Aromatic herbs weasel their way into almost every dish at Real Thai, where chefs add a liberal sprinkling of chilies, basil, lemongrass, galangal, and lime leaf to create their signature dishes. These can take the form of entrees such as green curry that's infused with coconut milk or drunken noodles that are free of inhibition. However, not every dish is built upon a foundation of noodles or rice. They also whip up specialties such as eggplant stuffed with ground chicken and shrimp and drizzled in eel sauce.
Of all the sauces at Kickin Wings, the restaurant’s spicier concoctions seem to attract the bravado of both regulars and newcomers. Sauces with names such as Hot, Xhot, and XXhot delightfully scorch tongues devouring cooked-to-order batches of boneless and bone-in wings. Not all of the sauces pack a wallop, though; wings also shimmer with tongue-soothing carolina barbecue, peanut butter, or thai basil sauces. Complementing matters are side orders of jalapeño corn nuggets and mini corn dogs.
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).
A drive-thru and walk-up destination for a quick, satisfying cup of joe, Rocky Mountain Mocha's small stature can be deceiving, as there's much more than freshly brewed coffee on the extensive menu. Using fresh beans imported from Guatemala, Ethiopia, Honduras, and El Salvador, baristas craft drinks such as flavored lattes, Black Forest mochas, and foamy cappuccinos. The menu also includes non-caffeinated Italian sodas in a variety of flavors, such as strawberry, sugar cane, lemon, and watermelon.
With a signature pizza size called the Monster, you’d expect Pudge Brothers Pizza to be more focused on quantity than quality. But in fact, the chefs create their signature varieties of hand-tossed pies by blending together the flavors of three sauces, a range of meats, and fresh veggies. From within sizzling ovens, chefs pull out creations such as the Jersey Girl—a pizza featuring italian sausage and green peppers—or the White Delight—a ham, chicken, and garlic-sauce combination. Pies range in size from 10 inches to 18 inches, with a range of garlic bread, wings, and cinnamon bread to fill in a meal. The shop also offers delivery service, ensuring clients can have a hot, hearty meal when time is short or when the paparazzi won’t leave their front yard.