Many of the dishes served at Rick and Brian's Cafe have been taking up menu real estate since the diner opened 30 years ago. This comfort food puts customers at ease, as does some of their veteran staff who have been around since the diner's opening, offering a comforting continuity for guests stopping in for their daily coffee, chicken-fried steak, and slow-cooked pot roast. Like any good diner or restaurant without a clock, the cafe serves breakfast all day long alongside BLTs, burgers, meatloaf, and cobb salads. Staff members also bake up retro desserts such as pineapple upside down cake, orange liqueur cheesecake made with Grand Marnier, and bundt cakes with vodka and Kahlua baked inside.
Residents of Long Beach in search of down-home barbecue can head to Buffalo Spot Wings & Rib Co. for some wings, ribs, and homestyle sides. Patrons order up 5, 10, 15, or even 100 wings in a sauce that runs the gamut from mild to Atomic hot and pair them with mouth-cooling aids, including creamy blue cheese or ranch dressing, carrots, and smooth hip-hop rhymes. Ribs arrive tableside with sides such as mac and cheese and baked beans. One of the eatery's most popular offerings, buffalo fries, piles chopped chicken tenders and crispy fries onto a plate and douses them in any of the 10 sauces, plus the special sauce.
When he was a kid, Joseph Rooney heard a story from his uncle about a duck that was struck by a waterskier near their family's summer home in Illinois. That duck, however, didn't die or even file a lawsuit?it just waddled away with a crooked neck. As the story spread and more neighbors shared their own crooked duck sightings, the legend grew, following Joseph all the way to Long Beach where he named his restaurant after that resilient bird.
Hailed as an "obsessively friendly restaurant that every neighborhood should have" by the Long Beach Press-Telegram, The Crooked Duck welcomes visitors into a casual, oftentimes quirky atmosphere with timeless dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the mornings, the kitchen turns out flapjacks and omelets. The rest of the day, the restaurant's menu overflows with unique dishes such as meatloaf with caramelized onions, gorgonzola bacon burgers, and decadent sweets such as naked carrot cake.
Outside on the sun-soaked patio, or inside the casual earth-toned dining room, The Marketplace Grill Cafe's staff cooks items from a sprawling menu of American and Mediterranean-influenced dishes and serves them all day. Their sweet breakfast crepes fold around berries, bananas, Nutella, walnuts, and whipped cream, which is the kind of cream most likely to get along with a locker-room towel. The Marketplace's pastry chefs craft a host of their sweet specialties each day, using all natural ingredients to create sheets of flaky baklava, Greek-style walnut cake, and pastaflora—homemade cookie 'pies' made with fruit preserves.
Gwen Willhite founded Cookies by Design in 1983, when an unsatisfying brainstorming session about gift ideas led her to ponder one exciting question: why should flowers and sweets remain separate? Her solution was to design the cookie bouquet, where custom hand-decorated cookies are displayed on sticks and arranged like flowers in gift baskets. Her invention quickly became a popular gift among locals, particularly those allergic to real blooms or too bashful to look at naked cookies.
Twenty-five years later, there are roughly 90 Cookies by Design locations across the country. Each shop's team of bakers creates cookie baskets with a degree of care that matches Willhite's original vision, decorating and arranging sweet shapes for birthdays, holidays, and any other special occasion.
The bakers at Frosted Cupcakery employ old-fashioned elbow grease and quality ingredients to condense gigantic gourmet-cake flavor into tiny bite-sized confections. With 14 daily flavors, a handful of seasonally rotating specialties, and a constantly replenished fresh-baked stock throughout the day, Frosted Cupcakery features ample treat opportunities. Royal white cupcakes are crowned with a choice of chocolate, vanilla, nutella, or coconut vanilla buttercream, and red velvet cakes are shrouded in rich cream-cheese frosting. Seasonal flavors such as pumpkin, orange, strawberry, and October flavor-of-the-month orange chocolate chip, topped with orange chocolate buttercream, are only available until the weather cools, forcing cupcake trees to hibernate for the winter.