Inspired dogs: It all started with a birthday party for his beloved. Phongzie Nguyen concocted a Japanese-fusion hot dog for then-girlfriend (now fiancee), Angela Tu. The dog was such a hit that the couple took it to food festivals and private events. Now, two years later, they and chef Noel Cuevas are serving artisan sausages 10 ways (more if you get creative) at the new CaliDog Hot Dogs in downtown San Jose's San Pedro Square Market.
There's the original CaliDog -- roasted seaweed and teriyaki onions on a smoked "American Kobe" beef dog. The SalsaDog? That's shrimp ceviche with a spicy Berkshire pork chorizo sausage. Cuevas spoons his Chinese-spiced pork chili concoction over the ChiliDog, made with a Kurobuta pork sausage. Vietnamese cuisine gets its due with shaking beef on a beef hot dog. And Tu's new fave, the BreakfastDog, tops a bratwurst with eggs and bacon jam.
Diners may mix-and-match to create their own melting-pot dog, too. Details: Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. 87 N. San Pedro St., San Jose. www.calidoghotdogs.com.
Silicon Valley eats: Time to make reservations. Silicon Valley Restaurant Week runs Oct. 17-24, and the prime slots are sure to get snapped up early. This event is a win-win: Chefs get to show off their cuisine to new diners; you get a good deal on a three-course prix fixe meal. There are at least 45 participants, from Arcadia and Arya to the Wine Cellar and Zona
Here's a sampling from the menus already posted: For $25, you can try out the Polish cuisine (pickle soup, poppy seed cake) at Bona in Menlo Park or the Latin influences at La Viga in Redwood City (Oaxacan mushroom-cheese casserole, pumpkin seed-crusted sea bass). The $45 prix fixe at Bushido in Mountain View features the small Japanese plates known as izakaya (like pork belly with quail egg; for dessert, try persimmon tempura on persimmon sorbet).
Some offer more than one prix fixe: Morocco's in San Jose, for example, has both $35 and $55 options. And the valley's high-end spots are creating menus for $55 to $65. Find details at www.siliconvalleyrestaurantweek.com.
Have a dining tip? Send it to Linda Zavoral at email@example.com.