At Peking Wok, supple meats and veggies sink into Mandarin- and Szechuan-style sauces crafted from scratch each day. Diners populate the dining room for lunch, dinner, or a family-style grazing session, complete with soups and appetizers such as pot stickers, egg rolls, and fried shrimp and lobster chips. Portions of aromatic barbecue pork, sweet and sour chicken, and honey-walnut shrimp arrive at tables weighed down by full wine glasses and manner-less elbows, or tucked inside to-go boxes for carry-out or delivery.
From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery blends custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers’ exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location’s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spades to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.
Fatburger's gourmet burgers range from 2.5 oz. single-patty "baby fat" burgers ($2.49) to the XXXL 24 oz. thrice-stacked "triple king" ($9.69), with three more moderate options in between. Made from 100% lean beef, Fatburger's gourmet burger combos start at $4.99 (beer/burger combos start at $5.99), and all of the grilled goodies come topped with fresh veggies, while optional add-ons ($.59–$.89 each) are available for a custom chow-down. Plop a scoop of chili on your burger and cover it with a slice of cheese for a decadent dining experience, or create a breakfast-themed burger with bacon and an egg. Fatburger's chicken sandwich ($4.99 alone or $8.99 for combo; grilled, fried, or spicy), turkey burger ($4.49 alone or $7.99 for combo), and veggie burger ($4.79 alone or $8.49 for combo) offer awesome alternatives to bovine-based meals. Homemade onion rings ($2.89) or skinny fries ($2.39) act as lovable sidekicks for your brooding, misunderstood burger without a cause, while a sweet Maui-banana or cookies-and-cream milkshake ($3.79) can double as the skankified Olivia Newton-John it wins during the final musical number.
Papa John's has been popping out perfectly personalized pies 'round the clock for more than 25 years—fleshing out its lineup of specialty pizzas with a munificent menu featuring an array of classic and complex versions. Traditionalists of Italian fare can indulge in the spicy italian with pepperoni, sausage, and invisible Da Vinci-shaped meat (a $16.99 value for a large), and more progressive pie enthusiasts may select the hawaiian barbecue-chicken pizza––a vacation-inducing amalgamation of grilled chicken, barbecue sauce, hickory-smoked bacon, onions, and pineapple (a $16.99 value). Choose to indulge a creative culinary streak by designing a large Create Your Own pizza, selecting up to five toppings from an arsenal of dough accessories, including ham, banana peppers, and artichoke hearts (up to a $20.94 value). Like a bangin’ club or especially bangin’ fireplace store, Papa John's stays open late, making it an opportune eatery for impromptu pajama jams and uncontrollable sleep-feasting.
Afghan Cuisine & Banquet Hall's chefs make a mean kabuli pulao. In the words of Seattle Weekly food writer Hanna Raskin, the dish?which consists of broth-boiled basmati rice, shredded carrots, raisins, and a juicy lamb shank?"makes you want to eat nothing but lamb forevermore."
Lamb is just one of the meats that chefs skewer onto kabobs at Afghan Cuisine & Banquet Hall. Others include marinated chicken and meatballs seasoned with curry, ensuring that they leave an easily trackable, bright-yellow trail when they roll away. Family recipes dictate the careful creation of main dishes as well as their saucy compliments, such as garlic-yogurt and cilantro chutney, which diners can sop up with fluffy naan. They can sample authentic Afghan drinks, too, in the form of Afghan tea or dogh, a cucumber-yogurt drink.
After attending culinary school, Lebanon-born Moussa Elmoussa decided to open a restaurant using Mediterranean recipes borrowed from the mother of his half-Grecian wife. More than 17 years later, he continues to prepare a menu made with nutritious, healthy ingredients such as lemon juice, chopped cucumbers, and low-fat yogurt from dieting cows. Chefs at both locations carve kosher and halal lamb, chicken, and beef for gyros, stuff grape leaves with rice, and ladle out housemade tzatziki sauce.