When Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives host Guy Fieri swung into The Kitchen, it was the lamb burger that caught his eye—a 6-ounce, well-seasoned patty topped with red-pepper relish and placed between two freshly baked buns made onsite. These straight-from-the-oven baked goods are a part of The Kitchen's charm, its bustling bakery sharing space with the dining room and craft-beer bar.
The meals crafted in that kitchen include the Cuban sandwich, pulled pork and sliced pit ham on grilled bakery bread. The hearty meatloaf plate skips the sandwiching in favor of a housemade barbecue glaze and pairs with frothy brews.
In fact, one of the libations from an impressive roster of craft beers would be enough to draw brew-lovers to its bar, but The Kitchen takes things a step further, hosting a monthly beer-brewing class led by the restaurant's own brewmaster.
Sugar Beets Restaurant & Bar is a fusion restaurant in more ways than one. The space itself wears many hats: downtown eatery, bar, private-party venue, and, on Thursdays through Saturdays, nightclub. Similarly, the eatery’s menus aren't limited to one style. Described as eclectic California cuisine, the fare fuses west-coast flavors with international dishes. At dinnertime, a bed of Israeli couscous cradles grilled eggplant and sun-dried tomatoes, and a bacon-wrapped filet mignon gets a flavor boost from roasted red-pepper sauce. Lunchtime takes a more casual approach, with pasta tossed in tequila-lime sauce, strip-steak hoagies with chipotle mayo, and huevos rancheros that call the chef “dude” instead of “sir.” The restaurant also serves brunch on Sundays and serenades Thursday- and Friday-night diners with live music.
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Tomas Cafe & Gallery, noted on NBC LA for their take on the classic Mexican breakfast dish chilaquiles, staffs a legion of chefs and baristas who craft inventive breakfast and lunch dishes from local ingredients paired with coffeehouse drinks. In addition to brewing their own blend of coffee, the baristas furnish empty hands with mugs full of latte or cappuccino. Guest dine within the restaurant’s vibrant dining room, which is decked out in neon pink and bright yellow walls speckled with local artwork. Natural light floods the interior, breathing life into overhanging palm trees, which are rumored to steal succulent cinnamon rolls while diners aren't looking.
Angelo Lopez’s family has run successful eateries across the American southwest ever since his grandparents opened the original Nopalito Cafe in 1954. Lopez has reopened his grandparents' eatery to honor his family's traditions, serving up classic Mexican eats such as enchiladas, tacos, and burritos. Breakfasts such as chilaquiles and chorizo con huevo are served all day to satiate those who've set their watches 12 hours fast, and chicken mole and pepper steak are prepared to suit spicier palates.
As sure as the sun rose each morning, Izuto “Izzy” Otani would stroll down to the beach before work, fishing pole in hand, to begin the day with his favorite pastime. Inspired to make his hobby his life, Izzy left his current business to open the Izzy Otani Fish Market in 1952. Over the years, he and his wife Helen began to prepare Japanese and Mexican dishes for market visitors, beginning the grocery’s slow transformation into a full-fledged restaurant. They’ve been serving hungry customers ever since.
More than 60 years later, Otani’s, recently awarded the Downtown Business of the Year Award by the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce, still serves fish in homemade sauces and recipes made from scratch each day. They spice up fried red snapper in fish tacos, char broil tasty slabs of salmon, and coat oysters and shrimp with a light, crispy tempura shell. They specialize particularly in boneless filets—a true delicacy in the United States, where fish have not yet evolved to shed their primitive skeletons.