Light streams in from floor-to-ceiling windows inside Fire + Spice, pouring over cozy leather chairs, curved booths, and a sleek wooden bar. But the interior of this comfortable yet upscale restaurant isn’t the only picturesque element in the place. Southwestern fare, inspired by Mexican spices, is painstakingly prepared and arranged into edible works of art, much like Picasso’s canvases during his stew period. Notable menu items include chipotle chicken enchiladas, shrimp tacos, and Alamosa striped bass with crispy yucca root.
Caribbean Breeze sends forth bursts of flavor with its menu of Latin- and Caribbean-inspired meals. Inside the well-lit eatery, chefs prepare shrimp three ways: breaded in coconut, swimming in a champagne cream sauce, or wrapped in bacon and cheese. Salmon and tilapia filets evoke more delicate flavors straight from the grill. The kitchen also concocts Mexican classics such as carne asada, which is served with deep fried jalapenos alongside rice and beans.
Before they bake over mesquite charcoal in a specially designed tandoor oven, the specialties at India?s Cuisine marinate in a mixture of garlic, ginger, herbs, and spices. Coupled together, the marinating and baking processes yield tasty kebobs and tender meats chockfull of classic Indian flavor. The remaining menu features nine specialties?from zesty curries to creamy saags?into which chefs stir chicken, lamb, fish, or shrimp. For vegetarians, the culinary team crafts more than 15 entrees, including house-made paneer smothered in tomato sauce and potatoes cooked with green peas and spices. To accompany meals, India?s Cuisine serves up favorites such as mango lassis and naan stuffed with three-cheese blends.
At Salento Restaurant, his second BYOB venture, chef Davide Faenza draws on his roots in the region of Puglia, on the heel of the Italian boot, to fill a menu of authentic Italian fare. Home to “some of the finest raw ingredients in Italy,” according to a 2007 Philadelphia Weekly review, Puglia is known for its fresh seafood and simple pasta dishes. At Salento, servers carry in homemade gnocchi, sautéed fish filets, and other entrees that do justice to this tradition. After popping the last golden raisin from a balsamic-glazed chicken breast, guests can admire the dining room's glowing chandeliers, blue velvet curtains, and enormous mirror reflecting hungry pizza-delivery boys peeking in the front windows.
Masala Xpress's cooks forge popular Indian dishes by using regional cooking techniques and the cuisine's signature combinations of herbs and spices. In addition to the vegetarian and vegan options, chefs can blend chicken, lamb, or shrimp into their fragrant sauces, crafting fiery vindaloos as well as creamy tomato-herb masalas. A traditional clay tandoor oven roasts savory kebabs of chicken and lamb until they are tender and evenly seared.
Located on the lower level of the Aurora Mall, the restaurant allows diners to fit a hearty south Asian meal into a busy day of shopping and scrounging for Drummer Boy quarters in the wishing fountain.
Hot Dog on a Stick Founder Dave Barham opened his first Hot Dog on a Stick in Santa Monica in 1946, and the company has since burgeoned into an employee-owned franchise that's more than 100 eateries strong and spans 11 states. Best known for a 100% turkey hot dog dunked in corn-bread batter made from Dave's mother's recipe and cooked in soy oil, Hot Dog on a Stick also pioneered the dipping and be-sticking of mild american and spicy jalapeño jack cheese. Smiling employees in red-, white-, and blue-striped uniforms with, as Dave put it, "a splash of lemonade," hand over cherry, lime, sugar-free, or original lemonade that they make fresh every two hours by squeezing Ventura County lemons until they cry.