At the French restaurant where they both got their start, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger discovered decidedly un-French cuisine in the privacy of the kitchen: homespun Oaxacan and Yucatan recipes prepared by their fellow chefs. The duo promptly untied their aprons, loaded them into a VW Beetle, and took off for a road trip to Mexico in 1985, where they sampled and studied delicacies prepared at beachside taco stands and family barbecues. Three restaurants, two gourmet food trucks, five cookbooks, hundreds of episodes of Food Network's Too Hot Tamales, and sizzling appearances on Top Chef Masters later, their Border Grill eateries add contemporary twists to authentic Mexican cuisine. Guests are greeted by dining rooms originally designed by the architect Josh Schweitzer, who is Mary Sue's husband and Susan's childhood friend. Within their walls, healthful plates enhanced by seasonal fruits and vegetables and fresh salsas roll into handmade tortillas or revel beneath cotija cheese. Devoted to sustainable eating, Border Grill infuses its dishes with sustainable seafood, organic rice and beans, and hormone-free meats, as well as Good for the Planet, Good for You meals made from at least 80% plant-based ingredients, just like Captain Planet's faux-leather jacket.
Mosto Enoteca quickly made a name for itself with its seasonal specials, handmade pastas and desserts, and its lengthy list of wines. Mosto Enoteca's lunch and dinner menus encourage you to dine in the tradition of languid multicourse meals that unfold slowly and emphasize each dish's flow from one flavor to the next, like a lazy river that starts inside a water park but ends in a police investigation.
Fitness industry veteran Dulcinea Lee Hellings's goal is to bring a high-quality, effective exercise regimen to people who don't love big gyms or can't afford personal trainers. In 2004, she realized that mornings could be used for more than hitting the snooze button over and over for two hours, and founded Boot Camp "Morning Crunch!" to help fledgling exercisers whip into shape.
She designs her all-levels programs to be scream-free morning motivators⎯the first stop in her patrons' journey of daily accomplishments. The fast-paced, ever-changing circuit of strength and cardio exercises keeps bodies guessing and minds from becoming bored. Each of the boot camp's 12 outdoor locations has a different dedicated trainer who gets to know each student personally, remembering their names and memorizing any interesting freckle patterns. They complement their morning routines with a smattering of evening options for those who prefer to work out after the day's activities.
If you look closely at Tivoli Cafe's deceptively traditional menu, you'll find that the classic Italian dishes are made with a very modern sense of sustainability. The filet mignon is made with all natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free beef. The shrimp and scallops are wild-caught to ensure ecological responsibility. The eggs are organic and the chicken steroid free, so diners can indulge without worrying about their health or that their entrees will punch them in the eye in a fit of rage. Of course, each environmentally minded dish is prepared with familiar Italian sensibilities, including leeks and mushrooms dressed in a port-wine sauce. The kitchen's expertise in classic preparations has been well earned, since Tivoli Cafe has been serving patrons since 1989. The eatery's ambiance is as well-honed as its culinary prowess; its homey, family-friendly atmosphere permeates the indoor dining room, extending onto the comfortably heated outdoor seating area.
Witzend, like the music industry itself, has seen a lot of changes over the years. The building that now houses owner Jeb Milne's restaurant and entertainment venue (as well as his animation company and holiday rentals) was known in the 1960s as the 4H Club, a bar frequented by Jim Morrison and The Doors and Gregory Hines. As the '60s gave way to the '70s, the space became Mad Dog Studios, then briefly a giant moth that terrorized the city, and then once again a studio, this time named Stanley Recordings. In 2005, Jeb turned the building into nerve center of his media operations, and after years of work in the neighborhood, opened Witzend in the same location. Today, bands from near and far perform for Witzend's lively audiences, while cooks prepare crowd-pleasing dishes, such as barbecue-chicken sandwiches and gourmet pizzas.
For 40 years, the iconic Kelly green exterior of Patrick's Roadhouse has lit up the roadside along the Pacific Coast Highway. Inside, dark wood and checkered floors join stained-glass lamps and hand-painted signs to create the look and feel of a well-worn and cozy haven for travelers. Featured on the Food Network's Diners Drive-Ins and Dives, the menu includes unique classics such as the sweet and savory Dijon plum burger, or the Rockefeller—topped with sour cream, jack cheese, mushrooms, and caviar. Fresh, organic produce acquired daily from the local farmers market piles onto stacks of fluffy pancakes, and slices of the Patrick's 'famous' banana cream pie launch into faces to round out meals.