The chefs at The Pita Pit stuff fresh white and wheat pitas with patrons' choice of more than a dozen toppings, 14 sauces, and four cheeses. Like placing sequins on a turtleneck, diners customize their pitas to taste, but the eatery's menu suggests premade configurations such as the spicy black-bean vegetarian pita with an array of garden greens and the prime-rib pita, which cossets taste buds with tender slices of beef. Sink herbivorous fangs into the falafel pita or give a coliseum-style thumbs-up to the chicken caesar pita filled with bacon and parmesan cheese. Any wrap can slip off its pita to seduce tongues in the form of a salad loaded with toppings such as hummus, cucumbers, and pineapple.
Viking Garden Restaurant is right at home in historical Copenhagen Square, part of Solvang, a Danish-American colony founded more than 100 years ago. Beneath the eatery's crosshatched roof and stork's nest, cooks craft Danish classics such as Norwegian salmon smothered with lemon-dill hollandaise. They even lend Danish flavors to American favorites, such as beef burgers crowned with Danish blue cheese. Before they whip up these entrees, however, Viking Garden's cooks create Danish-inspired breakfasts with everything from kielbasa-filled omelets to Danish-style hotcakes. Imported and domestic pours from an extensive beer list can complement any of Viking Garden's hearty feasts.
Since 1980, Sam's To Go's staff has been assembling sandwiches stacked high with premium deli meat and cheese. From within the K-Mart Shopping Center, they bake loaves of bread fresh every day, then pile on everything from hot pastrami to cotto salami, capicola, bologna, and cheese. The Santa Barbara?staple eatery now has four locations, several of which have outdoor tables where clients can soak up the warm sunshine and taunt birds with their ice cold beers.
Delish & Nutrish’s executive chef Justin Reed and sous chef Danny Kempton transform organic produce—much of it from local farms—into custom meals for each client before delivering them right to the client’s doorstep. Justine Meyer, the staff’s registered dietitian, helps plan the meals, stuffing them full of fresh, whole foods. Inspired by owner Nina Tafarella’s vision to help others transform their health through nutrition, this team continuously strives to help clients eat healthily without having to spend hours in the kitchen or drive great distances.
They can customize all meal plans, which can focus on weight loss or simply the maintenance of a balanced diet. Since they hand prepare their dishes without the help of industry-grade cloning technology, Reed and Kempton are able to appease vegetarian, vegan, lactose-intolerant, or gluten-free diners.
At first glance, the menu of Restaurant Open might appear simple and static with a selection of sandwiches and burgers. This, however, is only half of the story. Each day, the restaurant's chefs post daily specials, and here is where the restaurant shines. Not only do they "freestyle" improvised, off-the-menu dishes after conversing with patrons, but they also mingle in nearby markets and chat up vendors, looking for interesting ingredients to convert into the specials for that day's morning and afternoon. A quick browse through a photostream shows off delectable selections. Tri-tip filets sizzle on a grill, ready to be cut and put into tortas, sandwiches, or the mouths of passersby. Noodles swirl with veggies and sesame oil to be converted into lo mein, while fresh cuts of fish and whole lobsters rest on ice. Other specials—detailed on the restaurant's whiteboard—include meatball sandwiches and honey batter-dipped corn dogs.
Chinese-style vegetable fritters soaked in a soy-based gravy. Delicate rice crepes filled with housemade cheese or coconut chutney. At Zaika Indian Cuisine & Bar, the culinary team incorporates a few of these Indo-Chinese and South Indian specialties into a menu that's mostly composed of North Indian classics. Those range from ginger- and garlic-flavored chicken slathered in cashew sauce to fish and potatoes doused in a fiery chili sauce. For vegetarian and gluten-free diners, the cooks sauté okra in traditional spices and toss veggies, dried fruits, and roasted nuts into creamy sauces. More than 10 Indian breads can accompany feasts in the dining room, where the walls are painted a bright yellow color reminiscent of turmeric or a chameleon perched on a coward's shoulder.