Twenty three-year-old chef Jeremy Manley puts an adventurous spin on the California bistro, using an armory of locally sourced organic produce and seasonal ingredients from Julian, Ramona, Borrego Springs, and Valley Center. The ever-changing dinner menu regales diners with grilled California rib-eye steak served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus, and mushroom ragout ($26). The California Sunshine burger, like an avant-garde portrait of the Hamburglar, provides an exciting new look at the classic sandwich with its smooth coating of avocado butter, mango pico de gallo, cheddar cheese, and chipotle aioli ($14).
Pick up a Steel Grip six-piece screwdriver set ($8.49), a VPT rip hammer ($6.29), and a whole bunch of screws, anchors, and bolts (prices vary), and you'll be ready to finally mount every buffalo nickel and steel penny in your coin collection. Illuminate the newfound décor with a 12-pack of three-way Ace light bulbs ($21.48), the better to see by as you make use of a Purdy four-piece premium paint-tray kit ($19.99). If you need to match paint to a favorite coverlet or choose a hue that complements a pleather recliner, most stores offer a paint-matching service free of charge. Get keys made, or clean a barnacle-encrusted carpet with the help of a rented carpet-cleaning machine (inquire about pricing at your preferred location).
At Nori Sushi Bar and Grill, chefs fuse traditional methods with new-wave techniques to transform fresh seafood into more than 20 specialty rolls. These include rolls stuffed with shrimp tempura and Red Dagon with spicy tuna, cucumber avacado, topped with cajun tuna and habanero masago that looks just as good on a plate as it would beneath a Christmas tree. But Nori’s selection stretches beyond sushi to full entrees, such as the teriyaki steak topped with a house teriyaki sauce. Diners enjoy the dishes inside the restaurant, which is adorned with bamboo plants and cat statues, or outside on the patio, next to the sand-colored exterior and underneath crimson umbrellas.
From thin, two-handed East Coast staples to the Midwest's famed deep-dish variety, Sweet Home Chicago brings the best to the west. Feast on a super skinny slice of NY-style pie smothered in cheese ($11 medium, $14 large), pepperoni and sausage ($15 for a medium), or pepperoni, sausage, meatball, mushroom, onion, and green peppers ($19 for a large). Toppings run the gamut from black olives to banana peppers. Chunky tomato sauce crested atop a buttery crest with mounds and mounds of cheese epitomize the Windy City's stuffed pie. Stretch stomach muscles to the moon and back with a monkey pie, studded with sausage and banana peppers ($17 medium, $21.50 large), or a meat-heavy and jalapeño-blessed El Goffo ($19 medium, $23.75 large). Sweet Home Chicago also serves Chicago-style thin crust (browned cheese, square cut), calzones, and salads. A wide selection of rotating craft beers makes perfect pizza companions.
The aroma of freshly baked pizzas crowned with pepperoni, meatballs, and garlic fills the air every day at Coney Island Pizzeria. In the kitchen, the cooks assemble Coney Island–themed pies, such as the Luna Park with pepperoni, bacon, and pineapple and the Wonder Wheel, topped with alfredo sauce, bacon, meatballs, and green peppers. During two-hour pizza-making classes held every Saturday, students learn to re-create the restaurant's signature pies, preparing the dough, making the sauce, and topping the pizzas with fresh ingredients and cheese. After sessions, students tote home a complimentary 18-inch pie of their choice or the choice of the myna bird living on their back.
Hidden Deli and Catering's staff layers Boar's Head meats and cheeses on a menu of sandwiches named after popular movies and TV shows. Each carnivore-titillating sandwich is filled with 5–6 ounces of meat, such as the genoa and dry salami, pepperoni, and mortadella on the 8-inch New York/New York italian sub, an amalgamation as protein-rich as a millionaire who made his money in hot-dog mining. In the Jaws sandwich, albacore tuna floats atop swiss cheese and horseradish sauce, and the Veggie Tales bathes spinach, cucumber, and cheddar in pesto sauce. The Police Academy brandishes smoked applewood bacon, lettuce, and tomato as it patrols ovens for optional toasted flavor and jaywalking potholders.