Italian Ice Paradise’s staff showcases its specialty for customers by heaping spoonfuls of the shop’s 12 flavors of italian ice. A row of picnic-style tables outside presents al fresco enjoyment of cups of Italian ice or, alternatively, scoops of Hershey's ice cream topped with hot fudge or sprinkles. In all, the haven for dessert serves 17 flavors of that Hershey’s treat, including strawberry and moose tracks—which are what moose trains run on.
The chefs at Alex's concoct a spread of homestyle chicken, beef, pork, and fish dishes that evoke a taste of Cuba. An assortment of starters silences hunger rumblings more effectively than a soundproof fanny pack with plates such as the tamal cubano with sweet cornmeal hiding tender morsels of ham and pork ($2.25). Foursomes can toast fork tines over platters such as the pollo asado, a roasted half-chicken adorned with onions and garlic ($9.75). Beef, pork, or fish platters sate heart appetites with the likes of the bistec, thin-sliced steak seasoned with garlic and topped with grilled onions ($9.25). Each robust platter balances piquant proteins with servings of white or yellow rice, red or black beans, and ripe or green plantains, the banana's more savory, overachieving cousin.
The dark-wood accents that permeate the dimly lit dining room at Romansa Restaurant, Wine Bar & Lounge project a refined, yet casual ambiance. Behind the bar, an upscale collection of international wines reaches toward the ceiling—though few of the bottles are load-bearing.
Throughout this space, servers carry dishes spanning the cuisines of Europe. They might ferry examples of Italian, Greek, and German cuisine alongside American staples, such as burgers and sandwiches. Giving visitors a beat to sip and chew to, the lounge sometimes features live music from DJs late into the night.
Pancho's chefs pile plates with big portions of authentic Mexican fare 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Delve into the labyrinth menu, unearthing such dishes as the carnitas burrito stuffed with marinated pork, guacamole, and pico de gallo ($5.50), or shredded beef tostadas on crunchy tortillas smothered in refried beans, lettuce, cheese, pico de gallo, and sour cream ($5.50). Epic entrées, such as the bistec a la mexicana, a sizzling steak grilled with onions, tomato and jalapeños, surrounded by mountains of rice, beans, and tortillas ($8), fill stomachs like dreams of being a bullpen catcher for the San Diego Padres fills the heads of most children and can be partnered with tortilla chips and myriad toppers from the bountiful salsa bar. Sweeten spiced palates with creamy caramelized flan ($2–3.50) or a churro, available plain or with strawberry or caramel filling ($1.50 each).
When serving as the centerpiece for an exhibit of fine crystal and china, an ornate cake made in the likeness of a table by Cut the Cake's bakers proved to be deceptively realistic. An inadvertently placed box sank into the cake’s edible wood grain and prompted an emergency visit from cake decorator Julie Manning, whose confectionary talents and keen aesthetic eye enabled her to quickly touch up the damaged buttercream before dawn.
Manning applies the same innovative spirit and attention to detail to each memorable wedding cake she creates, earning Cut the Cake five-star awards from Wedding Wire’s Bride’s Choice Awards in 2010, 2011, and 2012. In addition to brides-to-be and ambassadors from Candyland, her clientele has included icons such as James Brown, Lauryn Hill, and B.B. King.
In addition to cake staples such as vanilla and chocolate, Manning also bakes pieces with nontraditional flavors such as piña colada and chocolate mint with crumbled cookies. For an extra dose of sugar, she can accessorize her confections with one of 21 sweet or fruit-packed fillings.