Crepes and Grapes Café celebrates and honors French culture with its sidewalk cafe atmosphere, Bastille Day celebration, and a variety of sweet and savory crepes. At breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the shop churns out thin, stuffed pancakes filled with ingredients that range from maple and cream to garlic-rich shrimp scampi. Guests can sample the edible wares within the sunny storefront or sit just outside underneath table umbrellas surrounded by salivating flower beds.
Frostbites Crepes & Frozen Delights' freshly made delectable desserts have garnered this ice creamery several accolades: MyFOXla voted Frostbites the best ice-cream parlor, while The Tonight Show granted it a custom-made jingle. Loosen up with the 16 flavors of sorbet chill (starting at $2.59), made with authentic italian ice, or dive taste buds into creamy chocolate frozen custard (starting at $2.79), made from natural ingredients such as egg yolk. Commitment-phobic customers can combine the two with the sorbet cream (starting at $2.89), where fruity flavors such as watermelon, coconut, and orange merge with rich vanilla custard. Those in the mood for pancake-esque desserts can fill up with a sweet crêpe ($3.29) hot off the griddle and topped with a choice of sauces (each $.69) and accoutrements (each $.89). Buck traditional notions of French cuisine with a sandwich crêpe (starting at $3.99), stuffed with a choice of meat, cheese, condiments, and fresh vegetables.
Bistro 39 delivers artistically garnished plates worthy of being tacked to the wall, if only your body's aesthetic urge to interior decorate outweighed its evolutionary desire to gobble up delicious things. Starters such as escargot Bourgogne ($8), Dungeness crab cakes ($8), and classic lobster bisque ($9) provide an opportunity to inform your first selection from Bistro 39's extensive beer and wine list. Main plates hail from salty seas and diverse terrains with options including sautéed lemon-garlic tiger shrimp on a bed of angel-hair pasta ($17) or seared duck with Grand Marnier reduction ($24). The Statue of Liberty's torch is surprisingly small, but the bistro's crème brûlée ($6) leaves American mouths agape with awe.
One sunny afternoon, Ginnie Lu and her friends sat in a café sipping hot drinks and chatting about how much they would love to run their own tea and coffee house. When the group realized that they had the means to carve their dream into reality, they spent the next two years saving and planning. Finally, in 2010, they opened Four Leaf Tea Room, a cozy enclave where guests can sip specialty brews amidst the aromas of sweet and savory crepes. Mugs of oolong and chrysanthemum keep fingers warm during the year's cooler temperatures, and when the summer returns, they cool down with iced teas and mango freezes on an outdoor patio.
Despite Four Leaf’s name, its upscale, innovate crepes force its teas to share the limelight. A chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu dreams up the lavish fillings, pairing smoked salmon and caper-herb cream or soy-marinated chicken with crushed peanuts for savory meals. Sweet versions make use of exotic ingredients such as red-wine-poached pears, candied pecans, taro paste, and gelato. As guests fork into these creations, they can admire walls decorated with spring-green leaves and shelves filled with loose-leaf blends and prehistoric fossils of steam from early teas.
Now in its third generation of management, Taix satisfies the palates of Franco-feasters with a menu of country cuisine presented in generous portions. Begin the edible expedition with a bowl of traditional french onion soup ($6.95), or start with a half-dozen escargots in garlic butter ($12.95), which arrive at tables still modestly dressed in their shells to accommodate prudish American attitudes toward gastro-nudity. Leaf lovers can focus their forks on an assortment of salads, such as a mélange of baby greens, sesame-seed dressing, tomatoes, and bell peppers topped with a boneless chicken breast ($12.95), and carnitarians can seek out the proteined pleasures of grilled skirt steak with lemon parsley butter and pommes frites ($18.95). Roasted fresh salmon is served with champagne cream ($19.95) to permit taste buds to toast their good fortune, and a savory schedule of daily specials allows mouths to keep track of what day it is without chewing on a calendar. Midday munchers can sate their cravings with a lunch menu sporting an array of sandwiches and other selections suited to daytime dining.
Since 1992, California Canteen has bridged the culinary and cultural gap between Californians and Francophiles with its tasty twist on French bistro Mediterranean fare. French favorites populate the menu. Sample the nicoise salad with tuna steak ($14), beef bourguignon ($17.50), or lamb shank osso bucco ($18.25). Meanwhile, enterprising diners and triumvirates can customize comestibles in the three-course dinner ($20.50 4 p.m.–7 p.m., Sunday-Thursday). Alternately, the lunch menu spins a lighter, two-course remix of the prix fixe ($12.95).