You heard right – I went to the Festival of Bacon in Orlando with my son and some of our friends yesterday. The atmosphere was electric, as in griddle, over the famed pork belly. Let me say that having grown up on a hog farm and hearing my dad spin this into a patriotic experience by referencing the animal as “The Great American Hog” – I’ve had my share of bacon. Continue reading
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Last Friday night we met our friends at another local University of Central Florida student favorite the Lazy Moon Pizza. We took our resident college student along as the preverbal guide. If college students love pizza then what better way to improve on that then serving up giant slices (20″ & 30″ pies) of this higher education staple? Continue reading
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My wife and I took our oldest son to Burger 21 today after church today. He’s been feeling a little left out of the food blogging experience. Since he is a new UCF Knight this fall, I decided we should see what this restaurant has to offer the college students.
The burgers were very juicy with a lot of flavor. I ordered the Black and Blue angus burger, my son the Tex-Mex Haystack burger, and my wife got chicken at the burger restaurant with the Buffalo Chicken with a lettuce wrap. Everyone felt their selections lived up to their expectations. We had the an order of their Cheese & Ale Fries to split among all of us. For drinks I tried the Boylan Black Cherry soda made with cane sugar. I wasn’t completely impressed with the soda, but I also sampled the shakes that they had ordered – the Chocolate Malted Milk Ball shake & the Strawberry shake. The shakes were very good and would be worth stopping in just for one of them. They offer several different sauces at their sauce bar for either your burger or fries.
The restaurant has a feel almost like you are at an IKEA store. There’s plenty of space even though there were quite a few people there for lunch. They do a play on the letter B wherever you look. B kind, B Shaken (shake bar), B Saucy (sauce bar), and for the bathroom B a Man.
I try to keep my blogs about local restaurants to those that areindependently owned but in this case I made an exception. After all it’s my blog so it’s my rules. I’m glad I broke my own rules today and tried Burger 21. I’m sure that we will go again, and the next time I will order my own shake.
It seems like I must be the only blogger on the planet that is writing about fishing without actually catching any fish. I can’t figure out why that is not driving all kinds of traffic to this site. Opps … there’s another $.25 to the jar (see Sarcasm 25 Cents).
Today, my friend and I were super pumped about going to one of the best bass fishing lakes in the world (so they say), Lake Tohopekaliga, in Kissimmee, FL. We were supposed to go a couple of weeks ago, but he ended up having to go to the emergency room that same morning. It’s always exciting to think of slaying the big one and trying to decide what’s big enough to “mount on the wall”. When we got to the boat launch, there was a store where they had some monster bass mounted and on display. In the picture there are two, yes two, 14 pounders on the wall. So now I am about as giddy as a school girl about what we are in for. Heck, by this time I’m thinking of all the endorsements that I will get by the end of the day.
I have to say that we had some close encounters with some big ones. There were three or four that broke the water surface that got the adrenaline pumping. But when the day was done, I didn’t have to worry about all the trouble it was going to be to find a taxidermist to mount that trophy fish.
I have never had a friend with a boat that actually invited me to go fishing with them, so I’m not going to be upset because the fish aren’t participating in my adventure. I am just thankful to be able to spend time on the water, and if you will look around in life, you are surrounded by some pretty amazing things. God has done some amazing work here! So I leave you with some more photos from “Fishing”. Maybe next time there will actually be some fish in the photos!
Update from 12/20/2013
My Family and I stopped by the other night for some pizza and dessert before seeing A Christmas Carol just down the street at the Downtown Theatre. The dinner experience was really nice. The chef was interactive with the tables. He made recommendations for desserts which he personally brought to the table. We all sampled the creations and all thought they were DELICIOUS! He was definitely on his game that night. While the first experience left me feeling as though there was much unrealized potential, this visit surpassed my expectations.
Original Post 8/17/2013
Our ventures out today took us to Wolfies Pizzamia restaurant on North Orange Ave. in Orlando. While there was just one other couple dining there, the food was really quite good. The restaurant is under the same ownership as The White Wolf Cafe which is only a half a block away. While I have never eaten at the Cafe it has been there since 1991 and if the crowd is an indicator they have a good thing going there.
Back to the Pizza. The concept is that everything is as local, fresh, and organic as possible. They make their own dough, sausage, pasta, and most cheeses right there. Our waitress who was very nice said she got to watch them make some cheese the other day and thought the process was pretty awesome.
We had the Meatball App to start out, which was very good. We followed that up with the Specialty Pizze’ the Burano Mozz which is topped with prosciutto, Rochet salad, and goat cheese. The crust of the pizza was perfect and the toppings really gave it all a great flavor.
The decor has kind of an old world feel to it with music playing across the audio system from the 60’s to today. Over all it’s another good local restaurant to make your way to that’s off the beaten path.
Well this is just comfort food genius. We came across an independent restaurant called Toasted this evening in Winter Park. They serve crafted grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers. It was so difficult to choose from the menu because everything looked so good. I decided to go with the Fig and Goat grilled cheese sandwich with Havarti, Goat cheese, mission figs, basil, honey for $6.50. Our son’s friend was with us and he order The Big Cheese sandwich with Cheddar, Swiss, Muenster, Jack cheese, arugula for $5.75 plus bacon for and extra buck. The natural cut fries with truffle oil & fresh rosemary were delicious.
The place had a great theme to it as well. It’s a narrow dining space with one wall that I think is supposed to resemble bubbling cheese and the other wall sports the Periodic Table of Cheese. At the front, there is a light fixture that is made from cheese graters. I could pick up a few comments from the other tables and it certainly was apparent that the other diners were enjoying their experience as well.
I talked to the guy who took my order and he said that the restaurant was independently owned and had been opened for about five months. He also said that the owners were hoping to open others in the future. Let’s hope so.
My wife and I spent the day together a couple of months ago for our 21st anniversary. We didn’t have any big plans, we just wanted to spend the day together. We drove down to Winter Park where she had mentioned that she’s wanted to try out this restaurant called the Winter Park Fish Co. I have to say that I was totally “hooked” (punny right?) with this place. What a great find. It’s a stand alone place that isn’t on Park Ave. With the architectural design they have really made the experience feel like a wharf / fish market. The menu is a bit pricy, but you would expect that if you are getting really nice, fresh fish. And that we did! It was kind of a rainy day which made it a little too cold for us to sit inside. Our waitress was awesome and moved us outside where they have these heaters right besides the high tops (this was April). The heaters look like flat screens with pictures of flames and heat that comes out the bottom. Back to the fish! We started out with an order of hush puppies. For some reason I’m not sure you can have a fish experience without hush puppies. Let me just say that the puppies were barking to you that something good was on the way. I had ordered the Mahi Sandwich and Gidget had the Guatemala Mahi Mahi which is topped with a fresh cranberry jalapeño chutney. Both were absolutely delicious. There is no doubt that we will be going back.
We had dinner last night with some great friends at Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar in Orlando. If you are looking for some great Mexican food with a great atmosphere, this restaurant should be at the top of the list.
There are several ways to order your food. We started out with the guacamole prepared tableside with Rocco’s chips. The guac is made right at your table and peppers added to your liking. And like it we did! Our friends opted to go the individual taco route. A great way to get lots of variety. My wife an I split the Molcajete Seafood for two. An authentic fajita baked and served in a lava rock bowl from Mexico. Served with flour tortillas, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, shrimp, scallops, mahi & poblano chiles, calabaza squash, charred tomatoes.
All and all it was a really nice experience. My only criticisms would be that it was quite loud to try and have a conversation where you didn’t feel like you were yelling, and the prices were a little on the expensive end of the scale.
Here are some pictures of the atmosphere. I really liked the different lighting.
If you have never been to the Winter Park, FL Farmer’s Market on a Saturday morning then you are really missing out on a treat. It’s a great place to get local produce for your family, and the prices are always reasonable. As with most Farmer’s Markets there are lots of vendors that have their products on display. One of the best of those vendors in my opinion is know to my wife and I as “The Vanilla Guy”. Unlike the vanilla extract that you might buy in the store, this stuff is the real deal – real vanilla bean steeped in alcohol. He has both vanilla extract, vanilla-almond extract, whole beans, and vanilla powder to choose from. If you make your way to the farmer’s market I would highly recommend picking up something from The Vanilla Guy.