Sizzling Central American cuisine serenades senses in Estela's family-friendly interior, where customers can surf waves of free WiFi or challenge friends to games of foosball in between their savory bites. Start with a zesty appetizer such as mexican-chicken egg rolls ($6.90) before reeling in an entree such as pan-fried sea bass ranchero ($12.75) or a loaded combination platter ($9.60–$10.20). Homemade flan, fried ice cream, or choco tacos ($4.95–$5.95) can sweeten stomachs while a kaleidoscope of tequila from the restaurant's full bar adds sugar to the sentiments of dining love birds and old pinochle partners. Drool over the entire dinner menu, which also includes children's specials and vegetarian options, on Estela's website.
Lenny's fills stomachs across the nation with a menu of hearty sandwiches stuffed with sliced-to-order deli meats, chicken and tuna salads made from scratch, and a specialty hot-pepper relish made from whole diced cherry peppers. Regular size subs measure 7.5 inches and contain a half pound of meat and cheese, and large subs stretch to 15 inches, pack a full pound of foodstuffs, and exert a gravitational pull on coastal tides.
When Gerald Bennett began work as head chef at the InterContinental Hotel in Cleveland, he was accustomed to whipping up dishes for celebrity clientele. But when the royal family of Dubai came to visit and he served them in their opulent suite, he never thought they'd ask him to leave with them as their personal chef. Since returning to the states and stepping into his role as the president of the Private Chef Association, Gerald has worked to bring his gastronomic prowess to the masses through Food Fun Adventure’s classes and tours. He passes along a visible passion for culinary fusion, which shines through in dishes blending French and Thai or American and German influences.
Culinary tours take participants to local sushi houses, steak houses, and bistros, each highlighting specialty dishes. When head chefs come out to greet their visitors, they often divulge culinary secrets and answer questions about curfew hours for free-range ingredients while doling out tapas and other small plates.
In a more hands-on culinary experience, customers gather in classes and learn to refine dishes based on a chosen theme. Using mostly local and organic ingredients in two kitchen classrooms, chefs show students how to craft delicacies such as scallion waffles with orange-zest chicken and tagine-roasted rack of lamb. In one kitchen, which doubles as an art gallery, knives flick through ingredients, and pots clatter at island stations and small burners. The company’s event center, Heaven, fills with chatter as up to 40 pairs of students filter in. Beneath projectors for screening chef demonstrations and documentaries about the life of a paring knife, separate kitchens equipped with ovens and burners fill with the bustle of creation, which gives way to reverent exhalations as patrons finally sample the fruits of their labor.
Named after an ill-fated County Mayo native who boarded the Titanic en route to America, Peggy O'Neills carries on its namesake's quest to intermingle Irish and American cultures. Nestled in the wood-paneled pub, guests can nurse pints of Guinness amid Celtic-style filigree, vintage irish posters, and old-timey tankards lining the walls. An eclectic menu of pub fare spans the globe with hand-pressed burgers, cuban sandwiches, and fish tacos. Spirits make their way into many of the dishes, including bangers and mash and shepherd's pie—both flavored with Guinness stout—as well as Southern Comfort pork loin and Feckin steak infused with irish whiskey. Drinks speak for themselves at the full bar, where bartenders mix up Mama O'Neill’s irish coffee with whiskey and crème de menthe and the Golden margarita, which is made with freshly squeezed fruit, Grand Marnier, and freshly mined gold ore.
Live music fills the air every Monday–Saturday evening, thanks to local groups and a karaoke machine. A bank of 43 TVs lines the bar and dining room, letting patrons cheer on their favorite sports teams or loudly root for underdog Wile E. Coyote to finally end The Road Runner's winning streak.
The diners can feel the heat of the charcoal grill, its sweltering vapor wafting sweet and smoky aromas from the marinated short-ribs sizzling at the center of the table. Surrounding the grill like spectators at a sports match, more than a dozen small bowls display a colorful assemblage of sautéed, blanched, and pickled veggies, each awaiting their fate to crown a slice of seared meat or mingle with a pillow of white rice. This is Korean-style barbecue, Rice Restaurant & Market’s specialty. Alongside the DIY feasts, chefs work in the kitchen to impart a Korean edge on stir-fry, stews, and noodle dishes, forging each morsel from scratch and often with ingredients grown in the owner's garden, according to the Tampa Bay Times. As tableside grills crackle in the rear of the restaurant, suffusive lighting finds its way beneath the awnings of private booths. A libation expert pours cocktails, sake, and traditional soju from behind a full bar, and on special nights, a late-night menu replenishes energy levels in between spins on the dance floor, where dancers fuel moves both with the beats of a live DJ and by convincing feet that the dance floor is a Korean grill.