Following Baja Fresh’s ethos set in 1990 as a healthy take on fast food, never-frozen meats sizzle atop the grill before they're tucked into made-to-order tacos and burritos. Grilled corn and flour tortillas embrace fish, carnitas, chicken, and steak, and smoky queso fundido sidles onto nachos and into burritos. Between bites, chips scoop up salsa made from farm-fresh produce rather than poured out of a can or fabricated in a space-age replicator. A complimentary salsa bar ensures no mouthful goes unspiced, and guests can scoop up their favorites as they await their dine-in, takeout, or catering orders.
In 1957, while in the twilight of their careers as Baltimore Colts in the burgeoning NFL, Alan Ameche and Captain Gino Marchetti opened up the first Gino's with their pal, Louis C. Fischer. In the mid-1960s, Tom Romano joined the company and eventually rose to the position of chief operating officer. Through the years, the crew helped innovate the restaurant industry, especially with the Gino's Giant burger in 1966, whose triple-decker design arguably went on to inspire the multipatty burgers of other national fast-food chains. Ahead of their time, the team later cobranded with Kentucky Fried Chicken to bolster their menu and widen their appeal to the public before Gino's was acquired by the Roy Rogers brand in 1982, leaving many nostalgic for one of the fast-food industry's originals. It wasn't until 2009, when Tom called up Gino to pose the idea of bringing Gino's back, that fans of the eatery could begin to quell their well-documented nostalgia in anticipation of enjoying Gino’s special recipes once again. Today, the menu boasts off-the-grill burgers, more than 100 flavors of real ice-cream shakes, and the return of the Gino's Giant, slathered in a secret sauce that was kept secret all these years by hiding it inside a modern-day football.
Draped in white cloth and navy blue napkins that match the surrounding chairs, the square tables in Stirling's Restaurant at Crowne Plaza Valley Forge support plates topped with heaps of casual steak-house fare concocted by executive chef Mark Spaulding. Attentive wait staff escort dinnertime plates of crabmeat-stuffed mushrooms or filet mignon and bison burgers from the kitchen to the hotel's lobby level dining quarters. Earlier in the day, omelets and waffles arrive made to order at breakfast buffets, and lunch buffets appease palates with chef-carved slices of pork, beef, or turkey and chef Mark's pasta creation of the day. All the while, the restaurant's lounge accommodates feasters with bar bites and televisions broadcasting the latest sports. For overnight guests, chef Mark whips up dishes of breakfast and casual dining fare for room service delivered by carrier pigeons that double as cooing wake-up calls.
A glance at Alfredo's specials blackboard might reveal grilled mako shark steaks, heirloom tomato bruschetta, and meat accented with local honey, all extensions of a menu that breathes life into southern Italian cuisine. Flights of olive oil arrive on a wooden carving board with house-baked bread, and the absence of a corkage fee and elegant stemware encourage the BYOB policy. Appetizers showcase wild vegetables and meat cured in-house, which pique appetites for pastas rich with veal, prosciutto, and lobster or plates of free-range chicken. Chefs roll their potato dough into gnocchi and combine mozzarella and cream to create decadent burrata cheese, and can replicate their handiwork for onsite and delivered catering. Above a refinished wine cellar designed for parties, the sunlit, exposed-brick dining room has two private chambers with seating for up to 150 people.
Wild Rice Pan-Asian Restaurant's menu items hail from Japan, Thailand, China, and Korea. Inside the modern, red-walled eatery, sushi masters stuff their hand-rolled sushi with fresh fish and hearty sauces. Kitchen staffers and indentured dragons, meanwhile, prepare traditional korean braised ribs with kim chi, chinese stir-fries, and thai curries.
Saxbys' rich array of caffeinated ambrosias, crafted from grade-one arabica beans, joins a bevy of teas and smoothies on the shop's extensive menu. Espresso drinks ($1.70+) include exotic cinnamon lattes and basic cappuccinos, which can be cloaked in frothy crema and 18 dulcet syrups. Two seasoned brewsmiths forge Saxbys' wide selection of roasts from single-origin, fair-trade, and organic beans, which undergo a European roasting process that pampers future mug fillers in cast-iron air-cooled cylinders, preparing cocoa-noted Tanzanian peaberries and italiano blends for beverage Valhalla. Frolattes ($3.70+), a frozen breed of latte rarely found in nature, exist in such flavors as white-chocolate mocha and flank a throng of teas ($1.30+) and fruity smoothies ($3.45+). Stomach-equipped cyborgs can bask in the soothing aura of the shop's free WiFi while noshing on one of the café's fresh pastries or paninis (food is not included with this Groupon).