I love pretty much all Italian food, but I love it even more when the restaurant can make me crave a dish a week later. That happened after a recent visit to The Meatball Stoppe on the east side of Orlando.
Owner and chef Isabella Morgia di Vicari invited us to join a few other bloggers to check out her menu, and I enjoyed some of her twists on classic Italian dishes.
Tijuana Flats has launched a new campaign promising to “Give You the Bird” with their new turkey offerings, and last week we attended a blogger event to sample the bird.
After a welcome basket of chips accompanied by a trio of salsa, queso, and guacamole, we were offered a sample of their tostada with the new turkey. It was very tasty, seasoned similar to their ground beef offerings, but a bit softer in texture – not as crumbly as the beef.
I visited Citrus Garden for the first time on a Saturday, and my friend and I were the only people in there besides a two people waiting for carry-out. Other than a few hanging lanterns, the decor didn’t scream Chinese restaurant, but I wasn’t there for the decor. I was hungry.
After looking at the menu, I decided to go for the sweet & sour chicken meal off the daily lunch special section, which comes with an egg roll or soup choice, and fried or white rice.
Fulton’s Crab House is a favorite among diners headed to Disney Springs for dinner, but did you know they also have a wonderful lunch menu?
Carol and I were recently invited to try out Fulton’s for lunch, and we showed up as they were opening, at 11:30am. We were shown to a table on the second floor with a wonderful view of the lake and The Landing. We were also the only ones in there at first.
While we were running errands in Hunter’s Creek, we decided to try Jimmy Hula’s Restaurant for a late lunch. The brand has several Central Florida locations, and the atmosphere is very casual. They have tables with reclaimed car bench seats as well as chairs, and the overall vibe is that of a surf shack on the beach. This is kind of cool, in a kitschy way.
The menu has several burger options and sides, as well as a variety of tacos, sandwiches and appetizers. When you walk in the front door, you order at the counter, and they give you a number in order to bring the food to you.
Jeremiah’s Italian Ice, a fun shaved ice/ soft serve ice cream place, recently opened a location in Hunter’s Creek, so we went to check it out.
It is a walk up, order at the window type of place. We first tried it on their Grand Opening. It was very loud, and very busy. We had to try the gelato as that is what they are known for. Their version of gelato is a combination of the shave ice and soft serve, and it’s served in a cup. There are so many possible combinations, it’s hard to decide. Some options are fruity flavored and very refreshing on hot days here in Central Florida. Other options are very indulgent and good for when you are in the mood.
I am a big fan of Tijuana Flats, but most of my visits center around their great Taco Tuesday promotion (2 huge tacos of your choice of ground beef or chicken, plus chips and a drink for $5.49). But recently I attended a Central Florida Lady Bloggers event where I got to try some of their other yummy menu items.
First a little history on the brand. It was formed in 1995 by a UCF student named Brian Wheeler, with the first location in Winter Park. So this is a local brand. In the course of the twenty years since that first store, Tijuana Flats has grown to 100 restaurants in six states. Each location is also decorated differently with local artist drawn murals and ceiling decor.
As Downtown Disney transitions into Disney Springs, new eateries are opening. One of the newest is Vivoli Geletaria, which sells authentic Italian gelato.
How authentic? The company was founded in 1932 in Florence, Italy, where today they are well known for their gelato. The location at Walt Disney World is their first storefront outside of Italy, with the exception of a counter located at Macy’s in New York City .
This past Sunday, my friend Joan and I made a day trip up to St. Augustine. Our primary goal was to see one of our favorites, Bryan Adams, in concert at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, but we figured we’d go early and try out one of their restaurants.
We left around 2pm and got up there just before 4pm, slowed slightly by a thunderstorm en route. But as we rolled into the Historic Downtown area, it was sunny skies.
My connection at the St. Augustine CVB recommended A1A Ale Works as a restaurant to try, citing their craft brews and water-side dining. The restaurant is actually upstairs in a converted building on the corner next to the historic Bridge of Lions, with a bar area downstairs.
After a day at a local water park, my family and I decided to eat supper at Mellow Mushroom‘s newest Orlando location on I-Drive.
The décor is modern and comfortable. We were at a booth that faced outside as the sun was setting. Our one complaint is that they did not have blinds or coverings on the door to block the sun for the 2 that were facing that way. They do have a very cool guitar chandelier, but I failed to get pictures of it or any of the décor. I was focused on the pizza.
I haven’t eaten at this chain before, however my husband has eaten at them other places around the country. We started with a spinach artichoke dip that was very good and gone before I could get a picture. Yep, we were hungry.
We ordered 4 different pizzas for us to try: a small plain cheese for our son; a small Funky Q. Chicken; a medium that was half Thai Dye and half Philosopher’s Pie; and a small House Special.
Saturday we were invited to try out the new brunch at American Gymkhana. Having enjoyed the restaurant’s modern Indian cuisine for dinner, I was very interested in trying out their brunch offerings.
When we arrived, we were seated on the recently opened veranda, at a table for two next to the windows. We received menus and our drink orders were taken. We opted to go with the day’s special cocktail creations.
The brunch menu was divided into four sections – sweet, savory, classic, and egg dishes. It was hard, but my friend Joan and I narrowed the choices down to three dishes to try.
From the egg dishes we selected the Desi Omelet with a side of Marsala potato wedges. The vegetarian omelet featured serrano peppers, sauteed onions, cilantro, and Amul cheese, and the ingredients complemented each other well. The Indian cheese was creamy with a bit of tang, while the peppers provided a mild heat. The potatos tasted like potatoes. I couldn’t taste any spice, but it made a good base for the roasted onion chutney served with it.
My husband and I were recently invited to American Gymkhana for dinner, and we were eager to try this new restaurant out. We discovered this is an upscale place, perfect for a date night. Our children eat Indian food all the time, but I would think twice before taking them here, as the atmosphere is better for adults. The faire is modern Indian from the colonial India era. For this evening, my husband, Kirk, and I went as a date – no kids. Yay us!
We ordered two appetizers: the Tandoori Portobello, Broccoli & Onion skewer, and the Malpe Shrimp (seasoned with fennel butter-pepper and garlic-cilantro-curry leaf pesto). Both were very good. The skewer was more spicy than I normally order (yes, I’m a wimp), but my hubby thought it was great.
Our first appetizer was the Crab-stuffed Deviled Duck Eggs with bacon and truffle oil ($12). The dish was well-balanced but very rich and creamy. One or two of these would do as a meal starter.
Next up was Cornmeal Crisped Oysters on a bed of chicharrones, with pickled green tomato relish and herb cream ($9). If you love oysters, you’ll love this different take on them. The dish really works if you can manage to get all four components in the same bite.