On a recent trip to Florida, I stumbled upon Holler & Dash Biscuit House…a quick glance at the menu and I knew I needed to put some south in my mouth! The brand currently has 4 locations in Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee, and is a fast-casual concept from parent company Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc.
Tucked inside a small shopping center, Holler & Dash is conveniently located near Orlando-area attractions and theme parks, while being off the beaten path.
They serve up a variety of Southern-style biscuit sandwiches, and other specialties like grit bowls, tot bowls, and beignets. While hearty options abound, they also offer lighter options, such as half biscuits, or a bed of kale in place of biscuits on their signature menu.
Epcot International Festival of the Arts 200 Epcot Center Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, FL 32092 http://www.epcot.com
What’s better than a last minute trip to Epcot? Finding out your visit coincides with the Epcot International Festival of the Arts!
This event spans January 13-February 20.
This inaugural event includes seminars, interactive workshops, Disney on Broadway Concert series, live art demonstrations, and galleries (don’t miss the Mary Blair Gallery!) And foodies can rejoice in Festival specialty options throughout the park!
The happiest place on earth has gotten a little bit happier. Adventureland in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, is the place to go if you are jonesing for a Dole Whip, but what if you need more sustenance for your 14-hour death march theme park day? Look no further than Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen.
Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom
1180 Seven Seas Dr., Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 Disney World Dining
I was spending the day at the Magic Kingdom with two friends, and we had a few criteria for lunch: A/C, semi-quiet, vegetarian options, A/C, reserved seating, IG worthy, and A/C. Jungle Skipper Canteen met all these requirements, and I was even able to make a reservation using the same app now used to schedule fast passes. WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!
Having arrived a few minutes before our reservation, we sat in a cute entryway with a water cooler…and A/C. Once our table was available, we were in the “mess-hall” room, which was large, but very quiet, and uncrowded, such a nice reprieve from the afternoon sun, and crowds of people.
We stuck with water, but the menu offered some fun drink choices, including Coca-Cola® selections from Brazil and Thailand, a large selection of teas, a punch made with a mango puree, and a frozen apple slush topped with green apple boba.
The restaurant is an extension of Disney’s Jungle Adventure Cruise ride, and eclectic menu choices reflect flavors found in South America, Asia, and Africa. Our culinary adventure began with complimentary Ethiopian ambasha bread, served with a fenugreek-infused honey. We ordered the Falls Family Falafel ($8.50), which was served with a flavorful white bean dip, and tomato-cucumber garnish.
I also ordered the house-made arepas ($9.50), which was my favorite thing from the whole meal. The arepas were a little denser than I am used to, but were a delicious base for the flavorful shredded beef, while the tostones (twice-fried plantains) were perfect with the not-too-spicy black beans. If you are only ordering one appetizer, I would recommend this one!
For entrees, my meat-eating friend chose the “A Lot at Steak” salad ($19), which was huge and loaded with tender slices of grilled steak, she barely left a dent in it by the end of the meal. My vegetarian friend went with the Curried Vegetable Crew Stew ($17) which smelled so good, we all had a bite or two. Cauliflower, potatoes, and a variety of other veggies were smothered in a delicious house-made curry, and served with fluffy coconut rice, and hot naan bread. I selected an appetizer as my entrée, the Shiriki Noodle Salad ($11); chilled rice noodles, loaded with edamame, micro-greens, red pepper, cucumber, green mango, and tossed in a sweet chili sauce—very refreshing!
The dessert choices (all $8) sounded fantastic, but all three of us were stuffed (we may or may not have had Dole Whips before lunch #perksofadulthood). I was especially interested in Bertha’s Banh Bong Lan Cake – vanilla chiffon cake, soaked in lemon grass-ginger syrup, with mango-lime sorbet, but that will have to wait for my next visit.
The only low-point of our dining experience was having to exit back out into the oppressive Florida-in-July heat, but we quickly remedied that with our next stop, the air-conditioned Enchanted Tiki Room…and maybe another Dole Whip.
Skip the crowded fast-food eatery lines, and reserve a table at the Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen!
Imagine a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern-style Chipotle and you’ll have a good idea of the concept behind Hubbly Bubbly Falafel Shop. In a cheery environment, Hubbly Bubbly has an authentic taste with meat roasting on skewers to go with the fresh hummus, pita, and vegetable salads down the line. Everyone shows up for the food but always come back to see Georgie. Georgie is the talkative Lebanese owner and, if you’re lucky, by the end of your meal, he will bring samples of new dishes to your table.
My usual order is a hummus bowl with fresh falafel. The hummus base is smooth with paprika and olive oil poured over it. My favorite toppings are the pickled radishes and homemade tabbouleh salad. By the end of the line, my bowl always looks like a bright, healthy rainbow. The crunchy vegetables with the creamy hummus make for a great, lighter bite. Whether you eat your food with a fork or with pita, you always have enough left to take home for later.
The spinach pies are another must-have! The spinach marinated with a delicious blend of spices is then wrapped in a crispy filo dough. The Spinach pie is prepared fresh in-house or sometimes delivered each morning from a nearby bakery. The savory pastry is delicious and served fresh from the oven. Along with a delicious lentil dish in a tomato sauce base, the spinach pies were a suggestion from Georgie when he found out I was a vegetarian. Since then, I have always trusted Georgie’s recommendations.
Hubbly Bubbly Falafel Shop is a staple on Edgewater Drive in the College Park neighborhood. The local business has a unique menu and boasts an exciting, local beer selection. With a staff that is more than willing to make suggestions, it’s a great place to try new things in an inviting atmosphere. While you’re there, tell Georgie I say hello!
Market on South is an indoor, vegan farmer’s market in the outskirts of downtown Orlando. The facility itself is impressive, with locally made sauces, decorative items and soaps for sale. Out front is an urban farm and covered tables to enjoy your food.
I had a slice of the most beautiful Chocolate and Rosewater Ganache cake. It was garnished with dried rose petals and metallic sprinkles. The ganache was rich and the rosewater gave the cake a refreshing taste.
The stars of Valhalla Bakery are the homemade donuts at the shop. A specific amount of assorted flavors are made every morning, and the limited quantity makes them a hot commodity. Flavors range from traditional sprinkled donuts to pistachio and rosewater combinations.
We left with Raspberry Sprinkle, Salted Caramel Pretzel, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Thin Mint donuts. Each one was better than the next! I’m a sucker for the salty/sweet combo, so the Salted Caramel Pretzel was my favorite. They were perfect for sharing because they were best eaten with a fork and knife.
Be sure to buy one of the pressed juices to wash down your pastry or to save for later. The market opens at 9 am, but arrive before 11 am to snag a donut!
The Briarpatch is synonymous with the word “brunch” in Winter Park. It is a staple on Park Avenue and offers contemporary comfort food in a charming, southern setting. The outside seating is relaxed and under a covered patio. Inside, however, is exciting and bustling, with separate dining and bakery areas.
I met my grandmother last weekend to have brunch at our favorite Sunday spot. Even on the weekdays, it is best to have a reservation at The Briarpatch, or you may find yourself window shopping on Park Avenue while you wait for a table.
After a long week of junk food in the library, I decided to order something off the Heart Healthy menu. While ignoring the giant cakes and ice cream on display was hard, my Egg White, Tomato, and Basil Omelet was delicious and filling. The fresh tomatoes and basil were sautéed perfectly so that they were both juicy and crunchy. Melted Parmigiano Reggiano cheese made me forget how healthy the meal was.
The Briarpatch is known for their fresh, fluffy pancakes. Rich flavor combinations and homemade whipped cream topping set these pancakes apart from any other. My grandmother ordered her usual, Raspberry Lemon Cream pancakes, topped with fresh raspberries and whipped cream. They were thick, moist, and the lemon cream added a deliciously tart kick.
The Briarpatch is consistent and comfortable. There are plenty of tourists, but it’s also the preferred brunch spot of Rollins Students and Winter Park locals alike. I suggest going home with a slice of the rich and creamy peanut butter pie or the towering red velvet cake. You will not be disappointed!
Tako Cheena is the prime late night stop in Orlando. Located in the Mills 50 area, it is surrounded by cool dive bars and is just a few minutes away from the crowded downtown scene. Open until midnight most days and four a.m. on the weekends, Tako Cheena always feels like a party. The staff treats you like a friend and the throwback hip-hop on the stereo adds to the relaxed vibes.
I first visited Tako Cheena when it started out as a food truck owned by Pom Pom’s Sandwicheria. Quickly, people realized that they had been suffering from a lack of Asian coleslaw and Mexican arepas dripping in spicy mayo. The food truck gained a big enough following to move to a permanent location and has since expanded to need an even larger building! The popularity is partially due to the inclusive menu, which accommodates any diet- vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, you name it. I suggest trying to make it in before everyone finds out about the churros!
We stopped in last night after a delayed flight home, and it was the best decision I have ever made. After a chilly weekend in New York, I was dying for some warm, seafood tacos. I ordered one Tom Yum Mojo Shrimp Tako, which somehow captures the complexity of the Thai soup in a soft tortilla shell. I also had the Panko Crusted Cod Tako, covered in a sweet and sour sauce and topped with pickled onions and carrots. Both had crisp cilantro and were so colorful they could have just come from a Life in Color festival. The flavors were insane. The textures were next level. I want at least five more of each.
Needless to say, both of my tacos disappeared as soon as they got to the table. So I did what any hungry girl would do and ordered a Vegetarian Empanada and half of a Three Cheese Arepa. It may seem like a lot, but I have zero regrets. The empanada ingredients rotate daily, but this one had potatoes, peas, corn, and cilantro baked in a yellow curry sauce. The waitress suggested the Sweet Chili and Smoked Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce, and it did not disappoint. It was spicy, tangy, sweet, and delicious. I brought a cup home to pour on everything. The arepa satisfied every cheesy craving I never knew I had. With a thick, fried patty of Queso Blanco and two other melty, Mexican kinds of cheese, I was in heaven. The spicy mayo and Asian slaw gave it the perfect crunch and kick of flavor. I was about to give into a food coma when the waitress mentioned dessert.
Of course, I ordered dessert! The Cinnamon Apple Empanadas were everything I could have hoped for and more. I wanted to lick what tasted like the Cinnabon cream sauce off the plate when I finished.
A mix of Asian and Mexican food seems like a challenge to get right, but Tako Cheena blew every expectation out of the water. I may have flown across the country yesterday, but my taste buds went around the world. By using fresh, unusual ingredients, the chef combines the best parts of both Latin and Pan-Asian cuisines. Named as one of the Best Late Night Restaurants by Orlando Magazine, Tako Cheena is quickly gaining a loyal customer base. Their slogan doesn’t lie: “Dim Sum Good Takos!”.