Since its first pizzeria opened in 1978 in Palo Alto, Mountain Mike’s Pizza has stretched to encompass more than 150 restaurants throughout the West Coast. From the meat-laden Pike’s Peak to the vegetarian-friendly Mt. Veggiemore, 12 specialty pizzas—most of them named after mountains—arrive in portions from small to extra large, which can feed up to eight patrons or spark nostalgia in homesick, city-dwelling mountain goats. Diners can also choose their own conglomeration of ingredients, ranging from Louisiana-style hot links to sun-dried tomatoes, and supplement pies with an all-you-can-eat salad bar or a quintet of appetizer options including wings and jalapeño poppers.
With its exposed brick walls and dark woods, Risibisi Restaurant would feel right at home among the trattorias lining the streets of northern Italy. Chalk that sensation up to owner Marco Palmieri, a native of Trieste. Under his stewardship, the award-winning establishment has garnered praise from Zagat and the Michelin Guide.
Though everything about Risibisi is Italian, its roots are actually planted firmly in Californian soil. The restaurant relies almost exclusively on ingredients produced by local farms throughout Sonoma County. Chefs transform those elements into fried eggplant paninis with goat cheese for lunch and around 10 different pastas for dinner. They also create succulent entr?es such as braised lamb shank with pistachio-olive pesto. A full bar allows guests to sip authentic cocktails while waiting for a table, or for a handy dining companion to build one out of toothpicks and bubblegum.
Hand-painted signs greet passersby at Schellville Grill's cozy roadside shack, hinting that homemade meals await inside. Though the restaurant's façade emanates a rustic vibe, the kitchen teems with formal expertise from the Culinary Institute of America, owner Matthew Nagan's alma mater. Here, Matthew rubs beef tri-tips in a mélange of dried chipotle, natural smoke flavor, and hand-ground black pepper, marinates them for 24 hours, then grills them over hot coals, hickory chips, and dried wine vines. This sweet and spicy meat stars in several house specials, including a ranchero quesadilla and a sandwich that's lured Food Network's Guy Fieri to Matthew's smokehouse.
On a flower-lined patio, diners pair live music and local wine with gourmet sweets from Matthew's sister, Emily. Available in flavors such as chocolate zinfandel and espresso cinnamon, whole cakes can be ordered for pickup or enjoyed at private parties in the restaurant's dining room or safe deposit box.
Between Bosko's Trattoria?s exposed stone walls, ruby-hued booths and tables showcase sandwiches stacked high, fresh pastas made daily, and pizzas baked to a golden finish in a wood-fired oven. Chefs bake house-made focaccia garlic bread to commence culinary adventures, as well the burrata appetizer. Artfully crafted tiramisu and cheesecake cap off meals, which the wait staff serve under a hanging mirror and lighting that, like a sack of potatoes recently crushed by a piano, is soft. Libation connoisseurs top off glasses with beer, coffee, and your choice from 30 wine selections.
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