This is Part 2 of our Chicago trip report. Click here to see part 1!
For the second day of our Chicago trip we got an early start. Well, at least it was an early start for us when we’re on vacation. We had a bunch of things we wanted to do, thanks to all of your wonderful suggestions. We decided the first thing we’d do was the one activity that left on a schedule – the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise. As we approached the river and Wacker Drive, the crowd increased tremendously. We then noticed marching bands and many people from all different ethnic groups gathered together. It turned out there was a parade that day to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Lions Club, who were founded in 1917 in Chicago. This also may have been the reason that hotel rooms were really expensive for the weekend. We finally made it down to the riverwalk and the dock for the boat.
The Tiki culture (the theme used in Polynesian-style restaurants, clubs and bars) in the United States started in the 1930s, increased after World War II (when solders would return from the South Pacific) and hit its peak in the late 1950s, around the time that Hawaii became the 50th state. Riding on that wave (do you see what I did there? ☺), the Mai-Kai, a Polynesian-themed restaurant, bar and, a few years later, live Polynesian Islander Revue, opened in Fort Lauderdale in late 1956 and has been feeding and entertaining guests ever since. An OpenTable winner in 2014 and voted Best Tiki Bar in the World by Critiki in 2015 and 2016 (because, let’s face it…they would know, right?), it is, as per Wikipedia, the last restaurant/bar in existence carrying on the traditions of service and serving the original drink recipes of Don the Beachcomber (the very first tiki bar, which opened in Hollywood in 1937), and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And yet I, a lover of all things kitchy, Polynesian/Hawaiian and off-the-beaten-path, somehow had never heard of it, never mind never been to it??? Continue reading “Our Visit to 1950s Kitch: The Mai-Kai”
We know that lots of theme park fans don’t like to go off theme park property when they vacation in Central Florida. We used to be like that, too. Eating at a theme park is usually faster than traveling off property to dine, it keeps you immersed in the theme park experience, etc. And we get it – there are indeed some really nice places “on property” that give you awesome food and/or theming, and you get to maximize your time in the parks. But if you limit yourself to just eating on property, you are denying yourself some incredibly good eats that usually cost a fraction of Disney’s and Universal’s prices and often taste even better than anything you can get in the parks or on property.
These are some of our most favorite “off property” restaurants. We’ve listed them in alphabetical order, since it would be almost impossible to put them in order of which is
best, second best, etc., and they run the gamut in terms of price point, food type, dress requirements and distance from the parks. Many offer meals throughout the day (i.e. breakfast, lunch, brunch, high tea), although we’re specifying our experiences with them for dinner. Most are places you can’t find anywhere else (or at least have only limited locations), they’re all “not to be missed” and some, we admit, are really just for adults (we’ve included level of “kid friendliness,” based on our observations, in each of the narratives). Continue reading “Our Favorite Central FL Restaurants Off Disney/Universal Property”
As you guys may have figured out, Joe and I like to travel. But we like to think our travel is different from that of most people. Oh sure, some people like to go to the Caribbean, or to Italy or to go hiking. And some of those are nice sometimes (well, except the hiking. I’m not a hiking sort of person). But for us, especially for me, the more unusual, the more different, the more of an adventure, the more off the beaten path, the better. And if you can add a little kitch to it, well, THEN my life is just complete. So when a friend posted an article on Facebook about the Pan Am Experience, my eyes perked up. I did some Continue reading “We’re Going To Do The Pan Am Experience!”
We’ve been to Key West six times since 2010 (Sharon also went an additional time in 2008). It’s a quick getaway for us, within driving distance or a short flight away. We like going to places we’ve been to before because many of the stresses of traveling are diminished when you know something about where you are. I totally get that some people will be like, “You shouldn’t go back to somewhere you’ve already been. There are so many new places to discover!” I totally agree with that and we do our best to get to new places, too. But we also do our best to revisit places where we’ve had a really good time. It’s like watching a movie you’ve seen or re-reading a book you like; it’s a comfort and you know it will be enjoyable.