At Famous Dave’s BBQ, hand-rubbed St. Louis-style spareribs smoke over a hickory fire for 3-4 hours. A generous helping of sweet and sassy sauce—made from Famous Dave’s secret recipe—seals in the ribs’ piquant flavor and also makes appearances on other barbeque specialties including country-roasted chicken and regular or boneless wings. Joining Famous Dave’s menu of barbecue staples are burgers and citrus shrimp fresh from the grill as well as sandwiches, southern sides, and desserts.
Bertha Campbell Cole stepped back and let out a satisfied sigh after making the final pink brushstrokes on the wooden siding of the 1856 hotel. She had traveled throughout Southeast Asia with her husband for years, but was now firmly planted back in her childhood territory on Northern California soil. The year was 1935, and Bertha's new stationary lifestyle meant that she could finally realize her dream of opening a teahouse. In forthcoming decades, the intimate space would sate the appetites of celebrities such as Alfred Hitchcock and Beverly Sills, as well as many noncelebrities who simply liked ornately papered walls. Today, owner Charlie Shockey continues La Casa Rosa Restaurant's tradition by serving luncheons fashioned from Mexican-inspired recipes, local herbs and produce, and seasonally changing red and white wines. Chefs bake corn, beef, and cheeses into california casseroles, following an original recipe given to Bertha's aunts by a local Mexican commandant. Chicken and seafood soufflés sail past antique dolls, pictures, and a gramophone to tables in the main dining room, or on their way to an outdoor courtyard among flowering shrubs and giraffes. Wines such as Ash Blonde—a French-Italian blended aperitif—chill glasses alongside domestic and imported beers, and a baby grand piano holds a row of sample jams and chutneys off to one side of the dining room. After tastings, visitors can order the local preserves, which staff members then pack into decorative pink boxes.
In 1982, Alfonso Castaneda opened Dona Esther Restaurant, which he named after his grandmother in honor of her life and love of cooking. Popular dishes include carne asada made with rib-eye steak and the Dona Esther Special, a combination platter that hides its plate beneath a piping-hot chicken enchilada, taco, and burrito and bed of rice and beans. Customers looking for something more comforting than a mariachi band that lulls them to sleep can always order a steaming, fragrant bowl of menudo—a traditional Mexican soup seasoned with onion, cilantro, and crushed red pepper. But if music's your thing, live musicians fill the room on Saturday nights and during the Sunday brunch buffet. The traditional tunes add to an atmosphere epitomized by rustic carvings and paintings, as well as lush greenery that spills out of pots in search of salsa.