What originally began as a modest shop in the back of a home in Santiago de Cali has morphed into Sandwich Qbano, a sandwich chain with locations across Colombia and Florida. The eatery churns out wraps, salads, and sandwiches such as the italiano, the teriyaki, and the classic cuban.
Described in simplest terms, the plates at La Ventana Colombian Restaurant could be confused with those at an American eatery: steak, pork chops, and even a hot dog. However, the sides and toppings add a distinctly Colombian flair. The hot dog, for example, comes crowned with cheese, pineapple sauce, and potato chips. The steak, meanwhile, is doused in creole sauce, and the pork chop features a scoop of fried green plantains. Caramel flan and other traditional desserts add a sweet finish to meals, and classic cocktails such as mojitos and margaritas evoke memories of the beach as vividly as spiced rum served in empty sunscreen bottles.
With its outsized, gray-shingled exterior, Inn Place Restaurant could easily be mistaken for a rustic lodge or country barn. The aromas of sizzling steaks and ribs that greet guests at the door, however, reveal the edifice's true nature. Inside, the restaurant’s second-story dining room affords views of the barbecue pit below, where chefs char-grill strip steaks and slather ribs in 11 Bossman barbecue and wing sauces. Pint glasses filled with draft brews slide across wooden four-top tables in the bar room, where a TV broadcasts live sports and tenders pour shots of spicy barbecue sauce.
While boasting a new owner and new look, Schmidt's Tavern still serves up a 78-year old tradition of simple American suds complemented by a hearty, homestyle bill of fare. Under the glow of big-screen televisions showcasing the season's sports, diners are invited to boldly bite into the Big burger ($6.50), which can transform into a Schmidt's mushroom-topped Deluxe with the wave of a magic wand or pinky finger. The restaurant's chefs hand-bread two cod fillets for their famous large-fish dinner, which is accompanied by fry and coleslaw chaperons ($13). Whether munching midday or in the evening, patrons might also choose to fill their plate and palate with Schmidt's reuben sandwich, which binds corned beef, swiss, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing ($7) as surely as sisterhood binds ballerinas with the same brand of velcro kneepads.
Ovens at Gianni's Pizza & Wings melt the cheese and bake the crusts of specialty or custom-designed pizzas as cooks coat wings in 34 flavors of sauce and spice. They adorn bacon-cheeseburger pizzas with three types of cheese, bacon, and ground beef and philly steak pies with steak, green peppers, and onions to fill in the large cracks ringing them like the Liberty Bell. Crusty strombolis and calzones surround steak, mushrooms, and A-1 sauce or vegetables and cheese, and toasted hoagies sport gyro meat and meatballs with red sauce.