Mexican

We were invited to the media preview of the Sunday Brunch Buffet at Mesa21 and it was an amazing “brunch with a view” experience consisting of delicious food, beautiful authentic interior and exterior design, extraordinary service, and a breathtaking view of Lake Ivanhoe with the occasional bird sightings.  I cannot wait to come back and introduce my friends to this new Sunday brunch experience.

Sunday Brunch Menu
$25 Adults – $20 bottomless mimosas & Bloody Maria’s or $40 for both
$10 for 6 – 12 years old
Children under 6 years old eat FREE
11am to 3pm

Patio bar

Salad bar

Mexican Bolillo (a traditional Mexican bread) with your choice of protein and garnishes.

Taco Station – house made corn or flour tortillas with your choice of protein.

Carvery Station: Roast beef

Fresh mixed vegetables

Mexican rice

Tortilla strips, shredded mozzarella cheese, and Mexican soup.

Fresh house made crispy corn tortilla chips

Salsa verde

Chips & Pico de Gallo – Corn tortillas served with fresh pico de Gallo, salsa verde, and salsa rancheros.

Mexican Pancakes – Fluffy pancakes & French Toast – Thick sliced brioche bread topped with powdered sugar.

Eggs a la carte – scrambled over medium, over hard, poached.

Quesadilla – Crispy corn, cheese filled quesadilla with choice of salsa verde or salsa roja.  Topped with crema & quest fresco.

Egg Burrito – Egg & cheese.  Egg, Pico & Guacamole.  Egg & Chorizo.

Dessert Bar

Fruit Platter

Assorted Cheesecakes & Yogurt Parfait

Citrus cake

Chocolate cake

For the complete Sunday brunch menu, go to https://m.opentable.com/restaurants/mesa-21/menu/444037/brunch-menu/1

Mesa21
1414 N Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32804
Call to make a reservation: (407) 930-8000

0 1726

Cocina |214 is a contemporary Mexican and Tex-Mex kitchen. The name is a combination of the Spanish word for kitchen, “cocina” and the Dallas area code, “214.” The idea for opening COCINA|214 developed when two of the owners from Texas missed the Tex-Mex and Mexican food they had grown up eating. They wanted the same authentic, fresh and quality food here in Winter Park.

Dragon Fruit Local MargaritaWe started off with a this season’s local cocktail – The Dragon Fruit Margarita.
It was a sweet, almost dessert like drink, so personally I like the salt rim to balance out the sugar in the drink. And because it is seasonal, it’s only here for a limited time.

Avocado BitesFried Avocado Bites (10)
lightly breaded hass avocados fried served with chipotle cream dipping sauce. This was almost too addicting, I had to stop myself before I get full from just eating fried avocados. The chipotle cream sauce does sneak up on you with its heat so dip cautiously.

Isidro's CaesarIsidro’s Caesar (13)
romaine, cotija cheese, fried onions strings, grape tomatoes, homemade croutons and Caesar dressing. I actually prefer the fried onion strings over croutons in regular caesar’s salad. It adds a subtle crunch and more flavors.

Mango CevicheMango Ceviche (13)
snapper, serrano peppers, red onion, red bell pepper, citrus, mango. I absolutely love cevhice, and although this one had a bit too much lime for me the mango helped bring back a little sweetness to the sour punch.
Mexican CornMexican Corn (9)
grilled corn, cayenne pepper, lime, cotija, queso fresco. A delicious way to eat corn, that natural sweetness with cheese and loads of spices and hint of lime.

Snapper Frito TacosSnapper Frito Tacos (16)
lightly fried wild snapper, coastal slaw, pico de gallo, chipotle cream sauce. Snapper is much less flaky than cod so it won’t fall all over the place once you bite into it. It all tasted really fresh and the corn tortilla really aids in bringing out the flavors of the tacos. 

Cauli Frito TacosCauli Frito Tacos (13)
lightly fried cauliflower, coastal slaw, red bell peppers, chipotle cream sauce. I personally prefer this over the cod tacos. The fried cauliflower has a sweetness to it that plays so well with cream sauce and a dash of lime juice. This is probably one of my favorite vegetarian options out there.

Snapper VeracruzSnapper Veracruz (25)
fresh wild snapper, tomato, olive, caper, with herb topping and veggie rice. It was nice step away from the mundane salmon dish that’s offered in a lot of other places.

Cheese Enchiladas-Mexican styleCombo Enchilada (14)
3 Enchiladas Mexican-style with romaine lettuce, queso fresco, onions, sour cream, grape tomatoes & veggie rice. A hearty dish, that’s filling and combination of different textures. 

Maria's Gourmet BurgerMaria’s Gourmet Burger (16)
grilled pineapple on an Angus beef burger, Olde Hearth Bread poppy seed bun, Monterrey jack cheese, served with grilled Mexican corn. Everything came together so well on this burger. Especially the pineapple, it was a bit odd, but it really made the burger all the more savory. 

Churrosand of course we ended things lightly with some Fried Churros and Dulce de lechedipping sauce.

Cocina | 214 

151 E Welbourne Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 790-7997

0 1441

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.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Chilito Green Express on Urbanspoon

0 7288

You wouldn’t know it by driving by this little Mexican grocery store – but inside these red and yellow bodega bricked walls there is a little kitchen that serves up some very authentic Mexican street food from tamales, tortas and tacos to shrimp cocktails, menudos and tostadas.

Jalisco is a region on the west coast of Mexico known for being the “heart” of Mexican culture. A classic dish for the area includes the pozole, a kind of spicy, meaty corn-based stew, as well as menudo, a traditional Mexican beef tripe soup.

Here at Tienda Mexicana Jalisco on Goldenrod Road, in addition to the typical list of tacos, there are “caldos” or “soups” and “guisados” or “stews”. My favorites are the tostadas, fried tortillas topped with beans, cheese, salsa, lettuce, and your choice of meat – which range from the familiar carne steak and al pastor pork, to the more exotic like lengua (beef tongue) and cabeza (roasted beef head) – though they are known to be “out” of the more rare meats.

You order at the counter – Spanish helps, for sure, but there is also an English menu. As is typical at these roadside grocery eateries, you pay not at the kitchen counter, but instead, take the pay stub to the main grocery cashier to pay and then get a receipt there for the meal. It can be a little confusing for first timers.

After you’re done paying, take a seat, and when the carne or carnitas are done sizzling on the griddle and the tacos and tostadas and soups are all prepared, they bring the plates out, fresh and ready to be enjoyed.

Simple and satisfying. Watch the heat from the hot sauce, though.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Fried snapper

SONY DSC

Daily lunch specials

SONY DSC

The grocery market part of the grocery store

SONY DSC

Seating area – a lot of the working crowd during lunch time

SONY DSC

Mexican pastries – a lot of bread – for sale

SONY DSC

Pay for your meal, or buy a phone card, at the register

SONY DSC

Tacos – carne, lengua, al pastor – watch out for the red sauce – it’s spicy

SONY DSC

Simple onion, cilantro, and a dash of lime for my street tacos

Tienda Jalisco on Urbanspoon

1 3858

ROCCO’S TACOS & TEQUILA BAR DEBUTS WEEKEND BRUNCH

Brought to life by charismatic owner Rocco Mangel, Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar has become one of the most popular restaurants on Sand Lake Road, Orlando’s Restaurant Row, with open air seating, beautiful wood themed decor, a fabulous lake side view, along with great Mexican food.

Here the guacamole is prepared tableside and guests can sample from 225 varieties of tequila.

Now they’re getting into the brunch game with new Mexican style breakfast/brunch dishes like Wet Burrito Con Huevos, Pan Dulce y Compota Manzana, and Huevos Ahoghada con Shortribs.

On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, Rocco’s Tacos Orlando guests can spicy up traditional brunch with the popular Wet Burrito con Huevos, scrambles eggs, rajas, bacon, potatoes, cheese guacamole, pico de gallo and chipotle crema and salsa rojo to pack in the heat or the chilequiles, a delicious sunny side up egg topped with tostada chips fried in salsa verde, Chihuahua and cotija cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and pico de gallo.

Guacamole prepared tableside
Guacamole prepared tableside
Guacamole prepared tableside
Guacamole prepared tableside

NEW BRUNCH MENU ITEMS:

· Fruit & Nut Granola ($9.50) – Strawberries, bananas, apple compote, Greek yogurt
· Wet Burrito con Huevos ($12) – Scrambled eggs, rajas, bacon, potatoes, cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo, chipotle crema, salsa rojo
· Benedict Azteca ($13) – Poached eggs in masa sopes, pork cochinitas, salsa orjo, spinach, chipotle crema, Mexican potatos
· Huevos en Cazuela (Bistec: $14, Bacon and Chorizo: $12) – Sunny side up eggs on black beans and cheese with a choice of meat in a skillet
· Huevos Rancheros Divociados ($13) – Sunny side up eggs on tostadas, refried bean, salsas rojo and verde, lettuce, Chihuahua cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole
· Huevos Ahoghada con Shortribs ($13) – Poached eggs on shortribs and poblano hash, salsa verde, corn, spinach, manchego
· Chilequiles ($13) – Sunny side up eggs, tostada chips fried with salsa verde, topped with Chihuahua and cotija cheese, sour cream, guacamole, pico de galllo
· Pan dulce y Compota Manzana ($13) – Mexican style French toast with bacon, agave, and maple syrup, apple compote, sweet sour cream.

Huevos Ahoghada con Shortribs ($13) - Poached eggs on shortribs and poblano hash, salsa verde, corn, spinach, manchego
Huevos Ahoghada con Shortribs ($13) – Poached eggs on shortribs and poblano hash, salsa verde, corn, spinach, manchego
Pan dulce y Compota Manzana ($13) – Mexican style French toast with bacon, agave, and maple syrup, apple compote, sweet sour cream.
Pan dulce y Compota Manzana ($13) – Mexican style French toast with bacon, agave, and maple syrup, apple compote, sweet sour cream.

WHEN:
Saturdays and Sundays
11am – 3 pm

LOCATIONS:
7468 W. Sand Lake Road
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 226-0550

Premium margaritas at Rocco's Tacos
Premium margaritas at Rocco’s Tacos
"Ceviche Del Dia" is made Fresh daily with Marinated seafood with lime, onion, tomato, cilantro, avocado and pepper
“Ceviche Del Dia” is made Fresh daily with Marinated seafood with lime, onion, tomato, cilantro, avocado and pepper

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Rocco's Tacos and Tequila Bar on Urbanspoon

0 3328
Sope de carne asada steak

Blink and you just might miss it.

El Pueblo is a tiny authentic Mexican restaurant space on Aloma Ave just east of Forsyth in Winter Park. It is a hole in the wall that is a bit of a remarkable hidden gem, serving some of the best Mexican antojitos or “small bites” street food on the east side of town.

El Pueblo, Winter Park
El Pueblo, Winter Park

It’s a bit shady looking on the outside, but the interior is nice and clean with beautiful murals of scenes from Mexico. The staff is nice, despite the language barriers. The love for food transcends languages, and luckily, the menu is in English and Spanish.

Inside, the TVs play the day’s telenovela soap operas from Telemundo and a huge jukebox sits towards the front, ready to play some Mexican tunes.

Interior of El Pueblo
Interior of El Pueblo
Menu at El Pueblo
Menu at El Pueblo

Most of the antojitos are between $1.50 and $2.50 while the platters go up to $12.00, all very affordable. In fact, you might get full off of ordering a few tacos and a sope here.

Pork al Pastor tacos at El Pueblo
Pork al Pastor tacos at El Pueblo

The best tacos in Orlando still go to Border Grill off of Kirkman Road, but I do love the sopes here at El Pueblo. The tacos here are good, served Mexican street style with nice fresh corn tortillas and cilantro and onions and a slice of lime, but the sopes are excellent.

Gordita - fried tortilla taco sandwich
Gordita – fried tortilla taco sandwich

Sopes here at El Pueblo are crunchy, fried corn tortillas topped with tasty refried beans, fresh lettuce, queso fresco, tomatoes, and avocado as well as your choice of meat ranging from barbacoa to pastor pork and chicken and carne asada steak. It’s like a tiny mountain of crunchy nacho joy.

The Sope - so delicious
The Sope with barbacoa pulled beef – so delicious

On a recent visit, my friend and I shared a fajita platter with shrimp, beef, and chicken. Definitely very filling and homey. This is what I’d imagine Mexican diner food to be like, a little greasy but comforting at the same time.

Steak shrimp and chicken fajita
Steak shrimp and chicken fajita

They also have a nice selection of aguas frescas here, fresh, sweet fruit juices ranging from melon to pineapple, hibiscus, and of course, horchata, depending on the day.

Melon Aguas Frescas - also comes in pineapple, horchata (rice cinnamon), hibiscus flavors
Melon Aguas Frescas – also comes in pineapple, horchata (rice cinnamon), hibiscus flavors

Drop by El Pueblo if you are on the east side of Orlando and hankering for cheap, authentic Mexican street food. I want to visit again soon, to try their traditional Mexican soups and flautas.

SONY DSC

El Pueblo on Urbanspoon

Universal CityWalk’s newest restaurant, Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, recently opened in February 2014 – becoming the second eatery to debut as part of this year’s historic expansion to Universal’s entertainment complex.

The restaurant once was the home to Universal’s Latin Quarter restaurant, but has undergone extensive remodeling to fit the attitude and personality of the new Antojitos. I was invited recently to a preview of the new menu and to check out all the upcoming things going on at Universal CityWalk.

The name Antojitos itself means “little cravings” in Spanish, and refers to Street food in Mexico, prepared at street vendors and small traditional markets in the country.

Walking up to the restaurant, you are immediately struck by the grandeur and beauty of the art-like building. The exterior is vibrant and lively: shaped like a Mexican cathedral complete with a working bell tower, with bright, fun, painted colors splashed all over.

SONY DSC

A VW microbus has been converted to a standing bar truck, complete with a bartender inside.

SONY DSC

Drinks are a big thing here at Antojitos
Drinks are a big thing here at Antojitos, with many drinks made with celebrity’s liquors and spirits like the Handsome George, made with George Clooney’s Casamigos tequila brand

There is seating outdoor, indoors on the first floor, and upper level seating in the Antojitos “Up” area. The first floor is mostly for Mexican street food like tacos and enchiladas with a large stage area for mariachi performances while upstairs you can order more “refined” dishes with less of a cantina feeling and more intimate upscaled decor.

Downstairs at Antojitos
Downstairs at Antojitos
Bird cage like seating downstairs, overall amazing architecture and decor - a mix of traditional with urban
Bird cage like seating downstairs, overall amazing architecture and decor – a mix of traditional with urban
Luchador baby dolls...slightly creepy but funny
Luchador baby dolls…slightly creepy, but fun

Guests can choose to dine downstairs and enjoy a more casual dining experience that includes items like carnitas al pastor tacos (made with beer and chile braised pork, grilled pineapple and guajillo salsa) and oaxaca enchiladas (chicken tinga and house made mole sauce, queso fresco and lime crema).

Upstairs, guests can enjoy a more refined dining experience that includes menu options like carne asada brava (coffee crusted ribeye with fire roasted vegetables) and menonita shrimp (bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with menonita cheese, manchego corn pudding and a poblano chorizo sauce).

Diners can also watch as their fresh guacamole is prepared tableside, enjoy nightly entertainment in the restaurant, and sample a variety of specialty beverages – including authentic Mexican soda, beers, regional wines and an extensive selection of tequila and mezcal. The guacamole was a favorite of mine that evening, so fresh and delicious unlike those pre-made guacamole that you encounter around town.

Antoritas
Antoritas

The Antorita is the signature drink at Antojitos, served in a beautiful, artistic glass. It has blanco tequila, Grand Marnier, Gran Gala and fresh squeezed lime and oranges and lemon, made fresh.

Modesto Alcala, vice president of revenue operations at Universal CityWalk, told us that the drinks are all made fresh without pre-made mixers.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC
Chef Steve Jayson (Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef for Universal Parks & Resorts) wanted to make sure everything on the menu is as authentic as possible.

SONY DSC
Chef Hector (head chef for Antojitos) and Modesto Alcala, and Chef Jayson discussing the dishes and inspiration at Antojitos.

SONY DSC
Guacamole: 13.95
Freshly made tableside with avocado, lime, tomato, garlic, red onion, green olives, and cilantro.
Served with just made tortilla chips

SONY DSC
Esquites Asados: 5.95
Roasted corn, jalapeño mayonnaise, queso fresco, ancho chile, just made tortilla chips

SONY DSC
Tuna Tostada: 10.95
Napa slaw, onions, serrano chiles, toasted pumpkin seeds, lime crema, avocado

SONY DSC
Seafood Cocktail: 12.95
Shrimp and scallops with lime juice, jicama, olives, cucumber, avocados, serrano chile, and
cilantro

SONY DSC
Trio Empanadas: 8.95
Masa turnover with beef machaca, chicken tinga, wild woodland mushrooms, and three
chile sauce

SONY DSC
Menonita Shrimp: 26.95
Bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with menonita cheese, manchego corn pudding and a poblano
chorizo sauce

SONY DSC
Braised Short Ribs Jalisco: 23.95
Ancho chile broth, manchego corn pudding, peppers, chile onions, agave nectar

SONY DSC
Carne Asada Brava: 28.95
Dry-aged coffee crusted ribeye with roasted vegetables

SONY DSC
Enchiladas Oaxaca: 14.50
Chicken tinga and house made mole sauce, queso fresco, lime crema

Desserts at Antojitos
Desserts at Antojitos
Desserts at Antojitos
Desserts at Antojitos

Overall, I thought the menu was creative and interesting, though they may need a few kinks to iron out as time goes on to make it smoother.

Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food is now open nightly from 5 p.m. to midnight.

Antojitos is the newest venue to debut as part of Universal CityWalk’s historic expansion, which will include the addition of eight new venues to the complex’s already popular collection of national brands.

Other venues to join Antojitos this year include Hot Dog Hall of Fame, VIVO Italian Kitchen, Cold Stone Creamery, Menchie’s, and The CowFish. For more information about Universal CityWalk, visit: https://www.universalorlando.com.

Antojitos on Urbanspoon

1 4265

Located on Vineland Avenue near Kirkman Road, Border Grill is one of my favorite places in town for authentic Mexican street tacos. I first found out about Border Grill from our friends at Taco Tuesdays, started by a father and son team (Keith H and his son Brandon) and a group of friends on Yelp.com who came together to try to come together each week to check out a new taco place. We had quite a group the first time at Border Grill.

Photobucket

It’s a hole in the wall, with maybe less than 15 seats inside, and can be a bit hard to find. But rest assured, this place provides some of the most authentic Mexican fare out side of Mexico City. The tacos here are the stars, with various styles written on their chalk board.

You order at the counter from their list of tacos, burritos, sopes, and other specialities.

Photobucket

The Best Tacos in Orlando , street style, at Border Grill

You can try from one of their many taco styles like their braised carnitas pork tacos, chorizo sausage, or carne asada with grilled steak. The owner recommends (and I can attest for) the fantastic pollo asado grilled chicken, tacos al pastor made with marinated and grilled pork, and Pibil style tacos made with Yucatan style pork marinated in orange juice and baked in banana leaves. They also serve lengua (beef tongue) for those who are more adventurous.

Photobucket

 

Photobucket

The tacos come in corn tortillas, street style, with just some cilantro & onions, and a variety of salsas with varying intensities of spiciness available on the side of the counter. The owner told me that the tortillas come fresh each day from the local tortilleria that makes them down the street on Oak Ridge Road.

Photobucket

Chips and Guacamole

Photobucket

The huarache – literally “sandal” – is named after the footwear item due to its long shape, and topped with fresh cheese, toppings, and your choice of meat.

Photobucket

Finish with a nice cup of horchata drink with cinnamon and rice, or “aguas frescas”, fresh natural flavored waters.

Photobucket

 

Photobucket

Fellow Yelpers Sharon L with her signature pointing at food and blogger Julius Mayo aka Droolius and Al Buchala aka Mr MegaYummo

Photobucket

Keith H and son, Brandon

Border Grill Fresh-Mex on Urbanspoon

0 1519

Cocina 214 is a contemporary Mexican Kitchen and Bar with its name, cocina, coming from the Spanish word for kitchen and 214, the Dallas area code, and home place of the owners of Cocina 214. Tucked off a side street from busy Park Avenue, its location on Welbourne Ave can be easy to miss, but once inside you will find it to be more than memorable.

Cocina 214 Winter Park

 

Cocina 214 Winter Park

The decor here is elegant and classy, and definitely well deserved of its title of the best place to bring a client from the Orlando Business Journal.

The owners of Cocina 214 missed the Tex-Mex food of their native state of Texas so much that they created this restaurant off of Park Avenue to bring the flavors that they missed to Winter Park.

The 214 salsas are all made in house and come as mild (fire roasted salsa), medium (verde and pineapple habenero), and hot (habenero and coconut habenero). Start off with some of their hand mashed, chilled guacamole with chips and a wedge of lime.

Cocina 214 Winter Park Guacamole

Chunky mashed guacamole, enough to share with a group

The taqueria menu features a number of “street” tacos made in different ways like the brisket tacos, with beef brisket, pico de gallo, and cheese served on flour tortillas, or the Don Carlos, blackened fish tacos with slaw, avocado, and jalapeno vinaigrette salsa. The tacos here are served on a very different style of tortilla that we are accustomed to, made in house and very light and fluffy, almost the consistency of the Indian naan or roti bread, and very delicious.

In addition to the tacos, there is also of course an exhaustive selection of margaritas, mojitos, tequilas, and specialty cocktails for enjoyment.

 

Cocina 214 Winter Park Street Tacos

Brisket Tacos made with beef brisket, pico de gallo, and cheese on house made flour tortillas

 

Cocina 214 Winter Park

The Park Ave Lux margarita, made with Patron Silver & Patron Citronge, hand shaken with fresh lime juice

 

Cocina 214 Winter Park

Tres Leches Cake three-milk cake, a sponge cake, also made in house, soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and whole milk.

Cocina 214
151 E. Welbourne Ave., Winter Park (between West Morse Boulevard and West New England Avenue)

Cocina 214 Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Chef's Spotlight

0 296
“The world of sweets is for everybody. No matter your taste, you can always find something on the dessert menu that will make you...

Featured Articles

0 248
Hurricane Irma Information In times of disaster, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and its network of 550 nonprofit feeding partners represent a vital...