Ropa vieja slow-simmered in garlic and spices from Old San Juan transports taste buds to the island of Puerto Rico, but not just the well-known tourist attractions. The menu delivers authentic tastes of Puerto Rico from its well-trod beaches to its tropical jungles. To set the scene, an indoor tree spreads its branches over the dining room and cave-like stone shelves store glasses and flatware. Servers blend cocktail mixes with BYOB libations at a bar that's offset by a wall of water trickling over stacked gray stones. Flat-screen TVs play sports highlights or the tree's favorite talk shows, and karaoke offers live entertainment once a month.
Brushed Tanning Studio's skilled spray-gun wielders provide a healthy alternative to traditional sun worship with UV-free sunless-tanning treatments. Using an FDA approved, 100% organic formula derived from raw sugar cane, certified technicians carefully cover every curve and contour with a golden glow that gradually appears over the course of 24 hours. The entire process takes as little as 10 minutes and lasts an average of 7–10 days, though results can last up to two weeks for clients who exfoliate sparingly or are particularly adept at time travel.
To ensure that their cuisine fully captures the essence of authentic Thai cooking, DD Thai Cuisine's chefs get their ingredients directly from the source: the Gulf of Thailand. They work with farmers throughout the regions of Koh Chang, Koh Samet, and Hua Hin, importing herbs and spices that lend a bit of trans-Pacific flair to their homestyle Thai meals. Chili paste, lemongrass, peanut sauce, basil, and kaffir lime leaves appear throughout the menu, and their distinctive flavors influence everything from the curries and stir-fried noodle dishes to the crispy duck platters. Specialties include Basil Duck, Drunken Noodles and Chicken Satay. They also offer a variety of soups, such as spicy Tom Yum Goong with shrimp and mushroom in lemon grass broth, as well as appetizers including Crispy Duck and Apple Salad and Coconut Shrimp, or the Appetizer Sampler, which allows patrons to taste a wide variety of the restaurant's offerings.
The restaurant's dining area echoes the casual, inviting spirit of its cooking. Red-cushioned booths surround the tables that line each side of the narrow space, where mirrored tiles adorn the walls. A flat-screen television glows in one corner, as does a small fish tank brimming with colorful plants and a top-secret ratio of hydrogen and oxygen molecules.
Que Pasta's chefs have a simple recipe for success?using high-quality Durham flour, they create their own fresh pastas every morning. The ravioli, gnocchi, penne, and tortellini are created in small batches to ensure quality, and they go on to support housemade sauces ranging from sweet brown sherry sauce to spicy cream of leek sauce. They also might hoist a seafood medley, pan-seared chicken, or tender veal.
Those who wish to take the pasta creations home don't even have to attempt to leave any noodles on their plates?Que Pasta actually sells the housemade pastas for people to make at home. These include a selection of seasonal pastas, such as ravioli stuffed with roasted turkey, cranberries, and walnuts, and pumpkin ravioli with tiny candles inside. In addition to a full menu, Que Pasta now serves wine and beer.
Most things at Carucci's Caf?, from the homemade gnocchi to the personal pizzas, are exactly what they seem. There are two exceptions: the restaurant's paintings, and Grandma Carucci's Sunday Sauce. The paintings are bucolic landscapes surrounded by ornate frames, but they aren't actually three-dimensional?they're painted onto the walls themselves. As for the sauce, which mixes meatballs and sausage with pasta, it's served Tuesday through Sunday?not just on Sundays alone.
The rest of the menu benefits from Old World simplicity. Dishes such as shrimp parmigiana, stuffed chicken breast, and breaded veal make for traditional dinners, whereas lunch consists of sandwiches and salads. Guests enjoy these Italian plates in an airy dining room, where colonial-style windows spill natural light and hopelessly lost moonbeams onto the tables.