Daytona report and wish list (long)
- Covert Ops Jan 21, 2006 05:02 PM
Hey guys, haven't posted in a while.
I live in Port Orange now, and we've been trying to find the chow-worthy places around Volusia. Here's a partial list of places I've been, places I've heard of and what I'd like to know more about. Any help is greatly appreciated! :-)
WINGS: Booth's Bowery, Herbert St. and Nova Rd., Port Orange. This is one of our favorite places, especially for the wings. And mostly just for the wings. Bad experience with the chicken fajita, which comes already rolled up like a giant enchilada. I asked the server what I should do with the side of lettuce, tomatoes and cheese, and she said, "Just put it on top!" I like to assemble my own fajitas, thanks. :-P But the wings are terrific -- meaty, great sauces, very reliable. I'm all about getting what a place is known for, and sticking to that. But they do have other good selections. Portobello burger with pepper jack cheese is great, as is the meatball sub (but they add chopped up peppers, which I'm not thrilled about). Bruschetta is great, as is the fried zucchini sticks. They also serve escargot, but I'm a little wary of that. ;-) Good place to bring kids.
MEXICAN: La Fiesta, Nova Rd. and Dunlawton in Port Orange; and Cancun Lagoon, near the Speedway, ISB and Airport Road, Daytona. We discovered La Fiesta near our home. Almost entirely Mexican staff, great happy hour margarita specials (the house one is delicious). I liked the assortment of dips with the chips, including a salsa with cilantro and a white dip made with Mexican cheese, sort of a spicy ranchero-type. Jalapeno poppers perfectly cooked and full of cheese (no explosions!). Had a special enchilada with shrimp, lobster and salmon, and it was fabulous. Other dishes seemed common, but well prepared with excellent service. Menu was very large, with lots of seafood options (which I'm not accustomed to seeing). I'd definitely go back.
My husband brought me to Cancun Lagoon because he had enjoyed it years ago. It is still very excellent. I had a similar dish as the other restaurant, but this time the seafood enchilada had some pink sauce that was like a Newburg, with pepper jack cheese melted on top that gave a great bite. Great little side dish was a cornbread crumbles with pieces of corn in it. Amazing fried ice cream dessert (coated in cornflakes), with strawberries, bananas and caramel sauce.
CHINESE: The Chinese takeout I've sampled around here totally sucks. I have a theory, that it's because there are fewer New Yorkers in Daytona than in other places I've lived in Florida. (Everyone here seems to be from Pittsburgh, or the Midwest.) If you can point me toward decent Chinese takeout (the closer to Holly Hill, the better, because us newspeople gotta eat, and I can't STAND China Star) I'd be thrilled.
DINER: Steve's Diner, next door to Office Depot, Nova. Rd. and Beville Rd. Steve's is neither Greek nor Jewish, but it's still a terrific diner. They have this homemade thick bread that makes great (and filling!) French toast. I was disappointed at breakfast because I wanted scrambled egg and cheese on a roll, and they were out of rolls. But at lunch I had awesome chicken soup and the best diner lunch, grilled cheese on rye. (With pickle, of course.) Some Polish specialties on the menu, like stuffed cabbage.
PIZZA: Not feeling good about the pizza search, see earlier comment on lack of New Yorkers. And also, since I got Chuck to drive down from Ormond all the way to Melbourne for pizza. :-P However, a friend told me there's a NY-style pizza place, I think it's Joe's New York Pizza, opening up in a GAS STATION (maybe that's a good sign??) in Ormond, on Granada just west of the I-95 exit/overpass. Was just there recently, but had already eaten, so didn't check it out. Chuck? Anyone? Worth the drive up?
SUSHI: Haven't gone to any around here. . .wait, haven't FOUND any. Heard a rumor of a Japanese steakhouse in Port Orange with a sushi conveyer belt. . .anyone been? Not a big fan of the Benihana-like hijinks, but I would like freshly prepared, reasonably priced sushi if there's any around.
ITALIAN: Don't get me started. Haven't been to a single place around here. But I did get a calzone from Giuseppe's Steel City Pizza (nova rd, across the street from Booth's Bowery) and it was cold in the middle. And they were out of an advertised beer. And it took the server 10 minutes to figure that out and tell me as I sat thirsty. Don't get me started -- I'm nto going back there, and it's not because I'm not a Steelers fan. Wings were decent, but not as good as Booth's across the street. Decor was atrocious (again, unless you're from Pittsburgh). Didn't try the pizza, because putting "steel city" in front of the name threw me off. :-P
BBQ: My husband was happy to find Dustin's, which we went to often when we lived in Melbourne (nto as good as Fat Boy's though). Honestly, I think their meat is too dry, and prefer Sonny's (which isn't saying much). But I heard there's a place called Robinson's (?) on Orange Avenue, west of the police station. But I've been warned by several people to only go there in the daytime, which freaked me out. NC-style Q, with red sauce mixed into the meat.
STEAK: Best so far is Lone Star (Dunlawton and Village Trail), and I say best beacuse the steak is 100% perfectly cooked every time it's ordered medium-rare. You'd be surprised how many steakhouses mess this up! I love the grilled shrimp over rice, very flavorful. And they serve sweet potatoes with a sugar/cinnamon/brown sugar mixture, none of that Country Crock Cinnamon Spread crap Sonny's throws at you. (Note: Dustins also gives straight brown sugar, a plus.) Great rolls and honey butter at Lone Star -- the exact same rolls I fell in love with at the Beverly Hills Cafe down in Dade/Broward, only with melted butter on top. HEAVEN!
OK, so that's where I've been, and here's what else I'm looking for:
-- Casual seafood, possibly raw bar
-- Casual beachside dining
-- Slightly-more-than-casual restaurant, non-ethnic, where we can take my non-chowish parents. (Note: They must serve chicken fingers, and have a bar.) View/location a plus.
-- Other good BBQ that's not a chain and won't get me shot.
-- Better wings than Booth's Bowery, if you know of them.
I also want to try that place in DeLeon Springs where you make your own pancakes, but I'll wait until the stepkids come this summer for that.
For chinese and especially vietnamese, try Leannhs on Beville Rd across from the golf course.
For New York style pizza, try Giangrassos on US 1 in S. Daytona.
There's a pretty good bbq carry out place on the west side of New Smyrna Beach called the Pig and Whistle.
For a diner style food, try Rossi's on US 1 in the Daytona area.
Skip the De Leon springs place, unless yer looking for something other than food. Prob a good kiddie entertainment place.
The best place in Volusia county to eat is Karling's in De Leon Springs. It has european cuisine. Outstanding.
Try North Turn yet? It is on US 1, south of Port Orange. In 50 visits the wings were not great on one visit. We like out wings sorta well done. It has great hamburgers, a bar, presentable other things, and is open late.
Seafood. On the East end of the Port Orange bridge, on the south side, pretty much under the bridge, is as good of casual fried seafood as I have had. Warning, on the north side of the bridge is a miserable open air joint, where you eat outside mostly.
General good food. Billy's tap room, on Granada (SR40) in Ormond. Skip the fish with white sauces, but most everything is good. Bar, reservations advised. Rick the bar keep makes a wonderful Old Fashion. Its kinda a old folks Cheers! Its our fav. You would not feel outta place in a coat and tie, but it suggests a shirt w/ collar.
Hamburger and a drive, Betty's on A1A in Ormond by the Sea. Best onion rings in 3 states.
Keep us posted
The sushi with the conveyor belt is on seabresse beach side - not worth the trip - Best Sushi is in ormond on Nova before granada on the east side call Takeya - if it has moved it is scheduled to move to granda west of nova on the north side-. Also decent pizza can be had at Petes pizza on nova off of Belville and also beach side at shrooms -at ISB and grandview - bit of a dive but good pizza
We have discovered Pete's, Jay, and it is our new weekly hangout. Their zeppoli are out of this world too -- reminds me of St. Andrew's carnival back home!
The sushi place I had heard of was Chi-Ling on Ridgewood just south of Dunlawton -- the place you mention on Seabreeze beachside is Sapporo's. I haven't been inside, my friend says it's not very nice for sit-down, btu she brings me Japanese-style katsu curry all the time and our whole office loves it. So maybe just for takeout.
Takeya has moved, it's on the east side of Nova just south of Granada, by the fire station. I haven't been inside because it's one of those teppanyaki places, and I prefer my sushi in a more relaxed setting. (i.e. no shrimp flying into people's hats)
My suggestions are all in / around Ormond as I've just moved to the area and haven't yet gone hounding south of Speedway . . .
CHINESE -- we have a place way the hell up here on Dixie Hwy called KING, it's in the center with the Publix just east of 95 at the Dixie exit, not the Granda exit. It's pretty good -- it's not BAD, I'm not saying it's great, but it's solid. It's all takeout, you can eat there but it's just a little flourescent room.
GENERAL -- Billy's Tap Room on Granada and Beach in Ormond is pretty good, mentioned earlier, seafood, steaks, etc . . . this has the feel of a good old neighborhood bar that serves good food, it's old school, and not just bar food, it's a real menu
BEACH CASUAL -- We've been hitting Kahuna Grill on A1A way up here in Ormond By Sea, the food's OK, it's not great. The service is a dud . . . but this place is beach casual, not fine dining, we like the fish & chips and a couple drinks and we're good -- beer & wine only, I think
CASUAL SEAFOOOD -- OK, if you want it REALLY CASUAL, try Hull's Seafood Market (& Kitchen) on Granada in Ormond, between Nova and the river. It's mostly a fresh fish counter, but they serve it to a small dining room too, plus a couple outdoor tables that are basically in the parking lot. I've done the oysters as carryout and shucked them myself, they were pretty good and they were REALLY cheap, $3/dozen I think. They probably serve them in the dining room or you could maybe order carry out and eat it outside if you can shuck your own. Beer and wine only, no hard stuff, no byo.
WINGS --I haven't had them, but I've read here about the wings at a place called Houligan's at Granada & Clyde Morris in Ormond. I read a post where somebody was reallly fired up about them but it sounds to me like these are battered / fried, more like a Hoooter's wing than a regular buffalo wing with sauce. Again, haven't tried it, just mentioning it.
BBQ -- Forget Woody's, what a waste of time and money, trust me.
Billy's Tap Room might suit your parents, the menu is not exotic but still good and the drinks are strong. But I like an old-school place and if they're really old-school they may not see the charm in it. Another place you might TRY (or at least do a drive-by) is called River City Grill on Hwy 1 between the 95 and Nova . . . it looks like a tricked-out Friday's and it has a large deck off the back that goes out over the river . . . I've not been there yet, but it might fill the order for a safe-ish place they can feel OK and you might save a trip to The Olive Garden.
I was probably the one raving about Houligan's. :-) I've never been to Buffalo, but I like these wings. The grilling makes the difference, IMO. (Make sure you order them "Wally" style.)
The rest of their food is very good -- crisp fries, and their grouper sandwich is outstanding. It's a sports bar, but it has more of a family-friendly feel. I am never uncomfortable bringing my young daughter there.
I've also heard good things about Hull's. Apparently the small restaurant area is a new thing. Might have to schlep up there since DH still hasn't found oysters he likes.
Bit of a hike for you, but Norwood's in New Smyrna Beach is very good (except for the service, which is spotty). They do seafood best -- I haven't had a bad dish there yet -- and their she-crab soup is to die for. Huge wine list, apparently they win Wine Spectator awards all the time. My parents love it. :-P
re: Covert Ops
THANKS for the Norwood's tip . . . I haven't made it down there yet but will do.
NOTE on Hull's -- I don't know if they serve oysters in the dining room, I'm not saying they DON'T, but I've only had them for carryout . . . and the price was right, and I thought they were pretty good although I'm not the most seasoned oyster guy.
They have their whole menu on their website, and if you're wondering whether it's worth the trip on a given day you can give them a call and ask them what they've got working that day and you can probably get some indication on whether they have what you want.
In NSB try the Spanish River Grill. Everything I've had has been very good, especially the flatiron steak. IMHO, Karlings is no longer very good. It eas up and down for acouple of years but then was consistently down. Have quit going there.
In DeLand, at Le Jardin Cafe on Indiana, there is a guest chef cooking a couple of nights a week. This week he is doing North African. He's great with any cuisine, check their web site.
Le Jardin Café : North African Nights
Wednesday and Thursday, November 29-30, 2006
103 W. Indiana Ave, DeLand, FL 32720
Please Call 386-740-0303