Chicken Wings

Roque Pub is a fun and local spot where you can stop by and meet your friends for a drink or enjoy a meal throughout the day. We were invited to taste a few dishes and drinks offered. With drinks, there are over 450 different beers and 20 different wines. I was happy to see that they had one of my all time favorites – KilKenny Irish Red Nitro!

Chef Eva likes to add zest to her dishes and create beauty in her masterpieces. From time to time, she’ll create a new flavor or item for the menu. You can try any of these if you ask what the Chef’s specialty is for the day you visit.

We started with the Spinach & Artichoke Dip. It consists of spinach, artichokes and a blend of jarlsberg, asiago, mozzarella, parmesan, and cream cheese/served with tortilla chips. The dip is delightful and requested by all. It is nice and creamy from all the cream cheese added.

The Silo was suggested by Chef Eva as guests tend to order. Chef Eva also mentioned how she has a lot of fun making this dish. It consists of roast beef, jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and garlic aioli sauce on a toasted ciabatta roll. The ingredients used are very fresh and you taste it with each bite. The flavors are very subtle and I would like it to be equally spread out for each bite.

Wings are a staple at any bar that serves food. This dish is 10 savory wings tossed in your choice of one our signature hot, teriyaki or dry rub wing sauces. Served with a side of celery and your choice of ranch or bleu cheese.

The wings we tried had a special sauce Chef Eva created with apricots, chili and ginger. It has a brilliant mix of sweet and spicy. The wings are steamed as the first step of cooking these.

The Publican is a Philly Steak flatbread with jack cheese, cream cheese, green peppers, onions, and Italian seasoning. It is a great drunk food and wouldn’t mind ordering a few for myself and my friends after a few drinks. The cheeses on the flatbread are very fresh and flavorful; the cheese has to be my favorite part.

Chef Eva has a limited amount of space and supplies in the kitchen, which gives her more credit to her creations due to the steps she takes to make the dishes. For instance, her creative flavors she added to the wings for this visit.

The Roque Pub family is very small but loving towards one another as well as their guests. They host many events for you to discover on their Facebook account, which includes an upcoming beer and wings pairing. For more information, check out their Facebook or website.

My former co-worker and good friend, Dallas Perdue, tending the bar while being filmed by the Travel Channel.

My friend from college and owner of DOMU, Sonny Nguyen

*Will be featured on the Food Paradise episode*
Pigs In A Blanket Bao – Chashu ends, persian cucumber, pickled cabbage, scallion, spicy kewpie mayo

Domu Wings – coated with kimchi butter sauce.  These are my favorite wings in the whole world!  Must try!

*Will be featured on the Food Paradise episode* Richie Rich – Miso-shoyu pork bone broth, chashu, ajitama brûlée, kikurage, scallion, fried garlic, black garlic oil, domudama

Uni Mazemen – Uni butter sauce, ikura, micro greens, crispy quinoa, chives, fresh uni

Chuka – Roasted corn, menma, torched tomato, cucumber, shiitake mushrooms, ontama, sesame vinaigrette

Check out DOMU soon for delicious ramen, wings & bao and be sure to keep an eye out for the Food Paradise episode airing in the next couple of weeks!

DOMU
3201 Corrine Dr. STE 100 Orlando, Florida
(407) 960-1228
http://domufl.com

Duffy’s Sports Grill invited us to check out some items from their menu, new and old. Duffy’s Sports Grill consists of 35 locations throughout Florida (including Orlando!) and more than 80 TVs in each location. It is the perfect place to catch your favorite team game or sit back and enjoy a great meal.

Of course, it was after work and the weekend began so we decided to check out some drinks. We discovered with delight that ordering the S’mores Girl Scout Cookies specialty Martini comes with cookies. Who doesn’t like an adult version of milk and cookies? The martini is very tasteful and nice for a night with the girls.

If you are not too fond of a milky liquor, how about Pear…fect Martini? Or two because Duffy’s Sports Grill offers 2 for 1 drinks all day every day. Music to your ears, right?

Loaded Potato Skins include bacon, scallions, jack & cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Textures ranging from smooth/creamy to crispy creates a nice touch to the savory flavors.

Crispy Calamari is dusted in seasoned flour and garnished with crispy cherry peppers, served with marinara and spicy kickin’ bayou sauce. They weren’t kidding when they said the spicy kicking’ bayou sauce had a kick to it, but is nice with the appropriately seasoned calamari.

Seasame-Crusted Ahi Tuna is seasoned, seared in sesame oil and served with cucumber salad and Soba noodles in Asian dressing. Each item on this plate is chilled and has its own flavor unique to one another. I’m not mad we ordered this dish and would order it again!

These ribs are dressed with Duffy’s Sports Grill’s new Korean BBQ Sauce. The ribs have tender parts and crispy sections depending on where you take your bites. The delicious sauce has a balance between sweet and spicy. Also, I hear it is great on wings when it comes to watching a game or in general.

Of course, I can’t go to a sports grill without ordering wings. This is a plate of hot boneless wings served with blue cheese and celery. The hot sauce here is on the vinegar side of the hot sauce spectrum.

Blackened Beef Tenderloin Tips served with Horseradish cream sauce and the options of two sides. Here, we decided on grilled zucchini and sweet potato fries as our sides. The tips were room temperature, but delicious; it would be a greater delight if they were hot. The grilled zucchini were fresh and had a crunch to them, which was to my liking. The sweet potato fries were made well and sapid.

As there is the S’mores Girl Scout Cookies specialty martini mentioned above, there’s a S’mores Girl Scout Cookies specialty involving cupcakes that you could order for dessert. $1 from each order of the cupcakes and/or martinis will go towards Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida!

For more information  check out the Duffy’s Sports Grill website.

Last Wednesday, we decided to visit Kings Bowl on International Dr. in Orlando, FL. It was a spacious venue with plenty of bowling lanes, pool tables, and bars. What’s more is that they also have a restaurant inside of Kings Bowl. This summer, Kings Bowl decided to add around 14 dishes and 5 drinks to their menu. Fair warning, the lighting wasn’t great for photography so we may not have photos for every dish and drink. Also, many of their 14 dishes are meals split up separately (i.e. a chicken dish may also have the quinoa salad, but the salad is also sold on its own); therefore, grouping will occur in this post.

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The Drunken Bear Martini is a sweet drink that contains raspberry vodka, peach liqueur, sour mix, lime juice, and it is garnished with gummy bears. Along with it is an Orange You Old Fashioned?, which is a bourbon drink with orange liqueur, simple syrup and orange bitters.

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The Apple Raisin Chicken Salad and sandwich contains mostly the same ingredients plus or minus the toasted multigrain bread. Instead of bread, the sandwich can be served as a lettuce wrap instead. The salad is very delightful as the mixture of apples, raisins and chicken is always refreshing.

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The Turkey, cranberry and brie sandwich contains toasted multigrain bread that may have a weird smell because the oil it was toasted with was cooked incorrectly. I couldn’t get past the smell to enjoy the sandwich.

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The chicken wings can be Teri-Dactyl (Spicy BBQ and Teriyaki sauce) or Kings’ Famous Baked Caribbean Jerk wings. I prefer the Caribbean Jerk sauce over the Teri-Dactyl because the latter is very sweet and overpowering. Nevertheless, the wings themselves are very moist and cooked well.

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There wasn’t anything specifically special about the BBQ Pulled Pork Wontons. They were tasty, but oily.

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The Mango Lime Grilled Chicken Breast is served with a mango salsa, avocado, sour cream, Southwestern quinoa, and steamed broccoli. The Southwestern quinoa can also be ordered as a salad and the only difference is that it includes kale, Feta, carrots, and a cilantro lime vinaigrette. The chicken breast is cooked well and is still juicy on the inside. There isn’t anything really special about the quinoa side or salad.

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The Turkey and Hummus Wrap is packed with protein and veggies. It’s a nice item if you’d like a refreshing dish on a hot summer day.

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The Ginger Soy Glazed Salmon is a bit dry, but the flavors are delicious. The baby bok toy is extremely salty and the brown rice is ok. However, the glazed baby carrots are delicious and I could eat them all day.

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The marinated artichoke and spinach pizza was interesting and delicious. The downside is how oily the pizza and the crust was.

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This pizza is basically an Americanized taco spread out. Another way of thinking is if Taco Bell made a pizza. My favorite part of this dish is the crust, which is more crunchy as well as still a bit chewy.

The burgers weren’t photographed, but they are essentially the same thing with one or two different items switched around for each burger. The most interesting is the burger that contains peanut butter, bacon, grilled pineapple, and Sriracha. The peanut butter works well with the beef where the bacon adds a salty and savoriness to the burger. The grilled pineapple is new and adds a sweetness to it as well.

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The “homemade” health bar cake is served with whipped cream and a rum caramel sauce. The lower portion of the cake is dense and chewy, while the top is creamy and smooth. I prefer the top portion as it isn’t as sweet as the cake portion. Eating it together is the best way even though it is fun to dissect it and take it apart.

Feel free to visit Kings Bowl America – Orlando for more information on their menu and summer bowling deals.

Olive Garden consists of 800 restaurants inspired by the foods and wines of Italy. They’re known for their warmth and caring family of hosts, waiters and waitresses. On April 9th, I was able to experience their warmth and was treated as family when I paid a visit after hearing rumors of a new menu for 2014.

Although the people of Olive Garden were great, I can’t say the same about all of the new food menu – some were hits, and some were real misses. The lighting was also very dim, which provided a nice relaxing atmosphere to enjoy after a long day of work. However, I have a feeling that the dim lighting was also to conceal how the food was not presentable and didn’t make me say: “YES! I’m excited to try this!”

THE BEST

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The dinner menu features a number of things and started out well with the greatly known breadsticks that were moist, warm and full of flavor!

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Polenta Shrimp alla Greca was nicely presented with a refreshing taste. The shrimp were made just right, but make sure you take the tail off before consuming.

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The Spicy Calabrian Wings were my favorite dish of the evening! It was zesty and just to my liking! I could eat this all day. Note: if you are sensitive to hot and spicy food, you may want to take your time and test one before ordering a large number.

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The Crispy Risotto Bites consisted of a dense and creamy risotto with bits of mozzarella fried to have a crunchy outer shell to provide a nice contrast to the texture.

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As you enjoy your appetizers, you can get your hands on a Peach Bellini frozen cocktail consisting of a blend of Zonin Prosecco and fresh peaches. This cocktail is nice to have on a hot day and is one of my favorites.

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If you’re not in the mood for a frozen cocktail, maybe you can try a Strawberry-Limoncello Martini. This martini consists of Smirnoff Citrus Vodka, Caravella Limoncello and strawberries. This drink has a strong alcohol taste, but it is minimized a tad with the help of fresh strawberries.

THE REST

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The Antipasti Italian Meats and Cheese had a mixture of vegetables, meats and cheese that is usually served in Italy. From a healthy standpoint, you may pass on this, as the vegetables present won’t provide much nutrition and the deli meat toppers will probably raise your sodium levels and cholesterol. The dish came as seen in the photo and seem as though it was put together in a hurry and cut right out of their individual packaging.

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The Roasted Tomato Caprese is a lighter salad. I like this better than the Antipasti Italian Meats and Cheese. The kale is crunchy, the salad is colorful and the mozzarella bites are a delight. Each vegetable provided a different texture and different taste to your palate. The roasted tomatoes were scarce and those that were found were bitter. The dressing they used for this salad was the same for the other salad; both had Italian dressing.

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Smashed Chicken Meatball Sandwich

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The Smashed Chicken Meatball Sandwich is nicely presented with a side of fries with a garlic seasoning sprinkled on top. The sandwich had fluffy buns that were rich in flavor. The chicken patty itself did not have a texture you’d imagine chicken to have as though it was over-processed and synthetic. The fries were limp and cold to eat.

The “Cucina Mia” section will allow you to create your own entrée out of six different pastas and five different sauces. Although they say the sauces are “made-from-scratch”, they tasted like any other sauce you can buy in your local grocery store at any brand.

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The Large Paccheri with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato and Chicken Meatballs was bland, had only a hint of sauce and had what it said in the name: a single, small “sun-dried tomato”.

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When taken apart, the meatball doesn’t look appealing; its taste wasn’t pleasant either and reminded me of the texture of cat food. The large paccheri were rolled up tight or suctioned together to one another. The “creamy” sauce noted on the menu description didn’t exist. It was more of a drop of sauce given that didn’t even provide emollient between the paccheri.

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All I have to say about the Vegetable Penne Primavera is that it is very bland, maybe more than Chef Boyardee from the can.

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The Chicken Abruzzi was nicely presented and can be greatly paired with a Pinot Grigio or any white wine. I like the Pinot Grigio because of how smooth it is and is easy on the taste.

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The Pappardelle Pescatore consisted of fresh seafood and asparagus. Yet, that doesn’t make up for how watery and flavorless the sauce and pappardelle was.

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The Chicken Primavera with Giant Fusilli was overpowered by a heavy hand of basil. Other than that, it did not have much flavor. Although the lightness demonstrates “Leggeri,” which means “lighter Italian fare,” the moist chicken tasted very gelatinous.

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The Wild Berry Layer Cake was very refreshing and moist. I believe the actual cake was soaked into sweet milk and reminded me of the Tres Leches cake that can be traced back to Central America and Mexico. If you have a major sweet tooth, you can try this cake!

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The Caffè Mocha Latte (above) and Caramel Hazelnut Macchiato (not shown) were very watery and did not have very much coffee inside.

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To have any hint of coffee/espresso/caffeine, Lavazza Espresso was added. Each specialty coffee was paired with sweet biscotti that I like with or without the coffee.

All in all, the new menu is a great effort from the Olive Garden, however it falls far short of its goal. The best dish to get would be the spicy calabrian wings.

Olive Garden on Urbanspoon

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Central Floridians everywhere have lamented the closings of the late Mama Nem’s, Johnson’s Diner, and Lowe’s Good Eaton, placing a rather large hole in the heart of Orlando’s soul food scene. One would have to travel to Angel’s in Sanford for some really good soul food.

Recently, McKnight’s, a new soul food restaurant opened on Church Street in the shadow of the new Amway Center. This is the same location previously occupied by Johnson’s Diner and briefly, Fish and Loaves.

Other soul food places have also sprung up in recent years, many still waiting to be discovered and their menus explored by hungry Orlando-ans.

Maybe the outlook for good soul food is looking up for the City Beautiful.

Chef Eddie’s, which opened in 2009,  is located in the Washington Shores neighborhood off of Orange Center Boulevard, just west of John Young Parkway near the SR 408 exit.

Owned by Eddie and Bess James, this family run restaurant is known for their chicken and waffles and soul food. Here, Bess takes over the hosting duties, while Chef Eddie mans the kitchen. The waitresses are dressed in formal attire with ties and give service with a smile.

It was karaoke night the Friday night that we arrived – a young lady performing on the mic while her partner played the keys. The music, admittedly, was a bit loud, but it gave the place a nice lively feeling. We were even invited to join in and pick a few songs.

Queen Bee’s, another soul food restaurant, used to occupy this same location. The decor is a bit aged – maybe like going to a distant relative’s home who hasn’t renovated the furnishings since the 1980s.

The chairs and tables are all set up for family style dining though, and of course, what is soul food without having friends and family to enjoy it with?

And that is where the heart of the place lies: the great food coming out of Chef Eddie’s kitchen.

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Fluffy, sweet jalapeno cracklin muffins

First to arrive to the table: jalapeno cracklin muffins – deliciously sweet corn muffins made here with tiny bits and pieces of spicy jalapeno bits baked inside. Savory, spicy, sweet…altogether a winning recipe.

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Chef Eddie’s fried green tomatoes

Our waitress recommends the fried green tomatoes for starters: fried in a seasoned batter on top of a generous helping of cheesy Parmesan grits, drizzled with a sweet gravy sauce. The tomatoes were fresh and not too tart, just the way I like them, and, when combined with the cheesy grits, a tasty dish. Definitely would get this again, especially with a large party as the serving was generous.

This is a theme here…

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I ordered the Pork Ribs dinner platter, not done “barbecue” style with a smokey flavor, but more like oven baked and topped with a tangy sweet mustard based barbecue sauce that went very well with the pork. The pork was tender and “finger licking good” and the serving size was enough for two meals.

It was a delight to eat with my collard greens and mac and cheese sides. The mac and cheese was baked and had a nice dry texture to them.

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Oxtail stew dinner platter

My other dining partners ordered the beef stew platter and the oxtail platter, both of which had a nice brown gravy sauce that went well together with the stewed meats and yellow rice.

The highlight of Chef Eddie’s is their large variety of waffle flavors for their famous chicken and waffles dish. Whereas most chicken and waffle establishments have plain Belgian style waffles, the waffle flavors here range from Pecan, Strawberry, Sweet Potato, Blueberry, Red Velvet, Chocolate Chip, Apple Cinnamon, Banana Walnut, Big Berry (Strawberry, Blueberry & Rasberry) to Plain. Also important to note, the waffles here are more like regular waffles rather than thick Belgian style waffles.

The waffles are served with fried chicken wings, and a side of syrup.

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Chicken and Red velvet waffles with green beans

Overall, I would definitely go back to Chef Eddie’s to enjoy some great soul food cooking, for the  great prices, quality, and friendliness.

They even have a closer satellite restaurant called Chef Eddie’s East, located inside the Evans Food Mart on Goldenroad Road (just north of the SR 408 exit).

I visited recently to pick up some oxtail to go…and it was just as delicious as the original Chef Eddie’s. The mac and cheese here had a nice white creamy color to it though. And it really is more of a to go place as it can get awkward eating inside a convenience store.

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Chef Eddie himself – putting in work in the kitchen

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Karaoke Night at Chef Eddie’s

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Chef Eddie’s East

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Oxtail platter

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Chef Eddie's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Chef Eddie's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Open 24 hours a day 7 days a week, Donut King is a treat for those who love hand made, fresh daily donuts. Located out in Minneola, north of SR 50 and way out west of Orlando, this unassuming little bake shop packs a big punch in terms of sweet flavors. Strangely enough, there are several menus featured here at Donut King: the donuts menu, a breakfast menu, a burger menu, and a New Orleans style cajun menu (including an impressive list of po boy sandwiches).

When you first step into Donut King, it feels like it used to be a old 50’s fast food joint, despite being open only since 2007. A few scattered chairs and tables, and a bar area on a side are all the seating available. Most patrons come in, salivating over the display of donuts on donuts on donuts, ordering their boxes and go.

Donuts ($0.79 each or $7.79 for a dozen) reign supreme here at donut king, soft, fluffy, and delicious. The glazed donut is heavenly, a sweet donut soft and fluffy like something you’d find on cloud 9 with a touch of vanilla flavor. The red velvet chocolate cake donut and the sour dough cake donut are also great, though they tasted more like cakes in donut form than a traditional donut. The sour dough cake donut reminded me particularly of a delightful apple fritter with out the apples. Custard filled donut holes, chocolate oreo crusted donuts, strawberry glazed donuts, and even a UF Gator themed sprinkled, chocolate glazed donut are some of the many flavors available.

As mentioned earlier, there is a burger menu, consisting of their signature “castle burgers“, which are much like the White Castle/Krystal’s slider variety. The bun was soft and the burger itself was agreeable, though nothing out of the ordinary. I wished there was more toppings in the burger, like more onions and pickles.

The New Orleans style cajun menu here was surprisingly good. The catfish had a spicy, flavorful batter and was fried to a golden crisp. The accompanying grits were standard fare. A whopping platter of gumbo with okra, sausage, cajun spices, and sauce over rice and french bread had a home-cooked, yet very mild taste to it, though I would have expected it to be more soup-like as I am accustomed to. One of my favorite things on the menu here were the chicken wings, fresh, crispy little wings dipped in a mild hot sauce. Simple but good.

Just the sheer amount of variety here will have you liking something on the menu. The donuts indeed were the main attraction

Let the Donut King continue his reign.

Scenes from The Donut King

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Unassuming storefront belies what lay inside

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Delicioso

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The Castle Burger

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What wonders behold

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Donuts!

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Dozen donuts please

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Catfish and grits

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Glazed Donuts on a stick – i call it the HoneyCatTails

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Gumbo – Large $7.99

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Donut King on Urbanspoon

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There are only a handful of land marks in Central Florida that, for whatever reason, have stood the test of time and lasted. Beefy King on Bumby Avenue, Lee and Rick’s Oyster Bar off of Kirkman Road, and Hot Dog Heaven on Colonial Drive stand out in my mind as a few olde Orlando classics, a mythic time period pre-dating the arrival of the Mouse to Orlando.

There is also Olde Dixie Fried Chicken, celebrating its 50th year this year, complete with its huge, colorful sign with a friendly chicken, licking its lips, beneath a Confederate rebel flag bedazzled cap. Yes, Olde Dixie is a proud southern chicken from times of the good old days of the Civil War. Just a reminder that we sometimes forget that Florida is technically, geographically at least, a Southern state, though usually not considered one  as we are pretty much a state of transplants from other states who have come to enjoy the Florida sun since the times of Henry Flager and John D. Rockefeller.

Anywho, Olde Dixie Fried Chicken sits on Orange Avenue about 5 miles south of downtown within the Pine Castle community (originally established in 1870). When you first enter, you immediately feel like you are in another time period, I think I felt transported back to the 1970s. Something in my mind just kept telling me, I should back away slowly…

But, the sound of crackling chicken coming from the deep fryer next to the counter allayed my concerns.

The kitchen is run by a group of women, they seemed like mothers, daughters, and grandmothers all together around the fryer area. You order at the counter where there was a single, simple paper menu of the various chicken pieces, sides, and choices.

You can dine at a table in an adjoining room where the decor probably hasn’t changed much since they first opened in the 1960s; various chicken memorabilia (somehow reminding me of the other, more refined chicken place up the street, Le Coq Au Vin) adorn the walls in the dining room.

I ordered a combo that came with fried chicken breast, a wing, and a leg as well as baked beans and french fries for the side. The french fries were nothing to write home about, and the baked beans were not much better, but they had a comforting familiar taste that I did not mind. The fried chicken was good, kind of like what you would imagine home-style fried chicken would taste. Certainly not the best ever, especially with the out-dated kicks, but it’s comfort food. Better than Kentucky Fried Chicken and Maryland Fried Chicken, on par with Bojangles, but not better than Popeye’s I would reckon.

It’s interesting to note what restaurants have stayed around for so long here in Orlando where it seems things can open and close on a dime. A trait that the older Orlando establishments seem to share is doing one thing, and doing it well. Just like succeeding in life.

Orange County Update – Pine Castle Pioneer Days

 

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The interior of the dining room at Olde Dixie Fried Chicken

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Fried Chicken, Fries, and Baked Beans at Olde Dixie Fried Chicken

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It’s all about that fried chicken y’all.

Olde Dixie Fried Chicken on Urbanspoon

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Flyer’s Wings and Grill has some of the best wings in Orlando if you are willing to brave the trip out to West Orlando. The place has been serving these tasty, fried bits of chicken wings for over 20 years on the northwest corner of Kirkman Road and Colonial Drive in its yellow and red building. It looks a bit run-down on the outside, and on the interior things look a bit like your charming aunt’s living room that hasn’t seen a renovation since the ’80s, but hey it’s all about the wings right?

Their wings, though they appear small, are actually quite meaty and fresh, crispy yet also tender. The sauces my companions are chose were the lemon pepper, medium, and sweet and tangy. The favorite of the bunch was definitely the lemon pepper, a delicious buttery flavor that was one of the best chicken wing sauces I have had. Our attentive and friendly waitress let us know that one of the most popular sauce choices was the lemon pepper, hot, and garlic mix, which I will definitely try next time. Overall the wings were fantastic and I would definitely come by to have the wings again.

The sweet tea at Flyer’s was also quite delicious, with the perfect mix of tea and sugar, not too overly sweet and not too bitter from the tea. We ordered extra cups of these to go.

They have an “all you can eat” wings night on Monday nights that is really popular as well.

Check Flyer’s out sometime if you want some great wings and don’t mind the dive-y digs.

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Inside Flyer’s Wings and Grill
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Chicken wings galore
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Lemon pepper wings, the favorite
Flyers Wings & Grill on Urbanspoon

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