The Corazon Espinado at Sun of Wolf has a base of Dos Hombres mezcal and the vibrant color of a prickly pear. Photo by Anthony Shu.
Corazon Espinado at Sun of Wolf
With the news that California Avenue is staying car-free for the foreseeable future, there's plenty of time to stop by the patio at Sun of Wolf for a cocktail. Owned by three cousins with family ties to the mole-slinging Palo Alto Sol (and located right next door), Sun of Wolf showcases how a younger generation approaches Mexican cuisine. Alongside the Corazon Espinado, a cocktail with a base of Dos Hombres mezcal and the vibrant pink color of prickly pear, I enjoyed seeing how high I could pull the melty queso fundido in bright orange achiote tortillas.
Sun of Wolf, 406 California Ave., Palo Alto; 650-325-8888; Instagram: @sunofwolfpa.
wonderful's steamed fish platter. Photo by Anthony Shu.
Steamed sole, tofu and chili at wonderful
When wonderful's platter of steamed fish landed on the table at the end of my spice-filled Hunan meal (it's slowly steamed to order), I had a full stomach and some questions about whether I had made a mistake. Then, the smooth fish melted away in my mouth, and the bite of raw garlic and punch of chili pleasantly punctuated each bite.
wonderful, 270 Broadway, Millbrae; 650-651-8888.
Sushinaloa serves up sushi with Mexican spices, as well as dishes like empanadas de camarón. Photo by Anthony Shu.
Empanadas de camarón at Sushinaloa
While some might feel strongly about combining seafood and cheese, these crispy empanadas and their gooey, cheesy filling helped me pick my side of the debate. With music absolutely blaring both over the speakers and from a live mariachi band and micheladas topped with a handful of shrimp, Sushinaloa provides a lively time. Bright, fresh ceviches come with endless tostadas from Oakland's La Finca Tortilleria to snap and top with octopus and shrimp.
Sushinaloa, 2505 Middlefield Road, Redwood City; 650-771-1620.
Town's bone-in ribeye is served with a red wine demi-glace. Photo by Anthony Shu.
Bone-in ribeye at Town
I find restaurants like Town remarkable. The sounds of clinking glasses and chatter constantly echo throughout the bars, and families look so relaxed in their booths that any passerby can tell they've been patronizing the establishment for years. For so many Peninsula residents, Town is the destination for a special family dinner out. While I'm usually for simplicity and salt and pepper with my steak, I enjoyed the delicate sweetness of the red wine demi-glace that accompanied my bone-in ribeye. In my opinion, creamed spinach is the must-have steakhouse side, and Town's rendition is packed full of the dark leafy greens. The Black Angus beef is sourced from Avenir Restaurant group's sister company, Rancho Alena Cattle Co.
Town San Carlos, 716 Laurel St., San Carlos; 650-595-3003; Instagram: @townsancarlos.
Los Carnalitos' Huarache Azteca mixes together squash blossoms, mushrooms, nopales and corn smut. Photo by Anthony Shu.
Huarache Azteca at Los Carnalitos
One can argue endlessly about the title of best taco truck, but there's no question that Los Carnalitos represents the cuisine of Mexico City well. The restaurant group now includes a Michelin-recognized establishment, but its original food truck is still inconspicuously parked outside of a Planned Parenthood in Redwood City. Devouring the Huarache Azteca is like digging into a painting or collage, with each multicolored bite mixing together corn smut, squash blossoms, mushrooms and nopales.
Los Carnalitos, 2907 El Camino Real, Redwood City; 650-315-5090.