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The Quill

Main Street Cupertino Food Extravaganza

Previously published Jan. 14, 2021

Previously published Jan. 14, 2021

Disclaimer: The BISV Quill was not sponsored or paid in any way by the food establishments reviewed. The following editorial content is solely the opinion of the writers.

Philz Coffee

As one of the foundational companies of the Third Wave Coffee Movement, Philz Coffee traces its beginnings to the year 2002 when aspiring entrepreneur and coffee connoisseur Phil Jaber created the first Philz in San Francisco’s up-and-coming Mission District to bring America into an age of sustainable agriculture, eco-friendly practices, fair trade goods, and blissful enjoyment of slow-roasted caffeine beverages with family and friends amidst the quickening pace of life. Today, Philz Coffee has expanded to fifty-seven locations spread throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, greater Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

The Philz Coffee at Main Street Cupertino sits at the hub of commerce and culture in the flawlessly manicured plaza that emerged as a result of recent city beautification efforts. For five years and counting, the Main Street Cupertino Philz has serviced clientele from billionaire CEOs to the average sleep-deprived Bay Area teenager struggling under the avalanche of AP coursework. Among its vibrant mid-century modern furniture and its plethora of café tables, Philz provides the perfect atmosphere for cramming calculus to bullet journaling to discussing the blueprints of the next Fortune 500 company to simply reconnecting with faraway friends. With its panoramic view of Main Street, Philz provides its customers the opportunity to watch the day fade from ceaseless azure to the starry blanket of the galaxy cauldron.

The staff of the BISV Quill opted for the signature Philz hot chocolate, a velvet sea of richness crowned with a perfect decoction ratio between cream and sugar. In the balmy California breeze in spite of a brief February chill, the five reviewers sank languidly into their lounge chairs, soaking in the buttery yellows and strawberry pinks of an endless sunset sky, lavishing in the supple texture of thick bittersweet chocolate and relishing in their break from the pesky weight of their extensive AP coursework. In the cradle of the Mediterranean-inspired coffee shop, it became a mutual truth universally acknowledged that if paradise did exist, it was nested inside Philz.

85°C Bakery

In the corner of the central Main Street plaza, a glowing sign marks the location of the famed Taiwanese bakery, 85°C. The bakery’s Main Street location serves mainly the same items as it does in its other locations — however, sizewise, it is definitely more compact than its counterpart on De Anza Boulevard, which opened to much acclaim and traffic congestion about five years earlier.

Although most of the bread products in the store contain eggs, which do not meet certain dietary restrictions, some of the buns, like the curry croquette, do not contain eggs. The BISV Quill staff decided to taste test this omni-dietarian bun for themselves, recommended to them by one of the reviewers herself. Although the outside was a tad bit oily, as oiliness is somewhat a signature of any croquette, the stuffing, savory and exquisite flavors contained inside satisfied the taste buds of the BISV Quill Staff.

Of course, trying the 85°C cakes was a must — with over 30 different types of cakes, 85°C specializes in ornate but simple tarts meant for one person as a light afternoon snack. However, the strawberry cake at 85°C was a bit on the bland side — if you are looking for a more dainty but well-made cake, go for the smaller tarts and cupcakes in their freezer section — those are always the perfect way to brighten your day. The full-size cakes, including the Black Forest triple chocolate cake, are an indulgent way to celebrate any occasion; members of The BISV Quill writing staff can attest to this cake’s superior quality.

Somi Somi

The soft-serve in this ice cream place is set apart by its unique flavors (such as a matcha and black sesame swirl) and the presentation of the dessert in a golden brown crispy waffle fish, known as bungeoppang or taiyaki. Originally from South Korea, the delectable ice cream and taiyaki combination is called the Ah-Bong. The ice cream is pleasantly creamy and not overly sweet and the warm taiyaki which is available for side orders is filled with a variety of rich delicacies from heavenly taro to Nutella. You’ll find this treat disappears as soon as you’ve had a bite, leaving you sighing with pleasure.

Pressed Juicery

“All I can say is that the ice cream was atrocious. Do not ever get the ice cream.”
(Unidentified BISV Quill Staff Writer #1)

“I agree with all Unidentified BISV Quill Staff Writers. Normally, organic vegan desserts are quite tasty (I for one am a huge fan of the Whole Foods vegan cupcakes and muffins) but that organic vegan fudge ice cream was all too similar to cow feces.”
(Unidentified BISV Quill Staff Writer #2)

“If you want to go vegan to save the environment or because you feel sympathy towards animals, that’s wonderful. We admire your dedication and commitment to principles. However, this sad — dare we say pathetic — vegan attempt at recreating ice cream made us cry.”
(Unidentified BISV Quill Staff Writer #3)

“No…just no…”
(Unidentified BISV Quill Staff Writer #4)

As evidenced by the testimonials above, Pressed Juicery’s ice cream was NOT a hit with us. It was all too similar to a plain unsweetened, frozen smoothie, rather than ice cream. While Pressed Juicery’s “ice creams” are made with minimal, plant-based ingredients, perhaps they should stick to their more appreciated cold-pressed juices rather than these freezes. There are many other places in the Bay Area that offer much better vegan, plant-based ice creams. If all else fails, you can even make your own at home with some frozen bananas.

Sul & Beans

Softly lit with hanging lights and simply furnished with marble-like little round tables reminiscent of a Parisian café, this little shop is perfect for satisfying afternoon cravings of something cold and slightly sweet. The bingsoo (빙수), or Korean shaved ice, has a light, fluffy texture, and it melts in the mouth; it is completely different from the shaved ice served in Hawaii, which tends to have larger chunks of ice and which uses syrup and li hing mui powder as flavorings. The BISV Quill writers tried the mango bingsoo, which consists of a mound of fluffy, snow-like shaved ice piled high with fresh ripe mango. The shaved ice is served with a perfectly portioned saucer of condensed milk to pour over the top to complete the dessert.

Sul & Beans sells more than just mango-flavored bingsoo, however. The original bingsoo is topped with red beans and tteok (sweet rice cake), and their other delectable options include black sesame, green tea, coffee, Oreo, and Earl Grey, among others. The more adventurous can try bingsoo topped with injeolmi, another variety of sweet rice cake that comes doused in a mixture of dried, powdered soybeans, red mung beans, sesame seeds, dried jujube, red beans, and almonds.

Visit Sul & Beans, and be sure to bring a friend; the portions are generous since they are meant to be shared. The Main Street Cupertino location is the only Sul & Beans in Northern California; the rest are concentrated in the Los Angeles metro area — which has a large and vibrant Korean community — and a lone store in Texas.


“The experience of traditional Japanese taste was one of the most exquisite and divine that I have ever had!”

The highlight of the center was the brand new ramen restaurant, Ippudo. Located in the far side of the Main Street complex, there was already a line extending out the door thirty minutes after the doors had opened for dinner hours, which are at 5:00 PM, in addition to the restaurant already being packed with customers. The wait for the BISV Quill writers’ party was not as long as expected; although, the staff does suggest you arrive at Ippudo at earlier times because the line and the wait gets quite long.

Once we were seated, we were greeted with the homey but bustling atmosphere of the ramen bar. All the waitstaff welcomed us with a cheerful cry of the Japanese restaurant greeting “irasshaimase!” (いらっしゃいませ!) Traditional Japanese ropes hung as decorations from the ceiling, and the modern room was decorated with various traditional Oriental ornaments and paintings as well as Ippudo-branded T-shirts. Along the walls, Ippudo artfully applied their signature phrase “zuzutto,” an onomatopoeic word that mimics the sound of famished customers slurping the delectable ramen. The kind waitress gave us our menu, revealing the options available.

For our ramen review, the BISV Quill staff ordered one Shiromaru ramen, which is Ippudo’s signature broth cooked on the spot, and Veggie ramen for our vegetarians. Ippudo, much like other ramen stores, uses tonkotsu broth base (not to be confused with the oh-so-tasty tonkatsu pork cutlet), which is a thick, creamy, flavorful broth that is extracted from simmering pork bones for hours. Generally, this type of ramen is paired with a couple of slices of chashu pork and some green onions for extra flavor. The Ippudo tonkotsu ramen (completed just these expectations — and more. Topped with ample amounts of bamboo shoots and bean sprouts, the signature pork bone broth did not fail to impress with its delicate balance of salt and sweetness, of oil and water.

Whereas in other ramen restaurants the broth is usually too salty or MSG-riddled to consume, the Ippudo broth harmonizes the salt with its ramen and chashu flavor that seeps into the soup, leading one to actually gain the ability to finish their bowl of soup. The noodles are handcrafted to painstaking perfection by the Ippudo chefs every hour so that they never lose their vitalizing freshness. Born out of a quest for greater elasticity and solidity, the “edged-blade noodles fineness no. 22” are Ippudo’s culinary innovation created to fully soak up the flavor of the broth. Unlike inferior ramen restaurants, the customers personally select a texture and quality for the noodles from a wide range of firm to lightweight soft — this was certainly a nice touch that enhanced our heavenly ramen experience.

For a vegetarian and vegan alternative, the BISV Quill Food Review team ordered the Akamaru Veggie Ramen. Lightly doused with a mixture of Asian spices, the dish is created from a broth base of miso and soy with the crunchy mung bean sprouts complementing the fresh noodles, and the tofu skins bursting with flavor from some breathtakingly delicious marinade.

The BISV Quill staff members ordered chicken karaage and three buns, one of each with chashu pork, chicken, and a vegan option exclusively available at the Cupertino location. The soft, pillowy, and slightly sweet buns were the perfect canvas for the savory, delectable fillings. The chashu pork that Ippudo cultivates is out of this world exquisite. As one BISV Quill staff member exclaimed, “This chashu pork is the best that I have ever tried in any ramen bar.” For dessert, yuzu cheesecake and lychee ice cream were served, all housemade and served in delicate earthenware bowls. “The experience of traditional Japanese taste was one of the most exquisite and divine that I have ever had,” gushed a BISV Quill staff writer after they left the vicinity of the fusion modern style restaurant, content with their lavish feast.

*The food reviews mentioned above were conducted at Main Street Cupertino on February 19, 2020. “Main Street Cupertino Food Extravaganza” was previously published in The BISV Quill on February 28, 2020.

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Jackie Li, Features & Art Editor
Colin Lim, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Riva Mikhlin, Blog Editor
Vibha Raju, Local News Editor
Serrina Zou, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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