Tuesday, October 28, 2014

King of Falafel

My friends (who I trust on where to dine) have been telling me about King of Falafel in Kissimmee and I finally got time to meet them there for lunch.
Because of their praise I knew it was going to be good, however I did not expect it to be this good!
Turns out this place (located in a small strip mall – if you blink you might miss it) has been opened since 2009 and has gained all of its business by word of mouth and great customer reviews.

We walked in, grabbed a seat and were greeted by their very friendly staff who took our order.

We started off with a dozen Falafel
(Crushed Chick peas mixed with parsley, spices and fried in vegetable oil, served with tahini sauce $5.99)

I must say that I have had a lot of Falafel in my day, and this was probably the tastiest I have ever had.
The outside was super-crispy, and the inside was fresh and packed with flavor.

Now to drink they have what is labeled as “Tamarindo” and it is a self-serve (yay-free refills) Tamarind-flavored juice/drink. I’m sure it is not for everyone’s palette but I loved it and found it quite addicting.

Now most of the entrees come with your choice of Soup.
I had the Harira.
(Moroccan style soup with tomato base mixed with celery, lentils, cilantro, parsley, spices and chick peas)
I also found this to be really flavorful, with just the right amount of spice.

Then my Vegetarian Plate arrived.
(Hummus, Babaghanouj, Tabouleh, Falafel and stuffed Grape Leaves $9.49)
I really enjoyed the freshness of everything. The Falafel was indeed my favorite so I am very glad that we had the appetizer, because the two on this plate wouldn’t have been enough.

A basket of Pita was also served on the side.

My friend ordered the Chicken Ticka.
(Chunks of marinated chicken and a spicy hot blend charbroiled to perfection, served with rice and roasted vegetables $9.99)
I had a bite and although it was a little too spicy for my tastes I still thought it was pretty good.

Then for dessert I had two Baklavas, one Pistachio and one Walnut.
They were perfectly cooked and just sweet enough. Both were good but I preferred the Pistachio over the Walnut.

I am very excited to return to King of Falafel, I just wish they were closer to where I live.

King O Falafel on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Leaky Cauldron - Universal Studios

Universal Studios recently opened up Diagon Alley with new Harry Potter themed attractions so you know that meant they also had to open up new dining options as well.
Leaky Cauldron is their latest restaurant offering fast casual options.

First off you go up to the counter and place your order.

Then you are seated and your food is brought out to you.

I decided to drink I would get the Lemon Squash ($4.79)
It was pretty good, but was really just a glorified lemonade.
Damn those theme park prices!

For my meal I ordered the Cottage Pie Platter ($11.99)

This is a Sheppard’s Pie with a Side Salad. For a massed produced Sheppard’s Pie it actually tasted quite good. I always hate eating off of plastic utensils but that was my biggest complaint about the dish itself. The Salad was basic field greens, with a roasted tomato and a packet of Ken’s Salad Dressing. There was nothing special about the Salad, but it was a nice alternative to greasy fries.

Theme Parks make a fortune on their food. In most cases the food is awful and the prices are high. Although it is not exactly what I would call cheap I will say that at least the Leaky Cauldron’s food tasted pretty good.

Leaky Cauldron on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe

Located in the heart of the very charming downtown Sanford stands Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café.

You will know it when you see it because where any of the other restaurants in this area might have a busy time, but Hollerbach’s has always got a good crowd.
Originally it was just the Willow Tree Café and from what I understand it was just plain old American Food, but then when they added the “Hollerbach’s” and changed it to German Cuisine business really took off causing them to expand into the adjoining store fronts and now they even have a store around the corner that sells beer and baked goods.

Hollerbach’s always has raving reviews and has won tons of awards year after year.

On certain nights they have a live band, and if you wish to dine at a peek time I would suggest that you make a reservation.

They brought out (2 kinds of) Bread and Butter and then took our order.

Although I am not a Beer drinker, several in my party were and believe me they have quite a selection!

I ordered my favorite thing on their menu (as I have been there many times).
Jager Schnitzel (pounded out, breaded chicken breast, topped with sautéed onions and mushrooms and glazed in a rich pan sauce, served with 2 sides $17.99)
For my sides I got the Gurkensalat (Julienned cucumbers tossed in a dressing made of sour cream and herbs) and Potato Dumplings (with crouton centers covered in Rahm Gravy)
The Cucumber Salad is always my favorite, but I think next time I will go back to the Potato Pancakes as my other side. The Potato dumplings were not bad but just a little “Blah”.
Now I need to stress that this photo does not do justice to how much food this was.
I ended up only being able to finish about half, which meant I got to take home a nice amount of leftovers, which was my lunch the next day.

There were four of us and one ordered the same as me, but in addition we had an order of Hungarian Beef Goulash
(Beef with sautéed onions, garlic, potatoes and bell pepper with a freshly prepared paprika blend, enhancing the astonishing flavor $12.89)
This was also a huge serving with plenty to take home.

And the Two Sausage (Weisswurst) plate with a double order of Spatzle (homemade egg noodles) with Rahm Gravy $10.99.
This is also another favorite of ours when we go to Hollerbach’s.

They also have a large assortment of decadent Desserts to choose from, however we were so full we didn’t have room for any.

So if you are a fan of German Cuisine, or just ready to try something authentic that the locals swear by, then be sure to check this place out.
You’ll be glad you did!

Hollerbach's Willow Tree Café on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 20, 2014

Terra Mia Wine Bar and Trattoria

So for my birthday lunch we went to Terra Mia in Longwood (Altamonte Springs really).
Now they also have a location in Lake Mary (which seems to be more of a Pizza place) but this location seems to be more of a Wine Bar and more of an overall Italian restaurant.

Nestled in a small plaza on Douglas at the corner of 434 is Terra Mia Wine Bar and Trattoria.
Once you walk in there is a large bar in front of you (which is the focus of the restaurant) and there is seating off to both sides (plus some outdoor seating as well).

We were late in the afternoon and it was pretty much the two of us, our server and the rest of the kitchen staff, most of whom were eating their lunch.

Drinks and Bread were brought out and we placed our appetizer order.
We opted for the Burrata con Insalata Di Pomodoro.
(Homemade mozzarella ball with creamy interior served with roma tomatoes and fresh basil $10.95)

The presentation of this dish was really nice and it was so fresh.
And they were not lying about that creamy interior of the cheese.
Really tasty

Now for our entrees she listed the specials of the day and they sounded great so we each ordered one.
We had the Pasta of the Day, which had Chicken and Mushrooms and Marinara,
and also the Stuffed Eggplant.

Both entrees were supposed to come with our choice of Soup or Salad.
Our server failed to ask us which we wanted and she also failed to bring either of them out.
I’m assuming she just forgot.
We didn’t complain because the appetizer and the two entrees were all very good and we really didn’t need any more.

Our bill was just over $40, and we were both satisfied with the fresh food.
Although there are many Italian restaurants out there that I really enjoy I do feel like Terra Mia has an above average quality to their food.
If you are in that area you might want to give it a try.

Terramia Wine Bar & Trattoria on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

OakWood Smokehouse

My parents live in Lake County and their favorite restaurant to dine at is OakWood Smokehouse and Grill.
On a recent visit they decided to take me there to show me their favorite BBQ.

First off when you walk in you realize that you are definitely in Lake County.
The walls are covered with “Hunting” and “Fishing” photos, and there is a stuffed animal (Taxidermy) in every possible nook or cranny.

I know several people that would be completely turned off by this and would probably turn around and leave, but once again I say, “This is Lake County!” LOL

Now on the Food Review.

We started with Fried Pickles ($5.99)
They were extremely hot when brought to the table, but once we let them cool a little they were crispy and flavorful. Served with Ranch Dressing.

That night they were offering a special on their awards winning Ribs.
Full Rack with two Sides and Garlic Toast for $13.49 (normally $16.49)
This is my Dad’s favorite thing to order at OakWood.

Although I don’t normally eat meat on the bone I did have a small taste and I did think there were tender. I didn’t taste any of his sides but he said they were good.

On the table they do offer a couple of BBQ Sauces, I tried them both and thought they were just OK (but nothing special) but everyone else there sure seemed to like them.

My Mom ordered the Chicken Cobb Salad ($8.99) and they ended up sharing their meals, and still had some to take home with them for a late night snack.

I wanted to play it a little safe and ordered the Southern Fried Chicken Tender Platter (with two Sides and Garlic Toast $10.49).
Although the taste was decent, I would be surprised if they didn’t come pre-made and were just dropped in the deep fryer. They seemed a little bland and basic.
For my sides I chose the Corn Salad and the Mac & Cheese.
They were also both decent, but nothing spectacular.

I can see why locals go here because the surrounding options are limited, but I am glad that I have similar concept-restaurants with far superior food located closer to where I live.

OakWood Smokehouse & Grill on Urbanspoon