Split Pea's chefs choose the freshest produce from small farms every day to create eclectic plates such as chicken and rice with avocado soup (12 oz. for $4.75). Try a roasted cauliflower crostata (an open-faced sweet or savory pastry baked golden-brown) with shaved fennel and parmesan ($6.99). Salads such as a baby spinach bowl (with roasted yams, peanuts, and fresh mozzarella in a rice-wine vinaigrette, $5.99 for a small) or mixed greens with blood oranges, roasted almonds, and blue cheese in a tarragon and fennel vinaigrette ($5.99 for a small) satisfy any fresh-leaf craving and some forms of coryza. Split Pea's sandwich creations include roasted natural chicken with red slaw, aioli, and pickled cukes on a house bun ($5.99). Plus, everything can be custom combined; get a 12-ounce soup and half a crostata for $8.50 or sandwich and 16-ounce soup for $11.50.
No matter the time of day, patrons always dine at twilight inside Arabian Nights Restaurant. Painted palm trees arc cross a dark-blue sky in minaret-shaped frames, and exposed rafters high above the dining room evoke the feeling of an outdoor meal along the Mediterranean. The kitchen matches the dining room's traditional touches with a flame-fired oven that bakes fresh pita bread to order and crackling wooden embers that give kabobs their rich, smoky flavors. Guests also share small plates of hot and cold mezza, such as falafel and tabbouleh, as the light from ornate chandeliers casts freeform shadow puppets against linen-covered tables.
The chefs of San Buena Taco Truck grill asada and carnitas inside roaming kitchens, delighting taste buds across the city with four trucks and a bustling catering department. Each truck totes a station for dousing spicy tacos, quesadillas, and burritos with salsa verde and guacamole, and stocks a refrigerator with beverages from south of the border, including tamarindo and Mexican Coca-Cola. Caterers travel to special occasions, such as weddings and discoveries of lost remotes, dishing fare en masse. They count Whole Foods Market, Lucasfilm, and Genentech among their satisfied, sated clientele.
Since 1994, pie masters at Pomodoro Gourmet Pizza & Pasta have slathered pasta in sauce made in-house and sprinkled house-made pizza dough with veggies, meats, and low-fat cheese to craft a menu of Italian classics. Hunter-green stools flank an island floating among the tiled flooring, providing patrons with front-row views of the pie-creation process, and a flat-screen television also captivates eyes with broadcasts of sports games and national breath-holding contests.
Beneath a burnished copper dome, the kitchen staff at Arabi Cuisine sears morsels of halal meat and festoons them with sprays of chopped parsley and tomato. Organic ingredients go into every dish, from the sandwiches loaded with almond-hued falafel or savory shawarma to the 28 distinct salads, which are rested lovingly on ice in a glass case like an ice-cream cone autographed by Cal Ripken.