Underneath a familiar neon Open sign, simple paintings of burgers, steaming coffee, and pepper-flecked eggs adorn House of Grub’s storefront windows, bespeaking its menu’s confluence of comfort food and craft. Inside, diners while away their breakfast and lunch hours reading the paper over french toast and hash browns, splitting orders of wings, or turning their backs on their botany careers by savagely tearing into a salad. On the grill, cooks fold bacon, steak, and pork sausage or fajita-style peppers and onions into fluffy omelets. The eatery also serves up burgers topped with classic or unconventional fixings such as pico de gallo, coleslaw, and grilled onions.
Slice into the menu with a cool, cold sandwich such as the veggie sub, with your choice of three cheeses and avocado, the salami-turkey-provolone, or the ham-salami-capicolla-pepperoni-provolone. Load a gastronomic cargo carrier with a medium fountain drink ($1.59) or chips ($0.99), or turn on the mouth heat with a stomach-warming griller, such as the 12-inch New York steak ’n’ cheese ($4.99–$8.99) or the 8-inch barbecue pork ($6.99). Any sandwich can also be made into a wrap starting at $5.99).
One of the original pioneers of the yogurt industry, Golden Spoon has been whirling yogurt since the early 1980s. With six small servings of frozen yogurt to redeem, sweet-teethed customers can enjoy several of the rotating flavors, including tastes such as just chocolate, peanut butter, café latte, butterscotch, and boysenberry. At 25–29 calories an ounce, health-conscious consumers can enjoy licks without translating each tongueful into the number of jumping jacks or flying-starfish impersonations needed to offset it.
Though Andrea Ballus's wedding frustrations propelled her into reality-television fame, the camera never focused on personal drama—instead, it zoomed in on the cupcakes. As she planned her marriage, Andrea couldn't find a bakery innovative enough to cater her reception. Rather than settle for tired designs, she decided to create her own cupcakes, mixing confections in signature flavors and garnishing them with edible art. These concepts led to the first incarnation of Sift—a dessert venue whose ingenious edibles have since won first place on the Food Network's Cupcake Wars and returned to compete on Cupcake Champions.
Sift's current cupcake menu pays homage to classic tastes as well as cunning combinations, from the snickerdoodle and red velvet cakes to the Knock Your Sox Off—a bavarian-cream-filled vanilla cake dipped in chocolate ganache. Visitors can pluck their favorites from the onsite displays or order custom servings that suit a wedding or party theme. In the past, Andrea and her staff have festooned cakes with images of cheerful dragonflies, company logos, and Pink Floyd album art as well as holiday graphics for New Year's and Christmas. They can even infuse the cupcake batter with a chosen wine, resulting in nearly perfect food and drink pairings.
Alongside their signature item, Sift prepares a separate catalog of nostalgic desserts, including whoopie cookies, macarons, and ice-cream sandwiches.
At Baja Fresh, spice-yearning patrons can swing by to sample comforting casual fare comprised of fresh-made guacamole, salsas, and never-frozen meats. An array of burritos or tacos swaddle themselves within the stuffed blanket of a warm flour or corn tortilla. Similarly, the signature Baja burrito smothers its protein with melted jack, guacamole, and pico de gallo ($6.69–$7.89), prepping itself for a burrito battle against the spicy nacho burrito stuffed with chicken, cheese, black or pinto beans, rice, queso fundido, jalapeños, crunchy tortilla chips, and salsa crema ($6.39). For lighter lifting, the kitchen also outputs fire-grilled mahi mahi tacos ($2.99 each), mango-chipotle chicken salad ($6.49), and tortilla-free burrito bowls in need of a sharp, prong-powered friend.
Though a typical sports bar’s main draw is usually its arsenal of flat-screen TVs, things run a little differently at Seasons Pizzeria Sports Bar & Grill. Nine 42-inch sportscasting screens do hang from the eatery’s walls, yet the real entertainment comes from the open kitchen, where acclaimed chef Glenn Cybulski hand-tosses thick California–style dough in front of diners' eyes before sliding it into a wood-fired oven imported directly from Italy. The chef cooks up a list of predesigned pies, from a crispy neopolitan to the meat-packed Carne, but also leaves some of the innovation to customers, customizing create-your-own pizzas topped with fixings such as canadian bacon and artichoke hearts. Aside from spinning out the decadent dough, the head chef also lends his talents to hand-pattied burgers, locally caught seafood, and slow-roasted barbecue slathered in homemade sauce and butterfly kisses.