Here's a long overdue report on the trip for which I had posted queries for San Jose and Highway 1. We weren't there all that long, but found a couple of interesting places:
In San Jose, 4th St., not far from the aiport, a long bulding called "Supermarket" which was a huge Asian grocery-- they had every- and any-thing for Asian cooking you could possibly want: fresh meats, fish, fruit and veg (including durians), rows of noodles of all types, teas, drinks, sauces-- lots'o'sauces-- etc. It's fun just to walk around if you have an hour to kill.
In San Jose, 4th St. again, on the cross street of "Japantown" is an Italian restaurant called Alonzo's. Had a decent meal there. Copious quantities of fried artichokes (with unnecessary aioli-- a wedge of lemon was better) that the owner thought took too long to get to us, so he comped our sodas. Huge portions of spaghettis amatriciana and carbonara: both tasty and relatively authentic. Waitress had called in sick that day, so the owner was pretty intense, trying to be two people. (Reminded me of Basil Fawltey in that he would try to be personable and make small talk, but never quite register what you said back to him, and in general he had a very careful, overly proper way about him). I don't mean to run him down-- he was earnest, well-intentioned, served generous portions, our meal was good and reasonably priced-- we'd go again.
In Pacific Grove, had a meal at Teddy's Cafe (I think it was Teddy's-- something with a T) right near the post office. It was good but not remarkable, but what impressed me is that, though the place was busy, there were at least 4 tables of singles reading the paper or just eating, very comfortably. Also, my omelette was made with fresh spinach and mushrooms-- don't know about CA, but in NY can't always count on at least one of these two veg not being canned or frozen.
Then we headed north to Point Reyes. We had a cabin with a kitchen, so not much eating out, though we brought in a top-notch loaf of bread from the General Store in Inverness (across from the Grey Whale pizzeria, which has good coffee).
Tried to eat at Seafood Palace, Jim's favorite stop for dim sum (near the airport-- is it Millbrae?), but they close from 2.30 to 5 and we got there at 3. Ate at the Thai Stick--again good, not remarkable.
Next visit we'll have more time and pay more attention to chowhounding. This time we just wanted to relax and we did (I highly recommend the Point Reyes area).