Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cafe D'Antonio in Celebration, FL

It seems like I always end up at Celebration around the holidays. Perhaps the fake snow is a draw. Maybe it is the over the top Christmas lights synchronized to music. Whatever causes the magnetism to Disney's planned community at this time of year, food is generally involved in Celebration's downtown. This year's visit to Celebration happened on Christmas Eve and dinner was had at Cafe D'Antonio.
Celebration was packed and Cafe D'Antonio was booked solid all night. That is, except for at the bar. I've neglected to try any of the Antonio restaurants in the area until now, so we took those bar seats for our Christmas Eve Italian food. The meal started with a crusty bread dipped in olive oil, and the main course was served fairly quickly. I tried the Pappardelle al Salmone con Piselli e Mascarpone. This consisted of a bowl of wide noodles with salmon and peas in a brandy and mascarpone cheese. Wide noodles, salmon, and mascarpone was a different combination but it was very tasty.
I also split a Prosciutto Pizza with someone. The 14" pizza was topped with a thin slices of prosciutto with red onions. The pizza had a nice, thin crust with a good sauce/cheese ratio. This was a very respectable pizza in the land of theme parks.
Overall, I enjoyed my food at Cafe D'Antonio. The food was good and the menu was a bit more creative than the typical spaghetti & meatballs Italian restaurant. After the meal, the entire Celebration Christmas experience was had with getting covered in soap, watching people attempt to skate on teflon, and finding the obsessive home light shows. Relive with me in this video:

Café D'Antonio on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Miller's Ale House in Boca Raton, FL

I had dinner at Miller's Ale House in Boca Raton (or Boca Ale House as the sign outside read). Somehow, I had never been to any of the restaurants in this chain so they were new to me. They had a typical menu for this type of place and I ordered the Seafood Medley. This dish consisted of shrimp, scallops, calamari, mussels, and clams tossed with tomatoes, cheese, and pasta. Overall, the seafood was pretty good with everything tender rather than chewy. Unfortunately, the sauce was very bland though and I ended up adding lots of salt.
Although my pasta was good, there were a few things about the restaurant as a whole that seemed a little off. Our waitress seemed to be very distracted and someones salad didn't arrive for a good fifteen minutes after the rest of the table's food was served. I also kept on getting strong whiffs of mothballs. Don't know if it was coming from something in the restaurant or perhaps one of Boca's numerous senior citizens sitting at a nearby table, but regardless, the mothball smell is never a good thing in a restaurant..

Miller's Ale House Restaurants on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pho Vinh in Orlando, FL

Pho Vinh is a Vietnamese restaurant in Orlando. Chinese food was served in this building the last time I was here, and although I was aware it became a Vietnamese restaurant somewhere along the line, I never thought of eating here. That is, until the December Foodspotting Eatup happened at Pho Vinh. Figured this was as good of a reason as any to try a new Vietnamese restaurant.
Food bloggers were well represented during the meal with Droolius, Tasty Chomps, Eat Local Orlando, and The Daily City all there, along with other foodies that came to eat. As everyone started to order, it seemed like one of the favorites at the table was the Thap Cam (#100). This soup had a combination of shrimp, pork, krab, fried wontons, egg noodles, and assorted vegetables floating in a big bowl of broth. Unlike a couple of other nearby Vietnamese restaurants that have really bland tasting soups in my opinion, Pho Vinh's soup had a delicious broth.
I of course added all of the garnishes served along with the soup to my bowl. Thai basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, jalapenos, and lime juice only made it better!
It was my first time at Pho Vinh, but I think I'll definitely be returning. The food was good, prices were affordable and they are friendly to food photography!

Phở Vinh on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Food Truck Bazaar - 12/18/11

I know quite a few people who haven't had the privilege to eat at a food truck yet. If you are one of these people, make a point to visit The Food Truck Bazaar at the Fashion Square Mall this Sunday. You will stuff yourself with all sorts of delicious foods and have a good time in the process!

The Food Truck Bazaar
December 18, 2011
Fashion Square Mall (behind Dillards)
Bring chairs, tables, tents. Family friendly. No cost for parking or admission. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Old School Pizza in Melbourne, FL

Old School Pizza is located right next to the FIT campus in Melbourne. Because of this, the restaurant is always filled with students. It seems to be equivalent in popularity to Lazy Moon outside UCF. At Old School Pizza, the slices are about half the size of Lazy Moon's, but the taste is way better. Actually, Old School has some of the best pizza I've had in recent memory. Their pizza has a thin, crispy crust with a perfect ratio of cheese to sauce. The pizza was also more along the lines of true NY style pizza than what many other Italian restaurants serve that make that claim. To top it off, their is cheap at under $2 per slice...
On another occasion, I tried a stromboli from Old School, filled with pepperoni, onions, and black olives. I was initially disappointed. This looked like a calzone, minus the ricotta, instead of having the rolled up dough normally found in strombolis. Still, it was pretty tasty and ended up being a huge amount of food for five dollars and change...
For some reason Melbourne seems to have a disproportionate amount of Italian restaurants serving really good pizza. I have yet to try a bad independent pizza in the area, where in Orlando I'm disappointed with pizza more often than I would like. Is it overflow from the good pizza down near Miami that hasn't made it to the inwards of the state yet? Does it have to do with being near the coast? I'm not sure, but good pizza is never a bad thing...

Old School Pizza on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fred's Southern Kitchen in Bartow, FL

Fred's Southern Kitchen is a chain of southern buffets in west Florida. I heard that were really good from a couple of people. I probably wouldn't have gone without the recommendation, but I stopped into a Fred's in Bartow for lunch during some of my travels.

On my first trip to their buffet, I tried their sausage & onions, various types of beans, rice, fish, and cornbread. The black beans and rice was the best of the plate, but I found everything had an overly salty taste.
I was getting kind of full from the first plate of food, but I figured I should get my moneys worth like the large number of scarily obese people eating at Fred's. On the second plate, I tried grits with tomato gravy, macaroni & cheese, fried green tomatoes (labeled as fried zucchini), fried catfish, and mashed potatoes. Again, everything was very salty. I did like the tomato gravy on the grits. I've never seen that combination before, but it was tasty.
I was going to get dessert and be done, but then I spotted some collard greens. I had to try the leafy greens made unhealthy with lots of salt and pork fat. My final plate consisted of some sort of coconut dessert and collards...
Fred's Southern Kitchen was okay for what it was. It was mostly unhealthy southern food with way too much salt, but I've had worse elsewhere. It was definitely a few steps above the big buffet chains like Golden Corral, but nowhere as good as those BBQ buffets found along I-95 in the Carolinas...

Fred's Southern Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

City Diner in Orlando, FL

I tried City Diner in Downtown Orlando on a recent Saturday morning. Diners and big cities seem to go hand in hand, but yet Orlando really does seem to be lacking in this department. Knowing nothing about City Diner before deciding to eat there, I was hoping to have a good diner breakfast.
I have a high tolerance for hole-in-the wall restaurants that many other people wouldn't venture to, but I was sort of creeped out by this place. There was one person leaving as we entered, and after that we were the only customers. The restaurant was filled with an eerie silence causing us to seem like we were talking far too loud at our table. Even worse, the waitress decided to sit in a nearby chair and intently stare at us for the majority of the meal. It was very weird and awkward...

On to the food, I had a four cheese omelet. This was a pretty standard omelet filled with lots of cheese. When I eat eggs at restaurants, I personally like when omelets have stuff in them that I wouldn't normally have at home, but the menu here was very basic. Plain, cheese, or meats seemed to be the only options. Wheat toast was served on the side, as was a bowl of cheese grits.
The breakfast was kind of mundane, but it wasn't bad either. Based on the food alone, I would have gone back to City Diner for breakfast if I was in the area. Because of the strange Twilight Zone atmosphere of the restaurant though, I most likely won't be back. Orlando needs a restaurant similar to Atlanta's Majestic Diner...

City Diner on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fantastic Hummus Food Truck in Orlando, FL

I leaving Audubon Community Market in Winter Park when I spotted a food truck with a big banner on the side that read Falafel Sandwich. This was a brand new truck to me and I'm a big falafel fan, so I knew where I was eating. Upon closer inspection, I found out this truck was called Fantastic Hummus.

They had a few other types of sandwiches, but I stuck with falafel. The sandwich was served on pita, stuffed with plenty of falafel, lettuce, tomato, pickled turnips, and sauce. This was definitely a good sandwich, especially since I was venturing into uncharted food truck territory.

I liked how they gave extra pickled turnips on the side. Pickled turnips are hard to find around here, even at most middle eastern restaurants that I've visited and I have even resorted to making my own. Being able to snack on these turnips without waiting a week for the pickling to happen was a nice treat!

Being that middle eastern food is a big street food staple in other cities like New York, it is definitely about time Orlando got a truck selling falafel!

Fantastic Hummus Food Truck on Urbanspoon

AMC Dine-In Theatres in Downtown Disney

I was invited to the media event for the opening of the new AMC Dine-In Theatres in Downtown Disney. AMC offered us bloggers and other media type people to come try their food and watch TRON Legacy for the complete dine-in theater experience.
The theater itself had extra wide rocking seats. There was a counter for the food in every row, although I personally thought it was too far away from the seat. I wasn't able to comfortably reach my food without sitting on the very edge of my seat which was especially distracting when the movie started. One cool little feature on each counter was the call button to summon your server for drink refills or whatever.
For food, we started out with two appetizers. The first appetizer was the Parmesan Fries. These were standard French fries with grated cheese on top.
Wings & Things Sampler: Came with buffalo wings, potato chips, onion rings, and mozzarella sticks.
Smoked Salmon BLT: For some reason I was really hoping for lox on here, but it was the more traditional type of smoked salmon on the sandwich. Big slab of fish on a bun with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a garlic basil sauce. More potato chips came served on the side.
Buffalo Chicken Flatbread Pizzetta: Pizza made with buffalo wing sauce rather than the more traditional tomato. Was topped with blue cheese and chicken.
AMC had tables set up in the lobby with many of their menu offerings on display. Here's a few of the foods I didn't get a chance to try:

Overall, I liked my food at the AMC Dine-In Theatres. The prices were good too, with some of the sandwiches being equivalent to what a large popcorn costs at other theaters. The Downtown Disney AMC was already one of my favorite theaters in Orlando, so now food makes them even better!

AMC Fork & Screen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cookes of Dublin in Downtown Disney

It has been a while since theme park food has been featured on this blog. That's too bad since theme park food can be surprisingly good, especially at Disney. The last time I had Disney food was for the pre-opening of Star Tours back in June where we were treated to an ice cream buffet. The last time I ate in an actual restaurant at Disney was for the media opening of the AMC Dine-In Theaters in May. Seeing the pictures that were popping up all over the internet of delicious looking foods from the Epcot Food & Wine Festival (which I did not attend - too expensive), I figured it was about time to go on another Disney food adventure. The Festival of Masters was going on at Downtown Disney so we ventured out to view some artwork and eat lunch. The mentioned lunch happened at Cookes of Dublin.

Cookes of Dublin is the fast food Irish restaurant attached to Raglin Road in Downtown Disney. They have foods you would expect like fish and chips, but I was intrigued by their pies. I've actually though of eating here a few times in the past to try their pies and they always end up being sold out. It must have been my lucky day on this visit, because they had plenty to choose from. I went with the Fisherman's Pie, filled with mashed potatoes, carrots, shrimp, salmon, and scallops in a doughy pie shell. I wasn't exactly sure what would be inside the pie when I ordered, but the variety and size of the seafood was a nice surprise. The swirly mashed potatoes on top were a nice touch as well. I suppose this was sort of like a seafood version shepard's pie...

Fried Shrimp were also ordered at the table. These were exactly what they were described as, battered shrimp deep fried and served over fries. My pie was definitely the winner by far...

Cookes of Dublin is definitely worthy of another visit to try more of their pies. Expect to pay Disney prices, but they are cheaper than Raglin Road next door (which I really want to return to one day). Best of all, they satisfied my craving for theme park food for the moment...

Cookes of Dublin on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Theo's Kitchen in Orlando, FL

I tried a Greek restaurant in Orlando called Theo's Kitchen. Theo's was located on Curry Ford Road in a strip mall. Apparently they had moved recently to this location when I stopped in. 
I decided to get a gyro. Theo's Kitchen was very generous with just about everything on the sandwich. There was a good amount of meat, huge dollops of tazitiki, lots of feta, and plenty of lettuce and tomato. I've had gyros from other Greek restaurants that are really dry and stingy with toppings, so I was very happy with this sandwich when this was not the case. And to top it off, it tasted good too!
Theo's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Twisted Cuban Food Truck in Orlando, FL

There is an annual Halloween Festival in Downtown Longwood and food trucks were involved this year. The festival was located in Reiter Park, where the baseball fields and playgrounds were removed and replaced with a mysterious grass covered hill. The trucks attending were Gastrotruck, The Batter Bowl, and a truck that was new to me called The Twisted Cuban.
I tried their Cuban sandwich. It consisted of ham, roast pork, swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on pressed Cuban bread. The sandwich was very tasty and was plenty to eat. It was also made extremely quickly by the standards set by most of Orlando's other food trucks that I've tried. I'd get more food from them in the future!
I tried the Twisted Cuban truck a second time at one of the Food Truck Bazaars. On this visit, I tried their fritas. These were two slider-size sandwiches consisting of burgers topped with fried onions. Unlike the traditional American beef burger, these contained other meats including chorizo which gave them really nice flavors.

Twisted Cuban Food Truck on Urbanspoon


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