Orlando ChowTour '11
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
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
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.
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
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
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
424 N Bumby Ave, Orlando, FL 32803
99 W Plant St, Winter Garden, FL 34787
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
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.
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
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.