For years, Diana Colletti couldn’t outsmart her oven. Every dessert she touched burned to a crisp, so she tackled the problem by enrolling in baking classes, where she discovered her knack for cupcake making. Showing off her newfound skills, Diana began shuttling her original recipes to her workplace, where colleagues gobbled them up and begged for more. Before long, Incr-Edible Cupcakes was born. Since then, Diana has flaunted her baking skills for wedding receptions, birthday parties, and Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, proving once and for all that she has mastered her kitchen appliances.Today, more than 20 varieties of cupcakes spring from Diana’s kitchen, where she and several friends combine classic ingredients such as fresh eggs and sugar with gourmet fillings such as caramel, bavarian cream, and raspberry reduction. Frostings such as chocolate ganache and homestyle cream cheese swathe each cake in an extra layer of opulence, like a scarf made of freshly printed Monopoly money. The bakery also crafts cookies, brownies, and other treats, which can be delivered to Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties for a nominal fee.
What began in a home kitchen in the early 1940s is now the regional mainstay Marie Callender’s Restaurant & Bakery, which serves classic American fare and more 30 homemade varieties of their famous pies in a family-friendly dining experience. Cooks whip up dishes that are central to American culinary cannon, such as roast turkey dinners, ribs slathered in St. Louis-style bourbon barbecue sauce, and hearty country-fried steaks. They also maintain a salad bar fully stocked with fresh veggies, which pair nicely with any meal or can be piled into a 3 ft. tower and be a full meal themselves. But at Marie Callender’s dessert is the main event, and they serve up thick slices of classic pies such as apple or rhubarb, as well as more unusual flavors such as the kahlua cream cheese pie, a delicious liquor-infused treat that fits inside a flask if you squish it.
The cake decorators at Nothing Bundt Cakes adorn their bundt cakes with a similar motif: thick stripes of white frosting that fan out like petals on a daisy. But atop the cake’s hollow center, they insert colorful flourishes such as bright polka-dotted bows, silk flowers, and tiny placards for every conceivable occasion. For an even more memorable presentation, they happily arrange balloon bouquets that complement their cakes’ color schemes. Though presentation is paramount, Nothing Bundt Cakes’ bakers don’t shirk taste: they use fresh eggs, real butter, and real cream cheese to concoct flavors such as pecan praline or white chocolate raspberry.
Additionally, inside the cheerful storefront, patrons can peruse ’50s-era baking accessories such as cake tins and Mayfair cake stands that conjure nostalgic memories of poodle skirts, Cadillacs, and poodles in skirts driving Cadillacs.
At Siam Kitchen, skillful chefs whip together a multitude of noodles, rice, curry, teriyaki, and other authentic Thai dishes to create an expansive menu of flavors. A choice of pork, beef, chicken, or tofu is the main star in the pad gra tiem prig thai dish, where adoring chefs shower it with garlic-pepper sauce and heartfelt love letters on a stage of lettuce and cilantro ($8.95). Nosh on traditional fried rice ($7.95) or slurp up the pad woon sen ($7.95), where chicken, shrimp, a host of vegetables, and silver noodles mingle with a house brown sauce. In a teriyaki dish, a choice of meat or tofu mingles with chopped cabbage and carrots in a homemade teriyaki sauce ($8.95), teaming up to satisfy cravings for zest and fit the pieces of their friendship necklaces together.
It’s always a party at House Bar & Grill, an upscale American restaurant that transforms into a hopping nightlife spot as the evening sails forward. In the early evening, candlelit tables and a roaring fireplace lend a cozy-and-intimate feel to the dining room as servers flit between suede booths carrying trays laden with juicy burgers, marinated steaks, and thick-cut fries. After eight o’clock, however, the restaurant pulses with a DJ or live music, including dueling pianos and fist-fighting bassoons.