As the economic engine of Silicon Valley continues to draw college graduates and older entrepreneurial dreamers, the region’s swelling population is as hungry as ever. Bay Area-bred locals enjoy their old haunts and yearn for novel edible experiences, while transplants from smaller towns and faraway cities seek familiar comforts and foreign thrills.

From adventurous eaters to those who just want a simple taste of home, the South Bay has a little something for everybody. Our collective backyard is populated with a highly diverse assortment of world-renowned chefs and pop-up proprietors—all of them rubbing elbows with one another and participating in a cultural and culinary exchange that is perpetually reshaping the local food scene.

Heading into the colder, darker months of the year, it’s worth remembering just how much warmth and light we can absorb through the breaking of bread. Read on for a list of new and forthcoming restaurants and a refresher course on long-lived institutions.

Brand New

Running a restaurant is hard. The margins are slim, and everything from a few bad reviews to an out-of-the-way location can sink an otherwise strong venture. But what of the other side of the coin? When a restaurateur finds success with his or her first endeavor, what comes next? Well… they go through the whole nail-biting process all over again, of course. Here are just a few of the newest and forthcoming projects from Silicon Valley’s better known brands.

1887 S Bascom Ave, Campbell
Jeffrey Stout, founder and chef at Orchard City Kitchen, is branching out—opening up a second restaurant in The Pruneyard. His new establishment, Be.Steak.A, is described as a “Stout interpretation of an American steakhouse with Italian influence.” The restaurant is slated to open in November.

Flora Pizza
78 S 1st St, San Jose
Created by the team behind Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café, this recently opened pizza place features vegan and vegetarian pies—plus, as one might expect, plenty of craft beer, and kombucha on tap. They’ve only been open for about a month, but early Yelp reviews suggest their house-made fermented hot sauces are a hit.

Los Gatos Soda Works
21 College Ave, Los Gatos
Nick Difu of Nick’s Next Door is growing his brand. Recently opened directly next door to his flagship restaurant, this adult soda shop features bar bites and top-shelf craft cocktails, all designed by celebrated mixologist Jason D. Seele. The food lineup ranges from simple snacks like citrus-infused olives to more sophisticated dishes like a Kobe beef carpaccio. The cocktails are a mix of Seele’s creative interpretations of classics and his original creations.

Aptos Village Square
David Kinch is known the world over for his acclaimed, three-Michelin-starred Los Gatos restaurant, Manresa. Since finding success with his first restaurant, he’s opened a number of eateries, including The Bywater in Los Gatos and Manresa Bread, which has multiple locations throughout Silicon Valley. His newest endeavor is Mentone, which is scheduled to open over the hill in Aptos this winter. Impatient fans can get a taste of Mentone next month, as Kinch is hosting a preview of the new restaurant’s menu at the Manresa Bread in Campbell on Nov. 6 and 7.

SuperGood Kitchen
62 E. Santa Clara St.
Video games and craft cocktails: they go together like… well, I don’t even think we really need a simile there, do we? It’s obviously a great combo. However, it is Super Good Kitchen that really makes Miniboss—the new arcade bar owned by the same people who brought Original Gravity and Paper Plane to downtown San Jose—a triple-threat. Featuring deliciously innovative takes on Asian comfort food, it’s great to enjoy with a beer and a game or all by itself.

Tried & True

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Silicon Valley may be known as a cradle of cutting-edge innovation, but we have plenty of restaurants that predate the advent of the internet, mobile phone and personal computer. Here are just a few South Bay eateries that were feeding apricot farmers before software developers.

Falafel’s Drive-In
2301 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose
In the San Jose dining landscape, there is a handful of iconic locations where every true native resident has eaten over the years, and Falafel’s Drive-In is certainly one of them. It’s been in the current location since 1966. While Falafel’s does serve up other Middle Eastern fare—like kebabs, dolmas, foul, baba-ghanouj, hummus and gyros—I always find myself sticking to the namesake deep-fried balls of garbanzo goodness. The classic combo of a large falafel sandwich and banana shake might be the best one-two veggie-friendly punch in the South Bay. Add-on an order of za’atar-laden pita chips and you’ll really be in for a Middle East feast.

La Villa
1319 Lincoln Ave, San Jose
This venerable Italian deli is one of the last of a dying breed in this valley. Bertucelli’s La Villa Gourmet has been serving hearty comfort food in the heart of downtown Willow Glen since 1947. Although they’re known more for their foodgasmic raviolis, desserts and daily housemade Italian specials than their sandwiches, what goes better with a half-pint of cheese ravs than a properly constructed sando? Their Death Sandwich is stuffed inside an entire loaf of garlic bread, piled high with two pounds of meatballs and cheese, and slathered in their housemade Italian gravy.

The Mini Gourmet
599 S Bascom Ave, San Jose
This iconic greasy spoon—and we say that with the utmost love—has been serving up classic breakfast fare since 1971. They don’t do anything fancy; they just prepare good eats at reasonable prices. They used to be open 24/7, but have since revised this to just Thursday through Saturday. Get the certified Angus steak and eggs for a terrific all-American start to the day.

247 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto
Located on the bottom floor of the Cardinal Hotel, this Tuscan original has been serving up classic Italian fare for more than 30 years. Since its purchase almost three years ago by Giuseppe and Mauricio Carrubba, most of Osteria’s produce, beef and eggs come from its own Grandview Farms. The carpaccio app—with its thinly sliced, house-raised beef—is simply divine, and any of their veal dishes should be listed on every check.

Palo Alto Creamery
566 Emerson St, Palo Alto
Most places have phased out making a good ol’ fashion breakfast, like mama used to make from scratch, but not Palo Alto Creamery. Since 1923, they have undergone a few changes but have kept the same wholesome promise of using the simplest ingredients and producing the perfect breakfast. This place has some sweet treats, like their Caribbean French toast, which is topped with coconut, maple syrup and caramelized bananas. Now that’s one dish that will have mama wishing she did it first.

So Bougie

As one would expect, in this valley of venture capitalists and technological disruptors, there are plenty of fine dining experiences to go around. Some are quite pricey, while others won’t break the bank. It costs about $600 per person to sample David Kinch’s prix fixe menu (with drink pairings) at the three-Michelin-starred Manresa, while a couple exercising restraint could enjoy lunch at the Rosewood Sand Hill’s Madera for about $100—even with drinks.

FRESH CATCH: The oven-roasted octopus at Adega in San Jose is delicious.

FRESH CATCH: The oven-roasted octopus at Adega in San Jose is delicious.

1614 Alum Rock Ave, San Jose
In 2016, chefs David Costa and Jessica Carreira took home a Michelin star for elevating little-known Portugese fare, with such stunning dishes as Polvo à Lagareiro (oven-roasted octopus) and the classic Bacalhau à Adega (pan-seared cod). They no longer hold the star, but we anticipate it will return. For a real treat, show up hungry and splurge on the seven-course chef’s tasting menu for an epic culinary adventure.

15005 Mt Hamilton Rd, San Jose
A throwback to old Hollywood, this Italian steakhouse on Mount Hamilton is well worth the drive. The word “fresh” doesn’t quite cut it, as Grandview serves up certified Black Angus beef that’s raised right next door at Grandview Farms and dry-aged for 21 days. Their 18-ounce Cowboy Steak is so tender that it practically melts in your mouth. With a phenomenal menu, a cocktail menu that rotates weekly and stellar views of the entire South Bay, this steakhouse spot should be on everyone’s list.

La Foret
21747 Bertram Rd, San Jose
The Carrubba brothers, the siblings who reimagined the Grandview restaurant, also rebooted this South San Jose gem. A fine dining restaurant tucked away in the New Almaden wilderness has been immaculately restored and reimagined. It offers a welcome escape from the valley’s bustle.

2825-2895 Sand Hill Rd, Menlo Park
The outside lounge-style seating area at the Rosewood Sand Hill’s illustrious Madera restaurant is a relaxing place for craft cocktails and small plates. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the remaining warm nights of this region’s long Indian summers while watching the sun set behind the Santa Cruz Mountains. The single-Michelin-starred Madera offers a meticulously curated selection of wines cocktails, craft cocktails and seasonal dishes.

320 Village Ln, Los Gatos
Michelin stars aside, Manresa epitomizes downtown Los Gatos with its impeccable pairing of small-town comforts and upscale dining. Produce and meats are sourced fresh and local for daily tasting menus, which means you really have a dining experience like no other before or since. And assuming you’re going all out, avail yourself of the beverage pairing, as even the most seasoned oenophile may be daunted by the extensive wine list.

Hi-Qual Comfort

Any home cook worth their weight in salt knows that throwing salt into the frying pan—along with cheese, garlic and grease—is a reliable way to stumble into a satisfying meal. Whether such concoctions are actually any good, culinarily speaking, is another matter. But all “comfort food” is not created equal. Here are just a few of the local restaurateurs elevating the familiar to the level of fine art.

Luna Mexican Kitchen
1495 The Alameda, San Jose
To make a city that isn’t exactly hurting for Mexican cuisine stand up and take notice isn’t easy. But that’s what Luna Mexican Grill has achieved. The husband-and-wife team of John Lopez and Jo Lerma-Lopez take top-shelf ingredients, combine them to make authentic recipes and add a blend of modern décor—with a touch of south-of-the-border flair—to create one of the hippest communal dining eateries around. The bacon-wrapped camarones come with Oaxacan cheese and make for a savory starter. Luna’s mixed grill comes comes with handmade tortillas and in a variety of sizes to suit small and large parties.

Olla Cocina
17 N San Pedro St, San Jose
Olla Cocina is located on the historic San Pedro Square. This sit-down Mexican joint does much more than burritos, tacos and cerveza, specializing in authentic and contemporary dishes, including delicious Oaxacan fare, tangy ceviche and smoky mezcal flights. The patio is great for winding down on a warm night.

Our House
185 Park Ave #189, San Jose
Our House has one of the better menus in the fast casual arena. They cater to locavores—people who like to eat only locally sourced food—as their entire menu is sourced from within a 500-mile radius and features sustainable, GMO-free and organically grown items. Their Brie-licious has a chicken breast, creamy brie cheese and pickled peaches for one creamy, sweet and sour punch, and their Cubano, one of the tastiest Cuban sandwiches in the South Bay, is made with an organic crispy-fried pork belly.

448 California Ave, Palo Alto
Native Italian chefs Franco Campilongo, Kristyan d’Angelo and Maico Campilongo have mastered the art of pizza, specifically Neapolitan style, which led them to bring the tradition of true Italian cuisine across the pond. Their Neapolitan features a rich San Marzano tomato sauce, topped with a fine fior di latte mozzarella, hearty anchovies and oregano.

Offbeat Eats

Hats off to whoever it was who first looked at the cactus-like artichoke and thought, “If I boil it and scrape the leaves with my teeth…” It’s adventurous eating like this that inspires us to develop our palates beyond the standard meat and potatoes. These restaurants are ready to help the current crop of culinary thrill-seekers expand their dining horizons.

Olivera Egg Ranch
3315 Sierra Rd, San Jose
Every culture has a culinary delicacy that tests the gag reflex. Scots have haggis. Sardinians have larvae-infested casu marzu sheep cheese. For Filipinos, it’s balut: a usually-purple-dyed fertilized chicken or duck egg that’s been allowed to develop into an embryo and then boiled in the shell. The snack is eaten in Vietnam, China and elsewhere in southeast Asia and the Pacific islands. The age of the embryo varies, from 17 to 21 days. At 21 days the tiny bird starts to get a little crunchy but is tender when cooked. Balut is commonly served as a salted snack with beer. That should tell you something. The veiny, lightly feathered bird embryo may not look that appetizing, but the flavor is familiar. It tastes a lot like chicken soup. Pick them up for about a dollar apiece at your local Asian market, or at Olivera Egg Ranch.

1185 Lincoln Ave, San Jose
Anthony “AJ” Jimenez and Josh Hanoka are culinary veterans of some of the South Bay’s best kitchens and have teamed up to occupy the former Haymarket location in Willow Glen. While the pair serve up plenty of modern takes on comfort food, they also have some items on their menu that might cause patrons to do a double take. They offer a peanut butter, jelly and bone marrow sandwich, a whole roasted fish and house-cured lamb tongue pastrami. All of it is delicious.

FO PIZZLE: The traditional Bun ho Hue soup at Bun ho Hue An Am features ox penis. Photo by John Dyke

FO PIZZLE: The traditional Bun ho Hue soup at Bun ho Hue An Am features ox penis. Photo by John Dyke

Bun bo Hue An Nam
Multiple locations
The specialty Vietnamese soup known as Bun bo Hue has its origins in the former capital city of Hue. This beefy, brothy bowl balances sour, salty and spicy notes. For years, the local gold standard has been the aptly named chain, Bun bo Hue An Nam. They are renowned for their amazing broth and one specialty ingredient: ox pizzle (penis). Yes, that magical ingredient was enough to draw Andrew Zimmern of the Travel Channel show, Bizarre Foods America. While diners can order their soup sans pizzle, I would recommend trying it at least once—if for no other reason than to spice up the Instagram feed.

Dan Izakaya Restaurant
1306 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
Local carnivores with a true love of taco trucks will have tried cabeza and lengua—pork cheek and tongue, respectively. Dan Izakaya Restaurant goes a few steps further outside the this culinary comfort zone, serving up cuts of meat most Americans only consume in sausage and hamburger form. They’ve got honeycomb tripe, cartilage, intestines (large or small) and gizzard. They also have uni, otherwise known as sea urchin gonads.

25 W San Fernando St, San Jose
In addition to all the familiar Oaxacan favorites served at Mezcal, there is one item on the menu that certainly gives gringos pause. Grasshoppers. But it shouldn’t. When it comes to edible insects, grasshoppers are a great place to start. They’re fairly easy on the Western palate—all it takes is the resolve to take that first bite. Known as chapulines in Mexico, the little orthopterans have been eaten since pre-Colombian times, so there’s no reason to stop now. The insects are roasted with salt and chiles until they’re wonderfully crunchy. A squeeze of lime finishes them off. They’re eaten a salty beer snack or an appetizer.

Delicious Diversity

One of the greatest features of life in Silicon Valley is the diversity of our food scene. Just about any culinary tradition one can think of is available—and much of it is DoorDash-able. From ultra fresh sushi to super spicy hunan, soupy dumplings to Uyghur milk tea, the South Bay always has something new to explore.

Cha Cha Sushi
547 W Capitol Expy, San Jose
Cha Cha’s diminutive size and top-notch sushi almost always guarantees a wait—but a worthwhile one. Known for massive rolls, reasonable prices and fresh fish, Cha Cha is the sushi spot for South Siders. The humongous Brandon’s Roll is almost a meal in itself, and the ultra-thick-cut sashimi puts people in fish comas.

Dio Deka
210 E Main St, Los Gatos
Located inside the beautiful Hotel Los Gatos, Dio Deka was awarded a Michelin star back in 2010. It’s since lost the honorific, but the restaurant is still definitely worthy of a visit, according to the 2018 Michelin guide, which singles out Dio Deka’s wine list as “excellent.” Check out the lovely patio and try one of their many seafood options to keep things authentically Mediterranean.

Famous Dumpling House
4996 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose
While Ethiopian food is scarce in the South Bay (see LeYou below), it is plentiful in Oakland. Conversely, the East Bay Express ran an article in December 2018 fawning over a San Leandro restaurant serving xiaolongbao. Silicon Valley denizens need not drive that far for a delicious XLB. In fact, the problem really comes down to which direction to drive. There are a growing number of authentic Chinese restaurants serving these soupy dumplings all over the region. One particularly good newcomer is just a few miles from another popular XLB hotspot, Din Tai Fung. Their thin-skinned XLBs are perfectly proportioned and filled with sumptuous broth and meaty innards. The menu also features a nice selection of Chinese soups and plenty of veggie dumplings.

Famous Lao Papaya
3005 Silver Creek Rd #164, San Jose
Formerly a food truck, Famous is the first Lao restaurant in San Jose. Many of the items that the owners served, and mastered, on their roving mobile menu now appear on the small but satisfying one that’s clearly displayed behind the register. Try the khao, which is reminiscent of tahdig—crispy Persian rice that’s been smothered in a khoresh (stew). Unlike the way tahdig is served, the Lao rice is broken apart into delectable, bite-sized clusters. Famous Lao serves it with cured or fermented pieces of pork. Their chewiness complements the crunch.

Hunan Taste
998 N 4th St, San Jose
Henry Chung, the man credited with bringing the spicy Hunan style of Chinese cooking to the United States, died in 2017. His spirit and recipes live on in the many eateries that still bear his name throughout San Francisco. His cooking caused quite a sensation when American diners, then more familiar with Cantonese styles of Chinese food, discovered Henry’s Hunan. Henry’s legacy lives on in San Jose’s Hyde Park neighborhood. Hunan Taste was founded by Joanne Song, Chung’s niece. Delicious, savory and most importantly, spicy, Hunan Taste is a great place to break a sweat and bust a cold. Must-trys are their hot and sour soup, dumplings and mu shi pork.

Küsan Uyghur Cuisine
1516 N 4th St, San Jose
The Turkic Uyghur (pronounced wee-goo’r) people hail from Xinjiang. The Chinese province, located in the country’s northwest, shares a western border with Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan and served as a main thoroughfare on the ancient Silk Road trading route between China and the Middle East. The Uyghurs are a largely Muslim ethnic minority in the People’s Republic of China, and their cuisine combines traditional Chinese and Middle Eastern spices and ingredients with elements of Halal. The menu offers a limited selection of carefully curated dishes, such as Uyghur salad, braised lamb shank and a special milk tea.

LeYou Ethiopian
1100 N 1st St, San Jose
Ethiopian cuisine is underappreciated and hard to find in the South Bay. But the small pool of options recently got a little bit bigger with the opening of LeYou Ethiopian. As with all Ethiopian spots, the vegetarian options are plentiful, with lentils, chickpeas, eggplant and collard greens. There’s also the kitfo (steak tartare) for adventurous carnivores, and the slow-cooked Ethiopian standard sauces of k’ey wot and alicha that come with diner’s choice of proteins, including beef, lamb, chicken, whitefish and Portobello mushrooms. They also have Ethiopian beer, local beer from Hapa’s Brewing Co. and Ethiopian honey wine.

Stone Stew
205 N 4th St, San Jose
For years, the original Stone Stew has been tucked away in the back of a Saratoga Avenue grocery store called Mediterranean Food Market. It was, and still is, a hidden gem. Its spectacularly beautiful decor whisks diners away to a veranda in Iran. However, with the impending Garden City Shopping Center renovations, the original will soon shutter. Fortunately, a second San Jose location keeps the Stone Stew rolling. The new restaurant is substantially smaller than the original, though it is nearly as beautiful. Stews are quite popular in Iran, and one of the most basic versions is known as ābgoosht (literally “meat juice”); it consists of slow-simmered lamb, turmeric, dried limes and chickpeas. Stone Stew’s rendition is called vakil abad-mashad and is available with just the stew or with some housemade sides.

Midday Munchies

Is it noon yet? While many in Silicon Valley rely on their employer for the midday meal, the rest of us must choose whether to pack our own lunch or go on the hunt. There are many wonderful eateries that serve fast, fresh and delicious options—often between two slabs of bread or wrapped in a tortilla. Here are some of the better options for those looking to eat well in a hurry.

Freshly Baked Eatery
152 N Third St # 101, San Jose
Fresh-baked bread is a key component in a next-level sandwich, but usually most loaves are baked earlier in the day. Not at Freshly Baked. Here their sourdough loaves are only half-baked and then finished up just moments before patrons order up one of their tasty subs. There’s always a bit of a show as the sandwich makers pop open the bread so that patrons can ooh and aah at waves of hot steam erupting from the tasty loaves. By the way, did we mention that Freshly Baked also roasts their meats in-house, as well? Yeah. They’re legit.

Mexico Bakery
Multiple locations
Burrito lovers on the hunt for a sandwich would do well to swing by this East Side bakery known for serving up gigantic Mexican sandwiches (tortas) for very little dinero. Their housemade bread has a nice crusty exterior and soft interior that doesn’t overwhelm, but stands up to their copious filling. Their Milanese might be their most popular sammie, as it’s filled to the brim with breaded steak, avocado, thick-cut queso fresco, jalapeños and tomatoes. And their green and red salsas are delicious.

Phát Trí
1210 Story Rd, San Jose
Not only is Phát Trí one of the primary sources of bread for Vietnamese restaurants, but they also serve up some of the best bánh mí in the South Bay. Their primary base of operations is in San Jose’s Little Saigon neighborhood and cranks out loaf after loaf of giant, fluffy French baguettes. Their No. 31 is fantastic and comes with grilled pork, scrambled eggs and their mayo-based “special sauce.” When combined with their bread, pickled veggies and smoldering jalapenos, this makes for one of the best sammies in the South Bay. Their real strong suit is their fantastic value, as all their sandwiches are in the $5-$6 range and are so huge that one could make two meals out of it.

Willow Glen/Los Gatos Meats & Smokehouse
885 Delmas Ave, San Jose and 575 University Ave, Los Gatos |
These two sister locations arguably serve up the best sandwiches in the South Bay, and most residents under age 30 have probably never heard of either one. This is a real travesty. These guys do things the real old-school way as 95 percent of what they serve at the shop is made in-house, including their pastrami. The popular AJ comes with their pastrami, avocado and bacon. However, the Quadruple ByPass, which sports tri-tip, pulled pork, pastrami, bacon, chipotle sauce and pepper jack cheese, is the sandwich to end all sandwiches.

Most Important Meal

A good breakfast can be enjoyed at any time of day; hence, the creation of chicken and waffles. Local eateries are putting their own spin on protein-and-carb pairings, doing wonders with bacon and home fries as well as poultry and pastry. And the atmosphere at these breakfast joints runs from family-friendly to adult-oriented (read “OJ to mimosas”).

STACKED: Be prepared to wait for these fluffy pancakes—The Breakfast Club almost always has a line on weekends.

STACKED: Be prepared to wait for these fluffy pancakes—The Breakfast Club almost always has a line on weekends.

The Breakfast Club
1432 W San Carlos St
Despite being on the scene for less than two years, the Breakfast Club (sans Molly and Judd) has stepped up as a favorite morning spot in San Jose’s Midtown neighborhood. Their selection of five bloody marys all start with their house bloody mix and are favorites here—and also available gluten-free, if desired. Their red velvet pancakes with cream cheese frosting are a carb-tastic way to start one’s morning.

Multiple locations
This local breakfast institution has been serving the South Bay since 1974 with a nice mix of healthy and traditional breakfast fare. Their original smoothie is a terrific way to get the day started off right, but don’t forget to get some of their aptly named “World-Famous” blueberry coffee cake. Its crumbly, moist interior is packed so full of antioxidant-filled blueberries that it seems almost semi-healthy.

Orchard City Kitchen
1875 S Bascom Ave, Campbell
Jeffrey Stout’s Michelin Bib Gourmand small plates restaurant might be a bit under the radar when it comes to breakfast, but diners shouldn’t miss out. Their signature P.O.G. mimosas and Triple B (biscuits, bacon and honey butter) are the staples on their brunch menu. Feeling like something daring? Get the lobster burrito that comes with a Fresno chili aioli, tater tots and scrambled eggs and everyone’s favorite marine crustacean for an unforgettable breakfast.

Southern Kitchen
27 E Main St, Los Gatos
Not to be confused with the similarly named greasy spoon on Monterey Highway, this quaint downtown Los Gatos spot offers up down-home Southern fare. Their unique take on chicken and waffles—where the chicken is actually embedded in the waffle and then deep-fried golden brown—is not to be missed. Another “can’t miss” item is their signature shrimp and grits, which won the People’s Choice award at the 2016 Bacon and Beer classic.

Pop Stars

Pop-ups are the first cousins of food trucks, there when you need a nosh at a venue with no food menu. Since these venues are often taprooms, pop-up menus are heavy on alcohol-absorbing comfort food, often prepared with a memorable twist that imbibers develop a taste for. It’s a perfect pairing of basic needs and culinary creativity.

Alma Jackson’s
Full disclosure: Matthew Close, the chef responsible for the Alma Jackson’s Fried Chicken pop-up, is a Metro contributor. He’s also a scientist, apparently. How else might one explain his ability to achieve a perfectly crisp exterior while keeping the interior of his fried chicken so juicy? Now that we think of it, black magic might be involved. He also has a fried cauliflower vegetarian option that nearly passes as the real thing.

Bay Style Catering
Bay Style’s menu is simple and delicious. Customers can choose from either street tacos or mulitas, which are essentially double-decker quesadillas, filled with meat, cheese, onions, cilantro and a spicy avocado sauce. Inspired by Mexican and Fijian culinary traditions, the pop-up’s garam masala spice blend pairs perfectly with their expertly cooked dark chicken meat.

Mollies Catering
Gonzalo Acevedo, the man behind Mollies Catering, knows a thing or two about meat and cheese. At his delicious pop-up, which can be found at Camino Brewing most days of the week, he not only serves a protein-heavy burrito consisting of only meat, cheese and a spicy pickled pepper-and-veggie medley, but he also dishes out what he calls “keto tacos.” First he melts a pad of cheese on the surface of his well-seasoned griddle, scraping it off once it has become crispy on the outside and al dente on the inside. Then he fills it with your choice of toppings. Mmmm… Low carbs.

Barya Pop-Up Kitchen
Chef Rod Reyes’ pop-up restaurant really came into its own when started experimenting with his mother’s traditional Filipino recipes. Reyes’ oxtail lumpia is to die for. The juxtaposition between its crisp exterior and its soft, savory oxtail insides is a revelation. The accompanying kare-kare dipping sauce coaxes a complexity and sweetness out of the oxtail, bringing the entire dish together.