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.
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.
With a name that's a riff on the French phrase for golden bread, Pandor Bakery and Cafe specializes in regional French pastries OC Weekly once said inspire "where-have-you-been-all-my-life epiphanies". Pandor is far from just a pastry shop, though, as it boasts an extensive menu that includes everything from breakfast plates to paninis. By morning, guests can be found digging into Nutella french toast or croque madames?and head in early for its Dornut pastry, which OC Weekly calls "obscenely good." At lunch, the kitchen sizzles with the sound of pressed sandwiches layered with pesto chicken or grilled zucchini. Though Pandor's flagship location can be found in the south of France, the California locations incorporate local goods such as coffee from Costa Mesa's Portola Coffee Lab and forks grown within Orange County.
At the bright and cozy Canadian Pizza & Grill, many of the pizzas are served in twos. Working in accordance with their regular ?2-for-1? deal, cooks bake up pairs of pies fresh, tossing twin 10-inch, 12-inch, or 14-inch circles of dough with imaginative specialty toppings like chorizo, ham and pineapple, or Canadian bacon. They outfit both pizzas in sturdy cardboard boxes and matching "It's a Boy!" bonnets, peddling them to customers for the price of one. When they're not whipping up pizza duos, the kitchen staff turns their attention to other pizzeria classics, including crunchy foot-long subs, plump wings, and grilled philly steak sandwiches. They also prepare a variety of two-person pasta dinners that include meat lasagna, chicken parmigiana, and fettuccine alfredo.