Orlando - Vegan week in Orlando - Discovered Ethos Vegan Restaurant!!!
I just returned from a week long trip to Orlando trying to stick to a vegan diet.
My list included Boma at the Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge. I read that it was very vegetarian/vegan friendly and it was a pure delight. This is a glorious African buffet filled with an array of aromas and color. The chef even came out to talk with us as the hostess told him we were vegan. He presented a platter to share that was a true piece of art...In addition to the buffet of grilled vegetables, salads, and many ethnic grain dishes
Season 52 on Sand Lake Road was a hit with everyone in our large group. The salmon and scallop dishes looked wonderful and our grilled winter vegetable plates were the envy of all.
One rainy and cold night we wanted Thai. The last time we were in town we dined at Thani Thai. I read about a new tiny Thai restaurant on I-Blvd called Basil Thai (next to TGIF and Walmart) and found a great vegetarian section on the menu. Imagine a Pad Thai without fish sauce and eggs and it was great! Vegetable Red Curry medium spice was perfect.
Somewhere I read that in the last week or two Ethos Vegan Kitchen was having a pre-opening. We went there for a late lunch at 2:00 on a weekday and found the place packed. The owner greeted us and said that they were offering a limited menu and the grand opening was next Saturday. The limited menu brought tears to my eyes,instead of one or two options, if lucky, on a regular menu, I can order ANYTHING I want. I am thrilled at their early success and only hope it will continue. Here is a link to their website: http://www.ethosvegankitchen.com/
My only regret, and it is huge, is that we didn't make it to Woodlands. Last fall I posted on this board trying to find vegetarian friendly places in Orlando and our beloved by all, Bob Mervine, told me to go to Woodlands. The schedule of our night bridge games at the tournament in Lake Buena Vista just didn't allow us time to get there and back for the evening games. It will be top of my list next visit to Orlando. I have always followed his advise in my past trips to Orlando and am so sad that was his last advise to me.
I'm a food professional living with a vegan – and if that's not a recipe for knowing the best veg spots in town, I don't know what is. (And thank god for Ethos! Pizza we can both eat! Hallelujah!) If you're ever back in town, Woodlands IS great, so you shouldn't miss it. (Not strictly vegan, as there's ghee (clarified butter) in some of the dishes; I don't know how strict you are.) Another all-veg Indian place opened in Longwood called Udipi – great dosai, excellent desserts and a very nice thali plate.
But also don't miss Garden Cafe for gourmet meatless Chinese (order the soft greens with house "chicken" – not on the menu but excellent). Infusion in College Park has a small but tasty salads/sandwiches menu in addition to the best tea selection in town. Drunken Monkey, over on Bumby, has vegan or vegetarian or non-veg panini – really creative flavor combinations – along with truly amazing soups, made by John Batcho of Soupcon. Pom Pom's Sandwicheria, further down on Bumby, has wonderful unusual sandwiches and egg souffles – it's not really vegan-friendly, but a vegetarian could have a field day.
And last but not least, if you're down near the Mall at Milennia, do not miss Greens & Grille – it's an upscale salad/sandwich bar developed by chefs from Primo and Luma (though they've since moved on to the Ravenous Pig, and that's no place for a vegetarian). G&G has great scratch-made dressings and high-quality salad makings like baby greens, kalamata olives, edamame, Hass avocados, caramelized onions, etc. Very nice, and the meat (if you're in a mixed crowd) is also top-quality. It's always nice to find a place where neither the veg nor the meat-eater feels denied.
Thanks Waffle, I will return soon for a few days of exploring and dining. My schedule this past week was cut short due to the bridge tournament evening games starting at 7:00 with horrid traffic and long lights around Lake Buena Vista during peak vacation time. It was hard to go anywhere far away and know for certain I could get back. I had maps with me for Woodlands and Garden Cafe...will add Drunken Monkey along with G&G for my next trip. It really is a great vegetarian friendly city!
Another place to try is Dandelion Communitea Cafe - Organic Vegetarian Teahouse. I'm not vegetarian - but it is my daughter's favorite & I find at least one thing to enjoy (I'm not very adventurous). Haven't tried it but have been told their chili is wonderful. They are on Thornton (about 1/2 block south of Colonial & 1 block west of Mills) and have a web site with menu.