A line of stalwart cowboys wearing metal sombreros guards the red-brick, mural-covered façade of Los Alamos Market y Cocina, hinting at the quirky mom-and-pop charm to be found inside. Every day, members of the Juarez family work the counters at the convenience store or labor over the stoves of the kitchen, producing made-from-scratch Mexican feasts of pork adobo, menudo, posole, and carne asada. Guests plop down on green vinyl booths near the open kitchen, but not before they’ve loaded up their plates at a buffet with chilies rellenos, marinated chicken, and stewed barbacoa. In the attached grocery and market, interesting products hang from the ceiling and shelves, including a line of novelty piñatas made to look like rival university mascots or local business competitors.
From the front of a gently spinning pasta machine emerge fresh noodles, which drop into pans ready to be cooked and served with meatballs, mussels, or breaded veal. In addition to the regular and gluten-free pastas, the chef at Cafe Italia crafts sauces, gelato, and bread to flood the restaurant's dimly lit dining room with authentic flavor. Cafe Italia’s catering services range from prepping food for pickup to supplying all necessary party wares, including tables, chairs, china, and servers to hand-feed guests.
Utilizing the best cuts of meats and the finest spices, Werner's hand-twists preservative-free sausages in natural casings that pop when bitten and giggle when tickled. The bockwurst floods taste receptors with rich veal and chives ($6.69 per pound), and the smoked cheddar-bier brat induces salivation with coarse ground pork, beer buds, and cheddar ($4.79 per pound). Passed down through generations in a baton-shaped cookbook, the recipe for swedish potato sausage blends one third pork, one third beef, and one third potato to please spud devotees ($4.99 per pound).
Leon Butler opened Brookside Optical in 1989 with the vision that all clients, even those with hard-to-correct eyesight, could have access to stylish eyewear. Today, the shelves stock colorful frames ($100+) by small manufacturers and such designers as l.a. Eyeworks, Theo, and Anne et Valentin. Whether in retro cat-eye shapes or planted with futuristic jet packs, each pair of glasses is crafted by the on-site lab and ready to wear within days.