At Lokal's, the kitchen staff bakes its wings twice before serving them with a choice of 18 sauces, including mild, spicy, or extra hot. The wings complement the rest of the restaurant's sports-bar menu of burgers, sandwiches, and wraps.
La Fountain Mexican Restaurant caters to cravings with a packed menu of Mexican favorites. From quesadillas to chile relleno platters, the cooks whip up authentic dishes that can be paired with rice and beans to create stick-to-your-ribs feasts. Homemade flour tortillas transform the typical burrito or taco into something special, and breakfast is available at any time of day.
Santa Monica Pizza and Pasta Co.'s chefs squash hunger with handcrafted pizza coated in freshly made sauces and inventive topping combinations. Pizza meals commence with complimentary breadstick bites before guests dig into an appetizer such as the baked ravioli or garlic cheese bread. Patrons sink incisors into the titular Santa Monica pizza—a pesto-coated pie covered in grilled chicken, roasted tomatoes, and bacon mimicking a map of the Pacific Coast—or satisfy a protein craving with the meat freak, a red-sauce base layered with sausage, salami, meatballs, and ham. For customized noshing, patrons can summon the perfect pie, a blank, cheesy canvas waiting to support up to 7 of 30 available toppings, such as artichoke hearts, habanero powder, and pepperoni. Though not included with this Groupon, Santa Monica Pizza and Pasta Co. pours out more than 20 beers that pair excellently with their signature glass of water.
Scott and Nancy Litke opened a roadside food shack in partial tribute to Scott’s grandparents, Emmett and Ethel, who have quite a backstory: After a run-in with the law, Emmett disappeared in 1934, and the couple became a local legend. Just for fun, Scott challenges guests to a bounty game: any customer who brings in someone named “Emmett” will be rewarded with free lunch. The Emmett also receives a shirt and a place on the wall of fame. It’s one of a few challenges the restaurant offers to customers—there are also eating contests, including Man v. Emmett’s Burger and Man v. Ethel’s Sundae.
Since its opening, the “shack” has been updated to become a 2,800-square foot restaurant. The ethic is the same, though: Emmett’s and Ethel’s churns out fresh, homemade food, such as gourmet burgers, hot dogs, and baskets piled high with fish and chicken that has been hand-cut in the kitchen. In addition to traditional malts and shakes, guests can savor parlor-style ice cream sundaes with ingredients such as deep fried peach halves, toasted almond ice cream, and brownies.
Claiming a slew of awards, including Best Chicken Dinner by the Orange County Register, El Pollo Loco fills stomachs on the go with a menu of flavorful poultry inspired by Mexico's kitchens. Enjoy the rich tastes of a four-piece combo—including breasts and wings marinated in herbs, spices, and citrus juices—entouraged by two sides from an expansive selection, including spanish rice, BBQ black beans, corn cobbettes, and mac 'n' cheese ($8.99). For a more portable lunch during parkour breaks from the office, wrap your chicken in the warm tortilla blanket of a twice-grilled burrito ($5.99). El Pollo Loco's innovative salsa bar tickles tongues with fresh varieties of avocado, chipotle, and pico de gallo.
A waterfall cascades over a towering cliff. A few acres away, hundreds of thousands of tulips sway in the desert breeze where hay and barley once grew. Originally a dairy farm, the 55-acre Thanksgiving Point has bloomed into a museum complex and attraction with one-of-a-kind experiences, shopping, dining, and seasonal festivals. In Thanksgiving Point Gardens, trees and shrubs form divisions between 15 themed gardens modeled after a country estate, 13 acres of turf grass, and a 4,000-seat amphitheater beside a manmade waterfall—all of which flourish under the hands of 26 gardeners. Gardeners feed their plots using an intricate water-reclamation system, which harvests millions of gallons of runoff water and lizards' tears annually to transform the desert landscape into an assembly of global ecosystems.
The outdoor park is also home to Farm Country, a working farm where goats, pigs, and draft horses mingle with peacocks and wildlife photographers disguised as ostriches. Visitors delve into farm culture as they pet and feed the animals, ride ponies, and look in on the process of bottling milk. The Museum of Ancient Life explores life long before agriculture, exhibiting 60 complete dinosaur skeletons to a soundtrack of gurgling steams, insect chirps, and one jazz saxophonist. The museum also contains more than 50 interactive exhibits, including a simulated fossil dig.