Casual Dining on the Go
If back to school has you feeling frazzled, check out these local casual dining spots for quick and easy meals, dine in or carry out.
Takeout and healthy aren’t generally synonymous, but when you go to Shish Grill in San Ramon, you are getting a dose of good tasting, good for you, authentic Lebanese cuisine.
Seasoned lamb or beef shish kabobs come on a bed of rice with a side salad or lentil soup. I decided on the beef, which was grilled to order with onions and bell peppers.
Those watching their carb intake will appreciate the fatoush salad filled with cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, parsley, pita chips, sumac, lemon juice and olive oil. I topped mine with a tender, white meat chicken kabob.
Several vegetarian options are also available. Open daily from 11am-8pm (9pm Friday and Saturday). Entrées start at $12. No alcohol. TheShishGrill.com or 925.415.3270.
Bonehead’s Texas BBQ
Barbecue returns to Lafayette, this time in the form of Bonehead’s Texas BBQ where the baby back pork ribs are the star on the menu. The ribs are prepped with the owner’s homemade rub and has sat for at least a day before they are smoked. The result is fall-off-the-bone tender ribs. Served without sauce, they are plenty flavorful on their own. Medium and hot sauces are available. Go for the hot as the medium is more on the mild side.
Brisket, pulled pork, hot links and chicken thighs are available. The chicken was good, but didn’t hold a candle to the ribs. Sides include a crunchy cole slaw (my favorite), baked beans, potato salad, mac ‘n cheese and corn bread.
Order to go or eat on the patio. Sit inside and risk smelling like BBQ. Open daily from 11am. Closing hours vary. Beer and wine. Combos start at $11.50. BoneheadsBBQ.com or 925.262.4227.
Two Amigos Mexican Taqueria
From pint size to hearty appetites and hunger pangs in between, Pleasanton’s Two Amigos Mexican Taqueria has you covered with authentic Mexican recipes and friendly service.
Soft tacos and quesadillas are great choices for small appetites. The tacos come with onion, cilantro, salsa and a choice of meat. Quesadillas start with plain cheese, or turn them into super or grande versions that are loaded with meat, cheese, guacamole and sour cream. There is no skimping on the portions here. The fajitas plate can easily be shared. I enjoyed the carne asada version, with corn tortillas, rice, beans, guacamole and sour cream. Tacos start at $2.10. Open daily, 9am-10pm. 3550 Stanley Blvd., Pleasanton. 925.425.7667.
Mario’s French Dips
A dream come true for meat lovers, Mario’s in Livermore celebrates the French dip with 14 different variations of the beloved sandwich. Choose from prime rib, tri-tip, turkey, pork loin, pulled pork, corned beef or pastrami, or order one of their mouth-watering creations.
I ordered the garlic dip with prime rib, tri-tip, pork loin and chipotle mayo. The slow-roasted meat is tender beyond your wildest imagination and trimmed of all fat. Dips come with fries, but I subbed a small green salad to avoid a full on food coma. Dips start at $9.95. Beer and wine only. Open daily, 11am-8pm (9pm on Saturday). 925.447.0775 or