During 29 years of drifting through the Florida skies, Orlando Balloon Rides had already amassed an impressive fleet of gargantuan flying inflatables when a new balloon arrived. The product of an ambitious factory in Spain, the newcomer holds more than 400,000 cubic feet of hot air and stands as tall as an 11-story building. Four times the size of the average hot air inflatable, it's among the most massive hot air balloons currently flown in the United States.
Now reigning as a popular vessel for the company's sunrise tours, the mammoth balloon can fly away with a basket of 24 passengers as it commands the skies, dwarfing most clouds and giving the Goodyear Blimp an identity crisis. From any of Orlando Balloon Rides' baskets, passengers take in high-altitude views of Walt Disney World and the city's skyline, sights visitors rarely get to see from above. Each of the company's hot air balloons is piloted by an FAA-certified pilot who also serves as a knowledgeable narrator of the scenery below.
Joseph and Efren Boglio grew up in a Northern Italian town near Torino, raised by a mother locally renowned for her cooking abilities. Although the brothers loved the double-crusted, ricotta-stuffed pizza that she made every Easter, it wasn't until they moved across the ocean to Chicago that they realized just how special it was. Unable to find an equivalent after eating their way through local pizzerias and hunting pizzas in the wild, they opened Giordano's in 1974 with the goal of recreating the savory pie from their childhood. They've adapted their style over the years, but the concept has stayed the same: thick layers of mozzarella submerged in rich tomato sauce and served in a shallow bowl of golden dough. Diners can add ingredients such as spinach, sausage, or shrimp. Even though the Giordano’s deep-dish empire has expanded to Florida, its menu retains its old-country stamp with cuisine such as juicy italian beef and housemade meatballs.
Brick columns topped with ivory triangles ascend over the Greensboro Scoop Shop's sprawling outdoor patio, a spread the eponymous Ben and Jerry could never have imagined when they slung their first scoop from a ramshackle gas station in 1978. Although renowned for flagship flavors such as Chunky Monkey and chocolate fudge brownie, Ben & Jerry's vaulted itself into the upper echelon of ice cream with playful, candy-studded concoctions named after celebrities, such as Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, and Jerry Garcia. Velvety scoops can be reimagined as ice-cream cakes or drizzled in fudge and nuts to forge towering sundaes that patrons can chase with strawberry-cheesecake milkshakes, an ideal treat for those born with a straw proboscis.
Chefs at Flame Kabob clatter amid dancing flames and steaming pots in their kitchen, forging a menu of Mediterranean cuisine that hints at Lebanese, Moroccan, Turkish, and Greek influences. Aromas of marinated lamb charbroiled with onion, green peppers, and tomatoes intermingle with the spices of gyros roasting in the rippling embrace of a low fire. In the dining room, servers deliver plates of fresh hummus, couscous, and moussaka to white-clothed tables situated beneath pendant lamps. An outdoor patio fills with gentle rustling from umbrella-topped tables, which lets diners feel the warm breeze or see that their kite was only pretending to be stuck in a tree.
Domino's recently reformulated its pizza recipe, which puts the buyer in command of a plentitude of pie-personalizing possibilities. Take those new flavors for a test drive with two large one-topping pizzas, selecting from an array of tasty cheese crowns that stretch into infinity like a taffy pull in a black hole.