Eating in Orlando Vol. 10
If your morning commute includes the stretch of OBT around Lockhart, chances are you've seen a stand alone coffee cart on the side of the road between Mott Avenue and Corona Drive.
The owners are husband and wife team Matt and April Guldi. They are serious coffee lovers and have begun their dream to one day open up a coffee shop by starting with their mobile cart that every weekday (weather permitting) sits off of OBT in the morning from 7:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Not only has every coffee I've gotten from them been wonderful (the first was a delicious butter latte), but I've accidentally ended up staying probably too long speaking with them about food, Marvel movies, the evil of GMO and toxins in our lives, and much more. They are an incredibly sweet and hospitable couple.
They've recently re-branded their business to Cups and Pups, since their eventual goal is to have a shop that is welcoming to four-legged friends.
They have been showing up at other locations around town, so make sure to follow them @cupsandpupscoffee on Instagram to see where the head.
My first experience at Domu when they first opened back in November of 2016 was a mixed bag of emotions. I loved so much about it. I loved the music, the drinks, the decor, and those glistening, crunchy, finger-licking KFC wings. However, when it came to the ramen, I wasn't in love. Since my last visit, Domu has exploded into a widely popular spot where the wait times are long and the press both local and national has given it many accolades.
I knew I needed to go back, but grandma soul that I am I kept hesitating, not wanting the deal with the crowds. I finally made it back recently and made sure to be prepared to wait. I showed up right at five o'clock to an already packed bar area. Thankfully we were 13th in line to dine which got us sat in the first round of seating around 5:40 p.m., which to me wasn't a big deal with good friends in tow for conversation and a bar steps away.
For starters our table of course got the wings (just as good as I remembered) and the Cheezus, another starter I would highly recommend. Honestly, Cheezus could permanently replace Mac & Cheese in my life. Everyone should have a dish this filled with cheesy goodness minus the pasta.
Instead of trying ramen again I had been noticing a few broth-less dishes that piqued my interest. I ordered the New Japan Mazeman ($13) and out came a full bowl of their house made noodles with black garlic oil, scallions, Japanese beech mushrooms, kikurage (mushroom) Chashu ends (pork) and Ontama (egg). I really loved this dish. The texture of the noodles were perfect, not to soft, and the black garlic oil and Kewpie mayo gave it a really rich texture.
I got one specialty cocktail to enjoy with my meal, the Naked and Afraid, which has Vica mezcal, yellow chartreuse, velvet falernum, lime, and activated charcoal. The liqueurs in the drink give it a really mild sweet taste that isn't overly saccharin which is also balanced with a bit of tang from the lime and a hint of muted grit from the activated charcoal. It was a great drink that didn't compete with the flavors of my dish as I sipped on it throughout the meal.
Two others in my party got ramen, and one got the Chuka, a cold broth-less ramen. Everyone was in agreement that they loved their dishes and left extremely full and satisfied.
If you haven't gotten a chance to go, I would just recommend to anyone to go early, ideally for a dinner seating before 5:00 p.m. to secure a seat in the first round of tables that get sat when they open at 5:30 p.m. Don't go starving because you will get hangry while you wait. Once your name is on the list you can grab a drink or go walk around the market if it's still open to kill time.
Apopka residents all share the same complaint. There is nowhere nearby to eat except for a few chain restaurants and a lot of fast food. Slowly, new locally owned restaurants have begun to emerge, one being Calle 3 which has been open for over a month now. On my visit I tried two tacos, elote, a fruit salad and the churros.
The fruit salad was a mixture of watermelon, cucumber, jicama, with chile seasoning. I personally added a little salt to my watermelon (something I normally do) and overall it made for a really refreshing appetizer or side dish in addition to the warm tortilla chips that they gave our table.
I got a fried fish taco and one asada taco. The asada didn't blow me away but I really liked my fish taco. Lightly battered and fried to a nice crisp with nice accompanying flavor from their sauces. I regret not having ordered another one.
The elote was served nice and hot, so be careful with your first bite, but the smathering of cojita and seasonings were on point.
Overall, the food was pretty solid especially for a newly opened spot. If you are an Apopka resident it's worth a try.
I walked into Kai Asian Street Fare unaware that they were still in their soft opening. From a food standpoint, nothing about it said they were in the opening phases. I ordered a few different dishes to try but I'd say the tacos were my favorite. I love flavorful tacos that have a nice blend of ingredients and that's exactly what I got with the Dude where's my Ca tacos and Shrimpnado tacos.
The K-Pop and Lock fries are a great shareable side or appetizer loaded with Korean marinated beef (bulgogi) topped with kimchi and spicy mayo. The fries reminded me of the same texture of Checkers fries minus the seasoning, which to me was important to have a heaping of extra crispy fries to support the toppings.
Even the Legendary Noodles, which seemed like a pretty simple dish of garlic noodles with shrimp were solid. The only thing I didn't get to try that I wanted to check out were the Korean Style Crispy Wings, which I will definitely be back for after a thoroughly solid meal.
I'm all for more food available in gas stations because it gives me a nice break from my gas station eating being confined to Wawa. Over in Altamonte Springs you can find a roti shop inside the Citgo station at the corner of SR 436 and Academy Drive (near Hoovers). You have a few different options including lamb and eggplant that can be served with a very generous heaping of soft and pillowy roti. I opted for the lamb and potatoes which had a nice flavor but I was hoping for a bit more kick. I wasn't stingy in the use of my roti while eating my lamb and I still had some left over. You absolutely get a good bang for your buck here, as two dinners and drinks totaled $18.
From a functionality stand point, you can take your food to-go, but there are also a few tables inside for dine-in. Also to note, you order at the counter and you are served, but you pay at the normal station check out.
Another new spot to open in Apopka is Fancy Q Thai & Sushi. It sits within often passed without notice shopping center off of Orange Blossom Trail right near the 451 that is home to a Harbor Freight Tools and also recently a Tijuana Flats. From the outside it has blacked out windows with nothing to really draw you in or notice it, but once you enter it's well...kind of fancy. It's very dark with purple, green, and blue mood lighting, brick accents and a sushi bar.
We got a free Miso soup upon sitting down which was a nice touch to enjoy while we reviewed the large menu. They serve both Japanese & Thai Food here, so chances are you will find something you like from one of the cuisine options. While I love sushi I wanted to try something really simple on my first trip so both my friend and I ordered sushi lunch specials. Six pieces of sushi and California roll for $11.95 with a soup or salad. I also threw in an order of vegetable tempura. While my order was very simplistic, everything I had was good and the service was great as well. Next time I'll up the ante and be a little more adventurous, but I'm sure Apopka locals are going to be thrilled to have this an option over three Taco Bells.
All photos belong to LemonHearted Creative with the exception of the interior shot of Fancy Q. All food and drink was paid for by me, no restaurants asked to be featured, and this is not a sponsored post for any establishment mentioned.