Within the white sides of an 18-foot gourmet food truck, a former Ritz-Carlton chef crafts innovative Indian, Korean, and Latin American dishes of burritos and tacos whose ingredients are made from scratch. House-made rice simmers with chef-prepared vegetable and chicken broths, and 100% vegetable-based chutney sauces shower meals with garden-derived flavor. Meats such as lamb and chicken bathe in chef-made marinades and sweat over the flames of high-quality BTU equipment. Small Time Cooks sells offbeat beverages, such as coconut juice or apple cider, to help wash down savory meals, and their mobile capabilities make them an delivery choice for racecar drivers seeking a midrace snack.
Song Ngu's staff help diners select the most savory variations of pho and soups from a robust menu of traditionally prepared Vietnamese comfort food presented with a modern sensibility. Diners can begin off their gastronomic trek across Southeast Asia with an order of two spring rolls stuffed with a surf-turf mix of pork, prawns, lettuce, and refreshing mint sprigs ($4.25). The kitchen prepares fragrant bowls of pho ($6.50 for a small, $7.25 for a large) packed with savory steak, tendon, or other meats that work in concert, showcasing their proficient noodling and beefy hooks. Chicken-infused pho ga provides a lighter alternative to pho tai with rare steak, and pho chin nam gau gan ve don—with brisket, flanks, and tendons—can satisfy the most demanding appetite.
When Shyam Khanal opened Aasna, Melange of India, he didn't throw a publicized grand opening. As he explained to the San Jose Mercury News, he was more concerned with the quality of his food and service than the quantity of guests. And his attention to both food and service hasn't let up since, an effort that wasn't lost on the Mercury News. As the paper said, "Khanal knows what makes a good restaurant great."
For starters, the categorized menu is a breeze to navigate. Meat eaters will easily find the restaurant's specialty bone-in goat curry, vegetarians the malai kofta, and vegans the tofu masala. Even the buffet has separate tables for vegetarian and meat-based entrees. And instead of waiting for food to appear, guests can watch chefs prepare it in the glass-enclosed kitchen. If patrons' eyes wander, they can also take in the lovely, colorful collection of Indian artwork displayed throughout the sunny dining room. Unless it's raining, then the room probably won't be sunny.
When he cofounded his first sandwich shop in 1965, 17-year-old Fred DeLuca planned to use his profits to pay his way through medical school. But the combination of quality ingredients and friendly service at the shop—then called Pete's Subway—proved so popular that nine years later, he and his partner found themselves in charge of 16 locations across Connecticut, and Fred left behind his doctoring plans for a career in business.
Today, Subway serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and boasts more than 38,000 locations around the world—almost as many shops as there are sightings of Elvis buying cold cuts. At each location, staffers pile sliced ham, marinara-slathered meatballs, and other fillings into halved loaves of bread before customizing handhelds with tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and other healthy toppings plucked from chilled containers behind the counter. Subway’s website also facilitates health-conscious eating by listing each item's nutritional information online.
True to its name, Texas Style Bbq offers food inspired by the Lone Star State, including sauce-slathered ribs, tender brisket, and meaty hot links. Traditional sides can make or break a barbecue meal, so the shop offers a wealth of options, such as mac 'n' cheese, corn bread, and potato salad, a Texas barbecue staple. Save room for one of the restaurant’s special desserts, cassava cake or sweet-potato pie. If you’re throwing a large party or hosting a backyard barbecue for the United Nations, consider Texas Style Bbq’s catering packages, which include large portions of chicken, shrimp, ribs, and brisket.