Element 47

Dessert
Scallop
Amuse bouche
Lobster terrine with citrus
Bar
Outside seating

**** (4 stars)

This is a pleasant restaurant in Aspen’s most famous hotel. It’s probably not quite as good as that description would suggest, but perfectly adequate.

We had the five-course tasting menu, which was well presented, but without any real knockout courses, although there were tasty components in each.

We also had both the sommelier and premium wine pairings. In each instance the premium wines were MUCH better. Service by the sommelier was friendly and informative.

Food service was pretty slow, but the lovely outside summer dining area provided a pleasant venue to pass the time.

While neither the meal nor the wines were knockouts, the pricing was certainly fair for what we were served.

Element 47
675 E Durant Ave
Aspen, CO
81611
(970) 920-6330
https://www.yelp.com/biz/element-47-aspen-2

Ship Tavern

Slow Roasted Prime Rib
Burger and onion rings
Pretzels
Bar
Bar
Interior

**** (4 stars)

You might expect an upscale hotel like The Brown Palace to have an equally upscale dining room, but this tavern is actually more like a 60s BBQ joint. The entree selection is somewhat limited, but there are lots of sandwiches and sports-bar-like appetizers. The prime rib was truly delicious, and they make a great burger. There is also a nice selection of whiskey. Service was friendly and helpful.

Ship Tavern
321 17th St
Denver, CO
80202
(303) 297-3111
https://www.yelp.com/biz/ship-tavern-denver-5

Chevys Fresh Mex

Appetizer Fresh Mex Sampler
Bar and interior

*** (3 stars)

Back when there weren’t many Tex Mex restaurants in town, we used to go here all the time. (Actually, our history goes back far longer, because back in the 80s this was our Sun Bank!) But somehow it fell off our radar, and we hadn’t been in years. We were surprised to discover the extensive remodel, which involved moving the door and making the bar area much larger and better than it used to be.

Unfortunately, the food hasn’t improved along with the decor. We shared an appetizer sampler, and it was pretty ho-hum. To give you an idea of how far this place has strayed from Mexican or Tex-Mex, the best thing on the platter was Buffalo wings. And, oddly, every single item included chicken, so that’s not really much of a sampler, is it?

The highlight was the house margarita, which was an excellent blend of balanced ingredients. Service was friendly and professional.

Chevys Fresh Mex
12547 State Rd 535
Lake Buena Vista, FL
32836
(407) 827-1052
https://www.yelp.com/biz/chevys-fresh-mex-lake-buena-vista

Bar Louie – I-Drive

Exterior
Interior

**** (4 stars)

This location is a bit of dejavu, since it is almost the same as the previous Bar Louie on Sand Lake Road. No doubt this is a better spot for the evening tourist trade. The large bar makes it good for groups, and the many roll-up doors are nice on cooler evenings. The menu is the same as other Bar Louies, with a mix of bar foods and burgers. A few of my favorite items from the past have disappeared or been simplified, but it’s still probably one of the better choices in the tourist corridor.

Bar Louie – I-Drive
8510 International Dr
Orlando, FL
32819
(407) 553-8502
https://www.yelp.com/biz/bar-louie-i-drive-orlando

Bahama Breeze

Goat curry bowl (small)
Rum Raid
Rum Raid
Island hopper combo
Interior
Exterior

**** (4 stars)

For a chain restaurant, there are some surprisingly authentic Carribean dishes in the Bahama Breeze menu. I visited the original location when they first opened and thought it was just okay, but a recent visit to this larger venue was more impressive.

There are standard sports bar-like items, of course, including an appetizer sampler that had some nicely fried coconut shrimp and onion rings. But there are also authentically seasoned items such as the goat curry bowl, which I thought was excellent. Best of all, unlike traditional goat curry, there were no bones!

My favorite item was a drink sampler that included 8 different tropical and tiki-style drinks. They were large enough that the assortment is intended for more than one person. Since I’ve recently been researching tiki drinks at some of the country’s top tiki bars, I wasn’t expecting them to be as good as they were. There were excellent examples of a Zombie, Painkiller, and Dark and Stormy, among others. At about $26 it was a good deal.

Service late at night seemed a bit harried, but was friendly. The restaurant is very large, nicely decorated, and there is a large outside dining area with live music.

Bahama Breeze
8735 Vineland Ave
Orlando, FL
32821
+1-407-938-9010
https://www.yelp.co.uk/biz/bahama-breeze-orlando-3

SUSHISAMBA – Las Vegas

El Topo

Peruvian sea scallops

Kanpachi, yellowtail and yellowtail ceviche

Pumpkin spice old fashioned for Thanksgiving!

Interior

**** (4 stars)

Very good sushi with a slight Peruvian spin, such as the sauces used for the sashimi preparations. Fish quality was good, and service was friendly. Chill vibe.

SUSHISAMBA – Las Vegas
3327 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV
89109
(702) 607-0700
https://www.yelp.com/biz/sushisamba-las-vegas-las-vegas

SUSHISAMBA – Las Vegas

El Topo

Peruvian sea scallops

Kanpachi, yellowtail and yellowtail ceviche

Pumpkin spice old fashioned for Thanksgiving!

Interior

**** (4 stars)

Very good sushi with a slight Peruvian spin, such as the sauces used for the sashimi preparations. Fish quality was good, and service was friendly. Chill vibe.

SUSHISAMBA – Las Vegas
3327 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV
89109
(702) 607-0700
https://www.yelp.com/biz/sushisamba-las-vegas-las-vegas

Maggiano’s Little Italy

***** (5 stars)

Our company has been using Maggiano’s to host our training sessions for several years, and they have always consistently delivered an excellent experience for our clients. The food is plentiful and tasty, and the service–even with a large group of up to 30–is efficient and friendly. Our customers rave about the trainings, and especially the desserts!

Maggiano’s Little Italy
9101 International Dr
Ste 2400
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 241-8650
https://www.yelp.com/biz/maggianos-little-italy-orlando-4

Valor

Cheeseburger

Salmon

Sorry, there’s only one rib left for you. We fell on the rest like hungry wolves.

Trio of ice creams and bombe

Brussels sprouts

Broccoli

Interior

**** (4 stars)

This popular cafe serves good food with a bit of a French influence to some dishes.

We started with four appetizers. The one we absolutely loved was the Sticky Asian Pork Ribs, which were coated in a wonderful soy-infused teriyaki sauce. Popcorn Cauliflower was also very good, especially dipped in the leftover rib sauce! Warm Brussels Sprout Caesar and Roasted Broccoli and Grilled (cold) Shrimp were both just okay.

Everyone also liked their entrees, which included the Steak Frites, Salmon, and a Cheeseburger.

For dessert we had a housemade ice cream trio and a Chocolate Bombe, both of which were also good.

The wine list is a bit obscure, but we found some interesting selections, and prices are reasonable.

Service was attentive and friendly.

Valor
667 Vernon Ave
Glencoe, IL 60022
(847) 786-4324
https://www.yelp.com/biz/valor-glencoe

The Whole Enchilada

Exterior

Interior

While enchilada player

**** (4 stars)

This is essentially a boozy version of Tijuana Flats. In addition to counter ordering there is also a full bar. You can order at the counter and they bring the food to your table, or you can sit at the bar or a few booths facing it for full service.

The Whole Enchilada platter I tried was very good, with two enchiladas, rice and choice of black or pinto beans. I had one ground beef enchilada, one shredded pork, and both were good. There’s a salsa bar to spice thing up, but not the array of hot sauces you’ll find elsewhere. Most of the rest of the menu is different burritos with various stuffings.

The house margarita was made to order and very good.

The employees are all enthusiastic, and prices are reasonable.

The interior decor is nice, and they have an upstairs with outdoor seating overlooking charming Winter Garden.

The Whole Enchilada
129 W Plant St
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 347-9699
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-whole-enchilada-winter-garden-2