Owner Craig Blum continues to convert doughnut skeptics with his irresistible pastries made from sugar, butter, flour and mashed potatoes. The spuds add a chewy quality to the doughnuts that sets them apart from standard rounds. Blum’s Wild Berry Bismark is a particular standout. This golden-brown fried pastry comes stuffed with a homemade jam made from Oregon berries, strawberries, sugar and fresh lime juice.
Jam quickly became Jeff Mauro's go-to brunch spot, not only because the chef is named Jeffrey Mauro, but also because he’s a fan of the breakfast sandwiches and other morning staples. The menu is loaded with creative twists on brunch classics, like Malted Custard French Toast. This popular dish is topped with a macerated cherry puree laced with pink peppercorns for a floral note.
This spot takes the hot chicken game to a fiery new level with its Tender Royale. Chicken tenders are brined, fried and doused with an oil made from Carolina reaper peppers before being served on a grilled cheese sandwich. Another standout is the Battle Royale, which clocks in at 9 pounds. Cheese sandwiches are fried until golden, then heaped with hot chicken tenders. Another layer of sandwiches and fried tenders are stacked on top, then finished with a mound of sweet apples.
This quirky cafe serves up a slice of Americana with its comforting dishes like the Sweet N’ Salty Pie: A luscious, lard-based crust envelops a dense cookie-dough filling studded with caramel bits and chocolate chips. A sprinkling of sea salt and scoop of vanilla ice cream add to the decadence.
Bobby calls Gibsons’ cuts (like the 48-ounce porterhouse) some of the "juiciest steaks around.” Also try the dessert: The Macadamia Turtle Pie features mounds of caramel-drizzled ice cream, while The Meaning of Life features five layers of chocolate cake, rich mousse and raspberry preserves.
In a city known for its flavorful Cajun and Creole cuisines, fiery dishes abound, but the Spicy Gumbo at Liuzza’s really stands out by combining both culinary traditions. A savory base is punched up with a robust Cajun-style roux, while tangy crushed tomatoes and steamed shrimp add Creole flavor.
Chef-Owner Carlos Swepson uses his French culinary training to riff on soul food staples. The mouthwatering results include the Double Cut Pork Chop. For this signature dish, a 20-ounce pork chop is rubbed with a spicy-sweet mixture and seared to seal in the meat’s natural flavor. The chop is roasted until tender, then smothered with a sauteed onion-and-apple mixture and nestled on a bed of rich black-eyed peas.
Head here to savor New American cuisine from high atop the cliffs of Big Sur. Sierra Mar’s focus is on innovative dishes that incorporate local ingredients. A standout is the roasted rack of lamb served with mushrooms, barley risotto and Japanese pumpkin plucked straight from the garden outside.
Nostalgia tastes oh so sweet at this ice cream parlor whose standout dish is an old-fashioned sundae. The Mt. Vesuvius features homemade vanilla ice cream with volcanic-inspired toppings: hot fudge for the lava, crunchy malt powder for the ash and fresh whipped cream for the cloud garnish.
Fentons has been making ice cream by hand and generously scooping it out for sundaes, floats — you name it — for more than 100 years. Duff says the "crazy-good" winner is the Banana Special, which features 3 pounds of dense ice cream finished with pineapple, strawberry and chocolate sauce.
You'll find more than two dozen great doughnuts at Gourdough's, but the Black Betty is the reigning queen. It's filled with blackberry jam, glazed with cream cheese icing and topped with cake-mix crumbles, honey butter and a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream. Customers also line up for their two-for-one, Texas-sized Donut Burgers.
This shop churns out individual-sized cheesecakes perfect for giving in to the urge for indulgent desserts. A standout is the Quadruple Chocolate Cheesecake: A cocoa-laced cookie crust, silky cheesecake batter and three varieties of chocolate buttons are layered together to make this rich creation.
Giada De Laurentiis is crazy for Churros Con Cajeta, a doughnut-like confection filled with sweet caramel, at La Casita Mexicana. Another standout is the Flautas Tres Moles, chicken-stuffed tortillas that are deep-fried and smothered in three distinct chile-based sauces, including La Casita’s 43-ingredient mole poblano.
Step back in time with a trip to this eatery that exudes old-style charm. Try the classic burger, which is made from a recipe that dates back more than 50 years. This freshly ground burger is topped with American cheese and a housemade Thousand Island dressing, then served on a butter-brushed bun.
This boutique bowling alley offers eats and entertainment that are delightfully old-school — with a decidedly upscale twist. A highlight is the brisket-and-chuck-based Mission Burger topped with caper aioli, caramelized onions and melty cheese. Prefer a meatless option? Try the vegan burger comprised of a panisse (garbanzo-flour patty) that’s finished with guacamole and a sambal chile sauce.