When owners Vanessa and Ron Wilkerson were opening Samba Rock Acai Café, they encountered many roadblocks along the way. For instance, the city assessed there would be a $30,000 traffic-impact fee for their restaurant. So the duo improvised. They built an indoor bike parking area, reducing the fee while still providing customers a place to park their wheels. This is just one example in which Ron has defied what some might see as a career-ending set-back. In 1988, the former professional BMX Freestyle rider fell into a coma after failing to land a no-hander, no-footer trick on his bike. Though some might have given up after a life-threatening experience like that—he suffered short-term memory loss and even forgot some of the BMX tricks that he had pioneered—Ron got back on his bike. And if he hadn’t, he would never have traveled to Sao Paolo, Brazil, met Vanessa, married her, or opened Samba Rock Acai Café.
The menu at Samba Rock Acai Café pays homage to the country where the Wilkersons met and where Vanessa grew up. Blended Brazilian berries and mix-ins, such as bananas and peanut butter, make up the base for their acai bowls. They crown this base with toppings such as fresh fruit, avocado, coconut cream, and granola. Their smoothies also feature acai, as well as organic ingredients, which have never been tainted by spray tanners to look more appealing to customers. To round out their South American-inspired menu, they serve yerba mate—steeped leaves of the mate plant—with acai to sweeten each sip.
Keywords: Brazilian Steak House | Rodizio-Style Service | Gourmet Salad Bar | International Wine Selection
Churrascaria: Brazilian-style barbecuing where the meat is skewered and cooked over an open flame or on a grill; the meat itself is called churrasco.
Caipirinha: a Brazilian cocktail made with the sugarcane-based spirit cachaca and lime juice.
At Roudon-Smith Winery, winemakers surrounded by unique murals create barrels of rich reds and refreshing white wines using high-quality grapes from the Santa Cruz Mountains and other regions of California. Whether crafting an elegant pinot noir or a richly colored zinfandel, the winemakers follow a philosophy of minimal intervention, seeking to preserve the essential qualities of the fruit.
It's rare to find a restaurant that grills steaks and burgers exactly how you want them, every time. But Grill 'Em Steakhouse and Bar makes that juicy-on-the-outside, charred-on-the inside dream a reality by putting you, the customer, behind the grill. It's all the tender perfection of grilled-at-home meats without the cleanup.
Grill-it-Yourself Burgers and Steaks
Grill 'Em's 6' x 2.5'-foot communal grill is a carnivore's eden where patrons focus on the cooking?and the kinship. Quaff a beverage and chat with friends as you cook a thick burger or juicy steak to your ideal temperature: medium, well done, or rare pink, if that's your pleasure. Besides classic beef patties, burgers also come stuffed with cheese or made with bison meat or vegetarian beans. Refer to Grill 'Em's guide to learn the details of their premium steak cuts, which include rib eye, top sirloin, new york strip, and filet mignon.
The Green Stuff: Salads and Sides
Of course, man doesn't live by filet mignon alone. While you're grilling, Grill' Em's kitchen churns out sides such as baked potatoes, mac and cheese, and sauteed veggies to pair with your meal. Servers can deliver an order of pot stickers and wings to your table as you sit down with your perfectly griddled burger. Chow down as you play tiddly-winks with sandwich pickles or watch the game on one of Grill 'Em's 10 large-screen HDTVs.
Since 1987, the folks at Izzy’s Steaks & Chops have been grilling up the steaks and chops that they see as an integral part of Americana, along with freshly caught local seafood that’s never frozen. All of their corn-fed Black Angus beef is humanely raised at Creekstone Farms, which is dedicated to beef free of hormones and antibiotics. The chefs transform those premium meats into their signature new york sirloin steaks, aged a minimum of 21 days, as well as cuts of slow-roasted prime rib and filet mignon medallions au poivre with pepper cream sauce. Double-cut pork gets a boost from spiced pear, and a lime-chive sauce adds tang to peppered swordfish. Each meal comes with a choice of two sides, such as creamed spinach, the chefs’ signature potatoes au gratin, and french fries cut in the kitchen.
House desserts such as new york cheesecake and key-lime pie conclude meals or quiet whining choruses of sweet teeth. Wine, cocktails, and draft beers encourage diners to linger in the cozy space, and during brunch—served only at the San Francisco location—the bartenders mix up cocktails such as peach bellinis or gaelic coffee with irish whiskey.
At the heart of Lark Creek Blue's renovated Santana Row space sits a circular raw bar. From here, daily-stocked, ocean-fresh seafood tops plates and gives guests a taste of the deep blue's bounty. Oysters are the specialty, and diners can indulge on them individually, by the half-dozen, or through oyster-tasting experiences?one of which includes every oyster on the raw-bar menu for that day. But, of course, the scope of restaurant extends well beyond mollusks.
Behind the raw bar is an open kitchen helmed by Chef Chad Ferry. He and his team use sustainable seafood to whip up seasonal dishes such as Hawaiian ahi tuna tartare and mahi mahi ceviche. And whether within view of the action or sitting outside on the patio, guests can wash these down with barrel-aged specialties and a robust selection of wines that let them rehydrate without blasting each other with super soakers.