The windows at Panorama at the Peak provide picturesque mountaintop views of Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, and the weekly changing menu provides tastyesque dishes constructed from organic produce and produce from local farms. Start your square meal on a round note with an order of lamb meatballs served with feta-dill dipping sauce ($8.99). If you'd like to keep your meal as light as a globetrotting eccentric's hot-air balloon, try a crunchy toasted-walnut watercress salad in a Pennsylvania Dutch–inspired bacon-and-onion dressing ($7.29). Roll Thanksgiving into a conveniently portable sphere with turkey croquettes, three pan-fried cakes served over local apple-cranberry compote ($18.99). Panorama offers vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, and its efforts to provide cruelty-free meats have earned it the Certified Humane label from Humane Farm Animal Care.
At The Cajun Experience, chefs bring a taste of southern Louisiana to Virginia. They take a thoughtful approach to the region's cuisine, making their own duck sausage in-house and importing fresh oysters from Pine Isle before shucking them and serving them on the half shell. And it wouldn't be a true Cajun experience without crawfish boils, which feature live crawfish harvested from Louisiana's waters.
The chefs whip up classics such as fried catfish, beignets, and po-boys, as well, but they also show a creative flair with signature dishes such as blackened shrimp tossed in lemon-champagne vinaigrette. These Cajun eats pair with tasty libations, which patrons sip while enjoying traditional Louisiana pastimes, including listening to live music and riding on a bucking 'gator.
The flavors of the Southwest add a spicy touch to all the dishes at Poblanos Southwest Grill. Guests stroll up to the counter to order jalapeño poppers, chile rellenos, steak fajitas topped with peppers and onions. With the build-your-own option, they can customize tacos, burritos, and taco salads to their personal tastes using a choice of three marinated Mexican-style meats, shrimp, or vegetables. For a slightly fancier meal, guests can opt to order the pan-seared cod atop a bed of cilantro lime rice, hand cut flank steak with chimichurri, or a half peruvian chicken in a casero sauce, paired with a hot cup of coffee.
Grilled steak, crab cakes, chicken dijon?the dishes at Aqua 103 may sound familiar, but the restaurant takes care to elevate its modern American cuisine while remaining true to the recipes' casual roots. Using organic produce as well as locally raised meats, the chefs create hearty meals with an emphasis on fresh flavors and artful presentation. Racks of ribs arrive glazed with a Rinehart Orchard's apple-butter barbecue sauce, the spicy pasta fra diablo overflows with shrimp, scallops, clams, and mussels, and bacon-wrapped cuts of filet mignon are seared to perfection atop a cold fusion-powered grill.
Echoing the theme implied by the restaurant's name, Aqua 103's dining room features a striking cerulean-blue accent wall. This subtle maritime homage is echoed by the turquoise cushions on the patio lounge and the blue-lit waterfall flowing behind the space's bar, which was handcrafted from stone and wood according to Hagerstown magazine. Crisp white linens adorn the tables, catching the natural light that cascades through the massive floor-to-ceiling windows.
In production since 1988, Mackintosh Fruit Farm introduces city slickers to country life with seasonal crops available for handpicking and a meandering corn maze. Harvesting hands can make their way through rows of ginger gold, gala, golden delicious, york, and fuji apples, filling containers with up to eight pounds of potential pie-fillers or impressing dates by playing catch with squirrels. Couples may alternatively opt to adopt a newborn pumpkin from Mackintosh's patch to serve as protective porch guardians during late-October monster invasions, then find their way through a maze of corn, where seven game and activity stations entertain along the way. The corn maze takes most people an hour to navigate, though delays can result from sightings of a translucent James Earl Jones.
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.