Chef Bupar acquired her culinary prowess alongside her mother, who operated a street-side café in Bangkok for more than 20 years. Today, she draws on recipes she learned from her mother to conjure up the bustling, spice-tinged air of the city of her youth. The traditional Thai flavors of ginger, lemongrass, and garlic flood dishes and thick coconut milk helps lower the potency of red chilies in a range of curries to a pleasant warmth. Beneath the eatery’s saffron-hued walls and decorative greenery, bouquets of basil, cilantro, and fresh sprouts bestow portions of noodles and rice with textural variety.
Diners can sit outdoors if the weather and 80-foot sentient dragon statue permits, or enjoy after-dinner entertainment at the nearby Matthew Knight Arena. Downstairs in The Underground Lounge, diners can feast on the main restaurant’s full menu in a more casual atmosphere adorned with pool tables, HDTVs, and dartboards.
At street level, Diablo’s Downtown Lounge hides behind the guise of a traditional bar. There, hearty burgers and beers culled from 10 tap lines arrive at tables surrounded by subtle red upholstery and a gallery’s worth of local artwork. But tucked away on the pub’s subterranean level is a shadowy nightclub where painted flames race up the walls and repeatedly disappoint revelers trying to light their cigarettes. Formerly Perry’s Nightclub, the downstairs haunt still invites dancing on a large floor infused with ‘80s, hip-hop, or contemporary house music handpicked by DJs and special guests. Each level hosts its own events throughout the week, including karaoke and bingo upstairs and Goth-themed dance nights downstairs.
Chef Richard Balajadia’s food presentation can be dazzling—in his hands, green apples become swans and ahi tuna piles atop rice and vegetables to create gravity-defying sculptures—but he relies on seasonal ingredients to ensure that the dishes taste as good as they look. If organic arugula and free-range chicken don't sound like standard sports-bar fare, that’s precisely the intention. Lifelong friends and owners Michael Hoover, Todd Bardwell, and Bill Hutchins told the Register-Guard that they hired Balajadia because they wanted a menu that would appeal to their own "foodie tastes." Accordingly, even the bar’s burgers transcend their simplistic origins with jalapeño barbecue sauce, grilled portobellos, or house teriyaki sauce.
Even the bar’s drink menu rotates seasonally, with specialty cocktails that change to incorporate fresh summer fruits or entice tipplers with autumnal spices. The mixologists create their medleys of rosemary-infused Gentleman Jack whiskey, silver-agave tequila, and guava nectar at a bar where flat-screen televisions keep the atmosphere lively by showing Ducks’ games instead of documentaries about watching paint dry. The patio's red and yellow triangular shade sails for sunny days, and outdoor heaters fire up on chilly ones. DJ Reddfox transforms the vibe by spinning live on Saturday nights.
At The Highlands Brew Pub, a glittering row of silvery beer taps and the clack of pool balls beckon to passersby to stop in for a tasty craft beer and relax with their friends and neighbors. A menu of upscale pub cuisine pairs with frosty brews, with selections such as clams saut?ed in white wine, prime rib sandwiches, and buttered halibut fish and chips.