Palms Bistro Bar artfully blends cuisines from corners of the globe traditionally unused to culinary interaction, such as Eurasia and Euramerica. The dinner menu begins its gastronomic game of Risk in Europe, with strategic selections of baked Danish brie ($11.95) and bruschetta ($9.25), before redirecting its forces to Southern Asia. The spicy Thai peanut pasta ($13.75) comforts lost, searching souls with sautéed bok choy and shiitake mushrooms tossed in a chilicious peanut sauce. Entrees such as the peppercorn-dusted, 10-ounce flat-iron steak ($25), served with a twice-baked potato, and the pan-seared Alaskan halibut ($26) revitalize diners accustomed to sadly stagnant restaurant routines, whereas the steak salad ($14.50) acts as an omnivorous pact between the meatiest meat and greens, grape tomatoes, and marinated red onions. Palms' full-service bar has wine by the glass or bottle, plus seasonal cocktails that transform throughout the year, unlike the perpetually neon-orange canopy of an old-growth Tang-sequoia forest.
Inside an arty Bayview studio space, nine-year styling veteran Janelle Bonus partners with distinguished beauty expert Lena Golden (aka The Skin Guru) to beautify clients from the inside out. Janelle's deft scissors shape hair into stylish new looks, and she's skilled at transforming strands with all-over color and strategic foil placement. She also offers body-waxing services that include Brazilian waxes and full-body services that transform surfaces into dolphin-like smoothness. With more than six years of industry experience, Lena specializes in skincare treatments including microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and a trio of specialty facials that she named after their intended spiritual target—heart, crown, and third eye. Together, the duo showers clients with in head-to-toe vanity.
When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 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 at the initial location opened up a new outpost in Tallahassee. Today, the company—now owned by that original waiter, Mark Johnston, and his brothers Mike and Bob—reigns as the 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 a given night, groups of viscous-loving foodies gather around tables to nosh on cheese fondue appetizers and various salads while cooking steaks and seafood in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and romance seekers cap decadent evenings sharing chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
The Metropolitan's chic, lounge-like interior gleams with polished wood and rich-colored furnishings, with exposed brick walls showcasing a variety of eye-dazzling art pieces. Adventurous appetizers cushion culinary landings, ranging from bacon-wrapped water chestnuts served with honey dipping sauce ($9), to spicy chicken egg rolls packed with jalapeño and mozzarella ($9). The Metropolitan's high ceilings accommodate the towering flavors of entrees, which include steak frites, a succulent cut of beef napping fitfully in a bed of potatoes and fresh greens ($24), and the shrimp and scallops, shyly cloaked in a veil of white wine sauce with asparagus and lemon ($26). The Metropolitan opens its lush interior to the public for lunch and dinner on weekdays but limits epicurean visits to dinner hours on Saturdays to encourage people to catch up on cartoons and lazy clocks to count faster.
Named after the early-morning first shift for crew aboard seafaring vessels, First Watch ensures chefs arrive at work with the rising sun, chopping fresh produce, baking muffins, and mixing french toast batter each day. As guests arrive, perky servers greet them with an entire pot of Sunrise Select coffee, as well as the morning paper and free WiFi. Since 1983, First Watch’s carpe-diem philosophy has spread to more than 100 locations across 13 states, pleasing crowds with thin, sweet crepes and fluffy whipped eggs, hash brown skillets, and enormous multigrain pancakes. Recently placed at the top of a Consumer Reports list of best family restaurants, First Watch takes the customer experience seriously. Chefs focus entirely on crafting nourishing sunrise feasts and midday meals, shunning afterthoughts of steaks and burgers for edible masterpieces of omelets, belgian waffles, homemade biscuits, and wholesome lunch salads and sandwiches.