After bringing menus to each table, servers ask if anyone would like to sign a waiver. Without endorsing one of these forms, diners can't order the devil's chicken or vegetables, two formidable entrees made with fiery ghost chilies.
On request, chefs can tone down the heat of various entrees, which combine the culinary traditions of India and China. Relying on locally sourced ingredients when possible, cooks prepare each dish for family-style serving, which encourages diners to split piles of poultry with visiting friends or every member of the Channel 5 news team. Though braised beef and sautéed chicken are prominent on the menu, the kitchen also creates vegetarian- and vegan-friendly dishes that rely on the same regional sauces for their piquant flavor.
On one side of the main dining room, red vinyl booths add a splash of color to the restaurant's sleek gray walls and modern décor. The restaurant's bar keeps tables full of libations, including craft beers and glasses of food-friendly wine from winemakers on both sides of the equator and the center of the Earth.
Laurel Kabob's menu features daily-prepared fresh fare infused with the sunny flavors of the Mediterranean. Start off with an appetizer of tabouleh ($3.90) or a dolma filled with rice, raisins, and pine nuts ($3.90) before pawing a spinach-and-cheese pita pizza ($6.50) with extra moxie on the side. Invoke Diana the huntress for a feast of succulent, slow-cooked lamb kebabs plated with tomato sauce, yogurt, and Turkish rice or fries ($9.90), or de-meat mealtime with the falafel plate ($8.90) or a veggie wrap with mushrooms, rice, zucchini, eggplant, and bell pepper ($6.90). Soak too-solid sustenance in a glass of red or white wine ($4.90) or a German beer, such as Spaten or Franziskaner Hefeweizen ($3.50), to create a vibrant, conversational atmosphere conducive to a holding a lunchtime heart-to-heart with a dear friend or a spirited dinner debate with a budding enemy.
Candles nestled in chandeliers cast a flickering glow upon saffron-colored walls, exposed stonework, and iron accents. The light dimly illuminates the white tablecloths on the main dining floor and the overlooking mezzanine level, helping weave the aura of otherworldliness that Mythos's name suggests. Amid this visual backdrop, the aromas of West Coast and Mediterranean spices and sauces dance, hinting at the local seafood and produce that the chefs use in their menu. Taking advantage of the local bounty, the grill masters turn their eyes toward the culinary aesthetic of Greece as they braise lamb shanks, flame bathe house-ground burgers and 6-ounce skirt steaks, and sauté vegan plates.
Against a wall of windows, bartenders and stewards pair dishes with handpicked Northern Californian and Greek wines as well as 11 ouzos. They also mix cocktails from eclectic ingredients, such as vegetables pickled in-house and imported pomegranate juice, so diners don’t have to add Mediterranean authenticity by sifting their drinks through a Greek flag.
Piacere Restaurant's chef, Miriam Russel-Wadleigh, is dedicated to using only local and seasonal ingredients whenever possible. She's so dedicated, in fact, that in 2008 she posed the Farmer's Market Challenge—an open invitation for guests to bring two or more ingredients from local farmers' markets, which she transformed into custom two-course meals. But even when she isn't working her creative muscles, Miriam relies on locally grown produce and fresh meats. She combines these in iron skillets and a wood-burning oven to create dishes whose scope goes well beyond the local, often leaning into Southern Italy: lemon-marinated fish, mint-rubbed lamb steaks, and pizzas topped with wild-boar salami.
This freshness and international outlook extends beyond the food, drifting into the bar's handcrafted cocktails, which are made with all-natural ingredients, as well as selections from more than 2,000 bottles of rare varietals and boutique wines. These concoctions are best sipped on the sidewalk patio along the restaurant's blond-wood and cream-colored facade, where guests can fill up mason jars with fresh air for later.
Piacere's local focus encompasses the community as well as its foodstuffs. The restaurant uses its penchant for food and drink to benefit local charities such as the Ronald McDonald House and the American Liver Foundation. At one point, the restaurant even donated proceeds from three school-themed cocktails to the San Carlos Education Foundation.
Pudley's tips a hat to the classic sports bar with a menu teeming with zesty appetizers, decadent burgers, and a lineup of 25 beers on tap. Game-side gourmands pile plates high with appetizers such as fried mozzarella sticks gathered from the base of the mozzarella tree. Sizzling beef patties lounge atop fresh sesame-seeded thrones, donning cloaks of cheddar cheese, bacon, or saucy chili. Taps shower towering 23-ounce glasses with bubbly golden brews such as Stella Artois or Lost Coast Brewery's Great White, treating tongues to autumnal crispness while televisions overhead broadcast sports in autumnal colors.
New Orleans is a city that lingers in the heart long after you leave. Chef Edwin Caba spent 18 years running restaurants in various cities, but it was the cuisine of New Orleans that stayed with him. In 1996, he helped to open CreoLa Bistro, where as executive chef he helms a menu of Cajun and Creole cuisine using seafood that comes in directly from the Louisiana gulf.