Inspired by the eternally ripe produce and bountiful sea meats of California, RED Restaurant's executive chef Alberto Morales crafts a menu of locally sourced foods, working with local farmers or purveyors to fill his cupboards each morning. He calls the cooking style modern California cuisine, and incorporates flavors as diverse as 40-day aged prime ribeye steak, wasabi-encrusted tuna, and basil-scented mashed potatoes. Equally as impressive as the ingredients list is his eye-catching plating, featuring modern arrangements that resemble sushi, such as the delectable tower of crabmeat and beet root salad.
Chef Morales serves his creations in a late-night-friendly dining room and lounge, where crowds cheer on live musical acts and DJs. Bouts of dancing are fueled by a roster of signature cocktails that range from the classic old fashioned to the Pink Lotus, which is a concoction of grapefruit vodka, cointreau, hand-pressed juice, and pink cotton candy. Large groups can opt for bottle service, which plies tables with champagne and spirits, keeping friends from arm wrestling over who has to pay for each round.
Much like the highway that inspired its name, Route 66 Roadhouse & Tavern is steeped in old-school tradition. The cozy neighborhood bar stays open until 2 a.m. seven nights a week, inviting patrons to set aside the stresses of work and everyday life by enjoying a cold beer in an unpretentious setting. To accompany its brews and cocktails, the tavern features a menu of classic American comfort foods that includes roast beef sandwiches, house-made potato chips, and a signature half-pound Roadhouse burger laden with cheese, bacon, and mushrooms.
Pool tables, dartboards, and glowing televisions keep guests occupied while they enjoy their food and drinks, although Route 66 Roadhouse & Tavern’s live music draws the crowds as well. The bar hosts everything from classic rock groups to punk bands throughout the week, and DJs also energize the atmosphere with their spirited sets. Additionally, open blues jam sessions are held every Thursday and karaoke nights allow patrons to take the mic and perform their favorite chart-topping hit or presidential concession speech.
Although it now has more than 430 locations in 28 countries, Hooters wasn’t always welcomed by the public. In fact, when it opened in October 1983 in Clearwater, Florida, the founders of the restaurant were “quickly detained for impersonating restaurateurs,” according to the company's website. But the restaurant was able to prove it was more than just a pretty face—that it was serious about serving tasty American food and frosty brews—and its popularity exploded in the decades to follow.
Amid its beach-themed vibe and flat-screen TVs, Hooters still fuels appetites with original chicken wings, burgers, sandwiches, and fresh salads. Of course, nobody carries those casual eats and icy pitchers better than the Hooters girls. To complement their friendly smiles, their uniforms harken back to the ones the original waitresses wore in 1983: orange hot shorts and white tank tops with the emblematic owl on the front—though that owl has lost its Lionel Richie perm.
Inside Orlando Entertainment, groups of friends gather in 16 private karaoke rooms to wail the lyrics of popular songs. But instead of a stage and giant amplifiers, each of the lounge's rooms surround performers with stylish decor, including plush couches and recessed neon lighting. Groups can even have food and drinks delivered to their private space at the touch of a screen, so they never have to leave their room or communicate with servers telepathically. Outside the karaoke suites, neon lights and bright colors snake throughout the rest of the venue, ultimately leading to the full bar area lit with glittery chandeliers.
Xtreme XD purports that its digital-theater ride operates in six dimensions. Three of these belong to the visuals, which spring out at viewers through depth-creating glasses. The rest belong to the suite of effects that jostle and excite the riders, ranging from seats that can jolt with up to 3 g's of force to systems that create the illusion of wind and light. Riders take their pick of a number of featured rides, which can include a roller coaster that speeds through haunted mines, safaris beset by stampeding elephants, and recreations of the nearly yearlong trip to Mars in real time.
Ask Lourdes Limon why her raspados taste so good. She'll say, "Por que los hice con amor"—"Because they're made with love." Now that her sons have taken over the family business, they use the same secret ingredient, but they've added a few new specialties. Supplementing the shaved ice treats that give them their name are freshly squeezed juices, chili-imbued slush-drinks, and healthy fruit salads. But the raspados remain the main event. Flavors include exotic fruit such as guava, tamarind, kiwi, and jamaica, as well as more decadent flavors such as caramel, egg nog, cookies and cream, and plain water.