Even though Portuguese explorers couldn't pronounce the Swahili name for the African bird's eye chili—pili-pili—the sailors fully embraced its flavor shortly after landing in the region known today as Mozambique. Intrigued by the small, fiery pepper, they combined it with aromatic doses of herbs, garlic, and lemon to create the first peri-peri sauce. That sauce eventually became a wildly popular marinade for poultry, and the tasty concoction made its way to South Africa over the next several centuries. There, in 1987, two friends decided to honor this culinary legacy by founding the first Nando's Peri-Peri restaurant. The eatery continued to remain true to its South African roots, even while expanding to encompass locations in 24 countries across four continents.
Beginning with fresh chickens that never see the inside of a kitchen freezer, the chefs furtively marinate the birds in a secret peri-peri sauce for 24 hours before grilling them over an open flame. Diners dictate the heat level of their order, requesting that the grilled chicken arrive relatively mild or that wings be slathered with even more incendiary spices. The succulent chicken can be plated with hearty side dishes—such as Portuguese-style rice with herbs and peppers or peas with mint—or served in the form of a sandwich, wrap, or pita. To complement the menus' African flavors, Nando's worldwide locations collectively feature more than 4,000 pieces of African artwork.
Since opening their first location in 1996, Robeks sends their customers well on their way to consuming their recommended daily intake for fruits and vegetables, all through a portable smoothie. Customers can step up to the counter and order from a menu of berry, tropical, and ?power? smoothies, the latter of which are named for extra boosts of vitamins A and C, fiber, and protein infused in the drink. Nearly a dozen different supplements lend their revitalizing nutrients to the menu, helping create power smoothies like the metabolism-boosting Venice Burner and the protein-packed MuscleMax. Robeks also offers gourmet stuffed pretzels and oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip ?power? cookies. Each Robeks location makes a concerted effort to support the neighborhood it resides in, through local organizations, such as Save the Children. Robeks also offers free medium favorite or classic smoothie with $30 gift card purchase.
Chefs use grass-fed beef, cage-free chicken, and steroid-free pulled pork that hail from sustainable sources to craft a bounty of tortilla-wrapped treats that take their names from the likes of Caddyshack, Fletch, and Seinfeld. It's this dual mindset of serious food and irreverent attitude that tinges every one of the eatery's southwestern morsels, from the Art Vandalay burrito to the John Coctostan quesadilla. As the kitchen staff crafts their daily batch of guacamole to join the lineup of six zesty salsas, diners choose from a list of more than 20 ingredients to fill out the entree that will soon be conjured before their eyes. Because dishes are made to order, each finds easy customization for vegetarian, gluten free, and low-calorie diets, and the absence of microwaves, trans-fats, and MSG keep eats wholesome. Meanwhile, a complimentary accompaniment of chips and salsa turns portions into full meals faster than an industry-grade blow-up ray.
Even though the banquet hall at Medieval Madness is eternally stuck in the 15th century, its court isn't content to perform the same show forever. Every four months, the troupe updates its production of comedy and knightly combat, swapping out nods to politics and modern life as often as kings jail their favorite jesters for disobeying the fashion police. Each evening's reverie begins with a four-course meal served family style at long banquet tables. Like the show, the menu regularly rotates, though it always includes a succulent pear sauce crafted from an 800-year-old recipe, a perfect complement when drizzled over roasted meats or smeared on an opposing clan's coat of arms. Throughout the evening, guests watch on as the duke and duchess lob insults at each other, wenches break into tawdry songs, and knights fully clad in chain mail part the tables to challenge one another in exhilarating sword fights.
There's something unmistakably Italian about Toscana Grill. Maybe it's the white marble and ebony wood accents in the dining room, or maybe it's the hospitality with which the servers greet each guest. In all likelihood, it's probably both of these things?plus a menu of northern Italian dishes crafted with local produce and herbs.
All of the traditional favorites are here, including eggplant parmigiana, spinach ravioli alfredo, and chicken marsala with mushrooms. But it's not all classics. There are also plenty of genre-bending pizzas, such as one topped with shrimp, white-wine sauce, butter, and garlic. A bottle of wine from the bar makes a perfect companion to any meal, especially if you dress it up like a person and pretend that it can talk.
At Let's Dish!, families select healthy, hearty meals to eat at home without having to dedicate valuable time to planning, shopping, or preparation. After placing an order online, patrons stop by the shop at a scheduled time to assemble dishes that are made from fresh ingredients, customized to taste, and then, like Sleeping Beauty, frozen to prevent them from aging. Meal menus rotate monthly and include homestyle selections, such as pork tenderloin, New Orleans-style andouille pasta toss and santorini chicken kabobs with summer orzo salad. The preassembled Dish-n-Dash entrees allow for speedy pickup service, freeing families to spend more quality bonding time sorting the mail by size and color.