(Photo from Orlando Magazine of the Smiling Bison Burger)
Disclaimer: I don’t have a new recipe this week. I’m indulging one of my other hobbies, which is swing dancing, by helping to plan a 3-day, 300-person event. So I sort of didn’t quite finish planning this week’s food. Also I finished this post in technically the very early hours of Wednesday because we had a bit of an emergency plumbing problem (involving an attempt at home repair which turned into being unable to turn the water back on…).
However, this post IS full of delicious food. I’ve been wanting to start a list of places we love to eat at in Orlando. This is the first in an occasional series highlighting the places we’re coming to love in our hometown. To start, here’s a day’s worth of places we adore. If you were to hit all of these up, you’d be eating deliciousness from brunch to dessert!
Brunch at Se7enbites
Se7vebites had to move to a larger location in the downtown area recently and they’re still packed every day. Their elevated Southern food is amazing: my favorite is the Seventh Trimester, which is over-medium eggs and applewood-smoked bacon in a giant biscuit, topped with mac’n’cheese with a potato chip crumble. It is that over the top, and it is that.good. Robby likes the special that involves the same giant biscuit, pulled barbecue pork, and pimento cheese sauce. They also do the BEST grits, chock full of butter and chives and cheese, and a really good fried green tomato. They have a lunch menu that looks great, but I confess that I’ve never made it past the brunch dishes.
Unless it’s to the bakery. Because they also have a bakery. You can purchase whole cakes and pies, or giant Dark Chocolate Espresso Sea Salt Brownies in little pie tins. Or pumpkin gingersnaps. Or homemade moon pies. Or their signature Nutella Turbo iced coffee. And apparently for Mardi Gras, they’re doing beignets and king cakes. !!!
Lunch at The Smiling Bison
The Smiling Bison used to be a charcuterie food truck. A few years ago, they closed the truck, opened a couple restaurants and started selling a sort of elevated pub food. Their Orlando branch recently closed, but they still have one in Sanford, some half hour away.
Their signature Bison Burger is my favorite. It’s a modest-sized patty with bacon and an egg on Texas toast with these really delicious skinny little fries, and a basil watermelon salad–which sounds really weird and it kind of is, but in a good way. I always think it’s not going to be quite enough food, but it’s a perfect meal every time.
One friend always gets the poutine. It’s simple, thick wedge fries and classic cheese curds and gravy and mmmmm. Robby’s favorite is the Duck Lover’s Pizza with the THREE kinds of duck (duck sausage, confit, and ham. Did you even know duck sausage was a thing? I didn’t). It’s got just enough pea tendrils and balsamic to balance out the incredible richness of the duck. Definitely a splurge meal but so worth it.
Dinner at Danketsu
I’m always looking for restaurants that are open late, so I was thrilled to find that Danketsu is open until 2 AM for all your late-night Asian food cravings on the east side of the city. They’re a new place with sushi, hot pot, and Korean barbecue–it’s hard to say which of those is more exciting!
I took Robby here for a small surprise birthday dinner after we got home from Tucson. I was seriously tempted by the udon noodles (you can get them FRIED), but we ended up choosing miso soup, seaweed salad, and a few sushi rolls instead. All of it was excellent. I had the Tiger Roll, tempura shrimp topped with salmon and eel sauce. The shrimp was lovely, crispy on the outside and tender in the middle. And I love salmon and eel sauce both, so it was a clear winner.
I was sad that we weren’t hungry enough for the Korean barbecue–another party was grilling their selections right on their table, and it smelled fabulous. We’ll be back to try everything here–although the jury’s still out on the Roasted & Cheesy Nigiri, which is an intriguing but seriously unusual concept.
Bonus: Dessert at Better Than Sex
The theme of this place extends to the decor (very much NSFW) and the names of the drinks and desserts–all their chocolate-dipped drinks, for instance, are called Rim Jobs. I love the spiced coffee, which I get with a dark chocolate-coated rim.
They only do drinks and desserts, all named with innuendo-laced puns, but they are worth pushing past the silly names. The Cookie Nookie Pie, for instance, is a crazy pecan cookie thing wrapped in pie crust (!) with handmade vanilla ice cream. My favorite edible is a French toast sandwich of brie and chocolate, with a side of strawberry champagne dipping sauce. It sounds totally insane, and it is, but in a really really really good way. Like a “I don’t know how I ate the entire thing because it was huge but I can’t regret it” kind of way.
Happy eating, friends!