After memorizing the menu, start a food-eating contest with yourself by devouring a basket of chili-cheese fries (shoestring fries, $2.99, plus jack-and-cheddar chili mix, $1.29) or sixteen Angel wings tossed in your choice of one or two sauces (buffalo, blazing habanero, firecracker, Thai peanut, spicy barbecue, garlic parmesan, or blasphemy, $14.99). For the main event, chow down on a pulled-pork sandwich ($9.99), or the dos tacos, stuffed with steak or chicken and lettuce, cheddar and jack cheeses, and salsa inferno, and served with a side of tortilla chips and salsa ($7.49). Burgers, wraps, and pizzas fill out the remainder of the robust menu.
At first glance, South Coast Pizza Parlors might look like an ordinary family pizza joint. The requisite video and redemption games chirp and ring near the entrance. Six big-screen televisions flicker with sporting events. But the difference is in the pizza--the kitchen crew crafts dough and sauce fresh every single day, drizzling pies with classic toppings such as green peppers and pepperoni, as well as more non-traditional options including vegan cheese and soy chorizo.
So successful were the three original Lamppost Pizza establishments that the eatery has grown to 37 locations since its inception in 1976. Friendliness and fun unite with the pizzeria's penchant for sports to make visits memorable. But as nice as big-screen TVs can be, the real magnetism of this haven for sauce and cheese lies in the pies spun in the kitchen. Beer and wine complement the menu, which also includes pastas, sandwiches, and grill fare.
Linguini, penne, spaghetti, and fettuccini—the chefs at Carolina’s Italian Restaurant have been preparing pasta in its many incarnations for more than three decades. But their time-tested cooking techniques aren't the only reason for the robust flavors in their classic Italian cuisine. Ingredients are delivered five times a week, ensuring that each tomato is as fresh as the day its life coach finally coaxed it off the stem. Quality seafood and meats such as Atlantic salmon and new york steak put a finishing touch on many entrees.
After diners polish off their meals, they can indulge in a dessert such as housemade tiramisu or cannoli drizzled with chocolate syrup. Then, they can lean back and admire the wall murals of Italian countryside and verandas, or watch confused airplanes circle the ceiling's painted blue sky.
At The Pizza Press, staffers wear newsboy caps as they take orders for personal pizzas named after famous papers, which arrive at tables atop wooden pizza peels lined with faux-newsprint. Patrons can feast on the Tribune, a mix of pepperoni, italian sausage, and red onion, or "publish" their own, adding a cornucopia of fresh ingredients and sprinkling on the whiskers of famous editors. Patrons hoist frosty glasses into the air, toasting the continued existence of cheese, then nurse seasonal and craft beers from local breweries. Recent offerings have included the Saint Archer I.P.A., which the San Digeo brewery makes with seven types of hops, as well as brews from Hangar 42, Speakeasy, and Bootlegger's Brewery.
While the beer and wine selections are an adults-only treat, younger patrons can feast on kid-sized pizzas, then start eyeing desserts?a practice in which grown-ups may also wish wish to join in. The root beer float station, complete with artisan ice cream, lets patrons create their own frothy treats, and handmade ice-cream sandwiches create the best kind of mess. Afterward, families can head over to Disneyland, which is located right across the street.
Grab a bagel ring for all 12 fingers ($10.95 a dozen), or grab an individual for a baby bracelet ($1.14 per bagel). Many toppings, cream cheeses, and spreads are also available. Although Bagel Me!'s name is both direct and delicious, the menu expands beyond the realm of the round. Breakfast items such as gooey cheddar and egg melts served alongside cinnamon baked apples ($4.19) and freshly blended smoothies ($4.39) will cause smiles at sunrise. Afternoon diners can hang fangs on tri-tip steak sandwiches such as the jalapeno-pineapple pairing, loaded liberally with caramelized onions, Tillamook cheddar, and monterey jack cheese ($7.49). Or fork up a variety of starters, such as Irish nachos based in French fries and topped with bacon, onions, cheddar and jack cheeses, and lucky wishes ($5.79).