Karie Foster was searching for her true calling in the early 2000s. She was frustrated by her job in real estate, and wanted to branch out into a creative pursuit. After she hosted a cupcake-themed birthday party for her friend's daughter, she knew what to do. She noticed that even the adults at the party devoured her treats with the speed of an over-caffeinated auctioneer, so she decided to open her own bakery. Here, she specializes in the cupcakes and sweet treats she loved as a child, baking a rotating selection of family-recipe favorites such as mini cupcakes, sheet cakes, and chocolate-fudge pie.
The Long Beach bakery, named Miss Priss after Karie's childhood collection of prissy dolls, looks like a life-size dollhouse. Beyond the quaint storefront dressed in gauzy pink curtains, light pink hutches house baked goods accented with frilly pink bows, and a ruffled tiered cupcake stand displays rows of ornately frosted pastel goodies.
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.
Since 1992, Potato Corner has fascinated international crowds with its wholly customizable menu of crispy french fries, though franchises only broke ground in America during February of 2010. The new U.S. shops cropped up in places with lots of foot traffic, entrancing people with the scent of fresh-fried potatoes in malls, airports, theme parks, and at marathon starting lines. Potato Corner’s straight-, loopy-, and criss-cut fries come unadorned in their lightly salted glory, or they can be tossed in gourmet flavorings such as barbecue, cheddar, chili, and sour cream and onion. The shop has also expanded its repertoire to include baked potatoes, chicken tenders, and a butler who tucks cloth napkins into collars in order to sate customers in search of a full meal.