All-American staples abound at Gus Jr. The chain of restaurants specializes in classic burgers, prepared quickly for meals on the go or numerous attempts at speed-eating records. The kitchen also branches into Mexican territory with taquitos, preps omelets for breakfast, and decorates piles of fries with chili and cheese.
Framed by views of the San Jacinto Mountain Range, the Country Club at Soboba Springs has stumped some of the world's best golfers. Not long ago, it was home to the PGA Tour's Soboba Classic. Today, sporting a newly renovated, 32,000-square-foot clubhouse, the course leads visitors along a sculpted layout that barrels through a forest of cottonwood and palm trees. Water comes into play on 11 of 18 holes, and 78 bunkers filled with white sand lie in wait to snatch up errant shots or slow down golf carts that get off their leashes. Players should watch out for the 15th and 16th holes, especially, which are surrounded by water and used to give professionals fits as part of an especially challenging back nine.
Course at a Glance * Designer: Desmond Muirhead 1966; Redesigned by Cary Bickler 2005 * Lauded by Press Enterprise: Best round of golf 2014 * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total of 7,101 yards from the back tees * Three tees per hole * Course rating of 73.3 from the tips * Course slope of 131 from the tips
Russo's dining room evokes a Tuscan vineyard with large murals of plump purple grape bunches, exposed rafters, and deep-green twisting vines. Since 1987, John and Jane Russo have paired this rustic ambiance with age-old family recipes ranging from grilled fish filets and grinders, to hearty pastas and Sicilian-style pizza. Diners can also opt for gently sautéed shrimp and veal dishes bathed in made-from-scratch sauce.
Jody Maroni, founder of Jody Maroni's Sausage Kingdom, started linking gourmet sausages in 1979 and now rules over a royal court of meat artisans who assemble more than 20 all-natural varieties. Many of the homemade recipes renounce nitrates and MSG and instead fill the natural pork casings with meat that is naturally low in sodium and fat. Chicken-mole sausages blend chocolate, cumin, and chilies, and the louisiana hot links steep in duck stock and smolder with Boudin-style spices. Like Iowa's delightful airspace, the meaty morsels have drawn bicoastal praise—Splash! Los Angeles argues that they "might just top the Dodger Dog," and Time Out New York thanks the eatery for bringing "rays of sunshine to the food wasteland of Times Square."
The flags of Jamaica and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines flank the entrance at Caribbean Flava. The proudly displayed colors contrast with the humble, straightforward dining area—just a few simple tables and chairs whose sole purpose is to make the food the star of the show. Obviously, it's Caribbean cuisine that answers that call. Jerk shrimp, curry goat, and stewed chicken stand out among others, flooding palates with so much flavor that they might actually prefer to chew on table cloth just to balance things out.