650 Eats: Recent Restaurant Openings Down South


One universal truth, when it comes to comfort food, is that you can never go wrong with the genius use of carbs, which satisfy the way no plate of sautéed greens ever will. Two eateries new to the 650 do just that, and let hungry patrons explore comfort food from other regions and cultures while they're at it.

The slow, casual pace of island living draws visitors to Hawaii year-round. This month, San Carlos witnessed the opening of a bar and lounge that reflects Hawaii's unique sense of mellowness, in the form of Noelani's. The venture is helmed by college friends who are from the island state: Noelani (Noe) Maestrini, a mixologist, and Bradley Wills, while Noelani’s husband Marco Maestrini is also a partner. Cocktails abound and their orchid garnish is a sweet touch. The Volcanic Eruption cocktail intrigues for both its name and deep magenta hue; the guava margarita or Mai Tai are other ways of getting your island groove on. The menu offers small plates, and includes items like chicken lollipops, fresh oysters, ahi poke and their super decadent creation of scallops wrapped with pork belly. 1037 Laurel Street, San Carlos.

There may be no better late night snack than leftover empanadas, especially if you can scrounge up a good avocado to go next to it, along with a side of pickled onions. The price point for empanadas makes them especially appealing, because you can get your fill for just a few bucks. In San Mateo, the fill can be had at Claudia's Pastes & Empanadas. Claudia’s version of empanadas hails from the Hidalgo region of Mexico, which is famed for this type of both savory and sweet pastes, and her fillings range from the sweet piña (pineapple), to savory goodies like mole rojo (red chicken), green chile chicken; beef and potato; or a perennial favorite, beef chorizo. Claudia’s also carries tamales, and Jarritos soda, if you decide to eat in at this tidy, bare bones spot. 668 E 3rd Avenue, San Mateo.
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