Banana Leaf fills its dining room with platefuls of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free Indian meals cooked with fresh spices ground in-house. The juices from 16 curry dishes and seven rice specialties can be mopped from the plate with 10 different Indian breads and washed down with lassi drinks. Banana Leaf’s catering services, which serve small gatherings to weddings with more than 1,000 guests, both please party hosts and literally sustain festive homemakers stuck in a web of their own decorations.
Every pizza at zpizza is freshly prepared, hand thrown, gently coaxed into the oven using soft birdcalls and pheromone trails, and fire-baked to crispy perfection. The dough is prepared fresh daily from 100% certified-organic wheat, and z is also happy to offer certified organic and gluten-free crusts, sating the pizza desire of the allergic, dieters, and wheat sympathizers. Toppings include award-winning Wisconsin skim mozzarella, MSG-free pepperoni, certified-organic tomato sauce, additive-free sausage, and fresh produce. Try a large ZBQ pizza (with barbecue sauce, mozzarella, barbecue chicken, roasted pepper, red onion, tomato, cilantro, and sweet corn ($16.95); or a chicken curry and yam rustica (with mozzarella, curry chicken, yam, mango chutney, raisin, and cilantro; $8.95). Vegans can delight in a small Berkeley, a vegan cheese veggie pizza (with marinara, vegan cheese, veggie burger crumbles, zucchini, tomato, mushroom, red onion, and bell pepper; $11.50), and traveling tongues can sate their wanderlust with a mouthwatering Moroccan rustica (with pesto, mozzarella, basil, roasted eggplant, feta cheese, caramelized onion, and pine nut ($8.95).
Explorers Club's cozy, 100-year-old brick exterior lends a deceptively comfortable face to the restaurant's constantly experimenting kitchen. Owner Tracy Studer and Chef Dan Varga—both veterans of the late Harold Smith's Gloria Café—root their eatery's fare in playfully updated Latin American food such as chorizo sliders and plantain-topped burgers. Yet, Varga constantly flexes his culinary muscles with unusual menu additions such as his chili-citrus-flavored vegetable lo mein. Monthly menus jet around the globe—614 Magazine notes that after deciding on "a country or cuisine, [Varga] spends months researching the ingredients, history, and flavor profiles, and then experimenting in the kitchen," turning out tributes to Germany, Spain, and his ancestral Hungary. An impressive range of vegan and vegetarian options makes use of soy-based tempeh and tofu, catering to animal-loving humans and self-hating venus flytraps.
At Maanas, chefs create authentic selections of North- and South-Indian cuisine. Within the spacious, 5,000 square-foot dining area, groups can dine on vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, tasting traditional dishes such as paneer tikka masala or chicken vindaloo, or take part in a lunch buffet served daily. Additionally, the restaurant's amiable staff even invites guests to visit their kitchen, to take glimpses of the state-of-the-art facility and dishes currently being made-to-order.
In the midst of invigorating cappuccino-colored walls, bold original artwork, and mirrors filled with smiling reflections, Phia Salon, an Aveda Lifestyle Salon, infuses hairs and pores with pure flower essences and plant-based botanical products. Four levels of talent are available to tackle every service, from an extensive list of cut and color services to hair extensions, waxing, and skin care. Each of their cut and color services is accompanied by a stress-relieving sensory experience that ranges from a mini facial to a soothing hand-and-arm massage.
Phia Salon extends Aveda's commitment to natural products and the environment to its own salon with eco-friendly business practices, such as constantly monitoring and recycling waste and using phosphate-free soaps. The salon’s cork floors are sustainably harvested and surrounded by eco-friendly paint on the walls, and the organic milk used in coffee and tea comes from local, grass-fed cattle who carpool to work.