At this Zagat-rated restaurant, 24-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 bison bratwurst from nearby Star B Ranch topped with speedway stout sauce blended with AleSmith beer and gouda cheese ($18). The california cheddar 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, crunchy prosciutto, and chipotle aioli ($15).
Ace Hardware's well-stocked aisles abound with home goods, tools, and furnishings for nearly any home-improvement project. Pick up a Steel Grip six-piece screwdriver set ($8.49), a Stanley rip hammer ($9.49), 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. Home improvers can illuminate their newfound décor with a 6-pack of Ace bent tip light bulbs ($17.94), the better to see by while making use of a Purdy four-piece premium paint-tray kit ($19.99). For those who 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. Keys can be copied, and barnacle-encrusted carpet cleaned 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.
The staff at David's Window Washing has the enviable task of serving San Diego County, where year-round sunshine ensures there's no shortage of sliding glass doors and floor-to-ceiling windows in need of squeegeeing. Nonetheless, the team makes itself amenable to sudsy needs of all sorts, clearing dirt from interior and exterior windows, screens, and mirrors smudged by one too many attempts to visit Wonderland.
The concept of the South in evidence at Luc's Bistro is expansive, including not just down-home American comfort foods but historical influences from French, Creole, and Cajun cuisines. In an airy room that's a little fancier than the location tucked away off busy Poway Road might suggest, servers deliver plates accented with spicy touches such as paprika mayo or peppered bacon. Breakfast bites include Cafe du Monde beignets and eggs benedict with ham and homemade hollandaise. For a lighter lunchtime offering, diners might try the crab-cake sandwich or simply suck the helium out of a balloon. Dinner entrees range from Atlantic salmon to old Southern standbys such as country-fried steak and shrimp and grits.
Home-style Italian dishes draws visitors to Vittorio’s, formerly Villa Capri 2, where chefs make the restaurant’s cheese ravioli, gnocchi, and black-ink linguine by hand, and even create a unique “ravioli del giorno” each day. Diners can pair selections with 1 of 24 red, white, and sparkling wines, available by the glass or out of your neighbor’s cupped palm. The smell of Italian delicacies permeates through a dining room that resembles a Tuscan villa, with faux wrought-iron balconies, terra-cotta-colored walls, and stone archways.