Phoenix's Wild Thaiger restaurant has been scooping up its own die-hard fans since opening, but what of its newer sibling, Little Thaiger? Don't be fooled by the name. While it offers a more casual atmosphere for a Thai meal, there's nothing diminutive about about the flavors, nor the spices here. Just look to the Thai-Ferno Burger: a spiced-up beef patty covered in the restaurant's special sauce, which makes it one of the hottest things on the menu. Take one step down the heat pyramid and you'll find chili-basil wild boar. Another, and there's traditional pad thai in all of its rice noodle glory.
These signature dishes, like everything in the big and little Thaiger family, spring from the mind of chef Olashawn Hasadinratana-Weaver. She and her family use only seasonal ingredients and traditional marinades to distinguish their fiery Thai cuisine. Little Tahiger's location serves up these flavors at a casual counter and at a pick-up window, giving diners easy access and someone to talk to in case they're lonely. Thai iced tea, exotic drinks, and homemade desserts?including cupcakes and cookies?are also big draws, rounding out the dining experience.
In 1993, the basement of a Minneapolis apartment building was transformed into an Italian restaurant, becoming the first Buca di Beppo. The owners soon found themselves riding a wave of popularity and marinara sauce as they opened new restaurants across the nation. Today, the eatery occupies 97 locations nationwide, from San Francisco to Times Square.
At each location, chefs maintain the northern and southern Italian flavors that made the original so popular, with a few American twists. Then they serve it up in massive, family-style portions, making Buca di Beppo a favorite place for hungry families and groups of friends.
For starters, the chefs bake up batches of Cheesy Bread Florentine, a colorful combo of spinach, roma tomatoes, and garlic sprinkled over Italian bread and sealed in place with fresh, melted cheeses. Entr?es are prepared with an eye toward quality and quantity, both of size and selection, complete with Veal Parmigiana, Baked Ziti, and classic Italian-American staples like Ravioli and Lasagna. And in keeping with the convivial atmosphere, they also serve truly decadent desserts. The Mt. Vesuvius Dark Chocolate Cake erupts with melted chocolate, and the Colossal Brownie Sundae towers above other sweets with six scoops of ice cream and tiers of sundae trimmings.
The Mission’s small plates hail from across Central and South America, but the focus is only on what tastes good. Servers roll a cart up to tables and mix guacamole in front of your eyes, keeping in mind your preference for spiciness. They also craft cocktails with fresh juices, organic produce, and more than 54 premium tequilas.
Since it started topping plates with Spanish cuisine 22 years ago, the award-winning eatery continues to fill its classical-style archways with the scents of tapas, paella, and seafood that sings sea chanteys in Spanish. Should guests on Friday and Saturday nights be inspired by the live weekly flamenco performances, they too can enter the dance floor to show off their salsa, merengue, bachata, and rumba moves until 3 a.m.
Going out to breakfast poses the eternal question: are you in a sweet or savory mood? At Orange Table, however, the line between the two is deliciously blurred. The jalape?o pecan pancakes transform a traditionally sugary dish into a spicy treat, while sauce infused with Sailor Jerry's spiced rum adds an extra burn to the bananas foster French toast. Orange Table serves these breakfast dishes throughout the day, along with omelets, hashes, and honey-infused yogurt. Drinks from the espresso bar and regular coffee offer ample hot liquids in which to dunk your toast or absentmindedly dunk your own hand.
In the afternoons, the kitchen unveils its lunch specialties such as the Arrogant Bastard burger, served with 4 ounces of the namesake ale as well as bacon and house barbecue sauce. For a lighter meal, the Cafe sandwich blends house-pulled mozzarella, basil, tomato, and balsamic dressing. Despite the menu's mainstays, there's still plenty of variety?especially on the walls, which change their decor every month to spotlight work from a different local artist.
The brains behind Butter & Me Bakeshop is a self-taught baker who blends organic ingredients, fresh fruits, and high quality chocolate into flavorful, customized treats. Her menu of decadent desserts and savory bites changes seasonally to incorporate whatever seasonal ingredients are at their freshest; past offerings have included cranberry-orange hand pies, pumpkin whoopee pies, and spinach, potato, and rosemary quiche. Classic favorites such as muffins, cookies, scones, and cupcakes are available every day, as well as custom creations to suit any occasion or theme, even craft gluten-free treats upon request. Personalized treats can include everything from wedding cakes or cupcakes to sugar cookies, dessert bars, corporate gifts, or whimsical pies baked in a jar or overturned top hat.