At Two Chefs Cafe & Catering, wait staff carries upscale twists on American traditions past the bar area to an expansive patio that’s surrounded by a picturesque wrought-iron fence. Inside, hosts lead diners to seats amid rustic brick walls and decorative wall pieces that organize bottles of French wine by their region. The kitchen staff makes classic cuisine from scratch for weekly events—such as the Friday fish fry and Sunday brunch—or intimate meals. They coat their six signature pasta dishes with one of five sauces and plate hearty helpings of canadian baby-back ribs. The cozy atmosphere grows more festive on weekends, when live music permeates the space and drowns out the play-by-play announcer in your head.
An American tourist in Mexico might stroll by a restaurant decorated with goat horns and not give the decor a second thought. However, the horns do often signify something special: birria, a hearty mexican stew from the state of Jalisco. And while Mr. Burritos and Los Lokos Burritos may not have goat horns strung across its walls, its chefs do make the spicy, soul-warming treat—but only on weekends.
The name Mr. Burritos should give away the eatery’s other specialty, which comes in nearly 20 varieties—including two vegetarian options and two sizes, baby or giant. Similar spiced meats, such as barbacoa, steak, and carnitas, also fill tacos and chimichangas. People who weirdly enjoy mornings can stop by in the a.m. for a hearty Mexican breakfast of eggs and chorizo. Aside from inviting guests to test their heat tolerances at three locations, Mr. Burritos and Los Lokos Burritos deliver their food directly to doorsteps and can also cater events such as birthday parties and presidential debates.
For 28 years, the staff at Christy's Pancake House have worked to replicate the laidback vibe of a meal at home amidst bubbling fish tanks and a wall sign that reads "Keep Your Kitchen Clean––Eat Out." In its turquoise booths, tables populate with warm breakfast pancakes, three-egg omelets, and full-pound burgers from the menu of hearty diner fare. Forks spool Italian-style alfredo pastas beside plates of steaming pork chops and amply stuffed greek gyros. While polishing off a piece of pie plucked from one of the glass display cases, guests can remind the server that it's their birthday for a sundae of choice on the house, or remind a significant other for an awkward meal of excuses and apologies.
La Blondina Bakery's confection-crafting owner, Agnieszka Klepacki, pleases palates of all persuasions with café-style lunches and delectable desserts. Tarts tickle tongue buds with a choice of blueberry, pear, or almond filling ($14 for 8”; $16 for 9”; $18 for 10”), and chocolate-chip cookies ($1.50) and cupcakes ($1.50) furnish guests with bite-sized snacks for bribing hyperactive children or bosses. In addition to sweets, the expert bakers handcraft artisan breads from scratch, filling the store with the alluring scent of french bread ($2.49) and beer bread ($2.49). Sandwiches quell more substantial appetites with toothsome toppings such as roasted veggies, turkey, and italian meats ($4.95).
Mayan Adventure Waterpark sends guests sliding through 24,000 square feet of rivers and pools. The expansive indoor park houses a plethora of thrilling slides, from the nail-biting Grand Mayan Falls tube slide to the shriek-inducing Howling Monkey body slide, launching bodies down slopes slipperier than an argument about a camel's nose. Ancient faces carved in stone spout torrents of water on guests drifting gently down the Oogaboo Lazy River, while whitecaps fill the Twisted Lizard activity pool and enliven aquatic games of basketball. Kids can frolic in the soaking meadows of the Parrot Island interactive play station, where a giant dumping bucket in the shape of a Mayan head casts 300-gallon curses upon the heads of those below. A nearby arcade provides respite from the watery jungle with a host of video games and prizes.
Mirage Restaurant plates an extensive menu of meats, pasta, salads, and more for overnight guests and casual passersby. Lay lunchtime claim to George's burger, a midday meeting of broiled ground sirloin with raw onion and crispy bacon on grilled dark rye ($7.75), or take in fresh fare with the Mirage salad, made of baby greens coddled by gorgonzola cheese, sliced apples and radishes, toasted pine nuts, and sweet raspberry vinaigrette ($8.75), which can be bulked up by chicken ($2.20 extra) or salmon ($4.20 extra) for those in need of a protein punch before going dolphin-lifting. Dinner's array of fresh game and sea-game come in a pasta disguise in the seafood carbonara, splashed with sautéed Gulf shrimp and sea scallops ($12.95), or augmented by applesauce with the center-cut pork chops ($10.95).