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.
Siam Kitchen concocts a bountiful menu of flavorful, authentic Thai cuisine culled from fresh ingredients. Customers can commence feasts with deep-fried tofu drenched in peanut sweet-and-sour sauce ($7.95) or crab angels stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in wonton skin, and topped with halos fashioned from bent chopsticks ($3.95). Rice noodles treat taste buds to stir-fried sensations in pad thai ($7.95) or sautéed succulence in lard nar ($7.95), and a roasted duck fillet ($8.95) reclines beside chinese broccoli on a luxurious rice bed. As Emerald curry ($8.95) heats up sweet peas, carrots, and bamboo shoots trundling down tongues, chopped eggplant slathered in spicy chili dark sauce ($8.95) thaws mouths frosted from kissing snowmen.
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.
Carne asada is a specialty at Tukan Grill: you can get it in taco form, topped with creamy guacamole, or even tossed over french fries, covered in shredded cheese. But one of the most popular ways to have it is as a fajitas plate. The menu here goes beyond asada, though: like the mess hall at the United Nations, it seamlessly blends culinary styles, with dishes such as the Mexican lasagna, made with shredded chicken, tortillas, and homemade tomatillo sauce, and the surf and turf burritos, stuffed with steak and shrimp. You can also enjoy hearty breakfasts of huevos rancheros or saucy chilaquiles, or have a dinner of tortas al pastor and pair it up with frosty beers and margaritas.