Aji Japanese Restaurant has garnered praise from the local Hopkins Patch and Lakeshore Weekly News for its menu of colorful sushi rolls and hibachi-seared meats. Artful presentation underscores each concoction?rolls proudly bearing ruby-colored crowns of tobiko or sweet drizzles of eel sauce and hefty steaks and pan-seared seafood sizzling beneath bouquets of leafy garnishes. Imported Japanese beer and sake unite sushi with the flavors for which it was meant, much in the way milk complements cookies or peanut butter complements its secret soulmate, actual butter.
Inside the dining room, white dinnerware contrasts against rich wooden tables. Overhead, carved crimson lanterns dangle from the tin ceiling and golden bulbs illuminate delectable morsels and the gold-plated chopsticks of diners looking to impress their dates. During the warmer months, an outdoor patio mixes meals with fresh breezes.
In 1944, Reino Wuollet opened a small bakery where he prepared fresh bread each day. More than 65 years later, his humble shop has grown into six locations where 30 or so family members tinker over cakes, pastries, and pies. Wedding and other occasion cakes are one of their specialties; flavors such as chocolate mousse and Lady Baltimore can be coated with marzipan, buttercream frosting, or fondant in an impressive array of custom designs. Of course, they still bake breads: an international selection of loaves includes baguettes, challah, Swedish lympa, Irish soda bread, and buns shaped into busts of United Nations delegates.
The vittlesmiths at Ham's Sandwich Shop carefully craft gourmet deli sandwiches using fresh baked bread from the New French Bakery and succulent specialty meats. The menu finds its flagship in the unctuously mush-mouthed Godfather ($6.49)—Italian salami and ham tucked under a duvet of pepper jack cheese, garlic spread, and tart vinaigrette. The Texas beef brisket ($6.99) layers an ultra-thin cut of smoked beef brisket with tangy barbecue sauce and sweet red onions on a hoagie roll, and the fiery grilled Guillermo ($6.49) satisfies spice-connoisseurs with roast turkey, jalapeno bacon, habanero sauce, and pepper jack cheese on a chewy focaccia roll. For $2, add chips and a drink to any sandwich or create a decorative garnish of two origami dollar swans kissing. Able to whip up gourmet meals in fast food time, these deli denizens provide fast, friendly service in a casual atmosphere.
Wild Boar Restaurant takes grilling and barbecue seriously. With a menu of smoked brisket, juicy hamburgers, and bacon-wrapped hot dogs, the grill sates any carnivore's craving. They don’t undervalue the contributions of the plant kingdom, however, and also toss fresh salads and bake personal pizzas with a wide range of toppings. Their meat-centric mentality finds its way onto signature sandwiches, such as the Sassy Sow with shredded pork and Jim Beam bourbon sauce. Adventurous diners feast on the Piggy Burger's shredded pork, which is sandwiched between two hamburgers and slices of bacon on a toasted bun.
Those same adventurous diners can also look beyond the menu for a thrill, with a mechanical bull tossing customers nightly and live music—accompanied by only mildly awkward dancing—filling the halls on the weekends. Throughout either event, a wide beer selection fuels further merrymaking.
With more than 700 locations, Jamba Juice proves to the masses that nutrition can be speedy and delicious. Since the beginning, the company?s product philosophy has revolved around choosing whole fruits and other natural ingredients over artificial flavorings, sweeteners, and preservatives. The menu is completely free of high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats, and it offers additional accommodations for vegan and gluten-free diets.
This naturalistic approach is fully realized in Jamba Juice's selection of smoothies. Made with 100% fruit juice, sherbet, and frozen yogurt, the frosty delights range from all-fruit smoothies such as peach perfection and strawberry whirl to more indulgent creamy treats, including peanut butter moo'd, an enticing blend of peanut butter, bananas, nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt, and milk chocolate.
For those with heartier appetites, steel-cut oats steep in soymilk before being enhanced with toppings such as apples, cinnamon, and brown-sugar crumble. The lunch hour presents protein-packed mini wraps, toasted bistro sandwiches and artesian flatbreads that pack only about 320?420 calories each.
Inside HoneyBaked Ham & Cafe, staffs uphold the same traditions that Harry J. Hoenselaar created more than 40 years ago. Back then, he chose individual hams, cured them in his secret recipe, and smoked them over hardwood chips before offsetting the earthy flavor with a crisp, sweet glaze. To this day, the staff makes the signature bone-in hams one at a time and glazes them in the shop.
To go with the meats, the kitchen whips up classic side dishes and desserts, such as the sweet-potato souffl?. For less formal feasting, party trays and packed lunch boxes fuel business meetings, backyard grad parties, and lengthy end-zone celebrations.