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

 

 

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Mad Girl Eats Café Du Monde

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Café Du Monde, 800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA.

Café Du Monde is a glorious, well-known institution in the French Quarter, bringing joy since 1862. It is a ‘must’ when visiting New Orleans. Open 24 hours a day, anytime is a great time for a cup of café au lait and an order of beignets.

The café au lait is made with half coffee (a French heritage coffee and chicory blend) and half dreamy creamy hot milk. One order of beignets gives you 3 warm angelic pillows of fried heaven, covered in powdered sugar. Tende,r flaky, golden goodness pairs perfectly with café au lait. Sitting indoors or out in the large covered patio, there is no better way to start your morning. If you’re lucky, there is live music to enjoy. Either way, you get tasty treats, great atmosphere, and happy people. Enjoy!

Tips: Beware not to inhale while taking a bite of your beignet. You’ll get powdered sugar filled lungs and a coughing fit on top of it….yeah, it happened to me. It’s also advisable not to wear black, as the sugar has a mind of its own…under the ceiling fans. Yes, that happened also. Live and learn, now I’m a pro!

5 out of 5 perfect powdered sugar smack-a-roos!

As seen on “Man v Food” and “Food Paradise” on The Travel Channel.

Mad Girl Eats Pine State Biscuits, Portland

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Pine State Biscuits, 2204 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR.

Biscuits, who doesn’t love a warm, fluffy, piece of heaven?! I heard the name of this place and I didn’t need to know more, they had me at Biscuits. I arrived around 9:45 a.m. on a Friday, to a line out the door to the corner. The line moved swiftly and found myself at the counter to order within 10-15 minutes.

I order The Reggie, a biscuit sandwich with fried chicken, bacon, cheese, and yummy thick gravy. Because I can’t find good pimento cheese just anywhere, I opted for a side biscuit and pimento cheese to round out my order. In full need of a cuppa joe, they gave me a mug as coffee is self-serve. I liked that idea, because I could refill when I needed….not when someone got around to me. In the morning, that means life or death to some. Me.

The place was packed and had a constant flow of new arrivals. When one space emptied, immediately it was filled. I found a seat at the counter that surrounds the grill area. It was entertaining to watch the precision of the staff getting orders out as rapid as possible. No slouching staff here!  Ooh…my order was up, and conveniently grabbed from across the bar.

It all looked incredible. ..and I was starving. First up, the biscuit and pimento cheese. The biscuit was perfection, the pimento cheese was one of the best I’ve ever had. Creamy, sharp, flavorful. Happy. The Reggie was a sight to behold. What could go wrong with fried chicken, bacon, cheese and gravy??? Absolutely freakin nothing! Ohh man, the flavors together were of course phenomenal, but that topping of gravy put it over the edge. If I had one regret, I wish I would have ordered an extra side of gravy. I like my biscuits wet, I’m just that kind of girl 😉

Get here if you’re in Portland. Cool place, good menu and prices, fab food, nice and hardworking staff. It’s a winner.

Hours: Mon-Wed: 7am-3pm, Thurs: 7am-11pm, Fri-Sat: 7am-1am, Sun: 7am-11pm

Free on-street parking in nice neighborhood setting. Usual lines, limited seating indoors and out but table turnover is fairly quick. Bus your own table.  Enjoy!

As seen on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Food Paradise, Unique Eats.

http://pinestatebiscuits.com

4.5 out of 5 biscuit-loving thumbs up!

Mad Girl Eats Cochon Butcher in NoLa

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930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA.

Leaving New Orleans, I decided to try Cochon Butcher before exiting the city. The butcher/sandwich shop/wine bar is the sister to the fancier, Cochon restaurant. They make their own meats, sausages, terrines…lush sandwich fixings. Their glass cases are filled with delectable pieces that scream to be tried. Ok, I give….one charcuterie plate please!

An offering from the sandwich menu is also a necessity. The pork belly with mint and cucumber sounded like the perfect mix for a hot day. Easy to eat, lets take them to go!

I could hardly stand to get to the car and start sampling. In car, roll down windows…I still have 15 minutes left on my meter anyway. First up, the sammie. Melty  rich and tender pork belly with mint and cucumber on a heavy-duty farm bread. First bite…first words…”Oh my God”. Nuff said. If a first bite gets me to moan out those words, it’s a winner. The flavors went together so well, I’m planning on using mint and cucumber in many things. I wanted to run back to the Butcher and order another, but I had a Charcuterie plate waiting. A cacophony of beautifully made meats were ready to meet their fate, my tummy.

The plate was very artistic, with sides of pickled okra, slaw, grainy hearty mustard, cracked flatbread, and a generous amount of slices of 6 different meats. Scrumptious!

The only thing I regret is waiting to go there last instead of when I first arrived in New Orleans. I definitely would have eaten there a few more times. Pork Belly sandwich, on my list of The Best in the United States. Boom!

As seen on the Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate and Meat and Potatoes and The Travel Channel’s The Layover, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, and Food Paradise. I would say, all shows were correct in taking the time to visit this restaurant…and so should you. Run, don’t walk. Bourbon Street will wait.

Hours: Mon-Thurs 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-4pm.

Street metered parking. Gets busy, I was there at 9:55 am. No waiting 😉

http://cochonbutcher.com

5 out of 5 mouth-watering points for  tastebud perfection.

Mad Girl Eats Datz in Tampa

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Datz, 2616 S MacDill Ave, Tampa, FL.

I was anxious to stop at this gastropub after viewing their extensive online menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So many interesting nibbles and bits that intrigued me, I knew I had to sashay my way over to Tampa and live it for myself. Let’s go lunch!

They had just changed their menu for Spring, so I was a bit disappointed one of their star players, stuffed meatloaf sandwich, was not on the new menu for lunch. Oh well, they have enough other mad cray concoctions to put a smile on my face…now the problem is, which ones to try? Forever a gourmet hamburger lover, Datz’s “big a$$ burgers” had to come my way. Ten ounces of 100% ground chuck, cooked to order (rare please and thank you), topped with my choices of pepper jack cheese, roasted peppers, and applewood smoked bacon teamed up to be the magic combo. Triumphantly rare and perfectly seasoned, this big a$$ burger was happy dance worthy.

Next up, I couldn’t shy away from the chicken n’ waffles blt. I yearn for items I don’t make at home…nor have never tried before. Ding ding…order me up one on both accounts. Holy chicken, Batman….I am in love! wpid-20130329_121458.jpg Boneless fried chicken, bacon, lettuce and tomato, maple-jalapeno aioli, all gently tucked between two cheddar belgian waffles. No, I’m not freaking kidding. For real, this is a feast for the eyes and the tummy. Big luscious pieces of fried chicken with all the toppings were in total sweet and savory harmony… and the waffles. The waffles were sent from heaven. I have dreamt about this sandwich since devouring it. A definite “must-try” item for everyone, and on my top 10 list of Best Sandwiches Across America.

By the way, both sandwiches were accompanied by Datz’s homemade sweet and salty potato chips that had an incredible blue cheese drizzle, topped with green onions. These chips can stand on their own. The drizzle sent them over the edge of jubilation. Crunch crunch ahhhhz.

The interior of Datz is very cool, the staff is excellent (Elena rocks), a brewski lovers paradise, and a foodie lovers hot spot in Tampa.

Datz’s bakery, Dough, located next door, opens in April. I poked my head in and this is not your average bakery/coffee spot. Let’s just say, red chandeliers float my boat, big time. I’m sure the menu will live up to the interior design. Beyond words!

http://datzdeli.com

I will return to this gem. Have my chicken n’ waffles blt waiting for me….. 🙂

5 out of 5 sweet and savory points of perfection.

P.S. The stuffed meatloaf is available for dinner. Go for it! As seen on The Travel Channel’s, Food Paradise.

Mad Girl Eats Pink’s In Hollywood

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Pinks Famous Hot Dogs, 709 N. La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA.

A must stop while in Hollywood, is Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs. Well known for long lines and celebrity sightings. When I arrived, I saw neither..except the signed celeb photos that blanketed the walls.

I was mad crazy hungry and chose “The Ozzy Spicy Dog”, named for Ozzy Osbourne…I guess..this thing was wildly massive and messy. This was a delectible combination of a spicy polish dog, nacho cheese, american cheese, grilled onions, guacamole, and chopped tomatoes. Boom dog yummy!

Pink’s has a broader menu than you’d expect. Besides numerous selections of hot dogs, they have burgers, burritos, a few sandwiches, nachos, and hyped sides. As seen on Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” and the Travel Channel’s “Food Paradise”.

My next visit, I’ll try “The Rosie O’Donnell”, a 10″ hot dog, with mustard, onions, chili, sauerkraut. Mmm mmm good.

http://pinkshollywood.com

4.75 out of 5 so-good-you’ll-slap-your-fella points!

Mad Girl Eats Rio in Vegas

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Carnival World Buffet, Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, 3700 W. Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV.

In search for dinner, where can you find more than 300 dishes and 70 desserts made on-site daily, and rates tops as best Vegas buffet and won’t break the bank? The Carnival World Buffet at the Rio, just off the Strip! When they state ‘World’, they mean it. Taking you on a world tour of cuisine from Japanese to Mexican, Italian to Asian BBQ and everything in-between. The seafood bar and carving stations don’t disappoint either.  Even the most finicky diner will find something mad good to eat. Let’s not forget their playground of dessert. Their gelato..well, lets say I’d do a swan dive into a pool of it if I could.  Holy moly, save room or better yet, eat dessert first. Don’t worry, I won’t tell your mom.  😉

Carnival World Buffet is sensory overload for the eyes as well as the palate. Seeing someone doing the Harlem Shake in their seat over tasting a fabu morsel, is de` riguer.  The food is high quality, beautifully made and presented, and has crazy variety. You know a good buffet when their dishes could stand on their own and be ordered at nice full service restaurant. That’s why this buffet is a must whenever I’m in Las Vegas. Epic.

Go. Enjoy. Eat to oblivion, then walk it off and play.. or go see Chippendale’s upstairs. Whatever floats your boat. It is Vegas, after all. Hootie hoo!

http://riolasvegas.com

Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I have only had dinner here. Part of Total Rewards 24 Hour Buffet Pass.

4.5 out of 5 deliciously satisfying points.

Mad Girl Eats The Varsity in Atlanta

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The Varsity, 61 North Avenue, Atlanta, GA, 30308.

Driving thru downtown Atlanta on I-75 during afternoon rush hour is no joke. It was 5 pm, I was agitated with traffic and ready for a break and a bite. A quick hop off the Interstate is the World’s Largest Drive-In restaurant and edible icon in the ATL, The Varsity. Seen on the Travel Channel’s Food Paradise/Hot Dog Paradise…let’s try it!

“What’ll ya have, what’ll ya have?!” I know going in, I’m having hot dogs…which they are known for. Don’t be a burger connoisseur and order a hamburger, you may be disappointed. I want a classic flavor dog and something bright, so a chili dog with onions and mustard and one slaw dog, will be what I’ll have! Round it out with their freakin-licious onion rings and a Coke and we’re golden.

I love their chili dog, excellent chili. I also have become crazed with coleslaw on my sandwiches. It just gives it a nice bonus crunch and lush flavor. Coleslaw on a ‘dog’, not bad at all, but I’ll stick with my chili dog…with maybe some cheese.

Tips: Eat in your car if you wish, or plenty of seating indoors. Indoors, usually long lines that move quickly. Quickly because they aren’t messing around with you, know what you want to order when you reach the counter. They are very efficient, so keep up! Don’t forget your paper diner hat! V chic.

http://thevarsity.com  for menu and more locations.

4 out of 5 U-rah-rah cheers for The Varsity!

Mad Girl Eats Oklahoma Joe’s in KC

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Oklahoma Joe’s, 3002 W 47th Ave, Kansas City, KS.

I know good bbq. I’ve been a lucky girl to be able to try bbq from around the country. Different regions have their own take on bbq and I must say, Kansas City rocks my world hard! I have tried my fair share of bbq restaurants in the Kansas City area and Oklahoma Joe’s is tops…by far!

One of the best bbq joints in all the land is unequivocably, Oklahoma Joe’s. THE BEST RIBS I have found at a restaurant thus far. Really great quality food with everything you want in a bbq meal. Their spicy coleslaw was beyond…such a nice surprise. The pulled pork, aces. But the ribs will make you stand up and U-RAH-RAH! I want to taste the meat and enjoy the smoke. If you’re going to rag on some barbecue sauce, it better be phenomenal or you can easily ruin the meal. Oklahoma Joe’s has incredible bbq sauce. They have it bottled for your home enjoyment so grab some before you leave. I didn’t and I regret it.

Seen on Man vs Food, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, and Food Paradise.

Tip: Located on the corner in a gas station. Gas up, then gas up. The beans are bangin’ good. Ha!

http://oklahomajoesbbq.com

5 out of 5 perfect bites of  extraordinary bbq.

Mad Girl Eats David Burke’s Primehouse in Chi

To finish out my sampler platter of places to lunch in Chicago, welcome back to David Burke’s Primehouse., 616 Rush St., Chicago, IL.

You know when you have been to a restaurant, had a über fabulous meal, chomp at the bit to return and the food doesn’t live up to the memory? Well, upon my follow-up visit to David Burke’s Primehouse in downtown Chicago, I was anticipating excellence once again. Once again, that is exactly what I got!!!! No wonder they were on Food Paradise, Steak Paradise. I was, in Paradise.

I crush hard on this restaurant. Different staff this time, still exceptional. Different burger this time, still “Slap My Bootie and Call Me Susie” fantastic. It was Sunday, and their version of Brunch, so their menu was different than during the week.wpid-20121230_124122-1_wm.jpg The Fatty Melt Sliders I adored a few months back weren’t on the menu. When making reservations, asking about that menu item and letting them know I was traveling, the Hostess spoke with the Manager and said they would make them special for me. Really?! I love you even more! PSA – Just because I mentioned this, don’t be a jerk and demand off the menu items. They had 3 days to prepare before my arrival. Good people.

wpid-20121230_124319-1-1_wm.jpgBack to the meal. They have a nice offering for brunch, but adoring their dry-aged beef burgers, the special burger for the day was top choice at my table, the Chipotle Burger. Excuse me a moment while I wipe my mouth in remembrance of the first bite………………..okay. Freaking A-#1 incredibly delicious! An impeccable blend of flavors, not too spicy or overwhelming the taste of the beef. You just can’t go wrong with one of their burgers. Cooked to my perfect RARE perfection, thank you. Oh baby, it may be cold outside but dang! My innards are toasty and completely satisfied now. If you felt the need to light a cigarette after (outside of course), I wouldn’t blame you. 😉

5 out of 5 beef butter love smacks. MUAH!

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