MG Eats Smokey Bones in Kissimmee

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Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, 2911 Vineland Rd, Kissimmee, FL. More locations.

Smokey Bones bbq has always been a good place to eat. They came out with a Late-Night menu that worked into my schedule on a Saturday night to make a visit. Great prices and nice choices that last from 10pm until close every evening. I like eating at their bar. A large wrap around bar with a multitude of TV’s, some hi-top tables and booths are available as well as their dining room.

I’m pretty finicky when it come to burgers, but theirs never disappoint. The LN menu offers a  1/2 lb Premium Burger with cheese, none of the others are offered on this menu, but for 7 bucks, I don’t need avocado and bacon. They are cooked to order and I love that. Let’s add Smoked Wings $7.00, and the Loaded Cheese Fries $5.00. A beer seems the perfect pairing for this mix, and they were having a special, $2.95 for a Blue Moon. Score!

The cheese fries came first and dang, they looked amazing! A hefty amount of seasoned French fries covered in cheddar jack cheese, bacon, chipotle mayo, sweet BBQ glaze, green onions, tomatoes, and ranch dipping sauce. Yes, it could be an entire meal and you’d be completely happy, just wash it down with beer and it’s all good. My PIT (Partner in Crime) wasn’t sure about the sweetness of the bbq sauce on it, but after a few bites, I had a hard time keeping up! Damn, I want some now…my is watering!

The chicken wings came and they were very good. I probably would have like them better naked, instead of the sweet glaze on them. I like to dip into my own sauce, because if you don’t like their sauce, the whole plate is ruined. Nice hint of smoke though.

The burger arrived and it was cooked to perfection! Not many can get the Rare temp correct, but they mastered it. It has your basic sides, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles. I put some ranch dressing on it and it was on! Delectable burger. Lots of flavor and a tummy full of happiness.

Go to smokeybones.com and view their Late Night menu. It’s a good one for late night noshing. Super specials throughout the week from their regular menu, lunch and dinner.

Their best Sammy is the Pulled Pork and it is on the menu for $6.00. You can’t barely get a crappy fast food sandwich for that!

4.5 out of 5 points

 

 

 

 

 

 

MG Eats Cid’s Filipino Restaurant

 

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Cid’s Filipino Restaurant, 1328 N John Young Parkway, Kissimmee, FL.

I was searching for a good Filipino restaurant since eating at one in Chicago and again watching Andrew Zimmern enjoying some Crispy Pata. It was time to delve back into some awesome Filipino eats and I came upon Cid’s.

Cid’s is located in a strip mall right off the main drag in Kissimmee, John Young Parkway and Hwy 192/ Vine St., a suburb of Orlando. It’s a little hole-in-the-wall, but generally those venues create the best food. An interesting menu, it was time to have a new experience. Definitely the small cigar looking Lumpia, (spring rolls and eggrolls are my jam) these will be right up my gullet alley. Siopao(steamed bun) and Lechon Kawali (pork belly) will round out this lunch. This is a pretty basic introduction into Filipino food if you’re a beginner.

All three choices come with their own sauce, which I love. I’m a saucy chick. Everything looked amazing and made my mouth water. First up, the Lumpia. Oh yes, crispy outer with a nice filling of ground meat and spices. The sauce was very mild, so I dipped them in sweet chili sauce when I got home. Excellent! The Siopao (Special asada) was filled with a mixture of chicken, pork, Chinese sausage and egg. Delicious! Big, squishy, warm and a good amount of filling for a steamed bun. So tasty, with good sauce.

The Lechon Kawali is in a word…..awesome. Crispy skin, flavorful, fatty meaty pieces of pork heaven dipped in a golden sauce. I was told they have a customer who uses it to make tacos at home. Great idea! Sooooo good.

Very warm and welcoming people at this restaurant. Thoughtful with their food, and even packing it to go. To keep the integrity of the food, they cut an opening in the top of the container. Magical idea!

I will be back for their Crispy Pata next time, and their Daing Na Bangus. It is a whole fish that is marinated and fried. Freaking fabulous!

Hours: CLOSED MONDAYS. Tues: 11:00am – 6:00pm, Wed – Sat: 11:00am – 8:00pm, Sun: 11:00am – 5:00pm. ** Last Dine-In 30 minutes before closing.

http://filipinofoodatcids.com

5 out of 5 Fantastic Filipino Points

Mad Girl Eats Keke’s Breakfast Cafe in Winter Park

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Keke’s Breakfast Cafe, 345 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL. Other locations around Orlando, Central and South Florida.

Sunday morning, rainy and cool. I need breakfast and a visit to Keke’s is just the place to fill the bill. Keke’s is a breakfast and lunch only restaurant. They have a large menu and when everything sounds soooo darn good, making a decision seems like an epic chore. Start me off with coffee and let’s go from there. Good coffee, by the way!

Belgian waffles, pimped out waffles, pancakes (dinner plate size), pimped out pancakes, French toast, stuffed French toast, eggs, omelets, ….oy. Everything looked amazing to my starving belly. I’m feeling like something sweet with savory on the side.

I went in hard for a Banana, Nut, & Caramel Waffle. A beautiful masterpiece. Banana and pecans baked inside the waffle, topped with more banana and pecans, then add caramel drizzle, whipped cream, and powdered sugar, Sugar! Wow. Hey, don’t stop there. You MUST add maple syrup to get the entire scrumptious layers of flavor. Yes, do it.

Also ordered were their pancakes. Gigantic pancakes. Eggs and bacon. Former patrons had said, their pancakes were enough for 2 people. I’m saying, they are correct. The taste wasn’t anything special, regular pancake mix flavor. The bacon was excellent and the eggs were fine. If you’re a picky eater, get this basic breakfast. If you’re adventurous, get a souped-up, pimped-out waffle, pancake, or egg dish. They know how to put some bang in your breakfast!

Hours: 7:00am to 2:30pm daily.

http://kekes.com to peruse their breakfast AND lunch menus.

4.5 out of 5

 

 

Hawkers Asian Street Fare, Orlando

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Hawkers Asian Street Fare,  1103 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL.  Also a new  location in Jacksonville, FL.

If you welcome big flavor and are looking for a quality experience of Asian cuisine, get to Hawkers Asian Street Fare restaurant. They offer some of the best Asian food I’ve had in a very long time. A big menu that offers something for everyone, depending on how adventurous you want to be, and how much spicy heat you can take.

My table ordered Pad Thai Noodles, Curry Duck Noodles, Hawkers Wings, Curry Laksa Soup, Chicken Egg Rolls, Roti Canai, and BBQ Pork Banh Mi. A nice array to sample. They arrive at your table the second they are finished being prepared. It was exciting to keep getting new dishes arriving, fresh and hot!

The Roti Canai arrived first. Roti is one of my favorite things, a Malaysian flat bread served with a side of very spice curry sauce for dipping. A fantastic start! The Hawkers Wings were ordered grilled, excellent choice and also came with dipping sauce as did the awesome Chicken Egg Rolls. Great choices again! The Pad Thai Noodles arrived, huge flavor but also huge on the heat! Noodles and Hawkers sauce stir fried with shrimp, chicken, vegetables and red chili peppers, topped off with peanuts and fresh lime. Hawkers authentic sauce is simmered for 6 hours, so it’s ready to kick your ass. Super spicy, so beware. The hits just keep on coming…. The BBQ Pork sandwich was hearty and heavenly with Char Sui bbq sauce. The Curry Duck Noodles were nice and easy. Egg noodles, veggies, and roast duck all stir fried together with Hawkers own curry recipe. This is for the non-spicy diner. The BEST IN SHOW however, was the Curry Laksa Soup. What a bodacious burst of flavor! Wow. This very large bowl of perfection, was a bit heated but I could handle it. You have egg noodles in coconut curry stew, topped with hard-boiled egg, shrimp, chicken, yow choy, and fried bean curd. This dish is a memorable one and absolutely made my “Best Of” list.

This place should be called Flavor Town. The food is outtabounds, the service is top-notch, the atmosphere is modern cool, and the experience is worth every step to get there. Located in the greater downtown Orlando area.

Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:00am – 10:00pm, Fri-Sat 11:00am – 11:00pm, Sun 12:00pm – 10:00pm.

5 out of 5 bountiful bites!

 

 

Mad Girl Eats Burger 21

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Burger 21, 4192 Conroy Rd, #109, Orlando, FL. In the Shoppes at Millenia. Other locations.

I’m always on the hunt for a fantastic burger. Typically, a burger that can be made to order, is juicy ( I don’t mind juice running down my arm), a good bun, and quality meat. Don’t give me a thick burger and cook the heck and flavor out of it. Not happening in my mouth!

Burger 21, a gourmet upscale contemporary burger joint, known for crafted burgers and shakes, was a happy surprise. Certified Angus Beef that is never frozen and cooked to order! Music to my ears, now let the choir sing. A very good and thoughtful menu with excellent flavor combos, gluten-free offerings, as well as hormone-free alternative items.

Since this was my first visit, I wanted to try their simple and classic, Burger 101. A burger that is not covered with so many other flavors that you can’t taste the meat. Okay, let’s go opposite and order up a Tex Mex Haystack too. I can’t get enough of guacamole on a burger so this is my top pick today. I’m hopeful these will be stellar choices. After ordering, I saunter over to the sauce bar. Not your typical ketchup, mustard, and mayo, but about 8 or 10 flavored ketchups and aiolis to hype up your sandwich!

The Burger 101, a juicy, thick patty with lettuce and tomato on a brioche bun. Really good for a basic burger. Add some sauces from the condiment bar and you have a winner! Now, let me tell you about the Tex Mex Haystack. A hefty beef patty with apple-smoked bacon, Gouda cheese, guacamole, onion strings, lettuce, tomato and chipotle-jalapeno sauce on a toasted brioche bun. One bite and you will hear angels. Ahhhhh. Delicious. That is the right combination to make me do a happy dance! A mega blast of flavor from beginning to end.

The Spicy Thai Shrimp Burger is definitely on my radar for next visit or maybe a Black & Bleu. Yum.

Hours: Sun – Thurs 11:00am – 9:30pm, Fri and Sat 11:00am – 10:00pm. Right off of I-4 exit, next to Mall at Millenia.

http://burger21.com

4.5 out of 5 magical mouthfuls of meaty madness.

Mad Girl Eats Paradise Cheesecakes

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Paradise Cheesecakes, 1220 Hand Ave, Suite C, Ormond Beach, FL.  Winter Park Farmer’s Market, 200 W New England Ave, Winter Park, FL.

Paradise Cheesecakes is the most appropriate name for these pieces of heaven. With almost 100 flavors, Paradise Cheesecakes is the epitome of happiness. If you can’t find a flavor you love in alllll that, you have a problem, my friend.

The cheesecakes are light but significant, not overly sweet, and pack a punch of flavor. We all have our favorites, mine are generally more fruity, like Mandarin Orange, Key Lime, Mango, White Chocolate Raspberry. Peanut Butter Cup, Turtle, Chocolate Grand Marnier, Butterfinger all are crowd pleasers as well. I could go on, just go on their website and see what tempting choices they are offering because my mouth is starting to water.

http://paradisecheesecakes.com or scan the QR above with your smartphone.

I fell in lust with Paradise Cheesecakes over a decade ago on Saturday trips to the Farmer’s Market in Winter Park. The best thing? The owners, Ann and Mike Calamis have kept their product’s high quality and taste profile continuous throughout all these years! Their product line has broadened to take on even more drop dead divine desserts, and more luscious cheesecakes. You can get the cupcake size individual cheesecakes (great for taste testing 😉 or order larger for special occasions. You can’t go wrong, except you may become addicted.

Ann and Mike are awesome people, making awesome baked goods. Go see them at their bakery in Ormond Beach Mon – Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 10am-4pm, or Saturday mornings at the Winter Park Farmer’s Market in Winter Park, FL. Boom shucka lucka!

5 out of 5 Big sugar smootches of paradise perfection.

Mad Girl Eats The Ravenous Pig

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The Ravenous Pig, 1234 N. Orange Ave, Winter Park, FL.

The recent Orlando Sentinel Foodie Awards, has given this restaurant number one spots in many categories. The Ravenous Pig, located in an upper crust suburb of Orlando, this trendy gastropub has been blowing the minds of foodies since it opened in 2007. Created on the premise of using local ingredients, ensuring high quality and following an ever-changing menu according to the seasons, would be the right formula for success. They were correct.

Known for their monthly pig roasts, which win raves and high praise, I happened to visit when they were having a French Country Roast. The menu sounded delectable, with smoked pork loin, pork sausage, roasted potatoes, choucroute (French style sauerkraut), bereweka (fruit chutney), spicy mustard, and a French inspired dessert.

The plate was beautifully presented. All the components were divine (the temp was a bit lukewarm), but that smoked pork loin stole the show. Tender, not overly smokey, a moist thick cut. Mmm mmm Magnifique!

I need to go back and taste their regular menu and try their Charcuterie, Grilled Foie Gras Torchon, Pub Burger, Pork Porterhouse….a big wish list, actually. Serving Lunch, Dinner, and Swine Hour.

Hours: Lunch in Dining Rm Tues-Sat 11:30am – 2:00pm, Dinner in Dining Rm Tues-Sat 5:30 – 10:00pm,  Swine Hour Tues-Sat 4:00pm – 5:30pm, Bar opens at 4:30pm. Street parking available, Valet parking in back.

Check out their menus as they change frequently http://theravenouspig.com

Chic atmosphere, fabulous food, wonderful staff. Impressed and definitely will return.

4.5 out of 5 squeals of joy for The Ravenous Pig.

Mad Girl Eats Nona Blue In Orlando

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Nona Blue Modern Tavern, 9685 Lake Nona Village Place Dr, Orlando, FL 32827.

A new eatery opened recently in the booming, golf-loving, perfectly manicured, high-end area of Lake Nona in SE Orlando. Celeb PGA golfer, Graeme McDowell, is one of the owners. Surprising to me, the interior wasn’t overrun with golf memorabilia. ..like a Friday’s on cheesy golf acid. It was moody, cool-chic….and like its name describes, a modern tavern, luxe style. Definitely not “par for the course”. A large bar surrounded with TV screens, beautiful dining area plus a big covered patio for dining and yet another bar. Bonus! A place men will love, and women will be happy.

A broad menu to tickle anyone’s taste buds, first up from the Sharables, Salt & Pepper Calamari. Light fried rings, nicely seasoned, and served with lemon aioli and Thai chili sauce. An excellent start. Also from the Sharables, PEI Mussels in a garlicy butter sauce served with hearty toast. Wow.  The amount of mussels you receive is overwhelming, the flavor was fly-me-to-the-moon fantastic!

You can’t help but take notice of the Nona Blue Plate Special, GMAC & Cheese. It is a must-try. Hunks of lobster, surrounded by pasta and a trio of cheeses melted into an orgasmic sauce, only to be topped off by the sinful addition of smoked bacon. Filthy rich and loved every bite. When you go to a tavern, it is only right to try their burgers. The Nona Blue Burger, a huge burger with blue cheese, thick slices of smoked bacon, with the ‘fixin’s (L,T,O),  all on a toasted brioche. All is right with the world and this burger. Throw it back with a Guinness, and call it a day!

To finish, this doughnut fiend had to order the Hot Cider Doughnuts. Small round pieces of heaven, 2 of each flavor, chocolate, cinnamon, and red velvet. Plated beautifully with assorted squiggles of sauce. Yum. A hole in one with these…I guess it is actually a hole in 6.

What did we walk away with? Nona Blue’s generous portions had the doggie bags lined up! Mussels, Gmac and Cheese, and Nona Blue Burger are going home for a second round later.

Graeme McDowell and associates have a Championship win on their hands. The menu so interesting, I am chomping at the bit to return and try more!

http://NonaBlue.com

4.5 out of 5 of me lucky charms, it was magically delicious!

Mad Girl Eats Reggae Shack Café in Gainesville

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Reggae Shack Cafe, 619 W. University Ave, Gainesville, FL  32601.

Planning my trip to Gainesville to attend Graduation, I did my homework on where to eat lunch. Perusing through the “Best Of” lists, Reggae Shack Cafe` piqued my interest, their menu intrigued me. Ok, done. Let’s get some Jamaican food, Mon!

A restaurant with the word ‘Shack’ in it, along with being near the University… I didn’t hope for much, ambience wise. Don’t judge a book by it’s name…..my bad! The interior had a cool chic relaxed vibe, with full table service. Every staff person I encountered was welcoming, friendly, knowledgable and helpful. Shout out to Kalvin, my Server. He went above and beyond and was a genuine delight. Good people.

Undecided by what to order and a bit overwhelmed by the amazing menu, Kalvin was kind enough to ask the kitchen for a taste of their different meats. I tasted Curry Goat, Oxtail, Brown Stew Chicken, Jerk Chicken, Curry Chicken. Each one, mad good! All entrees come with a side of rice and peas (red kidney beans), steamed cabbage, and plantains (a fave). The curry was delicious, not your average yellow store-bought spice. This was greenish and had a level of authenticity you have to taste to believe. True Caribbean flavor. Kalvin said the jerk spice was very spicy, it was indeed, but authentic and delish. The Brown Stew Chicken and the Oxtail with the brown sauce were what I was feeling. A sweet hint in the rich brown sauce was my ticket to Jamaican paradise. Bring on the Oxtail! You can’t leave without having Jerk Chicken, so bring that too!

Oh me oh my. The oxtail was tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth extraordinary. I mixed my rice and peas in with the brown sauce and I couldn’t put my fork down! It was on! Everything on my plate kept me wanting more. The Jerk Chicken was very hot and spicy, but the heat of the spice didn’t overpower the flavor. Sometimes the heat is all you get from a dish that spicy, but you get to enjoy it all with this plate. Their slogan is “Culture so rich you can taste it”, no truer words spoken.

I had to run or be late getting to the ceremony. I definitely will return and devour more of this menu. Next visit, the “Dutty” fries, Curry Palm Hearts, and dessert first. 😉

If you’re traveling on I-75 passing thru Gainesville, hop off at the Archer Rd exit and make your way 5 miles east, to Reggae Shake Cafe. You won’t be sorry, only addicted.

Tips:  Eat in or take out available.  Many fab vegan and vegetarian dishes offered. Inexpensive meter parking on the street, bring 2 quarters for an hour. Dimes and nickels accepted too. Open 11am – 10pm everyday. Bam!

http://ReggaeShackCafe.com

5 out of 5 Don’t worry be extremely happy points.  🙂

Mad Girl Eats Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa

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Skippers Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Rd, Tampa, FL 33613.

Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America show, on the Travel Channel, intrigued me to try the star sandwich, the Blackened Grouper Reuben. So, I made my way to Tampa and found Skipper’s Smokehouse. It is quite a place. It looks like a big swamp shanty. Very VERY casual, relaxed wait staff, and southern-back-woods-Redneck-ishVille atmosphere.

Order up for the sandwich of choice, and the Smoked Gator Ribs shown on the Travel Channel’s Man V. Food. The sandwich came on marble rye, a beautiful piece of grouper perfectly seasoned with Cajun spice and blackened to the right degree. The swiss, sauce, and sauerkraut were the right combination to balance it to amazing-ness. Adam Richman moaned after his first bite, I moaned after my first bite. OMG…frightfully delish. Definitely on my top sandwich roster!

The Smoked Gator Ribs on the other hand, were not. Doused with bbq sauce, tiny portion, lacking smokiness…just not good all around. The server never came back to ask how the meal was. She would have found out. When only 2 bites are taken and leave the rest,  then ask for a box…wouldn’t you wonder what’s up? Anyway…

If you don’t mind lackadaisical service and shanty ambiance ( I thought was charming), the Blackened Grouper Reuben is worth the visit. Skip the Gator ribs and try the Cajun popcorn (crawfish tails), Smoked Fish Dip, or Key Lime Pie instead.

http://skipperssmokehouse.com  Restaurant, bar, music venue.

4.75 out of 5 points for Adam Richman’s sandwich pick.  3 out of 5 for everything else.

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