As visitors devour spoonfuls of sweet, creamy frozen treats at Menchie’s, they may notice a string of ’90s-era sitcom stars arriving to sample the wares and chat with the man in charge. That’s because owner/operator David Lipper first made a name for himself on Full House playing D.J. Tanner’s boyfriend Viper. Today, Lipper proudly sits atop a local frozen-yogurt empire, edging out his fellow cast mates’ enterprises, including Dave Coulier’s network of Swiss banks and John Stamos’s ’50s-themed doggy daycare. Inside the shop, diners select from a colorful array of flavors, such as low-carb pistachio or fruity watermelon tart, and crown their creation with toppings including sprinkles, mocha, hot fudge, and locally grown fruits.
The California Grill features a menu as big as a windmill factory. The selection is as vast as a diner's, but with an upscale twist. While waiting in line for one of the Grill's popular breakfasts, you'll have time to practice your close-up magic and perhaps meet famed Western character actor Burton Gilliam. Once seated, try the extra omelet ($9.25), an egg slab blended with avocado, bacon, mushrooms, sausage, and sliced onions, and your choice of jack or cheddar cheese folded in the middle. For a sweeter choice, there's the French toast ambrosia ($7.45), French toast capped with a beret of seasonal fruit and whipped cream. Coffee is available, as are fancy blended drinks like cappuccinos ($3.75) or an ice-blended mocha ($4.95). Breakfast is served Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Joe Garcia has worked a lot of different jobs. As a child in California, he and his father sold fresh food to local markets. When he was 18, he was drafted into World War II, where he served as a paratrooper, and after the war, he founded a bilingual magazine, Mas Graphicas. He later went on to open his first Mexican restaurants in Huntington Beach and Castaic, and then founded two successful Mexican food companies to supply supermarkets with authentic Mexican cuisine. In 2009, he decided to open Famous Joe’s—a place where guests can stop in for the same traditionally prepared Mexican dishes that made him so successful in the past.
Famous Joe’s enchants taste buds with house specialties such as the fish tacos topped with a chipotle cream sauce and the extra-large burritos filled with anything from carne asada to chiles rellenos in a red sauce. These pair with traditional appetizers such as flautas or less traditional appetizers such as the Food Coma cheese fries topped with your choice of meat, cheese, bacon, guacamole, and sour cream. Mouths cool off by sipping imported beers, gulping glasses of horchata, or licking the napkins.
Cuisine Type: Mexican
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 5–10
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Burritos
Delivery / Take-out Available: Takeout only
Outdoor Seating: No
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
Our menu [features] really authentic mexican food––what you would eat at home with your mother's or grandmother's cooking.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
The chef, who is also the owner, comes out to greet the customers when they are done eating to make sure their experience was good. At times, our regulars and sometimes new customers will ask for something specific that may not be on the menu. The chef will make it if he has the ingredients.
It didn’t take long for Brian Kozak to discover his passion for food: at the age of three, after he first tried shrimp cocktail and crème brulee, he would spend hours leafing through cookbooks and family recipes in his parents’ kitchen. His fascination with food led him to build an impressive culinary resume: after graduating from Le Cordon Bleu, Brian spent four years cooking for Bon Appetit, opened his own catering company, and learned how to fold a puff pastry according to army-bed making standards. Today, he demonstrates his culinary prowess as the resident Chef at Sage Restaurant and Lounge. Kozak’s influences span the globe: try the Spanish saffron paella with chorizo and shrimp, or any of six 10-inch pizzas. The dining room also has global flair, from its Tuscan yellow walls to its terra cotta tile floors.