Havana Hideaway, Lake Worth, FL: A Restaurant Review

The Havana Hideaway may make you do a double take. It’s as if a beach dive bar has been magically transported from some Bahamanian backwater to downtown Lake Worth, FL, a funky, low-rise commercial center that doesn’t seem to have changed much since the 1950s.

There’s a little shack of a bar next to a sandy open air dining area dotted with rickety tables and a few palapa-shaded picnic tables, which screen the joint from the sidewalk where more picnic tables accommodate the overflow. And make no mistake, this is a popular joint.

At the back of the dining area sits a “food truck called Wanda,” a funky old chow wagon that turns out some of the best beach grub in Florida, or anywhere else for that matter.
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Gallagher’s Steak House in New York

If you want to be able to tell your friends that you sampled a real slice of New York history, you could do worse than have a pre-theater meal at Gallagher’s Steak House on 52nd Street.

This expansive eatery began life in 1927 as a Theater District speakeasy. (How on earth did they disguise the joint?) Today it is a lightly faded doyenne of New York’s restaurant scene trading on a reputation that may or may not have been deserved once upon a time and justifying its high prices with a patina of history.
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Grover’s Bar & Grill, East Amherst, NY

I’m developing a new rule of thumb: If it’s been on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” fuhggedaboudit!

Spurred by Guy Fieri’s raptures about cheeseburger soup, I dragged the beautiful and mysterious woman I travel with to East Amherst, New York’s Grover’s Bar and Grill.

Part of the mystique of Grover’s is that in a previous life the modest shingled building that houses the joint served as a hunting lodge for President Grover Cleveland. Nowadays, he’d be reduced to hunting for bargains at one of the many malls that line the route to Grover’s.

We arrived to find the place mobbed with eager diners, many of whom had spilled onto the pavement outside, drinks in hand. After negotiating an absolutely baffling chalk board sign up system and grabbing a cold brew, we repaired outside where we determined from departing guests that they had run out of cheeseburger soup. Damn you, Guy Fieri!
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Dinner in the Diner, Nothin’ Could be Finer

The Summerton (SC) Diner serves up southern
cooking at antebellum prices

by Kelly Monaghan

I’m one of those people who dream of pulling off the dusty road into Small Town America, driving past the fast-food franchise joints, and finding the perfect diner: the small local establishment with a short order cook who actually knows how to cook and who serves up the kind of unpretentious, soul-satisfying local specialties that grandmom used to make. Usually, I’m disappointed, finding only the kind of lackluster fare that let the franchise giants take over the culinary landscape in the first place. It’s enough to make you believe that the golden age of diners, if it ever existed, faded away with your parents’ youth.
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Hitoiro, Kyoto Soy Restaurant

A Kyoto restaurant find

Outside of the large western-style hotels, there are few restaurants in Japan that openly cater to the tourist trade with bilingual menus. Fortunately for those of us rendered instantly illiterate in a world of kanji, hiragana, and katakana (Japan’s three writing systems), many moderately-priced restaurants have window displays of plaster models of the dishes they serve. Waitresses are used to gaijin (foreigners) dragging them outside to point at what they want for lunch.

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Tackling Tampa’s Taste Temptations

A Culinary Tour Yields Old Treasures and New Discoveries

When people head for New York or San Francisco, they know they’re heading for a great restaurant town and they plan accordingly. They may even make some reservations in advance, just in case that trendy new restaurant on everyone’s lips is fully committed. They return home with full tummies and tales to tell of memorable meals. Yet when these same people head for many other major American cities, the thought of fine dining never crosses their minds; they make do with room service and the same “safe” chain choices they make at home.

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Bob Marley at CityWalk

This reggae nightspot has it all.
Except for one thing.

CityWalk is the hot, happenin’ nighttime entertainment district at Universal Studios Escape in Orlando, Florida. Located strategically between the theme parks Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, it offers non-stop partying until 2:00 a.m. at a kaleidoscopic variety of nightclubs like Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Pat O’Brien’s, Motown Cafe, and the Hard Rock Cafe and its adjoining performance space, Hard Rock Live.

One of my favorite nightclubs at CityWalk is Bob Marley — A Tribute To Freedom. The following review is excerpted from the guidebook Universal Studios Escape: The Ultimate Guide To The Ultimate Theme Park Adventure.

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A Vegetarian Find in Rockville (MD)

Okay, so it’s well off DC’s beaten tourist track, but this little gem will be worth the trek for hard-core vegetarians.

Yuan Fu is a modest, plainly-decorated Chinese restaurant tucked away in a tiny strip mall in suburban Rockville, MD. It’s so well hidden that the casual motorist will whiz by without even knowing its there. Pity, because this 50-seat establishment whips up some impressive vegetarian cuisine.

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