MG Eats Smokey Bones in Kissimmee

wp-1457725287218.jpg

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mad Girl Eats Keke’s Breakfast Cafe in Winter Park

wp-1451928864095.jpg

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

 

 

Mad Girl Devours Sartori Cheese

wp-1450720916008.jpg

I was gifted a kit of 7 cheeses from the Sartori Cheese company in Plymouth, Wisconsin. They make lovely artisan cheese and use Wisconsin cows! Immediately I put my creative foodie hat on to see just what different ways I could use them beyond a knife and a glass of wine.

First up I used the Espresso BellaVitano (yes, espresso…get some) to make my take on a grilled cheese…not just any grilled cheese, but one that suited my sweet-driven persona. I used a glazed blueberry cake doughnut, sliced it like a bagel, butteredwp-1450720771532.jpg

 

the cut sides (so the sugar from the glaze wouldn’t burn), laid one half buttered cut-side down in skillet, top with slices of Espresso BellaVitano, top that with the other half of buttered doughnut.

Grill like any other cheese sandwich. Watch out, it may be addictive. Boom!

wp-1450720789956.jpg Sweet and salty…nothing better!

How about some protein after that sandwich?! Let’s try a beautiful egg scramble with sautéed onion, jalapeno sausage and topped with Extra Aged Goat Cheese. wp-1450720814733.jpg The creamy egg, sweet onion, and spicy sausage, married perfectly with the tangy and earthiness of the goat cheese. The cheese also helped to calm the fire from the jalapeno. I served tomato salsa on the side for brightness and color. Bold and brilliant!

The Dolcina Gorgonzola had me salivating just thinking about all of the tasty treats I could try. Nothing could stop me from making a Gorgonzola Cheese Cream Sauce. It is multi-purpose!wp-1450720860758.jpg I used a basic Bechamel recipe, made a roux, added cream, then finished with Gorgonzola, salt and pepper, then a bit of nutmeg. Holy Toledo Batman, sinfully good! This dish is pasta, topped with sautéed mushrooms, then finished off with Gorgonzola cream sauce and sprinkled with basil. Later, I will top off a burger with this sauce and a few crumbles of Sartori’s Gorgonzola. This is also a fantastic sauce to put on a steak. It is so special, and so smooth. I could bathe in this sauce. Oh my!

*Dolcina Gorgonzola Cream Sauce Recipe w/ pasta and mushrooms:

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

4 Tablespoons All-Purpose flour

2 cups Half and Half

4 oz Sartori’s Dolcina Gorgonzola, crumble

1 Tablespoon of your favorite fresh herb or spice. If using dried herbs, use a smidge less, especially when using a strong flavor. I used nutmeg IN the sauce, and dried basil last, to top off the dish. Remember, taste test along the way!

1 pinch of salt and pepper, to taste

1 lb pasta

3 cups of sliced mushrooms

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta as directed on box, drain, cover and set to the side.
  2.  Melt butter over med-high heat in a med pot. Once melted, add flour and whisk. Cook until flour turns a light brown color, about 4 minutes.
  3. Slowly whisk the Half and Half into the roux. When it is all incorporated it will be thicker, but not completely thickened. Turn down heat to low and simmer until thicker, about another 4 or 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in Gorgonzola until melted and keep warm until needed. Taste for salt and pepper.
  5. In a separate pan, saute your mushrooms in a bit of olive oil, cook until just tender.
  6. Place pasta on serving platter, lay the mushrooms on top, then ladle on the cream sauce and finish with a few shakes of dried herbs…basil or rosemary are nice.
  7. Enjoy!!!

Quite honestly, the Raspberry BellaVitano, Merlot BellaVitano, and the Limited Cognac BellaVitano are all incredibly delicious cheeses on their own. A charcuterie board with these 3 cheeses, slices of pear, apple, dried apricots, dates, olives, nuts, honey, crackle bread, fig jam, and prosciutto would make a perfect Holiday appetizer for my guests. Add wine and we’re good to go!

The Asiago with Rosemary and Olive Oil will be sitting atop an Italian red sauce with melted anchovies and plenty of garlic over gnocchi. My mouth is watering already!

Sartori’s artisan cheese is superb, a definite must-try for any cheese lover. High quality, beautifully made, phenomenal flavor. 5 out of 5 stars! Go to their website and peruse their story, cheese, and recipes.
It is pretty impressive. http://sartoricheese.com

You can take the girl out of Wisconsin, but you can’t take the cheese out of her! Thank goodness. Cheesehead to the end 🙂

Xo, Avery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mad Girl Eats Carnitas Snack Shack in Del Mar California

wpid-photogrid_1440100926369_wm.jpg

Carnitas’ Snack Shack, 12837 El Camino Real in Del Mar, San Diego, CA.

A pretty little bbq spot in a pretty little area of Del Mar in the northern San Diego area. Cool “Q” dining area with outdoor seating available.

I ordered the Triple Threat Pork Sandwich and the Snack Shack Steak Sandwich. Both were meaty and flavorful. The Triple Threat Pork sandwich was brilliant. It had pork loin schnitzel (wow), pulled pork (yum), and bacon (heck ya!) with a pepperoncini relish and Shack aioli. Dang! That was a pork masterpiece! The Steak sandwich was delectable. Sliced ribeye, pepper jack cheese, tomato, pickled serrano, chipotle aioli, and jalapeno. It was bounding with flavor and heat from all of the peppers. If you like it caliente’, you will love this!

Located in an upper crust strip mall with easy and plentiful parking. There is also a shack located in North Park. Great flavors, quality eats.

New hours: Sun – Thurs 11:00am – 9:00pm, Fri – Sat 11:00am – 10:00pm.

4.75 out of 5 points.

 

Mad Girl Eats Bern’s Steak House in Tampa

wpid-photogrid_1427921862101_wm.jpgBern’s Steak House, 1208 S. Howard Ave, Tampa, FL.

From the outside, the building that Bern’s is housed in doesn’t look like much more than a stucco-ed warehouse. No windows, no grass, just a big black top driveway with a Valet stand and double doors. Once inside, wow. A two-story lobby welcomes you, drenched in red, velvet, gold, a huge mirror and mega lighting…talk about moody! A line to check-in at the host desk awaits and you better be there by the time your reservation states, or watch out, they don’t play. Reservations* are a must, and all of your party must be present before you are seated. So, basically, get it together!

Seated in one of the lovely well-appointed dining rooms, you can tell this is an upper echelon Steak House. The menu offers whatever your carnivore heart desires, especially their various steaks, thickness, weights, and tips. The most flavorful of steaks for 2 when ordering rare, is the Strip Steak. Their steaks are aged for optimum beefy flavor. Opting for one large steak of 22 oz, which is 2″ thick, cooked to rare with a slightly warm center, then cut in 2 pieces tableside. A brilliant way to give you a perfectly cooked, juicy steak. The steak entrees come with French Onion soup and toasts, House Salad, Baked Potato, 2 vegetables, and fried onions. Foie Gras was ordered to top the steak.

The food came methodically and perfectly timed. The soup was luscious. The house salad was beautiful as it looked like a mini version of a Chopped Salad. Fab! The baked potato was large, and was ordered with all the toppings and a great accompaniment for a hearty steak. The vegetables were fresh and cooked just to done, and fried onions were delish. Excellent sides. The steak. Oh the steak. It was perfection. Beautifully cooked, bounding with flavor, freaking amazing. Moan-worthy. The addition of foie gras on top was out-of-bounds! Rich, smooth, damn scrumptious. It definitely wasn’t needed, but it was wanted 😉

Bern’s is legendary and continually ranks in the top 10 of Best Steak Houses in the Country.They also have one of the largest wine collections anywhere, so I got a fantastic glass of Rose’ to round out my experience. This was worth every penny and I look forward to returning to this absolutely spectacular restaurant. Not to be missed, their Dessert Room upstairs.

http://bernssteakhouse.com

Hours: Sun to Thurs 5:00pm – 10:00pm, Fri and Sat 5:00pm – 11:00pm.

*Reservation requests are accepted on-line with a 72 hour advance notice. For special inquiries, call 813-251-2421.

5 out of 5 perfect points. Undeniable excellence.

Mad Girl Eats The Joint in New Orleans

wpid-photogrid_1402432720013.jpg

The Joint BBQ…Always Smokin’, Bywater at 701 Marzant St, New Orleans,  LA. Corner of Marzant and Royal Streets.

BBQ. Oh smoky and succulent BBQ. The Joint, like most supreme BBQ restaurants, is sooooo good, “it’ll make you wanna slap yo mama”. That’s just a Southern saying, don’t actually do it.

Driving through the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, remnants remain from Hurricane Katrina. This is definitely a don’t judge a book by it’s cover lesson.  The shack looking establishment bordering the less fortunate neighborhood of the city, is filled with men in crisp white dress shirts and ties, hospital workers still in their scrubs, and everyone else who wants BBQ for lunch. The place is cozy, interesting, and smells like a BBQ restaurant should. Hint: If you go to a BBQ place and you don’t smell that delightful smoking meat parfum, get back in your car and leave.

You walk up to the register and order, then go find a spot to sit while you wait for your food. Soon enough, a platter of meaty bliss arrives! A combo plate with your choice of 3 meats; mine were ribs, pulled pork, and beef brisket. Also, I had sides of baked beans, cole slaw and of course, thick ol’ white bread. The smoked meats were INSANE! Moist, tender, and screaming with flavor. I like my meat naked, no sauce cooked on top of it or slathered in a mopping of bbq lotion and potion. Why? It covers up the taste of the meat! I add a bit of bbq sauce the side of my plate, just to try, but generally ending up dipping French fries in it. Give me a fantastic dry rub before you smoke, other than that, leave it alone! The pulled pork was my favorite. The sides were good, the meat was memorable.

The Joint has some of THE BEST BBQ in the country. Leaving the restaurant headed towards the French Quarter, I see the neighborhood is coming under a revival. Baby strollers and bicycles with trendy refurbished homes full of hipsters and the upwardly mobile. So, don’t pass up The Joint, you’d be very very sorry. It will be the best stop you made all day…and a place you will return to time and time again.

http://www.AlwaysSmokin.com

Hours: Mon – Sat 11:30am to 10:00pm. Street parking. There is a bus stop right by the door on Royal St.

5 out of 5 sensational smoking hot points!

Mad Girl Eats The Purple Pig in Chicago

wpid-photogrid_1406509840909.jpg

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 Eats Tacos El Gordo in Vegas!

 

wpid-photogrid_1404871362570.jpg

Tacos El Gordo on the Strip in Las Vegas. 3049 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV.

Found in a strip mall down the Vegas Strip from the Encore and Wynn properties, you will experience original Mexican tacos. Tacos El Gordo prides themselves on brining you fast and delicious Mexican cuisine straight out of TJ (Tijuana).  Real Mexican tacos, not the American version.

Deciding to try a few tacos outside of our comfort zone along with our faves.  Al Pastor, Beef brain, Beef tongue, Head, and Steak. Fresh, fantastic.  Don’t be afraid to try parts you normally don’t find in an Americanized taco joint. Brain, Tongue (my favorite of the “exotics” lol), Head meat. Trip your trigger, people! get the grilled veg when they ask. A delightful accompaniment.

There are 3 lines for ordering, so find the correct one according to meat filling choice.  A busy place, so you know it’s good.

A handful of tables indoors, or covered outdoor sidewalk seating available.

4.5 out of 5 Mexican Hat Dance worthy bites.

 

Mad Girl Eats The Ravenous Pig

wpid-PhotoGrid_1391547564683.jpg

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 Loves Korean BBQ Taco Box, Orlando

image

Korean BBQ Taco Box, Food trucks serving Central Florida and the Washington, D.C area.

Food trucks. Some look down their snobby noses at them, but if you give them a try, you may strike culinary gold. A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to attend The Daily City’s Food Truck Bazaar (a wrangling of a dozen or two trucks) in Orlando. I immediately was drawn to this bright yellow truck serving up Asian Fusion, Korean style BBQ. Intrigued, I looked at their menu and landed on the short rib tacos. Galbi style short rib tacos, to be exact. That all really meant nothing to me, but they were kind to guide me through and order what would become, one of my favorite eats of all time. Number 8 on the menu, the Galbi Short Rib Taco Box.

It comes with interesting sides. A salad with peanut ginger dressing, an ultra spicy chicken wing, and 2 other Korean delicacies. Let’s get to the star of the box, the Galbi short rib taco. A nice size soft taco filled with a good amount of short rib meat and a helluva lot of flavor. I mean….explosive, rich, sweet and savory, beefy, juicy, drip-down-your-arm morsels of happiness. This is a one bite and you say…”OMG” thing. Moan your way through it. Get your own, because this is one dish you don’t want to share and give up any portion of.

Continually awarded with ‘Best Of’ honors, too lengthy to list. Find a truck, thank me later.

Go to the http://thedailycity.com  to see their schedule for the next Food Truck Bazaar or connect via Twitter @koreanbbq_2011  or http://Facebook.com/KBBQBOX to find where their trucks are daily!

5 out of 5 tantalizing tastes of taco box treasures.

%d bloggers like this: