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Orlando ChowTour '11

askdrtodd Mar 7, 2011 05:25 AM

Some of us are looking to make a day trip to Orlando to grub on some of the yummier stuff we keep seeing pop up on the boards, I just wanted to get the O-town hounds' input on can't-miss spots, etc.

Current list (which will be modified & whittled down):

Korean Taco Truck
4 Rivers
Redlight Redlight (for a beer)
Cedar's for a Hookah
Le Rouge for a Tapa
Amura for a RR roll

? Preferably stuff that isn't toooo far from I-4

745 Bennett Rd, Orlando, FL 32803

  1. y
    YosemiteSam Mar 7, 2011 05:41 AM

    So you're thinking like a pub crawl but with food right? Like one item at each? Just figuring how far you want to go because 4 Rivers, the Korean Taco Truck and Ravenous are not right next to each other, and of course the rest of your options are on Restautant Row on Sand Lake.

    I know you know the above just trying to get parameters before I post recommendations.

    1. b
      Big Bad Voodoo Lou Mar 7, 2011 06:22 AM

      As long as you're hitting Anatolia, you can go a few doors down and get the best gyro in town at Greek Flame Taverna.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
        Sandwich_Sister Mar 7, 2011 07:29 AM

        I wasn't a huge fan of Greek Flame Taverna when I went. It may have just been an off day though, gyro was okay, the fries were soggy. What I did like there a lot was the Dolmades

        1. re: Sandwich_Sister
          Big Bad Voodoo Lou Mar 7, 2011 07:36 AM

          I'll be the first one to admit their fries aren't the best, but the dolmades are indeed awesome, and I've never had a bad experience with their gyros.

          1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
            Sandwich_Sister Mar 7, 2011 12:43 PM

            The gyros were okay but it may have been the service that made it less than stellar.
            I should try them again.

          2. re: Sandwich_Sister
            herbert1 Mar 8, 2011 12:40 AM

            I went by a couple of times right after they moved to dr Phillips. I wasn't impressed, had the moussaka and a lamb dish. Haven't had the gyros, I'll go by sometime this week to give them a try.

        2. Sandwich_Sister Mar 7, 2011 07:50 AM

          I think if you plan right you can cruise around and hit up a lot of spots. with enough room in between so you won't get to full.

          What about a Bahn Mi at Ba Le Bakery or Boston Bakery

          Lee and Ricks may be fun

          Have you thought about desserts?
          Fortuna Bakery is a little Colombian/Venezuelan bakery that is delcious. Menu is in spanish but they are very helpful/

          Also a new place, All Italian Market and Deli - wonderful authentic italian products, meats, paninis and italian desserts.

          Other new places that just opened up
          Tibby's New Orleans Kitchen
          Shipyard Emporium
          City Fire

          Also if you decide to add another food truck stop go with the Crooked Spoon.

          Boston Bakery & Cafe
          1525 E Colonial Dr Ste 5, Orlando, FL 32803

          11 Replies
          1. re: Sandwich_Sister
            askdrtodd Mar 7, 2011 10:06 AM

            Thanks SS! I (as do many other Tampa Hounds) loooove Bahn Mi's, I put that on the map, it's not horribly out of the way either. I also meant to add Shipyard, thanks for reminding me!

            1. re: askdrtodd
              rhnault Mar 7, 2011 11:00 AM

              Toddster- note that RP only serves lunch until 2 and then the bar re-opens at 5 and the dining room at 5:30

              1. re: rhnault
                askdrtodd Mar 7, 2011 03:19 PM

                K we can work around that. Maybe we can show up around 1:30 and still not piss the waitstaff off :)

                1. re: askdrtodd
                  rhnault Mar 8, 2011 10:57 AM

                  I highly doubt it lol

            2. re: Sandwich_Sister
              andy huse Mar 7, 2011 11:08 AM

              Lee and Rick's has good oysters, but based on my observations, it doesn't have much else going for it in the food department.

              1. re: andy huse
                rhnault Mar 7, 2011 12:02 PM

                are you coming with to Orlando?

                1. re: rhnault
                  Big Bad Voodoo Lou Mar 7, 2011 12:18 PM

                  Give a holler when you all pick a day. I have a very weird work schedule, but I would definitely meet some Chowhounds if I can make it happen.

                  1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
                    rhnault Mar 7, 2011 12:27 PM

                    I think it is set for 3/19

                    1. re: rhnault
                      Big Bad Voodoo Lou Mar 7, 2011 12:39 PM

                      D'oh! I'll be at a wedding, but you'll all have a great time no matter what.

                      1. re: rhnault
                        Sandwich_Sister Mar 7, 2011 12:45 PM

                        Don't forget to write a full report when you guys get done.

                        It's such a great idea.

                  2. re: andy huse
                    Sandwich_Sister Mar 7, 2011 12:50 PM

                    yeah I've only had the oysters there, I've heard to just stick with that.

                2. Sandwich_Sister Mar 7, 2011 04:11 PM

                  Le Rouge for a tapa - which one? A favorite or are you trying something new?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Sandwich_Sister
                    askdrtodd Mar 7, 2011 05:26 PM

                    beats me, we shall see :)

                  2. y
                    YosemiteSam Mar 8, 2011 10:16 AM

                    So I've put WAY too much thought into this, but here's my input FWIW - note I've tried to focus on places that are unique to Orlando, are amenable to a "tour" type experience (i.e., not too formal, involved, etc) and that are located along the I-4 spine in general.

                    Here's what I'd do:

                    - Since it's a Saturday, start at the Winter Park Farmer's Market and maybe a breakfast item from the food trailer there or some fresh baked goods.
                    - Next up is 4 Rivers and Ravenous - careful not to eat too much you'll need to pace yourself - avoid breads and starches :)
                    - Travel down Mills to the ViMi district and split Banh Mi's at Ba Le, then you can't miss Beefy King basically right across the street from the Korean Taco Truck - it's the 2nd oldest food location in Orlando and an institution
                    - Assuming we're at mid-afternoon - I'd take a break and a walk around Lake Eola downtown with maybe a stop at the Eola Wine Company for a crisp white wine to cleanse the palate.
                    - Depending on timing, before leaving downtown you need to head to College Park and have something at K - check to see if bone marrow is on the menu, if not their Fried Green Tomato with Crab is amazing and refreshing and they also do a great twist on mac n cheese
                    - Now you head west on I-4. I'd skip Lee & Rick's due to recent health violations (just an ick factor for me) and instead consider a stop at Pio Pio on I-Drive and Kirkman (not the Semoran one) for great Columbian chicken and empanadas or a bandeja paisa.
                    - Right up the street from there is Nile Ethiopian where you can order a family style platter with most of the menu items for great sharing experience and wonderful unique flavors.
                    - Travel up I-Drive to Hanamizuki and split a Wafu steak or get ishiyaki and cook some food on a hot stone at your table
                    - Finally make your way to Restaurant Row. If you only get a hookah at Cedar's you're really missing out on some great food. If you're adventurous get the Kibbeh Nayeh (raw ground lamb and bulgur) and the sujouk
                    - Another not to miss option there is Anatolia and their awesome bread and dips
                    - I know you like Amura and that one roll (it is good), but consider instead or in addition a trip across the corner to Dragonfly for butter-sauteed edamame (interesting and weird) and a few robata skewers and the Crispy Black Pork Belly with Hijiki Seaweed & Daikon served in a dashi broth with a soft poached egg (yay cut and paste)
                    - Right next door to Dragonfly is the just opened City Fire from legendary Orlando restauranteur Manny Garcia (Pebbles, Manuel's on the 28th, Harvey's) - I haven't been yet but I see they have on the menu a great option from the old Pebbles restaurants updated for modern palates - their thumbits - little bite-sized pieces of yum that taste even better than they sound - they have their classic chicken but also added foie gras thumbits - OMG. The whole menu looks ripe for a stop by a group like this
                    - Also next door is Big Fin if you're having a hankerin' for oysters or raw bar items - good solid mostly local seafood in a great atmosphere
                    - I personally like to finish with wine and cheese - so I'd end the night at La Rouge. There are no really great sweet dessert options around, so maybe hit Menchie's or Pinkberry for a fro yo if you need a sweet finish. Or perhaps World of Beer for a beer nightcap if you swing that way.

                    Places I've left out due to distance or lack of usefulness for a drop in but still great Orlando options are Yellow Dog Eats (the one short drive out of the way I'd recommend if you love sandwiches), Memories of India, Luma, Chef's Table, La Luce, Portobello Meatball Bar and Funky Monkey downtown.

                    I know this is way too much to do, but pick and choose from the above and I'm confident you'll have a great time without resorting in any way to chain food.

                    Memories of India
                    7625 Turkey Lake Rd, Orlando, FL 32819

                    Yellow Dog Eats
                    1236 Hempel Ave, Gotha, FL 34734

                    Beefy King
                    424 N Bumby Ave, Orlando, FL 32803

                    Chef's Table
                    99 W Plant St, Winter Garden, FL 34787

                    17 Replies
                    1. re: YosemiteSam
                      YosemiteSam Mar 8, 2011 10:33 AM

                      Sorry had to add an adendum - if you are willing to reverse course a bit - after the lunch options on Colonial (Ba Le, Beefy King, Taco Truck) - head to I-Drive and continue, then after La Rogue head back downtown to K as it has a rich menu, a great night vibe and a cool initmate bar, then finish at the Dessert Lady on Church Street to enjoy amazing sweets and nice dessert wines while ogling the magnificence of our new Amway Center

                      1. re: YosemiteSam
                        askdrtodd Mar 8, 2011 05:18 PM


                        You and I think a lot alike here, somewhere along the lines of what you've written above is perfect. It will take some whittling down but that's a perfect game plan. We could even kibbeh and hookah and I could run down and grab a rolls royce roll to enjoy on the patio :)

                        1. re: YosemiteSam
                          Manderley Mar 9, 2011 09:01 AM

                          Sam you are wonderful. thanks so much for putting so much thought into this for us, taking the time and trouble to even map out a plan and post it for us. you are a king among men!!! smooches.

                          1. re: Manderley
                            YosemiteSam Mar 9, 2011 09:10 AM

                            You're welcome - frankly I wish I could go but will need to live vicariously thru you as with a 5 year old and a 1 year old whole day excursions like this are either impossible or prohibitively expensive with babysitting fees (you won't believe what our SOBE Wine & Food weekend just cost us all in with hotel, tickets and babysitting)

                            Please please please do a trip report thread with all chiming in. Are any of you Tweeters? Maybe you could do a hashtag for the day and tweet your progress so if us locals can intersect with you at any specific location we'll know where you are as well as keep tabs on how it's going.

                            1. re: YosemiteSam
                              askdrtodd Mar 9, 2011 11:29 AM

                              Sam, email me, I will give you info on how to contact us. My email is my username on here (at) gmail.com

                              1. re: YosemiteSam
                                topchef4LIFE May 30, 2011 07:16 PM

                                Yosemite...although I'm posting close to 2 months later, just wanted to let you know that a couple of buddies of mine and I are going to attempt your Chowtour! Will post a report next week!

                                1. re: topchef4LIFE
                                  YosemiteSam May 30, 2011 09:05 PM

                                  Well since it's been 2 months - allow me a few updates. Add in Hula Dog and Junior's Colombian burger both in the I-Drive/Kirkman area, and consider dropping City Fire as I thought it was a little pedestrian in my one visit. Also, check out some of the local food trucks on Twitter to see if they are around that day - I recommend Big Wheel Provisions, Crooked Spoon, Red Eye BBQ, Korean Taco Box, Treehouse Truck and Yum Yum cupcakes. If any of them are on your route then you should make sure to drop by for a taste

                                  The Crooked Spoon
                                  University Blvd Metric Dr., Orlando, FL 32803

                                  1. re: YosemiteSam
                                    askdrtodd May 31, 2011 10:47 AM

                                    X2 on what Sam said, Big Wheel is excellent. I hear great things about Rusty Spoon (new restaurant downtown) too.

                            2. re: YosemiteSam
                              Tom Scherberger Mar 9, 2011 09:36 AM

                              Outstanding post! I crown you the new Bob Mervine! I'm headed to Orlando Saturday with some spring training buddies and will have to check out a couple of these!

                              1. re: Tom Scherberger
                                YosemiteSam Mar 9, 2011 10:27 AM

                                I have much more to do to earn such high praise as the late, great Bob (RIP), but I do appreciate the compliment - and we miss him around here

                                1. re: YosemiteSam
                                  Sandwich_Sister Mar 9, 2011 03:47 PM

                                  I love Bob Mervine and yes that is an honor. I think I've written here a few times that I missed his tenure here on the boards... but when I first started I would search topics.

                                  His advice never steered me wrong. It wasn't until 2 years later that I found out he had passed away before I even signed on to chowhound.

                                  I had been taking advice from a very beloved dead man I never got the pleasure of actually speaking too. That is just how good his advice was.

                                  But Sam... You do give amazing advice. You could be the next Bob M. but we want you to stick around for a while, a long while.

                              2. re: YosemiteSam
                                QueenCityHound Mar 10, 2011 12:56 PM

                                Thanks Yosemite Sam - I will be visiting Orlando next week and will take your recommendations for the trip!

                                1. re: YosemiteSam
                                  YosemiteSam Mar 15, 2011 10:02 AM

                                  I have an addition for your tour itinerary. Hula Dog on I-Drive near Wet n Wild. See my post on the main board for details, but I guarantee it is a unique experience for you guys and perfect for a drop in on a ChowTour.

                                  1. re: YosemiteSam
                                    askdrtodd Mar 15, 2011 10:34 AM

                                    Unfortunately Chowtour may remain nothing more than a dream...

                                    1. re: askdrtodd
                                      Sandwich_Sister Mar 15, 2011 11:30 AM


                                      1. re: askdrtodd
                                        Big Bad Voodoo Lou Mar 15, 2011 11:46 AM

                                        That's a shame! However, if you ever reschedule it for another Saturday, I'll totally join everybody.

                                        1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
                                          rhnault Mar 15, 2011 02:54 PM

                                          I didn't know it was canceled. I will let you guys know when we head that way again. We really want to get to RP. My inlaws are in Melbourne so we pass through that way frequently.

                                  2. l
                                    laboheme Mar 23, 2011 09:22 AM

                                    I'm so bummed to hear that you guys didn't do the Orlando Chowtour... I was hoping to live vicariously through you! Please let me know if you guys reschedule it..there are so many places over there I've been dying to try (esp. the Korean Taco Truck). Thanks!

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: laboheme
                                      askdrtodd Mar 23, 2011 11:17 AM

                                      You want in? I think we're looking to do it in May now. A couple core members couldn't make it so we had to reschedule. I'm bummed too (although not toooo bummed since I'm heading out to O-town this weekend hehe) :)

                                      1. re: askdrtodd
                                        Big Bad Voodoo Lou Mar 23, 2011 11:51 AM

                                        Heh, I'll be in Tampa this weekend, helping two vegetarian friends move near the USF area. Any good places around there? Ethnic food always works, and I already love Mr. Dunderbak's in that part of town.

                                        If you go anywhere good in Orlando, make sure you write about it!

                                        Mr. Dunderbak's
                                        Bruce B Downs Blvd, Tampa, FL 33613

                                        1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
                                          rhnault Mar 23, 2011 12:13 PM

                                          Taqueria Monterrey! They also have a vegetarian menu. Woodfired Pizza is good and they have a great hh with even Craft beer 2 for 1.

                                          1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
                                            askdrtodd Mar 23, 2011 05:34 PM

                                            RH is spot on, my favorite spots near USF are:

                                            Taqueria Monterrey- Don't miss the Torta, that's one of the best sandwiches in Tampa in my humble opinion, the Carne Asada and Al Pastor are solid bets for what to get on it.

                                            Wood Fired- I think this is some of, if not the best pizza I've had in the state. Absolutely love the Pistachio pie and the New Haven (clam) pie, and some other CH faves are the Sofia and the Dante's Inferno, which was created by none other than our CH buddy Andy Huse!

                                            Chopstix- has good dim sum if you're in the mood

                                            Tokyo Sushi- great sushi, great mom & pop spot. CD roll is an experience (it's bloody enormous)

                                            Pho Quyen is great Vietnamese

                                            Jai Ho has my favorite Indian food in the area, if not in the Bay! Really impressive lunch buffet too.

                                            Those should keep you busy :)

                                            1. re: askdrtodd
                                              rhnault Mar 23, 2011 06:03 PM

                                              Excellent post my friend
                                              what is the address of this Tokyo?

                                              1. re: rhnault
                                                Mild Bill Mar 23, 2011 07:58 PM

                                                It's at Fowler and 56th...

                                          2. re: askdrtodd
                                            laboheme Mar 25, 2011 07:47 AM

                                            Absolutely! Let me know when in May you guys are doing it. Sounds like a great time.

                                            1. re: laboheme
                                              askdrtodd Mar 25, 2011 07:54 AM

                                              sure thing, shoot me an email, I'll put you on the list.

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