From its corner on McPherson and Del Mar, this 10-flavor fortress of self-serve frozen yogurt tops each treat with towers of more than 30 toppings. Fro-yo funambulists take their first step through Sweet Spot's edible obstacle course with a rotating roster of flavors ($0.39 per oz.) that includes chocolate, kiwi, acai berry, and green tea. After filling up your bowl or bowler hat with a pileup of frozen flavors, you can tailor it to your taste buds with peaches, fresh-cut strawberries, freeze-dried love, and a host of other delicious toppings. As emphasized by Sweet's Spots facts page, frozen yogurt contains a number of nourishing ingredients that aid digestion, strengthen bones, and—when topped with fresh fruit—give you the ability to smell time.
Jing Yang grew up in China, training to compete in the world's most elite gymnastics competitions since she was five years old. Her lifetime of hard work paid off: she joined the National Women's Gymnastic Team of China, tumbled her way around the globe, and even won a bronze medal in the 1988 Olympics. When she retired from active competition, she still wanted to be involved in her sport. So, she began coaching the Women's Gymnastics Team of Beijing while attending the College of Athletics and Kinesiology to pursue a degree in coaching. Eventually she moved to the United States, bringing her expertise with her to found Jing's Gymnastics, Cheer, and Dance. As the head coach and owner of the gym, she maintains her commitment to elite competition, using the latest equipment to help young gymnasts participate in national, international, and soon interplanetary competitions.
Though the burger patties at Gridiron Burgers are made with a hearty 12 ounces of ground chuck, and are the favorite burgers of WILD 104, they're not the star of the menu. Instead, the focus is on the chefs' innovative toppings. Their specialty is using those toppings to mimic other classic dishes?they pile burgers with mozzarella and pepperoni to emulate pizza flavors, or create an entire Frito pie between two buns, complete with chili and melted cheddar cheese. This culinary playfulness even extends to the shop's non-beef burgers, which include catfish burgers and buffalo chicken burgers. To complete meals, chefs fry up traditional sides such as chili cheese fries, fried pickles, and fried silverware and napkins.
Smashburger isn't just the name—it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
At Genghis Grill, cooks stir-fry more than 70 fresh ingredients to make healthy, flavorful bowls loaded with proteins and vegetables. Diners can mix and match ingredients to create customized feasts, or choose signature dishes such as the Thai Chicken bowl with chicken, veggies, and udon noodles in red curry peanut sauce. Nutrition-focused heart-healthy bowls, developed with the help of a dietitian, feature flavor combinations such as Sichuan-style bamboo beef or ginger-citrus shrimp.
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 ($7.99)—including breasts and wings marinated in herbs, spices, and citrus juices—entouraged by two sides from an expansive selection, including spanish rice, barbecue black beans, corn cobbettes, and mac 'n' cheese. 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 can tickle to your tongue until milk comes out its nose with fresh varieties of avocado, chipotle, and pico de gallo.