Tio’s flips inactive stomachs into full digestion mode with a menu of Mexican cooking designed to cure hunger from morning until night. Guests can subtly spice up evening dishes such as the two cheese enchiladas ($6.99) or the carne asada ($8.59) by adding hot sauce or reciting risqué historical limericks, or combine a jumbo bag of chips ($7) with hard-shell tacos ($2.09+), lovingly encasing tender beef, chicken, or carne asada. Despite all odds, beef tostadas ($4.99) successfully pair red meat and crispy tortillas, and a plate of huevos rancheros ($5.49) or a sausage burrito ($4.49) keeps morning appetites from commandeering the neighbor's waffle iron. Replete with cozy décor that reflects the owners’ heritage, Tio’s gives off tastily relaxed vibes.
Years ago, Guadalupe Robles used to pack burritos in her husband's lunch when he went off to work in the orange groves of Highland. She even wrapped a few for his coworkers, too. The affectionate gesture sparked a nearly 40-year career that would end in four restaurant locations, each spotlighting Mexican entrees of tacos, enchiladas, and tostadas. The Robles family still mans the kitchen, hand-dipping the peppers that make chile relleno and flattening out homemade tortillas. Today, their largest burrito wouldn't fit inside a lunch box—it feeds up to 60 people with 6 feet of expertly wrapped beans and meat, available for catering. The dine-in menu, meanwhile, features the signature garbage burrito, so named for the fact that Oscar the Grouch eats 20 every day.
Ono Hawaiian BBQ brings the island to the mainland with tender meats soaked in made-from-scratch marinades. Chefs hand roll chicken katsu in panko bread crumbs to give it a fresh, crispy texture, and assemble generous portions of crispy shrimp, island whitefish, and barbecue chicken in the seafood mix.
The cool air and sunshine on Renee’s Fish & Soul Food’s outdoor patio may be a far cry from the thick humidity of the South, but the restaurant’s fried and grilled comfort fare never fails to invoke the tastes and smells of a true Southern kitchen. Whether out on the patio or enjoying the shade of the dining room, guests can catch whiffs of lunch specials, such as fried buffalo fish and three-piece chicken wings, and dig into dinners paired with Southern sides, such as yams, black-eyed peas, and corn bread. On weekends, chefs tackle the Southern art of barbecue, simmering chicken and ribs in tangy sauce and holding them above napkins to create expressionistic drip paintings.
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Wake snoozing taste buds with a hearty starter such as mozzarella suprema breadsticks adorned with natural cheese and herbs ($3.95 side; $5.95 large) before moving onto a signature fire-roasted pie. An authentic terra-cotta oven blasts RedBrick's prided circles with more than 1,000 degrees of heat, alchemically transforming their base dough into crispy gold in less than three minutes. Enjoy stationary drive-in dining with a bacon-cheeseburger pizza topped with ground beef and three kinds of cheese ($17.95 for a 14"), or graze on the veggie gourmet works, which comes loaded with a Peter Piper's worth of fresh vegetables including bell peppers, artichokes, and mushrooms, swaddled in your choice of a vegetarian red or white sauce ($17.95 for a 14"). Create-your-own pies are also available, providing palate-pleasing fill-in-the-blanks for the munching mad-libbest. Yowling sweet teeth can be silenced with a dessert of gourmet gelato or a surprise dinner visit from the dentist's wife, the librarian.
Smiles Sweet Shop, a family owned and operated dessert emporium, causes glucose-induced grinning fits with fresh, made-to-order confections and singular desserts. Today’s deal gets you and an after-dinner associate or peckish doppelganger a four-pack of the shop’s signature cheesecake winks, single-serving versions of the classic dairy-based treat. Indulge in select flavors (a $6.50 value) such as traditional vanilla, which arms itself against toothy onslaughts with a buttery graham-cracker crust, or Oreo-crusted cherry bomb drizzled in chocolate. Premium flavors (a $7 value) such as banana split and rocky road, which features a marshmallow-cream center, provide rare dessert decadence in a society plagued by shoddy candy bars made from papier-mâché. Smiles Sweet Shop is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.