India Grill?s tandoor oven seals the flavors of classic Indian spices and herbs inside pieces of chicken, lamb, salmon, and king prawns. The clay oven?a staple of Indian kitchens?also cooks special paswari naan bread stuffed with coconut, raisins, and cashews. Of course, chefs also busy themselves at the stove, where lentils simmer with garlic and ginger, and homemade cheese cooks alongside spinach. A special part of the menu is dedicated to chef-recommended dishes, such as the rogan josh, made from lamb cooked in a special sour-cream sauce, and kheer, a rice-pudding dessert sprinkled with cardamom and nuts.
Though Cafe Del Sol’s chefs largely stick closely to the restaurant’s Mexican theme, they’re not afraid to throw in a few American favorites, either. Chefs are equally skilled at grilling carne asada and artfully preparing shrimp fajitas as they are at creating tiered club sandwiches and sizzling double cheeseburgers. The sunny restaurant is the perfect place to sample all the cuisine’s varied dishes or rank tortillas by their taste, texture, and which one doesn’t remind you of the napkin that ruined your last date by being so tasty.
At Maderas Steak & Ribs, kitchen commanders craft a menu with hefty steaks forged from Kansas prime Angus beef. To sustain flavor throughout meals, in-house pastry chefs fill crumbly crusts with pie or cheesecake swirled with fresh fruit and juices.
Neon lighting grants old-timey-diner appeal to the spacious tables and cushy booths of Maderas's big, kid-friendly room, through which live music occasionally wanders on Friday and Saturday nights and whenever forks happen to clang melodically against glassware or mom's glass chewing-gum dispenser.
When something is simply referred to as "the beast," there's probably a good reason. In the case of Blake's Place BBQ, The Beast refers to a monster of a sandwich: slow-smoked pulled pork, pulled barbecue chicken, chopped beef brisket, coleslaw, sliced red onion, and a dousing of Blake's BBQ sauce. All those ingredients teeter between an over-sized bun, and as a whole, The Beast weighs in at 2.5 pounds. If you devour it in 20 minutes or less, you earn a T-shirt and food challenge immortality, and if you make it disappear behind someone's ear you earn lots of attention for your party-magician business.
Of course, plenty of people come to enjoy the food, not just to defeat it. The original Blake's opened in Anaheim in 1996 and has since filled the bellies of more than one million customers. A second location in Los Alamitos was added in 2012. At both, chefs use high-tech wood-burning barbecue pits that are big enough to smoke more than 3,500 pounds of meat at one time?some for as long as 16 hours. The resulting menu features entire plates of baby back ribs, hot sandwiches, and even smoked wings. Homemade desserts round out the Southern-style selection, including peach cobbler and bread pudding. And none of this goes unnoticed: Blake's was voted The Best of Orange County and Best Barbecue in Orange County by the Orange County Register, as well as Zagat-rated in 2013.
The Flame Broiler founder Young Lee found himself eating out of paper bags quite often. His career required a great deal of travel during the day, which made eating from fast food restaurants a habit. Unfortunately, his options for healthier, quick-service fare left him craving something different. In 1995, he took matters into his own hands and opened the first Flame Broiler location, serving Korean-style slices of beef and chicken that were free of dairy, trans-fat, HFCS, and added MSG. He didn't just take away harmful ingredients, though?he also added his signature Flame Broiler marinade and sauce, beds of white and brown rice, and slices of crisp vegetables. This more nutritious take on fast food caught on, as diners can now eat at 135 Flame Broiler locations in four different states and two parallel universes.