While their little ones splash away during swimming lessons at Milpitas Star Aquatics and Fitness Center, parents find respite amid the cool blues and whites of Cafe Aqua. Sitting at glossy white tables, they fill their bellies with sandwiches and smoothies or cool off with a fruity-flavored shaved ice. A glass wall stands between the café and the pool, so parents can watch lessons in progress or pretend to judge their kids' cannonball contests.
In 1959, Straw Hat created the very first California pizza crust. Different from any other crust at the time, the layered, flaky bread crunched like a cracker and carried Straw Hat's signature sauce to mouths with ease. More than 50 years later, this recipe for hearty, flavorful pizzas has changed very little. But while Straw Hats' pizza twirlers still cover their crispy dough in a secret sauce, their menu has expanded to included hot wings, hot sandwiches, and a slew of beers. Diners can also pick and choose from the salad bar, which previously existed only in pizza-parlor legend. Straw Hat's locations often boast high-definition TVs, video arcades, and play places for children.
The original Beard Papa?s began filling the airs of Osaka, Japan, with the warm, wafting smells of its original-recipe cream puffs. A double-layer puff featuring piecrust on the outside and a mixture of vanilla custard cream and whipped cream on the inside, the successful little treats have led the bakery to expand to more than 300 locations throughout Southeast Asia, Russia, the United States, and the moon. The venerable bakery has also graduated to other pint-size desserts and Asian-influenced treats.
Kopitiam––which means "coffee shop" in Chinese dialect––began cropping up across Singapore in the early 1900s as a way for Chinese immigrants to sell tea and coffee. Still seen across Singapore and Malaysia, these cafés have evolved to serve food items such as spicy noodle laksa and nasi-rice curries. Kopitiam Cafe—a member of the Milpitas Chamber of Commerce—serves up these same dishes for the edification of the American palate.
In the glow of cylindrical hanging lanterns and floor-to-ceiling windows, baristas steep hot teas, tamp espresso drinks, sink miniature gelatin pearls into fruit and cream–based bubble teas, and serve up Hawaiian shaved ice and fresh-fruit smoothies. After nestling into a modern red or white café chair, guests can impress taste buds by feeding them housemade wonton noodles or impress a barista by spinning a smoothie so quickly that it transforms back into actual fruit.
The baristas of The Coffee Adventure Company top cups off with three types of java bought directly from producers and whet appetites with a menu of breakfast classics, grilled paninis, pastries, and Filipino dishes. Patrons can kick-start brains with fresh Filipino coffee, warming their hands on an 8-ounce ($1.65), 12-ounce ($1.85), or 16-ounce cup ($1.95) of imported joe before diving into the breakfast menu, dished out until 11 a.m. Savory classics such as an egg-cradling breakfast muffin can arrive bare or shrouded in a blanket of bacon or ham ($2.19–$2.95), and traditional silog plates bundle zesty meats such as adobo chicken or tocino pork with zucchini, eggs, rice, and a complimentary cup of coffee or tea ($6.99). Lunch-inclined diners chomp on paninis such as the tuna artichoke with provolone cheese, made powerful by a surfeit of sacrificial artichoke hearts ($5.95), or the grilled Adobo Salvador pan de sal, whose seasoned chicken rides a vessel of spanish round bread to bear its grizzled wisdom on taste buds that ignore history's lessons ($5.95 for two pieces).
For more than 30 years, the cooks at Royal Taco have helped customers satisfy their Mexican food cravings with authentic dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As the day begins in earnest, the kitchen staff prepares savory plates of huevos rancheros and chorizo con huevos. The lunch menu includes hefty servings of chimichangas, made-to-order tacos, and the restaurant's signature dish, Superior Burritos; large tortilla-wrapped meals stuffed with meats, veggies, cheeses, and sauces that are served as big meals to normal diners or multi-vitamins for ancient leviathans.