While it is a fine purveyor of Hispanic foodstuffs, Acapulco Tropical also dishes out flavorful Mexican fare in the kitchen of its in-store café. Relying on natural, native ingredients, chefs create traditional dishes for carnivorous and seafood-centric palates. Early risers can catch a breakfast of huevos con nopales, in which eggs team with zesty seasonings and cacti culinary wits ($5.49). To launch lunchtime appetites, try a griddled quesadilla filled with asada, carnitas, pollo, pastor, or queso ($1.99). Or fill up mouth caverns with anytime entrees of burritos with a choice of any meat with rice and beans ($3.75), nachos ($6.49), or tortas ($4.25).
For nearly two decades, 1st Street Cafe & Catering has served up buffet and sit-down style meals for parties around Manatee and Sarasota County. Its physical location has a café that dishes out classic American breakfasts and lunches.
During the morning hours, diners dig into a Lucky Seven breakfast sandwich stuffed with fried eggs and sausage or a country-fried steak smothered in gravy. During lunch, they tear into grilled-steak and pork-tenderloin sandwiches and juicy burgers. One such option, the Challenger double burger, allows patrons to stuff their mouths with 12 ounces of burger meat, crispy bacon, and slices of cheese, and to get at least 1.5 high-fives from nearby diners when it’s all gone.
If you part the branches of Mixon Fruit Farms’ citrus trees, you might spy an unusual sight: Burmese pythons, an alligator, a crocodile, and African land tortoises basking in the sunlight, surrounded by cages of roosting falcons.
The farm that began in 1939 as a 20-acre roadside fruit stand has stayed true to citrus farmer Willy Mixon’s vision of showcasing the region’s natural splendor. But in addition to an extra 50 acres of fruit trees, the farm has expanded its focus to include a wildlife refuge, where rescue volunteers nurse injured animals back to health and educate visitors on native and exotic species. The farm also hosts an on-site tropical garden along with dazzling koi ponds, and has a magical maze open to kids of all ages.
Along with daily tours of the grove and sanctuary, Mixon Fruit Farms also spotlights Florida’s bounty with citrus-infused ice cream and salads at Groveside Café. Homemade fudge and orange juice also populate the 14,000-square-foot gift shop
The coffee, smoothies, paninis, and pastries are mere accoutrements at The Coffee Loft, where the central focus is on cultivating community. Comfy couches, counter-side stools, and tables provide ample seating for guests to relax, write, or engage in small talk with a neighboring macaque. A vintage spiral staircase leads to the namesake loft on the second floor, which hosts musical acts, open-mic nights, and haiku readings. The Coffee Loft is a non-profit organization that donates proceeds to local and international humanitarian projects, including charity: water.
Licensed Zumba instructor Beth Golden—who also holds certifications from the AFAA, Red Cross, and PADI—leads easy-to-follow dance routines inspired by Latin salsa, merengue, and tango moves. A soundtrack of high-energy tunes and rolling r’s keep students motivated as she helps them shimmy off pounds with or without the help of muscle-toning sticks. She regularly changes up her dance routines to prevent boredom and keep feet guessing. In addition to group classes in the studio, Beth hosts private Zumba parties, taking her portable speakers and headset to beaches, parks, offices, or clients' homes to liven up special events.
At Verry Berry, a self-serve frozen yogurt shop, customers fill 16-ounce cups with endless combinations of frozen yogurt and toppings. Soft-serve machines release swirls of 16 non-fat or low-fat frozen yogurt flavors such as thin mint, blueberry acai, and salted caramel popcorn. After creating a frozen yogurt base, guests can load up on toppings such as kiwi slices, Twix pieces, and graham cracker crumbs. Verry Berry also offers many flavors of Hawaiian shaved ice culled from the beard of a Herodotus ice sculpture.