Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Luna Pizza in Longwood, FL

Luna Pizza
Luna Pizza is a small Italian restaurant in the back corner of a shopping center in Longwood. It's actually pretty easy to miss due to it's location, but yet they always seem to have customers.
Inside Luna Pizza
On one visit, I ordered an eggplant parmesan sub. It was good, although it was very oily. The sandwich was huge and was also a few dollars cheaper than what other nearby Italian restaurants charge for a similar sandwich.
On another visit to Luna Pizza, I took home a Bianca Spinach Pizza. This sauceless pizza was topped with mozzarella, riccota, fresh spinach, and lots of garlic. I was really pleased with the pizza. It had plenty of flavor, even without sauce. In spots, the crust seemed like it could have been cooked a few minutes longer, but other than that, I have no complaints. Good pizza, and adding garlic knots into the pizza box only makes it better!

Luna Pizza on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 28, 2010

La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant in Longwood, FL

I recently tried La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant in Longwood. I had been to the Chinese buffet that was in this location formerly, but for some reason I never got to La Fiesta until recently.
La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant
I ordered the Traditional Combination #1, served with a taco, enchilada, refried beans, and rice. The taco came in a crispy corn tortilla filled with chicken, lettuce, and cheese. The enchilada was stuffed with chicken and was topped with melted cheese and a somewhat spicy red sauce.
Combination #1
On a return visit with a coupon from La Fiesta's Facebook page, I tried the Enchiladas de Mole. While there are many different types of mole, the standard mole served in Mexican restaurants in the United States is specifically called Mole Poblano. This mole is made with chocolate, chilies, and other good stuff. The Enchiladas de Mole consisted of three chicken enchiladas topped with this awesome sauce. It's spicy, smoky, and chocolately all at the same time. My tongue couldn't decide whether I was eating dinner or dessert with the great mix of flavors in the sauce!Enchiladas de Mole
I liked La Fiesta's food! Everything I tried had nice flavors, and I'd gladly return. They also offer a lunch buffet. I've never been to a Mexican buffet before, so I'm going to check it out next time I'm in the area for lunch. One word of warning though: Karaoke night happens every Tuesday. Reminded me of this, whether that's a good or bad thing...

La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 25, 2010

New Peking Buffet in Casselberry, FL

New Peking Buffet recently opened in the building previously occupied by Barnhill's Buffet in Casselberry. This Chinese restaurant didn't do much to change the outside of the barn-like building. Contrasting with the outside, lots of Chinese style architecture and decorations were added around the interior of the restaurant, removing just about all trace of the country theme left by the previous occupant of the building.
My first trip to the buffet resulted in a plate of lo mein, tofu with mixed vegetables, string beans, and chicken with broccoli. The tofu was really good, yet I'm assuming few people eating in the restaurant tried it. I don't understand why tofu has such a bad reputation...
Next I tried some dumplings, vegetable rolls, krab rangoon, and a sesame ball.
Finally, I gave their Mongolian BBQ a try. Noodles, shrimp, scrambled egg, onions, carrots, celery, and broccoli was all cooked in teriyaki sauce on a hot grill. It was really tasty, although the broccoli wasn't cooked long enough. At this point, I had eaten far too much food and I was done...
I was impressed with the food at New Peking Buffet compared to other nearby Chinese buffets. Everything seemed fresh, and there was a really nice selection of food. While I'd prefer a Chinese restaurant with a menu over a buffet, this was tasty as far as buffets go. New Peking Buffet had only been open a few weeks when I ate there and was really crowded. Perhaps I'll return after it's open a while to see if their seemingly good quality and turnover continues...

New Peking Buffet on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mel's Family Diner in Sanford, FL

Mel's Family Diner
Mel's Family Diner has been in Sanford for as long as I can remember, but until recently, I have never eaten here. The outside of the orange and tan building doesn't exactly scream diner, but on the inside the restaurant does indeed look like a diner of a different era.
Mel's Diner
Mel's has had it's run-ins with fame as well it seems. The waitress shared that MTV was filming a show on diners a few days earlier at the restaurant, and apparently Larry the Cable Guy is Mel's resident celebrity. I did a search on Youtube for anything Mel's related and found this video made by Full Sail students:

I ordered the Crazy Hash off the breakfast menu. This consisted of hash browns with peppers, onions, and sausage, served alongside scrambled eggs and a biscuit. I was actually expecting more peppers and onions with the potatoes, but it was still pretty tasty.
Crazy Hash
Based on my single meal at Mel's, I wouldn't consider this the best diner food in Central Florida, but I'd prefer this over the Ihop right up the street any day. Their breakfast menu was good (served all day), but I personally found their selection of sandwiches and dinners to be somewhat on the small side. Regardless, I'd return...

Mel's Family Diner on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cone Heads South in Deland, FL

Cone Heads South
Cone Heads South is a small ice cream shop in downtown Deland. I recently gave them a try while driving though the town.
Strawberry Cheesecake
I had a small cup of strawberry cheesecake ice cream. I'm assuming they didn't have any small cups left since they put my serving of ice cream into a large cup, making the portion look very small. Regardless, the ice cream was tasty and actually tasted like cheesecake. Sometimes I've ordered cheesecake flavored ice cream elsewhere and it just tastes like vanilla, so this gives Cone Heads a few points in my book...

Coneheads South on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 18, 2010

Corky Bell's in East Palatka, FL

Corky Bell's
While in Palatka, I ate dinner at Corky Bell's Seafood & Steaks. The restaurant had a 10-15 minute wait when I arrived, so I filled the time by admiring the wonderful view of the St. Johns River.
river view
Soon, the buzzer went off and it was time to be seated. My meal started out with a nice side-salad with oil & vinegar.
Corky Bell's side salad
For my main course, I choose the two item seafood dinner. I went with the grilled shrimp and blackened fish. The type of fish wasn't identified on the menu, nor did I ask what type it was, but I was served a nice flaky white fish. The seafood came with a side of cheese grits and two hush puppies. Everything served with this meal was really tasty!
Corky Bell's seafood combination
The service was a little strange at Corky Bell's, but the food was good and the restaurant's location on the river was great!
Corky Bell's Panoramic

Corky Bell's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chick-fil-A in Orlando, FL

I had a coupon for a free Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Chick-fil-A and used it at the store on Colonial Drive in Orlando.
I ordered the Spicy Chicken Sandwich and a small order of waffle fries. I liked the sandwich better than the normal Chick-fil-A fried chicken sandwich. This had much more flavor, but the sandwich was not as spicy as I would have expected. They charged me $0.15 for lettuce on the sandwich though. Other fast food restaurants put lettuce & tomato on their sandwiches for free, so I found this a bit surprising.
Spicy Chicken Sandwich
Chick-fil-A also threw in a box of Hot Tamales to go with the spicy chicken!
Hot Tamales
This was one of the better sandwiches I've had from Chick-fil-a. Just don't charge for toppings when everyone else gives them for free. And don't go suing local produce markets for using the words "eat more" in their name either...

Chick-Fil-A on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 14, 2010

Einstein Bros Bagels in Maitland, FL

Einstein Bros Bagels
I recently used Facebook to get a coupon for a free bagel at the Einstein Bros in Maitland. This building started it's life as a Perkins (or possibly Friendly's?). The original chain restaurant was replaced with The Loop, who served average pizza. After The Loop came and went, Za Bistro moved in. Out of the restaurants that have served food inside this building, Za Bistro was definitely my favorite. They had really good sandwiches and awesome pizza, but they didn't last either. That brings us to present day with Einstein Bros Bagels. It's not quite as exciting as creative Italian food from Za Bistro, but I can't complain about a chain that regularly gives out free bagels!
Sesame Bagel
I had a sesame bagel with smoked salmon cream cheese. Can't go wrong with that!

Einstein Bros Bagels on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tijuana Flats in Longwood, FL

It's been a long time since I've visited a Tijuana Flats. I had a bad experience at one of their stores that turned me off to the chain, but I recently gave them another try. For this meal, I visited the Tijuana Flats in Longwood in a Publix shopping center.
Tijuana Flats
I ordered the Dos Enchiladas. These enchiladas consisted of corn tortillas filled with chicken and lettuce, topped with cheese, chipotle sauce, sour cream, jalapenos, black olives, green onions, and chopped tomatoes.
Chicken Enchilada
These were actually really tasty. I really liked all of the toppings on the enchiladas, compared to the normal cheese and sauce toppings that you get elsewhere. I didn't go in with Tijuana Flats with high hopes after my last experience with the chain, but I think they won me over again as an option for fast food faux-Mexican food.
Chicken Enchilada Food Porn

Tijuana Flats on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

T.G.I. Friday's in Orlando, FL (International Drive)

At about 12:45 am, I found myself at the T.G.I. Friday's on International Drive for a very late dinner (or really early breakfast).
I-Drive T.G.I. Fridays
Luckily, their kitchen was still open. I decided to go with one of the three course meals that they offered. For my appetizer, I had the Pot Stickers. These pork dumplings were served on a long, rectangular plate over a bed of cabbage. I really wasn't sure what to expect since I was ordering Chinese food from a big chain, but these pot stickers were surprisingly tasty. For an appetizer in a three course meal, it was a lot of food as well. I could have stopped eating after this...
T.G.I. Fridays Potstickers
For the main course, I had the Key West Shrimp. It came with two skewers of about six blackened shrimp each. A pile of broccoli was served on the side. The shrimp were tasty, but the broccoli was cold and overcooked. I think I received the last batch of broccoli of the day, since soon after delivering the food, the waiter had announced the kitchen had closed.
Key West Shrimp
I had cheesecake for dessert. The slice of cake was quite large, consisting of about half cheesecake and half frosting with a graham cracker crust. It was good, but at this point I really didn't feel like eating more food. Like I said earlier, I was sort of full from the appetizer, so I was really full when dessert came.
Friday's Cheesecake
T.G.I. Friday's is a very strange chain. Normally, chains are really consistent from one location to another, but I've found Friday's has huge quality differences between it's stores. Sometimes the service and food in certain stores are just plain horrible, and on return visits to that location, nothing has improved. Then other Friday's, like this location, seem to have consistently good service and the food is always up to par with what I've come to expect for food from T.G.I. Friday's. I really can't think of any other national chain like this that differs so much from store to store. Very strange...

T.G.I. Friday's on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 7, 2010

Palatka Blue Crab Festival 2010

Palatka Blue Crab Festival 6-1-10 Midway
I visited the 2010 Blue Crab Festival in Palatka, FL that happened over Memorial Day weekend. I had the full intention of eating crab prior to going, and it sounded even better when the price of blue crabs at one stand was lowered to $1.
Palatka Blue Crab Festival 6-1-10 market fresh seafood
When I went to buy the crabs, I found out they were putting the cooked crabs into plastic bags and handing them over. None of the normal crab eating equipment was supplied at the festival. There were no mallets, crackers, or little forks. If I wanted to eat the crabs as a late lunch/early dinner as I had planned, it would have required the removal of crab meat from the shells with my bare hands. This seemed like far too much work to make it worthwhile, so I gave up on my idea of having crab for dinner.
Palatka Blue Crab Festival 6-1-10 blue crabs
It was decided that rather than buying the evening's seafood from the festival, we would go to a nearby restaurant instead. Before leaving the festival though, I did buy a tray of these fresh cut potato chips, topped with sriracha. There were no hard shells that needed to be removed on these potatoes, thus making an ideal festival food.
Palatka Blue Crab Festival 6-1-10 chips
I liked the Blue Crab Festival. It was in a great location along the St. Johns River in historic downtown Palatka. They had plenty of tents set up with people selling their wares and even a small carnival midway, but the food part just confused me. It was a blue crab festival, but yet only a single vendor was selling blue crabs, and they didn't supply the tools normally associated with eating the namesake seafood. Seems a bit strange that you can't physically eat blue crabs on the premises of a blue crab festival...

Friday, June 4, 2010

King's Wok in Longwood, FL

I picked up some Chinese takeout from King's Wok next to Albertson's in Longwood.
King's Wok Chinese Restaurant
Once ready, the food was handed over in a big cardboard box. Being handed a box full of food is so much better than being handed a plastic bag filled with food. Just something about it makes the food delivery system feel better...
Box of Chinese Goodies...
After returning home, I started with some wonton soup. It had a flavorful broth, plenty of good sized wontons, and shredded pork at the bottom of the soup container.
King's Wok III Wonton Soup
For the main dishes, I shared two different items. First was the Chicken with Black Bean Sauce. It came with plenty of tender chicken, peppers, onions, carrots, and water chestnuts. Unfortunately, I didn't like the sauce all too much. It had a sweet flavor, which I was not expecting, being that this dish is normally more savory than sweet. There weren't enough beans either. Overall, it was okay, but not the best.
Chicken w/ BB Sauce
Next was the Chicken with Broccoli. Can't get much simpler than this, consisting of what the name implies. I definitely preferred the sauce on here over the black bean sauce.
King's Wok Chicken w/ Broccoli
Except the black bean sauce, I enjoyed my Chinese takeout. I'd come back to give King's Wok another try!

King's Wok on Urbanspoon


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