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It’s the start of a new year – and time for a scratch-made meal at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen after the holiday season. They’re based out of Texas and have been widely popular here in Orlando since opening their new locations on Semoran Blvd and also near UCF in East Orlando. Almost every time we’ve visited it’s had a line out the door.

They specialize in home-style cuisine like baked chicken pot pies and burgers, but also great fried dishes like fried chicken and fried shrimp.

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The folks at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen recently invited us to try some of their dishes as part of the media. We’ve been several times before and were glad to be back.

You start with the honey butter croissants – buttery, sweet, honey fresh goodness that is baked to order.

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For those who enjoy onion rings, their onion ring stack appetizer is a mountainous treat to behold.

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I’ve really enjoyed their fried items as well – from the chicken fried tenders to the chicken fried steak and fried shrimp. It’s all quite affordably priced and in large quantity making for a satisfying meal.

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All that cooking over the holidays – makes you want some time for a break and savor the length of preparation time done in the early morning hours, the quality of scratch made goodness, and a rare moment for hosts to enjoy precious family time in a warm and inviting environment – with absolutely little work at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen – made from scratch without the mess at home.

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Everyone has a host in their family who makes guests feel like family – they’re genuine, warm, and welcoming. Hosts often go above and beyond as they prepare for visits with family and friends, spending countless, selfless hours to ensure everything is done the right way, not the easy way, with grace and ease.

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At CSK, we know hosts spend much of their time preparing for visits with family and friends that it’s often hard for them to enjoy the season of giving. Visit them soon!

Locations

Cheddars
6650 S Semoran Blvd
(407) 438-8878
Open until 11:00 PM

Cheddars
875 W Osceola Pkwy
(407) 348-2159
Open until 11:00 PM

Cheddar’s
12201 E Colonial Dr
(407) 282-8100
Open until 11:00 PM

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The VIP Combo

These past few weeks Chuy’s celebrated their 27th Annual Green Chile Festival where they celebrate the green chile harvest which takes place in Hatch, New Mexico.

This is where Chuy’s gets their peppers for this limited menu which focuses on the delicious yet flavorful chile. The tradition dates back to 1989 when the founders of Chuy’s traveled to New Mexico otherwise known as the “Chile Capital of the World” to find the perfect pepper for their restaurant.

Chuy’s was founded in 1982 by MIke Young and John Zapp and are committed to the freshest ingredients for their authentic Tex-Mex dishes, on our visit we met Chuy’s General Manager at the Wally-Park location, who informed us of their commitment towards keeping their ingredients fresh.

Everything is fresh and never frozen, ingredients are ordered almost daily everything from their tortillas which are made by hand, to the peppers which we tasted are all stored in their walk-in fridge. The only thing that is frozen at Chuy’s is their fries, which is stored in their only freezer which is the size of the typical freezers we have at home.

Nachos and Chuy's Creamy Jalapeno Sauce
Nachos and Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeno Sauce

While we waited on our orders to come out we were given nachos with a side of Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeno Sauce which our very informative and entertaining waitress informed us, is nicknamed “crack sauce”.

Maybe it was me being significantly hungry or something but I figured out why this sauce is called “crack sauce”. The sauce is extremely and I say extremely delicious, you can’t just have one taste….or two … not even just three you need to have the whole bowl of sauce.

Typically with Tex-Mex establishments you are handed mediocre nachos, with mediocre canned salsa, with cheese-wiz nacho sauce, however the fresh that Chuy’s stands by is quite apparent from the nachos they make in house, to the salsa which is sweet and delicious, to the creamy jalapeno sauce which is bold, creamy, yet with a kick at the end that is sure to leave a nice yet satisfying tingly burn down your throat.

If Chuy’s made a drink out of their creamy jalapeno sauce I would be sure to drink it, preferably alcoholic of course.

The VIP Combo
The VIP Combo

We got the VIP Combo, which consist of both the “fat daddy enchilada” and a bacon wrapped pork relleno.

The enchilada was delicious, hearty, yet spicy with the green chile, however the intensity was very mild and I was able to enjoy this amazing dish.

The pork relleno was drizzled in their spicy creama sauce was just a tad spicier and definitely cleared my sinuses for sure.

On the side was their green chile rice, which help mellow out the intensity of the chiles, yet the rice was packed with flavor different notes of flavors that went well with their refried beans which definitely gave the whole dish it’s finishing touches and subsistence in my stomach.

Various dog pictures in the chihuahua bar
Various dog pictures in the Chihuahua Bar

A very interesting part of the establishment is their Chihuahua Bar which has numerous pictures of dogs throughout this room which are submitted by their customers. I was informed that if you bring a framed picture of your dog you would get a free appetizer.

This really cool idea really brings the community feel to the restaurant and many of the dog pictures were very entertaining, many of the pictures contained dogs rather dressed up in funny costumes or doing funny things.

All in all Chuy’s would have to be at the top of my list that I have written about, a long time ago I used to drive by their Gainesville location when I frequented visited the town, little did I know that Chuy’s would be perhaps a favorite of mine later down the road.

Chuy’s with its charming decor, knowledgeable staff, always fresh ingredients and dishes will be a place I will frequent when I am in the mood for Tex-Mex…..I also took home two containers of crack sauce to which I am enjoying while I write this….

Chihuahua Bar Picture
Chihuahua Bar Picture
Big Daddy Enchilada
Big Daddy Enchilada

Customers are encouraged to join in on the fun by visiting their local Chuy’s Green Chile Festival merchandise booth for festival tees, free concert ear plugs and guitar picks.

They can also enter a chance to win free Chuy’s for a year by posting a picture of their favorite Green Chile Festival menu item to Instagram and tagging @chuysrestaurant with #GreenChileFest.

6688 S Semoran Blvd
Orlando, FL 32822
(407) 757-1026

 

 

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Chilito Green Express

Located adjacent to a gas station on Semoran Blvd, just north of the Orlando International Airport, Chillito Green Express is a rather sleek, new rendition of the model made popular by Chipotle. In this case, they also serve Mexican cuisine, but here served by your local Mexican aunt rather than your local hipster friend.

Things are very clean in here, and the order process is pretty simple – walk up to the counter and let them know if you’d like a burrito, tacos, bowl, etc. and what meat, toppings, sauces, you’d like to go with it.

I ordered the tacos with al pastor style pork, chicken, and beef. Overall, not bad, quite fresh, but lacking in seasoning. A little salt, I think would help bring the flavors out.

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Chilito Green Express on Urbanspoon

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