Waterford Lakes

First Watch’s debut cookbook, “Yeah It’s Fresh”, is now available in participating restaurants.  Price: $23.95

First Watch has spent close to four decades laying the groundwork for this cookbook that includes stories and recipes that span generations!  At First Watch, they begin each morning at the crack of dawn, slicing fresh fruits and vegetables, baking muffins and whipping up their French toast batter from scratch.  They are morning people.  And now, they’ve included some of their delicious recipes in this easy-to-follow cookbook with chapters including: First Watch Essentials, Eggs & Omelets, Toasts & Batters, Handhelds & Sandwiches, Bowls & Salads, Hashes & Skillets and Juices & Coffee.

“The cookbook guides our loyal customers through the First Watch way of using the freshest ingredients available, to create unique dishes – something that is practiced daily in our restaurants.” said Chris Tomasso, First Watch CEO.

Chef Shane Schaibly, First Watch’s corporate chef & vice president of culinary strategy (pictured above), has also included some helpful cooking tips in “Yeah, It’s Fresh”.

A digital sneak peek of “Yeah, It’s Fresh” can be viewed here.

For more information, please visit: firstwatch.com/coobook

(Source: First Watch)

We were invited to check out and taste the new Slapfish in Waterford Lakes Town Center (located in between the Regal Cinemas and LA Fitness) which just opened last month.   This Slapfish location is special because it is their first location in Florida.  The backstory of Slapfish is that they started off as a popular seafood food truck in California back in 2011 and now they operate 13 stores nationwide, with plans to open up in Arizona, Colorado, Washington D.C., Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah,  Virginia, and overseas in London soon.

Slapfish – Waterford Lakes is a beautiful, clean, bright and airy establishment with plenty of extra outdoor seating.  The friendly and energetic area manager Joshua and his awesome team members took very good care of us.  We got to try a lot of their menu items and out of them all, my favorites were the traditional lobster roll & clobster grilled cheese, which were super fresh and rich in flavor.

TRADITIONAL LOBSTER ROLL – SERVED WARM TOSSED LIGHTLY IN DRAWN BUTTER, MAYO & LEMON

CLOBSTER GRILLED CHEESE – MELTING MIX OF LOBSTER, CRAB AND A CREAMY HERB SAUCE

FISH & CHIPS – CRISPY FLAKEY WHITEFISH SERVED WITH HOUSEMADE TARTAR SAUCE AND REAL FRIES

HAWAIIAN BOWL – GARLIC SHRIMP, PINEAPPLE, SEASONED RICE, HAND PICKED SALAD

POKE BOWL – FRESH TUNA POKE, SEASONED RICE, CHIPS AND GREENS

SHRIMP AND GRITS

ULTIMATE FISH TACO – GIANT TWO-HANDED FISH TACO GRILLED, CABBAGE, AWESOME SAUCE, PICKLED ONION

For more information, please visit: slapfishrestaurant.com

Slapfish – Waterford Lakes
783 N Alafaya Trail, Orlando, FL 32828
(407) 866-1804

First Watch will open their newest location in Waterford Lakes, next to Chuy’s, on Memorial Day, May 28.  This location is different than the rest of their Central Florida locations because it is about 1,000 square feet larger and includes its own bar.

Fun facts:
– First Watch is a Florida-based company. They opened their first restaurant in Maitland in 1993.
– They now have 300 locations nationwide.
– They don’t use microwave ovens, heat lamps, or fryers.

The dining area is modern and spacious.


The Waterford Lakes location is the second location with a bar, the first is Jacksonville.

Million Dollar Bloody Mary, Cinnamon Toast Coconut Milk

Pomegranate Sunrise, Morning Glory, Vodka Kale Tonic

Lemon Ricotta Pancake with Scrambled Eggs, Bacon. Side of Seasoned Potatoes and Biscuit.

 Smoked Salmon & Roasted Vegetable Frittata with Salad and Ciabatta Toast.

Roast Beef & Havarti Sandwich

Housemade Granola


Kale Tonic (Non-Alcoholic).  I need more of this fresh juice in my life!

Be sure to check out the new First Watch – Waterford Lakes soon for delicious breakfast or brunch and amazing service!  Shout out to our wonderful server, Myles.  He is the best!

(Source credit: First Watch)

First Watch
1448 N. Alafaya Trail Suite 150. Orlando, FL 32828
(941) 907-9800
firstwatch.com

Grilled center cut filet – filet mignon, grilled and seasoned perfectly, fingerling potato, radish, sugar snap peas, charred scallion oil & roast shallot sauce. (MY FAVORITE!)

Marlow’s Tavern is a bar & grill chain offering American pub fare in a classic setting with sports playing on the televisions.  The menu at Marlow’s Tavern changes three times a year.   We were invited to check out the new spring/summer menu at Marlow’s Tavern – Waterford Lakes (near UCF) and we really enjoyed everything we ate.  The food was delicious and the service was very welcoming and accommodating.  I highly recommend checking out Marlow’s Tavern – Waterford Lakes for any occasion.

That’s Not Mai Tie – Cana brava rum, raspberry syrup, orgeat, Myers dark rum & fresh lime.

Firecracker shrimp – Szechuan tempura shrimp, red & poblano peppers, peanut, cracklin spicy sauce. It was amazing!

Pastrami egg roll – Montreal smoked pastrami, Napa cabbage, sautéed onions, carrot, smoked thousand island sauce in a crispy egg roll.

Chicken tortilla – prestige farms chicken, sliced thin, crisp field greens, avocado, tomato, carrot, cucumber, fresh cilantro, tortilla, honey lime vinaigrette. One of the best salads I’ve ever had!

Side of fried okra.

Chicken salad wrap – house-made curry chicken salad, romaine, broccoli slaw, golden raisin, fresh cilantro, grilled tortilla.

Marlow’s special of the day – Blackened mahi sandwich – served on a ciabatta bun with a jicama slaw and house made citrus aioli.  

Grilled Atlantic salmon – jumbo cous cous, broccoli, carrot, red onion, golden raisin, parsley, toasted almond & port wine reduction.

Seared jumbo scallops – simply seasoned & perfectly seared, roast jalapeño corn grits, Spanish chorizo, poblano, roma tomato, roasted tomato fondue, palsied olive oil.

N.Y. style cheesecake – classic creamy vanilla cheesecake, strawberry, powdered sugar and cinnamon crisp.

Thank you Executive Chef Matt Tolson for an amazing nine-course meal and superior hospitality!  We really enjoyed everything that we ate and thank you Laura Richeson for hosting us!

Be sure to check out Marlow’s Tavern – Waterford  Lakes soon to taste their new spring/summer menu,  it is delicious!

Marlow’s Tavern – Waterford Lakes
547 N. Alafaya Trail, Building J1, Orlando, FL 32828
(407) 757-0606
http://marlowstavern.com

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This isn’t your typical ice cream shop. It’s a modern style ice cream making process that was first made popular through a youtube video of an Ice cream street vendor making ice cream rolls in Thailand.

It’s quite popular in Asia, particularly in Korea.

Guests choose their flavors and milk / non milk base, then it is poured on top of a steel plate. Some theorize that the steel, placed atop a 10 lb block of dry ice, or a quick freeze machine, which can cool down from room temperature to -9.4 °C / 15 °F in 10 minutes.

As the cream liquid begins to solidify, you can make ice cream with personalized mix-ins such as nuts and other ingredients – all without setting up an ice-cream maker or liquid nitrogen. It literally freezes in front of your eyes.

In New York, visitors are waiting three hours in line for this ice cream.

Taiyakis are a Japanese dessert – basically a fish shaped waffle usually filled with red beans, but here you can fill it from a long list of options including fruit and chocolate.

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Five F(x) Ice Cream and Taiyaki
688 N Alafaya Trl, Ste 104
Orlando, FL 32828
Phone number (407) 930-7181

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MARLOW’S TAVERN WATERFORD LAKES NOW OPEN – Chef-inspired American Tavern Fare with an Upscale Twist

Marlow’s Tavern opens its third location in Central Florida this past June in serving chef-inspired American tavern fare and handcrafted cocktails in a comfortable and unique atmosphere. Marlow’s Tavern is now open across from Regal Cinemas at the Waterford Lakes Town, conveniently located off the East-West Expressway (SR-408) at 547 N. Alafaya Trail (SR-434) in East Orlando.

As a longtime Orlando resident and local restaurant industry veteran with decades of experience, Alan Palmieri, knows that Marlow’s Tavern is a perfect fit for the East Orlando community. Palmieri is responsible for the day-to-day operations and future development of the Orlando market. Palmieri opened the first Marlow’s Tavern in Florida in 2012 with additional locations at Pointe Orlando and in Winter Park.

“We are committed to be a valued partner in the East Orlando community with an authentic neighborhood tavern experience each and every day,” says Palmieri.

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“Each Orlando neighborhood is so unique,” says Executive Chef and Co-founder John C. Metz. “Alan’s local perspective, community relationships, commitment to quality and strong affiliation with values in which we believe are important factors to operate a successful restaurant within the Waterford Lakes Town Center.”

Daily Happy Hour: 3 to 7 p.m., $3 Domestic Drafts $4 Glasses of Select Wines $4 Premium Wells
Girls Night Out Specials: Wednesdays 5 p.m. to Close, $5 Martini and Appetizer Specials
Live Entertainment: Wednesdays and Saturdays Starting at 7 p.m.

The restaurant opens daily at 11:30 a.m. to serve lunch, happy hour and dinner.

Become an Insider for specials and preview event invitations at www.MarlowsTavern.com, like on Facebook and follow on Twitter using #MarlowsTavernWaterfordLakes.

A Look at the Menu at Marlow’s

J.T.’S KETTLE CHIPS
Crispy Potato Chips Crowned with Gorgonzola Cheese, Bacon, Roma Tomato and Scallion

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SHRIMP & CRAB “NACHO” PLATE
Rock Shrimp, Crab, Pepper Jack Cheese and Fresh Jalapeno

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SHRIMP & GRITS
White Cheddar Grit Cake, Spinach, Roma Tomato, Shallot and Roast Tomato Beurre Blanc
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TAVERN “DOUBLE CHEESE” CHEESEBURGER
Your Choice of any Cheese in the Kitchen

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CRISPY SNAPPER
Crisp Red Snapper, Udon Noodles, Tiny Carrot, Squash, Zucchini and Shiitake Mushroom with Thai Basil Leaf and Rich Miso Soy Broth

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Bison Burger
Bison Burger

I was invited recently to try Fresh 2 Order as part of National Bison Burger Month, and met the owner Giriam Patel a former Golden Corral Franchisee owner who sold his stores and invested in Fresh 2 Order a concept in which he found in Georgia and brought to Orlando. Fresh to Order revolves around the concepts of “fast fine dining” which he explained was the same quality and freshness of fine dining establishments in a fraction amount of that time with their meals coming out from the kitchen in less than 10 minutes! This concept explained is taking the fine dining concepts and styles and re-engineering them for those those with much tighter schedules. Everyone wants to eat healthy food and high quality foods but sometimes don’t have the time time.

Almond Crusted Seared Tuna
Almond Crusted Seared Tuna

My first dish was the Almond Crusted Seared Tuna, which was presented on a plate of fresh Asian slaw, at first glance it was beautiful, the presentation was that of many of the fine dining restaurants I had noticed, and unlike many restaurants whose pictures look more appetizing than the actual physical presentation, this was however the opposite with the physical presentation perhaps even more beautiful that its presentation displayed around their store and menu. The taste was excellent you could taste the freshness of the tuna that Fresh to Order stands by and the Asian slaw that it was topped on reminded me of the Vietnamese house salads that my father would make some times.

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Bison Burger

Next was the Bison Burger part of Fresh to Order’s “Better for You Burgers”, this burger was a fresh patty of bison topped on a whole wheat flat bread topped with creamy blue cheese and lettuce, all of the flavors which did not overwhelm each other and brought out each others unique taste. Giriam explained to me that the reason why a flat bread was chosen over a regular bun was that, a regular bun would be too dry and overwhelm the flavors of the bison. And this was correct, the flat bread was not too overwhelming and brought out the rich flavors of the bison and brought out a slight hint of the delicious blue cheesed that it was topped with. On the side we had their delicious Garlic Mashed Potatoes, which was delicious as well, it was creamy and exquisite and not bland like most mashed potatoes.

Owner: Giriam Patel
Owner: Giriam Patel

Giriam and I had a very interesting conversation, talking politics, life, business, and food he explained to all the concepts to which I did not know about Fresh to Order, and even explained to me that they do catering as well! Which i was even more surprised was that they help cater to your event realistically in the sense that they provide the exact amount of food so food does not go to waste and helps you save money. But what surprised me the most was their focus on healthy eating and provide those who seek their catering out with macronutrient content as well!

When I asked him what was the next move for Fresh to Order he said to me that there will be more locations in the next few years in the Orlando area, and only time will tell which locations but look for possible locations such as Lake Mary, Lake Nona, and WInter Park. I enjoyed the conversations I had and he enlightened me much about what is going on in the world and more closely the trends in the restaurant business. I look forward to my next visit to Fresh to Order to try out more of their delicious food items!

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Selection of Handmade Juices
Selection of Handmade Juices

Fresh To Order – Waterford Lakes
851 North Alafaya Trail | Orlando, FL , 32828
407-203-2060
http://www.freshtoorder.com/

Click to add a blog post for Fresh To Order - f2o on Zomato

Jet 10® Premium Mozzarella Cheese, Pepperoni, Ham, Mushrooms, Onions, Green Peppers, Hamburger, Italian Sausage, Bacon and Black Olives.

Eugene Jetts and his brother John Jetts opened the first Jet’s Pizza in 1978 in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

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Southeast Michigan is also known as the headquarters of some of the largest pizza chains in the United States, including Domino’s Pizza (Ann Arbor), Hungry Howies (Madison Heights), Jet’s Pizza (Sterling Heights), Happy’s Pizza (Southfield), and Little Caesars (Detroit).

The single menu item that Jet’s Pizza has become famous for, above anything else, is their signature deep-dish square pizza.

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Detroit-style pizza, developed in Detroit, Michigan, is a square pizza, unlike the round Chicago deep dish pizza, similar to Sicilian-style pizza that has a thick deep-dish crisp crust and toppings such as pepperoni and olives, and is served with the marinara sauce on top.

The square shaped pizza is the result of being baked in a square pan.

The crust of a Detroit-style pizza is usually baked in a well-oiled pan to a chewy medium-well-done state that gives the bottom and edges of the crust a fried/crunchy texture.

The Jet’s Pizza concept of franchising began in 1990 and has grown to more than 300 franchises throughout eighteen states: Michigan, Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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Orlando recently got our first two stores for Jet’s Pizza, one in Apopka and one on the east side of Orlando near Waterford Lakes. We recently were invited to visit and try out their pizza.

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The storefront is rather small and there is seating only on the outside. I’d recommend getting some seating inside for those who don’t want to sit in the hot Florida sun. It’s essentially a take out spot.

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I thought the pizzas had good flavor for a chain, and may be the best chain pizza I’ve had in Orlando.

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The crunchy square pizza crust is different and had nice flavor, though slightly charred from the conveyor belt oven. Joe, the young attendant at the shop on this date, was courteous and attentive, so kudos to him for his good service.

Jet 10® Premium Mozzarella Cheese, Pepperoni, Ham, Mushrooms, Onions, Green Peppers, Hamburger, Italian Sausage, Bacon and Black Olives.
Jet 10®
Premium Mozzarella Cheese, Pepperoni, Ham, Mushrooms, Onions, Green Peppers, Hamburger, Italian Sausage, Bacon and Black Olives.
All Meaty Premium Mozzarella Cheese, Pepperoni, Ham, Bacon, Italian Sausage and Hamburger.
All Meaty
Premium Mozzarella Cheese, Pepperoni, Ham, Bacon, Italian Sausage and Hamburger.
Jet's Boats® Freshly Baked Pizza Dough Stuffed with Mozzarella Cheese, Pizza Sauce, and Your Favorite Toppings.
Jet’s Boats®
Freshly Baked Pizza Dough Stuffed with Mozzarella Cheese, Pizza Sauce, and Your Favorite Toppings.

The Jet’s boat is similar to basically a calzone, which means “trousers” in Italian, shaped as a folded pizza or a “boat”. It resembles a half-moon and is made of salted bread dough.

Jet's Pizza on Urbanspoon

On April 23, 2014, I was graciously invited to a tasting event with Giriam Patel at his new Orlando Fresh To Order (f2o) restaurant located in Waterford Lakes Town Center at Alafaya Trail in East Orlando. Fresh To Order caters to all from meat lovers to pescetarians, vegetarians, vegans, and those who require gluten-free meals!

At Fresh To Order, the service was excellent as each person of their family is sweet and charming. They greet you with a smile from when you walk in to having small talk and suggesting great items from the menu that they, themselves, love. Also, while you enjoy a freshly made meal, you can bring your books and laptops to study for your classes!

Founded in 2006, Fresh To Order is a “fast-fine” restaurant and combines the quality of chef Inspired cuisine found in informal fine dining with the operating platform and price point of a fast casual restaurant. Founded on the vision of “Incredible Food, Service and Facilities,” Fresh To Order serves a menu of freshly prepared entrees, panini sandwiches, soups and salads in less than 10 minutes for around $10.

When they say “fresh”, they mean it – there are no walk-in freezers located at Fresh To Order. They only have a freezer to store their desserts and a walk-in cooler to keep their food fresh for the day. Fresh To Order receive shipments of food and prepare their ingredients in their kitchen every morning; this includes cleaning the squid, salmon, etc!

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At this event, we were first served samples of warm soup with honey-glazed croissants. The soups rotate on the menu periodically and are house-made twice each day.

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The Creamy Chicken Vegetable soup was my favorite. This soup was deliciously smooth and creamy, filled with flavor in every bite. This will be my “go-to” soup when it’s chilly out or if I’m in a mood for soup! There are chunks of chicken and sliced vegetables (ie carrots, etc) found in this dish.

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The Wild Mushroom soup was made with Button and Portobello mushrooms creamed by a processor as well as small-diced mushroom for that minor chunky texture. I thought that this soup is a little sweet and easy to eat. This is my second favorite soup from f2o.

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The Tomato Bisque soup is also another sweet but subtle soup with a hint of carrots.

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The Chicken Tortilla soup isn’t creamy like the others and the flavors are a bit too intense for my taste. The Corn Chowder soup to the left of the Chicken Tortilla is spicy, but sweet. The spiciness comes from the jalapeños snuck into it and the corn chunks provide a second texture to the creamy processed soup itself.

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In my opinion, the Ahi Tuna Steak has a nice, thin, crunchy coat made of rosemary, sesame seeds and crushed panko. The tuna was fried for 35 seconds before seared and laid on Asian cabbage with an apricot-ginger Dijon vinaigrette drizzled on top.

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The Almond Chicken Skewers is one of my favorite dishes at f2o! The chicken is cut thin and has an almond rosemary crust. It is served with two sauces: a Thai peanut sauce made with peanut butter and a spicy chili with marmalade.

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Tender Crispy Calamari added onto a Mediterranean Salad contains mixed greens, feta cheese, roasted tomatoes, olive salad, grilled onions, toasted almonds, fresh herbs, and red grapes. This salad is recommended with an Oriental apricot dressing that I also suggest you to order for the salad! The calamari is also fried with lemon slices coated with the same crunchy coating. The crispy calamari and lemon slices are delicious, but the lemon slices aren’t overpowering or tart if you try one! Together with the salad creates a mixture of flavors that you can pick out with your taste buds individually. If I were to decide to have a meatless meal and wanted a salad, this would be my top choice.

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The Spinach Salad was served with raspberry vinaigrette and bourbon filet steak added to it. Alone, the Spinach Salad contains a seasonal fruit (this one had shredded mango!), spinach, strawberries, blue cheese crumbles, dried cherries, and almonds. On the other hand to the last salad mentioned, this is sweeter and refreshing. However, the sweetness is very bold so try not to drench your salad in the vinaigrette!

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The Salmon Panini consists of bourbon-marinated salmon, avocado, lettuce, tarragon aioli, and corn cilantro relish. This is a healthy and delicious Panini. If you’d like to make it a bit healthier, you could switch the white bread to whole-wheat flat bread! I think the avocado is a little dense for my taste and overpowers the salmon. Other than that, I think this is a wonderful Panini with fresh salmon!

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The Black Bean Burger consists of black beans, rice, avocado, house pickled jalapeños, lettuce, tomatoes, corn relish, grilled wheat flat bread, and horseradish honey mustard. Unlike other black bean burgers you may have tried, the black bean patty does not fall apart on you! The texture was better than expected. However, if you don’t like jalapeños like myself, you may wish to order the burger without it because it can get quite spicy!

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The Garlic Mashed Potatoes were delicious as ever and didn’t even need a drip of gravy on top to add flavor.

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Instead of Garlic Mashed Potatoes, I prefer the Sweet Mashed Potatoes, as sweet potatoes are a healthier option! Also, f2o did a great job of giving it such flavors with their seasonings and walnuts.

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If you’d like a more Southern dish, try the Garlic Jack Grit Cake as a side! This is very dense, but so amazing you’ll want to come back for seconds…and thirds.

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The Chicken Wild Mushroom is a great dish if you’d like a mix of grilled chicken and mushrooms like I do! The chicken was cooked just right where the juices ran fresh with no hint of rawness to it. The roasted mushrooms on top of the chicken will add its own fresh texture to the meal.

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The Grilled Salmon is topped with black bean orange sauce and roasted corn peanut relish. It normally comes with baby greens and wheat berry rice. All I can say is, the salmon is to die for!

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These are only a few dishes that I tried with Giriam Patel at his restaurant – to go with it, you should try some house-made teas and lemonades like I did. The house-made teas and lemonades rotate weekly for new and exciting flavors to take a chance to wow you – even better, not only does Fresh To Order give free refills, but they encourage it and trying all of the teas and lemonades.

If you would like a wine or craft beer instead of tea, lemonade or your ordinary fountain drink, then don’t worry – Fresh To Order serves wine and craft beers too.

You didn’t think I left without trying some desserts did you?

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A variety of cookies are available on hand and made fresh daily at Fresh To Order – Some of my favorites include the chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies! They also had white chocolate chip cookies and cranberry cookies.

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The brownies were fudgy and like a slice of heaven! I could taste a hint of fruit, which may mean that they used dark chocolate to make the brownies!

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Last but not least are icebox pies! In total, Fresh To Order serves Mini Mango Pie, Mini Key Lime Pie, Mini Chocolate Silk Pie, Mini Peanut Butter Pie, and Mini Seasonal Pie (ask for the seasonal flavors). I was able to try the Mini Key Lime Pie, Mini Chocolate Silk Pie, Mini Strawberry Pie, and Mini Banana Pie. I’m not sure which I like best because they were all uniquely tasteful.

Fresh To Order on Urbanspoon

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Dinner with friends at Tamarind

The pickings for Indian cuisine on the east side of Orlando has been slim for a while now, ever since Anmol was closed at the UC-17 plaza by UCF, bulldozed over for a new high rise student apartment complex.

Well, a new Indian restaurant has popped up in East Orlando to satisfy the curry cravings of our eagerly awaiting friends (myself included). And it just may be one of my new favorite Indian places in town…

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I recently dropped by Tamarind Indian Cuisine on Colonial Drive near Woodbury Road (formerly the second location of Cypriana Greek Restaurant) for lunch.

Their lunch buffet ($8.95) – with more than 12 different Indian dishes from vegetarian curries to meaty chicken dishes to naan and tandoori chicken – runs from 11:00 am till 3:00pm.

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If you may be thinking you’ve heard of an Indian restaurant named Tamarind around town before, it’s because this outpost is actually a sister restaurant to the Tamarind Indian Cuisine in Winter Park, owned by the same folks who also run Bombay Cafe on Orange Blossom Trail and Aashirwad near Kirkman. It is a venerable Indian empire stretching the four corners of Orange County, so you can be assured that this iteration has some tried and true practices when it comes to Indian food.

Interior of Tamarind Indian
Interior of Tamarind Indian

On my visit, the buffet had some truly tasty choices: from savory dishes like tandoori chicken, chicken tikka masala (or butter chicken as it’s known in some parts), and goat biryani (a spiced aromatic rice dish with origins in Persia) to veggie options like the aloo mutta with potatos and peas and the gobi manchurian (a kind of Chinese influenced sweet and sour veggie stir-fry mix dish). The idli, little rice cakes, were good but the consistency was a bit too sticky for me that afternoon. Overall, a varied and satisfying selection that day, which, I was told, changes daily.

Lunch buffet plate
Lunch buffet plate

For dessert, I had a nice, sweet mango kulfi ice cream.

Mango Kulfi Ice cream
Mango Kulfi Ice cream

One thing that stood out for me during my visit at Tamarind was the remarkably good service that I had experienced there. The waiters were friendly and accommodating and, all in all, very sincere which is a breath of fresh air when compared to most other Indian restaurants that I’ve been to.

Goat Biryani, an aromatic spiced rice dish with roots in Persia
Goat Biryani, an aromatic spiced rice dish with roots in Persia
Tandoori Chicken
Tandoori Chicken

On a second visit with friends for dinner, we ordered the chicken tandoori (baked in a clay oven, flavored with yogurt and dusted with red spices), chicken tikka masala (cooked in a creamy, delightful tomato based sauce),lamb roganjosh (a spicy, aromatic dish based out of the Kashmir region), and a side of garlic naan bread.

Dinner with friends at Tamarind
Dinner with friends at Tamarind
Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken Tikka Masala
Spicy Lamb Rogan Josh
Spicy Lamb Rogan Josh
Garlic Naan
Garlic Naan
Chicken Tandoori - cooked in a clay oven called the tandoor
Chicken Tandoori – cooked in a clay oven called the tandoor

We also ordered mysore masala dosa, a South Indian fermented crepe made from rice batter and black lentils, lathered here with spicy red chutney, and served with a cup of mixed potatoes and peas. The slightly sour and sweet dosa is a popular street food item in South India, rich with nutrients and fun to eat with your hands. The potato-pea mixture is wrapped in the flaky dosa and dipped in sambar, a vegetable stew made with tamarind popular in South Indian and Sri Lankan Tamil cuisines.

Mysore Masala Dosa, spicy and delicious vegetarian dish
Mysore Masala Dosa, spicy and delicious vegetarian dish

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Dinner was fabulous and I am very happy to report that we finally have a proper Indian restaurant on the East side of Orlando again! I hope to return again soon to satisfy those curry cravings…

Tamarind Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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I first heard about this place via @TheDailyCity’s post and very cool video.

In the video, a young barista operates this almost chemistry lab type of set up to boil water in these beakers to make coffee, a method called siphoning. Truly a beautiful operation to observe in action if you have the chance.


A video I made at Vespr using the amazing Vine app on my phone

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In a siphon coffee brewer: when warmed by a heat source, vapor pressure increases in the lower chamber, forcing the water downwards and through the central pipe into the upper chamber where it is mixed with the coffee grounds. When the heat is removed, the water flows back down with the freshly brewed coffee.

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Co-founded by Full Sail grad Edd Siu, Vespr Craft Coffee and Allure is a beautiful space with dark woods, open air seating, and a very relaxing soundtrack with notes of The XX. Really a nice place to study or do some creative work. Plus students receive a 10% discount so make sure to bring your student I. D.

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They use the Japanese Hario syphon vacuum coffee maker system as an option for guests to taste a truly unique experience to have coffee here in Orlando. The standard method of brewing is through the use of the Trifecta, automated machine, kind-of like a super high tech French press.

The company uses freshly ground coffee that is made to order, with fair trade and fair priced coffee that is of single origin.

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Vespr is committed strongly to environmentally sustainable initiatives and you can see that in their use of compostable rather than oil-based cups and straws.

They also use small independent bakers and purveyors around the country like Orlando based Wondermade for their handcrafted marshmallows.

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Edd shows off the Barrel Smoked Iced tea – notes of cedar wood, mint, barrel aged maple syrup

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The Barrel smoked iced tea made with cold brewed black tea, mint, and a barrel aged maple syrup mixed with smoke.

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The smell bar where you can take in all the scents for your drink

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Single origin coffees (changes seasonally)…

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and Signature beverages most between $4 and $5

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Currently open 8:30am to 9pm, they hope to later open from 7am to 10pm. They are located on the west side of Waterford Lakes (a building down from the Panda Express). It’s easy to miss if you don’t look for it so make sure you look for it!

Also, this June 1, Saturday, is the grand opening of Vespr Craft Coffee and Allures from 5pm to 9pm and there will be live music, as well as contests and prizes.

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We are also giving away 5 pairs of tickets to Vespr for free beverage. To enter, e-mail us with the answer to the following question: “What is your favorite type of tea?” E-mail us at tastychomps@gmail.com – sorry the comment system is down!

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Vespr Craft Coffee and Allures on Urbanspoon

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