Mad Girl Eats Private Island Nitrogen Ice Cream in Orlando

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Private Island Ice Cream, 14650 Gatorland Dr, Orlando, FL.

Entertainment, Science, and sweet ice cream. How much better could that get?! Throw in homemade ingredients, that’s how! Private Island Ice Cream has it all. With a plethora of flavor combos to choose from, the ice cream is made from scratch right in front of your eyes with liquid nitrogen at a subzero temp of -321 degrees F. Private Island (formerly Pure Magic) was the first in Florida to introduce liquid nitrogen ice cream back in 2007.

I ordered chocolate ice cream and added in their homemade caramel and M&Ms. It is pretty interesting to watch this liquid being whisked and squirted with nitrogen, whisked some more, a bit more nitrogen, thickening….adding the goodies, and WALLA! This sweet, richly decadent, extreme flavor, hardened and made to perfection. You order a cup and receive a generous amount of ice cream. Super heavy, intense, did I say rich? Yep, very rich. Wow, just wow. Nice experience.

wpid-20150307_212154-1.jpgLocated across the street from Gatorland on South Orange Blossom Trail, in the Hunter’s Creek neighborhood.

Hours: Sunday – Thursday 1:00pm to 9:00pm, Friday – Saturday 1:00pm to 10:00pm.

http: privateislandicecream.com

4.75 out of 5 very cool treat points.

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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.

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 Black Bean Deli in Orlando

 

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Black Bean Deli, 1835 East Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL. One location also available in Winter Park, FL.

Florida is so fortunate to have restaurants and food trucks that offer magical fare, especially Cuban. Going in, Black Bean Deli had an award-winning, good reputation and I was intrigued to try them out.

The place was boomin’ busy! The line moved swiftly,  it was clean and inviting, and the staff was welcoming and friendly. You order at the counter first. My order was random, wanting to hit my faves and some the resto is known for. Of course, a Cubano/ Cuban sandwich was needed, along with a Papa Rellenas, and Empanada. I could eat these 3 items everyday. Honest. Ok, I’m not done…Black Beans is a must-try (it’s the name of the joint! Duh!), and their Yuca Fries are crowd-pleaser popular. Orangina to pair it all with, and I’m set.

I’m given my Papa, Empanada, Orangina, and number to put on the table. I’m so happy I don’t have to wait for everything, cuz this girl is mad hungry! OMMMMMGGGeeee the Papa Rellenas were a potato powerhouse. A big ball of Cuban happiness (mashed potatoes with a spoonful of beef, spice, and green olive in the center) breaded and fried. I really wanted another one, but had ordered enough for 3. Ok, Empanada, you’re up next. I chose the Picadillo empanada with its rich ground beef, spice, herb and veggie mixture. The crust was perfectly flaky and tender, and the filling was the right choice, a wonderful burst of flavor. I wanted another of these also. Dang yummy!

Soon the rest of the order was delivered, in cute little aluminum trays. I dove into the award-winning Cuban sandwich. Oh yeah, that’s it. The bread was a perfect balance of crisp and chewy, and not too crusty to rip up the roof of your mouth. I hate that. The meats, cheese, and pickles were all in perfect harmony. I agree, award-winning! Next, the Black Beans. They didn’t disappoint! A generous amount of beans over a small layer of rice. The beans were spiced just right and was a fantastic side dish. When the girl taking the order was asked what I needed that I didn’t order, she recommended the Yuca Fries. They looked delish and tasted even better! Substantial heft to each piece, nicely fried, seasoned with salt, and extraordinary dipped into the accompanied tangy garlic mojo sauce. I have to admit, I dipped my sandwich in the sauce too. Yeow, that was amazing food!!!! I generally have water with my meal, but the Orangina went beautifully. A bit of effervescent orange…realllly good.

In Orlando? Go, go now…well, don’t go on Sunday because they’re closed. Here are their hours for this location. Check their website for Winter Park location hours.

Hours: Mon – Thurs  11:00am – 8:00pm, Fri and Sat 11:00am – 10:00pm. Closed Sundays.

Off street parking and small parking lot. Dining tables inside and out.

http://blackbeandeli.com

5 out of 5 drool-worthy points

Mad Girl Eats Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion

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Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant, 7760 Sand Lake Rd, Orlando, FL. Many other locations country-wide.

Aloha! Roy’s in Orlando has always been a favorite mine. I haven’t been back for a while (so many restos, so little time…and money), so when an email appeared for a Wagyu burger, I jumped at the chance to go. I’ve never had anything but a stellar experience at Roy’s and I was sure this wasn’t going to let me down.

The burger is only available in the bar, so I sashayed my way over to seating at the bar that backs up to the open kitchen. Great seats! I arrived about halfway thru Aloha Hour (Happy Hour) so I ordered an appetizer of Crispy Pork and Steamed Buns at Happy Hour prices. Roy’s has a nice Aloha Hour menu for both food and drink. The appetizer arrived and was 2 delightful Asian buns, each with a piece crispy pork, green apple slaw and Red Dragon sauce. It was nicely done, but I’m a saucy girl and it needed more sauce for my liking. My tip is to ask for sauce on the side also….to dip 😉

I ordered my Wagyu Burger, rare of course. It comes with caramelized onion, truffle mushrooms, a sunny side up egg, and Togarashi aioli all on an awesome Brioche bun. The burger arrived and it was a perfect picture of meaty paradise. There were super crunchy fresh onion rings on the plate that I added to my burger as well. Wow, that first bite was pure pleasure and moan-worthy. Quality, moist, rich beef gently seasoned. The many layers of flavor and texture from the toppings only helped to create a fantastic experience. A little sweetness from the onions, a bit earthy from the mushrooms, oozy egg yolk and glorified aioli were an absolute amazing combination and the ending crunch from the onion rings, took it over the edge.

Roy’s, once again, leaving with a smile on my face and a happy, very satisfied tummy.

Aloha Hour is 5:00pm – 7:00pm. Dining room hours: Sun-Thurs 5:30pm – 10:00pm, Fri – Sat 5:30pm – 10:30pm

http://roysrestaurant.com

5 out of 5 beautiful beefy bites of bodaciousness.

 

Mad Girl Eats Pho 88 in Orlando

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Pho 88 Vietnamese Restaurant, 730 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL.

After hearing numerous great things about this Vietnamese restaurant, I knew I had to get there and experience it for myself. Quick and friendly, the staff sat me and helped me with the extraordinarily large menu. Since it was my first venture into Vietnamese, my server was knowledgable, patient, and reserved as to my virgin taste buds. He kept pointing out the most popular dishes along with the word ‘American’. I didn’t want an American watered down version, I wanted authentic, sock-it-to-me Vietnamese cooking. I figured he knew better than I, so I went with the safe, albeit flavorful bet.

I ordered the #5. Shredded pork skin spring rolls, #11. Roasted Quails, #37. Pho Bo with eye round steak and beef balls, #42.Pho Bo with eye round steak, flank, fat brisket, and soft tendon, #114. Chicken stir-fried with rice and vegetables. The appetizers came first and wow, were they nice. The spring rolls were big and chocked full of pork skin and veggie filling, just superb, and made more so by the luscious peanut dipping sauce. Roasted quail, well that was divine. Add a squirt of fresh lime and the little bird sang “Welcome to Flavor Town”! The Pho arrives and none too soon. I was getting over a bad cold (hence the reason for the 2 bowls) and the brothy noodle soup was just what Dr. Feel Better ordered. The bowls were huge! A plate of vegetables accompanied the bowls of Pho. I added bean sprouts and jalapenos for kicks and giggles. Soooo good. The meats were beefy and tender, the noodles and broth were scrumptious. Next up, the Chicken Stir-fry. I was a bit hesitant to order this, I felt I could get this same dish in the Food Court at the Mall. Oh no no no. It was incredible! It may look similar, but the taste was beyond what you’d find at a chain restaurant. Honestly, I couldn’t stop eating it!

The table was happy with the selections, but I plan on going a bit more wild next visit 😉

Open 7 days a week. Hours: Lunch – 10:00 – 4:00pm, Dinner 4:00pm – 10:00pm. Parking lot or street parking.

http://pho88orlando.com

 

4.75 out of 5 Pho-nominally delish points.

Mad Girl Eats La Spada’s in Orlando

 

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La Spada’s Original Cheesesteaks and Hoagies,  1010 Lee Rd, Orlando, FL.  Locations in Sanford and Orange City also.

This shop comes from a deep lineage of fine sandwich shops, starting in 1938 in Atlantic City, NJ with the family’s first Hoagie shop. Family carried forward the tradition and blazed a trail of new shops in Pennsylvania, then the Ft Lauderdale area of Florida, and now Orlando. The La Spada’s know what they are doing! The superior level they have maintained through the years, shows in every bite.

I ordered their original Cheesesteak. Steak, grilled onions, and white American cheese on a homemade Hoagie roll with sweet peppers. Succulent and simple. ATTENTION! This is the best Cheesesteak I have had outside of Philly. I love that they chop up their steak and don’t leave it in long pieces to make it hard to eat. This mix of meat and melty gooey cheese is perfection. The onions and peppers just add to the party going on in my mouth. Great fries too!

My partner in crime and I stopped in on a whim, split a 10″, moaned and groaned with every bite…. and ordered another. It was just that fantastic! Their Meatball Parm looked incredible and will be one for the next visit!

Hours: Mon – Fri 10:00am to 5:00pm,  Sat and Sun 11:00am to 4:00pm. Conveniently off of I-4 and Lee Rd exit, located in the far end of a strip mall.

http://laspadas.com

5 out of 5 bites of bliss. Mangia!

 

 

 

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 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 Charley’s Steakhouse in Orlando

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Charley’s Steakhouse, 8255 International Drive Orlando, FL. Two more locations available in Orlando and one in Tampa.

Family owned since 1973, Charley’s Steakhouse has continually been named one of the Best Independent Steakhouses in the country. It only seemed fit that Charley’s was the first choice when an immense hankering for a great aged steak filled every crevice of my being. Wine lovers will fall in love with Charley’s award-winning wine list.

The restaurant location I chose was on I-drive, in the heart of the tourist and conventioneer corridor of Orlando.  It had a warm and inviting atmosphere that one you would hope for when dining at an upscale steakhouse. The staff was pleasant, knowledgable and professional. Their menu offered a decent array of appetizers and entrees. Escargot Bourgogne was the appetizer choice of the evening. Made to order steaks, with extras to choose, like having your steak stuffed with bleu cheese is a nice touch as well. I wanted my entrée to be fairly simple and straightforward so I opted for their Petite Tenderloin (rare), Scallops wrapped in bacon, Roasted Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes. Also, the Kansas City Strip (Pittsburgh style, charred with red center) and a side order of Black Pepper Parmesan Kettle Fries. All entrees come with salad and three cheese bread.

First up, the Escargot. Oh my, the snails swimming in garlic-y herb melted butter, wonderful thick toasted bread to dunk and soak up all that heaven. I’m still dreaming about this dish. Superb with a capital S. The house salad (which you can upgrade to other selections) was fantastic! I don’t usually get excited about a salad, but they do it up nicely. The added bene of their warm and squishy cheese bread was fab. The only problem was to stop eating all of it to save room for steak!

Finally, the masterpieces arrive. Things of beauty to my carnivore eyes! The 8 oz tenderloin, cooked to a lovely rare temp, was amazing. Excuse me while I close my eyes and relive that moment…….okay, I’m back. The scallops were divine, sweet and gentle with a hint of smokiness from the bacon. I love my potatoes and their red mash is right up there with the best. The bone-in 22 ounce Kansas City Strip took up the entire platter, done to perfection. The Pittsburgh style char was an awesome change and I liked the first 4 bites. Beyond that, the all over char was a tad too much for me, but the steak had so much incredible flavor, yeowza….it was phenomenal. Oh boy, let’s not forget the Parmesan fries, a huge order to be shared, served with horseradish cream. It was what every potato lover dreams of. Honestly.

Every bite of this meal from appetizer to the last bite of steak, was one of the best I’ve had in a long time. See their website for an array of awards.

Hours: Sun-Thurs 5:00pm to 10:30pm, Fri and Sat 5:00pm to 11:00pm.

Reservations are greatly recommended, call 407-363-0228  or see their website  http://charleyssteakhouse.com

5 out of 5. They deserve a Gold Medal at the Steak Olympics.

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