Arts

Shop Talk: Farewell to Milk Pail; hello Curry Pizza

The latest in local retail news

In this week's Shop Talk column, read about the departure of a longtime Mountain View market, a forthcoming downtown Palo Alto fusion restaurant and a new bath and body store from Amsterdam.

MILK PAIL TO CLOSE ... After 45 years in Mountain View, the popular Milk Pail Market will be closing its doors permanently. Renowned for its cheese, croissants and crowded aisles, the San Antonio grocer persevered amid intense competition with a loyal customer base, but its owner says the hardships of running a small business were becoming too great. In a Facebook post, owner Steve Rasmussen said he had accepted a buyout for his store property at the corner of San Antonio Road and California Street and would be closing in the next few months. He did not disclose the buyer. "The wave of development in Silicon Valley has brought many changes. It was inevitable that one day we, too, would be part of that change," Rasmussen wrote. "Although the closure of the Milk Pail will be bittersweet, we leave with fond memories and immense gratitude for the community that built us." -- M.N.

A NEW RITUAL IN PALO ALTO ... Amsterdam's bath and body brand Rituals, which has built a worldwide following with products inspired by the ancient traditions of Eastern cultures, is opening its third Bay Area store at Stanford Shopping Center on Friday, March 22. Its products range from skin and body care to mineral make-up, teas and fragrance sticks and all have Eastern-inspired names (Ritual of Dao, Ritual of Sakura, The Ritual of Happy Buddha, etc.). Rituals stores are fairly new to California. The company opened its first American store in New York City nearly a decade ago but didn't make its way to the West Coast with a physical presence until 2018 with the opening of its San Diego store. Worldwide, the company has approximately 600 stores, more than 1,500 shop-in-shops and four city spas in 27 countries. The Stanford store, which is located near the Center Pavilion across from Macy's, reportedly features a cherry blossom tree inside and a silk floral entry arch created by Cindy Smith of Menlo Florist. The first 100 customers will be given goody bags and gift cards during the grand opening, which starts at 1 p.m. on Friday. -- L.T.

CURRY PIZZA TO REPLACE THAI BISTRO ... In 2016, the longtime owner of Palo Alto Thai restaurant Thaiphoon opened another restaurant, Aroy Thai Bistro, just blocks away on University Avenue. He recently decided to close Aroy, citing the difficulty of maintaining quality at multiple restaurants. He and his wife Chutima have run Thai restaurants throughout the South Bay and Midpeninsula for more than 25 years. "I realize that expansion is not always a good thing," Vongampai said. "When you focus on expansion, you tend to lose some of the quality." Earlier in his career, Vongampai said he had the "fire and energy and ambition" to run multiple restaurants."But that was back then. I realize that that's not really the passion. The passion is to have one good location," he said. "Small, local, family run that's the way it should be." Vongampai will now focus his energy on the original Thaiphoon, which he opened in 2005 at 543 Emerson St. (A second Thaiphoon in San Jose closed in 2017.) He sold the Aroy space at 320 University Ave. to Curry Pizza House, a string of family-owned fusion pizza restaurants. The Curry Pizza House menu includes pizzas like the "chili paneer" with curry sauce, masala paneer, cheese, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and cilantro, and tandoori chicken wings. -- E.K.

Compiled by the Weekly staff; this week written by Elena Kadvany, Mark Noack and Linda Taaffe. Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? The Weekly will check them out. Email [email protected]

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Shop Talk: Farewell to Milk Pail; hello Curry Pizza

The latest in local retail news

by Palo Alto Weekly staff / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Mar 21, 2019, 10:34 am

In this week's Shop Talk column, read about the departure of a longtime Mountain View market, a forthcoming downtown Palo Alto fusion restaurant and a new bath and body store from Amsterdam.

MILK PAIL TO CLOSE ... After 45 years in Mountain View, the popular Milk Pail Market will be closing its doors permanently. Renowned for its cheese, croissants and crowded aisles, the San Antonio grocer persevered amid intense competition with a loyal customer base, but its owner says the hardships of running a small business were becoming too great. In a Facebook post, owner Steve Rasmussen said he had accepted a buyout for his store property at the corner of San Antonio Road and California Street and would be closing in the next few months. He did not disclose the buyer. "The wave of development in Silicon Valley has brought many changes. It was inevitable that one day we, too, would be part of that change," Rasmussen wrote. "Although the closure of the Milk Pail will be bittersweet, we leave with fond memories and immense gratitude for the community that built us." -- M.N.

A NEW RITUAL IN PALO ALTO ... Amsterdam's bath and body brand Rituals, which has built a worldwide following with products inspired by the ancient traditions of Eastern cultures, is opening its third Bay Area store at Stanford Shopping Center on Friday, March 22. Its products range from skin and body care to mineral make-up, teas and fragrance sticks and all have Eastern-inspired names (Ritual of Dao, Ritual of Sakura, The Ritual of Happy Buddha, etc.). Rituals stores are fairly new to California. The company opened its first American store in New York City nearly a decade ago but didn't make its way to the West Coast with a physical presence until 2018 with the opening of its San Diego store. Worldwide, the company has approximately 600 stores, more than 1,500 shop-in-shops and four city spas in 27 countries. The Stanford store, which is located near the Center Pavilion across from Macy's, reportedly features a cherry blossom tree inside and a silk floral entry arch created by Cindy Smith of Menlo Florist. The first 100 customers will be given goody bags and gift cards during the grand opening, which starts at 1 p.m. on Friday. -- L.T.

CURRY PIZZA TO REPLACE THAI BISTRO ... In 2016, the longtime owner of Palo Alto Thai restaurant Thaiphoon opened another restaurant, Aroy Thai Bistro, just blocks away on University Avenue. He recently decided to close Aroy, citing the difficulty of maintaining quality at multiple restaurants. He and his wife Chutima have run Thai restaurants throughout the South Bay and Midpeninsula for more than 25 years. "I realize that expansion is not always a good thing," Vongampai said. "When you focus on expansion, you tend to lose some of the quality." Earlier in his career, Vongampai said he had the "fire and energy and ambition" to run multiple restaurants."But that was back then. I realize that that's not really the passion. The passion is to have one good location," he said. "Small, local, family run that's the way it should be." Vongampai will now focus his energy on the original Thaiphoon, which he opened in 2005 at 543 Emerson St. (A second Thaiphoon in San Jose closed in 2017.) He sold the Aroy space at 320 University Ave. to Curry Pizza House, a string of family-owned fusion pizza restaurants. The Curry Pizza House menu includes pizzas like the "chili paneer" with curry sauce, masala paneer, cheese, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and cilantro, and tandoori chicken wings. -- E.K.

Compiled by the Weekly staff; this week written by Elena Kadvany, Mark Noack and Linda Taaffe. Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? The Weekly will check them out. Email [email protected]

Comments

Pizza...Keep It Simple
Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2019 at 9:06 am
Pizza...Keep It Simple, Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2019 at 9:06 am

A curry pizza? Ugh. That's not a real pizza...just another variant of a traditional theme & probably created to appeal to the newer residents from East India & self-professed culinary bon vivants

Even the venerable 'Hawaiian Pizza' is a joke as pineapple & Canadian bacon do not belong on a pizza...but to each his/her own.

What's next...a Mandarin-themed pizza?


OMG
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 22, 2019 at 10:32 am
OMG, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 22, 2019 at 10:32 am

Aroy Thai Bistro had fantastic food while Thaiphoon is awful! Unbelievable that it's the same owner. Perhaps move the Aroy Thai Bistro chef to Thaiphoon to improve the food. Aroy Thai Bistro's modern atmosphere was wonderful while Thaphoon is old. I think Aroy Thai Bistro didn't get enough business because it was often empty, which I don't understand because the food was outstanding. Perhaps because the Thai restaurant next door has excellent food at better value. So sorry Aroy Thai Bistro is closed!


tim roye
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 22, 2019 at 11:42 am
tim roye, Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 22, 2019 at 11:42 am

Curry! ...from thrrrrreeeeee... HE GOT IT!!!



Get off my lawn!
Mountain View
on Mar 22, 2019 at 6:32 pm
Get off my lawn!, Mountain View
on Mar 22, 2019 at 6:32 pm

@Pizza...Keep It Simple

Back in my day pizza was pizza and a sandwich was a sandwich! We didn't have any mixing of the cuisines. The pastas kept to themselves and the curries had their place and they knew it! Bring back the old days of porridge and cured meat!


Fusion Confusion
Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 22, 2019 at 10:11 pm
Fusion Confusion, Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 22, 2019 at 10:11 pm

> We didn't have any mixing of the cuisines.

And rightfully so...what's next, grated cheese on Asian cuisine? Yummy.









R.Davis
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Mar 23, 2019 at 8:38 am
R.Davis, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Mar 23, 2019 at 8:38 am

QUOTE: And rightfully so...what's next, grated cheese on Asian cuisine?

No...various melted 'artisan' cheeses from obscure global regions. That way the fusion innovators can justify their overblown prices & create their overblown menu descriptions.


Alum
Registered user
Palo Alto High School
on Mar 24, 2019 at 8:11 am
Alum, Palo Alto High School
Registered user
on Mar 24, 2019 at 8:11 am

>>>probably created to appeal to the newer residents from East India & self-professed culinary bon vivants

Please... not even the former, probably just the latter.


resident
Midtown
on Mar 24, 2019 at 9:39 am
resident, Midtown
on Mar 24, 2019 at 9:39 am

We're not fans of high-calorie high-salt foods, so we will probably never go to this pizza restaurant. However, they already have 6 restaurants around the east bay and south bay, so someone is eating this stuff. I wouldn't be surprised if they succeed, as long as they can maintain the same prices/quality/service levels of their other restaurants. Palo Alto restaurants have to pay higher rents and pay higher wages (for the same quality of employees) compared to most other parts of the Bay Area, so being profitable here can be difficult.


Manoj
Greenmeadow
on Mar 24, 2019 at 3:02 pm
Manoj, Greenmeadow
on Mar 24, 2019 at 3:02 pm

Pizza is becoming very popular in India with Domino's & Pizza Hut now cornering the market. Most of the topping offerings are vegetarian with tiki chicken available & sometimes pepperoni. Ground beef is usually not listed as it is considered ancestral in nature. As a result McDonald's & Burger King appeal primarily to tourists from abroad.

Taco Bell is also a favorite because Mexican food is spicy & we like our food spicy. Taco Bell is also very popular among East Indians who have moved to the United States.

My Mumbai-style Texas Chili (sans the beef) is incredibly incendiary & your behind will feel like Mt. Vesuvius the following day. It is primarily a mixture of assorted beans + my special seasoning which includes both Habanero & Serrano chiles + Bhut Jolokia from India. Since the use of cumin is popular in East Indian cooking, being a key ingredient it fits right in with chili.

I hope to enter my recipe in the next Mitchell Park Chili Cook-Off...I am going to call it 'ER Chili'.


Moshat
another community
on Mar 25, 2019 at 8:14 am
Moshat, another community
on Mar 25, 2019 at 8:14 am

East Indian Tex-Mex is the new fusion! Spicy, hot & guaranteed to fry your bottom.

The East Indian community is distributed mainly in North and West Plano, Copell, Frisco, Las Colinas, North Dallas and North Irving neighborhoods.

A friend from New Delhi phoned me & said he & his family were moving to Frisco. When I told him that Frisco is an unacceptable term for San Francisco among the locals, he replied that the real Frisco was in Texas.

Good public school systems are drawing more East Indians to the state of Texas &
their culinary preferences will eventually have an effect on traditional Texas-style cooking.

Look for more East Indian-inspired southwestern cooking...lava-like meatless chili & spicy pan bread derivations.

Since many consider beef to be the spirit of their past relatives, barbequed brisket will probably not be too popular among them.

My friend has even purchased a Resistol cowboy hat & some Lucchese boots to better assimilate into what he calls the 'Tejas' lifestyle. Though I told him he might look questionable dressing in that kind of attire, he replied , "It's the cowboy way."

America seems to be changing for the weirder


Citizen of the Word
Green Acres
on Mar 25, 2019 at 12:03 pm
Citizen of the Word, Green Acres
on Mar 25, 2019 at 12:03 pm

I am all for mixing cuisines …
Years ago, California Pizza Kitchen had Tandori Chicken Pizza with Mango Chutney -- and it was AWESOME !!! I still miss it.
For reference, I am white Caucasian.


The Only Pizza Is Italian Pizza
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 25, 2019 at 12:58 pm
The Only Pizza Is Italian Pizza, Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 25, 2019 at 12:58 pm

Chicken doesn't belong on a pizza either but to each his/her own.

What's next? Pilgrim-style Pizza with roast turkey and cranberry sauce?

While just about anything can be tossed on top of pizza dough, that doesn't make it a pizza...it's just some oddball toppings on baked leavened bread.

In Japan, they make a squid 'pizza' using the purple ink in lieu of tomato sauce with no cheese on top...hardly a pizza.


resident
Midtown
on Mar 25, 2019 at 3:04 pm
resident, Midtown
on Mar 25, 2019 at 3:04 pm

I've had pizza in a few different cities in Italy (north and south). What Italians call pizza is very different from I've seen in American restaurants. Does that mean New York style pizza and Chicago style pizza are frauds?


Keep Pizza Real
Midtown
on Mar 25, 2019 at 5:11 pm
Keep Pizza Real, Midtown
on Mar 25, 2019 at 5:11 pm

> Does that mean New York style pizza and Chicago style pizza are frauds?

They are real because they share an Italian heritage.

Hawaiian pizza, East Indian Curry pizza, Mexican pizza (as sold at Taco Bell), & Japanese Squid pizza are not real pizzas...fakery at best.

Just saying...make them, eat them but don't call them pizza. Simple as that.


Hahaha. No way man
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 25, 2019 at 5:15 pm
Hahaha. No way man, Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 25, 2019 at 5:15 pm

Pizza works best. Pizza it is, for me anyway.
YOU can call it something else though. Your issue, your action.


Fake Pizza Is For The Ignorant
Old Palo Alto
on Mar 25, 2019 at 6:45 pm
Fake Pizza Is For The Ignorant, Old Palo Alto
on Mar 25, 2019 at 6:45 pm

> The Only Pizza Is Italian Pizza

> They are real because they share an Italian heritage.

Authentic pizza (on the whole) is found in only three countries...Italy & two countries that had a major influx of Italian immigrants during the late 19th & early 20th centuries, The United States & Argentina.

There is no such thing as East Indian, Japanese, Mexican, Chinese, Hawaiian, Middle Eastern, Greek pizza et al...period. They exist (if at all) as a cheesey (no pun intended) variation/substitute of the original theme & cater to certain mentalities that know nothing about the authenticity or originality of pizza.

Just like you den't see Chinese people (or those who truly appreciate good Chinese cusine eating at PF Chang's)...that's amateur hour yuppie dining.

Fusion pizza variants are a gimmick pure & simple. It would be like cutting a burrito into small slices & calling it Mexican sushi OR eating an unsliced roll of norimaki sushi & calling it a Japanese burrito.






Hahaha
Fairmeadow
on Mar 26, 2019 at 8:11 am
Hahaha, Fairmeadow
on Mar 26, 2019 at 8:11 am

This discussion brings out the "narrow mindedness" in old Shallow Alto doesn't it?

Ask an Italian if the pizza one gets in America is even close to the "pizza" that is considered to be authentic -- hell no, the authentic pizza is moons apart.

Ask a Chinese if the chow mein is authentic --- hell no, the authentic chinese food is moons apart.

Adapting the food to suit the native palette is a given, if one wants to survive.

Give the paneer pizza a try .. you may actually like it :)


Americanized Is OK...Foreignized Is Bizarre
University South
on Mar 26, 2019 at 8:29 am
Americanized Is OK...Foreignized Is Bizarre, University South
on Mar 26, 2019 at 8:29 am

> Adapting the food to suit the native palette is a given...

This is true as many original dishes from foreign lands are 'Americanized' to a certain extent.

On the other hand, something like East Indian 'Curry' Pizza is not real pizza as East Indians did not migrate from Italy or prepare it in their native land...the same with Hawaiian Pizza.


Some don;t understand things well
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 26, 2019 at 9:44 am
Some don;t understand things well, Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 26, 2019 at 9:44 am

For some, the world is literal with no room for any interpretation or understanding of a complex idea.
I guess we can just call it "Food" for these folks while the rest of the rational air breathing humans can figure the rest out, yes even if someone calls it a (GASP!) pizza.
If you have question, ask one of these humans you see all around you who seem to have negotiated this difficult labeling terrain.


North Beach/Salvatore
another community
on Mar 26, 2019 at 10:06 am
North Beach/Salvatore, another community
on Mar 26, 2019 at 10:06 am

"For some, the world is literal with no room for any interpretation or understanding of a complex idea."

Pizza is not complex. Why make it so with false derivations?

The days of oddball Wolfgang Puck pizza variants is over...save the fusion for Greystone & other overpriced fakirs.

Curry does not belong on a pizza either along with other non-Italian ingredients.

OK to eat it but call it something else.


Have an open mind?
Community Center
on Mar 28, 2019 at 11:09 am
Have an open mind?, Community Center
on Mar 28, 2019 at 11:09 am

If you have never given Indian pizza a try, you don’t know what you are missing. I moved out of San Francisco 15 years ago and still miss Zante’s version. I’m excited to try this place!


You don’t have to eat it, give it a rest!
University South
on Mar 28, 2019 at 11:37 am
You don’t have to eat it, give it a rest!, University South
on Mar 28, 2019 at 11:37 am

It’s a free country if they want to offer curry pizza you don’t have to buy it. Cuisine is now global, Curry is a staple in Ireland, the Irish are mad for it. So no doubt curry pizza would be a hit there. If Americans are too uptight to handle it they can go to McDonalds.

Personally I think pineapple ham pizza is an abomination. But West coast people like it. For me personally, Nothing like pizza from Boston’s North End or NYC little Italy. To each his own, it’s a free country, for most of us anyway, but I won’t digress.


@Fake Pizza Ignorant
Barron Park
on Mar 28, 2019 at 11:42 am
@Fake Pizza Ignorant, Barron Park
on Mar 28, 2019 at 11:42 am

@Fske pizza. Hopefully your ntolerance and narrow minded views are fake too? Tongue in cheek comment lost in translation? I hope so.


Remember Peking Ravioli??
Charleston Gardens
on Mar 28, 2019 at 11:50 am
Remember Peking Ravioli??, Charleston Gardens
on Mar 28, 2019 at 11:50 am

If something tastes good who cares what it is called ?
Back in the 70s Boston area Chinese suburban restaurants referred to potstickers as Peking ravioli. LOL, not PC today. Still tasted good!


Now That's Italian
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 28, 2019 at 12:38 pm
Now That's Italian, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 28, 2019 at 12:38 pm

East Indian cuisine should stick with what it's good at... Tiki or Tandoori chicken, chickpeas, curry, yellow rice, yogurt and pocket bread etc. + its heavily laden usage use of curry and cumin.

I've had (and enjoyed in limited doses) East Indian food but on a hot summer day & after perspiring, one smells like a cumin factory...not a pleasant bouquet.

East Indian pizza is an abomination and an insult to all pizza lovers and Italians alike. No one is creating Italian Tandoori Chicken Picatta.


Eye of the beholder
Barron Park
on Mar 28, 2019 at 2:46 pm
Eye of the beholder, Barron Park
on Mar 28, 2019 at 2:46 pm

Italians frequently debate what constitutes 'good pizza'...I recall being in Venice and asking hotel concierge for a good pizza restaurant..the answer I was told 'Naples'. Naples style pizza is widely popular world round and locally at places like Tony's Pizza Napoletana. It's a long way from my favorite and I find dry and boring. I prefer hand tossed thin crust, lots of marinara and fragrant mozzarella. You generally won't find that in Italy, but, there are several great places in New York. There is no such thing as 'real' pizza just like any other popular food...thankfully, we all get to pick what we like.


You're 100% wrong
Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 28, 2019 at 2:49 pm
You're 100% wrong, Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 28, 2019 at 2:49 pm

My tastes are correct...your's are wrong.
You should not like things I deem inappropriate or insinuate that they taste good. Call food what _I_ say it should be called. If in doubt, consult MY list.
Oh, I'm also a fool.


@Moshat...hilarious, you should do standup
another community
on Mar 28, 2019 at 5:30 pm
@Moshat...hilarious, you should do standup, another community
on Mar 28, 2019 at 5:30 pm

@Moshat, loved your Texas post, hilarious. Agree influx of different nationalities impact the local cuisine in a good way.

A couple of years ago ordered Lasagna in Ireland, they asked if I wanted mashed potato or fries with it...I thought it was completely weird, and they thought the same of me for questioning why potato should be served with Lasagn...It's Ireland or course you are going to get potato...with everything!


Hunter
Old Palo Alto
on Mar 28, 2019 at 11:37 pm
Hunter, Old Palo Alto
on Mar 28, 2019 at 11:37 pm

Any change is weird. My bottom cannot handle a peppercorn, let alone a chili pepper.

Back in the day, we used to go out and hunt for food. No one had heard of a sandwich (there were no Earls back then), let alone a pizza (which is an Italian abomination). We would slice up the meat and roast it over a fire. Wow! My mouth melts when I think of it.


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