Celebrate National Taco Day 2017 With These Orlando Restaurants

National Taco Day

Today, October 4, is National Taco Day, and quite a few restaurants are offering deals and specials to honor the day.

Whether you like traditional tacos, or fast food (hey, we don’t judge), this is where you can score some cheap tacos and other taco fun today:

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Moe’s Southwest Grill Offers Free Queso Day September 18, 2014 #TeamQueso

Moe's Southwest Grill Free Queso DayMmmm…queso. The only thing better than queso is free queso.

If you feel the same, get yourself over to your nearest Moe’s Southwest Grill for their Free Queso Day on Thursday, September 18.

Everyone who shows up during regular business hours will receive a free 6oz cup of queso.

Visit moes.com for a complete list of Moe’s locations to find one closest to you.

Out and About: Dining at Chuy’s Tex-Mex in Kissimmee

chuys-exteriorOne of the newest restaurants to hit the Orlando area is Chuy’s Tex-Mex – so new in fact, that they officially open to the public today (March 19, 2013). But last night, we were invited to try out the restaurant, and we went in with empty stomachs, and hopes that this place would be good. We left satisfied on both counts.

Chuy’s is based in Texas and has slowly been expanding across the U.S., developing a cult following among foodies. This is their second Florida location.

We arrived 15 minutes early for our reservation time, which is good since the parking lot was full. So full that we had to park in back of the neighboring restaurant.

Once inside we got the scenic tour to our booth, and noticed that the restaurant was separated into different rooms, each with a slightly different decor. I’m not sure of the name of our room, but the entire ceiling was covered in car hubcaps.

En route, we passed by the tortilla-making station, thereby assuring us that they were indeed fresh-made.

chuys-foodWe had no sooner sat down than a server dropped off some chips and salsa. The salsa had a bright fresh taste and thankfully didn’t have that smokey taste that a lot of Tex-Mex places have. We ordered a bowl of the chili con queso to go with the chips, and it was very tasty, with a slight heat to it, but still mild enough for those who don’t like spicy food.

There were three of us, so we all ordered different entrees, and sampled amongst each other’s dishes.

One of my friends ordered the Fajita Beef “Big As Yo’ Face” Burrito, which came with Mexican rice and refried beans. The other ordered a combo Fajita meal with a mix of steak and chicken. It came with a bounty of toppings and sides (everything from guacamole and pico de gallo to refried beans and Mexican rice), but the kitchen messed up and left off the chicken. Since the restaurant was busy, she opted to eat the dish as served.

Chuy’s marinates their Fajita steak in a signature blend of Shiner’s Bock beer, serrano peppers, lime juice and a mix of secret spices, for 24 hours before grilling. This results in a very tender and flavorful steak that served as a great base for both of my friend’s meals. I even liked it, and I’m not much of a steak fan.

chuys-menuI opted for the Chuychanga, a chimichanga dish made with oven-roasted chicken, cheese, cilantro and green chiles, deep-fried in a flour tortilla. I had mine covered in queso. For sides I went with the green chile rice and charro beans. Everything had just the right amount of spice and flavor to make my taste buds happy.

Most entrees are in the $9-$12 range, with Fajitas and some Combo platters slightly more. You do get a lot of food for the price – all three of us took home leftovers.

One of Chuy’s unique offerings is a selection of sauces that you can get on your entrees. They range from mild Tomatillo and Ranchero sauces to spicy Green Chile and Hatch Green Chile sauces. Our server kindly obliged when I asked to sample all of the sauces, and soon we were taste-testing them all with the chips.

We all liked the Creamy Jalapeno (like a spicy ranch dressing) and Hatch Green Chile, as well as the restaurant’s signature Boom-Boom sauce, which tasted like a mixture of the Green Chile and Queso sauces.

I did try the house margarita, as all alcohol proceeds last night were donated to the Give Kids the World charity. Unlike some restaurant house offerings, Chuy’s was not shy about the tequila portion, and the bartender accommodated my light salt on the rim request.

Overall, the meal was excellent, and I look forward to returning and trying out other items off the menu. I have to also make mention of the terrific service. Our server, Jake, was quick, efficient, and friendly, even though the place was packed. He also went out of his way to accommodate our requests. There were a few glitches, such as the Fajita mix-up, but since the place was still technically in training mode. we gave them a bit of leeway.

Chuy’s Tex-Mex opens to the public today (March 19) at 11am. It is located at 7913 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy in Kissimmee (west of I-4, next to Joe’s Crab Shack). Their phone is 407-787-3545 and you can follow them at the Chuy’s Orlando Facebook page.

Here are some more photos from our visit:

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Taqueria del Sol to open Orlando Location on October 1

The company that brought the Five Guys Burgers & Fries to the Central Florida area are now planning to introduce us to another restaurant brand.

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Called Taqueria del Sol, it will open in the former O’Boys Real Smoked Bar-B-Q restaurant space (3138 S. Orange Ave.), south of downtown Orlando.

The new casual dining restaurant will open October 1, 2012, with 150-seats. They plan to hire 30-40 employees.

The menu is primarily southwestern cuisine.

Taqueria del Sol was picked by Bon Appétit and Food Network as a “Top American Restaurant,” and owners Mike Klank and Chef Hernandez have been nominated twice for the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restaurateurs in 2011 and 2012.

Out and About: A Review of Habaneros Mexican Grill in Hunters Creek – South Orlando

We have had a hard time finding decent Mexican food here in South Orlando, so we were pleased to see that Habaneros Mexican Grill had moved in where the old Village Inn used to be.

We ordered kids meals for my 3 and 6 year old, and they loved the chicken fingers and quesadilla. My daughter also got an enchilada, but it was not much more than ground beef wrapped in a tortilla, covered with chili sauce… needed some more flavoring and perhaps some sauce inside the meat mixture.

My husband, Kirk, got the chicken soup, which was VERY tasty and just what he had hoped it would be – in addition to a side tamale, which was good, but nothing extraordinary.

I got the fried chimichangas, one each beef and chicken, and they both were very flavorful. I especially liked the chicken seasoning.

I ordered a sangria, which was decent, and Kirk’s margarita was also acceptable, without being too fancy. The kids appreciated that they had horchata, one of their favorite drinks.

Overall, we were very pleased with the meal, and the service was good as well. We will be back! We would give it 4 out of 5 stars.

This review is for the Hunters Creek location. They have several other locations in Orlando, all listed on their website.

Habaneros Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

Out and About: Lime’s Mexican Grill Serves Up Tasty Food in Dr. Phillips

Tucked away in a corner of Phillips Crossing (where Whole Foods Market is located) in Dr. Phillips is a new-ish eatery that serves up tasty Tex-Mex, relatively fast, at prices that won’t give you sticker shock.

That place is Lime’s Mexican Grill and both times I’ve visited, I’ve enjoyed my meal.

While Lime’s is a sit-down eatery, it follows more of a cantina-style way of ordering. You line up at the register, order from the menu, pay, and then within 10 or 15 minutes, they bring out your order to your table.

I had the queso burrito with chicken ($7.99), which was a two-hand sized item stuffed with grilled chicken, beans, rice, jalapenos and melted queso cheese. You can also have it with ground seasoned beef or for $1.50 more, grilled steak. My roommate had the steak version, and we both enjoyed the burritos. My other friend, Carol, had the tortilla soup ($3.99), which had a tomato-based broth, and declared it one of the best versions of the soup she’s had. She also had a single ground beef taco ($3), which she enjoyed.

One thing I really liked about Lime’s Mexican Grill was the hot sauce bar, which had at least 30 bottles of hot sauce, from sweet and mild to peel the lining off the roof of your mouth hot. The restaurant also has four flavors of its own brand of hot sauce. I particularly enjoyed the garlic-habanero one.

The second is the salsa bar. Again, offerings included both mild and hot flavors, as well as a black bean & corn version and a pico de gallo. Since all of our dishes were served with chips, we had a chance to try most of the salsas, and a good deal of the hot sauces.

We decided to forgo alcoholic drinks, but they do have frozen margaritas (regular flavor) and frozen sangria, along with beer and mini-bottles of wine. I should also mention they do have a Monday through Friday happy hour, from 4pm-7pm, where beer and the frozen drinks are discounted between $2.50 to $4.

Speaking of discounts, be sure to check in on Foursquare, as there are sometimes dining deals when ordering.

So far, the only thing I haven’t liked is the seating. There are a few booths, but most of the interior seating is bar tables with stools that I have to climb up into, due the fact I have short legs. There are some regular restaurant tables, but they’re mostly outside.

Other than that, I enjoyed eating here and would do so again. Check it out if you’re in the neighborhood.

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

Mid-Week Break: Orlando Around the Web for February 24, 2011

While I’m working hard to bring you news and reviews of things happening around Orlando and its surroundings, there are some other great blogs out there who are doing the same.

So here are some recent posts that you might enjoy reading:

Like hot dogs? Then Orlando Attractions magazine says you need to give the new Hula Dog Hawaiian-style hot dog stand on I-Drive a try. They also have video of some of the temporary changes at Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion attraction.

The Daily City has a photo recap up of the Burrow Press launch party at Urban ReThink last week. They’re also offering a heads-up about a new cupcake food truck that will soon be roaming around town.

Central Florida Top 5 visited the Central Florida Boat Show and all they got was a video of the fun.

Ashley has his finger on the food Pulse of Central Florida by reviewing Mucho Tequila and Tacos downtown. Looks yummy!

Hmmm… this seems to be a food-link-filled edition of the Mid-Week break, so here’s Scott Joseph‘s re-review of Lime Fresh Mexican Grill at Phillips Crossing.

Speaking of food, Tasty Chomps reviews the Stonewood Grill and Tavern in Dr. Phillips. Food there must be good – the parking lot is always packed when I drive past. The blog also has all the details on the new Korean BBQ Taco Box food truck.

Finally, The Disney Blog was invited for a behind-the-scenes look at Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras celebrations. Yes, there is food.

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