Eating in Orlando Vol. 2
I've been shying away from writing directly about food lately for a lot of reasons. One being that I don't identify as a "food blogger". I claim no expertise, no culinary prowess, no foodie crown. I'm just a girl that loves food and wants to share all the options we have for those who may not know all that Orlando and the surrounding cities have to offer.
However, it's confusing to read articles raving about places where I've had terrible food and sub-par service and even more disheartening when money is spent based on a recommendation only to realize that your cold hard cash was wasted and you would have been better off staying at home and cooking for yourself.
There in lies the risk of listening to the myriads of "foodies" claiming they know best.
Regardless of the perils of getting sucked into the opinions of the food masses, I love eating new things and the adventure of trying a new place hoping for the best bang for my buck. So I write about my food-ventures here, not to tell you where go when you dine out or even where to avoid, but to share my experiences for better or for worse.
Here are a few things I've tried in the past few weeks.
Brunch at Osprey Tavern
I've had a love/hate relationship with Osprey Tavern. Ok, hate is a strong word. Maybe love/huh relationship is more applicable. While thankfully for me, the service has never been an issue, we continue to dance an awkward jig of inconsistent food that continued when I tried their brunch menu for the first time.
I had seen glorious pictures of their pastry cart that they wheel around the dining room, so I decided to start with a cinnamon bun. As you can tell from the picture below, it wasn't exactly the heavenly cloud of warm dough laced with gooey frosting that my eyes and mouth had anticipated. While it wasn't completely dry, it certainly was lackluster not only in looks but in the texture. Considering how amazing store bought Pillsbury rolls are for a much cheaper price, and that this sad swirl cost me five bucks, it was probably one of the more significant bun bummers of my life.
For my meal I ordered the Candian Bacon Benedict. Served on an English muffin, there honestly wasn't anything terrible about this dish except for the tomato jam that accompanied it on top of the muffin. The flavor didn't mix well at all with the rest of the dish as it was far too sweet and ended up being really overpowering. I found myself scraping it off and wishing there had been a much milder and more savory addition, like avocado instead. The price for this dish was fifteen dollars, and I can't lie, that hurt a little for not loving it.
The bright spot was our server, Kelsey, so I was content to feel well taken care of as we both sang the Tears for Fears that was playing in the restaurant, even though I could definitely bang out a better and less costly brunch at home.
I don't venture out to the burbs of Lake Mary very often, but F&D Kitchen & Bar has been open for awhile and I thought it was time to check it out.
Tantalized by their brunch menu I had my selections all ready, but what I failed to do was call and make sure brunch was served on Saturdays. Well it's not. On the drive there I scanned their website and didn't see a clear indicator. I also checked their Instagram feed and still had no affirmative answer on when Brunch was served. Later I found it's hidden under the reservation page, which I would never click on unless I was making a reservation. But hey, that's my bad for not checking. You know what they say happens when you assume...you won't be eating waffles.
We were not welcomed very warmly at the door to a mostly empty restaurant so I personally wanted to leave, but my husband quickly ordered a beer so I stuck it out.
After our water and beer had been delivered by someone else it took our server ten minutes to visit us again. At that point I decided if my service was going to be bad, more than likely so was my meal, so I ordered a simple soup and salad, and my husband ordered their Cuban sandwich.Our food was later delivered by someone else, followed almost immediately by our server who put the check on our table before we had taken our first bite. He used the line that all servers use when they want to cash out and escape the restaurant but can't be out-rightly rude at the risk of losing their tip. "No rush". Well, you can't serve an ex-server and think you slick, and since he never came back to check on our meals, I knew he didn't actually care at all about his level of service.
The food was nothing to really mention. I took a bite of my husband's Cuban and it wasn't my style. The pulled pork tasted like it had a sweet BBQ sauce on it which boggled my mind, but hey, to each their own right?
If you live in Lake Mary I'm sure you could go get a decent meal here and potentially even better service than I received, but I doubt I will be making the journey back to see if this was a fluke visit.
I'm no expert when it comes to Korean Food, but I can tell you that I really love Bibimbap (BEE-beem-bop). It's a pretty popular dish in Korean cuisine and consists of steamed rice, vegetables (spinach, bean sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, lettuce) and of course the fried egg.
I went there twice in one week for this dish, that could only be better with a little more flavor. Next time I might bring my own sauce. (Beyonce is right. Leave that hot sauce in your bag.)
Getting it served in the hot stone bowl is fun as it sizzles in front of you for the duration of your meal as you mix your vegetables and rice around.
I visited the location on E. Colonial where the service was fast and friendly and my filling meal was $12.99.
Lineage Coffee Vegan Cold Brew White
I finally got to try this liquid gold and it's as amazing as everyone is saying.
It's so rich and creamy, ewith a hint of coconut. I'll never look at Almond milk the same way again. It's almost milder on my digestive system which is a huge win!
The first sip hits you with such euphoria that you close your eyes for a moment and just take in every light sweet swish in your mouth.
Ok, maybe that's just me, but I love it and I want to buy it by the case. Lineage is back at it again with the BEST bottled cold brew.
I've said it before, and I hope to never stop saying it. The Strand is one of my favorite places to eat in Orlando.
After more than a dozen visits, it's never done me wrong. It's the best friend that's loyal and true over time, always giving you their best, and just so happens to make delicious meals for you consistently.
My last trip started with fried green tomatoes with poached shrimp, and a fresh Florida strawberry salad with baby kale, English cheddar, spiced walnuts, and a bacon-shallot vinaigrette. Both delicious with a lot of flavor. I could ideally eat that salad daily.
My friend and I split the always consistent go-to Strand burger, and then we finished with the beautiful Strawberry Shortcake. Their house made biscuit was the hero (which you can also find during their brunch) along with whipped cream custard and lemon pepper syrup.
The Strand is everything I love about a great food experience. It's not pretentious, it's solid & dependable while still changing with the season, and the ingredients are fresh and locally sourced.