Perfect for the trendy health-conscious Bay Area, Vitality Bowls recently opened two “superfood cafés” in Palo Alto and Redwood City. The cafes serve açai bowls, made from puree of açai berries (similar to blueberries and full of virtuous nutrients and anti-oxidants), a “VB Blend” superfoods such as mangosteen and noni, nut milks, and bananas or other assorted fruits. The slushie-like açai puree base is topped with granola and other ingredients ranging from goji berries to shaved coconut to kiwis. Try a bowl for for breakfast, for a refreshing afternoon snack, or for dessert (dark chocolate may be added). Vitality Bowls also serves smoothies, fresh raw juices and savory paninis — not in a bowl.
209 South California Ave., Palo Alto; (650) 473-9740. Vitalitybowls.com
835 Middlefield Road, Suite C, Redwood City; (650) 568-1779
After opening in Daly City earlier this year, the Southern California-based the Habit Burger Grill has a Redwood City outpost in the Sequoia Station Shopping Center. Fresh ground-beef charburgers with lettuce and tomato, caramelized onions and mayonnaise are the signature, emphasizing the restaurant’s motto: “Respect the burger.” The Habit also respects diners’ personal preferences, serving customized burgers with choices from teriyaki and pineapple to bacon and mushrooms. Non-burger offerings include chicken, tri tip and grilled albacore tuna sandwiches, salads, fries, onion rings and tempura green beans. Save room for sweet diner favorites: shakes, sundaes and malts. Habit’s contemporary California “cool” atmosphere reflects its origin on the beach in Santa Barbara — a big difference from the nostalgic 1950s diner vibe of prior tenant Johnny Rockets. The restaurant seats 54 inside and 36 outside on the patio.
1111 El Camino Real, Redwood City; (650) 568-1625. Habitburger.com
Palo Alto and San Mateo
It’s prime season for barbecue and wild Pacific salmon. All summer, MacArthur Park in Palo Alto is taking diners on an “American BBQ Roadtrip” highlighting our country’s different ‘cue traditions. New Orleans, Memphis and Kentucky barbecue will be offered on a three-course prix fixe menu (choices are available for each course) and appropriate regional cocktails like Sazeracs for New Orleans. Texas fare is being served now, and dishes on the menu include a pepitas and ancho chile “Rio Grapefruit Salad” and homemade pecan pie, along with plenty of smoked beef ribs and brisket. Meanwhile, Pacific Catch in San Mateo celebrates the season of Pacific salmon with dishes combining summer produce with the fish. Chef David Gingrass gives salmon a chipotle honey glaze, grills it over a cedar plank, then serves it with toasted sweet corn and a sweet potato purée. Another main course features grilled salmon with a grilled summer vegetable ragout and smoky chimichurri sauce.
27 University Ave., Palo Alto; (650) 321-9990. Macarthurparkpaloalto.com
243 S B St., San Mateo; (650) 389-2482. Pacificcatch.com