Since 1992, Potato Corner has fascinated international crowds with its wholly customizable menu of crispy french fries, though franchises only broke ground in America during February of 2010. The new U.S. shops cropped up in places with lots of foot traffic, entrancing people with the scent of fresh-fried potatoes in malls, airports, theme parks, and at marathon starting lines. Potato Corner’s straight-, loopy-, and criss-cut fries come unadorned in their lightly salted glory, or they can be tossed in gourmet flavorings such as barbecue, cheddar, chili, and sour cream and onion. The shop has also expanded its repertoire to include baked potatoes, chicken tenders, and a butler who tucks cloth napkins into collars in order to sate customers in search of a full meal.
Bland, blue-box noodles and powdered sauce have no place at Elbows Mac n' Cheese, where the menu combines the classic American dish with gourmet influences from around the world. Its 16 macaroni dishes all melt with gobs of gooey cheese, just like the original, but in daring combinations. Swiss mac simmers with creamy alpine cheeses and crisp applewood-smoked bacon. Truffle mac combines mushrooms, garlic, and white-truffle oil in a creamy blend of goat and havarti cheeses.
In addition to whipping up variations on their signature dish, the cooks batter green-bean fries and twist their own pretzels to dip in four-cheese fondue. Cheese reprises its menu-starring role in Elbows? savory sandwiches, such as the indian-spiced masala melt with cheddar, as well as a chocolate grilled cheese that uses sweet croissant bread to bookend layers of white cheddar, semisweet chocolate, strawberries, and sliced almonds.
The creative cooking at Elbows Mac n' Cheese has paid off: CBS Los Angeles named it one of the best spots for mac 'n' cheese in Orange County in 2012, and David Tutera chose Elbow to cater on an episode of My Fair Wedding.
In Chef Najwa's kitchen, three vertical spits turn constantly—one holding a juicy gyros blend of lamb and beef, and the other two spinning with chicken and beef shawarma. Once carved, the meats are layered over rice, wrapped in pitas, and paired with a huge array of starters and sides—everything from standbys such as hummus and baba ghanouj to rarer pan-Mediterranean finds such as beef-and-cracked-wheat kibbeh, several varieties of potatoes fried in zero-trans-fat oil, and the Mediterranean pizza known as manaeesh.
Though the intoxicating aromas wafting from the spits tempt customers as they walk through the door, Mezza Mediterranean Grill’s menu ranges beyond the rotisserie. Chef Najwa and her team use lean, heart-healthy ingredients to create minty, refreshing salads, seafood platters, and kebabs of ground beef, filet mignon, and chicken that get their flavor from long baths in marinade. In the dining room, crimson drapes with heavy tassels hang over Middle Eastern artwork and a marble bar where wine glasses wait to hold an ideal pairing for salmon or a few drops of shawarma juice saved for dessert.
Chennai Tiffins' namesake city, Chennai, is nicknamed The Gateway to South India. And while Chennai Tiffins may be situated in Cerritos, it's a gateway to South India, too—at least in the culinary sense. The vegetarian eatery's team specializes in dosas, ultra-thin Southern Indian crepes made from fermented rice batter, then filled with spiced potatoes and other savory delicacies. Chutneys and sambar, a South Indian–style vegetable soup, round out the meals, and they're found at a self-serve bar, a convenience only surpassed by self-cooking naan.
Sweet and spicy aromas dance around the interior of Monora Thai Cuisine accompanied by soothing music. Tables fill with noodle soups, fried-rice dishes, and numerous styles of curries, including duck curry with infusions of pineapple and coconut. House specials, such as salmon with panang sauce and BBQ spare ribs, come with two egg rolls, two wontons, soup or salad, rice, and an extra stomach to fit everything.
When it comes to watching sports, there's no bad seat at Grandstand Grill. With 20 HDTVs scattered around the space and a ban on oversize hats, every diner has an unimpeded view of the on-screen action. As fans gather to watch pro, college, and high school teams score, they can nosh on menu selections such as pasta with house-made marinara, burgers, and breakfast served all day long.