Local Spring Eats

While somewhat unusual, we’ve been checking out some local eating establishments and all things local.  One morning, we had breakfast at Artisan’s Table in downtown Orlando.

Both of our selections were good.   Eric ordered a rice bowl with pork belly & eggs and mine were 2 eggs that topped fried tator tots.  Who doesn’t like tator tots loaded with breakfast goodness.

I think your first visit to a restaurant is always the most impactful.  Nothing was wrong with this experience, but it didn’t quite live up to our expectations.

Another day, we drove to a nearby town that has a local and (very) vibrant downtown – Winter Garden.

wg

The West Orange Trail goes through their downtown and this is a great meeting place for locals.  They have one of the best Farmer’s Markets on Saturdays and recently I heard it was voted one of America’s best.  This particular evening we dined at Urban Flats.

urban flats menu

The weather has been so good, we snagged a table outside to enjoy our meal.  Drinks were a good start with the raspberry & bourbon cocktail being Eric’s drink of choice.  He also enjoyed their tomato basil soup while I savored a BBQ sandwich sitting upon a patty of mac & cheese.  Mine was big enough to save half for lunch the next day.

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One evening we tried a different locale in downtown Winter Garden, the Winter Garden Pizza Company.  It’s a cute place, focusing their theming on the surrounding citrus production, which is sadly turning into a thing of the past.

signNaturally I had to order pizza, but we started with cheesy bread – which was probably the weakest part of the meal.  The mariana dipping sauce was great, but the bread didn’t match its excellent taste.  What goes great with pizza – beer!  Pepsi for the designated driver (me).  Eric had to break from the norm and ordered penne pasta with a vodka sauce. He said it was the best he had ordered in a long, long time.

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Another ‘foodie’ place we visited was the East End Market in Orlando.  It has shops, various small local food counters, a cheese shop, juice bar and a bread place to name just a few.  If possible, they try to source local Florida products.

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They have something interesting out front of the market building – boxed gardens.  This time of year there’s not much growing and the recent cold spell knocked out some of the plants in the other boxes.

In this neighborhood we saw something else interesting:  Fleet Farming.

fleet 1

According to their website……..

Fleet Farming transforms unproductive, wasteful lawns into community driven urban farm plots.  Rather than traveling 1500 miles from farm to plate, the produce is hyer-local. Everything grown is sold at local farmers markets and restaurants within a 5 mile radius.

There is much more info on their website, but there were 10 gardens that were part of their initial effort.  Here are two photos from one home we saw when driving around looking for a place to park.

One Sunday, breakfast was our goal and we headed to Briar Patch in Winter Park.  The weather was so nice, we were able to be seated outside (after a short wait).

I had been there many years ago and they have expanded and greatly upgraded their restaurant and menu.  They have a few traditional plates, selected by our dining partners.  Eggs, cheese grits, bacon and their breakfast twist – fried green tomatoes.

bev breakfast

The pancakes struck my fancy and included granola along with bananas – delicious!

pancakes

Eric ordered the pulled pork benedict.

eric briar beakfast

Our last local eatery was the  Moon Cricket Grille in downtown Winter Garden.

moon cricket

We tried to get their early enough for a table, but ended up hovering over a table while they finished their meal.  This place didn’t seat you, but diners had to grab tables as they were vacated.  Not a method I prefer. 😦   I just don’t like hovering.  They specialize in a large number of unique bottled beers and interesting atmosphere.  A live band showed up before we left.  While Eric ordered a corn beef sandwich, I tried the Bam-Bam shrimp tacos.  We both enjoyed our selections.

To eat out at this many local eateries was very unusual for us but gave Eric a break from cooking.  He had lost his ‘creative cooking mojo’. Lucky for us, he got his mojo back and he’s cooking at home again.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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