Steven Paperno, raised in the kitchen of his parents' delicatessen, has been working with food all his life. By the age of 18, he already owned a food manufacturing company, a job that took him all over the Americas. While in Central and South America, he sampled some of the cuisine and found himself dreaming of bringing those small-village flavors to America. So, he sold his company in order to start a new one, one dedicated to infusing organic, local ingredients with the flavors he tasted abroad. He called the new joint Sharky's Woodfired Mexican Grill.
Inside any Sharky's location, the chefs use certified-organic beans and rice to complement flavorful Mexican entrees. Guests can observe cooks in the open kitchen as they prepare all-natural chicken with no added hormones and all-natural Angus beef. Wild-caught seafood is hand-selected for quality and chosen according to the recommendations of the West Coast Seafood Watch, which aims to prevent overfishing by encouraging restaurateurs to buy sustainably caught seafood. Mesquite grills and stone-fire ovens lend their kiss to each dish on the menu, locking in the flavor that Steven so wished to re-create without the hassles of a trashcan fire.
Though it sounds like a mixed drink, the campechana cocktail is actually a meal. Diners spear shrimp, octopus, and chunks of white abalone as they swim in cocktail sauce flavored with avocado and cilantro. The seafood stew is just one of Cabrera’s house specialties, which populate nearly half of the Mexican eatery’s menu. Other specialty dishes include steak ranchero, marinated sirloin served alongside grilled cactus and jalapeños, and salmon con salsa de arandano, a fresh, pan-roasted fish steeped in cranberry chipotle sauce. Traditionalists can take comfort in the eateries’ abidance to serving food on plates rather than mini hovercrafts, and south-of-the-border staples such as mole-drenched chicken and burritos blanketed with melted cheese.
Doña Rosa Bakery & Taqueria serves up fresh, fast, and authentic Mexican favorites derived from owner Blair Salisbury's 100-year-old family recipes. Enjoy breakfast all day long with sweet baked goods ($1.30–$1.60), huevos rancheros ($7.10), or chilaquiles, a plate of scrambled eggs and crispy tortilla chips drenched in red or green sauce, queso fresco, and sour cream ($7.25). Domestic and imported beers ($3.50) or salt-garnished margaritas ($1.95–$4) wash down lunch and dinner burritos ($7.25) and tortas ($7.50) customized with an array of marinated meats, and vegetarian nachos ($7.75) sate those whose teeth tremble in anticipation for non-meated meals. Late-night shrimp soft tacos ($3.35) perfectly fit into mouth openings shaped like a shrimp soft taco and can be capped off with flan ($4).
Although they specialize in cuisine from across the southern border, the chefs at Lupita's also craft many of their Mexican delicacies with ingredients from across another border: the one between land and sea. They fill enchiladas with crabmeat, toss shrimp in a spicy ranchera sauce, and roll grilled, boneless tilapia fillets in flour tortillas with bell pepper, onion, and tomato. To round out the menu, this culinary team whips up other Mexican staples, such as chili relleno, beef or chicken taquitos, and burritos filled with ingredients such as chorizo and chicken asada.