Having garnered praise from the likes of Gayot, LA Weekly, and foodie blog Eating L.A., Gobi Mongolian BBQ fulfills the hype with menu featuring a customizable, self-serve buffet of veggies from local farmers' markets and lean, all-natural meats. After visitors load bowls with proteins such as certified Angus beef, chicken, pork, turkey, or tofu, they add a selection of vegetation before hitting the sauce station. This is where the fun starts. As L.A. Times writer Jessic Gelt put it in her 2009 review, "saucing is a science" at this Silver Lake hot spot. Whether they strike off on their own or follow one of the restaurant's handy guides, diners can choose combinations from 11 MSG-free sauces ranging from traditional hoisin and green curry to "Facebook-generation" flavors including lemon mint and asian pesto.
With sauces taken care of, noodles top off the feast before cooks step in to stir-fry the igredients and serve the steaming dish with two homemade hot sesame rolls. Other menu offerings include small bites such as crispy pork dumplings, mixed greens salads with creamy sesame dressing, and brownie sundaes with vanilla bean gelato, candied pralines, and whipped cream.
Five-pour flights from an extensive beer list complement bites, with local craft brews including AleSmith's IPA, The Strand's 24th Street Pale Ale, and Iron Fist's Renegade Blonde often gracing the taps. Brews are joined by freshly mixed soju cocktails, as well as traditional highballs, organic wine, sake, and bottled craft soda. In the zen-like dining space, dark wooden tables are surrounded by ledges lined with candles, much like a shrine to birthday cakes.
Justin Fassio earned his personal-training certification during his time in the military, when his passion for exercise landed him the chance to lead a physical training program for an Air Force?operations group. Once his time in the force was up, he didn't leave his love of fitness back at base?he brought it home with him. Today, he leads outdoor fitness programs for all citizens.
Nutritionist Rachel Bowman has a background in Clinical and Holistic Nutrition, offering a wide acumen of current nutritional research. Her career now emphasizes weight management in all walks of life, ranging from digestive health to healthy eating while traveling. Her sports enthusiasm has also forged professional relationships with athletes and key athletic trainers.
The partnership of the two is ideal at San Diego Core Fitness, where staffers emphasize that fitness and nutrition always work hand-in-hand. The varied boot-camp workouts fuse fun and motivation with functional training techniques designed to help build up neglected core muscles and regain muscular balance. Personal-training sessions are supplemented with nutritional advice and lifestyle counseling, and keeps semiprivate training sessions small so that each participant can receive individual attention. During outdoor boot camps, groups make use of whatever the locations offer as equipment?depending on the scenery, they wade through deep beach sand, run up open-air stairs, and bench-press park benches.
Cinnabar Hills Golf Club is named after the rich, red ore mined from its hills in the 19th century. Its three 9-hole layouts?The Canyon, The Lake, and The Mountain?foreshadow the property's topographical variety. Elevation changes and scenic overlooks are a constant across this 27-hole complex sculpted into San Jose's southern foothills. The 9-hole layouts can be combined into six different 18-hole playing experiences, keeping the adventure fresh as players select from multiple tee boxes, putt on exceptional Northern California greens, and relish scenic views throughout the course. Oak trees fill the landscape and attract a diverse population of wildlife, including red-tail hawks known for preying on unsuspecting bunker rakes. The enchanting layout and location have helped the course garner numerous awards, including the title of Best Public Golf Course from the San Jose Mercury News, San Jose Magazine, Metro, and the Silicon Valley Concierge Association for many years in a row.
After rounds, golfers can refuel at the full-service restaurant and bar, or bask in the game's rich history at the Brandenburg Historical Golf Museum. Full-size replicas of the four major championship trophies glisten in the display cases, along with a host of other golf artifacts.
About the Owners: After 19 years in a delicatessen catering department, Ramana Brodeth knew her way around a sandwich. In 2010, she and her sons, TJ and Mark, opened Lou’s Cafe. One of them is always behind the counter, crafting inventive, satisfying sandwiches and topping them with Lou’s Special Sauce, a housemade garlic-and-herb aioli.
From the Press
Dutch crunch: also called “tiger bread,” this roll features a mottled exterior that hides a soft, chewy center. Bakers use sesame oil to lend it a distinct aroma, and paint the top with rice paste before baking it to create a cracked appearance and salty-sweet flavor.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Take a stroll through Clement Nursery (1921 Clement Street), the oldest in SF, housed in lovingly restored farm buildings.
After: Make a picnic of it and let the kids run around the renovated Argonne Playground (18th Avenue & Geary Boulveard); three picnic tables sit alongside the tennis courts.
With baskets full of hand-plucked, wild blueberries, Vincent Colombet and his cousins happily crammed into their Alsatian grandmother's tiny kitchen. In that quaint room, equipped with only a wood-burning cast-iron stove, Vincent learned over the years how to tuck berries into pies, prepare meats sourced from neighboring farms, and eventually produce elaborate meals for his entire family.
Driven by his passion for French family-style cuisine, he traveled to Paris before a longing for experiences abroad tugged him across the pond and into the arms of the Windy City in 2004. The following year he opened Cook Au Vin, where he leads three-hour BYOB cooking classes centered around classic techniques and organic ingredients. Patrons may also enlist the Cook Au Vin team to cater special events, or swing by Colombet's Logan Square bakery, La Boulangerie, for butter-infused inhalations, freshly made crepes, and crusty baguettes.
Rivers Edge Cafe aims to put a spin on the traditional, Americana-steeped diner by creating a casual neighborhood eatery that serves slightly more imaginative versions of otherwise familiar comfort foods. Tempting diners with the opportunity to enjoy three meals a day, the chefs begin each morning by cooking a number of breakfast staples. Buttermilk pancakes and country fried steak are classics, but they also cook omelets using three farm-fresh eggs and everything from artichoke hearts and kalamata olives to smoked salmon and capers. They even update the traditional side of hash browns by creating a version stuffed with bacon, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. As the sun begins to set, the cafe serves its selection of hearty, home-style dinner entrees, including housemade meatloaf flavored with garlic, onions, and green bell peppers, and penne pasta tossed with crisp vegetables, shrimp, and a balsamic glaze.
Much like its menu, Rivers Edge Cafe's dining room exudes a decidedly casual vibe that is more reminiscent of a bistro than a diner. Gleaming wooden tables and low-backed booths fill the dark floors, which still manage to catch the light streaming through the walls of floor-to-ceiling windows. Tulip-shaped pendant lamps hang above a few of the tables, but, as night falls, the ceiling fans' lights help keep the space illuminated as they lazily spin above patrons' heads and keep guests cool as they sip on one of the available craft beers or wines imported from the future.