Mad Girl Eats Oblivion in Orlando

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Oblivion Taproom, 5101 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL.

After reading about this place from a myriad of sources I totally respect, I took the leap of faith and went to a “taproom”. I thought I may feel out-of-place, but bravely I sauntered in and was warmly welcomed into a funky, cool, punk rock, edgy atmosphere. I am cool, but none of the rest..ok, maybe a hint of artistic funk. It was nothing and everything I expected.

First off, the staff is completely amazing. Everyone from the Hostess, to the Servers, and the Manager that checked on my table were on-point. The décor was awesome, (the tables were far apart which I appreciate) you just felt special being there. There is a nice sized dining area, a bar, and an area with pool tables and darts in the back. They are known for their burgers, notably, The Hog Wild which seems to rate on many “Best Of” lists. They have a huge Beer list and also Cider list. Cray-zee!

I ordered the Hog Wild Burger, rare, with Tater Tots seasoned with Salt and Vinegar. Also, naked Chicken Wings with Teriyaki on the side and homemade Blue Cheese dressing. A beer is a must in this place, so I got a Haider Weiss…light and incredible. I highly recommend it. The superior thing about Oblivion is there are many flavor choices available to you. Peruse the menu, it tantalizes the taste buds.

Ok, the burger and wings arrive. Let us start with the wings. I like my wings naked, sauce on side if applicable, I don’t like breading. They were naked and golden, just like they had been to the beach all week. The teriyaki sauce was homemade and decadent; rich, with a slight kick. Like the majority of everything they serve, the blue cheese dressing was made from scratch as well. You could taste the pureness, so fab I dipped my salt and vinegar tater tots (done perfectly) in it and made magic! Best wings I’ve had in quite some time.

Burger up! This is not just a burger, this is a freakin’ insanity burger! It should be called Holy Hog Wild because “holy” was the first word that slipped out of my mouth with my first bite. Listen to this….house smoked pulled pork, sharp cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, fried onion straws, house bbq sauce and house smoked bacon. Oh yeah, and it is all on a half pound chuck-brisket-short rib burger and in between a delectable brioche bun. You know it is a sublime burger when you don’t want or need any condiments on it. Have mercy! This smokey sensuously meaty burger will make you cry. It will make you wanna slap somebody, and then when you have gone home, it will make you yearn to return. A carnivore’s dream.

Bliss. BLISS I SAY!

Vegetarian options are offered as well. Nice, right? Check it out. Oblivion Taproom offers its customers the best in food, drinks, rad atmosphere and staff. Damn, I am now obsessed.

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 4pm to 2am. Sunday 4pm to 12am. It’s a taproom, not a tearoom. Closed Mondays. Located just East of Downtown Orlando.

http://obliviontaproom.com

5 out of 5 perfect palate points. If you’re in Orlando and don’t eat here, you’re an idiot.

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Mad Girl Eats at That One Spot…Burgers by Design

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That One Spot (Burgers by Design), 10968 W Colonial Dr, Ocoee, FL. Orlando metro area. Near the FL Turnpike and Hwy 50.

If you’re a burger lover or consider yourself a burger connoisseur, you know that finding a damn good burger is hard to find. Either you can’t have it cooked the way you like, or the patty is too thin, the meat has no flavor, the price is ridiculous, or the toppings are the only thing that makes it halfway decent. Look no further, Orlandoans!  That One Spot, Burgers by Design, will be thee spot for you.

Burgers cooked to order, full of flavor, priced right….and by design! Yeeha! They have a nice menu, so I select the BB Burger. The beef patty is a custom blend of brisket, short rib, and chuck. It is topped with caramelized onions, melted cheddar cheese, pecan smoked bacon, smokey brisket, and finished off with their own horseradish sauce. I order mine medium rare with a side of hand cut fries and a soda. Yum. I can barely wait until it arrives!

Da da da Dahhhh! This burger displayed in front of me, ooh tantalizing. I cut it in half and go in deep. Incredible. This is what I’ve been looking for, for a while. The beef patty was done to perfection, the flavor was rich and beefy, juicy, and delectable. The addition of toppings were fantastic. The tightrope walk of heavy meats and cheese, sweetness of the onions, and bright shot of horseradish sauce, made it a well-rounded bite. The hand cut fries were amazing and added a nice crunch.

Living in Orlando, visiting, or on the Florida Turnpike…get yourself here. I mean it. I’ll be there trying another burger, maybe the Slaw Burger or That Other Burger. Whatever my choice, it’ll be dang fine! One of the best burgers in the Orlando area.

http://thatonespotburgers.com

Open 7 days a week 11:00am to 9:00pm. At the corner of West Colonial (Hwy 50) and Maguire Rd in the shopping center.

5 out of 5 bodacious beefy bites of perfection.

Mad Girl Eats Au Cheval in Chicago

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Au Cheval, 800 W Randolph St, Chicago IL.

After reading and hearing amazing things about Au Cheval Bar and Diner, it was my second shot at eating there, and I took it. In the freezing, dead of Winter, I was put on the waitlist for one and a half hours….with specific instructions. Don’t let the wait stop you. I would rather wait hours for fabulous, than 20 minutes for mediocre.

The most noted, their Cheeseburger with thick cut peppered bacon and one fried egg, was my number one choice. Second up, the
Crispy potato hash with duck heart gravy, topped with egg….I couldn’t resist.

A rusticly chic, warmly sophisticated atmosphere enveloped me, soothing me from the Windy City winter. Quickly the food arrived, and it was abundantly beautiful.

I first tasted the potato hash. The duck heart gravy was rich, meaty, and herbaceous. With mornay sauce and the broken egg yolk oozing throughout the perfectly done hashbrowns, I wanted to cry with delight. Ok Avery, step away from the dish of yumminess and dive into the burger.

Upon first bite, OMGreatGoodness. I mean…just let me moan. This burger exceeded my expectations. Superb beef, cheese….yada yada yada…the freakin bacon, and another ooey gooey egg brought a tear to my eye. I was leery because they only cook their burgers medium or well done, and I’m a rare girl. The medium did not disappoint and kept it’s outrageous flavor. One of the best burgers to date. Chicago does burgers right. Carnivore Heaven!

Au Cheval, I love you. I’m intrigued to eat my way through your entire menu.

Located in the burgeoning foodie area of Chicago’s West Loop.
Hours: 11am to midnight.
http://auchevalchicago.com

Mad Girl Eats Peppermill in Vegas

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Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge, 2985 S Las Vegas Blvd,  Las Vegas, NV.

Retro cool and quirky, Peppermill is an authentic 24 hour Coffee Shop…with a full-blown lounge attached.  Just south of the big action of the Strip, this restaurant offers a big menu with even bigger helpings.

Late night/early morning dining, screams for eggs and bacon. Their omelets are gigantic, add hashbrowns and bacon and you won’t need to eat anytime soon. The dining room is like eating in a garden…. a neon jungle, cheesy garden. It was kind of….charming.

The food came and it was plenty for 2 to share, bountiful and tasty. A behemoth Denver omelet, chocked full of tasty ham, gooey cheese, bright green peppers, and sharp onions. I add, S&P, with a dashy dose of hot sauce and walla, eggy perfection! Yummy hashbrowns, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, and smokey crisp bacon. A cuppa joe with these menu choices, and all is right in Vegas. Carry on and win big!

Happy tummy.

4.75 out of 5 egg-stremely satisfying points.

Mad Girl Eats The Purple Pig in Chicago

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The Purple Pig, 500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL.

With the words “Cheese, Swine, Wine” emblazoned across the entrance of The Purple Pig, I knew I was in for a thrill ride of a meal! The menu is filled with tapas fare, original dishes, concoctions of the “wild” side, a perfect place to step into bliss… instead of the ho-hum ordinary.

With a myriad of selections, I decide on the fried pig ears with crispy kale, pickled cherry peppers, and a beautiful sunny side up egg on top. Next, I dare to try their version of Chicago’s Italian Beef sandwich, made with pork heart and giardiniera. As requested, I received a tall glass of ice water and a lovely bottle of water also arrived. Nice touch, I do recognize and appreciate the details put forth.

The first to arrive was the pig’s ears. To my delight they were cut thin and fried, and resembled onion straws. Hallelujah, they were an incredible edible! The kale was crunchy good, the pickled cherry peppers had just enough vinegar to cut the richness of the rest of the dish. They bring you a large fork and spoon to break the egg yolk so it oozes all over, and toss it around a bit. Dang. The flavors and textures just sung in perfect harmony. Man, did I love this dish!

I was leery of the heart, but upon arrival it looked pretty damn tasty! Shaved pork heart (deli style), superb veggie giardiniera, all on an astounding crusty bread. Wow. I thought it may be minerally, or have a barnyard flavor, it didn’t. It actually tasted like corned beef. Delish!

I can’t swoon enough over this place! The menu, food, décor, service, ambiance, and it’s surroundings were spectacular in every way. I only hope I can return and try more creative delights they have to offer, sooner than later. The Purple Pig will definitely be added to my “Best Of” list. Brava!

http://thepurplepigchicago.com

5 out of 5 perfect piggy points.

 

Mad Girl is Ready to Eat New Orleans!

Next week starts my summer escapade around the country. First stop, New Orleans! So many places to indulge, so little time. The Joint, Commander’s Palace, Domilise, Cochon and a few others are on the long laundry list of “must try” so we’ll see where I end up! I know Cochon Butcher and Café du Monde are two return stops I will make during my 2 night/3 day visit.  You just can’t say no to a delectable Pork Belly sandwich with pickled cucumber and mint from Cochon Butcher, nor can you start the day without Café du Monde’s extraordinary café au lait and beignets. I am soooo drooling right now.

Getting ready to eat, shop, and party N’awlins style! Adding more restaurant recommendations to Field Trip app. Fabulous!

 

Mad Girl Eat’s Summer Tour 2014!

I’m hitting the road in June on my annual Summer Tour, eating my way around the U.S.A! My itinerary thus far on the first half of my journey is: 

~NEW ORLEANS, LA  ~HOUSTON, TX ~ SAN ANTONIO, TX ~TUCSON, AZ  ~ PHOENIX, AZ ~LAS VEGAS, NV ~SAN DIEGO, CA ~LOS ANGELES, CA ~SAN FRANCISCO, CA. 

We are still organizing the second half of this trip, but MINNEAPOLIS, MN AND CHICAGO, IL are definite.

If you have any restaurant recommendations in any of these areas, I would love to hear about them! Like my motto says….Food Trucks to Five Star. If it’s a great eat, I want to know. Post them here or connect with me on Twitter @MadGirlEats. Thanks!

Summer is looking pretty fine from here!

Mad Girl Eats Donut King!

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Donut King,  S. 208 Hwy 27, Minneola, FL.

If you grew up with extraordinary bakeries that made pieces of heaven, called doughnuts, Donut King can’t be missed. In a world of chain supermarket bakeries and institutional tasting doughnut spots, the independent handmade doughnut shop is the king of kings. If you find yourself in Orlando, or traveling on the Florida Turnpike northwest of there, make your way to The Donut King. You will thank me when you do.

Open 24/7, this little shop in the middle of a little country town, offers nothing little. Everything is big, bold, and bodacious and the choices are overwhelming! The front cases house their specialty doughnuts, gigantic and stupendous! The back shelving has their delish regular sized doughnuts we all love. So many sweet delights to choose from, where do you begin?! I start with some of my favorites. Lemon Filled, Maple Frosted, Boston Crème, Jelly Filled. Throw in a few Glazed, Snickers, Strawberry with sprinkles then top it off with an order of beignets! I took a dozen doughnuts to go, but sat and enjoyed beignets and coffee. The beignets were really good, not fluffy and flaky like most, but dense and super heavy. I didn’t care, they tasted fab!

Later, I break open the doughnut box, and dive in. The first thing I noticed was how thick and generous the doughnuts were. I was also happy to have my lemon filled and jelly filled covered in glaze instead of powdered sugar. I don’t know why it’s so freakin’ hard to find glaze coated, but Donut King did it right! Oh mama, the taste was pure homemade, you could really experience it in with the fillings, especially the Boston Crème. Every bite was sensational. Every doughnut was SPECTACULAR! The name says it all, Donut KING!

The doughnuts are the stars, but they also offer a nice menu if you would like a meal. Breakfast foods, New Orleans style dishes, hot dogs, wings, Castle burgers, etc. This space does have a small amount of seating and is open around the clock.

These are the kind of dough delights you dream about and lust after. The doughnuts you crave, and you will. Next time I hope to snag a Red Velvet and a few ultra specialty gems. Welcome to my sugar coma….and doughnut bliss.

http://TheDonutKing.com

Look for the bright blue and yellow stripe awnings.

5 out of 5 perfection

 

 

 

Mad Girl Eats The Waterfront

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The Waterfront Restaurant and Tavern, 328 Front St South La Crosse, WI.

If you find yourself on Interstate 90 in western Wisconsin or Eastern Minnesota, you need to get off of the freeway and make your way into downtown La Crosse. You will find a hidden gem on the banks of the mighty Mississippi, inside a beautiful upscale brick office complex.  The Waterfront Restaurant and Tavern’s atmosphere is equal to a Manhattan fine dining establishment. White linen tablecloths, epic picture windows, gorgeous ceilings, and chic furnishings. Amazing ambiance.

I visited for lunch and was happy with their diverse menu. A fine array of appetizers, a Pick Two offering, salads, sandwiches and entrees. Something to please any diner. The table order consisted of Philly Beef Baguette, Fish & Chips, and Crispy Fish Tacos. When they arrived it was a feast for the eyes…and tummy. There was no skimping on quantity or quality!

The Crispy Fish Tacos, which I generally only eat in Southern California or Mexico, but these were a very nice surprise. Crispy pieces of fish were wrapped in jalapeno-cheddar tortillas, with shredded romaine, red onion, dynamite sauce, and a corn/cilantro/tomato relish served with coleslaw…which I also put on top. A burst of flavor, the dynamite sauce was just that, fiery. I recommend ordering that on the side if you’re not into big heat. The Fish & Chips were plenty. Delicate batter, seasoned fries, served with artichoke tartar sauce. Delish! Next up, the Philly Beef Baguette. It should be called Beauty and the Beef. It was an overstuffed sandwich filled with marinated pulled beef, carmelized onions, giardiniera, jack cheese, and garlic au jus to dip it in. OMGeez, a magnificent bite after bite. I highly recommend this sandwich if you love beef. My mouth is watering thinking about it. So delectable, and oh so right.

The Waterfront does not disappoint. It is top-notch, easy but elegant, with incredible food and drink. I have eaten here several times and have left on Cloud 9 after every visit. I only wish it was closer.

Brava to The Waterfront. Doing big things in a small city.

Hours – Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:00am to 2:30pm, Dinner: Mon-Thurs 5:00pm to 9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5:00pm to 10:30pm. Tavern (gorgeous watering hole) and patio (seasonal) Mon-Thurs 11:00am to 11:00pm, Fri 11:00am to midnight, Sat 5:00pm to midnight.

On street parking or parking ramp across from venue available.

http://thewaterfrontlacrosse.com

5 out of 5 gemstones for this sensational hidden gem.

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