When they craft their seasonal menu, the cooks at AVA Restaurant and Wine Bar aren't looking to impress diners with unfamiliar dishes. Instead, they wow taste buds with rich, robust flavors, roasted duck breast to meatloaf kicked up a notch by chipotle cream sauce. For vegan and vegetarian visitors, AVA's culinary team draws on organic and local fruits, veggies, and grains to create meals such as vegan chicken and waffles. Meatless or not, each feast can be accompanied by pours from an award-winning wine list curated by the eatery's onsite sommelier. Bartenders also serve plenty of beer, as well as custom, exotic tea blends.
The Carving Board Cafe serves up a scrumptious menu of soups, salads, and sandwiches layered with heaping mounds of house-roasted, -smoked, and -baked deli meats. Silence empty-belly rumblings with one of the deli's delectable sandwiches, such as the crustacean-centric crab melt, loaded with lump crabmeat, tomatoes, and provolone, and nestled inside the downy bosom of sourdough bread ($5.95). Handheld fare includes the South West roast beef sandwich, a tummy-appeasing foodstack that swaddles tongue buds with lettuce, tomatoes, spicy mayo, and a slice of pepper jack cheese shaped like a 10-gallon hat ($4.95). A fleet of made-from-scratch soups and salads are also available, and include options such as hearty seafood chowder ($2.20–$3.85) or sesame asian salad tossed with fresh veggies, honey-toasted almonds, and chinese noodles and dressed in the deli's signature sesame vinaigrette ($4.95).
Since 1951, The Nook has been serving up classic and creative diner fare in a historic building from the 1880s—adorned with mahogany booths, welcoming outdoor seating, and vintage charm inside and out. The pages of Nook's breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu are lush with tempting selections, such as thick apple-wood-bacon-covered burgers ($6.95), homemade twice-baked meatloaf ($9.95), chili-cheese-drenched fries ($5.95), turkey-stacked club sandwiches ($7.95), syrup-slathered pancakes ($4.95), and other meat-melded comfort fare. If an item can be made by hand, it is, and if a guest's tongue appears parched, the staff quickly whips up a sip—such as freshly squeezed juice, a thick and quick shake, or one of many artistic cocktails.
Siips—a cozy, wood-finished bistro—boasts a comprehensive selection of more than 75 wines and champagnes, most of which are available by the glass nightly. These bubbly and waft-worthy beverages accompany lunch and dinner menus brimming with fresh Mediterranean fare. Sidle up to the granite-topped bar with a silky smooth Bonny Doon syrah (3 oz. for $7; 6 oz. for $13), and soak up the creamy tannins with savory morsels of antipasto piled high with cured meats, cheeses, and olives ($16.95). Celebrate a special occasion with a crisp glass of Gloria Ferrer bubbly (3 oz. for $7; 6 oz. for $12) that soothes and smoothes the palate just in time for an artfully arranged plate of wine-sautéed escargot ($9.95).
Rapture's gourmet variations on soul-food themes put the spotlight on organic and locally sourced ingredients. The lunch menu's specialty sandwiches elevate noontime dining to an edible art, with combinations such as country ham and gruyere cheese with apples ($8) and the portobello and choice of cheese in the quasi-burger ($8). The dinner menu embellishes classics with creative flashes of gustatory genius, such as the shrimp and grits gussied up with goat cheese and thyme ($11) and a hearty, bourbon-marinated pork loin garnished with frosty sugared blackberries and andouille-sweet-potato hash ($15). Brunch your way into the weekend with classic eggs benedict, served over a buttermilk biscuit or english muffin alongside fresh fruit and choice of grits or homefries ($8).