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Florida Guide > Dining

Manny's Chop House (6)

Manny’s Chop House

After all we had heard about Manny’s Chop House, we felt that we could put off a visit no longer. So we finally decided to try it one Wednesday night. We headed south on highway 27 and found Manny’s set back from the road on the right hand side just past the large 24 hour Walmart store.

The car park was full so we headed for the overflow car park around the back and struggled to find a parking space amongst the huge 4 x 4’s and open back trucks that obviously belonged to the locals. We always think it is a good sign when the locals frequent a restaurant. Odds are the food will be good and reasonably priced or they would not keep coming back.

Once we had parked and made our way to the entrance through the throngs of people waiting outside, we gave our names to the girl at the front desk who said we would have to wait for around an hour. (This taught us the lesson to call ahead). We ordered drinks at the bar and waited for our table. The hour just rushed by as there is so much to take in around the restaurant.

Eventually we were shown to our table and ordered the bottomless salad bowl to start followed by steaks for some of our party (the ones we had seen at the entrance in the chiller cabinet) and fajitas for the rest of us. The salad arrived in the equivalent of a washing up bowl – it was huge! The bottomless tag was meant to mean that you could have refills but we decided it meant that you could never get to the bottom as there was so much of it. It was served with warm, soft white rolls and cinnamon butter (which is an acquired taste to us Brits).

The main courses followed shortly and the steaks were the best we had ever tasted anywhere at any price. The fajitas arrived sizzling and spitting on a hot plate filled with beef steak strips and onions piled high. They were served with a plate of lettuce, cheese, salsa, sour cream and guacamole plus a pile of tortillas. We were very hungry when we arrived but after the salad and rolls we could only eat around half of the food before we were completely stuffed. I had been looking at the dessert menu before we ordered but there was no way we could even share one without bursting.

The food was excellent, everything I had been told it would be and extremely good value for money. We were given boxes to take home all the food we had not managed to eat. I can tell you that the fajitas reheat very well in the microwave and we had them for lunch the next day by the pool.

The atmosphere was great (though rather noisy) with lots of locals and a good sprinkling of UK tourists but the wait rather long. If you wish to try Manny’s, here are a few tips:

1. Call ahead to put your name down on the list, this will save your waiting time.

2. Don’t expect to eat a dessert

3. Don’t tell everyone else or we will never get a table when we want to go

4. Enjoy! No trip to Florida should end without a visit to the Kennedy Space Center. When you are so close it would be criminal not to visit the most historic place in America – from where all the space missions leave. It is situated about 60 minutes drive from Orlando.

This may not appeal to everyone or all ages, but I have yet to meet anyone who did not enjoy it. The bus tours take you to all areas of the space center and everything is explained in great detail. All the most important areas i. e. , the launch pad, mission control and the building where the rockets are made, are all visited and the public are let off the bus to explore with or without a tour guide. The staff are always happy to answer any questions and there is even a café half way round where you can have lunch and join a later bus to carry on with your tour. Nobody rushes you and you can get on and off busses at leisure so you are able to spend as long as you wish at each area. The hall where you can view space memorabilia including space capsules and actual duplicate rockets, which are always built as spares in case the first rocket is faulty. The gift shops too sell wonderful momentos of your tour. What little boy (or big boy) would not love a souvenir from Kennedy Space Center or even a junior space outfit. They even sell the dry packet food that astronauts eat during a mission. (I wouldn’t recommend it for lunch though)! !

The best part of the whole trip is a visit to the IMAX theatre to see a movie of a launch taken from inside a rocket. The sight of the rocket leaving the earth as viewed from the rocket is absolutely breathtaking and often moves people to tears. (It gets me every time, much to my embarrassment).

Finally, if you are lucky enough to visit when a rocket launch is due, then you can watch history being made. It is a spectacle not to be missed, even if it is a night launch, and will stay in your memory for ever. You can buy tickets for a seat to view the launch although you would need to book well in advance. However, do be aware when booking a ticket, that the weather could cause the launch to be postponed and they do not offer refunds. I have seen several now and have usually managed to get a good spot to see the launch from either Cocoa Beach or Titusville. You will get just as close as in the space center itself.

Have fun and here’s hoping you will get to see a launch.

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Page added on: 8 January 2010
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