Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries and daisy pineapples in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.
The Riverside Cafe's cooks draw inspiration from European and American cuisine as they create a menu of bistro-style comfort fare. In addition to baking bowls of french onion soup topped with a shell of imported gruyere, they grill beef and turkey hamburger patties and load baked potatoes with a number of familiar, yet decadent, ingredients, including sour cream and bacon. On Thursday nights, they embrace seasonal ingredients by featuring a specially prepared menu item, which have previously included wild boar and Stilton steak.
Beyond the intimately sized dining room with its "rustic, wood-beamed ceiling," as described by Gayot, the restaurant can seat guests and their canine personal assistants at the outdoor tables. White picket fences and trellises enclose the outside area, and a small awning and robin-egg-blue umbrella protect guests from the sun's harsh rays and dive-bombing pigeons.
After being diagnosed with celiac disease in 1997, Pam MacDonald began scouring local stores for gluten-free options and employees knowledgeable enough to assist in her quest. Frustrated by her lack of success, Pam took matters into her own hands and opened Pam MacD's Gluten-Free Market, a store praised by New York Magazine's Grub Street Los Angeles for its wide selection of glutenless eats and tasting stations. Pam stocks her shelves with high-caliber products such as Organic Clover milk and Maplegrove mac 'n' cheese cups and sources some items from local and independent brands. Her cadre of well-informed employees expertly navigates rows of fresh, frozen, and refrigerated foods, guiding visitors through a selection whose breadth and variety supports the truth of Pam's mantra: "There is life after wheat!"
For nearly 25 years, La Bamba Island Cuisine has been sending doners on flight-free Caribbean excursions through his dishes inspired by the kitchens of Cuba, Jamaica, and Mexico. Owner-chef Chris oven-roasts shredded pork for menu items as varied as Cuban sandwiches with ham and pickles to the popular St. Thomas burrito with guacamole and pico de gallo. A unique wine and a seasoning blend flavors the Panama shrimp with bell peppers dish, and the lobster tacos combined the grilled oceanic delicacy with pico de gallo and guacamole. Whether taking in the island cuisine from indoors or the al-fresco patio, a refreshing sangria, beer, or margarita pairs well with just about any dish, whether by the sip or by the funnel full.
Drawing on an ancient cuisine, Gourmet 88 Burbank's chefs craft many of the restaurant's dishes from recipes that have been staples of Chinese cuisine since the 10th century. Bringing with them the traditions of their native Hong Kong, they call upon more than 30 years of experience in the kitchen to expertly craft classics such as orange chicken and hot-and-sour soup. On the menu, signature items include gourmet walnut shrimp and mu shu pork, served alongside cocktails during lunch, dinner, or "it's 5 o clock somewhere" happy hour.
While Not a Burger Stand does sneak a 7-ounce burger onto its menu, its staff focuses more so on mid-Atlantic comfort food and Maryland seafood. While enjoying the breeze on a covered outdoor patio, diners can share steamed artichokes, sweet potato fries, or smoked hot wings while awaiting pulled-pork or beef brisket sandwiches. Hearty plates of shrimp and grits, chicken and dumplings, or ribeye steak come with sides such as mac and cheese or horseradish mashed potatoes.