Cafe 225’s seasonally changing menu is a tour of California. Fresh seafood evokes the state’s scenic coastline, and chicken breasts hot from the oak-charcoal grill come with drizzles of cream sauce and slices of avocado that call to mind the state’s lush avocado groves. Crowned in fire-roasted chilies and chipotle aioli, the eatery’s burgers mimic the spiciness of the Mexican food just across the border; with bacon and locally sourced cheddar, meanwhile, they become a tastier American classic than a baseball on a pie tin. An array of personal pizzas and pastas rounds out the menu, and the wooden bar’s selection of 70 wines and artisanal beers complements meals.
The restaurant’s proprietor got his start in the industry at the age of 12, when he helped make sandwiches during the lunchtime rush at his father’s San Francisco eatery. In the ensuing decades, he has cultivated the know-how and taste to construct Cafe 225’s menu, along with its exposed kitchen and rotisserie grill. Today, he even makes a point of sourcing as many ingredients as possible from environmentally sustainable companies.
Roasting fresh coffee daily, this independent shop distributes a variety of premium beans that range from smooth to bold, as well as specialty bags of organic and flavored coffees like chocolate macadamia nut, cinnamon nut cream, pumpkin spice, and Irish cream. Mavericks Roasting Company's leading roast, Midnight Ride ($12.95/pound), embodies the company's signature style, with 100% pure Arabica beans slow roasted to bold, bitterness-free, aromatic bliss. On the lighter side, try Peru Organic—certified by the Organic Crop Improvement Association—which is roasted with the same pure Arabica beans to a smooth finish, or the indulgent Mudslide, which is so satisfyingly rich, you might find Scrooge McDuck swimming in it.
At Zen Asian Diner, chefs are versed in cuisine ranging from traditional Chinese to American-style dishes. They sear and fry fresh ingredients to create egg foo young tossed with vegetables or barbecue pork, chop suey with meats such as chicken and shrimp. Additionally, the menu includes mouth-watering Asian fusion dishes such as curry-drizzled chicken and Mongolian-style spicy beef. Zen Asian Diner also serves aromatic cuisine beyond its doors—they have a catering team that assembles party platters for off-site events.
A smiling sunflower beams from Lollicup’s walls, menus, and cups. It’s an appropriate emblem for a teashop that specializes in whimsical drinks flavored with cotton candy, bubblegum, and passion fruit. Drink slingers pour more than 170 tea- and milk-based beverages and anchor them with tapioca, pudding, jelly, and tiny anvils. Though the drinks may be kid-friendly and colorful, Lollicup’s curators take the ingredients seriously: they select only the freshest cassava root for their boba and brew green and black teas from high-quality leaves.
Teazer World Tea Market uses only fresh, all-natural ingredients to flavor its teas, ensuring that the beverage's health benefits don't get lost like a cabbage in a mound of Cool Whip. Connoisseurs can select from more than 200 tea varieties to satisfy their picky palates. Rooibos rookies are in luck, as Teazer's friendly, knowledgeable staff can play matchmaker for any open-bellied customer looking for love in a leaf. This Groupon is good for loose-leaf tea to bring home, or for any hot or iced tea beverages made in-house. Loose-leaf teas range from $1.95/ounce to $12/ounce, and in-store sippables range from $3.75 (medium, iced) to $6.95 (large, hot) depending on size and temperature.
The team at HCK - Hermosa California Kitchen knows the recipe for a good time: tasty food, frosty brews, and good company. That's why the chefs cook up a menu of Mexican-American favorites such as grilled burritos, tri-tip tacos, and burgers slathered in barbecue sauce. At the bar, the staff keeps glasses filled to the brim with beer or made-to-order drinks such as their famous speciality fish bowls, which flow throughout the night as visitors socialize and watch sporting events such as pro football or MMA fights.