Tucked away in the kitchen of each Paris Baguette, bakers trained in French techniques craft buttery, flaky croissants and tart crusts, and their success at this has earned attention from the likes of the New York Times. In addition to pastries and sweets such as mocha rice balls, the bakers knead bread for their namesake baguettes and yeasty creations that hold an Asian twist, such as red-bean-paste-filled donuts. The experts also create fondant-cloaked cakes that venture beyond classic flavors into green tea, cappuccino, and sweet potato, delighting partygoers bored of the same laminated sheet cake that makes its appearance at each year’s birthday celebration.
To wash down these treats, patrons sip cups of java or more exotic drinks such as wheatgrass and black-sesame lattes, persimmon smoothies, and bubble tea. At lunchtime, many locations layer sandwiches, filling hungry stomachs with croque monsieurs and baguettes stuffed with chicken and pesto.
At Main Street Pizza & Cafe, eager eaters ingest hand-tossed pizzas, hot sandwiches served on french rolls, and breakfast fare. The savory surface of an artichoke-feta pizza supports fresh garlic, tomatoes, and mozzarella, which cower on its edges after glimpsing the approach of world-consuming teeth (starting at $8.99).
Sen Bistro’s menu of slow-cooked beef stews, shrimp stir-fries, and rice-vermicelli plates expands palates with the authentic tastes of distant Vietnam. Spring rolls pop with the fresh colors of local produce, and crunchy-chewy baguettes conceal slices of grilled pork, chicken, or lemongrass and tofu. Bowls of pho unite noodles with sliced, rare brisket and fragrant Vietnamese spices, warming mouths with hot broth before after-dinner treats of small-batch iced coffee.
It's been nearly three decades since the first Taco Factory Inc opened its doors, and though the business has expanded to other locations, some things haven't changed. Chefs at all locations still rely on the same family recipes to craft a menu of authentic Mexican cuisine. The guacamole that tops the restaurant's tacos, tostadas, and burritos, for example, is still made fresh in-house, and the salsas and tortilla chips are always handmade. Breakfast, which is served till noon, features hearty eye-openers like egg and bean burritos or huevos rancheros, while a variety of vegetarian options cater to those in search of lighter fare.
"Niki's is everything fast food should be: unpretentious but good; cheap but plentiful; and fast, fast, fast," raved OC Weekly in 2010 when it awarded the restaurant the title of Best Fast-Food Indian Orange County. Speed isn't everything, though. At Niki's Indian Cuisine, the chefs specialize in coaxing the savory flavors out of items such as chicken and lamb by roasting skewers inside a traditional, clay tandoor oven. The majority of the menu contains vegetarian-friendly dishes?including entrees featuring lentils, eggplant, and curried chlorophyll?all of which can range from mild to pleasantly spicy.