Chicken and waffles. I can’t say that I am a connoisseur of the dish, but I can certainly say that I’ve traveled a distance to try some of the more popular renditions, along with conducting important business of course. In Atlanta, there was Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles and, in LA, there was Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. (Not that this matters, but I crowned Gladys Knight’s the winner.) Since jumping to the other side, I have been on the lookout for a meat-free edition of the dish. After years of looking, I finally stumbled across Daya‘s Chicken (Seitan) and Waffles brunch item, and yes, it was so worth the wait.
There’s a new vegan restaurant in town, and it is so good! I am both happy and excited to introduce to you Daya, which is described as “an upscale, 100% plant based restaurant.” Located in the city of Winter Park, I can tell you that Daya is definitely different from your ordinary vegan restaurant. From the beautiful layout and design of the restaurant to the attention paid to the plating of the food, I am quite excited to see Daya flourish into Central Florida’s new “it” place for meat-free dining.
Here I am, once again, writing about another one of my experiences at Ethos Vegan Kitchen. I can’t help it. Ethos is just really good at what they do, which for me is making food that reminds me of my meat-eating days and also reminds me why a meat-free lifestyle can be just as tasty.
Although I frequent Ethos a lot, I’m pretty good at being intentional about trying something new each time I go. On my most recent visit, I went all out and had a completely new experience, and I’m quite glad that I did. Since it was the time of year for all things pumpkin, I dove in head first and had my very first experience eating pumpkin pancakes. Let’s just say, I will definitely start trying more things made with pumpkin.
On a recent rainy Friday afternoon, I paid a visit to one of Orlando’s newest coffee shops, VESPR Coffeebar. Not only did I experience a great cup of coffee, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they served some top-notch, made in-house, vegan treats, as well.
From my house to the nearest vegan eatery is more miles than I would like to travel on a lazy weekend afternoon. Living on the west side of Central Florida, this has been one of my most recent food struggles. This may not sound like a struggle per se, but finding the energy to drive for at least 30 minutes to get, what I admit is awesome, food is just way too much for my mind and body to take on a non-work day. But as you have [hopefully] read, I continue to find the energy to do such a thing weekend after weekend. Well, except for a recent weekend when, instead of venturing to the Winter Park, east, or downtown parts of town, I went just a little bit down the road to visit Winter Garden’s newly and much lauded Plant Street Market. Among the many eateries, bakeries, coffee shops, and knick knack shops, was Press’d a.k.a the answer to my close-to-home-vegan dreams. It is where I would quench my appetite for a meal that I didn’t even know I missed until I had it again—the remixed version, of course.
My introduction to what I now know as the awesomeness of Basal Eatery started with a simple request from a friend: “Hey, let’s go to this dinner next Monday.” Vegan, plant-based food. Only 10 people. $20 for a three course meal + wine. An opportunity to have an extraordinary evening on an otherwise ordinary weekday. It wasn’t a hard sell. I was in, and I remained excited all the way to the time… well, honestly, even after having already “done the do,” I remain excited about this new addition to the vegan-scape of Central Florida.
It started as just a simple girl’s day out, but after a great brunch, an extended stay at the nail salon, and a chat between friends over cupcakes, it turned out to be so much more.
Cinco de Mayo 2015 will go down as the very first time that I took part in the celebration. I will admit that my celebration of the day, that at the time I had completely no idea what it represented, was a mistake. How does one celebrate Cinco de Mayo by mistake? Well, in an attempt to schedule a much needed drink outing with a friend on a dead night in downtown Orlando, I, ironically, scheduled our outing on what is probably one of the most rowdiest days in the year. Before I could even think of rescheduling, I received an email from Ethos Vegan Kitchen alerting me to their special Cinco de Mayo menu, and the rest, as they say, was vegan history.
I really like grilled cheese sandwiches. Who doesn’t? It has to be one of the simplest dishes ever. It’s just bread and cheese. I especially like a great grilled cheese sandwich with a side of fries. Although my jury duty ended a day early, which meant that my meat-free food journey through downtown Orlando also had an early end, I decided to treat myself to one last day of eating out for lunch. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted, but I knew that I just wanted something quick and simple. After going through my saved list of “places to try later” on Foursquare, I decided to go ahead and give Toasted a try. It had been sitting on that list untampered with for far too long.
I lucked up on Winter Park’s Sleeping Moon Cafe through a series of unfortunate events. If things had gone as I had planned the day before I took my most recent meat-free food adventure, it would have probably been months before I even heard about the cafe. But thankfully, two locally-owned vegetarian friendly restaurants that I had visited before and was excited about sharing with you, just did not display the type of customer service that made me comfortable to dine there. So, I left. Both places. Without hesitation. After my second “walk out,” I did a quick Foursquare search and Sleeping Moon Cafe popped up in the search results, and the rest was history.
For the past 5 months, I have unknowingly been driving right by what would become a place that I would come to rave about to my friends and family. So you don’t make the same mistake as I did, allow me to introduce you to Mamak Asian Street Food. If you live in Central Florida, it is quite easy to 1. miss it on your drive down the always-busy Colonial Drive and 2. not think much of it as its street appearance is quite unassuming. Being the adventure eater that I am, after the 1,000th time of passing by wondering what on earth was going on inside, I did a bit of research, liked what I saw, and decided to call up a friend to try the place out with me. One bite in, and I knew that Mamak would be a place that I would come to again and again.
A few weeks ago, a follower of my Facebook page reached out to me and asked if we could meet up and have a chat at one of my favorite restaurants. Sure! I responded. That was the easy part. Selecting the restaurant was the hard part, because whatever place I chose would either confirm my prowess as a foodie or completely invalidate this idea that I have of myself (and that I hope others have of me). There were so many unanswered questions: would I take her to a vegan restaurant, a vegetarian restaurant, or to a regular restaurant with vegan and/or vegetarian dishes? Would we go for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner? Whatever place I chose, it had to be a great representative of me. It took some time for me to come to my senses, but when I did, Ethos Vegan Kitchen was waiting right there for me, right under my nose.
To say that I had been dying to go to Prato would be an understatement. It was probably about two years ago that I was walking with my family down Winter Park’s trendy and upscale Park Ave, when either my nephew offered or I suggested that he get me a gift card to one of the many restaurants that lined the street. Either way, he obliged and for the last few years, I have had my Prato gift card packed safely away waiting for the perfect moment to use it. This past Friday, I decided that it was time, so I took the day off from work and tried the vegan and vegetarian side of Prato, and loved every bite!
Every meat lover in Central Florida is probably well-aquainted with Yellow Dog Eats. With a menu stuffed with pulled pork created into pretty much any type of arrangement imaginable, why wouldn’t they be? By the time I got wind of the amazingness that happens at YDE, I had already kicked meat from my diet, so I have only dined on their famous bbq’d meats through my nose. On the occasions that I found myself at the very quaint and homey restaurant, I would just order the smoked salmon wrap. Wanting to try something a little different this go ’round, on my recent visit I decided to see if their vegan dishes were as good as I’ve read their meat dishes were. Based on the reviews that I’ve read about their pulled pork, I can say with certainty that they give the same amount of attention to their meats as they do in preparing their vegan dishes.
I know this is going to sound a bit dramatic and somewhat overboard, but I couldn’t think of a better way to describe my recent and, most importantly, first visit to Tako Cheena. Here goes: It was a mind blowing experience. Sure, anyone can put together a meatless, even vegan, burrito. But, the question is, can they infuse as much flavor into it as Tako Cheena does?
I love falafel sandwiches. So a few weeks ago, after remembering that I had scored a coupon for a free one from Hubbly Bubbly while attending Yelp’s Night at The Museum, I decided to treat myself to a weekday dinner out.