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Beach town with best food?

Thanks for all the advice! Looks like we're leaning towards east coast beach as opposed to gulf because of proximity to orlando. Any thoughts on cocoa, Daytona beach shores or ormond?

Feb 16, 2014
CheeksandLeeks in Florida

Beach town with best food?

Former Floridian but currently living in Brooklyn- needing some sunshine in my life so planning a trip home in early April. Spending most of the trip in central Florida where my friends and fam live but I'd like to spend about 3 days at the beach. I have never had a real specific allegiance to any particular beach but my guy really like Clearwater. For me a vacation is so much about food that I'd just like to assure we'll be in the proximity of a variety of delicious food options. Also important that it not be completely overrun with spring breakers given it's going to be the first weekend of April, does that rule out Clearwater? Must have at least one really great breakfast option, low end and high end seafood option, oysters, a place with a decent wine list, maybe even a steakhouse. Also should be a town within two and a half hours of Orlando, so no panhandle or south Florida cause that's just too far to drive! I know we can't be talking hotels much in here but any suggestions for decent restaurants in hotels would be great! Hope I've been specific enough! Here's some of my orlando favorites to give you some insight in to my tastes.
Pom poms, Tako Cheena, Ravenous Pig, Sushi Pop, Roy's, 4R, Luma, peach valley cafe, bosphorus, lee and ricks, yellow dog eats

Jan 31, 2014
CheeksandLeeks in Florida

I75/I10 from Orlando to Pensacola Beach

The Mr. And I are headed up to Pensacola Beach for a music fest later this week and was hoping to get a few suggestions for places to stop and grab a bite along the way there and back. Planning on taking the turnpike till it hits 75 then of course i10 the rest of the way. Don't want to venture off the path more than 5 miles or so. Open to all ethnicities, just nothing too fancy as we'll be dressed in road trip comfy clothing.
Would also love a few suggestions for places in the Pensacola Beach area, especially a great oyster bar.

Sep 17, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Florida

50% at Nagoya Sushi in Orlando!

Just saw that there is a living social deal for my very favorite sushi spot in Orlando. Nagoya has two locations, one on restaurant row in Dr Phillips the other in Winter Springs. You have got to try the Fire Mountain Roll and The Lover Roll, great stuff!
http://t.livingsocial.com/deals/43134...

Sep 17, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Florida

Coming Soon to Orlando

The new Peach Valley Cafe opening on Orange Ave and Michigan is pretty exciting in my book!
Also Tampa chain Burger 21 is heading to the Millenia area- slated for next year though. I haven't tried them yet personally but it's owned by the same parent company as The Melting Pot (which I happen to work for) so of course all I've heard are positive things.
Oh and the very first thing I thought of when I saw that Bosphorous was taking over Anatolia was "wonder what the folks on chowhound have to say about that". Glad I had a chance to try both but I always preferred Bosphorous so an additional location in a more convenient spot is great news to me.

Aug 30, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Florida

Looking for another breakfast spot in Jacksonville, east of the St. Johns River

Beach Diner, on Atlantic (there are a few other locations I think). The fish and grits are pretty great!

May 31, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Florida

Weekday breakfast near Disney or dr Phillips

I love le cafe- the almond croissant is amazing, Ive been meaning to try the croque Madame too! And the couple who own it are just about the sweetest people ever! However I was thinking of something more sit down/ waited on style- only cause its her bday! But thanks for reminding me about that place I'm now seriously craving pastry.

Mar 08, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Florida

Weekday breakfast near Disney or dr Phillips

I'll be celebrating a good friend's birthday with her and a couple other girls in a couple weeks. Our plan is to go to Disney (not sure which park yet) around noon but we want to get breakfast beforehand. I'm familiar with what's in the dr Phillips area (peach valley is my fav) but I haven't had breakfast near Disney since I was very young. Looking for a suggestion that is not actually in a park but could be in one of the surrounding hotels or anywhere east of Disney or west of dr Phillips. Price is not really important nor is type of food as long as its breakfast and is worthy of someone's 31st birthday first meal. Also it's going to be a Tuesday so no place that only serves brunch on the weekend. thanks!

Mar 08, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Florida

Orlando - Sheraton Lake Buena Vista

I wish I had some really great suggestions but unfortunately that area isn't exactly known as the culinary center of orlando! Here's a rundown of some of the better chains in the area. All should be fine to bring the young ones with
Kobe- its a Japanese style steak house with sushi
Miller's Ale House- bar food but fine for kids before 9pm or so
Joes crab shack- loud, obnoxious but food is straight forward if you're in to seafood
T Rex- in downtown Disney- perfect for the boys and I was pleasantly surprised by food
Fudd Ruckers- good burgers and shakes
Bahama Breeze- island themed, busy but decent- try the jerk chick pasta

Feb 26, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Florida

Orlando-Near Hilton on International Drive?

Good! Hope you get a chance to check it out. I had forgotten that the same owners have opened a new place in the same area called Prato. I found the menu, looks great too!
http://www.prato-wp.com/p/menu.html

Feb 26, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Florida

Orlando-Near Hilton on International Drive?

Johnny's Hideaway near downtown Disney is a great spot for stone crabs and they have some other great apps (portobello fries!), plus it doubles as a steak house so it's kind of a crowd pleaser. Most of my favorite places are in an area of town called winter park- about a 25 minute drive from your area in moderate traffic. Luma on Park is my go to spot for a nice meal, lots of small plates and entrees- local ingredients. Ravenous Pig is another great spot for locally sourced ingredients- it feels a bit more casual than Luma though prices are pretty comparable- make a reservation though! If you can track down the Big Wheel Food Truck then give that a try for sure- the chef is local obsessed and puts out some proper 4star dishes. Some super casual choices like Greens and Grill (salads and sandwiches by the same chefs as Ravenous Pig) near the Millenia Mall and Yellow Dog Eats (BBQ, salads, sandwiches) in Gotha which is only about 10 minutes or so if you take Apopka Vineland most of the way. Good Luck!

Feb 23, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Florida

Orlando-Near Hilton on International Drive?

The locavore movement has made its way too Orlando in a small way, however the side of town you'll be staying on is definitely chain heavy. My favorites in that area are Cafe Tutu Tango- a lively tapas joint just a few blocks from the convention center, Nagoya- tiny sushi spot on the strip called restaurant row about a 5 minute cab ride away, Thai Thani- upscale Thai on Idrive near Seaworld. A few other suggestions if you'll be with a group of drinkers- Moonfish, Vines and Ocean Prime all do great happy hours with food menus- all on restaurant row as well. If you'd like to travel away from that area and try some of the places that are actually committed to serving some good local grub I'd be happy to offer some other suggestions!

Feb 21, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Florida

Bar suggestions for 30th birthday

Is Berreria the place in Eataly? I think this may be just perfect since we'll definitely be in that area earlier in the evening. Thanks!

Feb 20, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Manhattan

Orlando MUST Eats

Glad to hear of someone else singing their praises. Everything I've ever had there is great but I'm especially loving the dosas recently. Try a bunch of stuff since its so super cheap!

Feb 16, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Florida

Bar suggestions for 30th birthday

There should only be 4-6 people in our group that night. Food is not so important since we'll be stopping by a lot of the restaurants on my bucket list during the day. Something pretty low key though still, no door guy who picks and chooses based on how you're dressed!

Feb 16, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Manhattan

Bar suggestions for 30th birthday

I'll be in NYC for the very first time on march 1st, to celebrate the big 3-0. Looking for a place that isn't a club (I hate getting dressed up almost as much as I hate house music) but that is also nicer than the dive bars I frequent at home. I'm more of a craft beer and wine drinker but would prefer a place that also serves liquor since my bf's drink of choice is gin and tonic. Any neiborhood is fine as long as its south of central park. I also love a place with great live music: jazz fusion, funk/soul, anything folksy acoustic. It will be a Thursday night if that helps at all. Thanks!

Feb 16, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Manhattan

Orlando MUST Eats

There is a really great all veg Indian restaurant on orange blossom trail near oakridge, it's called Bombay but just look for the sign that says House of Spices. I've heard some good things about Loving Hut which is near the Vietnamese district on 50, also all vegetarian. Ethos, on Orange Ave, is another example but it's not ethnic, I hear their meatless Philly is great though! Sorry I don't have any great suggestions for the convention center side of town where you'll be staying, will think on it though and get back to you.

Feb 16, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Florida

Best sushi in Orlando?

I one hundred percent agree with the this guy! Nagoya is the best, those two rolls are amazing but so is the fire mountain and the lover! You must try this place!

Feb 09, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Florida

First trip to NYC, help me narrow my list!

I think I would consider super pricey (the type of meal I can only do one of) anything more than $150 a person before tax, tag and title. A more "reasonably" priced meal to me would be something where we could get out of there when alls said and done for less that $200 a couple, I will probably enjoy 3-4 meals in this range. Everything else will be cheap eats, grabbing a donut or a bagel, an appetizer at a bar, snack from a market, etc.
Thanks for the heads up on the markets, I was afraid that might be the case!
I'm afraid I may have jumped the gun and bought a groupon for shelkys (gasp, a coupon, but don't worry that is in no way how I intend to pick places I eat, it's just that it was already on my list of options when I saw the discount site) however I'm kind of a lox and bagel junky so I think I can manage trying both.
I will pass up pommes frittes, unless I happen to be drunk or stoned and in the area. But I will require a donut while I'm there so I'll have to choose between Peter pan in Brooklyn or donut plant depending where I am when I get the craving, I definitely have a sweet tooth though!
I definitely don't want to overpay for a burger but orlando (where I live) is really missing an incredible burger so it's a must get, what's the best burger in the city in your opinion?
Thanks for all the other info, finding out which places aren't quite worth it if I'm only there for 4 days was exactly my point. Great advice!

Feb 08, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Manhattan

First trip to NYC, help me narrow my list!

Yes, the momofukus were originally on my list in some form but had been edited out because I had heard how insanely busy they can be, but I suppose that may be the case with most places I try and visit! Which would you suggest if I was to visit one?
I would love a tapas suggestion as well!
I had read some mixed reviews of Rucola which was also initially on my Brooklyn list, would you recommend it, or another Italian place? I do plan to eat at Eataly, would you not recommend that?
My boyfriend who I'm traveling with isn't quite as adventurous as I wish he would be so I was afraid to put any Indian or authentic Asian type places for fear of excluding him.
Bloomfield is Spotted Pig, no? I think I might have removed that place when I realized I had been adding too many $100+a person spots. There are just so many great places I've heard about and I won't be able to do more then a couple of these pricier places.

Feb 08, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Manhattan

Orlando area top 10 - February 2012

I have tried both and I prefer Bosphorous, it really is a close race but for me it just barely edges out Anatolia. I think it might solely be based on the taramasalata that I mentioned before, it's just creamier at Bosphorous and the bread is a bit lighter, puffier then their's too.
Thanks for the NYC advice! I've certainly read quite a bit about EMP on the boards and everyone seems to share your high opinion of it. So if I only intend to do one very pricey meal while I'm their, would that be the one you'd suggest? Have you posted on any of the NYC boards? I'd love to hear more of your suggestions but realize we're not supposed to muck up the Florida boards with other cities!

Feb 08, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Florida

Restaurants near Flushing Meadows Park

Im planning my first trip to NYC and am including a little excursion to flushing meadows park to see the unisphere since my boyfriend happens to be working on a digital recreation of the Worlds Fair. I would love some suggestions for places to grab food in the area. I'm a pretty adventurous eater but my boyfriend isn't really in to anything too crazy. I understand this is a great area for Chinese and would like some of those suggestions but also some non Chinese places would be great! Nothing crazy pricey as I'm sure I'll find enough of that in Manhattan and Brooklyn!

Feb 08, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Outer Boroughs

First trip to NYC, help me narrow my list!

I'm turning 30 in a few short weeks and I've never been to NYC (gasp), booked a trip for just four short days starting feb 29th through early march 4th. Since I'm a major food nerd I've been compiling a list of places I want to try while in town but it's just too long right now and I'd love some help crossing a few off (ok, ok if you know I'm missing out on something incredible then offer a new suggestion). I'm only planning to do one super pricey meal and then a whole bunch of more reasonably priced small meals. Also want to check out a few markets, yes Eataly is a must! There are bars listed as well since I'll be with some of my boozier buds and it is my birthday so what the heck! So here's my list, any advice would be greatly appreciated! (I'm sure some of my neiborhood categorizations are not technically correct but I was just trying to sort it out the best I could)

Brooklyn 

Shelsky's- pastrami smoked salmon
Van horn sandwich bar
Pies n thighs 
Colonie 
Le Comptoir
Vinegar Hill house
Peterpan doughnut shop
Dressler (if they have brunch Saturday) 
Diner
Bierkraft (bar w/food)
Four and twenty blackbirds bakery
Beer table (bar w/food)
Bien Cuit (bakery)
Brooklyn bowl
The Counting Room (bar w/food)
Brooklyn flea (Saturday)*
Dekalb Market
Hester Street Fair (Saturday)

Chelsea/ Midtown/West Village

Morimoto 
Cookshop (just bar?)
Doughnut Plant
The Red Cat (bar w/food)
Holland Bar (dive)
Tavern on Jane (bar) 
The Tippler (bar beneath market)
Jeffrey's Grocery
Chelsea Market

Soho/ Greenwich/ TriBeCa 

Taka Taka (Japanese Mexican fusion conveyer)
Greenwich Grill/ Sushi Azabu (lunch)
Gray's Papaya
Mark Forgione
Vault at Pfaffs bar w/food (door 643)
Minetta Tavern (burger)
Blue Ribbon (late night)
The meadow (salt)

East village/ Madison Ave/ Grammercy

Katz
Shake Shack
Prune
Public
Doughnut Plant
Parm (meatball hoagie)
Northern Spy (lunch)
Clinton Street Baking (breakfast before 4)
Pommes Frittes (open late)
Russ and daughters (bagel) 
PDT (crif dog speakeasy)
Death and co (bar w/food)
2nd Floor on Clinton (bar only)
Eataly

Central Park/ Grand Central Station

Food/Bev
Shake Shack
Gray's Papaya 
Per Se (lounge)
Le Bernadin (lounge)
Sushi Seki (late night expensive)
Earls beer and cheese
Bouchon Bakery
Epecerie (liddabit sweets)
Dublin House (dive bar)
Amsterdam Ale House (beer bar)
Grand Central Market

Queens

The Queens Kickshaw

Feb 08, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Manhattan

TOP FOOD TRUCKS in the FLA

I definitely concur on big wheel and crooked spoon is on my "must try" list. Though I'm not sure I'm really on board with BBQ taco box, tried the curry ford location and wasn't blown away, maybe I didn't try the right thing! Gotta give my love to the guys at Fish out of water too! Though they can go a little overboard with the sriacha (if that's possible).

Feb 08, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Florida

Orlando area top 10 - February 2012

Hello hounds! I've been reading these boards for so long now but it just suddenly dawned on me to join in the fun. Thought the top 10 would be a great place to start. Although I have lived in Orlando my entire life I can strangely say that I really have not checked out many of the hotel restaurants, I usually tend to stick with things in the general vicinity of downtown or restaurant row near where I work. So here's my list of favorites!
1. Luma on Park- my hands down favorite for any special occasion. I've never had a dish or cocktail here that I wasn't impressed my. I almost always order from the small plates which of course change frequently, but they usually have some form of steak tartar or carpaccio with a fried soft boiled egg that blows me a way each time.
2. 4Rivers Smokehouse- I know this one always gets mentioned but I truly believe it lives up the the hype. Briskett is just perfect with sides and sweets to match. I prefer the winter park location to west 50 but haven't tried longwood yet.
3. Nagoya- I could go on and on about this tucked away sushi spot, I frequent the sand lake location but have tried winter springs as well and was pleased. My favorite rolls are the fire mountain, lover and the orgasm but the Mexican bubble and king triton are also great.
4. Tako Cheena- new but still noteworthy. Pork belly taco and panko crusted cod taco are my favorites so far. I was a little turned off that they don't have ice, but I guess if you just try and think of it as a food truck with a permanent address it helps.
5. Big Wheel Truck- Tots and fois, it's genius I tell you. I've been digging on chef Tony Adam's creations since I found his provisions stand at one of the weeknight markets awhile back. This guy is a locavore and I love it!
6. Paco's- I haven't seen any mention of this winter park taco joint yet, maybe it's a nostalgia thing for me but I have yet to find a better enchilada and the guac is top notch.
7. The Ravenous Pig- I get what all of the fuss is about and I've enjoyed just about every dish those lovely Petrakis folks have put in front of me. Lunch here can't be beat for the price and service is flawless in my experience.
8. Il Pescatore- this is my go to for homespun American style Italian. It may be another case of nostalgia but I can't miss out on their stuffed chicken special (dubbed the chicken ball in my circle).
9. Bosphorous- that mixed dip appetizer with the bread is something I dream about, especially the taramasalata in the middle. The entrees are all tasty too but it's just a formality so I don't feel bad for just sharing an app and leaving. I've tried Anatolias version and enjoyed it but for me this place wins the Turkish battle hands down.
10. Bombay- this is the little Indian restaurant tucked inside the shady looking plaza with House of Spices on OBT (across from woodlands). The dosas are just perfection and huge! I've tried a handful of other dishes and can't find an Indian restaurant in town that tops it. Also insanely cheap! Vegetarian only so not for the carnivores in the bunch.

That was hard to narrow down but it's a pretty good cross section of the places I've been eating lately. A few other favorites are Pom Poms for the weekend grits of the day, Greens and Grill (another Petrakis joint), Thai Thani on the far end of Idrive (soooo far), Fish out of Water sushi truck, Lac Viet, Bauern Strube (though to be fair I haven't tried any other German places in town), Tony's deli on mills, and even Texas de Brazil though I realize it's a chain so it has no place here.
Hope you guys enjoy my little list, I'm sure you'll be seeing more of me around these boards although I'll be hooked to the NYC section for a but while I plan my first ever big apple food crawl!

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Luma on Park
290 S. Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789

Thai Thani
11025 International Drive Suite F, Orlando, FL 32821

Il Pescatore
651 N Primrose Dr, Orlando, FL 32803

Thai Thani Restaurant
615 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602

Fish out of Water
34 Goldenrod Circle, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

Feb 08, 2012
CheeksandLeeks in Florida