650 Eats: Recent Restaurant Openings Down South
Talk of swimsuit bodies this time of year gets us yawning. Where's all the fried food and ice cold beverages? After all, Summer is just as great a time as any to seek out the finest in fried goods–but we feel obligated to tell you (with tongues firmly planted in our cheeks) that all good things are best enjoyed in moderation. These three restaurants are new to the 650 (area code)—and offer ample opportunity for sustenance, fun, and maybe even a little sun.
For those of you who have ever done an afternoon hike and ended up in the beautiful yet admittedly slow-on-the-weeknights coast that covers Half Moon Bay, the opening of Fish and Frites (328 Main Street @ Second Street) is a boon. Hearty servings of beer, cornmeal or rice battered calamari, cod and other seafood make up the menu at this cozy spot from owner Elias Jweinat, who also runs two Mr. Pickles sandwich shops in Daly City and the City by the Bay. They are open on a regular basis ‘til 8 pm, so rest your tired bones with a side of fried Gherkins for a definite conversation starter–or ender, if you’re the one to grab and gobble first. Share that vinegar-y love.
When we hear the word “refuge,” our thoughts turn to one of the most amazing spas known to woman-kind, Refuge. It's an uber-relaxing adult play land with cold plunges and hot springs in the town of Carmel that makes us feel like it’s totally okay to be “as is” well into our adult years. Off Crane Street in downtown Menlo Park, inner peace can be found at a different Refuge (963 1143 Crane Street @ Ryans Lane) –this one's a “Belgian restaurant” that relies on the tried-and-true formula of beer, paired with humble and meaty fare. Think marbled, juicy pastrami with dependable fried goods. The original Refuge is in San Carlos, and both locations are rightly famous for a dish called the “Reuben with goofy fries,” which is a ridiculously wonderful combo of cheese sauce and pastrami. Pulled pork fries are another way to get in touch with one’s inner glutton. Refuge has a fair number of Trappist ales and 24 drafts: Urchon Brown Ale, Bruery White Oak, Saison Dupont, Mikkeller Not Just Another Wit, Clown Shoes Vampire Slayer, To Ol Sans Frontier, Almanac Single Origin and Chinook IPA. Don’t miss the craft soda program, which is a fun way for kiddos of all ages to get a liquid version of TLC sans alcohol.
June and July mean it’s a given that we’re going to find a way–any way–to get some dairy goodness in our stomachs. The opening of the new CREAM (440 University Avenue @ Kipling Street) in Palo Alto serves up Stanford students and 650 residents (and visitors like music man Herbie Hancock) an ice cream sandwich spot with a twist. CREAM is short for Cookies Rule Everything Around Me and is from the Shamieh family, who loves playing with cookies, marshmallows and peanut butter. As a Berkeley alum, I must point out that the home of all things tie-dyed also was the first place for CREAM to set up shop in 2010—who needs football rivalries when we can one-up each other over dessert?! Adventurous eaters can play with ice cream flavors and toppings and even get the occasional $1 off when it’s ice cream “Taco Tuesday.”