Father-son endeavors usually reflect a common interest—model rockets, cars, etc. For George and Demitri Loizides, that common bond is a mutual love of food and county. At their eatery, George’s Greek Café, dad George brings 48 years of experience in the deli and market business, while Demitri brings 28 years spent working in the restaurant industry. The younger Loizides does most of the cooking, but those who know the family might swear his mother, Rodou, was behind it. Demitri copies techniques he learned from her, including using only fresh, healthy ingredients––such as extra virgin olive oil––and making everything from scratch each day, from the humus and saganaki, to the beef and lamb gyros and baklava. For a genuine Greek experience, the Loizides recommend that diners dig in with their fingers. The Lakewood location’s décor also helps transport guests to the Mediterranean, starting with the murals—one of a hillside crowned with crumbling columns, another depicting a typical Grecian seaside village, complete with whitewashed walls and lamps lit with flaming cheese.
New Wave Restaurant transports diners back to the 1980s with a variety of 20th-century artifacts and an eclectic spread of American cuisine named after 80s icons, movies, and musicians. Upon walking through the Pac-Man-themed entrance, guests are consumed by a vortex of 80s memorabilia, which grants glimpses of authentic posters and framed records lining interior walls as Rubik's cubes and figurines of 80s characters pepper the checkered bar. A menu of finger-friendly eats such as the Ferris Bueller buffalo wings prepare palates for heartier fare, such as the Billy Idol bacon burger and Pee-wee Herman pasta. Additionally, themed events help amplify the multisense smorgasbord, including nights devoted to such 80s nostalgia as Star Wars and the passage of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
Chefs at La Cocina pick fresh ingredients sourced from the surrounding area to build Mexican and Cuban plates as colorful as the eatery's bright orange walls or a firework-filled piñata. After rounds of fresh ceviche or ham croquetas, rustic wooden tabletops fill with made-to-order rice dishes such as the palomilla empanizada—thin-pounded top sirloin steak breaded and pan-fried—or stone mortars known as molcajete filled with chorizo or seafood and fresh cheese. For dessert, chefs hand-craft creamy flan or natural shakes made with mango or tropical mamey fruit. A tiled chair rail runs along the restaurant's tangerine walls, which are studded with Mexican-style art and framed photographs of famous burritos that have visited the restaurant.
The original Beard Papa?s began filling the airs of Osaka, Japan, with the warm, wafting smells of its original-recipe cream puffs. A double-layer puff featuring piecrust on the outside and a mixture of vanilla custard cream and whipped cream on the inside, the successful little treats have led the bakery to expand to more than 300 locations throughout Southeast Asia, Russia, the United States, and the moon. The venerable bakery has also graduated to other pint-size desserts and Asian-influenced treats, including mochi ice cream and mango ice showers, a fusion of shaved ice, layered sweet sauce, and mango chunks.
In 2008, four sisters started Bambu Desserts & Drinks as a hobby. Today, the San Jose?born brand has established a major presence in the Bay Area, and has expanded to other states including Hawaii, Nevada, and Texas. Bambu?s success can be traced to the quality of its treats, as well as its variety: the menu is packed with about 100 Asian-inspired desserts and beverages. Tapioca balls float in their milk teas, which range in flavor from lychee to coconut to jasmine, and their dessert drinks combine such intriguing ingredients as coconut, pandan jelly, longan, basil seed?which form the Bambu special. Various hot and cold coffee drinks, such as Vietnamese coffee, caf? mochas, and lattes, put a spring in guests' step?more convenient than filling your shoes with jumping beans. The staffers also concoct blended coffees and smoothies, which come in flavors including strawberry, coconut, papaya, and avocado.
Tucked away in the kitchen of each Paris Baguette, bakers trained in French techniques craft buttery, flaky croissants and tart crusts, and their success at this has earned attention from the likes of the New York Times. In addition to pastries and sweets such as mocha rice balls, the bakers knead bread for their namesake baguettes and yeasty creations that hold an Asian twist, such as red-bean-paste-filled donuts. The experts also create fondant-cloaked cakes that venture beyond classic flavors into green tea, cappuccino, and sweet potato, delighting partygoers bored of the same laminated sheet cake that makes its appearance at each year’s birthday celebration.
To wash down these treats, patrons sip cups of java or more exotic drinks such as wheatgrass and black-sesame lattes, persimmon smoothies, and bubble tea. At lunchtime, many locations layer sandwiches, filling hungry stomachs with croque monsieurs and baguettes stuffed with chicken and pesto.