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Restaurants Around San Pedro September 28, 2009

Posted by simarprit in Bay Area, Food, Review, USA.
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I am a foodie and would love remaining one for rest of my life. My work place is just across San Pedro Square in downtown San Jose, this post is aimed at putting on a piece of paper on what I like most at that specific restaurant. It is not a detailed review but more like – I have been there and I have liked this.

  1. The Old spaghetti Factory – Shrimp, Spinach and Artichoke Dip – Quality and quantity both are fine 7/10 & Lasagna Vegitariano – 9/10 This is yummy Marinara sauce makes huge difference (Both have artichoke’s)
  2. The Old Wagon – Popcorn Shrimp – Yummy 8/10 & Been Fishing, there take on Fish & Chips – Chips were out of the world, fish was fine too, decent portion 8/10
  3. 71 Saint Peter’s – Pan Seared Crab Cakes 5/10 Not to my taste & Bruschetta 9/10 – the way it should be. Main course Seafood linguine – Prawns, Scallops, Mussels, Lobster, Tomatoes – this is my favorite and I give it 10/10 – very tasty, very juicy and filling
  4. Sonoma Chicken Coop – Crispy calamari – Its is flash fried and tastes awesome, good helping 9/10 & Grilled Salmon Risotto 10/10 – The Wow dish of the downtown – I’ve had it over 20 times and every time the experience is just out of the world
  5. 19 Market – The Vietnamese fine dining – Crab and Avocado Spring Rolls – a bit dry but very tasty 7/10 & Grilled Salmon with Spicy Green Beans 8/10 (2 points go the portion is slightly less at this price point) & Brown Rice 8/10
  6. La Vic’s – Best Tacos and Burritos town – Super Veggie Burrito – 9/10 – awesome taste too filling and a meal for the day and Veggie Tacos – 9/10 Wow taste – in Orange Sauce takes you there 101/10
  7. Amici’s – Artichoke Panzanella Salad – All the veggies with bread cubes thrown in – 8/10 Tastes best with some Olive oil and vinegar & Veggie Pizza – Green Pepper, Mushrooms, Onions, Black Olives 10/10 – There just can’t be any better Pizza in this category
  8. Peggy Sue’s Diner – Clam chowder in a Sourdough Bread Bowl – 9/10 tastes good, filling & Fish n Chips – 7/10 Chips are great, fish can be less oily, helping is generous.

The above are my best 8 out of about 20 and I have had food at them several times. San Jose is a foodies delight and the San Pedro neighborhood is a jewel in the crown.

SES 2008 – Beyond Google August 20, 2008

Posted by simarprit in Bay Area, Blogging, Search Engines.
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If you don’t do SEO on Google and you don’t buy clicks on Google, what do you do to increase your traffic? This session said a lot can be done and at presumably significantly lower costs. The session excluded Yahoo and Microsoft too, and essentially became a session on “Beyond top 3 Search Engines”

So here we go…

  1. Pay bloggers to post (PPP – Pay Per Post)
  2. Try to ignite social spark
  3. Remember pay per post may fail if what you are looking at is a niche
  4. Ask.com – Ask claims to be number 4 and promises to deliver higher yields ad relevancy
  5. Superpages.com
  6. Facebook Business Solutions
  7. Looksmart.com
  8. Quigo services
  9. Yellowpages.com
  10. Local.com
  11. Travel Ad Network (TAN)
  12. Tribal Fusion

While buying alterantive advertising to the top three

  1. Define clear goal of the campaign
  2. Allocate 10% to 25% of your budget to testing
  3. Keep your focus, just work with “what works for you”
  4. Content Networks get 95% of surfer time, search engines get 5% – important actionable point to remember
  5. Allocate your budget between content and search
  6. Remember homepage maybe yet another page, we all do deep diving and reach anywhere on the site
  7. If you can build your own ad network, build it now
  8. Online advertising spend is growing, it has already overtaken Television in UK, US is few years away
  9. Dynamic titling of insertion codes can help
  10. Make keyword prospecting reports
  11. Don’t club networks, each has their independent life, treat them differently
  12. Do category targeting where possible
  13. Use targeting and optimizations tools effectively. Lots of tools are available
  14. Create your own Document on Best Practices, and follow it in letter and spirit
  15. Always keep your eyes open for cheap and quality clicks, a click is a click
  16. Audience profiling and its continuous updating can help
  17. Never ignore social traffic and social notworks
  18. Be watchful on negative blogging
  19. Tags and synopsis can help
  20. Prefer plug and play solutions for all your needs

SES 2008 San Jose August 18, 2008

Posted by simarprit in Bay Area, Blogging, Internet, Marketing, Search Engines.
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For all my posts on SES 2008: https://simarprit.wordpress.com/category/ses-2008/ 

Long Tail of Search & Semantic Search

It is my first time at Search Engine Strategies 2008 – San Jose, California (SES 2008, San Jose), two sessions down and currently attending the panel discussion here are my early thoughts on what’s going on:

Random Gyan:

Long Tail of Search

  1. Long tail can count to about 30% of the organic search
  2. Use blogs to harvest long tail traffic
  3. Use local long tail terms in local listings
  4. Use attributes in Google Maps
  5. Look for the “very Long Tail” and not just the long tail
  6. Weigh your advertising options
  7. Smaller Niche sites maybe a cheaper option, and may give great results at fraction of cost
  8. Links with navigation can help
  9. SEO’s have a role in online search market
  10. Mind your Traffic vs. Bounce rate
  11. Three phrases per page maybe the most optimum and effective targeting
  12. Live out of logs, they hold he key
  13. Shoot upto 20 “me too”: terms per key phrase
  14. Make sure your pages get indexed, search engines are busy, they may miss you.
  15. Divide your site into Key Phrase Zones
  16. SEO is no longer dead, it is making a comeback, and a big comeback
  17. PPC is becoming expensive
  18. Understand your Page Yield
  19. Account for your bottom 100 pages, analyzing them may help
  20. Attack your freeloaders
  21. Plan your SEO Dashboard, ensure it has everything you need, right under your mouse
  22. Measurement is critical, Measure visitors per page
  23. Know the lifetime value of your customers
  24. Search friendly URLs are important, but there is also life beyond them.
  25. Use “No Follow” effectively to increase your page rank
  26. Slicing and Dicing the content is critical
  27. Ideal length of the URL is a very subjective thought
  28. Anchors within the documents help
  29. Rate your keywords and assess your value
  30. Optimize Pagination
  31. Re-look at your internal linking structure
  32. Surrogate sites can help
  33. Getting high value back-links remains critical

Semantic Search:

  1. Let us talk to search engine and forget abstract codes and mono syllables
  2. Semantic Search engines attempt to understand underlying structured data
  3. Semantic search engines tend to eliminate ambiguous queries
  4. Search monkey project by Yahoo is an attempt to open up Yahoo Search platform for further development, based on semantic qualities and natural language expressions.
  5. Boorah claims that semantic search is happening. A quick 20 word analysis revealed little and exposed lots of limitations to the project.
  6. Google is implementing high degree of behind the scene semantics
  7. Hakia is a full blown version of Semantic Search (Beta), some of the attempts looked to be right, results are coincidentally close to Yahoo
  8. Powerset claims to have extreme semantic capabilities, which were not visible when I gave a set of questions to the website
  9. Ask.com claims to be amongst the best semantic search engines around with best results in Natural Language Query processing
  10. Generalization Vs. Specialization, Parallelization, Question Type, Categorization, Compressions, Content Characterization, ontology science applications are amongst some of the terms introduced.
  11. Inside the page semantic results could be another deliverable.
  12. Semantic Search has a lot to do with Aggregation of facts
  13. Improving relevance would remain a challenge
  14. Linguistic capabilities aided in ample measure with AI can deliver a great product over couple of years.

Amber India at Santana Row – A Review July 9, 2008

Posted by simarprit in Bay Area, Food, India, Review.
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I have mentioned Amber India several times in my reviews about Indian restaurants in Bay Area, however i never got to doing a detailed review of Amber. Amber is a brand name for Indian food on one side and to many Indians it is not an Indian food restaurant at all. Yours truly being one of the many who never choose Amber for Indian food. With my (negative) bias put aside, I initiate my full review of Amber:

Date: July 6, 2008

Time: 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Address:  377 Santana Row, Ste 1140

City: San Jose, CA 95128, USA 

Tel: # ( 408 ) 248 5400

Restaurant Name: Amber India (Everyone pronounces it as Amber (the color), but to an Indian it is Amber (pronounced as Um ber – meaning Sky). The roof decoration with a star lit night sky puts the intent of the owners clearly and literally.

Location & Address: On Santana Row, San Jose. My rating: 10/10. You just can’t beat it. Ample parking too.

Food/ Menu: Indian and/or Americanized Indian/ Multi cuisine. My rating 4/10 very confusing, unstructured and lacking character. If Pindi Channa and Karavali Shrimps are in the same menu something has to be horribly wrong. Pindi Channa is supposed to be a take off on White Garbanzo or Chick Peas which are native to RawalPindi region of Punjab (the part of Punjab in Pakistan). http://www.mapsofworld.com/pakistan/pakistan-political-map.html   In the state of Punjab/ Pakistan. Rawalpindi is popularly known as Pindi. My mother was born and brought up in Pindi, I know my Pindi Channa – Pindi choley – or Chitey Choley as it is called in pindieven today. So if you go to Rawalpindi ask for Chitey Choley and not Pindi Channa. Karavali Shrimps are a take off on the Canara region of the state of Karnataka in southern India. Canara region comprises of the three coastal districts of Karnataka (Between Goa and Kerala on the western coastline of India). http://www.mapsofindia.com/maps/karnataka/karnataka.htm food from Uttar Kannad, Shimoga and Dakshin Kannad is commonly referred to as Coastal Kanada food or Coasatal Karantaka food, or Karavali or Canara food or Mangalorian cuisine. Karavali style of cuisine has influence of both Goan and Kerala style of cooking and has liberal coconut flavor to everything. I very strongly feel that putting these two distinct signature items from their respective regions on a single menu in the city of San Jose in California, is more of opportunism than culinary challenge.

Pindi Channas were not Pindi Channas because the Garbanzo beans are little different than Indian Chick Peas and they were not soaked overnight in milk and water or even only water, or kept under moist muslin cloth for two days. Pindi Channas need to be slightly white in color as a dish not jet black what we got on our table.

Karavali Shrimps were not Karavali Shrimps. Amber India’s website claims Karavli Shrimps to be “Our signature recipe of stir-fried shrimps flavored with curry leaves and black pepper”,  curry leaves fine, black pepper fine but what is paste made of onions, tomatoes, and practically every Indian masala doing out there. That’s not what the description reads. At least I couldn’t find the coastal kanadatouch in the paste or in the shrimps, it was spicy with little more than usual salt. I remember the flavor of paste but not that of the shrimps. Curry leaves and black pepper should have highlighted the flavor  of very fine quality of shrimps which were used, but it just didn’t. On our table was an (by heritage) Irish/American, a  Malayali, a Bengali and a Punjabi. The Irish/ American couldn’t finish even the one piece he had taken, the Bengali and the Malayali choose not to take second helping, the Punjabi on the table of course had the second helping (after scrubbing the paste).

Ambiance: Excellent. The best for any Indian restaurant in the bay area. My rating 10/10.

Format: A la carte, full service. my rating 10/10

Drinks:Mango Lassi, Lemonade, Heineken – No issues. My rating 8/10.

Appetizers: Karavali ShrimpsExplained in food 3/10, if your guest just leaves it after eating one morsel, it just can’t be more than that. My 2 cents, if you are by heritage Indian go infor it, otherwise best avoided. Goan Steamed Mussels: They were in Goan gravy, they were steamed and they were fine mussels. My rating 9/10. I just loved them. Tandoori Appetizer Platter: Shrimps were good, Chciken (I am told was) excellent, Lamb (I am told was) horrible. My rating 6/10

Main Course: Mint Salmon Tikka: From no angle an Indian dish, except for the tikka word in its name. OK taste 4/10.

 Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani – was good, but I am told Tandoori Oven in downtown San Jose makes it better 7/10.

Bombay Fish Masala – Sea Bass in tomato & onion thick Garvy, very tasty and well cooked, my rating if you don’t look at authenticity as an Indian cuisine 10/10. 

Pindi Channa – I didn’t like it at all. Was left on the table too. Rajjot on Wolfe Road is my best choice. My rating 1/10.

Breads: Lacha parantha, Garlic naan. My rating 6/10.

Dessert: Gulab Jamuns were very nice. As they were not stuffed, I would say my rating is 9/10.

Interior: Nice and functional – My rating 8/10.

Tables: Comfortable 8/10

Cooling: About 75 (F) could be lower. 8/10

Rates: At about 15% to 20% lower this place would have been a good value for money. My rating 6/10.

Why go:Ambiance; Location; Americanized Indian Food, Something for everyone

Why Think Twice: If you want to eat what you love and you know how it should be made and how it should taste. Names and preparations can be misleading and authentic Indian food lovers may just avoid.