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Coffee Break - Sleeping Moon Cafe (Winter Park, FL)

Posted by Luna on August 10, 2013 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Yes, I am still writing reviews! Tonight I'm not really so much reviewing a restaurant as a coffee shop that happens to serve food. However, since I only had coffee here, I can't technically write this as a restaurant review. In any case, tonight I invite you to sample an experience known as the Sleeping Moon Café in Winter Park, FL.

 

I apologize that I don't have an outside photo of this place because I forgot to take one (^  ^; ) BUT here are a couple inside pics:

 

 

 

 

 

So as you can see, this is another one of those local art coffee houses that caters to the "hipster" crowd. I'm not really hipster but I LOVE hipster cafes. Why? Because they are always unique and eclectic in décor and they support local artists and local food. Sleeping Moon is also a livehouse on certain nights, which of course means live music by local up-and-coming musicians.

 

 

 

Tonight happened to be "Soul Night" so the live entertainment featured local artists like Live Hart (pictured above) and MoZaic. You can check out a sampling of their performances in our Video section. I was trying to get the videos to upload, but they don't seem to like me very much. So, the pic is all you get right now. They were both AWESOME and beautiful.

 

 

 

Once again, I only had a cappuccino here, but I guess I can give it a fair review as well. The brew was good. Not too much foam and just the right amount of sweetness (I asked for two sugars). It came in your average takeout cup, but I later found out that if you request it, you can have your beverage served in a real coffee mug like these:

 

 

All in all it was a fun experience and I will definitely be back soon.

 

Bottom Line: Come for the coffee and ambience, stay for the live music!

 

The Sleeping Moon Café doesn't have an official website, but you can check them out on their Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/sleepingmooncafe

 

 

Restaurant Review: Avenue Thai and Sushi

Posted by Luna on April 17, 2013 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Okay, so I know it's been a while since my last review. Life gets in the way sometimes. Anyway, today's review is on a local restaurant called Avenue Thai and Sushi in Winter Park, FL. Nate and I got a groupon deal for this place and since I'm always in the mood for sushi, we decided to try it out. We were not disappointed! So without further adieu...



((I apologize for this blurry picture - I will replace it with a better one next time we go))


Avenue Thai and Sushi looks like your average thai/sushi place...simple decor, booths and tables, and of course, a full, open sushi bar. But, the humble surroundings really allowed room for the food to shine. Something else that was pretty cool - they give you the option of forks or chopsticks or both right there on the table. :)



We started of with some traditional spring rolls.  There were six pieces but we kind of ate most of them before taking the photo, lol. The rolls were fresh, hot and crispy with a tangy dipping sauce. Delish! 




Since we had $40 to spend, I had to order more than my usual maki roll. I decided on the Spicy Tuna Salad because raw tuna is always awesome. The Spicy Tuna Salad is a neat little package of raw tuna chunks atop a bed of diced cucumbers, and dotted around the plate with green and orange spicy sauce. The tuna was fresh and soft to the palate, the softness was balanced with the crunchy cubes of cucumber. And dipping the tuna in the sauce dots gave it just the right amount of "kick". The portion was small, but it was a perfect side to the main event...the Crunchy Mango Sushi Roll!!



This roll is MASSIVE! On the inside - tempura shrimp, crab, avocado, cream cheese, sweet mango. On the outside - black sesame seeds, masago, and crispy wonton strips...all drizzled with both eel sauce AND their signature "Avenue" sauce. The sushi was BIG because of so much stuff going on, so I could barely fit the piece in my mouth, but ohhh man there was sooooo much flavor! The crispiness of the tempura shrimp and wontons combined with the suble sweetness of the mango and the eel sauce took me to sushi heaven...Oishi~!!


Bottom Line: Avenue Thai and Sushi has the right flavors with the right price! You will be amazed.


Get the location, hours and more info here ---> avenuethaiandsushi.com


((Just a heads up - Their website is under construction, so menus, etc are coming soon))


Avenue Thai & Sushi on Urbanspoon

The Garlic, New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Posted by noirgarcon on December 11, 2011 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Desperate for a short day trip, we embark out to  New Smyrna Beach, Florida to check out a restaurant recommended by a friend who travels abroad from Budapest Hungary, back to the United States. The restaurants name, simply, The Garlic.



We arrived at the beach house and took about a two mile hike to our destination, The garlic.  Upon arrival we see in the courtyard wild herbs growing and a lovely walk path into The Garlic.


  


On the left there is a brick oven around 260 celsius(500 fahrenheit). Everywhere there was fresh garlic! The outside seating is absoultely gorgeous. Lovely plants and trees surrounding you give you the feeling that you're one with nature as you are eating while being lit with lights wrapped around the trees.


Complimentary baguettes were given, with a side of flavourful roasted garlic. Also brought out was side salads. I must say that the side salads were not that great, but the tomatoes were absolutely dcelicious. As I bit into it, I entered into flavour country. Juicy and sweet was the sensation.


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There was ordered the appetizer Calamari. The combination of the jalapeno, lemon, and marinara sauce made the calamari extraordinary.

Also ordered was the Chicken Roulade. Quite an extraordinary dish I will say. The fresh herds, mixed with the breaded chicken stuffed with goat cheese and the linguini and puttanesca sauce was out of this world. No regrets with that meal. 




Ravioli Bolognaise was also ordered. I made a shoop in to see how it tastes. I'd have to say this dish had a well balanced set of flavour. The blend of cheeses made it a very filling and appetizing meal. And if you're a person that likes a moderate amount of spice, this is the dish for you! Cooked to perfection!



Next up on the taste test was the Pasta Pomodoro. If you're digging fresh vegetables and herds and linguini you might wanna check it out.  Once again the freshness of the vegetables and herds was not to be compared. Slap in a side of meatballs and you've made yourself a very fresh filling dish. 

Overall, I'd have to say this place is bloody well excellent! The delicious food along with the sexy relaxed aura makes it a great place to come out with your girlfriend or spouse, or if you are just feeling like having a delicious meal with some wine in the summer timeeee. None the less if you're in the New Smyrna Beach area and looking to check out some good food just pop in. Oh and don't mind the one armed opera singer that just might come to your table a put on a small concert for you. Thanks for reading and I'm off to the next adventure! Cheers!

The Garlic on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Chicken Basket

Posted by Luna on December 5, 2011 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)



In this review, we went back to Nate's roots and visited his hometown--Newton, MS, where I was introduced to a most glorious dining establishment known as the Chicken Basket. At first glance, this appears to be an average fast-food place, but don't be fooled. Chicken Basket just happens to serve the best fried chicken I have ever had the pleasure to taste. That's right, move over KFC!


The inside walls are painted bright red and every window was home to two or three ceramic chickens--a cute touch and almost cozy. As you can see, there's nothing special about the chairs and tables, but they looked clean and well-maintained.



A close-up view of the window chickens. :)


And now.... THE FOOD!!



My meal: 3-pc chicken fingers with a side of mac n' cheese and sweet tea. The roll is included too, yay! The shining star here is, of course, the chicken. And yes, my friends, this is REAL CHICKEN. Not that over-processed bones-and-mystery-byproducts McCrap (TM). Anyways, the breading was nice and crispy, and chicken inside was piping hot and fresh. especially good with a little hot sauce drizzled on top. I didn't really care for the roll, which looked--and tasted--like the kind you get in 10-packs from the grocery store, but hey it was included so whatever. The mac n' cheese wasn't the best either but it was eatable--still, I should've got the fries like Nate (more on those in a minute). BUT the pros of the chicken seriously outweighed the cons of the sides. Moving on...



Nate's Meal: 2-pc bone-in chicken and a side of fries with the included roll. I took the liberty of sampling some of his fries, so I'm reviewing those too. As you see here, they were crinkle-cut and golden--no burnt ones! They had just the right amount of salt and were perfectly cooked--crispy on the outside, creamy potato goodness on the inside. I'm definitely getting the fries on my next visit.


Bottom Line: If you're ever visiting or passing through Newton, MS, I highly recommend the Chicken Basket and if you ask the locals, they will too. Especially if you have a taste for genuine, delicious, southern fried chicken at an even more delicious price.



Chicken Basket on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Cafe Fleur-de-Lis

Posted by Luna on December 1, 2011 at 10:30 PM Comments comments (0)

The fleur-de-lis is one of the many well-known symbols of New Orleans, probably most famous as the emblem of the New Orleans Saints team. So what other name would be better fitting for a country/cajun breakfast/lunch place located in the heart of the French Quarter than Cafe Fleur-de-Lis? This was our final food destination in New Orleans, as we brought our trip to a close.




Like a few of the other restaurants we'd been to the previous day, there was nothing really fancy about this place. Really it's all about the food here. There are your simple breakfast items like bagels, pastries, and cereal on display at the order counter, like so:



But they also have an extensive, made-to-order breakfast/lunch menu, all classically hand-written on blackboards with that cool chalk-marker stuff:


Breakfast Menu Part One:


Breakfast Menu Part Deux:


Lunch Menu:



So, we had looked up Cafe Fleur-de-Lis earlier and heard that the omelets were pretty big, and as a result--we agreed on another split: The Cajun Country Omelet (which came with toast, hash browns, and orange slices) and a side order of pancakes. And boy, are we glad we did! The omelet was HUGE and topped with gravy and fresh chopped parsley, the pancakes were big, fluffy, and dusted with powdered sugar...It was more than enough for both of us.



Okay, remember when I mentioned the angel chorus when I bit into the cupcake from Cake Cafe? After the first mouthful of that omelet, I swear I heard a choir of Seraphim belting "Hallelujah"! ...Yes, it was THAT good. And the pancakes? They literally melted in my mouth with slightly sweet, buttery deliciousness. And I'm pretty much convinced that all New Orleans coffee is good. Best. Breakfast. Ever. I guarantee you I will be returning here in the future.


Bottom line: Cafe Fleur-de-Lis is another example of awesome food, reasonable prices, and simple, basic surroundings. The breakfast isn't just good...it's EPIC!


As always, for more info, go to: www.cafefleurdelis.com


Cafe Fleur-de-Lis on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Mother's Restaurant

Posted by Luna on December 1, 2011 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Our food adventures in New Orleans continue with Mother's Restaurant! This place was recommended by the driver of the hotel shuttle, so we knew it had to be good. I also recalled seeing it mentioned on the Food Network somewhere, and that's always a good sign.

We later found out that Mother's Restaurant was more than just good, it was LEGENDARY. I mean, it's been up and running since 1938 and hasn't changed much since then. Places that stay open for that long are definitely doing something right.



When we walked in, I immediately noticed the "old school" vibe the place had. I could also tell it was diner/cafeteria style dining, which I didn't mind as long as the food was good. The walls were absolutely COVERED with framed photos of people who were important visitors to the restaurant in some way, whether they were famous, local heroes, or just loyal, longtime patrons. It gave the restaurant that "family-owned-and-run" feel for sure.




Nate and I decided once again to split an entree because they came with lots of side items. It took a while to decide, as usual, but we finally agreed on the Seafood Platter: oysters, shrimp, and catfish (all fried) plus red beans & rice, grits, jamalaya, and shrimp etouffee--a complete cornucopia of classic cajun cuisine! And WOW was it a lot of food! Even between two people we couldn't finish it all. And as you can see in the photo, the server was cool with us splitting--even gave us an extra plate and everything.



Now, most of these foods I've had before in one form or another, except for the fried oysters or shrimp etouffee. Both were awesome. What I liked about the fried seafood was that the breading was light and crispy, not greasy. The jambalaya was nice and flavorful, definitely good. The grits were a bit bland though, needed cheese maybe. And the rice and beans could've used more rice and less sauce to my taste. BUT Overall the meal was wonderful and would certainly recommend Mother's Restaurant to anyone who's in New Orleans and is looking for some honest-to-goodness cajun food with great prices and a no-frills atmosphere.


Bottom Line: Come hungry, and don't expect classy surroundings...this is REAL Cajun food!


Check out the fascinating history behind Mother's Restaurant and get more info here: www.mothersrestaurant.net

Mother's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Cafe du Monde

Posted by Luna on November 21, 2011 at 10:30 PM Comments comments (0)

No visit to New Orleans is complete without going to a coffee shop and ordering a few beingets (pronounced ben-YAYS) which by the way, are french donuts covered in powdered sugar. And (according our research) one of the best places to get these delectable treats is the famous Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter. So we sought out this place and tried the beingets and coffee for ourselves to see if all the hype was true.

 

 


Most people sit outdoors when the weather's nice, and tonight the weather was beautiful. There was a street band playing just outside of the seating area, so we were able to enjoy some nice background music while we sipped our cafe au lait and ate our beingets.




 

The menu doesn't have much to choose from. They only serve coffee, chicory, hot chocolate, the usual cold drinks, and of course beingets. But the coffee is great and the beingets are AMAZING. Make sure you get plenty of napkins though...otherwise you'll get powdered sugar all over you. You have been warned. Also they sell their coffee in cans and a boxed mix version of their beingets to take home if you desire.





 

See what I mean about the powdered sugar? HEAVENLY. Once again we split one order of the beingets (they're really big and you get three of them) and we each got a cup of cafe-au-lait (coffee with hot milk). They also give you a small glass of water along with your order. Refreshing!

 

Also, just so you know, the place is cash-only so make sure you either have cash on hand or visit an ATM right before you go. We weren't aware of this when we went, but thank goodness there was an ATM right accross the street and the waiter was kind enough to wait for Nate to come back with the cash so we could pay.

 

Bottom line: You haven't truly experienced the French Quarter until you've had coffee and beingets from Cafe du Monde! Bring your significant other and some cash, sit outdoors, and enjoy a romantic little piece of France in the middle of the Big Easy!

 

For more info, online shopping, etc, go to their website: http://www.cafedumonde.com/

 

 

Café Du Monde on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Mahony's Po-Boys

Posted by Luna on November 21, 2011 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)

We had already decided to try a po-boy place while we were in New Orleans, because the city is famous for them of course. But the problem with being famous for a certain dish is that there are a TON of restaurants that serve it and they all claim to be the best. As you might guess, it was a little overwhelming to decide which one to go to. So, we did what any well-seasoned travelers would do in such a situation: we asked the locals. A nice lady at the Winn-Dixie we stopped at highly recommended a fine po-boy establishment known as Mahony's on Magazine Street. We typed the name into Rosie the GPS and off we went!




When we arrived at the restaurant, we quickly found out that we had made an excellent choice, because THE Guy Fieri (of the popular Food Network TV show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives) had left his mark there--quite literally. His face and signature were spray-painted on the wall!




The place is small inside, because it's meant to be a Dive (dive in, get your food/drink, dive out), but it boasts a full bar and has several unique, local beers on draft (I'm not a big beer drinker, but I thought I'd mention it for those that are). The decor is irish-pub/sports-focused, mainly with New Orleans Saints stuff.


  


The menu has a LOT of different po-boys to choose from, so it took us a while to decide on what we wanted. Nate knew from previous experiences that po-boys are plenty big enough for two people. So, since we wanted to eat light and budget carefully, we split a Fried Catfish Po-Boy with a side of Tabasco sauce and a large order of fries -- to-go, of course.

 



Now, this was my first po-boy EVER, so I have no previous experience to compare to, but I can say that the Fried Catfish Po-Boy from Mahony's was awesome. A few drops of Tabasco added an extra kick to the light, crispy breading and flaky white catfish inside. The bun was nice and toasty, with sliced pickles, mayo, and lots of shredded lettuce on top of the catfish. By the time we got back to the hotel to eat, the fries weren't hot anymore so they were kind of "meh" to me, but Nate ate them anyway, so they didn't go to waste. :)


Bottom line: Trust the locals when it comes to po-boys. They really know what's good. And make sure you eat the fries while they're still hot!


Go to the Mahony's website for menus, location, and more: http://mahonyspoboys.com/



Mahony's Po-Boy Shop on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Cake Cafe

Posted by Luna on November 21, 2011 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Our first food destination in New Orleans this week was the famous Cake Cafe on Chartres St. home of some of the most amazing, delicious cupcakes on the planet! This is the outside of the place:




When you walk inside the cafe, you can tell it's in a very old building. The overall ambience is simple and hipster-ish, with local art on the walls and hand-written labels on the food displays and self-serve beverages. The background music is classic-style jazz but it's soft and not overly distracting--just the way I like it. Here's one of the inside walls:



Okay, now on to the food - The Cake Cafe is well known for their cupcakes and if you order one with your meal it's only $1 (as opposed to $1.75 normally) --but more on those later. Nate and I ordered the same meal: a shrimp omelet with a side of gravy, which also came with a ginormous homemade biscuit and orange slices. Behold!



The omelet was open-faced and stuffed with tons of tiny, succulent shrimp, fresh spinach, and crushed tomatoes...pure deliciousness! The biscuit was fresh-baked and fluffy...especially good dipped in the gravy. Overall, a very tasty way to start the day. We were so full we didn't have room for cupcakes, but we got them to-go and ate them later. And OMG were they worth the wait! So without further adieu...

CUPCAAAAAAAKESSSS!!




You know how sometimes you take a bite out of something delicious and you almost swear you can hear an angel chorus? This was one of those times.  Seriously, the peanut-butter-chocolate cupcake was literally melt-in-your-mouth good! And the icing was actual super-creamy peanut butter!! I wanted to go back and get more...like, a dozen. But that would've ended up a bit pricey, so we decided against it.

Bottom line: If you're ever in New Orleans, go to Cake Cafe. Try the breakfast, but the cupcakes are a MUST. It is written.

For more info, go to their website here: http://www.nolacakes.com






New Orleans Cake Café & Bakery on Urbanspoon


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