Ed and Kyle Becerra, Young's Market and Garden Center’s owners, took over the business from Ed’s father, who founded it more than 50 years ago. Locally grown perennials, annuals, trees, shrubs, and Chia Pets squint at the outdoor sun, and rows of flowers line the dirt aisles of tidy greenhouses. In addition to plants, Young's inventory includes soil, fertilizers, weed-control products, and pond supplies. In season, customers can find fresh produce at Young’s bustling farmers' market.
Smashburger isn't just the name—it's the way chefs grill every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Angus beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. The chefs then sandwich each slab in an artisan bun and turn it into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market. This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the chefs do, from blending handspun Häagen-Dazs shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded to 160 restaurants in five years, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
Cebiche's chefs forge aromatic Peruvian dishes from recipes steeped in the country's Incan heritage and peppered with Spanish, African, Asian, and European influences. Citrusy ceviches encompass a suite of seafood, such as the shrimp, squid, and octopus. Bisteck a lo pobre presents a fine cut of fried steak, and aji de gallina veils shredded chicken in a creamy parmesan-walnut sauce that trickles onto accompanying steamed rice. Diners can sip pisco, a strong peruvian wine dating back to the 16th century, on an outdoor patio, or savor velvety spoonfuls of crème volteada—a Peruvian spin on flan—amid the indoor dining area's collection of native trinkets. Additionally, many dishes on the menu can be prepared vegetarian or in full Technicolor upon request.
Brazil?s flag hangs proudly under the front counter at Little Brazil. The flag??vibrant green, yellow, and blue??reveals the eatery?s menu: flavorful and authentic Brazilian food. Chefs simmer pots full of black beans, smoked sausage, pork sirloin, bacon, and Brazilian dried beef. They blanket chicken cutlets in a sauce crafted from cream, garlic, tomatoes, onions, and mustard. The chefs? sweet and savory pastries??with such fillings as chicken and Brazilian cream cheese, or cinnamon and banana??are deep-fried or shellacked at patrons? request.
As a boy, Bob Quintana’s first bite of pizza came fresh from the kitchen of his Italian neighbors, the Marones. Inspired by the authentic taste, he and his family began baking their own pies with herbs and tomatoes from their garden. Bob’s early encounters with Italian food burgeoned into a career at various local pizzerias, which eventually led him to open Li’l Nick’s Pizza with his wife in 1978.
Named for his then two-year-old son, the eatery was truly a family affair, with Bob's mom Ruby in the kitchen whipping up italian sausage. Today, Bob and now-adult Nick continue to rule the restaurant, where staff members create sauce, dough, and meatballs from scratch. Though their menu still flaunts staple pizzas, pasta, and sandwiches, it has expanded to also encompass Mexican tacos and burritos. The eats fuel conversation in two dining rooms, as well as at a recently installed bar with a 60-inch flatscreen TV filled with 60-inch-tall actors.
Vinnola’s Italian Market quashes midday hunger grumblings with a café menu of hot and cold sandwiches, pizzas, and Italian specialties. Newly wedded cheese and sauce emerge from their oven honeymoon on slices of pepperoni or sausage pizza ($1.99). The hearty lasagna provides a multilayered pasta dance floor for taste-bud tap dances ($5.95), and grilled homemade focaccia takes center stage in the paninis, with backup flavors of prosciutto, salami, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, peppers, basil pesto, and bags of chips ($6.99). Classic italian sodas and Pepsi products refresh palates and carbonate mealtimes with a range of old-school flavors. Give postlunch activities a sweet edge with one of Vinnola’s cannoli, prepared in the traditional Italian, Bavarian, and Pistachian styles ($2.35 each).