Photo by Jason Greene
Food and Drink - Staff Picks
Published: July 13, 2011
The Treehouse Truck’s signature sandwich, the ChiMoo, is a pile of sliced chicken breast layered with juicy sliced steak, red cabbage slaw and sweet potato shoestrings – the solution to any omnivore’s dilemma. (Pour on the mango sauce for a pleasantly acidic contrast to the rich meats and dressings.) Catch up with Mikey Freas and the Treehouse Truck at one of the food truck gatherings or by following them on Twitter. For a lighter but no less indulgent sandwich, Greens & Grille has perfected the portobello. It’s a marinated and grilled ’shroom with a generous schmear of goat cheese and creamy avocado, accented by oven-roasted plum tomatoes between two slices of thick, whole-grain focaccia. “Filling” and “vegetarian” are no longer contradictory terms.
Best spice house
102 N. Park Ave., Winter Park; 407-788-7777; penzeys.com
Need dried lavender for those shortbread cookies? Aleppo pepper for Turkish kebabs? Fenugreek for … whatever you use fenugreek for? Penzey’s has it. The place is stocked full of spices you’ll never use more than once, but at least you know where to get them when you need them. There’s an impressive baking section too, with double- and triple-strength vanilla extract, cinnamon-sugar blends and much more. For your favorite chef, Penzey’s offers customizable gift boxes to be stuffed with fresh bay leaves, aromatic cinnamon sticks and whatever else appeals.
Best new fusion
Korean BBQ Taco Box
One of the first new-wave food trucks to hit the Orlando scene was the bright yellow Korean BBQ Taco Box. Serving bulgogi tacos, galbi burritos and Korean-style chicken wings, this truck evokes Los Angeles’ Kogi BBQ Truck, the original mobile Korean-Mexican fusion. First frequented by Asian teenagers in the know, it’s now a favorite of the food truck illuminati, consistently sporting long lines. The Spicy Pork Taco Box is a steal at $5.99 – the sweet-salty taco is accompanied by a chicken wing, a salad with ginger dressing, cream cheese dumplings, two beef-filled rice balls and a crispy spring roll. Follow the truck on Twitter to find its current location, or visit it at the Tuesday-night Lake Lily or Wednesday-night Firestone food-truck pods.
Best fresh pasta
Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek; 14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Ln., 407-597-3675; laluceorlando.com
The atmosphere is romantic, contemporary, elegant, but the real star of the show at Donna Scala’s Italian food temple is the pasta, freshly made every day. Chef Scala has put together a place where not only are guests respected, but ingredients are the most precious commodity. Paper-thin tagliatelle in puttanesca sauce, fluffy homemade ravioli filled with Bellwether ricotta, garganelli covered in velvety carbonara (the authentic recipe – no cream, no peas); it’s all delicious and available in tasting portions on request. An added hint: The olive fritti, fried manzanilla olives stuffed with anchovy and served alongside piping hot Marcona almonds, is a starter not to pass up.
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