Cooking and eating through a new culture

Tin Jo

The Spanish “j” is pronounced like the “h” in the word “hot,” except that it is “raspier”, as if you were trying to clear your throat. Think of Santa’s laugh, a garden tool or lets say…the base street term for a prostitute. I’ll get back to this point later.

Anyway…Who goes to a Central American paradise and wants Asian food? Me! Comm’on, who doesn’t love some good greasy noodles and non descrip meat? There may be just as many shitty Asian places down here as there are in the states. You can’t go a few blocks in San Jose without hitting one.  Probably because China almost runs this place. Even the cop cars have “Donated by the People’s Republic of China” on the doors. I figure it’s only a matter of time before that happens stateside.

Still, we would never gamble a date night on a crappy place and Tin Jo’s is a great destination.

Tin jo is a downtown tradition with over a decade of producing some great food. The menu is distinctly Asian, with dishes from India, Vietnam and Japan, as well as China. I initially though I would be throwing my good eating habits to the wind but I was very happy to learn that Tin Jo uses many organic vegetables, 100% vegetable oil and no MSG. Sweet!

There is a lovely wine list to choose from but try not to pass up their homemade ice teas. The ginger/lemon grass was divine, served in a carafe with a sprig of lemon grass. Being the lush that I am, I still had to have a nice Riesling. It’s date night after all! To sate my greasy noodle desire I order the Tin Jo Chop Suey and Rafa got the Murg Masala or chicken curry. Both entrees were great. Nice large portions, with an excellent balance of ingredients. Nothing worse than ordering a dish with shrimp and only getting two shrimp and a mound of cabbage. For all you hot heads out there, Tin Jo allows you to cater your spice level from 1 (being the mildest) to 5 (melt your innards).

Another excellent quality was the service. The staff is on point and run by a fantastic host. While waiting for our table, we watched him go from patron to patron to make sure they were comfortable and taken care of. An added bonus: he is perfectly bi-lingual for all you Spanglish speakers like me. It’s a prime location on a Friday night and I highly recommend reservations.

With that being said, get ready to see tourists at their best. I remember cocking my head to the side as the couple passed…the proverbial pink elephant. Was I the only one to notice? Or just the only one to obviously gawk?

“Gringos and their whores.” Rafa growled to me.

“But he has a wedding ring on!” I said, probably a bit too loudly and immediately stuffed the wine glass in my face, but continued to stare over the rim. Granted, the distinction between common Ticas and the “working girls” is rather slim. Lets face it, Latinos like tight clothing. The original Space Bags must have been developed down here because I have no idea how they can get clothing that tight. There’s gotta be some valve under a pocket where they suck all the air out from between their skin and clothes. That and they teeter on these ridiculous heels too, which is CRAZY when you consider the state of sidewalks. People may bitch about the roads, but the sidewalks are far more hazardous. I remember wondering why everyone carries their babies. I though it was because strollers may be too expensive. No. It’s because if you pushed your infant in a stroller down these sidewalks you would be charged with shaken baby syndrome.

So there was Mr. Mid Life Crisis and his tube top bedazzeled hooker. This, of course, immediately spawned the game of “spot-the-ho” with Rafa and I. Which he won.


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5 thoughts on “Tin Jo

  1. Estefania Chacon on said:

    Tin Jo is one of my favorite restaurants in San José!
    By they way I love your blog! 🙂

    • Thank you for reading! My kitchen is currently under construction so you may have more outdoor experiences than cooking. I found it quite laughable that Tin Ho was closed down. After reading into it, I believe it was more perosnal/political than professional. I am certainly still going to eat there!

  2. Estefania Chacon on said:

    You know what’s even more funny: I went to have dinner there the day before they closed the restaurant!! hahahha, but , I love their food and I will go back there anytime.

  3. Estefania Chacon on said:

    I never been there, but I only hear good things about that place! I will try it next time! 🙂

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