When Stuart Davis opened the first City Wok in North Hollywood in 1990, he had already been honing the restaurant’s concept for three years. He envisioned a stylish, casual restaurant where chefs created fresh, healthy versions of authentic Chinese dishes to order in an open kitchen. The problem? Davis lacked a background in traditional Chinese cooking. Enter Hing Fan Chan, a professional chef trained in Kowloon, China. “It was a 50-50 collaboration,” Davis told Restaurant Hospitality magazine in 2003: Chan brought traditional recipes to City Wok, and worked with Davis to create healthy, MSG-free versions of authentic dishes. Their collaboration paid off: in 2011, City Wok earned Palm Springs Life’s award for the area’s Best Chinese Restaurant.
Today, flames surge as chefs tend woks in chrome-lined open kitchens. In the dining room, customers relax as they wait for servers to arrive with dishes such as a spicy kung pao combo or house lo mein. A breakfast menu features creative wok scrambles and moo shoo burritos, bringing Chinese flavors to morning meals without the hassle of stealing a Concorde.
Pan of Asia introduces the vibrant colors and intense flavors of beloved dishes from across China and Southeast Asia. Like the cafeteria at the United Nations, Pan of Asia’s menu spans a continent’s worth of delicacies, from spicy-sweet Thai basil with tender morsels of tofu and chicken, to exotic Malaysian curries, to several crowd-pleasing Chinese dishes. Guests can sink their teeth into salt and pepper shrimp, citrus fried chicken, or spicy garlic eggplant. And for dessert, Pan of Asia finishes meals with green-tea or mango ice, or sweet dim sum.
The master grillers and stir-fryers of East Winds Asian Cuisine craft a medley of Asian flavors with a menu boasting a variety of Chinese, Japanese, and Thai dishes. Having so many influences and cuisines coming out of one kitchen lets the restaurant please picky palates with dishes such as honey-walnut shrimp, barbecue spareribs, and japanese vegetable curry. The friendly wait staff can make informed wine and sake recommendations and answer questions about dishes or the history of the chopstick versus popsicle-stick pop-art era.
The concept of the South in evidence at Luc's Bistro is expansive, including not just down-home American comfort foods but historical influences from French, Creole, and Cajun cuisines. In an airy room that's a little fancier than the location tucked away off busy Poway Road might suggest, servers deliver plates accented with spicy touches such as paprika mayo or peppered bacon. Breakfast bites include Cafe du Monde beignets and eggs benedict with ham and homemade hollandaise. For a lighter lunchtime offering, diners might try the crab-cake sandwich or simply suck the helium out of a balloon. Dinner entrees range from Atlantic salmon to old Southern standbys such as country-fried steak and shrimp and grits.
Green Tea Hawaii's supplements expedite the process of losing weight. The company’s flagship item, a nutrient-rich powdered drink, dissolves into water and becomes a slenderizing cocktail of green-tea antioxidants, natural caffeine, and amino acids. Each serving of the fruit-flavored drink boosts metabolism and unlocks the ability to smell colors. Green coffee bean extract and Montagna coffee also deliver a natural dose of caffeine, and raspberry ketones increase the body's ability to burn fat via fruit compounds. Various other powdered drinks soak into the body and replenish vital nutrients.
Every morning, the chefs at D'O Thai Cottage leave plates of Thai food by the front door as an offering to the spirits and an enticement to corporeal beings. Lured in for a meal, one food critic at the San Diego Uptown News found delight in the Crying Tiger's tender slivers of new york strip steak fanned over lettuce and served with a fiery garlic fish sauce—he recommends doling out the sauce in quantities "fierce enough to bring tears to a tiger’s eye."
Elsewhere on the menu, D'O Thai Cottage's chefs express their love of duck with sonnets scrawled in the margins and three different duck recipes: fried and topped in peanut sauce, ladled in a spicy pineapple curry, or sealed in a honey glaze that crisps the skin. Wok chefs fry up Thailand's version of comfort fare, sautéing vegetable stir-fries and rice noodles in thai basil and sweet peanut sauce. Bartenders cool off tongues with cocktails, Asian beer, and wine from Robert Mondavi and Beringer.
Inside the restaurant, fuchsia and tangerine banners hang from white rafters, and hovering cherubim keep their youth by bathing in the steam rising from bowls of curry. The ceiling angles up to a mezzanine, contributing to the airy feel created by the first floor's large mirrors and a row of french doors looking onto the street.