When the family behind L5 Thai Restaurant & Lounge immigrated to the United States from Thailand, they brought along a deep love for their native cuisine. The menu aims to capture the region's complex and distinctive blend of flavors and spices. However, truly re-creating these flavors requires a more personal touch, and the chefs acknowledge this by making some noodles in-house and by giving nicknames to every single peanut. This commitment lends even more authenticity to the selection of familiar Thai staples, including fragrant curries, stir-fries with spicy chili sauces, and Thai-style barbecued spare ribs.
The dining room's white tablecloths appear crisp and minimalist, but the red walls, ceiling-mounted surfboard, and chrome-laden bar seating area imbue the ambiance with some casualness and whimsy. Leafy plants sit in the corner, adding a verdant splash to contrast the reds, golds, and ambers defining the majority of the space.
When Pennsylvania native Mike Abeyta moved to the West Coast, he noticed that something he loved was absent from the culinary landscape: Philadelphia-style italian ice. To rectify this geographical oversight, he opened Joe's Italian Ice. Today, the ice shop's red, white, and green awning serves as an oasis of refreshment amid sun-baked parking lots throughout Arizona and California. Inside, more than 50 flavors are made on-site with real fruit, ranging from lemon, chocolate, and passion fruit to weirder variations that boast names like "Dangerberry" and "Smurf Poison."
Joe's isn't a one-trick pony, though; the shops also specialize in a soft-serve ice cream that's found in only a few places back east. The Pennsylvania dairy that ships the ice cream to Joe's cooks it at ultra-high temperatures to give it a markedly creamier texture and sweeter finish. Joe's frozen wares can also serve as the base for shakes and sundaes and overly whimsical skyscrapers topped with candy or fruit.
Tasty BBQ & Dim Sum, nestled inside the Thuan Phat Supermarket, specializes in exactly what its name describes. Relying on authentic Chinese barbecue recipes, the chefs sizzle up portions of pork belly, chicken, and duck before tossing them with rice. They stuff dim-sum dumplings with fresh ingredients such as meats and vegetables by hand, and serve them steaming fresh or freeze them for use during a future snowball fight. The small eatery rounds out its menu with classic Chinese dishes including chow mein, congee, beef tripe, roasted pork, roasted duck, sui mai, har gow, and stewed chicken feet.
Cafe Tourane has one main pledge: to serve the freshest, healthiest coffee possible. The café cuts out the middlemen of warehouses and shipping by sending staffers on drives directly to their roaster to pick up beans, which wear the USDA organic seal to signify their total avoidance of synthetic pesticides and their love of stickers. While sipping on an espresso drink or a fruit smoothie, patrons can pop back sweet, sugar-dusted french beignets, served with a cool side of condensed milk for dipping. With plenty of natural light from front windows, the café is an ideal place to read a book with a cup of the fresh-brewed daily roast.
On a warm August day in 1938, a father and son unveiled the first sample of what was to become Dairy Queen, selling 1,600 samples on the first day, a feat as unheard of as a dragon that breathes ice. Its ensuing prolific expansion was fueled by its frozen treats, which propelled the dessert shop from 100 stores in 1947 to 1,446 in 1950. Today, their dessert recipes remain largely unchanged, and Dairy Queen has added hearty grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and fried chicken to its menu. Dairy Queen's enormous dessert menu boasts treats ranging from soft-serve cones and blizzards filled with cookies to takeaway ice-cream sandwiches and cakes.
"Friendship" is painted above the picture windows at Kaye's on Brookhurst, so that it's the last thing customers see when they walk out the door. The staff aims to make the eatery a welcoming place, where diners enjoy breakfast so much that they return for lunch. In the morning, both traditional and specialty breakfasts tempt palates, such as the house favorite pancakes with a citrus glaze. At lunch, hearty sandwiches and housemade chili fill bellies so customers don't have to inhale as much air. Sunny yellow walls and dark wood chairs complement the bright paintings hanging on the wall, all creating a warm atmosphere.