Monday, January 5, 2015

Tilted Kilt Pub and Eatery - Lake Mary

I was recently given the opportunity to meet a friend at Tilted Kilt Pub and Eatery in Lake Mary.
It is located in the old “Uno Bar and Grill” location on Lake Mary Blvd just off of I4 (just look for the big Tilted Kilt sign).
I knew that I was going to enjoy it when I walked in, but I didn’t realize that I was going to enjoy it this much!

The building is quite large and they huge have a bar that it half indoor,

half outdoor to suit everyone’s needs.

The main dining room is very spacious and there are tons of TVs everywhere to watch your favorite game or sporting event.
They have a million Beers to choose from and they also have really great drink specials…. I mean Really Great!
The servers wear scantily clad uniforms and are beautiful, however they are also exceptional at their job. 
Nicole was our server and not only was she on top of her game with keeping my glass refilled, but she was very personable and offered great suggestions.

Now on to the food!
They offer a cross between classic Irish pub food (Shepherd’s Pie, Irish Stew, Gaelic Chicken) and American bar food (Burgers, Fries and Salads). There food is made to order and they use all fresh ingredients, and even make their own sauces and dressings. They can also custom make many Burgers and Pizzas upon request.
I was told of their amazing nightly specials (Monday night All You Can Eat Wings, Wednesday night All You Can Eat Boneless Wings) and they also offer “Hoppy Hour” daily from 3pm -7pm, then again from 9pm – close where they have personal sized items for $2 - $5.

I have a weakness for Potato Chips in general, but when the TK Irish Nachos were described to us and I found out that they make their own Chips I knew that we had to get those for our appetizer.
(Fresh cooked crispy Potato Chips, covered with out signature Guinness Beer Cheese Sauce, seasoned Ground Beef and Tomatoes $7.50)
This dish made me very happy. The Chips were thick cut, which made them substantial enough to hold all of the toppings and were also super-crispy. The Beer Cheese Sauce gave it an interesting flavor too so that it wasn’t just like eating Chips and Queso. On a side note I didn’t want to fill up just yet so I boxed half of it to go, and then later that evening I heated up the leftovers under the broiler and they were just as good the second time around.

They had many delicious-sounding Burgers to choose from, so I figured I had better try one of them for my entrée.
I decided on the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger.
(Applewood Smoked Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Crispy Shoestring Onions and Guinness BBQ Sauce $10.50)

I can see why their Burgers are so popular. It tasted really fresh and the ingredients were above average in quality and flavor. One of the better Burgers that I have had in quite some time.
It came with regular Fries, but to be a little different I decided to upgrade to Parmesan Garlic Fries. They were also full of flavor and were really garlicky.

My friend ordered the Chicken Tenders.
(Lightly Battered Chicken Breast Tenders, served with Cayenne Ranch Sauce, Pub-made Coleslaw and a side of French Fries $10.50)
She just had them as is, but they can also toss them in one of their Six Wing Sauces if you want. I didn’t try them but they looked really good and by the looks of them I would definitely order them in the future.

Then to close out our meal we decided to have the Tilted Guilt.
(A partially baked gooey Chocolate Chip or White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie served hot from the oven and topped with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Syrup $5.50)

I don’t normally order dessert, but this particular one sounded so good. Indeed it was. The Cookie itself was HUGE and they weren’t kidding about being “gooey”. We split it and I must say that these are definitely big enough for two. I was also told that you get one of these free on your birthday.

So when I first thought about what the Tilted Kilt would be like I figured that it would be "just mediocre" in certain ways, but I can honestly say that I really enjoyed every aspect of it.
The place was pretty cool, the service was outstanding, and most importantly the food was exceptional (and the price is very reasonable, especially for what you get). If you haven’t already been I would highly recommend giving the Tilted Kilt a try! 
You’ll be glad you did.

Tilted Kilt on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 29, 2014

Salt Rock Tavern - Tampa

My friends from Tampa took me out to Salt Rock Tavern.
It has a sports bar feel to it, but I feel like most of the people were there for dinner rather then just a drink.

We started looking at the abundant appetizer menu and were finding some interesting sounding things on it when our very friendly waiter pointed out that many of the appetizers were on special for just $5.
With this new information we decided to get three of them.
Coconut Crusted Shrimp
These were quite large and tasty and came served with an orange-ginger dipping sauce.

Tyson’s Makin’ Bacon
(candied nueske bacon with brown sugar, cinnamon and cayenne)
Although the taste was good, an order is just three small pieces (each served in a shot glass). I feel like even at this discounted price that there was not enough of it to make it worth it.

Southern Hushpuppies.
This was my favorite of the three appetizers. The adorable little basket was filled with delicious cornbread hushpuppies, and it was accompanied by a pimento cheese fondue for dipping.
I could go back for more of those at any time!

Then for my entrée I ordered the Ybor Burger.
Topped with guava jelly, melted gruyere, potato sticks, nueske bacon and tavern sauce. This was normally $10, but for a $1 upcharge I switched my regular fries to truffle-parmesan fries.

 The fries were good, definitely worth the extra buck, but it was the Burger that shined.

Everything tasted really fresh, and the guava jelly gave it a little sweetness that I was a big fan of.
To be honest it was one of the better burgers that I have had in a while!

Thank You Salt Rock Tavern! You were really delicious!

Salt Rock Tavern on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

El Paso - Tampa

My friend and I love going to Mexican restaurants and are always looking to find one that is new to us. Well she recently introduced me to one of her favorite “new” places called El Paso in Tampa.

On a side note she pointed out that the logo on the door was practically a direct rip off from the “Old El Paso” brand of salsa. I thought it was kind of funny.

The interior was quite cute and spacious, and the server was friendly and efficient.

Like most Mexican restaurants they brought out complimentary chips and salsa, and it was pretty good with a slight kick.

We both opted for what the menu called “Super Lunch”
A little bit of everything: 1 Taco, 1 Burrito, 1 Enchilada, 1 Quesadilla. Served with Beans and Rice. $8.75
It was delivered quickly and was very satisfying. Nothing on the plate was amazing by any means, but it was all quite good and the quality of the ground beef was above average.

I would have no problem going to El Paso again.
In fact I think I would enjoy it.

El Paso on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 12, 2014

Southern Moon

I have been seeing reviews for Southern Moon Smokehouse and figured that it was something that I needed to try. When I looked it up on line I realized that Southern Moon has taken over the residence of the BBQ joint that use to be there (went out of business) next to the Winn Dixie on Curry Ford.
My friend that joined me at the last incarnation of this building joined me again for this one to see if and how things have changed.

The décor was pretty much the same, and I must say that I think the layout of the building is a little strange. The environment seems a little stale and the place is so big that it doesn’t seem to be very busy. (Please let the food be good)
My understanding is that they had a local food truck business and this is them branching out and opening their own restaurant. (Not sure of any specifics)
The server and the guy (who I’m assuming is the owner) that seated us were both extremely nice.

As we looked over the menu we noticed that BBQ-wise you just ordered your meat by the pound. We saw several appetizers and sides that caught our eye and decided to just order a few things a la carte.
We started with Fried Green Tomatoes and Pork Skin Nachos.

The Fried Green Tomatoes (6 corn meal battered and crispy fried juicy green tomatoes served with horseradish bama sauce $5.99) were rather hearty. Not being a fan of horseradish I didn’t care for the sauce. I did like the crispness and the quantity and had they been slightly more seasoned they would have been just about the best fried green tomatoes I have ever had.

However the Pork Skin Nachos (pork skin nachos with house cheese sauce, brisket, chili, sour cream, cilantro and jalapeno $8.99) were definitely the winner of the “Favorite Appetizer” award. This was an interesting concept to both of us using the fried pork skins as the tortilla (making it carb free LOL) and the flavors of the meat and cheese sauce were really satisfying and filling.

Knowing we would probably be full from the appetizers we just ordered a couple of sides and then a dessert to share rather then ordering big plates.
2 Potato Fries (sweet and beer battered yukon gold waffle fries served with out house balsamic ketchup $3.99)
The fries themselves were ok (but nothing special) but unfortunately neither of us liked the balsamic ketchup. We thought it had too much balsamic and we wished we could have just had regular ketchup instead.

Mac & Cheese (elbow macaroni tossed with our 4 cheese blend cheese sauce, topped with our house seasoning $3.99)
Loved the fact that it was served in it’s own cast iron skillet, but the flavor was not that great (a little on the bland side). This being said I am probably just a Mac & Cheese snob and it is one of my favorite things in the world, so this one was just a little underwhelming to me.

And finally the Seasonal Bread Pudding (country loaf baked in custard, ask you server about tonight’s flavor $5.99)
Either we didn’t ask about the flavor, or else I can’t remember what it was.
What I do remember was that the portion was large and it was neither good nor bad. By this point in our meal we really didn’t need anything else, and it was not memorable enough for us to order it again.

I am anxious to see if Southern Moon can break the curse of this building and be a success. The service is good and the appetizers were great. I’m not sure if this is the best location for traffic. Hopefully they will have good marketing and can get the customers to come in because I would really like to see them succeed.

Southern Moon on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Peking Duck House - New York City

We decided to head to Chinatown for a late lunch and a little shopping.
We messaged our friend who was familiar with the area and the cuisine and she said we should absolutely go to Peking Duck House.
Although there is nothing but a flag with the name and logo from the outside, it has been there since 1978 and has great reviews.

The interior is simple and elegant.
We were lucky to arrive at an off time because from what I hear there can be quite a long wait.

We were seated immediately and hot tea was brought out while we looked over the menu.

We started with two appetizers.
Chopped Duck Meat with Pine Nuts served on a bed of fresh lettuce ($12.50)
The menu description did not do this dish justice. It was served in a lettuce wrap style and came with an amazing sauce. The portion was also quite large.

We also had an order of Scallion Pancakes ($4)
These were unlike anything I had ever ordered. This was also a large portion, and rather then what we think of a pancake this was actually more like a doughnut. It was super crispy on the outside and doughy (and scalliony) in the center. Also completed with a nice sauce I really loved them.

For his entrée my friend ordered the Crispy Duck ($17.50)
It was served with buns and he was very happy with his choice.

I ordered the Sesame Chicken ($16.50) and couldn’t have been more pleased with my choice.
Although I realize that Sesame Chicken is kind of standard and generic, this is what I was craving. It was probably the freshest, most flavorful version of this dish that I have ever had (and it’s going to make the cheap Chinese-Buffet sesame chicken that I am use to completely unacceptable). LOL

As you can see from this photo we ate just about everything and left completely satisfied.

Our bill (with 2 drinks) was just over $60, which we thought was extremely reasonable for the quality and quantity that they serve.
Peking Duck House = Delicious!

Peking Duck House on Urbanspoon