If you’re looking for a quick stop to pick up some cheese, Cheesetique is not the place. That’s because everything in the store—from the eye-catching cheese wheels to the aromas of uncorked wine—encourages guests to linger, creating an ambiance typical of a Parisian bistro. The shop functions as both a boutique and a café, with staff splitting their time between serving up their award-winning mac 'n' cheese and cutting wedges of cheese to order. The staff has curated a menu of 300 American and European cheeses, each of which are available for sampling. But the best way to sample the vast selection is with a cheese-tasting board, which, when paired with a complementary wine and smattering of charcuterie, creates a mouth explosion larger than that of demolition dentistry. Though their wine and beer list is as imposing as their cheese variety, the staff has segmented the list into easily identifiable categories such as malty bocks, bold reds, and sparkling rosés.
Margaritas, house-made sangria, and tamarindo flow freely at Los Tios Grill, where Tex-Mex and Salvadorian cuisine mingles. That means carne guisada (marinated beef stew) and mojarra frita (fried fish) served right alongside standbys such as tacos and burritos. For something different, try plantain fries or corn tamales.
Patrons struggle to narrow down choices from a menu of pizzas, burgers, and seafood at FireFlies while live bands and athletic events on a big-screen television draw cheers beneath eclectic works of art. Chefs slip norwegian smoked salmon amid the seemingly conventional BSLT sandwich's apple-smoked bacon, lettuce, and tomato ($9.99), delighting diners and homesick mermen. Light chipotle jus permeates slow-roasted pork shoulders ($14.99), and ripples of garlicky goat-cheese sauce gurgle among roasted red peppers, onions, olives, and artichokes atop the Red, White & Green pizza ($13.99). Chipotle mayo and guacamole compete for top billing in maws clamping around the half-pound Cali burger ($10.99), which hides beneath a house-made bun like a baker's spare house key. Though they are not included in this Groupon, inventive cocktails such as the FireFlies chocolate toddy, which floats a marshmallow on a dark sea of chocolate sauce, Maker's Mark, and Disaronno, slide down the gleaming bar to chatting patrons. FireFlies' online calendar and Twitter feed contain constantly changing updates about live musicians, trivia, and other events.
A friendly staff serves up generously sized portions at this family-friendly Italian eatery. Children dine on kids'-menu selections as adults choose from a menu of classic pizzas, seafood, and pastas. Chefs' Southern Italian cooking can be enjoyed beneath the stucco archways of the casual dining area or amid well-kept shrubbery on the patio.
The flavorful kebabs, curries, and stuffed dumplings at Afghan Restaurant enamored the tasters at Zagat, who rated the menu “very good” to “excellent.” To earn such praise, chefs spear pieces of lamb, chicken, and salmon before broiling the skewers over a mound of charcoal, which lends the meats a subtle smoky flavor. They also fill dumplings with ground beef and onions to serve with housemade yogurt, meat sauce, and a sprinkle of mint. Framed Middle Eastern paintings overlook the dining room, adding an extra layer of cultural authenticity to the experience of eating sautéed pumpkin or sambosay goshti—a fried pastry hiding ground beef, engagement rings, chickpeas, and herbs.