West Orlando

I love nothing better than going to dinner with friends. Especially, a couple that both you and your partner mutually like, meaning all four people are happy and no one has to pretend to like someone for the benefit of their relationship. I know you understand what I’m talking about, we all go through it. Finding good friends, especially at the age I am now (a much wiser age), friends that my husband also enjoys being with, can be challenging. Thankfully, on this occasion, all was right in the world. Friday night, the kids are home with our amazing sitter (she paints my daughter’s nails and bakes), meeting terrific friends (a couple we both love to be with), for a casual, but classy dinner at RusTeak Restaurant and Wine Bar in Ocoee. One of my local favorites!

Mahogany walls, dark cherry wood bar and furniture, chrome fixtures, a perfect mix of trendy and casual, rustic, as the name of the restaurant implies…this is RusTeak. A seasonal menu of American, farm-to-table favorites with an edge, and a selection of over two-hundred wines from around the world, a large variety of craft beers, and handcrafted cocktails. RusTeak has an upscale feel while creating an atmosphere in which I feel completely at ease in, wearing shorts and flip-flops, as I did on this night. Walking in, I quickly realized that RusTeak is one of the many restaurants taking part in Bite30 during the month of June. During all thirty days of the month, RusTeak is offering a special prix fixe, multi-course dinner menu for a set price of $30. We didn’t partake in the Bite30 menu on this night, but I do plan to return and try it soon. With our friends running a few minutes behind, we had no trouble finding a seat at the bar for a little pre-dinner conversation and drinks (Ponga Sauvignon Blanc for me, dirty martini for my husband). My glass of wine was icy-cold perfection for this humid night (welcome, summer weather, can’t say I’ve missed you).

Bite30 Menu Now Offered
Sauvignon Blanc and Dirty Martini – RusTeak Bar

With our friends arrival, we sat down at the high-top table, each of us merrily looking at our menus, my legs happily dangling from my bar stool (short girl problems), finally settling on a few appetizers to share: Pumpkin Seed Edamame, Tomato Jam Jar, and Soft Jumbo Pretzel Sticks with two dipping sauces (mustard and cheese).

Tender edamame sautéed with butter, garlic, parmesan, and toasted pumpkin seeds…it’s one of the best edamame appetizers I have ever tasted. Savory, salty, fresh, and rich all at the same time. The buttery parmesan coated each piece of edamame so perfectly, it took all my willpower not to suck the pod after I had already eaten the soybean. Good thing I stopped doing that after the third or fourth one.

Pumpkin Seed Edamame

The Tomato Jam Jar is one of RusTeak’s favorites (always on the menu). A jar precisely filled with layers of house-made ricotta cheese, spinach almond pesto, and cherry tomato jam, served with toasted Naan bread. The cheese is creamy, the pesto is grainy and thick with herbs, while the jam is pleasantly sweet. A trifecta of velvety, earthy, and nectarous.

Tomato Jam Jar with Naan Bread

You can’t go wrong with soft pretzels, especially dipped in mustard and cheese. Doughy, salty pretzels at RusTeak, are a surprisingly perfect pairing with super Tuscan red wine (I should know, I had plenty of both).

Soft Pretzels with Mustard and Cheese

Moving on from our appetizers, and plenty of conversation, we ordered our main entrees. RusTeak offers flatbreads, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and entrees such as Pesto Salmon and Scallop Ratatouille. My friend ordered the Shrimp Tacos, my husband went with the Fig & Rib Flatbread, while two of us settled on an entree called Stay Gold Ponyboy. The name alone, caught my eye. The Outsiders! But, the dish itself did it for me: grilled flat iron steak, spinach-maple bacon yukon gold mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, all topped with creamy gruyere mornay and two jumbo shrimp. My steak was tender, the potatoes were hearty, the asparagus crisp, and all of it nestled deliciously well with the sauce. I would order this again and again (and not just because of my childhood crush on Ponyboy).

Shrimp Tacos
Fig and Rib Flatbread
Stay Gold Ponyboy

Everyone at the table was completely stuffed…so, of course, everyone refused dessert…except me. In the name of journalism and foodies everywhere, I convinced my husband and friends that we had to try the Dulce de leche Bread Pudding served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. Wow! Spongy bread pudding made with sweetened milk and caramel, warm out of the oven plated with cold, rich ice cream. Everyone refused at first, but, they were thanking me in the end.

Dulce de leche Bread Pudding

RusTeak Restaurant and Wine Bar is a restaurant I frequent often and recommend consistently. I love that the atmosphere is comfortable, but also eye-appealing. It’s a place you can make as “dressy” as you wish. The staff is always polite and knowledgeable, and helpful when recommending a bottle of wine from the expansive list. The food is always freshly prepared and prepared with creativity. Every meal is fantastic, and even better when in good company.

 

RusTeak Restaurant and Wine Bar

 

 

 

 

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

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Unassuming storefront belies what lay inside

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Delicioso

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

The Castle Burger

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

What wonders behold

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Donuts!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Dozen donuts please

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Catfish and grits

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Glazed Donuts on a stick – i call it the HoneyCatTails

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Gumbo – Large $7.99

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Donut King on Urbanspoon

Chef's Spotlight

0 1918
“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

0 282
Absolutely outstanding experience last night at Tapa Toro. Chef Frank Galeano, who is set to take on the executive chef position at Tapa Toro on...