Bourbon Pork Waffle Fries, Anyone?

Simply Fondue serves up Bourbon Pork Waffle Fries in Livermore.
Bourbon pork waffle fries at Simply Fondue in Livermore.

Bourbon pork waffle fries at Simply Fondue in Livermore. Photo: Your Town Monthly

Tri Valley chefs serve up unique dishes every day. Here are a few of our current favorites:

Yalla Mediterranean

If all goes as planned, Walnut Creek residents will be able to say “I remember when we had one of the first Yallas.” The local franchise hopes to expand by year’s end. Borrowing some from the  Chipotle model, you order at the counter, pick your protein, decide whether you want it served on a salad, in a wrap, or on a bed of rice topped with either spiced lentils or grilled vegetables.

I selected steak salad, grilled medium with lots of spices. Each option comes with three sides. I decided on kale and beet salad, Turkish cabbage slaw, and sweet corn and arugula. It was a feast of vegetables that tasted as good as it looked. Kids plates and family takeout platters are also available. As a bonus, Yalla uses 100% compostable materials. Open daily, 11am-9pm. Beer and wine. Entrées start at $8.95. or 925.934.5098.

Alamo Grill

Family-friendly with a little something for everyone is how I’d describe Alamo’s new Alamo Grill. The Alamo Grill duo, with guacamole and hummus from the small plates options, is great for sharing while you decide on your entrée. If you decide to stay with the small plates, the seared ahi tuna is a light and fresh choice.

The crispy kale salad was good, but skip it in favor of the southwestern salad with homemade pico de gallo, jicama, corn, avocado, black beans, and pepper jack cheese. There is much more going on here in terms of texture and flavor. The 12oz rib eye was tender and had good flavor. It’s served with potatoes and fresh veggies. Open daily, 4pm-10pm (11pm Friday and Saturday). Entrées start at $12. Full bar. or 925.820.1711.

McKay’s Taphouse & Beer Garden

The party is out back at Pleasanton’s McKay’s Taphouse and Beer Garden. With a dozen or so family-style picnic tables,  this isn’t the place to go if you want to be alone. McKay’s features a selection of brews on tap—most of them from Bay Area breweries. Cider and wine are also available. Pay for your beverage, then step into the food line where you’ll find a variety of flatbread, a giant pretzel, charcuterie, burgers, and more. Kids are welcome and have their own food menu.

I enjoyed a green salad topped with a generous serving  of the most tender tri-tip around. Prices start at $5. Beer and wine. Open daily, from 11am. Closing times vary by day. McKays is on Facebook or call 925.425.0217.

Simply Fondue

While it may be all cheese and chocolate when it comes to dinner, Livermore’s Simply Fondue’s lunch service, which started in May, features a great assortment of small plates, salads and sandwiches. If time (and appetites) permit, start with the bourbon pork waffle fries. The crispy waffle cut fries are topped with cheddar-jack cheese, loads of sweet bourbon glazed pulled pork and finished with green onions, jalapenos and a sour cream drizzle. Easily shared by four, it paired great with the wedge salad. The rosemary chicken sandwich is also an outstanding choice. Lunch entrées start at $10. Full bar. Lunch is served Monday-Saturday, 11am-4pm. or 925.443.6638.