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
Since the first restaurant opened in 2005, each Fish Place has shared an array of Cajun and creole dishes. In fact, the names of the seafood critters they blacken, boil, and grill daily—including catfish, shrimp, and oysters—are splattered across the restaurant's wallpaper. But, when deciding on a meal, it's the hand-painted chalkboard menus one usually turns toward. The picture-filled boards showcase the eatery's lineup of traditional New Orleans-style seafood entrees, which are complemented by sides of jambalaya, gumbo, and especially polite hush puppies. They round out their menu with hearty seafood po’ boys and tacos decorated with jalapeño mayo, cheddar jack cheese, and crema fresca.
Fish Place cooks everything fresh daily and its specialty is crawfish. The New Orleans?inspired eatery preps the crustacean in several classic ways, from cooking up just the tails to brewing an ?touff?e. Of course, the menu would be remiss to exclude specialties such as shrimp ?touff?e, crawfish ?touff?e, seafood jambalaya, stuffed jalapenos, and boudin balls. Other Southern staples include blackened catfish, shrimp jambalaya, and chicken and sausage gumbo. The sides ring authentic as well, complementing entrees with helpings of red beans with rice and hush puppies, so named because their deliciousness causes diners to speak in an awed whisper for several days.
Named after an island in Nigeria, Lagos Island Cafe captures the flavors of West Africa in dishes that range from the familiar to the exotic. Beneath an arched ceiling painted with depictions of lush foliage and pastel clouds, guests sample a smorgasbord of fried plantains, fresh tilapia, and sausage-encased scotch eggs. The restaurant’s chef calls upon more than 30 years of experience to create Nigerian dishes such as nkwobi—a delicacy made from diced cow feet—and draw phonetic transcriptions of their names on napkins.
Wingaritas' menu unites Mexican cuisine with classic American pub fare such as burgers, sandwiches, and an eclectic array of wings. Tequila lime and other traditional and inventive flavors, such as mango habanero and raspberry chipotle, cloak wings with more variety than the achievements section on Leonardo da Vinci's resumé ($12.95 for 15 traditional pieces; $14.95 for 15 boneless pieces). Seasoned chicken or shredded beef hides inside flautas' deep-fried corn tortillas ($9.95), and green sauce cascades down enchiladas verdes, which introduce chicken to chihuahua and monterey jack cheeses ($7.85). Like shaking hands with an alien, comprehensive combination platters bring together two worlds, allowing a smattering of wings to make merry with tacos, flautas, or quesadillas ($7.95–$9.95). Diners can grab a partner to divide and conquer the fajitas or take the journey solo, assisted only by an encouraging fork ($9.95–$17.95).
Though women clad in bikini tops roam the area, the people munching on half-pound burgers and fish tacos aren't lounging on the beach. Rather they're seated within Beach Babe Sports Bar and Grill's sea of wood tables, where servers in swimsuits and shorts bring them boneless wings slathered in seven sauces as football games and UFC matches beam from more than 40 LCD television screens. Or they may be perched on the high-backed chairs that surround the oval-shaped bar. It's here that bartenders fill glasses with beer from more than 15 taps and mix cocktails from a stock of liquor sizable enough to get Paul Bunyan to go ox tipping.