Front of the Winchester Mystery House (All photos by Lina Shah)
With many of us now vaccinated and feeling a bit safe, we ventured our family spring vacation to San Jose, California this year.
Amber India Restaurant at Santanna Raw.
For Chicagoers, the sun and overall Mediterranean climate of this Silicon Valley location in the San Jose area is just amazing. This time we made ourselves comfortable and tried to only visit a few places where you are comfortable, keep your distance, etc.
Samosas – crispy Idaho potatoes, green pea dumplings, shi-shito peppers with bubbles.
One day we visited the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. This beautiful but bizarre mystery house is an architectural marvel and historical landmark of the city. Once the personal residence of Sarah Winchester, widow of gun tycoon William Wirt Winchester, the Queen Anne-style Victorian mansion is known for its size, architectural curiosities, and lack of master blueprint. This privately owned tourist attraction is a California historic landmark.
Palak Chat – Flash fried organic baby spinach, yogurt, tamarind fennel dip.
The story tells how Sarah inherited millions after her husband’s death in 1881 and also received $ 1,000 a day from her weapons company. She had a lot of money to spend and started building a mansion in the Santa Clara district, where she didn’t hire an architect and arbitrarily expanded the building. As a result, the house contained numerous curiosities, such as doors and stairs that lead nowhere, windows overlooking other rooms, and stairs with unusually large risers. Many believe that these curiosities are attributed to their belief in ghosts. Environmental psychologists have theorized that the strange layout itself contributed to the haunted house today. We enjoyed learning about the history of this Winchester mansion.
Cauliflower Manchuria – Crispy fried cauliflower, hot chili garlic and spring onion sauce.
Then we drove to Santana Row, a major thoroughfare in Silicon Valley, close to local attractions like the Westfield Valley Fair. Santana Row derives its name from Frank M. Santana, who served on the San Jose Planning Commission in the 1950s and is also the namesake for the area’s Frank M. Santana Park. The thoroughfare offers a lively mix of over 50 shops, 30 restaurants, the Cine Arts cinema and the Valencia boutique hotel. We loved walking the streets full of little shops and unique restaurants.
Edamame & Potato – double boiled baby potatoes, edamame, ginger, tamarind sauna chutney.
We had a wonderful lunch at Amber India, a modern outpost of a local Indian chain, with a busy buffet lunch and a typical starter. We enjoyed vegan and vegetarian products like samosa, papdi chaat, bhel and chili paneer.
Lina Shah is a freelance writer, editor, teacher, social worker, and finance professional. Inspired by her father, she is a versatile suburban Chicago wife and mother of two who also enjoys cooking, socializing, and planning events.