With its light coral-colored walls, wooden window shutters, and rustic décor, El Rincon De Gypsy takes on the desert southwest personality of the building in which it resides. Nearly 140 years old, the adobe structure is lined with artwork and complimented by a roomy outdoor patio and dining area. Everyday, visitors may receive a free tour of the building, and on weekends, they can participate in free tarot card readings.
Hot Dog on a Stick Founder Dave Barham opened his first Hot Dog on a Stick in Santa Monica in 1946, and the company has since burgeoned into an employee-owned franchise that's more than 100 eateries strong and spans 11 states. Best known for a 100% turkey hot dog dunked in corn-bread batter made from Dave's mother's recipe and cooked in soy oil, Hot Dog on a Stick also pioneered the dipping and be-sticking of mild american and spicy jalapeño jack cheese. Smiling employees in red-, white-, and blue-striped uniforms with, as Dave put it, "a splash of lemonade," hand over cherry, lime, sugar-free, or original lemonade that they make fresh every two hours by squeezing Ventura County lemons until they cry.
The chefs at Salma Farah's Mediterranean Restaurant stick to the culinary traditions of the sun-steeped Lebanese and Syrian shores. Kebabs sizzle as they pour tzatziki across gyros and rolled grape leaves. Garlic and eggplant roast aromatically, bound for bowls of hummus or baba ghanouj. Steam rises from earthy, dark Arabic coffee near fatayers?baked pastries consisting of dough rolled around spinach or meat. The BYOB policy lets guests bring in their favorite vintage without having to pay a corkage fee or watch a clumsy waiter try to impress everybody with his unicycling skills when delivering bottles.
Alex Alqadi, who is from Jerusalem by way of Kuwait, recreates the city of his birth with the scents of frying falafel and warm pita. Colorful paintings of the Dome of the Rock further capture the feeling of visiting the eatery’s sun-steeped namesake city. In the restaurant, waiters carry plates laden with lamb shawarma and spanakopita to tables cloaked in carmine linens, and cooks roast eggplant in the oven to forge baba ghanoush or destroy evidence after breaking into a farmer’s vault.
From the patio, guests watch as the Franklin Mountains slowly change color, the dusty browns giving way to rosy pinks and warm yellows as the sun dips below the horizon. Chef and founder Alejandra Chávez and her husband Iván Torres intentionally picked this romantic setting when they set out to open Thyme Matters. They wanted to create an elegant atmosphere to impress ship captains and to best complement dishes that showcase a range of flavors from all over the globe. Alejandra flirts with a variety of cuisines in her plates, such as baked brie with spicy pear chutney, tableside guacamole, and eggplant parmesan.
According to the El Paso Times, Mariscos El Costeno specializes in seafood from the Mexican state of Sinaloa, which borders the Gulf of California as well as the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. The El Paso eatery embraces the region’s seafood dishes, particularly those that incorporate shrimp. These succulent crustaceans appear in everything from cocktails to ceviche. They also crown grilled rib-eye steaks and add some flair to platefuls of spaghetti with tomato sauce.
Shrimp and fish entrees fill the majority of the menu, although the chefs do draw a bit of inspiration from the land and forge chicken fajitas, as well as lawn-flamingo tostadas. The casual environment gets livelier on Saturday and Sunday evenings when the restaurant hosts live bands until 10 p.m.