Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Run & Run Chinese Restaurant in Lake Buena Vista, FL

I had lunch at a Chinese take out restaurant called Run & Run in a shopping center off Palm Parkway in Lake Buena Vista. Run & Run was located in a strip mall that definitely catered to tourists filled with gift shops and overpriced restaurants. Because of this, I was a little apprehensive to see the prices here, but the really weren't bad. Run & Run was equivalent to most other Chinese take outs not located on the edge of Walt Disney World.
I ordered the Kung Pao Shrimp lunch special. This consisted of the main dish, fried rice, and a canned soda. The shrimp were good sized in a sauce that was spicier than what many other Chinese restaurants serve in an equivalent dish. This was mixed with mushrooms, green peppers, carrots, baby corn, and peanuts. The shrimp was a little mushroom heavy for my liking, but was otherwise tasty. The fried rice was a bit plain, being basically rice mixed with scrambled egg. Not much else was going on in there. Overall, Run & Run was a pretty standard Chinese take out. Not the best I've had, but not the worst either. I might stop back here at some point if I'm looking for Chinese food near Disney in the future...

Run & Run Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 20, 2013

Miwa Hibachi & Sushi Express in Ocoee, FL

I recently had dinner at a fast food Japanese restaurant in Ocoee called Miwa Hibachi & Sushi Express. I ordered the shrimp teriyaki meal, served with fried rice and vegetables. They gave several good sized shrimp, and then asked if I wanted some extra teriyaki chicken from the last person's meal that they cooked. I took Miwa up on their offer and sampled their chicken as well. The meats were tasty, although typical for what is served in hibachi style restaurants like this. The vegetables mostly consisted of cabbage and broccoli. The rice was good as well.
Miwa's portion size was huge. I couldn't finish all the food. It was definitely a good value for the price. I don't get out to Ocoee all too often, but I'd return here again sometime in the future...

MIWA Hibachi & Sushi Express on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Salem's Gyros in Lakeland, FL

I had food from a restaurant from Salem's Gyros & Subs in Lakeland. This fast food restaurant looked like it was a former Miami Subs at some point. Gyros and subs were a big part of the menu, but gizzards and livers seemed to be another big seller here. There were three occupied table in the restaurant while I was inside and all three appeared to be eating fried gizzards. I decided to skip the offal (that I know of) and ordered a gyro combo.
The combo came with a gyro pita, fries, and a drink. It was somewhat pricey for fast food at almost $10. I declined the offer to add gizzards for an additional $2. The fries were definitely fresh. Very hot and nice and crispy.
The gyro consisted of sliced lamb, tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki, all wrapped in a pita. There was a whole lot of meat in the sandwich. It had nice flavor and the tzatziki kept the pita nice and moist.
Salem's made a good gyro. It was still a little overpriced, but I'll forgive them. I probably won't return any time in the near future, mostly since I don't live in Lakeland, but I might if I lived closer...

Salem's Gyros & Subs on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 13, 2013

Boteco in Orlando, FL

Boteco is a Brazilian restaurant along International Drive, located right across the street from Festival Bay. Their menu wasn't strictly Brazilian food, with many items that seemed more appropriate for an Italian restaurant. This was also the first Brazilian restaurant I've visited with a sushi bar. 
I ordered the Breaded Fish with Shrimp Sauce. The menu described this as fried breaded fish topped with shrimp tomato sauce and peas served with mashed potatoes and the vegetable of the day. When I got my food, the shrimp sauce was served separate from the fish in it's own bowl. It was more like a shrimp soup, with lots of shrimp floating with peas in a tomato based broth. I started by pouring some of this over the fish, but then ended up eating them separately. The huge piece of fish was nice and moist in a tasty breading. Mashed potatoes were good, and the vegetable of the day turned out to be slices of grilled zucchini and yellow squash. Everything I tried at Boteco was tasty and I'd return...

Boteco Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Boston Lobster Feast in Orlando, FL

I visited Boston Lobster Feast on International Drive for a birthday. This restaurant is a seafood buffet that is definitely targeted towards tourists. They are way overpriced for buffet food, but that doesn't seem to stop the tourists from pouring in.
Boston Lobster Feast has three buffet tables set up inside the restaurant. The largest serves most of the hot seafood. Another is housed with much of the chilled food, and the third is filled with desserts.
My first trip to the buffet tables resulted in a plate filled with three different types of salmon. This included grilled salmon, smoked salmon, and cured salmon (lox). I also picked up corn on the cob and a biscuit.
Lobster bisque wasn't self-serve on the buffet, but I said yes when our server offered to bring some to the table. I didn't detect much lobster in here, but the creamy soup was tasty enough.
I tired some crab next. I sampled a whole blue crab and some snow crab legs. Somehow I know these crabs weren't as fresh as the crabs from the Maine Avenue Fish Market that I visited in DC earlier this year.
My next plate consisted of some seafood, but more filler items from the buffet. For the seafood, I had a tasty little crawfish, some fried shrimp, and a stuffed crab alongside rice and caesar salad. The crawfish was my favorite thing on this plate. Most everything on this plate was mediocre buffet food.
I was going to be done with the gorging after the last plate of food, but I then started thinking that I should probably get lobster from a place called Boston Lobster Feast. The problem is, I'm not the biggest lobster fan out there. It's an okay food, but I just don't understand the hype surrounding the crustaceans. I'd take crab over lobster any day. I got one of the lobsters here and it did not change my opinion. 
Boston Lobster Feast is mostly mediocre food on a very expensive buffet. I suppose if you want to pig out on as many lobsters as you please, then perhaps this place would be for you. The crab was good, but lots of local Chinese buffets also have crab at a quarter of the price. As for the rest of the seafood and other items, most of it was forgettable. Boston Lobster Feast is okay for what it is, but go in expecting typical buffet food and don't set your hopes too high...

Boston Lobster Feast on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 6, 2013

Habibi in Orlando, FL

I visited a Lebanese restaurant in Orlando near the airport called Habibi. The counter service restaurant was nicely decorated and the food was made quickly.
I ordered a chicken shawarma sandwich. This sandwich was filled with lots of grilled chicken, hummus, pickled turnips, and some greens. I also had a side of stuffed grape leaves. I was very excited to see that Habibi had the pickled turnips. These are one of my favorite types of pickled vegetables and I got extra on the side as well as in the sandwich.
I liked my shawarma. It was tasty. There was enough sauce in the pita so it wasn't dry like these type sandwiches sometimes are. I will probably return to Habibi at some point (or one of their other locations) next time I'm craving some pickled turnips...

Habibi Lebanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Leonardo's Pizza in Gainesville, FL

I was in Gainesville and had lunch at Leonardo's Pizza. Located within walking distance of UF, this restaurant was filled with mostly college students. I vaguely remember stopping here years ago on a previous visit to Gainesville but don't remember much about the food. It meant this time around, Leonardo's Pizza was new to me all over again!
Leonardo's had a very nice selection of pizza by the slice. There were several varieties that sounded good to me, but I decided to stick to two. The slices weren't exactly cheap, ranging from $2.95 to $4.50, so I didn't want to overdo it with my meal.
I ordered a slice of the Greek Pizza and the Spinach Tomato Pizza. The Greek was topped with spinach, feta, onions, olives, and pepperochinis. They were generous with the toppings on this pie. There were few spots where the mozzarella cheese underneath could be seen. The spinach tomato slice wasn't as exotic and was topped with exactly what it's name describes. Slices of tomato with spinach on a pizza. Out of the two slices, the Greek was definitely the winner.
I liked Leonardo's. While the pizza wasn't the all time best that I've ever had, the selection of pies to choose from definitely made this place a winner in my book. I'd go back again!

Leonardo's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 22, 2013

Brianto's Original Hoagies in Avalon Park, FL

There is lots of praise on the internet for the cheesesteaks at Brianto's Original Hoagies in Avalon Park. I tried them once a while back and was not impressed at all. The cheesesteak was extremely dry and didn't really have any standout characteristics. Recently, I decided to give them another visit and this time around was a bit better. I had the 6 inch Cheesesteak Supreme, consisting of thinly sliced beef, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and cheese wiz. The sandwich was good enough and wasn't horribly dry like on my previous visit, but it still didn't have any standout characteristics that made me proclaim it was the best cheesesteaks in Orlando.
I was told that Brianto's ships a type of bread called Amoroso rolls in from Philadelphia to make the cheesesteaks more authentic. Authentic as this bread might be, I found it to be a bit mushy for my liking. I much preferred the crustier bread that I tried on my cheesesteak from Tony Luke's in Philadelphia over the summer. If your in the area, the cheesesteaks here are good enough, although I wouldn't make a special trip way out to Avalon Park to eat one...

Brianto's Original Hoagies on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 15, 2013

Goodfella's Pizzeria in Orange City, FL

I had dinner one evening at Goodfella's Pizzeria in Orange City. I had heard good things for a very long time about their other location in Orlando, but never got a chance to give them a try. This newly opened location in Orange City seemed to be very popular. There was a half hour wait to eat when I arrived on a weeknight.
I split a pizza at Goodfella's. My half was topped with spinach and sausage while the other half was topped with meatball. Another pizza was ordered at the table that was half Hawaiian and half cheese. The overall consensus at the table was that the pizzas had potential, but were undercooked and were too heavy on the cheese. My toppings also made my half of the pie a bit soggy as well.
Being that I had heard good things about Goodfella's in the past, I'd consider giving their pizza another try. Perhaps after this location has been open a bit longer and on a day when they don't have a wait so pizzas aren't being rushed out of the oven. The pizza definitely did have potential, but the sogginess and overly doughy crust didn't quite meet that potential...

Goodfella's Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 8, 2013

Lone Star Barbecue & Mercantile in Santee, SC

Driving back towards Florida along I-95, I stopped for lunch at a restaurant called Lone Star Barbecue & Mercantile in Santee, SC. This place was located in a complex of several old wooden houses right outside of Santee State Park.
Lone Star offered both a menu to order from as well as a buffet. I decided to try their buffet.
My first plate of food samplings included pulled pork, collards, black eyed peas, macaroni & cheese, tomato pie, and corn fritters. Most of the food on the plate was tasty. The pork was nice and tender. The corn fritters were on the dry side. The tomato pie was an interesting food that I had never tried before. It was basically layers of bread and slice tomatoes, baked together in a creamy sauce. It was interesting, but not something I'd go out of my way to order.
Second plate included fried chicken, rice topped with some sort of pork stew, lima beans, cole slaw, and hush puppies. Chicken had good batter. The hush puppies were definitely better than the other corn fritters that I tried on my previous plate.
For dessert, I tried some blueberry cobbler, banana pudding, and chocolate pudding. The blueberry cobbler was definitely the best of the three.
I do enjoy trying these little independent places on my trips. Lone Star Barbecue was only about a mile off I-95 and was a far superior choice to stopping into a Subway in a truck stop for some travel food...

Lonestar BBQ & Mercantile on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Kings Dominion Food in Doswell, VA

On my way home from a road trip up and down the east coast, I stopped and did a theme park day at Kings Dominion in Doswell, VA. It was a fun day with lots and lots of mediocre roller coasters and a few that I really enjoyed. Kings Dominion definitely wasn't up to Florida theme park standards, but it was still a good day. While there, I did sample some of Kings Dominion's theme park food...
Kings Dominion mostly had fast food chains for their dining offerings. I chose not to visit any of the chains and ate at a restaurant called Border Cafe.
This Mexican themed restaurant worked by everyone filling out papers with what they wanted by checking off boxes. I ordered a burrito with chicken, black beans, spicy cheddar, spicy corn salsa, lettuce, onions, jalapenos, black olives, and sour cream.
The burrito was served with a side of tortilla chips.
I can't say this was very good theme park food. I guess I'm spoiled by the food in the Orlando parks, but this was pretty bad. The tortilla wrapping up the burrito was very stale tasting. Not only that, it was dry and crunchy as opposed to the moist and soft that it should have been. The rice also had a similar problem, being crunchy as opposed to moist. As for the items that I checked off when ordering, salsa was completely missing from the burrito. For the cheese, the burrito was filled with cheese sauce, although I cheddar sauce wasn't checked.
Perhaps I would have been better off going to one of the chains in King's Dominion after my burrito at Border Cafe. Later in the day, it was time for a snack so I got dessert from another one of the park's non-chain restaurants called Jukebox Diner.
This place was themed like a 50's diner and served mostly burgers. I ordered a strawberry milkshake here. I was actually a bit impressed with the milkshakes here. A milkshake like this outside of a lower end theme park wouldn't be that impressive, but I was surprised given the location. They actually made these to order as opposed to using the somewhat pre-made milkshakes that I've seen elsewhere. The shake was filled with lots and lots of strawberries and was topped with a mountain of whipped cream.
Kings Dominion had some good roller coasters and I don't think anyone's going to that park for their food. It's definitely not Epcot...

Border Cafe on Urbanspoon Juke Box Diner on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sombrero in Midtown Manhattan, NY

Late one evening while wandering around New York, I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Sombrero in Midtown Manhattan.
The meal started with some chips and salsa. Sombrero was a bit stingy with these. The basket of chips was pretty small for two people and there was no offer of refills.
I ordered the Enchilada De Mole. This consisted of braised garlic pork enchiladas topped with mole sauce and toasted sesame seeds. The two enchiladas were pretty tasty. The shredded pork stuffed inside the tortillas was nice and tender and had plenty of flavor. The mole sauce was slightly spicy and the squirted sour cream sauce zig-zagged over the enchiladas made for a nice presentation.
Rice and refried beans accompanied the enchiladas. Both were perfectly acceptable, but nothing to write home about.
I enjoyed my meal at Sombrero. It was sort of overpriced for what Mexican food normally goes for with my enchiladas costing $17. Then again, Sombrero was located only a few blocks away from Times Square so maybe they have the high prices for the tourists (and they apparently got the tourist money from us).

Sombrero on Urbanspoon


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