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.
Dickey?s Barbecue Pit has smoked beef brisket in-house nearly every night since 1941, painting each morsel with a tangy house-made sauce. Pulled pork, turkey breast, and polish sausage round out the menu with meals that are heartier than a burrito wrapped in Paul Bunyan?s plaid shirt. Boxed lunches and catered buffets brim with homestyle sides such as coleslaw, mac 'n' cheese, and jalape?o beans. Once the last pickle has been crunched and the last finger has been licked, guests can savor one of the restaurant?s most cherished traditions: a vanilla cone, on the house.
Mission Café’s impression of a retro diner is spot on; it has red-and-chrome bar stools, a red-and-white checkered floor, and an array of breakfast, lunch, and dinner food from the griddle and grill. The cooks crack eggs for omelets, toss house-made corned beef for the reuben sandwich, and flip an array of burgers, including the chili burger, the double burger, and the vegetarian Garden City burger. Frothy milkshakes and steamy coffee complement the all-American food, just as George Washington once dictated.
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 souffl?s 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.
Basque Country in northern Spain may not be well known, but it does have a well-deserved reputation for culinary excellence, according to Food & Wine. The chefs there rely on the region?s bountiful surroundings, using local seafood and farm-fresh produce along with more rarefied ingredients such as forest mushrooms and wild boar. The result is a unique cuisine that is not commonly found outside of Basque Country, and is the singular specialty at Basque Matxain Etxea Restaurant, which has been serving Basque-style cuisine for more than a decade. Head chef Guillermo Matxain learned the craft organically during his childhood in San Sebastian, a major city in the Basque region, and years spent in the kitchen at the family restaurant.
Today, Chef Matxain cooks elaborate and authentic Basque dishes, such as shrimp, mussels, and seafood paella according to family recipes that have been passed down and absentmindedly folded into paper airplanes over several generations. He crafts small tapas for diners to share, including baby calamari in garlic, oil, and paprika, and woody mushrooms saut?ed with parsley. His rich traditional Basque dishes include Cazuela Easo, a mixed seafood dish cooked in a secret family recipe creamy cheese sauce.
A public eatery situated amid the courts of the Chamisal Tennis and Fitness Club, Courtside Cafe fills feasters with elegant lunch and dinner fare masterfully concocted by head chef David Frappiea. Duos can kick off their epicurean expedition by falling face first into a plateful of domestic cheeses and playing tabletop football with the accompanying toast points. Homemade fettuccini entangles wild mushroom and oven-kissed tomatoes in a flavorful frenzy beneath olive oil, butter, and a healthy dusting of asiago cheese, and a bed of tarragon-infused risotto hosts roasted chicken, artichoke hearts, and its own asiago snowstorm. After perfectly grilling an 8-ounce Bistro fillet, the chef accessorizes the tender cut with swiss chard and hand-cut pommes frites cut in the shape of John McEnroe’s broken racquet. In addition to fresh seafood and steaks, Courtside Cafe churns out vegetarian and vegan options upon request.