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Saturday Night Live: TACO TOWN



i want some. not!

Lac Viet Bistro – Colonial Dr


Lac Viet Bistro – Colonial Dr

Lac Viet Bistro, located just past Bumby Avenue on Colonial Drive in a stand-alone yellow house is reknown for their Vietnamese cuisine offerings, having won best of Orlando awards in the past for Vietnamese food.

Lac Viet continues to be one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants in the area because of its beautiful decor and unique Vietnamese dishes. On this evening, I dined out with my friend Judy, who had never been to Lac Viet before.

The decor inside is subtle, light, earth tones with slightly dim lighting. Paintings of Vietnamese women hang on the walls, historically reknown for their beauty, elegance, and veracity (one of Vietnam’s national heroes are a pair of fighting sisters: The Trung sisters who fought off Chinese invaders and established their own dynasty). Each of the painted women wear the traditional outfits of Vietnam from Ao Dai from the south to the Ba ba in the north, playing string instruments or combing their hair in pose. The ambience is beautifully delicate and peaceful.

For our appetizer,we order the banh uot cha lua, or rice crepe noodles with pork roll slices. It is actually a entree, but I like to have it as a appetizer because of its bite-size good-ness. The banh uot is white chewy rice noodle-y deliciousness and the cha lua was a great accompaniment to the noodles along with sliced cucumbers and soy bean sprouts. Don’t forget to season the noodles with the provided fish sauce mixture.

Tonight I order the Bun Cha Ha Noi which is a unique vietnamese rice noodle dish stemming from the north in the capital of Vietnam Hanoi with a side of cha gio (vietnamese spring rolls). However when it arrived I got bun cha tom (fried shrimp paste) and cha gio instead. I asked the waiter kindly, is this bun cha hanoi?

He replied oh no. I told him it was ok since they already made it and he brought me out a bowl of grilled pork to make up for the mistake. score.

huge bowls of rice noodles: not what i ordered but still good…

Judy’s order: the Bun Thit Nuong or Rice Vermicelli with grilled pork

I like Lac Viet although the prices are a bit higher than most of the other Vietnamese places in the area. They also have a newly renovated outdoor dining option where you can sit outside and dine in a straw-laced setting (just like you were in Vietnam?)

Tasty Chomps RATING
4 out of 5 TASTY CHOMPS!!!!

Lac Viet Bistro
2021 E. Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 228-4000

Lac Viet Bistro on Urbanspoon

Bento Cafe! part two


I have reviewed Bento’s before here, but I visited Bento’s again recently for a going away dinner for an old friend who will be moving to New York soon.

It’s funny how many significant moments we share through life around the dinner table.

This time, I ordered a bento box with chicken teriyaki ($7.75). I enjoyed the dish quite well as I could taste the flavor from the grilling and the sweet marinade that the succulent chicken teriyaki was made from. The bento box came with a small salad, rice, noodles and even a small cake. It was a great meal for a great value, reminding me of home-cooked chicken dishes that my grandma once made in my childhood.

My friends and family ordered various other sushi rolls and bento boxes as can be seen below.

Cupid Roll ($10.95) – smoked salmon, crab, red snapper, asparagus, tempura fried and topped with eel sauce and red tobiko

Chicken Curry Katsu Bento Box ($7.75)- the orange colored curry sauce was spicy yet creamy and delicious at the same time

chirashi bowl!! a sushi bowl classic ($9.50)

Bento Cafe
151 S. Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 999-8989

Bento Cafe on Urbanspoon

Lollicup Boba Tea and Coffee Zone


Lollicup Boba Tea and Coffee Zone

I remember one of my first nights here in Orlando, full of hopes and dreams, as a freshmen attending the University of Central Florida. It was my first time away from home, away from family, away from everything I had known the first 18 years of my life. Full of romantic idealism, I looked upon the City Beautiful and said one day, I will leave this place better than I had found it, and anything was possible.

I didn’t know then what paths lay ahead for me over the next few years, the struggles and the success, the friends made and lost, the endless nights of talking til the sun arose and awakened the earth for another new day.

On one of these nights I had driven to the Pine Hills Chinatown development where, tucked in a corner, was Lollicup Boba Tea and Coffee Zone, one of their first stores in Orlando. Quang Vu was the warm and friendly owner of Lollicup in Orlando, a business school graduate of UCF who set out to make it out on his own as an entrepreneur. I’d always admired him for that.

At this point, Lollicup had two stores in Orlando: one here at Pine Hills and another one at the Fashion Square mall. Every weekend, young and hip teens would get dropped off for the company of each other and a taste of the sweet and strange-yet-fun sensation of black tapioca pearls in flavored milk tea. Sip, slurp, and up the giant straws go the little black balls, surprising the mouth with its soft and chewy sensation.

Today, those stores have closed but Lollicup continues on at three different locations in Central Florida, one across from the Florida Mall on Orange Blossom Trail, one downtown on Colonial Drive near Mills Ave, and finally one in a plaza on the corner of Semoran Blvd and University Blvd in Winter Park.

On this occasion near the Winter Park location, we celebrate the grand opening of Reign, a streetwear boutique also started by a few alumni of UCF. After always awe-inspiring “step up 2 the streets”-like performance in the rain by Fresh off the Beat dance troupe, I decide to head over to Lollicup with a friend for an old favorite: taro milk tea with boba, a thick and purply nectar of the gods.

Inside, the decor is hip and playful, filled with colorful tones and influenced by the furniture of the chic and swedish Ikea store. A place to go to hang out and enjoy some tea, or slush, or coffee, or as TI once said, whatever you like. Today they also serve sweet and tart, frozen yogurt at Lollicup.

Our server Steven is quick and fast with the boba tea making skills and we get our drink in almost no time before the rush comes in.

My friend and brother Victor, who himself is a avid dancer and lover of boba tea, enjoys the first sip.

Victor Ma, a dancer of the legendary Tinikling, enjoys a sip of almond boba milk tea

After all these years, the taste of Lollicup’s boba tea still remains the same: absolutely refreshing and delicious.

Tasty Chomps Rating
4 out of 5 TASTY SLURPS!!!!

Lollicup Boba Tea And Coffee Zone
106 S Semoran Blvd
Winter Park, FL 32792
(407) 629-2622

Special Features include: free wifi for your lap top needs 😀

Lollicup Coffee & Tea on Urbanspoon

Padrino’s Cuban Pig Roast this Saturday June 13th!


I just received this email regarding an event at Padrino’s Cuban Bistro off of John Young Parkway and SR 417 from Sarah. I will probably drop by because I have been dying for some lechon!


Check it out!

Padrino’s Cuban Pig Roast is on Saturday June 13th 12p.m.-3p.m.

Because of the great turnout for the first Pig Roast Padrino’s has decided to hold one the second Saturday of every month. For only $14.99 (plus tax and gratuity) a person, you can enjoy all you can eat carving station which includes white rice, moros, black beans, sweet plantains, yucca, and one drink (soda or beer)

For more information on the restaurant you can visit their website at http://www.padrinosbistro.com/

Padrino’s Cuban Bistro
13586 Village Park Drive
Suite 304
Orlando, Florida 32837
Ph: 407.251.5107Fx: 407.251.5109

this is what i hope to find this saturday. drools…

Hedo Turkoglu’s Pre Game Meal: A Slice of Mozzarella Cheese Pizza


Hedo Turkoglu’s Pre Game Meal: A Slice of Mozzarella Cheese Pizza

GO MAGIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank God, that was a close one -_-

According to Sports Illustrated, its from Pizza Hut, mozzarella cheese pizza

Fiddler’s Green Irish Pub and Eatery

Fiddler’s Green Irish Pub and Eatery

Ireland is a land most of us know only from commercials for Irish Springs bar soap, Lucky Charms cereal, and St Patrick’s Day “celebrations”. But of particular interest to this blog, is that the beginning history of the Irish in America is intricately linked to food.

Potatoes had been introduced into Ireland from the Americas in the second half of the 16th century, initially as a garden crop and eventually came to be the main food crop of the poor.

The Great Irish Famine of 1845 to 1849, caused by potato blight, later left nearly 1,000,000 people dead and led over 2,000,000 Irish to immigrate out of the country and a lot of whom immigrated to America.

Today at Fiddler’s Green Irish Pub and Eatery, the food and beer (they had previously won Best Beer Selection by citysearch) are quintessentially Irish-American cuisine, characterized by its use of potatoes in addition to carrots, beef and lamb.

The wood-framed walls of Fiddler’s Green are the color of melted milk chocolate, a dark brown blending to black. Dim lights scattered throughout the restaurant, revealing the dark-wooded booths and chairs and creating the perfect mood for a night of drinking fun.

I imagined myself in some quaint old-world pub off a brick-laid sidestreet easily found in Ireland.

On this night, I visited Fiddler’s Green with a group of friends, most of whom were unfamiliar with Irish cuisine, including myself.

The first appetizer, ordered by my good friend Sarah, was the Boxty Potato Cakes with Smoked salmon ($7.95), a traditional Irish potato pancake cooked on a griddle.

Boxty Potato Cakes with Smoked salmon

“Is it like hash browns?” I asked Sarah.

“Kind of but not really, its much thicker, had more of a potato taste and then with the salmon complemented it with a unique taste, it just meshed right together.” she replied.

I ordered the Wexford wings ($6.95) ten large wings “Blimey” style, fried once then dipped in hot sauce and then fried again, created, I was told, by a patron of the restaurant years ago. The wings were large and crispy, slightly dry but with the special hot sauce, they were perfect.

Wexford wings ($6.95)

Ulster burger

Shepherd’s Pie with grated cheese ($12.45)

I ordered the Shepherd’s Pie which was ground sirloin in a rich brown gravy sauce topped with champ and veggies. Champ is a northern Irish dish, made by combining mashed potatoes and chopped spring onions with butter and milk.

I scooped into my mouth the creamy, baked, mashed potato-y champ and saucy, meaty ground sirloin. The Shepherd’s Pie delighted my tongue with its soft yet slightly crisp textures.

Bangers and Mash

At this point my eyes wandered across the intimate, dimly lit room; the Florida summer sun began to set down on the gold-lettered, dark green exterior of Fiddler’s Green Irish Pub and Eatery. The crowd begins to get rowdy and a band begins to set up to perform on the small corner stage. Beer and whiskey flowed freely here.

Looking outside Fiddler’s Green, the ever-present sight and sound of cars and engines driving by on the facing Fairbanks Ave in Winter Park reminded me that I was still here in Orlando and not a pub tucked behind the rolling hills of Ireland.

Tasty Chomps RATING!!!!
4 out of 5 Tasty Chomps!!

Go for the atmosphere, drinks, and go with friends. The food is great with a drink and is definitely pub fare.

Fiddler’s Green Irish Pub & Eatery
(407) 645-2050
544 W Fairbanks Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789

Note: Fiddler’s Green also serves a special Irish breakfast on Sundays for $7.95

Fiddler's Green Irish Pub & Eatery on Urbanspoon

Boston’s Fish House – Winter Park


Boston’s Fish House: A Taste of New England – Winter Park

New England: one of the earliest settlements of America, dotted with seaside ports and harbors, home of Maine lobster, New England clam chowder, and other great American seafood fare.

This past weekend, after reading reviews for Boston’s Fish House on urbanspoon.com and also having a personal affinity towards seafood (something I partly owe to my Vietnamese descent), I decided to call up my brothers and met up for lunch at this Orlando area fried-seafood institution. Good food always calls for good company.

Boston’s Fish House has been operating in Central Florida for over 20 years now and after all these years, even on this rainy Saturday afternoon, you can see regular customers pouring in despite the rain outside.

Inside, a small statue of the iconic bearded-New Englander fisherman (resembling Ernest Hemingway?) greets customers as they arrive. The decor is an old fashioned New-England motif: old fashioned hardwood finish bordering the walls, various sports memorabilia of New England teams (plus one small banner at the entrance for the Orlando Magic), old-fashioned paintings of various seaside scenes from New England, and a huge mural towards the back of a New England dock. The place has a certain relaxed and feeling of home to it.

Here at Boston’s Fish House, you order and pay first at the cashier stall before sitting. No free loaders indeed.

There is a hustle and bustle to the kitchen; behind the revolving kitchen doors, waiters keep coming with more and more mountainous trays of fried and broiled seafood offerings. They hope to quell the restaurant patrons’ beckoning appetites.

I decided to share a meal with an old friend who I had known since middle school, Mike Cho. We were neighbors growing up, once sharing a wall in an old duplex during our childhood. We began by ordering an appetizer: the fried calamari rings ($6.50) accompanied perfectly by a rich, sweet and tangy marinara sauce. The portions were large and the calamari was good, despite being a tad uninspired for my tastes.

The Calarami Rings at Boston’s Fish House

The Calamari Rings with a delectable marinara sauce

For the entrees, I ordered the Seafood Dinner Platter ($21.95) which came with fried sea scallops, cod fish, coconut maine shrimp, clams and onion rings with a side of potato salad and coleslaw. The platter was a formidable feat to finish. I particularly enjoyed the fried onion rings which were surprisingly light compared to my past experiences with the side at other places, a welcome change. I also enjoyed the delicious coconut maine shrimp which came with a sweet pineapple dipping sauce, and the lusciously plump sea scallops. The cod fish and clams were just okay. The accompanying cole slaw was fresh and tasty but I did not care much for their potato salad.

Seafood Dinner Platter

Mike ordered the 9oz Fried Oyster Dinner ($16.70) with a side of broccoli and french fries. I enjoyed the fried oyster as it came hot and fresh out of the kitchen with their special breading. It should be noted that their seafood is flown in fresh daily and they close between 3:25pm to 4:00pm to filter out their old oil and replace it with new cooking oil. That is dedication right there.

Fried Oyster Dinner

Mike Cho, co-owner of Impress Ink Tees, enjoying a Tasty CHOMP

My grand lil Chris Chen enjoying a super tasty chomp from his pseudo po boy sandwich

Fried Catfish Dinner

Boston Creme Cake

For dessert, we “share” a bite of the Boston Creme Cake, a stunning, fluffy and filling cake made with a sweet custard creme drizzled with chocolate sauce; a perfect ending to the meal.

Other recommendations include the New England classic: Lobster Roll ($22.95), but due to budgetary constraints we decided not to order it this time although it is highly recommended by guests here.

I would not recommend this place if you are on a diet though as most of their good stuff is fried.


Boston’s Fish House
6860 Aloma Ave
Winter Park, FL 32792

(407) 678-2107


Boston's Fish House on Urbanspoon

China Garden restaurant – Winter Park

China Garden Restaurant – Winter Park

I enjoy my Chinese food prepared well and not too greasy and that is why I tend to avoid the “American Chinese” “NY style” Chinese food eateries. China Garden, located on the corner of Semoran Blvd and University Blvd, is a great place to go to try out some traditional and tasty Chinese dishes (if you know what you’re ordering).

The decor inside China Garden is a deep brownish red wood motif with glass tables and matching booths, standard Chinese decorations. On this occasion, I visited China Garden with an old friend. She chooses the Pi Pa Tofu, a vegetarian tofu dish made with eggs and turnip slivers on a bed of broccoli with a sweet sauce to flavor. The pi pa tofu has a complex texture, slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and was delicious.

Pi Pa To fu

Our waitress that evening was friendly and accomodating, suggesting guest favorites and complementing dishes as well as making sure our visit was welcome and enjoyable. Thanks again for always wonderful service!

I order the beef brisket hot pot, made with chinese cabbage and chunks of beef in a chinese gravy served steaming on a clay pot over a fire. The beef was tender and succulent, a great complement to the white jasmine rice.

Overall, I was impressed by my visit to China Garden this evening. I wouldn’t mind coming here to get a bite to eat with a friend or when visiting A Comic Shop or Reign Streetwear boutique in the same plaza. Other recommendations include the sizzling Hong Kong pepper steak or the salt and pepper trio, a salty and peppery fried mix of shrimp, squid, and scallop. I enjoy China Garden also because of their community minded philosophy and their generosity to students (10% off for students with ID)

Tasty Chomps RATING!
4 out of 5 TASTY CHOMPS!!!!

China Garden
118 S Semoran Blvd
Winter Park, FL 32792

China Garden on Urbanspoon

Bikkuri Sushi – Orlando


Bikkuri Sushi is an old favorite of mine from the college days where cheap eats was the way to go. I appreciated Bikkuri for its fresh and decent tasting sushi for a affordable price, thus making it all a great value for those poor students who want to stretch their dollar.

Bikkuri Sushi, just west of Bumby Avenue on Colonial Drive, used to be just a place where you can go to satisfy that sushi fix quick and easy. Before it opened its upstairs dining / lounge / weekend party room, it was only the first floor that made up Bikkuri.

Today the first floor is only for take out orders or for those who really really? want to eat there. It is a lot more bare bones with a few tables and chairs and also, I noticed, a bit of a mess of newspapers and random stuff on the shelves, probably from neglect from having its more popular, bigger, and newer sister upstairs get all the attention.

The upstairs room of Bikkuri Sushi (and Noodle House) is elegant and charming; huge windows allow the guests to peer below onto the marvelous traffic that is Colonial Drive on those wispy summer afternoons. They have more menu options upstairs as well including sukiyaki, a meal with rice and meat of your choice cooked in a special soup, ramen noodles, golden curry, okonomiyaki, and don buris.

There is also a sake lounge as mentioned previously where they host dj’s and music on the weekends and you can also use for parties or events (see flyer here and lounge photos) which though intriguing, I have yet to try that option out so far.

On this occassion, I decide to get some quick take out and order downstairs. I order the dynamite tuna roll/spicy ($5.25) and a half tuna half salmon don ($9.99). The dynamite roll was made with sushi rice, seaweed, cucumbers, spicy tuna, and topped with orange masago. Simple yet refreshing and delicious.

The tuna/salmon don is also a delectable item, with chunks of savory diced salmon and tuna, sushi rice and sesame seeds topped with avocado slices. Mixed in with some soy sauce and wasabi, the tuna/salmon don is like a burst of sushi flavors and textures like a sushi roll undone in your mouth.

Overall the sushi may not be the best quality but it is still a great place to get some sushi for the price.

4 out of 5 TASTY sushi CHOMPS!!!!

Bikkuri Sushi on Urbanspoon

Athens Cafe – Winter Springs

Athens Greek Cafe – Winter Springs

Spinach pie ($9.99)

I had been here before for lunch, trying the Athen’s Cafe Shepherd’s Pie and although not really impressed, was very satisfied with the simple meal made with mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese, and ground beef/lamb? not sure.

I came by again to hopefully try something new here and give it another try.

Upon entering the eatery, I was greeted by the waitresses and my order was taken: one Athens Rotisserie Chicken Pita and a spinach pie. It was rotisserie chicken with lettuce and tzatziki sauce, the perennial greek sour cream-like sauce of the gods. Zatziki is a greek sauce made of strained yoghurt (usually sheep’s-milk or goat’s-milk in Greece and Turkey) with cucumbers, garlic, salt, usually olive oil, pepper, dill, sometimes lemon juice and parsley, or mint added.

I thought the chicken was dry and a bit bland, not very flavorful and the tzatziki sauce to me was a bit sour. The pasta salad that it came with tasted a bit old and stale, but the dressing was good on the pasta. Spinach pie ($9.99) was not worth the price in value as it was good but definitely not 10 dollars for a small pie good. I enjoyed the spinach pie better though as it had a flaky pastry crust and filled with spinach and cheeses.

Tasty Chomps Rating!
2.5 out of 5 TASTY CHOMPS ! !

Athens Rotisserie Chicken Pita with pasta salad

Athens Rotisserie Chicken Pita

Spinach pie ($9.99)

Athens Cafe
5965 Red Bug Lake Rd
Winter Springs FL 32708

Athens Cafe on Urbanspoon

President Obama goes to Five Guys to get a burger in DC


President Barack Obama was greeted with cheers last week when he stopped by Capitol Hill burger joint Five Guys.

The president was joined by NBC anchor Brian Williams and a crew that was filming a behind-the-scenes “Inside The White House” special.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Five Guys burger: its US Presidential approved

Cajun Crawfish Boil at Lap’s


80lbs of Crawfish from New Orleans, Louisiana

Since my partner is gone for the next few weeks, I will be out on my own to explore and conquer the culinary offerings in Central Florida. Luckily I got a call from one of my bros, Lap, to come over for a old fashioned southern crawfish boil at his place. It’s dinner with the boys.

I picked up some lemon and butter and a 2.0 liter pepsi to share. Little did I know I would probably have needed more than a 2.0 liter bottle for refreshment.

Lap had previously ordered 80 lbs of crawfish from Louisiana, where 98% of the crawfish harvested in the United States come from, for about $1.75 a pound and they had just arrived by air the day before. Louisiana produces 90 percent of the crawfish in the world and consumes 70 percent locally. Crawfish “season” typically runs from March through about June. This is when you will get your best crawfish.

At the house, they had been experimenting with various spices throughout the day using Zatarain’s Crawfish/Shrimp/and Crab boil in a bag which contained mustard seed, coriander, dill seed, and other cajun spices to flavor the crawfish as they cooked.

My bro Cuong, who was one of the few who had experience in this kind of thing, also added habenero peppers to the boil to bring out a super spicy kick to the crawfish.

There were also kilbasa sausage, potatoes, and corn cob that were added to the mix. Crawfish juices and habenero spices engulfed my mouth as I take crunchy bites out of the crawfish.

It was a delicious feast.

Watermelon to cool the tongue.

Mr Bones Barbeque: Holmes Beach / Anna Maria Island


Mr Bones Barbeque – Anna Maria Island, FL

While on beautiful Anna Maria Island for our weekend getaway, we had the opportunity to dine at a few of the local establishments, one of places being Mr Bones BBQ for dinner.

Outside the restaurant, a sign with “Mr Bones”, a dancing jovial skeleton in a chef’s hat, beckons us in. Not going to lie it was a bit creepy at first glance, not knowing what the inside may look like, perhaps a dark coffin?

Thankfully it wasn’t; the interior decor is voodoo-inspired, with decorated masks from the pacific rim and skulls hanging on the tiki straw-covered walls.

A sign above the doorway reads “No salt, pepper, ketchup, etc in dining room. Don’t even ask. Our food is expertly made by New Orleans trained chefs. No improvement is needed”

I wondered how true that would be, but luckily it was for the most part.

We began with the crawfish gumbo to share ($5.99) a rich stew made with rice, crawfish, okra, and other veggies cajun style. The gumbo was hearty and was a great start to the meal.

For our entrees, we each order a 1/2 order of Baby Back Ribs ($10.99) with one side. I got the original Mr Bone’s BBQ sauce flavor and my partner ordered the honey glazed ribs sauce, with creamy cole slaw as our side. Other side options included potato salad, candied yams, or BBQ baked beans. The ribs were sweet, succulent and flavorful, not too tangy as some bbq ribs can be some times and served with slices of toasted garlic bread.

Indian specialities from chicken tikka marsala to their famed biryhani rice, a hot curried rice sweetened with raisins, almonds and coconuts served with a side of cucumber yogurt raita can also be found on the menu and are local favorites.

For the dessert, we got the homemade bread pudding ($5.99) which was okay, but not the best tasting dessert ever. The bites were soft but chewy with a slightly bitter taste of chocholate, pecan and nutmeg.

Service was friendly and cheerful, not bad at all.

Overall, Mr Bones did not disappoint although it may at times need some improvement.

Tasty Chomps Rating!!!!
4 out of 5 TASTY CHOMPS!!!!

Mr Bones BBQ
3007 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island, FL 34217-2149
Phone: (941) 778-6614
Website: http://www.mrbonesbbq.com/

Mr Bones BBQ on Urbanspoon

Nine Unhealthiest Foods You Can Order


Nine Unhealthiest Foods You Can Order
CSPI’s List of Most Unhealthy Restaurant Foods May Clog Your Arteries Just to Read It

Top Nine Unhealthiest Foods to Order

The Olive Garden: Tour of Italy
1,450 calories,33 grams of saturated fat, as well as 3,830 milligrams of sodium

Chili’s: Big Mouth Bites
1,580 calories and 28 grams of saturated fat. The burgers also pack 2,930 milligrams of sodium.

By comparison, for a 2,000-calorie diet, the USDA recommends that an individual eat no more than 20 grams of saturated fat per day.

The Cheesecake Factory: Fried Macaroni and Cheese
1,570 calories and 1,860 mg of sodium, 69 grams of saturated fat

Red Lobster: Ultimate Fondue
1,490 calories, 40 grams of saturated fat and 3,580 mg of sodium.

Chili’s: Half Rack of Baby Back Ribs
490 calories and 12 grams of saturated fat, plus an extra 2,050 mg of sodium

Uno Chicago Grill: Mega-Sized Deep Dish Sundae
2,800 calories and 72 grams of saturated fat

The Cheesecake Factory: Chicken and Biscuits
2,500 calories

Applebee’s: Quesadilla Burger with fries
calorie count tops out at 1,820, with 46 grams of saturated fat and 4,410 mg of sodium

The Cheesecake Factory: Philly Style Flat Iron Steak with cheese sauce and fries
2,320, saturated fat goes up to 47 grams, and sodium hits 5,340 mg


These foods are stacked full of calories, sodium, and fat ! yikes watch out diners when you are eating out.

Rita’s Ice Custard Happiness


Summer is here. It’s been sunny and hot in central Florida so I decided to go out for something to cool me down. I decided to visit Rita’s Ice Custard Happiness, tucked inside a Winter Springs plaza on the corner of Tuscawilla Road and Red Bug Lake Road.

Rita’s is more famously known for its Italian ice, or water ice as some call it. This time I decided to go for some of the traditional soft-serve frozen vanilla custard on a waffle cone with rainbow colored sprinkles. I felt like a kid again; its been a while since I’ve had any type of ice cream cone with sprinkles on top.

The custard was light and sweet, but not as sweet as ice cream, which is perfect for my taste. The servers were a few young teenagers probably from the neighborhood who served with a smile and were quick to ask if I wanted any samples.

The decor was white everything and a smatter of color from the Rita signs.



Rita's Ice Custard Happiness on Urbanspoon

Whole Foods Market: Chilean Sea Bass with Black Bean Sauce


Whole Foods Market: Chilean Sea Bass with Black Bean Sauce, Chinese Spinach, Asparagus and molten lava chocolate cake for dessert

My partner is leaving for south florida for a few days so as a good bye dinner she made me something delicious using ingredients from Whole Foods Market. As you may know Whole Foods is one of the few places you can buy really fresh seafood and this Chilean sea bass came for around 10 dollars for 6 ounces, not too bad. The asparagus and spinach were also bought from Whole Foods. The ingredients were all fresh tasting and the end result was delicious. Bravo to the chef! 😛

the spinach was sauteed in a chicken broth and garlic sauce

the chilean sea bass dinner with brown rice made with love

Dessert was a molten lava cake made from a recipe from foodnetwork.com, topped with toasted coconut flakes, macademia nuts, raspberries, and served with a side of Blue Bell’s vanilla ice cream. bon apetit!

Although it can be a bit expensive to buy from Whole Foods Market, this dinner was made affordable with the cost of about $15 per plate total. The market is located in Winter Park on Aloma Ave right before Lakemont.

Whole Foods Market
(407) 673-8788
1989 Aloma Ave
Winter Park, FL 32792

Whole Foods Market on Urbanspoon

Harrington House Beachfront Bed & Breakfast Inn


Harrington House Beachfront Bed & Breakfast Inn

This past weekend, I decided to surprise my partner with a little weekend romantic getaway to Anna Maria Island located just south of St Petersburg and north of Bradenton facing the Gulf of Mexico. We had always wanted to go to a bed and breakfast and I thought this would be the perfect time to try it out. I had heard of this place first from one of my co-workers who had recently been a guest at the place and had a great time. I decided to take up her recommendation and visit Harrington House Beachfront Bed and Breakfast and enjoy the warm Florida sun by the beachside.

It took about 2.5 hours to get to the island after getting a little lost (thanks googlemaps!), but when we arrived we could immediately feel the island’s laid-back relaxed small-town spirit that is quintessential of “Old Florida”. The island had narrow, curvy streets scattered with quaint shops and rustic seaside cottages and restaurants. One could really get a sense of getting away from it all and becoming used to living here on the beach side with its southern comforts and casual tranquility.

Checking into the inn, I discover that there are free kayaks and bicycles that we could use to explore the island, I definitely wanted to try the kayaking out later on. The staff were welcoming and warm, suggesting places to eat and things to do during our stay. The owners are a couple who treat the place like home living out their motto “come as a guest, leave as a friend”

The main living room had large comfy couches, book shelves of magazines and menus of places to eat at, the walls adorned with clippings of articles featuring the inn and a photo of the owners on their wedding day.

There is an intimate charm about the Harrington House Bed and Breakfast, the gas-lit fireplaces in the room, huge king sized bed, double-headed showers, a small flashlight for night time excursions onto the beach for a moonlit stroll, are all fine details that they thought about for our stay here.The view at our room was marvelous, the grand and expansive Gulf of Mexico literally footsteps away. The white powdery sands and beautiful ocean view took my breath away. The room is also equipped with TV and cable and thankfully I was able to watch the Magic defeat the Cavs later that evening to advance to the NBA finals against the Lakers. GO MAGIC!

The weather was perfect this past weekend, sunny and warm with a touch of clouds, a drastic change from the past week of downpours. We laid out on the beach to watch a spectaular sun set, kissing the horizon as it descended and tucking itself to sleep beneath the ocean’s waves.

We return to the main house for breakfast the next morning– beautifully presented and featuring a variety of fresh fruit and juices, homemade toast made from a sweet oatmeal, eggs Benedict with country sausage and gravy, slices of muffin, plus fresh coffee and tea. It was a heartfelt breakfast from a heartwarming inn.

I would love to live here forever, a sleepy village where time had forgot, living in a time when life was much simpler.

Voted Best Bed and Breakfast on Anna Maria Island from bedandbreakfast.com for 2008-2009

4.5 out of 5 TASTY ROMANTIC CHOMPS!!!!!

Harrington House Beachfront Bed and Breakfast
5626 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island, FL 34217-1666
Phone (888) 828-5566 • (941) 778-5444

Harrington House Beachfront Bed & Breakfast Inn on Urbanspoon

Event this Weekend



I have also recently joined Restaurant Reviewers BlogRoll! check it out on the right hand side!!!

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse : Millenia Mall


BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse: Millenia Mall

BJ’s located right outside of Millenia Mall on Conroy Rd reminds me of a upgraded mixture of Pizzeria Uno’s and Cheesecake Factory. They have a great menu of pastas, sandwiches, burgers, salads, specially brewed beer,

I ordered the BJ’s favorite mini pizza, a Chicago style deep dish pan pizza with sausage, tomatoes, pepperoni, green peppers, black olives, and more. The mouthwatering pizza was savory and satisfying, each bite more succulent and rich than the last.

For dessert, we order BJ’s Pizzookie, a fresh out of the oven-baked, rich and delicious cookie topped with 2 scoops of vanilla bean ice cream and served in a deep dish. We choose the oreo flavor and it was great, the oreo bits delightfully flavored the cookie and the cool ice cream went well with the warm baked cookie. Our friend chose half white chocolate macademia nut and half oreo pizzookie to diversify his tastings.

There are also great deals at lunch for pizzas and sandwiches for around 6 to 8 dollars, definitely a great value for the food offered.

BJ’s Favorite Mini Pan Pizza: $9.50

Honey Mustard Fried Chicken Salad $9.95

BJ’s Oreo Pizookie

Oreo and White Chocolate Macademia Nut Pizookie!

4 out of 5 TASTY VALUE CHOMPS!!!!!

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse
4151 Conroy Rd Orlando, FL 32839 – (407) 352-0225

Bj's Restaurant and Brewhouse on Urbanspoon

Whataburger closing Central Florida locations


I tried Whataburger once last time before they bit the dust (they close all central florida locations including Orlando this May 31st). I never liked it and it reconfirmed my distaste for the burger.

I ordered the Whataburger and I did like the slightly sweet buns but the hamburger meat itself was flavorless and chewy and all in all bad quality. I see why they are shutting down. Farewell Whataburger!

what a not too appetizing burger =


Orlando Sentinel report –

Texas-based Whataburger Restaurants will shut down its Central Florida locations May 31.

“It just became a situation where they were no longer a financially sound investment for us,” spokeswoman Pam Cox said. “Sales were low and costs were high.”

The company is shutting down 14 Florida Whataburger locations. It is also shutting down three restaurants in Phoenix and one in Sherman, Texas.

Whataburger Restaurants has about 700 restaurants around the country. The chain had been in the Central Florida market since 2005. It has two locations in Orlando and one in Winter Park.

2 out of 5 NOT SO TASTY CHOMPS!!

7727 University Blvd, Winter Park –

(407) 696-9300

Whataburger on Urbanspoon

Ming’s Bistro in Mills-50 district

Ming’s Bistro in Mills-50 district

Dim sum is a time honored tradition of Chinese culture, beginning when rural farmers, exhausted after working hard in the fields, would go to teahouses for a relaxing afternoon of tea.

Every weekend hundreds of families pack into their cars and drive to one of these eateries to have a brief respite from the past work week and to drink some tea and eat these small delicious and often steamed dishes that make up the pantheon of dim sum gods.

In Orlando, there are a handful of restaurants that serve dim sum and even fewer who do it well. Ming’s Bistro located in the Mills-50 district on the northeast corner of Mills Ave and Colonial off of Woodward Street behind the 7-Eleven, is one of these few who fall in the latter category.

The dishes are often fresh and steaming, full of flavors and textures that entice the palate and make your tastebuds dance. From the familiar such as the shrimp dumplings (a dumpling made of translucent wheat skin and stuffed with shrimp steamed to perfection) to the more exotic such as chicken feet and sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf.

You may notice a lot of seafood ingredients in the dishes as the cuisine was developed by the Cantonese whose province of Guang Dong borders the South China Sea.The wait at Ming’s Bistro on this weekend was longer than usual, with a line of patrons waiting out the door. You know its gotta be good if there is a line for the food. Children, parents, couples, old friends, all gathering on this early afternoon to share in the delights of dim sum.

The dim sum here is served on the traditional push carts with each plate representing a predetermined price which the push cart ladies would mark down on your ticket as you go. I always preferred the non-traditional way of ordering from a list because then you are assured that the dim sum is straight from the kitchen steamers and not sitting on a cart for the past two hours.

Siu mai (pork dumplings), shark fin dumplings, steamed and baked roast pork buns, turnip pudding cakes, shrimp rice paste (shrimp wrapped in a giant rice noodle and served with a sweet soy sauce), fried shrimp balls, fried taro dumplings stuffed with pork, and more were all consumed by our crew this day.

And all was well in the world.

Ming’s Bistro continues to be a delight for those dim sum cravings (they serve it through out the day). There are also other authentic dishes on the menu that you can order for dinner or lunch portions.

fried shrimp in egg plant
shrimp rice paste
chomp chomp chomp
sticky rice in lotus leaf
the ubiquitous chicken feetTasty Chomps Rating!
4 out of 5 TASTY CHOMPS !!!!

Note: Ming’s Bistro is the winner of Orlando Sentinel’s Best Chinese Award for 2007 and 2008
Ming’s Bistro
Phone: 407-898-9672
1212 Woodward St., Suite 6
Orlando, FL 32803Ming's Bistro on Urbanspoon

Graze and the Sanctuary Diner – closed in Thornton Park near downtown Orlando


Graze and the Sanctuary Diner, upscale sister restaurants owned by the SK Restaurant Group, have closed in Thornton Park near downtown Orlando.

“Both are simply victims of these tough economic times,” said Steve Kodsi, president of Historic Creations Design/Development Group and founder of the SK Restaurant Group. “I still believe in the South Eola District and I think exciting times are yet to come for this area.”

Celebrated local chef Jephanie Foster was hired in 2008 to oversee Graze but eventually became managing director for Fifi’s as well and orchestrated Fifi’s transformation into the eclectic Sanctuary Diner in February.

from orlando sentinel’s cooking gal: the dish


another one bites the dust…

another casualty of the Great Recession? or a victim of their own misgivings? Is it possible that it is due to service or the quality of the restaurant? a lot of central florida citizens are wondering the same question and some agree with the latter. I had not the opportunity to visit but would have loved to check it out for myself.

Its interesting to note that Sanctuary Diner had just been revamped from the previous dining establishment Fifi’s Patisserie.

Review from Orlando Weekly: “Sink the Pink”

Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food



THE FORTUNE COOKIE CHRONICLES: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food, by Jennifer 8. Lee. (Twelve, $13.) An American-born Chinese (and a New York Times reporter), Lee investigates the Chinese restaurant business — the origin of fortune cookies (Japan), the beginning of door-to-door delivery in New York, the relationship of General Tso to the dish that bears his name. She also looks at the difficult lives of Chinese restaurant workers.

About: Readers will take an unexpected and entertaining journey—through culinary, social and cultural history—in this delightful first book on the origins of the customary after-Chinese-dinner treat by New York Times reporter Lee. When a large number of Powerball winners in a 2005 drawing revealed that mass-printed paper fortunes were to blame, the author went in search of the backstory. She tracked the winners down to Chinese restaurants all over America, and the paper slips the fortunes are written on back to a Brooklyn company. This travel-like narrative serves as the spine of her cultural history—not a book on Chinese cuisine, but the Chinese food of take-out-and-delivery—and permits her to frequently but safely wander off into various tangents related to the cookie. There are satisfying mini-histories on the relationship between Jews and Chinese food and a biography of the real General Tso, but Lee also pries open factoids and tidbits of American culture that eventually touch on large social and cultural subjects such as identity, immigration and nutrition. Copious research backs her many lively anecdotes, and being American-born Chinese yet willing to scrutinize herself as much as her objectives, she wins the reader over. From Publishers Weekly.

Get it on amazon.com

China Chef near Goldenrod and University Blvd

China Chef

General Tso’s Chicken, who some say never really made the dish, as it was created in America.

Who took a chomp out of my egg roll??

Oh, it was me

I have recently started reading The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8. Lee and so started to crave the fast food variety of the chinese cuisine. I stumbled upon China Chef after a recommendation from a friend and found it to be quite interesting: tucked between the abandoned k-mart and a abandoned movie theatre on Goldenrod road and University Boulevard lies this peculiar Chinese restaurant.

At first glance it appears that it is a chinese take out place, but after a closer look, it is fully a sit down restaurant with newly decorated furnishings. Nice, I thought to myself, maybe it’ll be worth the try.

And it was. The general tso’s chicken was fresh and hot out of the kitchen and had a tender, sweet and spicy flavor. The pork fried rice was steaming and flavorful. The egg roll however could have used some better quality ingredients as it was my least favorite. All in all this place was a nice stop on the way home for a quick chinese fast food fix.

3.5 out of 5 TASTY CHINESE CHOMPS!!!!!


THE FORTUNE COOKIE CHRONICLES: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food, by Jennifer 8. Lee. (Twelve, $13.) An American-born Chinese (and a New York Times reporter), Lee investigates the Chinese restaurant business — the origin of fortune cookies (Japan), the beginning of door-to-door delivery in New York, the relationship of General Tso to the dish that bears his name. She also looks at the difficult lives of Chinese restaurant workers.

Buy it here:

China Chef on Urbanspoon

Pizza Hut during the Orlando Magic – Cleveland Cavaliers Eastern Conference NBA Playoffs


As any resident of Orlando, I have been watching the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs between the Orlando Magic and the Cleveland Cavaliers. I am glad that the Magic are doing well this season as it has been a LONG time and with the new upcoming performing arts center, I can’t wait to see next year’s games. I have one thing to say though: Lebron James is a beast and probably haunts many people’s nightmares. Dwight Howard is a beast as well and his beastly shoulders are an inspiration for my work out.

Although it is a chain, one of my favorite delivery chomps is Pizza Hut’s Supreme Pan Pizza. The pizza is baked with a thick pan crust and is pretty delicious especially with all of its toppings. This time we added pineapples to our pizza order and it went really well together with the zesty tartness of the pizza’s tomato sauce.

Another thing I love about pizza from pizza hut is that it is really good as a left over, either cold straight from the fridge, or simply placed in the toaster oven for 2-3 minutes to bake. It comes out crispy and hot and tasty like new.

Also, according to espn.com, Hedo Turkoglu of the Orlando Magic eats mozzarella cheese pizza from Pizza Hut before each game! WHATT

Tasty Chomps rating:
4 out of 5 TASTY CHOMPS!!!

Pizza Hut on Urbanspoon