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BOO 2012

Food & Drink - Staff Picks

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Beet & green apple juice from Café 118º


Best shawarma

Middle East Market & Deli
8100 S. Orange Blossom Trail

If the sight of a rotating, dripping, juicy spit of mystery meat makes you weak in the knees, Middle East Market's version of shawarma, a Persian specialty sandwich, could cause an Arab Spring in your mouth. Choose from chicken or lamb; pile on the bright pink pickled turnips, hummus, cucumber and tomato; and let the warm pita take you away to a petroleum-rich food paradise far, far away.


Best messy meal

Melissa's Chicken & Waffles

The enormous waffle creations served from Melissa's bright-orange school bus can be a bit daunting. To enjoy, you must get over the realization that 1) some part of this meal will definitely trickle down your face and possibly onto your clothes; and 2) each of your bites will make you faintly resemble a velociraptor. Grab a few extra napkins and don't let it stop you – the sweet-and-salty, crisp-and-spicy, warm-and-hearty goodness that emanates from this food truck will make the slop factor worth it.


Best summer cocktail

Cetriolo at Prato
124 N. Park Ave., Winter Park

We hate to give away secret recipes (this one is actually printed on Prato's cocktail menu, we swear), but to appreciate this, you've got to hear the ingredients. The cetriolo combines organic cucumber vodka, agave nectar, lime, white cranberry juice and basil to create a refreshing, simple craft cocktail that'll offer a much-needed reprieve from the hot-and-sticky air outside. When sipped at Prato's rustically swank bartop, you'll feel refreshed and decadent.


Best nonalcoholic beer

Butterbeer at Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure

Harry and his classmates were merely tweens at the start of J.K. Rowling's series, so real booze was out of the question for them. But butterbeer, in all of its sugary-
sweet glory, was a suitably intoxicating alternative. Universal Orlando has concocted its own butterbeer, a sweet, frothy, frosty beverage with hints of butterscotch and cream soda. Dozens of recipe variants can be found on the Internet, some of which include real butter, but why bother with that when the stuff sold at Universal's Islands of Adventure is pretty much exactly what you would have imagined the drink described in the books to be?


Best Weed Eater

Deane Jordan

Food is everywhere in Orlando – in parks, in backyards, even in ditches – but the thing is, you need someone to teach you what to eat and what to avoid. Orlando's urban and suburban landscapes boast more delicious edible wild plants than some entire states do, and forager Deane Jordan, aka Green Deane, can help you find them. If you're a health nut, you'll love foraging because wild plants have a higher nutritional content than many veggies (both conventional and organic) found at the grocery store or co-op. If you're a dumpster-diving freegan, you'll love the nonexistent cost. And if you're a foodie, you'll find yourself squarely in the middle of the foraged-food trend made popular by restaurants such as Noma in Copenhagen. While we don't suggest you eat any old weed you come upon (see "Backyard buffet," March 22), we know once you try your first safely prepared meal from a ditch, you'll be hooked.

Best place to get a taste of World War I

Best of Orlando 2012
  • Local Color - Reader' Picks This year's Best of Orlando issue was written, edited, tallied, combined and compiled with the blood, sweat and tears of Marcus Griggs, Holly V. Kapherr, Faiyaz Kara... | 7/18/2012
  • Local Color - Staff Picks Gracing the cover of Orlando Weekly's 2012 Best of Orlando issue is no sweat, when you're Jose Melendez. Better known as Orlando's Mr. Gold, Melendez is the... | 7/18/2012
  • Goods & Services - Reader' Picks Best adult entertainment store 1st Fairvilla Megastore, 1740 N. Orange Blossom Trail, 407-425-6005; 7631 | 7/18/2012
  • Goods & Services - Staff Picks Nameplates! Doorknockers! Gucci bamboo hoops! Cuban links, herringbones, dookie ropes! Medallions! Dog tags! Caps and grills! On strictly utilitarian... | 7/18/2012
  • Food & Drink - Reader' Picks Best Caribbean 1st Bahama Breeze, multiple locations, bahamabreeze.com 2nd Mama Millie's, 12273 University Blvd., 407-382-3570, mamamillies.com | 7/18/2012
  • Food & Drink - Staff Picks Best attention-grabber beverage Beet & green apple juice from Café 118 | 7/18/2012
  • Music & Nightlife - Staff Picks If you're afraid of heights, stay away: Aptly named after its striking 180-degree view of downtown Orlando, this chic sanctuary sits at the top of Amway Center's... | 7/18/2012
  • Music & Nightlife - Reader' Picks Best Club DJ 1ST Baby Lac, @djbabylac 2ND Lemy Currey, facebook.com/lemycurrey 3rd Jimmy Joslin, facebook.com/JimmyJoslin | 7/18/2012
  • Arts & Culture - Reader' Picks Best Arts Event/Festival 1st The Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival, orlandofringe.org 2nd Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, wpsaf.org 3rd Nude Nite Art Exposé, nudenite.com | 7/18/2012
  • Arts & Culture - Staff Picks Best public art that doubles as a weapon "Symphony," 1989, by Paul Marco Mennello Museum of American Art 900 East Princeton Street 407-246-4278 mennellomuseum.com If you've ever thought of an "ice knife" as the perfect murder weapon (it melts! No finger | 7/18/2012
  • Sports & Recreation - Reader' Picks Best billiards hall 1st Sportstown Billiards, 2414 E. Robinson St., 407-894-6258, sportstownbilliards.com 2nd Cue-Phoria Billiards and Café, 2050 Semoran Blvd., Winter Park, 321-972-1867, cuephoria.com 3rd Trick Shots Billiards, multiple locations | 7/18/2012
  • Sports & Recreation - Staff Picks First word we received about this Gaelic jumble of a sport was when Orlando Hurling Club hosted their Clash of the Ash tournament last September. | 7/18/2012
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