Inspired by the eternally ripe produce and bountiful sea meats of California, RED Restaurant's executive chef Alberto Morales crafts a menu of locally sourced foods, working with local farmers or purveyors to fill his cupboards each morning. He calls the cooking style modern California cuisine, and incorporates flavors as diverse as 40-day aged prime ribeye steak, wasabi-encrusted tuna, and basil-scented mashed potatoes. Equally as impressive as the ingredients list is his eye-catching plating, featuring modern arrangements that resemble sushi, such as the delectable tower of crabmeat and beet root salad.
Chef Morales serves his creations in a late-night-friendly dining room and lounge, where crowds cheer on live musical acts and DJs. Bouts of dancing are fueled by a roster of signature cocktails that range from the classic old fashioned to the Pink Lotus, which is a concoction of grapefruit vodka, cointreau, hand-pressed juice, and pink cotton candy. Large groups can opt for bottle service, which plies tables with champagne and spirits, keeping friends from arm wrestling over who has to pay for each round.
Inside Orlando Entertainment, groups of friends gather in 16 private karaoke rooms to wail the lyrics of popular songs. But instead of a stage and giant amplifiers, each of the lounge's rooms surround performers with stylish decor, including plush couches and recessed neon lighting. Groups can even have food and drinks delivered to their private space at the touch of a screen, so they never have to leave their room or communicate with servers telepathically. Outside the karaoke suites, neon lights and bright colors snake throughout the rest of the venue, ultimately leading to the full bar area lit with glittery chandeliers.
Ask Lourdes Limon why her raspados taste so good. She'll say, "Por que los hice con amor"—"Because they're made with love." Now that her sons have taken over the family business, they use the same secret ingredient, but they've added a few new specialties. Supplementing the shaved ice treats that give them their name are freshly squeezed juices, chili-imbued slush-drinks, and healthy fruit salads. But the raspados remain the main event. Flavors include exotic fruit such as guava, tamarind, kiwi, and jamaica, as well as more decadent flavors such as caramel, egg nog, cookies and cream, and plain water.
Bonafede-family matriarch Anita started JoJo's Pizza Kitchen more than four decades ago, and her discerning taste for ingredients is still identifiable in the menu. Though her son Joe, who napped on flour sacks in the back of the restaurant as a child, now runs the eatery, fresh basil and plum tomatoes grown in Stanislaus County still release aromas that hint at sun-soaked furrows. Through a dining room window, guests catch glimpses of chefs tossing freshly risen dough for pizzas or smaller chefs for their adorable giggles. They grate fresh parmesan cheese as wine cooks slowly down with mushrooms on the stovetop and chicken marinates in lemon and garlic. Servers bustle past, filling glasses with house wines or draft beers.
A true gastropub, The Pub at Chino Hills sits at the intersection of friendly watering hole and upscale restaurant. A crowd often forms around its wooden bar, where the staff pours 20 draft brews and well over that number in bottles and cans?including European-style dark ales. Flat-screen TVs give other patrons something to look at between sips of craft cocktails and wines from around the world. And on special nights, a musician might even show up to perform and then disappear into a puff of rum-scented smoke.
As for food, co-owners and chefs Andrew Faour and Mathew Carpenter rely on ingredients including USDA Prime meat, market-fresh fish, and cheese sourced from around the world. With those edible tools, they create lunch and dinner menus that start with small plates such as fried pork-belly bites. From there, the tour de taste can move on to meatloaf and steak entrees, or perhaps burgers with house-made pickles and patties that can take the form of beef, buffalo, or salmon. There's just one thing missing to complete the meal: one of the pub's signature desserts, such as gelato or homemade cookies.
Resembling a space ship abandoned by aliens who had recently time-traveled to hang out with Le Corbusier, The Glass House is a portal to rock and dance sounds for music-lovers of all ages. It’s also a cornerstone of downtown Pomona’s close-knit arts district, surrounded by record stores, cafes, and vintage shops. Holiday-themed shows and fundraising concerts join young, on-the-rise bands on the calendar, along with established favorites such as New Found Glory and The Faint.