Winter Garden Farmer's Market

I'm not out by Winter Garden too much. When my oldest daughter is playing softball out this way I come to watch her and try to do a little exploring in the area at the same time. I had been looking forward to checking out the Winter Garden Farmer's Market for some time, so I was happy when the timing to visit the market finally worked out for me.

Winter Garden Farmer's Market

Since we've moved down here I've been to a handful of farmer's markets in the area. I enjoy each one for their own uniqueness. When I walked up to the market in Winter Garden I was quite surprised at the size and the setup. The Winter Garden Farmers Market is set up quite nicely in the heart of this charming town. There is plenty of space for all of the vendors, and you will find a lot across the street for parking.

Hot Krust Panini Kitchen

I enjoy sandwiches, and the more creative the better. If were going out for a bite I want to get a sandwich I probably wouldn't make at home. I have found that I can enjoy a tasty creative panini sandwich at Hot Krust Panini Kitchen. 

Hot Krust Panini Restaurant in Orlando
My first visit to Hot Krust was during a Yelp Elite event.  Evan the owner had graciously opened up his restaurant for us to sample so many of his wonder panini creations. I love a great panini and he overwhelmed me with so many tasty sandwiches to choose from. We got to sample so many sandwiches that I lost track of them. I have to say that I enjoyed every one of them.  One of the items that blew me away that night was the Baked Sweet Potato Waffle Fries. These were amazing; I couldn't believe that they were baked and not fried as they were nice and crisp.

Orlando Itineraries ~ Sunday Around Lake Eola Park

One of my favorite times to enjoy Downtown Orlando is on a Sunday. The business traffic is gone and there's a nice relaxed vibe going on.

A tasty way to start the day is with brunch at one of the many local eateries.  I've enjoyed brunch at Dexter's, 310 Lakeside and Sonoma Draught House.

1. Brunch
Brunch at Dexter's Thornton Park

Five Spots to Enjoy Running in Orlando

Orlando has a number of parks and trails where one can keep active.  I have five favorites that are close to me.  *Click for more info.
*Blanchard Park
Blanchard Park in Orlando

Tip-The views of the Little Econ River are quite nice. Watch out for gators in the spring.

Rocket Fizz Winter Park

If you enjoy candy or soda you are in for a treat. Rocket Fizz is an overload of sugar delights. While I prefer chocolates to candy and beer to soda I can't help stopping in when I'm wandering along Park Avenue.
Rocket Fizz Winter Park

This candy store is a true visual delight. I suggest going slow as you explore the store. There are so many choices that you may miss some very cool finds. There are some oldies, but goodies in here along with some unique treats as well. The items are priced for their uniqueness, but you're bound to find something that will leave you happy that doesn't have to cost a lot.

Fall Fun on the Cheap at Walt Disney World

Halloween is next week, so this is your last weekend to get your seasonal fix. While we can't feel the change of seasons in the air and we're lacking apple orchards there are some fun and inexpensive ways to enjoy fall in Orlando.

One of our family favorites is to head to Walt Disney World.  Sure you can enjoy all the fall decorations on Main Street, but there are cheaper ways to get into the holiday spirit while visiting Walt Disney World.
The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in the Fall

Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie

I love eating and drinking my way around World Showcase over at Epcot. I enjoy the sights and sounds of each county, I always feel that I have magically been transported to that country.  

One of my favorite countries to wander about is France. It's beautiful with the fountain and the French music playing. While I've enjoyed dining at all of the eateries here in the French Pavilion, my favorite is the Boulangerie Patisserie located in Les Halles.
 Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie
Wander past the seating area and boutique, there you will find cases filled with French goodies. On our recent visits, we stopped for lunch with our kids. These picky teens had no problem finding sandwiches to enjoy.
 Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie

 Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie sandwiches

 Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie

 Desserts at Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie

We went with a couple of cold sandwiches served on a demi baguette. Since we were in France I had to get a glass of chardonnay to enjoy with my lunch.

We also got a Chocolate Cream Éclair for dessert; while it was tasty it did not wow me. That's all right, there are plenty of other treats to choose from.
 Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie sandwich
Jambon Beuree
Our next visit was for a light bite. We had stopped in Germany where we enjoyed a pretzel and some beer, so now we wanted some cheese and wine. We through in a baguette and had a nice meal all for about $20. I enjoyed the cheese offerings and together it all tasted wonderful. Sitting in the courtyard may have had an impact as well!
 Cheese Plate & Baguette Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie
Baguette & Fromages
My favorite time to enjoy eating at the Boulangerie Patisserie is early in the morning when Epcot first opens. While World Showcase doesn't open until 11 am you can come over to France and get a pastry and coffee before the rest of the park opens.

I enjoy it because it is so peaceful in the morning. Plus starting out your day with a croissant and coffee in France is wonderful.

I enjoyed my Chocolate Croissant very much; thought the coffee wasn't as great as I'd hope.

Whether it is for breakfast, lunch or dinner I'm sure you will find the food at Boulangerie Patisserie as wonderful as it looks. If the weather is nice enjoy your meal outside where you can feel as if you are enjoying a meal in a Parisian neighborhood.

*November 2013 visit
 Coffee & Croissant at Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie
Coffee & Chocolate Croissant
*June 2014

 French Desserts at Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie

Cheese, baguette & wine at Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie
Imported Cheese Plate ~ Baguette ~ Bordeaux

Bem Bom Food Truck

I will never forget how tasty my first meal from Bem Bom was. Bryan and I were at Zombietoberfest 2012 and Bem Bom was one of the food trucks serving up some local food truck fare.  I enjoy getting food from the trucks, but I prefer to do it in a setting where I can find a place to sit and enjoy a craft beer with my meal. Events that combine the two are a perfect way for me to come out and see what's on the menu.
Bem Bom Food Truck
Bem Bom Food Truck

For our first visit, we got two different types of tacos. Both were amazing with the way the meats and the toppings came together. I've had issues with good food being covered up with bad garnishments, but this wasn't the case. Everything tasted fresh and came together with full flavor. This was some of the best food I had enjoyed from a food truck. A nice bonus that night was being able to enjoy the food inside Redlight Red Light.



Fish Tacos from Bem Bom Food Truck
Mango Fish

Our next visit with Bem Bom was over in the Milk District during a Tasty Tuesdays. We enjoyed the Carnitas Taco so much the first visit that we got another order. We got a side of Nachos as well. The Nachos were a special that day. They were good too, but the sauce had a bit of a kick to it; stepping it up a notch from what I'm used to. I like it, it was just something I wasn't expecting.
Nachos at Bem Bom Food Truck in Orlando
Nachos
This last visit to Bem Bom brought us back to Audubon Park for Zombietoberfest 2013. This time, Bryan went with the Piri-Piri Chicken Prego. This sandwich was delicious with a nice zip to it; the heat was there, but it wasn't overwhelming. The garnish was fresh and really made the sandwich a great dish. It was topped off with a refreshing Mexican Coke.
Piri-Piri Chicken Prego  Bom Food Truck in Orlando
Piri-Piri Chicken Prego
If you're looking for some great food truck eats check out Bem Bom's schedule on his website. They have a nice events calendar so you know where and when you can find them in Central Florida.  

I look forward to stopping by the truck again when it's their turn at the next Tasty Tuesdays.
Bem Bom Food Truck tacos
Tacos from Bem Bom Food Truck


Jake's Beer Festival at Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Our Lady Crafters had a great time at Jake's Inaugural Beer Festival held over at Loews Royal Pacific Resort this past weekend. The festival was an extension from the monthly craft beer dinners that take place at Jake's American Bar located in the resort.
Jake's Beer Festival Loew's Royal Pacific Resort Universal Orlando

The festival took place outside on the beautiful grounds where the weekly Wantilan Luau takes place at the resort. There were food and beverage stations scattered about, allowing a nice flow for the guests. When I first got there I made my rounds just to take in all that was offered.

Hawkers Asian Street Fare

Mills 50 is an eclectic neighborhood in Orlando; it's fun area to do a little exploring and check out the local shops and eateries. Hawkers is one of the spots I enjoy visiting when I'm in the neighborhood.  Hawkers Asian Street Fare is somewhat new to the restaurant scene. They opened their doors shorty after we moved to town in the spring of 2011.
Hawkers Asian Street Fare
While there is street parking on Mills they also have a lot as well. I like the look and feel of the restaurant. The outside is Asian and the inside is a bit industrial with the shiny metallic walls. Along with indoor dinning there is a nice patio on the side.

Il Pescatore Orlando

Our family had dinner at Il Pescatore last fall and we really enjoyed ourselves. The food was delicious and the atmosphere reminded us of being back in Philly; it had that Northeast charm about it. For how much we enjoyed it, I can't believe it took us so long to get back and enjoy another meal here.
Il Pescatore Restaurant in Orlando
This time, around it was just Bryan and me on a date, so to say. We were in the area and got to Il Pescatore a bit early for a Saturday night. While it was around 5 pm there were a number of folks enjoying their meal and the staff was setting up for two large groups.

I'm not sure how long the restaurant has been here since I've only lived in Orlando a couple of years, but you get a feel that it has been around for some time. It has that lived in local look about the place that makes it a bit charming. I got a sense that a number of the customers that evening are regulars; I love places like that.

We didn't have the kids, this time, to help us eat a bunch of food.  Last time I ordered the Pollo Al Parmigiana and loved it, so I knew this time around I had to get it again. We got pizza and a Caesar Salad last visit and enjoyed those as well.  

The entrées are all served with a dinner salad, garlic bread and a side of pasta marinara. That is a lot of food for the two of us, so instead of ordering another entrée we got antipasti of Mozzarella Fritta.
Mozzarella Fritta  Il Pescatore Orlando
Mozzarella Fritta
The Mozzarella Fritta was delicious; I enjoyed the breading and the sauce was perfect. The salad was your average dinner salad, it was tasty and I enjoyed the ranch dressing. The garlic bread is good and they gave us another loaf once we finished our first.
Dinner Salad and garlic bread at  Il Pescatore Orlando
Dinner Salad & Garlic Bread
I enjoyed the Pollo Al Parmigiana again. I love the homemade marinara sauce it's simple yet flavorful. I do hope the next visit to branch out a bit and try a Pasta Entrée.
 Pollo Al Parmigiana
 Pollo Al Parmigiana
Il Pescatore is a great local Italian eatery. I think you can enjoy it best when you come with a group so you can sample many entrées. I do wish the dishes had the option of family style. My only complaint is the $2 charge for sharing items, as I think when you come to a place like this you want to share your food.  

Il Pescatore is a popular place among locals; good eats in a simple setting with friendly service is what keeps them coming back.
 Il Pescatore Orlando

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Round One

Bryan and I headed out to Epcot for opening day of the Food & Wine FestivalWe met up with our friends Marvin at Foodbidden and his wife Tara. We were there to do a "little" eating around the World.  It's always fun eating with Marvin; he loves trying new things and we have to sample everything! Tara's parents joined in on the fun too. Our group's motto was "sharing is caring", so we all ate and drank a lot!

With our Marketplace Discovery Passports in hand we headed out on our eating and drinking adventure. Many of the booths are close to each other, so often we would split up with someone getting food from a few booths at the same time then we would meet up and sample the bites.  I didn't try anything at the Terra booth, which was stop number one. The line was long and nothing on that menu interested me.
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World

Tusker House Restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Bryan and I enjoy spending time at Disney's Animal Kingdom; I love this theme park! I know it's not a favorite for many, but I enjoy the laid back feel and I find it to be quite a visual delight.

My favorite time to visit Animal Kingdom is in the late afternoon when folks start streaming out after the parade. Because we find ourselves visiting this time of day we are always looking at options for dinner in the park. During one of our visits we had family in town and we thought we'd see if we could get a last minute table at the Tusker House.


As luck would have it we only had about a five-minute wait until we were seated. The restaurant wasn't busy at all, so it was nice to be able to take in the African themed decor.
Tusker House Restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Tusker House is a buffet with African flavors though you will find some options on the buffet for picky eaters. The buffet will cost around $33 and includes your usual soda options. I'm usually not one who goes for buffets, especially at Walt Disney World. Our family has done many over the years, but once they implemented the dining plan and our kids got older I just wasn't interested in spending the money on them.

Tangierine Café in Epcot

Epcot is my favorite place to eat while at Walt Disney World. There are so many choices with sit down restaurants, counter service, and food carts. I prefer enjoying a meal at one of the many counter service options. This is an inexpensive way to enjoy dining at Disney. One of our favorite counter service spots is the Tangierine Café located in the Morocco Pavilion.
Dining at Walt Disney World ~ Tangierine Café in Epcot

You can get a lot of bang for your buck here. Bryan and I will split meals here all the time and I feel that it is plenty of food. Our meal of choice has been the Chicken & Lamb Platter. Everything is tasty and the meats are flavored so nice.

Cocoa Beach Brewing Company

Bryan and I enjoyed a day trip out to Cocoa Beach where we enjoyed a little sand and sun.  I love my craft beer, so I knew if we were going to Cocoa Beach we had to check out the Cocoa Beach Brewing Company.

Cocoa Beach Brewing Company is a microbrewery located in the heart of Cocoa Beach is just a short walk from the beach on Atlantic Avenue.  The brewery has a bit of a history as it resides in a former Navy house from the 1930's.  The historic charm of the bungalow adds to the uniqueness of the brewery.
Cocoa Beach Brewing Company Cocoa Beach Florida

Since it was a hot day out on the beach we were looking forward to relaxing with a fresh cold beer.  Nothing beats getting it straight from the source.

Mizner's Lounge at Disney's Grand Floridian

Mizner's Lounge which is located in the lobby of Disney's Grand Floridian is my favorite Walt Disney World monorail resort lounge.  I like that Mizner's is removed and not part of all the hustle and bustle from the lobby below.  I find it to be romantic with it being a bit dark and secluded. 
Mizner's Lounge at Disney's Grand Floridian
We picked Mizner's Lounge to come enjoy a drink and listen to The Grand Floridian Orchestra Society. The lounge has a number of different seating configurations; a few chairs grouped together or a spot at the bar.  The bar has about eight chairs and is a nice spot to watch the game on TV. 

Happy Hour at Mitchell's Fish Market Seafood Restaurant & Bar in Winter Park Village

Bryan & I checked out Mitchell's Fish Market in Winter Park Village for their weekly Happy Hour. We sat at the outdoor bar and enjoyed some tasty eats and cocktails. Bryan had a nice view of the PGA Championship while I enjoyed the live jazz on the patio. Service was supurb. A great happy hour worth checking out.
Happy Hour at Mitchell's Fish Market Seafood Restaurant & Bar
Bryan enjoyed the $3 beer specials while I took advantage of the $5 cocktails. The Moscato White Sangria was delicious and refreshing to drink on the patio. The Basil Smash was just a tasty concoction with Jim Beam Whiskey and smashed basil. The Orange, cherry and fresh squeezed lemon juice compliment the drink.

Happy Hour at Marlow's Tavern in Winter Park

I stopped by Marlow's Tavern in Winter Park for a Yelp event last night. I've enjoyed a visit to Marlow's Tavern down at Pointe Orlando, so I was looking forward to checking out their new digs closer to home.

Who would've known that a transformation from a McDonalds to a Tavern could look so cool?  I was quite impressed with the interior and the layout of the restaurant.  Our group enjoyed mingling on the enclosed patio.  When the weather cools down they will be able to swing open the windows.

We munched on a number of tasty appetizers with my favorites being the J.T. Kettle Chips and the Hawaiian Flatbread. Though the Asparagus Fries are pretty tasty too!  For my drink I enjoyed a Grapefruit Ricky; this was a refreshing cocktail for the summer.
Marlow's Tavern in Winter Park Florida

Check out Marlow's for Happy Hour when they have drink specials from 3pm-6m.  The time it, so you can enjoy the live entertainment that takes place at 7 pm Thursday - Saturday.

ESPN Wide World of Sports & Wide World of Sports Grill

My oldest daughter Miranda was participating in the USSSA Softball Tournament that's taking place over at ESPN Wide World of Sports this week. I was looking forward to this tournament since I had never been to the ESPN sporting complex.
ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World

I couldn't believe the size of Wide World of Sports. I made use of the $16 admission and wandered around taking in all of the sights.

The Gnarly Barley Bites & Brews

I have some friends who have been enjoying eating and drinking at The Gnarly Barley for a while, so I thought it was about time to finally check out this local hot spot. 
The Gnarly Barley in Orlando
The Gnarly Barley
Bryan and I made a visit to the Florida Mall and since I'm not a fan of the dining scene over there we took a five-minute drive over to S. Orange Ave and made our way to the Gnarly Barely.
The Gnarly Barley in Orlando
The Gnarly Barley
This local eatery is a bit small and while the seating is limited inside, outside you will find about a dozen tables. 

I always appreciate when you can find a restaurant with a great selection of craft beers. 
The Gnarly Barley in Orlando
Beer Menu
There are a number of tasty options on the menu. We decided to split the Johnny Mac and Cheese sandwich with a side of Potato Salad. 
The Gnarly Barley in Orlando
Johnny Mac & Cheese
The Gnarly Barley in Orlando
Potato Salad
This roast beef sandwich topped with mac and cheese was delicious as was the salad. 

The next time I stopped by the Gnarly Barley I was with my Orlando Lady Crafters. This time, I was torn between getting what I enjoyed last time or trying something new. I went with a half of the Great Grilled Cheese and a side of Tomato Soup. It was the perfect combo for a rainy night. 
The Gnarly Barley in Orlando
Great Grille Cheese & Tomato Soup
While the food at the Gnarly Barley is worth the draw alone, the craft beer selection makes it an even sweeter spot. Check out their Facebook Page to keep up with Tap Takeovers and nightly specials. 
The Gnarly Barley in Orlando
Beer at the Gnarly Barley
Cheers to craft beer and tasty local eats!

~May 2014
Buffalo Chicken Sub at the Gnarly Barley
Buffalo Chicken Sub

Craft Beer at the Gnarly Barley Bites & Brews
Craft Beer at The Gnarly Barley

Donut King in Minneola Florida

I've been trying to visit the Donut King out in Minneola for a while. I had heard about these amazing donuts and seen pictures that were drool worthy.

Walking into the store and seeing all these donuts was a bit of a shocker. I had never seen so many varieties!
Donut King Clermont , donuits

Donut King Clermont , donut

Donut King Clermont , donuts

Donut King Clermont , donuts

All of these tasty looking treats and I could only choose just one since I was going to an afternoon softball tournament afterwards and these baked goodies would've been a melted mess. Now the pressure was on because I had to find the right donut. I asked questions, I vacillated for a bit then finally found the chosen one.
Donut King Clermont , donut

While this donut has a name I can only remember it as a taste of heaven. This chocolate glazed cream filled delight was one of the best donuts I have ever eaten.  Perhaps it was a blessing that I could only get just one, because I'm afraid if I got any more gluttony would have consumed me and I'd eat them all in one sitting. 

Now that I've found where these popular donuts are housed I look forward to when my daughter has softball tournaments out this way so I can indulge in some tasty treats.