The Festival of Chocolate unites chocoholics for a full weekend of decadent diversion, packed with demonstrations, competitions, and hands-on experiences. Interactive classes helmed by chocolate masters serve as educational launch pads during visits, filling the heads of budding chocolatiers with rich, creamy knowledge for further exploration into the fine art of confections. Pairing sessions encourage guests to munch through enticing chocolate and wine tandems, and during demonstrations, award-winning chefs concoct simple yet elegant creations, dispelling the myth that all chocolate treats sprout in pastures of Easter grass.
Once sufficiently informed, attendees can exhibit their new-found wisdom in guest competitions such as cookie stacking and by taking on challenges at the Chocolate Game Show stage. They can also exchange pockets full of chocolate-chip coins—the only monetary currency accepted at the festival and in Switzerland—for sweets rustled up at a s'mores buffet and chocolaty eats such as truffles, nitrogen ice cream, cakes, cookies, and crepes produced by local and regional companies.
Marc Anthony's favorite football team takes to the field under the gridiron guidance of head coach Tony Sparano with the aim to better last season's 7–9 record and make it to the post-season. Ease yourself into one of the 75,540 seats at the solar-existence-affirming Sun Life Stadium, and cheer on the Fins as they look to defeat Detroit, clobber Cleveland, and bring Buffalo to the brink of tears through kicks, passes, and well-timed blowhole expulsions. Splash zones are restricted to the sweat bouncing off of Reshad Jones' forehead.
Chef Esmeralda unites her proud Mediterranean heritage with American touches in each tapas dish her kitchen creates. Iberico Spanish-style cured ham, bruschettas, and fresh seafood—as well as larger entrees—give guests a taste of faraway cuisines as they enjoy their meals amid the trattoria’s wine-colored walls or on the patio. To complement these dishes, Esmeralda’s team of wine experts curates a menu of fine and rare champagnes and global varietals. Bartenders craft sweet sangria and margaritas, and on select nights, hookah smoke twirls upward, diffusing the soft light from the eatery’s crystalline chandeliers.
Chicken Kitchen's savory menu stuffs succulent bird alongside healthy salads and fresh sides. Try the famed deluxe Chop-Chop with yellow rice, diced tomatoes, lettuce, and freshly chopped breast meat ($5.99 for a small, $8.99 for large). Non-carnivorous eaters can opt for a vegetarian Chop-Chop, stocked with all the fixings minus the meat ($4.99 for a small, $8.99 for large). Chicken Kitchen also serves its original grilled chicken breast and a wing on a quarter white platter with a single side ($4.99) or as part of a two-side meal ($6.99) with fresh-faced partners in crime such as balsamic tomatoes, seasonal veggies, baked plantains, and more available.
In 1993, the basement of a Minneapolis apartment building was transformed into an Italian restaurant, becoming the first Buca di Beppo. The owners soon found themselves riding a wave of popularity and marinara sauce as they opened new restaurants across the nation. Today, the eatery occupies 97 locations nationwide, from San Francisco to Times Square.
At each location, chefs maintain the northern and southern Italian flavors that made the original so popular, with a few American twists. Then they serve it up in massive, family-style portions, making Buca di Beppo a favorite place for hungry families and groups of friends.
For starters, the chefs bake up batches of Cheesy Bread Florentine, a colorful combo of spinach, roma tomatoes, and garlic sprinkled over Italian bread and sealed in place with fresh, melted cheeses. Entr?es are prepared with an eye toward quality and quantity, both of size and selection, complete with Veal Parmigiana, Baked Ziti, and classic Italian-American staples like Ravioli and Lasagna. And in keeping with the convivial atmosphere, they also serve truly decadent desserts. The Mt. Vesuvius Dark Chocolate Cake erupts with melted chocolate, and the Colossal Brownie Sundae towers above other sweets with six scoops of ice cream and tiers of sundae trimmings.