Adam and Kristie Jeffrey's inspiration for opening Imagine Vegan Cafe is pretty straightforward?they wanted to create a place where "you never feel like a weirdo for ordering food without animal products." Strangely enough, their menu reads like one you'd see at any other restaurant, as it's populated with dishes such as boneless wings with homemade ranch and bacon cheddar burgers. Of course, every menu item is made using the vegan substitute for the meat or dairy ingredient stated, including the ever-popular beef tips and rice. The extensive menu includes breakfast, as well as a full kids' menu that supports Adam and Kristie's mission to be family-friendly.
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No pita wrap is alike at Jiji's Wraps Cafe. The menu fuses Mediterranean, Ethiopian, and American flavors, with options ranging from chicken shawarma and gyro pizzas to philly cheesesteaks and kitfo, an Ethiopian dish of very rare minced beef. Even better, the food is prepared in a fast casual environment—for call-in orders, a warm wrap or vegan dish is ready in 5–15 minutes. Those who dine at the café can also take advantage of its computers and WiFi access.
The sizzle of the round-bottom wok is how many Asian dishes begin, according to the staff at Noodles Asian Bistro. To craft its menu, the kitchen draws together dishes from China, Thailand, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, which seems to highlight the similarities rather than the differences in the cuisines. The wok sears chopped vegetables and sliced meats with sweet and spicy sauces for both traditional dishes, and house specialties, such as the Happy Family with chicken, beef, and shrimp tossed with veggies, perfect for stuffing an omnivore's pinata.
BGR The Burger Joint?s burgers start with high-quality ingredients?most importantly, all-natural beef from grain-fed cattle, free to run in the fields and given zero hormones, fillers, or antibiotics. The prime beef is dry-aged, blended, and ground fresh to form patties that are grilled over an open flame, and then placed atop buttery, locally made brioche buns delivered fresh each day. The menu focuses on the Legend Burger, which includes gourmet toppings such as avocado, applewood bacon, and grilled jalapenos. For nonbeef eaters, the menu's selection of burgers also includes turkey and veggie varieties, as well as The Greek, a seasoned lamb patty topped with tzatziki and feta. Burgers are also available in a lettuce wrap or on a salad in a healthy salad bowl.
Diners can request all of BGR The Burger Joint's freshly made fries?from thick-cut yukon gold potatoes to asparagus fries?be topped with parmesan, rosemary, roasted garlic, or a tiny tiara. The staff hand-spins shakes with Gifford's or Breyers ice cream to create extra-thick treats for finishing off meals, and some shops curate their own selection of bottled vintage sodas and offer beer and wine.
In 1975, when The Melting Pot originally opened just outside Orlando, diners had just three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. The restaurant first expanded four years later, when an enterprising waiter by the name of Mark Johnston opened up a new outpost in Tallahassee. Today, The Melting Pot—now owned by Mark and his brothers Mike and Bob—reigns as a premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also expanded, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On any given night, groups of dip-loving foodies gather around tables to nosh on fondue appetizers before cooking their steaks and seafood in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and romance seekers cap decadent evenings sharing the chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
Bombay Chaat Corner stands as a culinary crossroads that connects the myriad roads of India. Here, chefs prepare dishes called chaat that are typically found at street-side stands and eaten as snacks. The menu is an amalgam of chaat from different regions, often garnished with an array of chutneys. Some items may be familiar to westerners, such as the ubiquitous samosa, stuffed with spiced potatoes and veggies. Then again, there's also the samosa chat, which is served in pieces, and the ragda samosa, which is accompanied by a hearty lentil soup. Sample the rice cakes in the idli sambhar's fiery stew for a taste of Southern India, or try a Mumbai staple, sev puri—crispy wafers topped with diced potatoes, onions, and crunchy noodles. If inspired to create their own chaat at home, guests can browse the shelves of the surrounding Indian supermarket for spices, produce, and guidebooks on how to hatch chickpeas.