As the sun set on Saturday, October 24, I found myself at a tented area near Central Park in Winter Park. The smell of food forcast a tasty evening ahead, as I checked in at Cows ‘n Cabs registration table.
The sounds of a live band playing contemporary country accompanied my journey inside as I went from booth to booth sampling offerings from some of Central Florida’s best resturants, like Todd English’s BlueZoo, 4 Rivers Smokehouse, K Restaurant, Se7en Bites, Norman’s Orlando, and more.
There were a lot of amazing dishes, but I did find a few favorites that I really enjoyed. I haven’t eaten a good bao in ages, but Hawkers Asian Street Fare in the Mills 50 district delivered both a beef and a pork belly version, and both were so very tasty.
Winter Park’s Cocina 214 served up a slightly spicy Cauli Frito (lightly fried cauliflower, topped with coastal slaw, red bell peppers, and chipotle cream sauce) that hit all the right flavor notes in my mouth.
My third favorite dish was a tie. The pork-filled ravioli with a bean ragout on top offered by Soco Thornton Park had a really good flavor. I haven’t seen this on the menu, but I would definitely order it if I did.
I also enjoyed the unsual offering by Slate Restaurant, which took a pecan sticky bun and topped it with short rib rilletes and a vanilla parsnips glaze. It was a great combo of sweet and savory, and unfortunately I didn’t get a decent photo of it. Kudos to this new addition to the Orlando dining scene.
And while there were some outstanding sweets being offered, my favorite was Whitney’s Mississippi Mud Pie from The COOP‘s new Chef de Cuisine Whitney Miller. This was heaven in chocolate form with a crunchy brownie-like shell and a gooey rich interior. I can’t wait to see what else she brings to the restaurant’s menu.
There was also a lot of great wines, beers, and other adult beverages to try, though I wasn’t drinking too much. I did enjoy a Redd’s Cranberry Ale, and a new Midnight Mocha shot being offered by ABC Liquors that separated the the coffee and chocolate liquors from the cream, so they didn’t blend until they were in your mouth.
The only two things I didn’t enjoy from the evening were all the cigar smokers (I’m allergic so I had to keep moving), and the ratio of seats/tables to attendees. It’s hard to eat food standing up without wearing it from somebody bumping into you.
But the food was worth the effort to eat it, and I discovered a few new-to-me restaurants that I need to visit.
The event also helped raise a lot of money for Community Food & Outreach Center and Elevate Orlando, which is really what Cows ‘n Cabs is all about.
If you’re a Central Florida foodie, I highly recommend you add Cows ‘n Cabs to next year’s calendar. We’ll let you know as soon as a date is announced.
— Living The Dream (@DreamerShow) October 24, 2015
Disclaimer: We were invited to cover Cows ‘n Cabs, but as always, my opinions are honest and my own.
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