Comfort Food with Worldly Twists

Cobb salad with pork belly served at Rock House in Livermore.

Cobb salad with pork belly served at Rock House in Livermore.

If the fast approaching holidays already have you feeling frazzled, here are some dining options that will bring comfort to the table. 

Parada New Peru

WALNUT CREEK – Michelin-star chef Carlos Altamirano brings Peruvian comfort food to Walnut Creek in his latest endeavor, Parada New Peru. Several cebiche (we know this better as ceviche) options are on the menu.  My table started with a white fish version and an order of yucca chips and paired that with a sweet Peruvian Andean corn and beet salad.

The rotisserie chicken rubbed with Peruvian spices is one of Parada’s specialties. I had mine with sauteed veggies rather than the heaping order of fries that it comes with. The chicken was good, but the langostino crocante – wild Mexican shrimp deep fried in a quinoa batter and served on a bed of mashed sweet potatoes – was a home run. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Entrées start at $17.50. Full bar. or 925.448.8118.

Lacando Ravello

DANVILLE – Run, don’t walk to Lacando Ravello in Danville. But you should probably make a reservation first. Housed in the former Father Nature’s/Wildvine Hideaway spot, you’ll be amazed at the restaurant’s beautiful transformation.

Owner Enzo Rosano hails from Naples, and his pizzas absolutely shine. I recommend starting with a salad – the vesuvio is a mixed green with shaved fennel – and sharing a pie. The quattro stagioni, with artichoke hearts, salami, mushrooms and calamata olives, is my favorite. Pastas and a few entrées round out the menu. Gluten free pizza crust and pasta are available. Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner and Sunday for brunch. Hours vary by day. Pizzas start at $16. Full bar. or 925.984.2101.

Tri-Valley Bistro

PLEASANTON – Pleasanton residents will be amazed at how nicely the old Quizno’s on Main Street cleaned up. Now Tri-Valley Bistro, the inside is a modern, cozy and inviting spot to enjoy dinner. There are also a handful of tables on the front patio for al fresco dining.

The burrata & asparagus and beer battered fried oysters are great appetizer options. Several sandwiches and burgers are on the menu, but I skipped over these in favor of the Canadian sea scallops with black risotto, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms finished with a mushroom sherry cream sauce. It was everything comfort food should be. Open daily 11:30am-10pm. Entrées start $15. Beer and wine only. or 925.523.3815.

Rock House

LIVERMORE – A great selection of appetizers, burgers and salads are on the menu at the Rock House in Livermore. Sit at the old fashioned counter with black swivel stools, a table or in the bar area. Just about every seat has a view of at least six of the 30 or so TVs.

If you dare, start with an order of poundies. The house made potato chips are topped with braised pork, cheddar, red onions, BBQ sauce and ranch. Not sure if you want to dive into the deep end of comfort food? The cobb salad with pork belly is a great choice that walks the line between good for you and feel good food. Open daily 11am-10pm. Burgers start at $10. Beer and wine only. or 925.443.3240.