crisp Sunday morn with its farmers market is about as close to an old-fashioned Christmas stroll as one might get in the valley. It takes you back, way back, maybe even to a California Steven Spielberg's early films celebrate. If you want to come in out of the cold, set your hand-hewn wreath down on a chair and enjoy a well-made breakfast, just follow the locals to Alie's Corner Café on East Campbell Avenue in the heart of downtown. The mother-daughter team of Alice Tanaka and Eileen Tam has created a comfortable American eatery where that B.L.T. translates well at $4.75. In case you thought S.D.T. was something else, let's clear it up now. It stands for Sun-Dried Tomatoes, of course. Alie's Corner sits in one of the reincarnations of the turn-of-the-century Bank of Campbell building. This cozy, Romanesque-windowed restaurant has been earning a thumbs-up rating for nearly two and a half years now. The most popular repast here is Sunday brunch, where a three-egg omelet with champagne, mimosa or orange juice, Canadian bacon or sausages, and flaky homemade scones can be had for up to $11.50. A big seller is traditional eggs Benedict--or Florentine Benedict, a sautéed mushroom and spinach version. For carbo-seekers there are Belgian waffles or pancakes ($4.25) and all manner of eggs for less than $5. Or if you find yourself in need of lunch during the week and feel a bit nostalgic, you can still get a grilled cheddar cheese sandwich for only $3.75. The ambitious daily menu runs from a classic burger ($5.25) to a Greek salad ($5.50) and marinated grilled chicken sandwich ($6.25). In keeping with the small-town theme of downtown Campbell, the staff here is extremely friendly and eager to please even when tables are full. "Campbell has been good to us," Eileen says. "You know people are pulling for you when the mayor and city manager call you by name. That means a lot to us."

Evidently Alie's means a lot to Campbellites too--they support it well. Alie's Corner Café (360 E. Campbell Ave.) is open for breakfast and lunch only (closed Mondays). For more information, call 408.871.0533.

Face the Y2K Music and Dance

With Y2K rapidly approaching, some talking heads will inevitably be hailed as geniuses because they knew exactly what was going to happen, and others as fools for their lack of insight. Time will sort them out for us. Many valley behemoths are taking no chances this Dec. 31; they'll keep workers on-site for the big night. Everything from lobster feasts and on-premises childcare is being offered to coddle employees who must remain at their posts for the rest of us. Those lucky enough to have an abundance of time and money may want to usher in the end of the millennium in a somewhat different style. The Plumed Horse in Saratoga is offering a Y2K-size feast not soon to be forgotten. This classy evening begins in the restaurant's Crazy Horse Lounge with glasses of 1990 Veuve Clicquot Gold Reserve Champagne, assorted hors d'oeuvre and an oyster bar. Dancing will be interspersed with the courses of a regal meal encompassing soft quail egg in brioche, terrine of foie gras on warm toast, and Maine lobster medallion and diver scallop, followed by pheasant breast, venison, greens of mache and watercress, and such exquisite desserts as mango crème brûlée. This black-tie extravaganza can be experienced for $600 per person. That includes tax, gratuity and valet parking. If you eschew the hors d'oeuvre portion it'll set you back only $450. Reservations must be prepaid. The Plumed Horse is at 14555 Big Basin Way, Saratoga; call 408.867.4711 for reservations.

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From the December 16-22, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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