Served in the kingly confines of its facility near the shore of Lake Alhambra, Almansor Court's feasts treat revelers to a welcome royal regimen of freshly formed eats. Normally known for housing festive private receptions, Almansor Court throws open the doors of its well-appointed banquet hall for its all-encompassing Sunday champagne brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., serving public palates without the pretense of invitations or fancy tongue-size tuxedos.
Rather than engraving offerings in a block of unforgiving granite as most restaurants do, Happy Trails Catering keeps eaters on their phalanges with a weekly rotating menu of fresh, eclectic entrees, sandwiches, and salads. Previous patrons have enjoyed delicate quiches (tomato, basil, and parmesan or roasted vegetables and goat cheese, $9.50), hearty lasagnas (basil pesto or beef and marinara, $9.50), and a delectable meatloaf sandwich on ciabatta ($9.50). Mindful masticators wishing to achieve a Zenlike meat-and-bread balance can indulge in gourmet sandwiches ($8.50) such as the Nordic sage-roasted turkey breast with lingonberry cream cheese and caper mayonnaise or the herbivore-friendly roasted vegetable with lemon-dill mayonnaise and provolone cheese.
For over 30 years, Kilroy's Sandwich Factory has delivered hot entrees, sandwiches, salads, and boxed lunches—all made from scratch—to events, parties, and a sprawling list of clients. House-baked breads house toppings such as turkey, ham, or roast beef to create personal sandwiches or massive 6-foot subs. Other options include hot entrees such as carne asada, lasagna, and tilapia, and cheese, meat, or vegetable platters.
It’s easy to become mesmerized while standing in line at Fresh Cutt Carving Grill—just behind the counter, slabs of roasted meat are finished on the grill and hand carved to order. This is where Fresh Cutt’s signature three-step ordering process begins. First, customers select one of the high-quality meats, such as all-natural chicken, prime cut steak, and chipotle PorkBelly, to be hand-carved. Then, they can have their chosen meat rolled into a pita or tortilla, spread across fresh salad greens, layered into a plump sandwich, served as is on a plate, or fashioned into a cummerbund for black-tie butcher’s galas. Finally, they can customize their meaty creation with a colorful assortment of fresh ingredients, such as wok-sizzling vegetables, fresh cut slaw, and pinto beans. If they’re not in the mood to make their own meal, they can order from an unintimidating menu that features specialty dishes, such as a pizzeta layering spicy shrimp, avocado-jalapeno salsa, fresh cilantro, and cheeses atop a pita crust, and sides such as hand-cut fries and avocado salad.
The hardest workers at Bagel Broker aren't allowed a lunch break or time to sleep—they bake bagels continuously throughout the day. However, because they're ovens, they aren't aware of their own work ethic. They produce 18 varieties of bagels, from plain to pumpernickel to the popular cheese onion, whose doughy rings satisfy even "New York transplants," according to Epicurious. Guests can decorate their bagels with whipped cream cheese and several types of spreads, or opt for heartier sandwich options, such as breakfast combinations of eggs and meat or slices of nova lox. The Tarnol family—owners of the shop since its 1987 inception—steers clear of added fats, preservatives, and oils when creating the signature food. The shop also compiles catering platters for group functions such as corporate complaining parties.
At Tarascos, owner Antonio Garcia and his chefs blend the comfortable and familiar with the slightly out of the ordinary. A chalkboard-scrawled menu lists Mexican classics such as enchiladas alongside lesser-known dishes such as huaraches, large, oblong tortillas stacked with charbroiled meats. Plates of barbacoa feature the seasoned beef wrapped in maguey leaves and slow-steamed until tender. Likewise, the tap menu mixes Mexican imports such as Pacifico and Modelo Especial with Tarascos's own home-brewed organic beers.
Patrons can dine inside or outdoors on a beer garden–style patio shaded from weather and warmed with gas heaters. On the patio, Tarascos also regularly holds cooking classes, such as a tamale class that was featured on ABC 7.