Light-rail construction is turning stretches of University Avenue into a tough-to-navigate dining zone. But persevere.
Yes, there's parking available behind On's Kitchen, and once you've dealt with your car, put yourself in the capable hands of chef/owner On Khumchaya, and indulge in her heartfelt, distinctive cooking: lettuce wraps filled with dried shrimp and Thai chiles, whole steamed tilapia in a pool of sour-hot broth, garlicky pork sausages, shaved pork neck with cool mint and Thai basil, a whole fried king crab dressed with a yellow curry sauce, delicate shrimp dumplings and more. Much more.
There are plenty of cupcake choices at Cupcake (and other sweets, as well, starting with a fantastic frosted cinnamon pull-apart), but chef/owner Kevin VanDeraa also puts out a tempting array of panini, salads, soups, small plates and breakfast/brunch items. Two calendar notes: VanDeraa offers a simple three-course dinner every Thursday through Saturday night (the price hovers around $15, a steal), and he's being featured on the April 15 episode of "Cupcake Wars" on the Food Network at 7 p.m. Oh, and three magic words: Parking in rear.
Don't worry about parking at JJ Fish & Chicken, because there's a roomy lot. Instead, worry about whether you're going to order the catfish, the ocean perch, the frog legs, the fried chicken, the wings-gizzards combo, the okra, the peach cobbler, the sweet potato pie, or all of the above.