Friday, July 30, 2010

Yogurtland in Winter Park, FL

Yogurtland in Winter Park is one of the newest frozen yogurt shops that recently opened in Central Florida. Located across the street from Winter Park Village, this store was packed with people. With all of these customers, Yogurtland seemed to be doing the best business out of the Frozen Yogurt places I've visited.
Crowded Yogurtland
I tried three different flavors. Plain Tart was good and tasted very similar to the tart flavors from the other frozen yogurt shops. Lemonade Passion Fruit Tart was also okay, but vaguely reminded me of the Lightning Lemonade flavored Bubblicious gum. Green Apple Tart tasted more like a sour candy than any granny smith apple I've ever had. I topped my yogurt with kiwi, raspberries, mango, and lychee.
Green apple, Passionfruit lemonade & Tart
Yogurtland was okay, but based on the flavors I picked, I think I prefer some of the other yogurt places in the area. I like fruit flavored yogurts, but I want the yogurt to taste somewhat like fruit rather than candy. I might return to try some other flavors, but with so many other yogurt shops nearby, I think I would try them first.

Yogurtland on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Banana Beach Cookout in Aquatica

I recently visited Aquatica at Sea World. For a water park, they had lots of food choices with three different restaurants, and I ate at the one that seemed to be the best value for the money. The Banana Beach Cook-Out is an all-you-can-eat buffet where you can pay for one meal, or get a wrist band and return all day long. I choose the single meal option...
The food here consisted of hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled pork, chicken, salads, and various sides. First I tried a pulled pork sandwich, caesar salad, and potato salad.

Next, I had chicken, cranberry salad, corn, macaroni & cheese, and potatoes au gratin. Out of the meats, the chicken was my favorite, and out of the sides, the potatoes were the tastiest!
At this point I was full, but decided to get one more plate of food. I picked a little more chicken and macaroni, as well as chocolate pudding, brownie, and fruit salad for dessert.
Overall, I thought Banana Beach Cook-Out was pretty good for food from a water park. Since I noticed that a personal sized pizza was almost $9 at one of Aquatica's other restaurants, $13 for what I ate really wasn't bad!

I wonder though, how many people wait a half hour before they swim after stuffing their faces?

Banana Beach Cookout on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 26, 2010

Christo's Cafe in College Park, FL

Christo's Cafe is a tiny restaurant in College Park. This diner has been around a long time and always wins awards in the local papers, but until recently, I had never visited.
Christo's Cafe
Christo's menu had somewhat of a Greek diner vibe.  Several things on the menu did have a definite Greek influence, and I ended up ordering one of these items.  I had a gyro with a side of mashed potatoes. This pita was filled with lamb, lettuce, tomato, onion, and tzatziki. The sandwich was really flavorful and really didn't need any of the extra tzatziki served on the side (although that didn't stop me from finding a place to use it).
Christo's Cafe Gyro
Orlando needs more little diners like Christo's that actually serve good food. We really need some diners open 24 hours as well. You can always find a diner open at 3 am up north, but it seems here in Orlando all we have are Denny's, IHOPs, and a few fast food places.

I'll be back, and next time I think I'll try some breakfast from Christo's Cafe...

Christo's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bruster's Ice Cream in Lake Mary, FL

Bruster's Ice Cream gives some of the biggest servings of ice cream in Central Florida. This is a so called single scoop of Blackberry Cheesecake in a waffle cone from the Bruster's in Lake Mary. I couldn't finish the cone. It was probably at least a pound of ice cream, which is a good thing if you want to split the dessert into several servings, but not so good if it's 96°F outside and the ice cream melts all over before you get half way through. They do have some of the tastiest ice cream out of the Central Florida chains regardless, so how can I really complain?
Brewster's Blackberry Cheesecake

Bruster's Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Joe's Crab Shack in Sanford, FL

Joe's Crab Shack is a seafood chain that has a few locations in the Orlando area and many more beyond.  As with many chain restaurants, the food is generally passable, but nothing worth rushing back to the restaurant. After a very long time since my last visit, I ate at the Joe's Crab Shack in Sanford.  On this visit, I ordered the Crawfish Half & Half.  Half of the plate was filled with fried crawfish tails, the other half was crawfish etouffee, and some rice separated the two halves in the middle of the plate.
The crawfish tails were tasty, but it was way too much fried food by the time I got halfway through them.  The etouffee wasn't spicy like etouffee should be and actually tasted a bit like they took the cheese sauce from macaroni & cheese and poured it over seafood.  I did like the etouffee, it just didn't have the typical etouffee taste and spice.  Overall, the food was okay, but nothing worth rushing back for a return meal...

Joe's Crab Shack on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 19, 2010

Frozen Pizza Review #1

This is Frozen Pizza Review #1! Venturing away from restaurants for today, I'm going to talk about something else related to food. I like pizza, but when you venture into the world of supermarket frozen pizza, things could get scary. In this post, I'm going to discuss three frozen supermarket pizzas that I've tried.

Pizza #1: Winn Dixie Crispy Thin Crust White Pizza
Winn-Dixie Frozen White Pizza
My least favorite of the three pizzas I'm going to write about today. The pizza was extremely salty. The majority of the cheese was all on one side of the pizza, as was the chopped spinach. I wouldn't waste my time with this one again...
Winn-Dixie Frozen White Pizza

Pizza #2: Kashi Roasted Vegetable
This pizza didn't look too appetizing once out of the box and cooked, but it was actually pretty tasty. Has a nice spicy sauce and a crispy, cracker-like crust. The vegetables consisted of tiny pieces of broccoli, roasted peppers, and roasted onions. I've made a repeat purchase out of this one, although I've found the crust can either be nice and crispy or cardboard-like and soggy depending on how these pies are cooked.
Kashi Frozen Roasted Vegetable Pizza

Pizza #3: Archer Farms Vegetable Pizza
Target Frozen Vegetable Pizza
This self-rising crust pizza came from a Super Target. The vegetable pizza had broccoli, yellow & red peppers, red onion, and black olives. This pizza was pretty tasty. I liked the spicy sauce and the frozen vegetables resembled vegetables a bit more than what came on the Kashi pizza. The problem with this frozen pizza was the self-rising crust. Following the instructions on the box, this pie went directly onto the oven rack. Instead of only rising, the dough expanded in all directions and baked itself around the metal bars of the oven rack. I don't think I'd get this one again even though it was pretty tasty, just because it's not fun to cut off the bottom of a frozen pizza that's baked into part of my oven.
Target Frozen Vegetable Pizza

Out of the three frozen pizzas, I pick the Kashi Roasted Vegetable as the winner. It tasted okay, and also cooks properly (most of the time). Still I tend to avoid supermarket frozen pizza since their is no comparison to a good, freshly made, NY style pie. If you're going down the frozen pizza route though, good luck making a good choice!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Menchie's Frozen Yogurt in Orlando, FL

Menchie's Frozen Yogurt is a self-serve yogurt shop on Sand Lake Road in Orlando. You get a cup, fill it up with yogurt and toppings, and then pay $0.44/oz for your creation.
Menchie's Frozen Yogurt
I had a swirl of Very Bosenberry and Mango Tango Sorbet, topped with blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and kiwi. It was really good, and after this visit I've decided I really do enjoy the self-serve aspect of these new yogurt shops that are opening all over Orlando. The problem is that there seems to be too many yogurt shops opening too quick. It's only a matter of time before the market gets saturated...
Mango & Bosenberry Frozen Yoghurt
As far as I could tell, all of the flavors at Menchie's were kosher. It's not surprising from a yogurt shop with a name based on a Yiddish word (meaning 'good person'), but somehow frozen yogurt isn't the first food that comes to mind when thinking of Kosher food...

Menchie's Frozen Yogurt on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sushiology in Orlando, FL

Sushiology is a fast food Japanese restaurant that was recommended by some readers. Hidden in the back of a lighthouse themed strip mall, sandwiched between a seafood buffet and a tattoo parlor, Sushiology is very easy to miss. Inside, the restaurant is tiny with just a few tables.
My meal started with a plate of gyoza. These deep fried pork dumplings were crispy on the outside, filled with a tasty pork and vegetable mixture. I was actually expecting the dumplings to be more pan-fried rather than deep-fried, so next time I'd get the gyoza steamed instead.
Sushiology Fried Gyoza
Next, I shared a Brown Rice California Roll and a Caterpillar roll. Both were filled with krab, cucumber,and avocado. The California was topped with masago, while the Caterpillar was topped with thinly sliced avocado.
California Caterpillar
I'm glad I got the recommendation to go try Sushiology. I probably would have never found the restaurant on my own, and I enjoyed the food. The prices were good and the rolls were tasty. It makes me wonder what else I'm missing hidden among the tourist traps along International Drive? I'm sure there are many more restaurants that I haven't tried or heard of yet...
Caterpillar Roll

Sushiology on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 12, 2010

Old Spanish Sugar Mill in Deleon Springs, FL

When it comes to the most unique restaurants in Central Florida, the Old Spanish Sugar Mill in Deleon Springs State Park is near the top of my list. Being one of the few businesses located inside of a Florida State Park, this restaurant is a remnant of a time when Deleon Springs was more of a tourist attraction instead of state park. The building itself is an old sugar mills, surrounded by all sorts of old milling equipment. One of the restaurant's focal points is the huge set of gears attached to the waterwheel outside that once provided the power for processing sugar.
Each table in the restaurant has it's own griddle.
Pitchers of pancake batter are brought to the table, along with whatever other toppings you order. They give you traditional white pancake batter as well as a five grain stoneground batter, with the latter being my favorite. For $4.50, you get all you can eat pancakes, plus you get the fun of cooking them yourself at your table.
Here's a Banana-Blueberry-Pecan Pancake...
Pecan pancake topped with honey:
After you finish eating your homemade pancakes in a historic sugar mill, be sure to go swimming in the spring right outside. Swimming over to the boil with a mask and snorkel and then floating while you look down into the dark and seemingly bottomless abyss is a very cool experience...
Old Spanish Sugar Mill on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 9, 2010

Charlie Horse in Ormond Beach

Charlie Horse in Ormand Beach
Charlie Horse Restaurant is located along A1A in Ormond Beach. I recently ate there on a rainy evening, arriving at the busy restaurant just before customers had to start waiting for tables.
Charlie Horse
All-you-can-eat crab legs seemed to be the big seller here, but I wasn't in the mood for cracking open crab shells. I went with the Cajun Fish Pasta. This dish consisted of two huge pieces of spicy grouper, served over rotini and vegetables in alfredo sauce. I liked my dinner, although the pasta did remind me of something I could easily make at home. It was basically a box of tri-color rotini and a microwaved vegetable medley. The delicious Cajun seasoning on the fish was great, and was actually pretty spicy. Overall, this was an okay pasta dish. Nothing I'd go out of my way to get again, especially since I could easily cook something similar at home, but it was good for what it was...
Grilled Fish Pasta

Charlie Horse Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Miami Subs Plus in Longwood, FL

Miami Subs Plus
Miami Subs used to be a fast food chain that had locations all over the Orlando area. As time passed, all of the stores closed up, leaving just a single location right off I-4 in Longwood. It had been a very long time since I had been to Miami Subs, so when I managed to win a $5 gift certificate from, I decided it was time to return.
Turkey Sub
I had a turkey sub combo, served with fries and a drink. The six-inch sandwich was filled with turkey, lettuce, onions, and mayonnaise. The sandwich tasted good, although the mushy, white bread roll could have used some improvement. The fries were a little cold, but I really liked the seasoning on them. They are way better than most other fast food fries!
Miami Sub
Interestingly enough, it seems Miami Subs has moved into the pizza market. This particular location doesn't sell pizza, but I'm assuming their other locations do based on the advertisements on the paper that lined the trays. I wonder if Miami Subs pizza is any good?

Miami Subs Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ben's Kosher Deli in Boca Raton, FL

Ben's Deli--  I'm hoping lots of religious people manage to find these alt-tags and start reading.  I'm going to have some fun with blasphemy...
Sometime last year I ate dinner at Ben's Kosher Deli in Boca Raton. Something that I wrote about that visit to Ben's got quite a few people upset, based on the emails and comments that I received. Perhaps it was because of my initial description of the demographics of Ben's customers, or maybe it had something to do with my explanation of how I don't follow religious dietary restrictions. I suppose another possibility is that these are avid Ben's Deli fans that couldn't fathom that I wasn't too impressed with the food here. Whatever upset people so much, I really wasn't expecting the response I got, so I'm wondering if I'll offend anyone in this post.

On my first visit to Ben's, the line was out the door to get in. On my second and most recent visit, we were one of the few occupied tables in the large restaurant. Pickles and coleslaw came first. Half sour pickles are awesome!
Pickles.  If you want to believe in a god/religion, why not join the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  You know you feel happy when you eat pasta.  Although I believe his noodlyness thinks pickles would be better if they were wrapped in delicious pork and shellfish, then topped with a cream sauce on a Friday!
Last time, I found Ben's sandwiches to be very dry and kind of flavorless. On this visit, I decided to get something totally different and ordered the potato pancake dinner. I was actually surprised when the plate came. The large plate was filled with three of the biggest latkes I've ever seen with a bowl of apple sauce on the side. Taste-wise, these were really good, but imagine eating a huge plate of really dense hash browns. There's only a certain amount of deep fried potato that I could take in one sitting. Really, just one of these potato pancakes would have been plenty for a meal!
Ben's Potato Pancakes are good, but I must add that some bacon would have gone great with them. And some cream sauce to dip the bacon in.  There probably IS NO GOD, and even if there is, this god probably doesn't care what you're putting into your stomach.  So don't worry about eating Kosher, Halal, or whatever.  Enjoy everything edible for what it is.  The worst that can happen is you'll spend all of eternity in HELL...   See?  Blasphemy is fun!
Overall, I was pleased with these potato pancakes. It was more fried potato than I could possibly eat, but they were otherwise good. Much better than the sandwiches from Ben's Kosher Deli...

Ben's Kosher Deli on Urbanspoon


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