Though the entrees at The Dixie Cafe make the biggest splash across its menu marquee, they're threatened with gastronomical upstaging by the southern-style eatery's 19 sides and scratch-made gravies. The chicken-fried steak, for example, is a tender, hand-breaded fillet that fully blossoms with flavor only after chefs smother it with cream gravy and cheddar cheese. And the Cajun grilled catfish's down-home taste isn't fully developed until it is paired up with bites of turnip greens, fried okra, or a homemade roll. The classic platter meals take advantage of this by pairing an entree with two sides, rolls, and jalapeño cornbread and can be ordered "light" for a portion that's smaller than the regular size and easier to toss in the air and catch in your mouth.
Tropical Smoothie Café cools down overheated inner-beings with its natural smoothies—forged from real fruit, natural sugar, and bursting at sippable seams with energy. Plunge into a 24-ounce low-fat fruit smoothie ($3.99), sweetened with your choice of Turbinado or Splenda. Flavors include the strawberry, banana, and pineapple blend of Paradise Point, the blueberry, strawberry, and banana oasis of Blue Lagoon, and the delicious dawnbreak of Sunny Day, which is packed with mango, banana, orange, and kiwi. If teeth start to grumble about having nothing to do, guests can chomp a satisfyingly solid slab of sustenance with one of Tropical Smoothie Café's sandwiches, wraps, or salads. Tear into a bistro sandwich ($6.29) such as the turkey guacamole, or gnaw on a grilled flatbread ($3.99) such as the Caribbean Luau, which is bedecked in chicken, mozzarella, pineapple, romaine, and Jamaican jerk sauce. Make amends with mouths for last summer's exhausting gum-chewing marathon with the Paradise Combo ($9.99)—which throws down the gauntlet of appetizing with a smoothie of your choice and any toasted wrap, bistro sandwich, or gourmet salad plus chips or fruit. Menus and prices may vary slightly at different locations.
Cody’s Café’s chefs man a sizzling grill to fill a menu of American fare and forge lunch specials that rotate daily. Logan’s Big Breakfast suits up two eggs to impress fresh hash-brown debutantes with warm complements alongside biscuits and steaming country gravy. Sampler breakfasts parade a duo of eggs; a trio of bacon, sausage, and ham; a pile of hash browns; and biscuits with day-starting power that draws jealous glares from alarm clocks. During lunch, a blackboard flaunts specials, selected according to the availability of fresh ingredients, including chicken-fried steak, pork cutlets crowned with gravy, and spaghetti with swedish meatballs. Protein plates are joined by trios of fresh veggie sides, which allow diners to romp through sweet peas, sweet potatoes, green beans, and roasted squash without tunneling into a farmer's vault.
Marco's Pizza founder Pasquale "Pat" Gianmarco began helping out at his family’s pizzeria when he was just a boy. The eatery provided a taste of home to the Gianmarco clan, who moved to the United States from Italy when Pat was 9 years old. Together with his father, young Pat learned the secrets to creating exceptional pizza sauce: three different types of vine-ripened tomatoes and spices that can only be imported from Italy or the moon.
The perfected sauce recipe continues to guide Pat’s kitchen operations, although these days he has considerably more help. His company has franchise locations in more than half the states as well as in the Bahamas, each store tossing fresh pizza dough daily before sprinkling on a trio of fresh, never-frozen cheeses.
El Porton Mexican Restaurant has sated cravings for fresh, healthy ingredients for more than two decades, serving up authentic Mexican lunches and dinners that complement the bar’s array of 85 tequilas. Amid golden walls that evoke a warm afternoon in a tropical cantina, guests kick-start stomachs by watching chefs craft lime-infused guacamole tableside. From the kitchen, beef and shrimp fajitas sizzle, wafting aromas of onion and bell pepper that transform into cartoon hands to lure in noses. Warm days open El Porton's patio, where sunshine heightens the flavors of make-your-own combo platters spread with chile rellenos, tostadas, and burritos, as well as USDA steaks aged a minimum of 21 days. Tequila shots arrive in flights or individually, and customizable margaritas in flavors such as mango and classic lime pour forth from salt-rimmed glasses to accentuate entrees and fuel conversations about Mexico's hidden agave rivers.
Alongside Highway 1 in Baja, California, waves lap up against the white sand beaches as drivers stop to snack on the region’s famous fish tacos. One such beach, the fabled Playa Costa Azul, inspired the chefs and creators behind Blue Coast Burrito. Baja-style fish, spicy LaTinga chicken, carnitas, pulled pork, and fresh veggies complete the burritos, tacos, and taco salads, all of which you can build to order. After grabbing some freshly made pico de gallo, sour cream, and tomatillo salsa, enjoy the mellow coastal vibe induced by surfboards hanging on the wall and a soundtrack of mellow beach tunes from Santana, the Gipsy Kings, and Los Lonely Boys.
Green, leafy bamboo stalks reach from the floor to the ceiling at Lemongrass Asian Bistro, lining a bright yellow wall that contrasts from hanging red lamps. Therein, the wait staff ferries about artfully plated dishes, such as pineapple-marinated chicken served with bell peppers in half of a hollowed-out pineapple. Red and green curries coat servings of duck, beef, pork, chicken, or tofu, and seafood shines in jumbo shrimp flash-fried and topped with a caramelized cheese sauce.