Cheap Eats

Hey, hey!

So you want to eat cleaner, huh? Every year, millions of Americans head to the gym with the hopes of dropping the holiday pounds, but as many of you know – the secret in the weight loss sauce is really what you consume. For a moment, let’s picture a new you — a you that likes kombucha, tea instead of a frappé and sometimes maybe a salad instead of the fries (blasphemy, I know!)

If you’re reading this, you probably love to eat just as much as I do, so consider committing to make small, but impactful changes every week until they become habits.

Let’s raise a smoothie to the new you in 2017 and explore my favorite places to eat clean in and around Orlando. Because hey, a little kale salad here and there never hurt anyone.

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Eats: Mixed, raw and clean options 

1. The Sanctum | Colonialtown North

Major’s Pick: Shiva Salad (Half Salad) Massaged kale, roasted butternut squash and house-seasoned tempeh with pink lady apples, celery, carrots and raisins. All tossed in curried peanut dressing and finished with candied walnuts, toasted chickpeas and flaked coconuts

2. Dandelion Communitea Cafe | Mills 50 District

Major’s Pick: The Giddyup ($6 on Mondays!): tempeh chili topped with blue corn chips and fresh diced tomatoes. Served with vegan queso or organic dairy cheddar cheese. Get in a bowl or wrap, and check out the new menu! (Tell them Major sent you.)

3. Infusion Tea | College Park

Major’s Pick: Nut & Honey wrap: local honey, organic cashew nut butter, bananas, strawberries, and granola for a sustaining wrap

4. Create Your Nature | Winter Park

Major’s Pick: Nutty By Nature bowl: blueberries, banana, organic granola, almonds, walnuts, pecasn, chia seeds, hemp seeds and local raw honey

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Drinks: Cold-pressed, blended and over ice options 

1. Juice Bar | The Milk District

Major’s Pick: Hale to the Beet Down: apple, kale, orange, lemon ginger

2. Juice’d | Thornton Park

Major’s Pick: Kale Smoothie: apple, banana, ginger, kale, mango, pineapple, spinach *add coconut water

3. Grounding Roots | College Park

Major’s Pick: Sweet Potato, Pineapple & Red Apple

4. New Moon Market | College Park

Major’s Pick: Cheeky Monkey: almond milk, banana, oats, almond butter with maca powder

5. Skyebird | Audubon Park

Major’s Pick: Thai Hot: spinach, celery, cilantro, orange, apple, lime, lemongrass and jalapeño

Share your food adventures with us on Instagram! I’m so excited to see what you let your palate explore in the year!

Snack on,

Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!

Churro Bread Pudding by Tapa Toro

Hi, food friends! Did you know that in August 2016, 7.1 trillion gallons of water fell during the Louisiana floods? Lives were lost, and more 140,000 homes were destroyed. I was deeply impacted and decided to create Good Through Food, a new Orlando-based organization that strives to make lives better through food-related efforts. This past Monday, we launched the first initiative to help called Project 001. Louisiana, which includes local restaurants creating and selling Louisiana-inspired dishes and desserts to help raise funds for those in need.

From October 24  through October 31, local restaurants are selling a Louisiana-inspired dish to help raise funds for the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, a Louisiana-based charity that seeks to assist South Louisiana residents, which make up the majority of the 30,000 people that were displaced from their homes because of the floods, only to return to neighborhoods they couldn’t recognize. Chefs and restaurants will donate 25, 50 or 100 percent of proceeds to the charity.

5 Participating Restaurants: (Eat one dish or eat them all to give back):

I-Drive

1. Tapa Toro: Churro Bread Pudding

2. Taverna Opa: Loukomades (Greek Beignets) — check out how to make them here!

Audubon District

3. P is for Pie: P is for Pecan Caramel Hand Pie + Coffee

Historic Longwood 

4. Collette’s Clean Eats: Shrimp, Blue Crab & Turkey Sausage Gumbo with Organic Brown Rice

Mills 50 District 

5. Black Rooster Taqueria: NOLA Pork Belly Taco

Please share your dishes on Instagram using the hashtag #GoodThroughFood. For more information, visit GoodThroughFood.com. Restaurants can still sign up, so spread the word.

Connect on social media on Facebook and Instagram. Check out the video below to learn more.

Thank you so very much for your support, it means everything!

Let’s do good together…

Snack on,
Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!

Shareable Images for Social:do-good eat-and-give join-us lets-do-good

 

Assortment from DG Doughnuts
Assortment from DG Doughnuts

Oh, doughnut. How I love thee. You see, my love for this oh-so-sweet snack is pretty deep.

Every day seems to be a food holiday, but today happens to be a bit near and dear to my belly.

It’s National Doughnut Day, people!

To set the mood for this writing session, I warmed up a glazed doughnut from DG Doughnuts, and I must say it was definitely good.

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Major at Little Blue Donut Truck

Who knew these fried pieces of goodness had so much history? Dating back to the 1800s, doughnuts can be found around the globe in various countries from Israel to Finland.

Round, square, long, glazed, sprinkles, stuffed, plain— they really do come in all shapes and sizes.

Here in Central Florida, local bakeries are getting onboard with what food enthusiasts are craving and dishing out some unique sweets. Now I know that I didn’t include every shop. I’ve only included the ones I’ve visited, so please comment with your favorite spot.

If You Doughnut Know, Now You Know

Before you head to your favorite bakeshop, check out this handy guide below.

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Where To Get Your Fix

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Oreo doughnut from Donuts To Go

Around Town

VB
Mint Chocolate Chunk and Rosemary’s Berry doughnuts from Valhalla Bakery

Vegan Goodness 

Delivery Only 

I’m off to the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival tonight, where I’ll be double-fisting Revolution Doughnuts! Follow me on Instagram at @MajorCreates with the hashtag #MajorTravels.

Snack on,

Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!

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Founded by siblings Bob and Gail Givoglu, Mediterranean Blue’s menu is inspired by the simple, yet delicious recipes from their mother.

Located on Michigan Ave, in the heart of the Conway district of Orlando, it is a popular neighborhood Greek / Mediterranean restaurant known most for their delectable gyros.

Mediterranean Blue Orlando Mediterranean Blue Orlando

The interior is sparse, but well kept – with some nice new menus and a large display case showing off the day’s tabouli, Greek salads, marinated Kalamata olives, pepperoncini peppers, and other sides.

Mediterranean Blue Orlando

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Their gyro ($6.70) is their most popular item – a grilled pita full of sliced beef and lamb seasoned and roasted, stuffed with onion, tomato, and a slathering of house made tzatziki.

The folks at the counter recommended the Gyro King ($7.45) which is like the Gyro, but added with feta cheese, and so that is what I ordered.

It was overall, very satisfying and fresh tasting – I didn’t feel one bit guilty finishing the whole wrap. Would definitely order again.

Mediterranean Blue Orlando Mediterranean Blue Orlando

Kali orexi!

Mediterranean Blu
435 E Michigan St, Orlando, FL 32806
(407) 422-2583
http://www.mediterraneanblue.net

Click to add a blog post for Mediterranean Blue on Zomato

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Look into the Fried Oyster Po boy sandwich

Last week at our Tasty Trends Panel at WMFE 90.7 FM with Mark Baratelli of TheDailyCity.com and Emily Ellyn – the Retro Rad Chef, there was a lot of interest in finding cheap eats around town. There are just so many options, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.

So without much further ado, here are some suggestions to start your week off – in no particular order – of some great local eats under $10. Diversify your lunch portfolio.

1. The Housemade Lamb Gyro Sandwich from Cappadocia Turkish Cuisine – $5.99

565 N Semoran Blvd, Azalea Park, FL 32807, +1 407-985-2668
cappadociaturkishcuisine.com/

2. The Fried Oyster Po Boy Sandwich from King Cajun Crawfish – $8.95

914 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803, (407) 704-8863
kingcajuncrawfish.com/

3. The Fried Basa Fish Fillet Box with fries from Washington Shores Seafood Market – $5.75

3593 Columbia St, Orlando, FL 32805, +1 407-293-8614

4. The Special Pork Chop Rice Platter with Fried Egg from Vietnam Cuisine – $7.95

1224 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803, +1 407-228-7053
http://ttranvista.wix.com/vietnamcuisineorlando#!menu

5. The Tripleta (Ham, Steak, Roast Pork) Sandwich from Lechonera Latina – $6.00

9998 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32817, +1 407-249-0207
http://lechoneralatina.net/lechon2014/

Sapporo Ramen is one of my favorite places for Japanese ramen noodle soup here in Orlando. After having visited Tokyo and trying some of the most popular ramen shops there, I can comfortably say that Sapporo Ramen is among the most authentic ramen in town, and rivals some of what I tasted in Japan.

Sapporo is a city on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, known for their cold weather, the home of the Sapporo Brewery, and the founding place of the miso ramen.

Miso ramen became popular around 1965, featuring a broth that combines copious amounts of miso and is blended with oily chicken or fish broth – and sometimes with tonkotsu or lard – to create a thick, nutty, slightly sweet and very hearty soup.

The Spicy Miso Ramen
The Spicy Miso Ramen

Miso ramen broth tends to have a robust, tangy flavor, so it stands up to a variety of flavorful toppings: spicy bean paste, butter and corn, leeks, onions, bean sprouts, ground pork, cabbage, sesame seeds, white pepper, and chopped garlic are common. The noodles are typically thick, curly, and slightly chewy.

Recently, Sapporo Ramen introduced a new spicy miso ramen along with a curry noodle ramen to their line up of ramen which includes tonkatsu, miso, and shoyu. I found it to be quite flavorful, with just enough spice to be not overwhelming, and great when paired with the sweet corn and salty bamboo shoots.

Another thing I like about Sapporo is their variety of Japanese street food items offered from the takoyaki octopus balls topped with quivering bonito flakes to the imagawayaki desserts, a pancake like bun filled with sweet bean paste.

Creamy Pork Tonkotsu Ramen
Creamy Pork Tonkotsu Ramen
The Kitsune Udon topped with fried tofu skin
The Kitsune Udon topped with fried tofu skin
Imagawayaki dessert
Imagawayaki dessert

Sapporo Ramen
5080 W Colonial Dr
Orlando, Florida
(407) 203-6777
Tue – Sun: 11:30 am – 8:00 pm
Check out their facebook page at Sapporo Ramen

la empanada food truck orlando

La Empanada is a lovely food truck brought to you in partnership with the good people of Black Bean Deli, the famous Cuban sandwich shop on US 17/92 in Winter Park and winner of numerous “Best Cuban” awards from around Orlando (I think they are thinking Cuban sandwich not Cuban cuisine? =) ).

The truck was actually originally owned by the parents of Andres Corton, head chef of Black Bean Deli. According to their kickstarter.com site, Mami and Papi Corton sold Cuban Sandwiches across East Orlando in this very truck (pre-renovation and upgrades) for over 20 years. Andres, along with friends Gabrielle Arnold and Janelle Luce, used their kickstarter page to help get some seed money to fix up the truck and accomplished their goals, opening their shiny new truck doors in late 2011.

la empanada food truck orlando

The empanada is a staple of Cuban as well as most Latin American cuisine, very popular as a snack and appetizer / street food and often referred to as “envelope food” where different ingredients such as ham, cheese, olives, eggs, you name it, are all stuffed inside the pastry dough inside. They are then baked or fried for enjoyment.

Some of the best empanadas in Orlando can be found at La Empanada, not too greasy or overly fried, these delicious pockets of joy are a delight. On a recent trip to the Winter Park Farmer’s Market, I found them just off of New England Avenue a block or so away from the market on a beautiful central Florida Saturday morning.

The truck itself is very sleek and clean with a very hip, retro look. The empanadas sit inside a glass case by the main window of the truck, where usually there is a variety of 6 choices daily (changes seasonally) of savory and sweet for empanadas ($3) and also a side like soup or salad.

I had the picadillo empanada, a Cuban classic, stuffed with tasty ground beef, bits of carrots, potatos, green olives, and golden raisins. I also ordered the lentil sloppy joe made with spicy tomatoes, green bell peppers and onions. I enjoyed these empanadas much more than others I have had around town, which often were too greasy or fried or the ingredients weren’t all that great. Baked and filled with great, tasty ingredients, these empanadas at La Empanada were very good, especially with some rooster sauce!

I washed it all down with a can of Parrot brand Young Coconut Juice with pulp, refreshing and lovely.

Besame, La Empanada , besame mucho….como si fuera esta noche la ultima vez.



Follow them on twitter to find their latest locations at @laempanadatruck or follow them on facebook.

la empanada food truck orlando

la empanada food truck orlando

La Empanada Food Truck on Urbanspoon

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There’s a new banh mi shop in town, complete with new bar seats and tables and modern lighting. Where Ba Le bakery once sat, a new and trendy sandwich shop now occupies in its place, completely remodeled on the inside and out with a fresh new look.

yum-mì sandwiches focuses on bringing a modern twist to the traditional Vietnamese banh mi. The Phans (sisters Linda and Rosa, and brother David) all UCF alumni, came together with a passion for the Vietnamese culture to share their food with the community. Growing up they always talked about having a business together (they come from a family with roots in the restaurant business a la Pho 88 down the street). This common love of food inspired them to create Yum-mi sandwiches.

Having upbringings in a Vietnamese family, the Phan’s inspirations came from the traditional flavors  acquired growing up and with an open mind for the cultural diversity surrounding the Orlando area. Most of the prices range from $2.75 to $7.95, very affordable.

“It was very exciting for us to come together and see our dreams come to life. The most challenging obstacle was to target the right audience while staying true to our Vietnamese roots. When we were younger, we noticed our friends were always hesitant to go into some of the traditional sub shops. So we wanted to create a place that was more inviting to the young crowd while still satisfying our traditional Vietnamese customers.” explained Linda Phan.

“We serve the traditional banh mi dac biet which is different cold cuts served on a French bread spread with pate and top with cucumber, cilantro, pickled daikon and carrots and jalapeños with splash of soy sauce, but also have yum mi specialities like the V.P. which is our version of Vietnamese philly steak n cheese with two fried eggs on top,” Rosa Phan added.

Some other must try’s also include the Lost Tofu (made with lemongrass spiced tofu)for the vegetarians out there and their custom fresh fruit boba tea freezers. The bread is baked fresh on the premises each day as well.

On a recent visit, I admired the new digs at yum-mi and ordered a VP with the two fried eggs and thit nuong (grilled beef) inside. The sandwich was filling and enjoyable and the eggs over easy oozing yolk onto my banh mi made my lunch divine. My friend had the Ms Piggy with pork belly, lettuce and tomato and noted that although it was a great banh mi, he wished that there was more meat to the sandwich. I think filling is a very important part to the banh mi, as the bread and the meat ratio has to be a respectable amount so that one does not overpower the other. I believe this will improve as time goes on. Overall, it was a fun trip to visit yum-mi and it is definitely a welcomed addition to the new banh mi landscape in Orlando.

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You can sit inside yum-mi sandwiches at the new bar stool area, watching the cars race by on the concrete paved Mills Avenue.
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Delicious Vietnamese street food: banh bao, steamed buns filled with pork and hard boiled egg.
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Mango-lychee freezer boba drink
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Miss Piggy: The Pork belly, tomatoes, and lettuce banh mi
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The VP – Vietnamese Philly with two eggs
PhotobucketYum-Mì Sandwiches on Urbanspoon

yummi sandwiches are yummy

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Brianto’s Original Hoagies – Avalon Park

“Best Philly Cheesesteaks in Orlando!!”

It’s rare to find authentic food here in Central Florida, maybe because we are a city of transplants. Most of us have roots from somewhere else and came here to the city beautiful, and like Walt Disney did so many years ago, to make something of this once swampy wetland forest.

I heard about Brianto’s Original Hoagies and their notoriously good Philly cheese steaks from my friend Victor S. and after a few days of talking about it and checking the reviews for it online, we decided to give it a try and drive out to Avalon Park‘s Town Center to see what these Philly cheese steaks were all about.

The cheese steaks turned out to be, without a doubt, the best cheese steaks I’ve had in my life.

After driving allll the way down Avalon Park Boulevard, past the Publix, we found Brianto’s. Inside, the walls are adorned with photos of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team and sports memorabilia from decades gone by, thank-you plaques from local little leagues that have been beneficiaries of Brianto’s charitable giving, and a huge sign regarding the Philly way of “How to Order a Cheese steak” by I.M. Hungry “wit or wit-out” onions of course.

I order the 6″ Philly cheese steak roll ( $4.99) and my friend Victor S orders the 12″ Philly cheesesteak roll ($7.99) at the counter.

The man behind the counter slaps the sliced steak cuts onto the hot griddle and a few moments later adds the chopped onions to the mix. The steak slices sizzle and steam as they’re cooked.

Later, he adds our cheeses onto the steaks. Victor chooses cheez whiz, that infamous thick processed yellow-colored cheese sauce that has become popular among cheesesteak connoisseurs while I choose the more old-school sharp, and a bit healthier, provolone cheese.

You could also order the pizza steak, which comes with Steak, Marinara, Mozzarella, and Parmesan Cheese, or cheesesteak supreme with Steak, Onions, Green Peppers, Mushrooms, and Cheese, the Chicken Philly, Italian Hoagies, salads, and more.

The cheesesteaks and hoagies are served on authentically Philly-made Amoroso bread. The crispy, rich, golden brown Amoroso bread is specially shipped by air in to Brianto’s daily to ensure Brianto’s has the authentic taste of true Philly cheesesteaks and hoagies .

The cheese steaks arrive at our table wrapped in white paper, beckoning our curiousity and hunger to open them and ravage the contents within. After breaking the taped seal on the breads, we unfold them out onto the table.

Our mouths began to salivate at the aromatic smell of the melted cheese and hot steaks. It was a hot mess that lay out before us.

The first bite: a delicate, delicious balance of cheese, steak, and bread combined to perfection and made with the finest ingredients that there could be and made with the great care and attentiveness as if by some great Philly cheesesteak master. It was divine.

My 6in was enough to get me full and the 12 inch was definitely more than enough for Victor, it was hard to imagine that the large is actualy 18 inches, a full 1.5 foot long.

Truly Philadelphia: Brianto’s also has a stockpile of direct-from-Philly Tasty Kakes cupcakes and pies as well as Herr’s potato chips found in Philadelphia.

Tasty Chomps Rating!!
5 out of 5 TASTY CHOMPS

Brianto’s Original Hoagies
12001 Avalon Lake Drive.
Orlando, FL32828
Phone: (407)382-2667
http://www.briantos.com/

Brianto's Original Hoagies on Urbanspoon

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