Local Favorites Category Archives

Tasty Tuesday- Brunch Basics

Last Tuesday I dished on one of my favorite things…tacos! This week, it’s time to discuss another favorite of mine…BRUNCH! After being in Orlando for 14 months now, I feel confident that I’ve done enough research on the best brunch spots, and now it’s time to share them. One of my criteria for a great brunch spot is that they must have a bottomless mimosa option or really cheap, single mimosas. Because let’s be honest, if you’re a restaurant and the only option is a premixed $15 mimosa (Yes, I did experience this in real life), you will never make it in the brunch business. In addition to offering  a great mimosa, the place also needs to have a unique menu…more than just your typical brunch options.

 

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Rocking my official Brunch Shirt down by Lake Eola. Thank you Target! 🙂

I’d like to start with some “Honorable Mentions” before I get to my top 3 picks. All of these places are great, but to me, they just didn’t have that “wow” factor that I’m looking for during my brunch experience.

Shout out to the following places for ALMOST making the top 3:

Dexter’s in Thorton Park- Get there early, make reservations if you can. Outdoor seating is great for people watching. Order the double mimosa since you will be there for a while. 🙂

KASA in Downtown Orlando- This place gets a 10 out of 10 for location. It’s right in the heart of downtown Orlando, making it a perfect spot to start your Sunday Funday and frolic around town on a nice, sunny afternoon. Get the bottomless buffet which includes mimosas. Sometimes they have fun themed brunches where they change up the food and drink items.

Swine and Sons in Winter Park- I don’t even know if this place fits in the brunch category, but they open at 9am and I considered my visit there to be a brunch type meal. Everything they serve is GREAT and you can even buy stuff to take home with you…think mason jars of pimento cheese and other delicious things.

 

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My Brunch Bestie since 2005! <3

And now…drum roll please….for Wardlando’s Top 3 Brunch Picks! 

  1. Santiago’s Bodega

Let me just start my saying that this place serves prime rib, crab legs, bottomless mimosas and sangria on their bottomless buffet. It is a tad on the pricey side, but you will NOT regret the experience. In fact, my husband didn’t eat dinner the night before we went just to make extra room for it. HA! If you go, you will need reservations…like months in advance. You also have a time limit on how long you can be there so don’t waste a moment debating on whether you want a mimosa or sangria- just get both.

 

2. Txokos

This place is everything you could ask for in a perfect brunch spot- live music, great food, $2 mimosas, and it has the added bonus of being connected to East End Market (which deserves a separate blog post on how awesome it is). When my husband and I first discovered Txokos, we had only been living in Orlando a few months. According to my GPS, it was only 1.2 miles from where we lived, so we decided to walk it and burn off some of the calories that we were going to consume. While the walk wasn’t terrible, I stick to biking to/from now on. 🙂 I’m pretty sure you won’t get a better mimosa for $2 and everything on their menu is unique and delicious. You should probably go ahead and go there this weekend if you don’t have plans yet.

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This is my happy place. 🙂

3. Osprey Tavern

I honestly don’t want to know how much of my monthly income has gone to this place since they opened in March of 2015. I remember when we first moved into our apartment we saw this place under construction and got so excited that it was less than a 2 minute walk from our front door. And even  when it was nothing more than dust and boxes inside, it looked like it was going to be an awesome place when it finally opened. And it certainly is. When they initially opened we were disappointed that they weren’t serving brunch right away, but fast forward to fall 2015 and our wish was granted! Fast forward again to present day and they do Saturday AND Sunday brunch. (Insert praise hands emoji here). All you really need to know about their brunch is: bottomless mimosas, oysters, and a pastry cart that comes around with every delicious bakery item you could ever imagine. Do yourself a favor and order 1 of each so you don’t have FOMO if you pick the wrong one.

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The pastry cart at Osprey Tavern!

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The most beautiful (delicious) salmon and toast from Osprey Tavern.

While these are my 3 favorite brunch picks in Orlando so far…I’ve got my eye on some places that I still need to try because I have heard GREAT things! Next up on my list of need to try brunch spots are:

The Pharmacy

Boca in Winter Park

Maxine’s on Shine

 

Tasty Tuesday- Taco Edition

If you know me at all, you know I love Mexican food and everything that comes with it. I appreciate it all, from the chips and guac, fajitas, quesadillas, the “healthy” taco salad in the delicious hard shell, and of course, tacos. I love them so much so that my husband and I got each other these for Valentine’s Day. Because nothing says I love you like pizza and taco themed shoes right?

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While I’d like to think our love for each other is stronger than anything, our love for delicious food is pretty close behind. So on this Tuesday evening, I dedicate this post to the top 3 places in Orlando that we go to for tacos…and then some. You’re welcome. 🙂

1. Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa

This place is dangerously close to our apartment…however the upside is that we can bike there to off set some of the calories that we consume. At first glance it’s easy to think that this place is just a barbecue joint, but I promise you it’s so much more. In fact, in the half dozen times that I’ve eaten there, I’ve ONLY gotten the tacos…because they are that good.

Pig Floyd's Urban Barbakoa - Orlando, FL, United States

Photo cred courtesy of a Yelper because I was always too hungry to wait and take a picture. 🙂

Wardlando’s Pick: The Chicken Al Pastor Taco and the Shrimp and Sausage Taco. Don’t forget to add a side of Yuca fries and local craft beer! Click here to drool.

2. Black Rooster Taqueria

This place is ALSO dangerously close to our apartment and directly across the street from Pig Floyd’s. So yes, that means you can go to both places and have a taste test competition. 🙂 The Black Rooster Taqueria caught my eye on Instagram as they tracked the progress of their construction prior to opening. Needless to say as soon as I saw they were open a few months ago, we made a visit. The place itself is pretty small, but the ambiance and vibe is really laid back and mellow, with some cool personal touches added in. Similar to Pig Floyd’s you order your food at the counter and then find a seat (if they aren’t all taken) to wait for your food.

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The view from the counter where you order your food.

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Yes, this post is about the tacos but this guac was my favorite part of the meal. 🙂

Wardlando’s Pick: Get the fresh guac, habanero salsa and any one of the 5 tacos on their menu.

3. Cocina 214

My husband and I stumbled upon Cocina 214 after an afternoon of wandering down Park Ave. in Winter Park. This place is  hidden back a little bit on a side street so you might miss it if you don’t know it’s there.They have a great outdoor patio space that is perfect to dine in pretty much year round. Again, I know this post is about tacos, and while the tacos are good…this place serves the BEST margarita I have ever had, in my life. (And I’ve had quite a few). I don’t know how they make this margarita, but it’s has the perfect balance of tart/sour, smooth frozen texture, and they are strong enough that you’ll feel fantastic after just one.

It doesn’t get much better than sitting on this patio drinking a 214 Margarita.

Wardlando’s pick: The bowl of queso, the brisket tacos, and the 214 margarita.

Until next time, adios amigos!

 

Coffee, chocolate, and pizza, oh my!

As my first official entry for my blog it seems only right that I talk about a place that houses pretty much all of my favorite things in the same building. Plant Street Market is a hidden gem that serves as home to over 12 small businesses inside, offering everything from coffee to pressed juice, farm to table meals and even a brewery. It’s about 25 minutes north of downtown Orlando. It’s been on my “to do list” for over a year now, but since I’m spoiled with so many fun things that are less than 5 miles away from my neighborhood, I always found a reason to talk myself out of the drive. But I can honestly tell you that the 25 minutes each way was well worth it when I discovered all that the market had to offer.
IMG_0275[1]                                                                  How cute is the outside, right?

IMG_0257[1]          What a fun concept for an indoor market! Everything you need under one roof.

Upon entering, I decided to start with coffee, because well, coffee. I pretty much start every day with coffee and I’ve alwasy been open to try everything from light roast to dark and bold. The place inside Plant Street Market is called Axum Coffee and they give away 100% off their profits to worthy causes. How could you not feel great about supporting a local business like that? I’m pretty boring when it comes to coffee because I usually just drink it black (All the caffeine plus 0 calories). I settled on the cold brew and it was delicious. Truth be told, when coffee is done right…as in fresh and full of flavor, there is no need for sugar or cream. If you’re thinking to yourself that what I just said is impossible, then you haven’t had the right coffee. 🙂

These 2 coffees were sitting on the counter when I was ordering so I had to take a picture.

IMG_0260[1]                Happy as can be with my cold brew ice coffee!

Next I moved on to to sample another one of my favorite things, chocolate. (Sidenote: washing a piece of dark bacon chocolate down with a cold brew is amazing.) The place is called David Ramirez Chocolates and they have everything from macaroons to salted caramel and every kind of chocolate you could imagine. Because I’m terrible at making decisions related to food, I settled on 3 pieces and split then with my husband. Is there anything better than chocolate for breakfast? Not in my world.

IMG_0266[1]     From left to right: chocolate with beer and bacon, salted caramel, and chocolate with bacon and peanut butter. Thankfully these were really small bites.

After wandering from one end of the building to the other, we arrived at Crooked Can Brewery. I love trying new, local breweries and this one was a pleasant surprise. I liked every beer that I tasted and would definitely go back again. Refer back a paragraph regarding my indecisiveness for food and know that it applies to adult beverages as well. Which is what makes getting a flight so perfect, you can try a little bit of everything. I stuck with a flight of their lighter beers, while my husband got the darker. After trying them all I have to say that my favorite was the Highstepper IPA, but the most surprising one was the Pineapple Cider. I’m not a huge cider fan, but their pineapple cider had just enough sweetness balanced with a crisp finish that made it a nice refreshing drink.

IMG_0267[1]       I’m pretty sure there’s not a bad choice on this beer list.

IMG_0274[1] By far the coolest flight holders I have seen at a brewery! Bonus points for the creativity.

Whoever came up with the concept of the Plant Street Market must have known the inner desires of my heart when they put a wood fire pizza place right next to Crooked Can. Naturally we finished the afternoon with some oven roasted wings and a cheese, basil and olive oil pizza. The place was called Michaels Ali  and they know their stuff. We enjoyed our lunch of pizza and wings while watching the Panthers run up a 14 point lead within just a few minutes of the game starting. I’ll leave you with a few pictures of our delicious food. Typing this just made me realize there are leftover slices in the fridge so I’m off to heat those up for dinner. Happy Sunday and thanks for reading! Check back soon for more posts.

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