Tuesday, April 1, 2014

LA Boiling Crab in Orlando, FL

I had lunch at LA Boiling Crab in the Mills-50 District of Orlando. Surrounded by Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants, this place specialized in New Orleans style po boy sandwiches, crawfish, crabs, and other types of seafood. 
I ordered the soft shell crab po boy. This sandwich was filled with fried soft shell crab, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayonnaise. It was served on a French baguette with a nice, crispy crust. The crab was very tender and the batter that it was fried in had plenty of flavor.
I shared an order of beignets for dessert. These four fried fritters were topped with plenty of powdered sugar. They were light and airy on the inside. They may be a type of doughnut, but beignets aren't just any doughnut. Beignets are the official state doughnut of Louisiana! An appropriate end to a meal at a restaurant with LA in the name.
I had fun at LA Boiling Crab. It had been a while since I've eaten Cajun food, so having a po boy and beignets was enjoyable. At some point I want to return here and try some of their crawfish and crabs which smelled delicious as I was eating.

LA. Boiling Seafood Crabs & Crawfish on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 24, 2014

Junior Colombian Burgers in Orlando, FL

I've heard people rave about how good the food is at Junior Colombian Burgers on Kirkman Road for a long time. Being that I'm not a huge fan of hamburgers, I was always a little hesitant to try this place. Finally, I decided that it was about time. Would I find their burgers be dry, boring tasting pieces of beef like so many other places that supposedly have good burgers, or would a Colombian burger dress up the beef into something much better?
I've visited the Kirkman location of Junior twice now. My first visit was late at night and I didn't actually try one of their burgers. I had a Hawaiian Empanada. I like empanadas. Dumplings of any sort are normally good, and I think empanadas fall into the dumpling category. In this particular case though, I did not enjoy the empanada. It was filled with cheese, pineapple, and ham. The cheese and the ham worked fine together, but the moisture from the pineapple made the empanada very soggy. I've had Hawaiian pizzas with the same problem. Tasted okay, but soggy empanadas are no fun...
I also tried something called Salchipapa. This was completely new to me, and consisted of fried potato balls with pieces of hot dog cut into fancy shapes. The potato balls were very moist and tasty. Dipping them in the garlic sauce that Junior had made them better...
On my second visit to the restaurant, I decided to actually try one of their burgers. I ordered their Combo #2 which came with the cheeseburger, fries, and a drink.
The burger consisted of a hamburger patty, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, potato chips, garlic sauce, mayonnaise, ketchup, pink sauce, and pineapple sauce. Did this burger pass the test of not being boring? Yes it did. The beef was very moist and had flavor. All the sauces were very tasty and blended together well, without one overpowering the others. The potato chips were interesting. They started out crunchy, but as they sat on the burger they started forming a mush that sort of reminded me of mashed potatoes.
I liked my first experience eating a Colombian burger. The sandwich was nowhere as boring as most American style hamburgers that tend to leave me with a bad taste towards burgers. I'd return to Junior Colombian Burger!

Junior Colombian Burger on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 21, 2014

Rocky's Pizzeria in Orlando, FL

I had lunch one afternoon at a restaurant called Rocky's Pizzeria located along Turkey Lake Road in a shopping center next to Wal-Mart. Pizza by the slice in Central Florida's strip malls sometimes seems like a questionable food adventure to me, just because I'm afraid of the turnover of the pies. If the pizza available for slices seemed past it's prime, I was prepared to order a sandwich instead. Rocky's had lots of customers when I walked in around 2:45, so I figured I wouldn't be eating a slice from the same pie that was made earlier that morning and was siting around all day long and decided to order their lunch combo.
The lunch combo included two slices of pizza and a canned beverage. I'm glad I did go with the pizza rather than a sandwich because these were very good slices. This New York style pizza had a thin, slightly crispy crust. The cheese and sauce had nice, evenly spaced proportions. Nothing was dripping off the crust, nor was there a lack of crust coverage. The cheese was slightly salty and although the sauce wasn't a standout flavor, it added nicely to the overall pizza flavor. The outside crust was brushed with a garlic sauce which was a nice surprise when I got an extra bit of flavor that I wasn't initially expecting.
Based on my first experience at Rocky's Pizza, I think they may be near the top of my list of good New York style pizzas near International Drive.

Rocky's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Chop Shop in Lakeland, FL

I found myself in Downtown Lakeland last Saint Patrick's Day. Roads were closed and there was a street party going on. Lots of people were getting drunk on beers dyed green with food coloring, but I was looking for dinner rather than alcohol. There was an Irish pub downtown called Molly McHugh's that would have been appropriate for the holiday, but they didn't serve food. Instead, I ended up across the street at 50s themed restaurant specializing in burgers called The Chop Shop.
Since it was Saint Patrick's Day, I decided to go with their special and ordered the corned beef and cabbage sandwich. This large sandwich consisted of a large hoagie roll filled with corned beef, cabbage, and mayonnaise. The corned beef was thinly sliced, nice and tender, and had a good, somewhat salty taste. The cabbage seemed a bit more like sauerkraut than I was expecting, but that was fine with me. I like sauerkraut! Fries were served on the side.
I enjoyed my slightly Irish inspired combination of flavors in my sandwich. Apparently corned beef and cabbage is an American invention and isn't actually a thing in Ireland (it's derived from the Irish bacon and cabbage dish). Does this make me, a person with no Irish heritage, eating corned beef on a sandwich with fries at a burger place as bad as all the non-Irish people using Saint Patrick's Day as an excuse to get drunk?

The Chop Shop Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Wood Grill Buffet in Orlando, FL

I ended up eating dinner at a very touristy buffet called Wood Grill Buffet along the sparsely occupied section of International Drive between Sea World and Disney. According to the host, Wood Grill Buffet was a completely independent, one of a kind, non-chain restaurant. Once we were eating, I did notice that the signs on the inside of the restaurant called itself Western Sizzlin's Wood Grill Buffet. According to their website, this was Western Sizzlin's only Wood Grill Buffet location, but they are definitely not as independent as the host said.
I made two trips up to the buffet. On my first plate, I sampled a sundried tomato and sausage pasta, ribs, wings, fried okra, green beans, an onion ring and corn bread. The two standouts here were the ribs and the cornbread. The ribs were fresh (brought out a fresh batch as I was approaching the buffet) and the meat was nice and tender. The cornbread was surprisingly moist. Everything else on the plate was average.
My second plate consisted of far too many carbs. I tried the macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, cheesy potato casserole, brussel sprouts, and a biscuit. The macaroni and mashed potatoes tasted like they were very mass-produced and seemed instant/microwaved. The grilled brussel sprouts were the highlight on this plate, and seemed unusual to be found on a touristy buffet.
Wood Grill Buffet was a step above some of the other buffets on International Drive. It was definitely way better than a Ponderosa or a Sizzler, but I'd rank it below the touristy buffets at Disney.

Wood Grill Buffet on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 7, 2014

JC's Lobster Pot in Deland, FL

I had dinner at JC's Lobster Pot in Deland. This seafood restaurant is located on 44, not far from the St. Johns River.
When I entered the restaurant, I noticed they had a rock shrimp special. It had been a while since I've eaten rock shrimp, so I decided to give that a try. The meal began with clam chowder and a side salad.
For the main course, I received a plate of just over a dozen large rock shrimp, butter dipping sauce, french fries, and hush puppies. The shrimp were very tasty, as shrimp dipped in butter should be. The hush puppies were good and the fries were okay but weren't a standout of the meal.
I never knew JC's Lobster Pot existed until I found it accidentally when my dinner plans at a nearby restaurant fell through. I'm glad I know about it now because I did enjoy my meal here!

J.C.'s Lobster Pot on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 3, 2014

Burger 21 in Orlando, FL

I had dinner one night at a restaurant called Burger 21 near Millenia Mall in Orlando. This is a chain with a few locations in the Orlando area. I started out the meal by sharing an order of Half & Half Fries. This was a basket of half regular fries and half sweet potato fries. The fries by themselves were okay. Nothing exceptional, but the fun part was dipping them in all of the sauces that were available at their sauce bar. My favorites were the Chipotle Mayo, Cajun Mayo, and totally unexpectedly, the Toasted Marshmallow.
I saw they had seafood burgers on the menu and that caught my attention. Seafood burgers seem to be a bit more unusual than then normal alternatives to beef burgers (turkey, veggie, etc). I decided to try the Spicy Thai Shrimp Burger. This is how the menu described the burger: Lightly-fried shrimp burger, lettuce, tomato, Sriracha aïoli, hot chili slaw, pure Sriracha, toasted sesame bun. The way the menu described the burger made it sound good, but the reality was very bland. The shrimp burger patty itself was deep fried on the outside. The interior of the patty appeared almost completely homogeneous and I had trouble telling what was shrimp and what was breading/filler. All that sriracha and hot chili slaw that topped the burger seemed to lack the normal spiciness of sriracha. The entire sandwich was very indistinct and flavorless. The sauce bar came to the rescue to add some taste to the burger...
The person I ate here with ordered a plain cheeseburger and wasn't all too happy either. He ordered it medium-well, but it was served very pink. Apparently this was a theme because I noticed a couple more people sending their food undercooked food back.

Overall, Burger 21 seemed to have potential but they didn't do a very good job to meet that potential. Fries and a sauce bar shouldn't be better than your burgers if burger is in your name. This area has other places around that serve much better burgers/sandwiches. I don't think I'll be rushing back to Burger 21...

Burger 21 on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 28, 2014

American Deli in McDonough, GA

On a return trip home from Atlanta, we stopped for dinner at a restaurant called American Deli off I-75 in the suburbs south of Atlanta. I went into American Deli expecting sandwiches, but sandwiches were only a small part of the menu. Being that the Superbowl was just about to start as we decided to eat, chicken wings were a very big seller here. They had countless takeout orders of people buying huge quantity of wings to bring home to their parties. This made our wait for food a bit longer than it would probably be otherwise (stupid football game), but it wasn't too bad.
I ordered something that I was definitely not expecting to see on American Deli's menu. I had the shrimp fried rice and chicken wing combo. This consisted of a huge mound of fried rice with shrimp, egg, carrots, peas, and onion. Several chicken wings were served alongside with a container of blue cheese for dipping. The rice was tasty, especially since it was from a restaurant that didn't specifically specialize in Chinese food. The shrimp were tiny, but there were enough of them to make up for the small size. I choose medium spiciness on the wings, and it was a good choice. They had a nice kick to them, but didn't leave me begging for water afterwards either.

Overall, I enjoyed my food at American Deli. It was completely different from what I was expecting, but still served tasty food...

American Deli on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Olive Bistro in Atlanta, GA

While in Atlanta, I had lunch at a restaurant called Olive Bistro. Thy were located in the corner of a strip mall. They served mostly Greek and Middle Eastern food. There were six of us dining at the restaurant. There were two other occupied tables in the entire place, but our server seemed very flustered and annoyed to have a larger group come to dine. She made a big deal about splitting the checks. Apparently her ability to give separate checks or a single check depended on if the restaurant remained really busy when we were done eating (the two other tables?). When ordering, there were also issues with someone at the table who just wanted to order dessert. Apparently only eating dessert was against the restaurant's policies. This person then tried ordering a side item as well, but this was also unacceptable. Finally, when a hummus appetizer was picked without the side or dessert, it passed and was acceptable. Desserts and side items can't be ordered without an entree at Olive Bistro but appetizers can?
I ordered a Gyro Pita. It was filled with lamb, lettuce, tomato, onions, and lots of tzatziki. It was tasty enough, although nothing exceptional that I haven't had elsewhere. The gyro was pretty standard, and was exactly what I was expecting for a gyro. While the food at Olive Bistro was okay, the server was weird and made too big of a deal of stuff that should be simple. She did end up having time to split our checks, so there was a slight redeeming factor there...

Olive Bistro on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 21, 2014

Eats in Atlanta, GA

While in Atlanta, I had lunch at a restaurant called Eats. Eats had an interesting setup which was also a bit confusing. They had a few counters, each serving a different type of food. Above the counters, they had menus that weren't exactly clear what was available on the day I was there.
Once I figured out what was being served, I went with the Jerk Chicken with two sides. The chicken was very flavorful, covered in a slightly spicy jerk seasoning. I chose collards and broccoli casserole as my sides. The collards were good, although nothing exceptional. The broccoli casserole was mostly rice and cheese, with little bits of broccoli mixed in. I was expecting much more broccoli in a broccoli casserole. The meal also was served with a very moist piece of cornbread.
Overall, Eats served some pretty tasty eats. The portions were huge and the prices were good.

Eats on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Little Five Points Pizza in Atlanta, GA

It was 1:00 AM and I was looking for a late dinner in Atlanta. I thought about going to Majestic Diner, but I've done that and was looking for someplace new to try in my food travel adventures. That someplace ended up being a restaurant called Little Five Points Pizza in the neighborhood that shared the same name.
I ordered a slice of plain cheese and a slice of their white pizza. Both slices were quite large and I probably would have been full with just one. The cheese slice actually reminded me of Lazy Moon in Orlando. Large, but messy and could have been left in the oven a little longer to have the cheese a little more melted. The white slice was interesting. Most white pizzas don't have tomato sauce, but this one did. It seemed like a normal slice topped with ricotta, more mozzarella, and an insane amount of garlic. The white slice was my favorite of the two.
The pizza here was alright. Nothing wonderful, but it worked for dinner at 1 AM. It seemed like they catered to the people stumbling in from the nearby bars, so perhaps large slices of messy pizza works. This is my third experience with pizza in Atlanta, and I can't say I was really impressed with any of my slices in the city. Does Atlanta do good pizza?

 Little Five Points Pizza on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dunkin Donuts in Atlanta, GA

I was in Atlanta and wanted to get a very quick breakfast within walking distance from my destination for the day. The two choices ended up being either Ihop or Dunkin Donuts, and I chose the latter. I know Dunkin Donuts is nothing exotic. Just about every location is the same and normally a quick breakfast at a Dunkin Donuts wouldn't be worthy of a blog post, but I decided to write about this visit for two reasons. The first being: SNOW! There was snow on the ground leftover from the big snowstorm that hit Atlanta a couple days earlier and as a Florida based food blogger, I think snow is wonderful...
The second reason I decided to write this blog post was because what I ordered at this particular Dunkin Donuts annoyed me. I wanted to get a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel sandwich. I also wanted some hot tea. They had a combo that included the sandwich and a coffee, but I like tea way more than coffee. I asked if I could get the tea instead of coffee with the combo and I was told it couldn't be done. Tea was cheaper than coffee on the menu, but yet buying them separately ended up costing a dollar and change more than the combo which included the more expensive coffee.
The bagel sandwich was perfectly acceptable, but the drinks annoyed me. I'm sure there was some reason like cash register restrictions or messing up inventory why a more expensive cup of coffee couldn't be switched out with a cheaper cup of tea, but it still annoyed me. Regardless, once I got back outside, the cold weather and snow made me forget all about Dunkin Donuts. Especially when I found enough snow to make a snowman right across the street. Polar vortexes are fun. Too bad it was all melted when the temperatures warmed up later in the afternoon...

 Dunkin' Donuts on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 14, 2014

Ru San's in Atlanta, GA (Midtown)

I had dinner in Atlanta at a Japanese restaurant called Ru San's. This restaurant is apparently a local chain in the area and I ate in the location in Midtown Atlanta. Ru San's was up on the second floor of a strip mall and is apparently under new management according to the banner hanging out front. Inside, Ru San's almost had a nightclub atmosphere with lots of color changing lights and loud music. The prices on much of their menu were very reasonable.
While the majority of the menu featured sushi, I instead ordered the Nabeyaki Udon. This large bowl of soup was packed with udon noodles, tempura shrimp, chicken, egg, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, and other vegetables. The broth had a nice, slightly spicy flavor with just the right amount of saltiness. Rather than the soup's contents floating towards the top, this bowl was filled pretty much to the brim with yummy stuff with the broth filling up the space in between. With all this food in the bowl, I got about half way through before I decided I was full...
I'd return to Ru San's. The food was tasty and was a good value for the price.

Ru San's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bono's Bar-B-Q in Gainesville, FL

I was doing some traveling and stopped right off I-75 in Gainesville for gas and lunch. It was decided that we would partake in some barbecue at a restaurant called Bono's Bar-B-Q. We went to their drive through and I ordered the Slawpy Pig Sandwich. The menu described it as a heaping pile of pulled pork topped with coleslaw. The combination reminded me of the Messy Pig at 4 Rivers back in the Orlando area, which I like.
This sandwich was served dry with sauce on the side. It allowed me to taste the pork a bit more than if the meat was drenched in sauce. The shredded pork was nice and tender with a smokey flavor. There were none of the unpleasant chewy bits of pig that sometimes find their way into pulled pork which is always good. The coleslaw was very generic, but did the job of providing moisture and vegetables to an otherwise meaty and dry sandwich. I picked macaroni and cheese as my side. It was very creamy. Overall, Bono's ended up being a much better choice than the standard interstate fast food selections...

Bonos Bar B Q on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 7, 2014

iSpice in Altamonte Springs, FL

iSpice is a fast food Indian restaurant in the Altamonte Mall Food Court. I've considered eating there at dinner time in the past but I always worried about the turnover on the food. iSpice never seems to have the volume of customers that their neighbors have and I always wondered if the food had been sitting there since the morning. Not saying it works that way, but that thought always stopped me from eating there. I was recently at the mall at lunch time when the food would ideally be fresher and decided to finally give them a try.
I ordered the platter which came with a choice of one meat dish, one vegetable dish, rice, naan, and rice pudding. I had the chicken korma for my meat. The chicken was nice and tender and the sauce was very tasty. I had some of the sauce over the rice as well. For the vegetable, I chose the spinach dal, which consisted of lentil and spinach in a very soupy sauce. The naan worked well for soaking up all of the extra sauce. The portion of rice pudding was small but good.
Overall, I did enjoy my food at iSpice. It was cheaper than a sit-down Indian restaurant and the platter ended up being plenty of food. Everything tasted good, and iSpice was definitely a much better choice than some of the other more corporate options in the mall's food court. I'll try them again!

ISpice Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon


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