Beat The Heat!
After enduring a seemingly endless winter, summer is finally on its way, bringing warm nights to the area. Here are some great locations to try when you’re ready to beat the heat and get out of the kitchen.
Jack’s Urban Eats
The casual farm-to-table revolution continues to take the 680 corridor by storm with the addition of Jack’s Urban Eats in Walnut Creek.
Seasonal fruits and veggies meet house-made dressings to create beautiful salads. Stations with fresh, hand-carved roasted turkey and tri-tip are at the ready to fill your plates and sandwiches with the type of comfort food that is reminiscent of Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house – complete with a side of mashed potatoes.
I loved the Western BBQ Steak salad, which is a hearty salad filled with kidney and garbanzo beans, corn, jicama, diced tomatoes, carrots and mixed greens tossed with fresh dill dressing. It is topped with a generous helping of tender chipotle BBQ tri-tip and fried onion strings. Entrées start at $7.50. Open daily, 11am-9pm. Beer and wine only. 2862 Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek. JacksUrbanEats.com.
San Francisco’s Wonderland has arrived in the East Bay, opening in Danville this spring. Billed as American-style Chinese food, the restaurant features many typical Chinese-style dishes, as well as some pleasant surprises, like spring rolls filled with avocado and sweet slices of onion that are deep fried until golden.
Our server highly recommended the basil eggplant with scallops and prawns. Bell peppers and a mild hoisin sauce finished off this dish. It was my favorite of the evening.
The cumin chicken was lean and tasty – again, not a flavor I would necessarily expect to find at a Chinese restaurant. The Kung Pao beef, tender with a great kick, was an excellent choice. The menu includes many vegetarian and vegan options. Dishes start at $9.50. Open Wed. – Mon., 11am-3pm and 5-9pm. Closed Tuesdays. Beer and wine only. 150 Hartz Ave. in Danville. WonderlandRestaurant.com.
Gobi Mongolian Grill
At Gobi Mongolian Grill in Pleasanton, you get to pick the ingredients that comprise your meal. The all-you-can-eat restaurant is set up similar to a salad bar. Choose your protein, add some veggies – or lots of them – it’s up to you. Add an oil and a sauce, then turn your bowls over to the cook who will stir fry the ingredients on a communal grill. My thinly sliced beef was tender and I loved the garlic sauce that I selected to cook it in. If you’ve never tried Mongolian BBQ, Gobi is a great introduction. If you love it, but want a more casual dining experience, this is it.
All you can eat is $11-$13. Open Mon. – Fri., 11am – 3:30pm and 5-9pm, Sat. and Sun., 11am-9pm. No alcohol. Because everything is cooked on a communal grill, I would not recommend for people with food allergies. 4811 Hopyard Road, Suite G-1 in Pleasanton.
Caraway Indian Cuisine
Caraway Indian Cuisine is a welcome addition to the Livermore dining scene for those craving a casual lunch or dinner. Order at the counter, then have a seat at one of the many farmhouse-style tables. You can order individual dishes, or make it a combo like I did.
Start with an entrée choice. I decided on chicken tikka masala with boneless chicken breast in a savory sauce with just a hint of sweetness to it. Next, add bread or rice, then choose a salad. I decided on pickled beets. Round it out with a side dish, which are more of what I would consider appetizers. The vegetable pakora was a great choice. Combos are served in a bento box.
Combos start at $7.99. Open daily, 10am – 3pm and 4:30-9pm. No alcohol. 1536 North Vasco Road in Livermore. CarawayIndianCuisine.com.
Janet Fazio writes ‘Tastes of Your Town’, a monthly feature on East Bay dining in the print editions of Your Town Monthly. A version of this article was originally published in June 2017.
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