The inspiration behind Alebrijes Mexican Bistro is the stuff of nightmares—Pedro Linares’ nightmares, to be specific. At the age of 30, the Mexican artist fell deathly ill. As he lay in bed, unconscious, he dreamt of a strange world filled with brightly colored monsters—a donkey with butterfly wings and a rooster with the head of an eagle among others—all shouting “alebrijes, alebrijes, alebrijes!” When he awoke, he wanted to show his family and friends all that he had seen, so he replicated his first alebrije from brightly painted papier-mâché. To this day, his family still crafts these strange creatures to serve as unusual home accents.
Pedro Linares' monsters inspired Alebrijes Mexican Bistro's name, as well as its decor, which showcases brightly colored paintings of his nightmarish beasts. In 2012, the bistro also won the Lodi News Reader’s Choice award for Best Mexican Restaurant, thanks to its gourmet burritos and regionally inspired dishes such as oaxaca mole, guanajuato bacon-wrapped prawns, and guacamole prepared in the style of Mexico City. The restaurant also infuses their own tequilas.
During the challenge, teams of two or more individuals will run helter-skelter around the city in a frantic race for cash prizes and personal pride, with a first-place award of $200. Not only will participants have to solve strands of interconnected clues that would test the deductive powers of even the most seasoned consulting detective, they'll need to plot spatiotemporal stratagems while exploring undiscovered corners of the city. Although being physically fit is a plus, quick wits and wise planning will ultimately determine the winners. Participation in the challenge gets contestants a clue packet, race-number bib, and T-shirt, and fees also go toward the appealing prize pool. The website offers a regular FAQ, as well as a Groupon FAQ with further details on the intricacies of the race, what to wear the day of, why it's not okay to bring a boa constrictor, and more.
The chefs at Jake’s specialize in whipping up circular comestibles, dishing out pizzas with more than 20 toppings in addition to scrumptious specialty pies and a sizeable selection of burgers, sandwiches, and wings. Cozy up in a booth with a signature pizza ($15.25 for a small), such as the barbecue chicken, which plunders the garden for ripe pineapple and onion before wedding them to juicy marinated chicken breast on an altar of smoked provolone. The create-your-own-pizza menu rounds up the usual suspects including pepperoni, mushrooms, and anchovies and puts them in a lineup alongside their more exotic counterparts such as louisiana hot sausage, artichoke hearts, and chives ($12.05+ for a small). Burgers ($5.65), quesadillas ($4.50), and a chicken philly with fries ($8) clamor for diners' attention, and a bucket of wings ($12.75) provides a perfect opportunity to prove your kindergarten teacher wrong about your ability to share.
At Clubhouse, an extensive menu of creative American cuisine awaits amid a captivating collection of 30 high-definition televisions, and even higher definition cocktails. Watch a Sharks game while sinking your own great-white choppers into a plate of sliders forged from USDA Choice ground bison meat, and topped with balsamic onion jam ($11). Green-blooded guests can obviate hunger-based conundrums with the marinated portobello sliders, whose gentle deliciousness can be countered with a specialty Shark Bite cocktail ($10), an aqua-hued concoction of tequila, blue curacao, and Sunshine margarita mix that fills the drinker with the insatiable urge to nibble on Richard Dreyfus. The sleek, luxurious dining area and upscale clientele will have diners feeling that they've been transported into a sexy spy film, without the need to diffuse a pepper bomb before eating it.
If you hang around downtown San Jose for long enough, you might become curious about someone called "The Brit." It seems like they host more parties than is humanly possible—"When do they sleep?" one has to wonder, hearing about the many DJs, karaoke sessions, and sports viewings they host. Follow a weekend crowd, however, and you'll learn that The Brit is not a person, but a pub where British cuisine pairs with beer, cocktails, and cheery character.
The menu at Britannia Arms Downtown covers the savory bases, from shepherd's pie to bangers and mash. And though they are British staples, the recipes are far from flippant reproductions. The fish and chips features housemade beer batter and tartar sauce over its Atlantic white cod, and the Angus beef patty on the baguette burger is hand-shaped. These and other entrees pair well with more than 20 drinks on draft, such as Boddingtons and Wyder's Pear Cider, available in pints, 120-oz "beer towers," or a 16-story hollow replica of Big Ben.
The Brit rallies its patrons for events almost every night of the week. There might be a UFC match on its many televisions, a stand-up comedian regaling the guests, or a trivia contest pitting team against team. One constant is the chatter on the heated patio, which sprawls for 3,000 square feet and has its own full-service bar.