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The Thirsty Topher in Ivanhoe Village

This might possibly be one of my new favorite places to grab a drink in Orlando. The Thirsty Topher isn’t technically that new, I suppose – it’s actually been open for about a year – but I’m just now getting around to giving it a look-see.

I popped in with a friend not too terribly long ago after a show at The Venue. The location, nestled in the Ivanhoe Village just a few blocks north of Virginia Avenue, is almost a word-of-mouth find for locals. Walking up, the bar is quite welcome, tucked behind a wall of foliage yet an open concept once you pass by it.

One of the best things about The Thirsty Topher is, of course, their drinks. A huge offering of craft beers (including one of my new obsessions), it’s easy to get lost in the variety of the delicious menu. The ambience is also extremely conducive to chatting with whomever you might’ve shown up with…or perhaps the stranger sitting next to you. Low lights when it’s dark outside and high ceilings. I do recall music playing, but not overwhelmingly loud like many places around town. I’m actually really looking forward to spending some time here in the fall, when we hopefully start to experience some cooler temperatures here in Central Florida.

If you haven’t been yet here’s a little of what you can expect:

Location deets:
The Thirsty Topher
1609 Alden Rd
Orlando, FL 32803

Haven’t had a chance to check out The Thirsty Topher yet and want some other opinions? See what local residents are saying on Yelp.

And here are some other local articles:

Shantell’s Cafe in Downtown Sanford

Y’all already know I’m a born-and-bred southerner. Well, if you know me personally or you’ve been reading the blog for any significant amount of time. For those who weren’t aware, please know I love sweet tea, fried chicken, black-eyed peas (the food, most assuredly not the band), and watermelon. Mmmm, watermelon with salt. Collard greens are not on the menu of favorites, however. But I digress….

When I heard about Shantell’s Cafe in Sanford I quietly asked myself how fast can I get there? (Dang…why hasn’t someone figured out the whole teleportation thang?) Apparently the Orlando Sentinel recently published an article claiming Shantell’s to have the best fried chicken in Central Florida (or something like that), and although my visit was not spurred by said article, I can affirm that in my opinion, it’s actually the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. Yup – I said it.

First off, let’s talk about Shantell’s location. It’s settled on a quiet little block just a few away from the bustle of the main street in town. I paid a visit on a Saturday afternoon, and it was not in the least bit busy; they open at noon and my friend and I went shortly after.

Screen shot 2014-09-12 at 5.48.04 AM

(Front Entrance. Courtey of Sanford365.com.)

Once inside, visitors find a charmingly-themed main dining room, with a bar and open-style kitchen. Don’t be fooled, though – this place is deceptively large (there’s another full dining area off to the left of the main dining room). I also hear Shantell frequently hangs out and even meets with patrons. Sadly, she was not around this day.

Here’s a little peek inside:

And now for the deliciousness that was our lunch:

Attachment 4-1

Famous Fried Chicken with Onion Rings


Yes, yes, I opted out of trying the chicken & waffles that were screaming at me from the menu. But I’m still pretty happy with my dish decision. Guess I just have another reason to go back. :)

My only main complaint about this visit–and hopefully it’s an isolated incident–is the air conditioner was essentially not working. It was HOT. Really hot, and very humid…no doubt fueled by the proximity of the kitchen. It was getting to the point of miserable – nobody wants to be hot and sweaty when they’re eating (I don’t think).

Location deets:

Shantell’s Cafe
406 S. Sanford Ave.
Sanford, FL 32771

ShantellsCafe.com

All-in-all my tummy and I enjoyed out excursion to Shantell’s in Sanford and will certainly be making a trip back there sometime in the future (A/C working, I pray!).

What about you? Have you ever experience Shantell’s?

Enzian Pays Tribute to Robin Williams

Enzian Theater dropped an email to subscribers this past week announcing a month-long tribute to the late Robin Williams during December. Highlighting such classic pieces like “Dead Poets Society,” “Good Will Hunting,” and “Good Morning Vietnam.” Personally, one of my favorites is “Mrs. Doubtfire” but it’s not on the schedule. Out of those being featured I have to say “Dead Poets Society” is the one I’m most eager to see.

For more info on this and other special programs and showings visit Enzian’s website.

Which Robin Williams movie are you looking forward to seeing?

The Enzian Theater is located at:

1300 South Orlando Avenue
Maitland, FL 32751

Enzian.org

#supportlocal

Out and About: Tagged

LA -> Philly?

Laffily (Location: Dr. Phillips area.)

Terror on Church Street Comes Back To Life…Sort Of

Who remembers Terror on Church Street?! I’m takin’ it waaaaay back right now. I recall visiting Orlando when I was younger and always wanting to visit this used-to-be-downtown-staple Of course, now we get our fights from events such as Halloween Horror Nights and Howl-O-Scream.

Well, some of the original folks behind Terror on Church Street are bringing it back to life, so to speak, with a new haunted experience that will live at The Majestic located on North John Young Parkway. It’s a little bit of an odd location – ok, A LOT a bit – but I’m sure there’s a very logical reason for it ($$$). Currently raising money for the project, Nightmares at The Majestic will offer to scare its visitors 24 dates during the month of October. You can read more about it in an article recently published on OrlandoWeekly.com.

Nightmares at the Majestic

What do you think? We’ll you be checking this out during the Halloween season? Or are there too many other events going on?

Cloak & Dapper to Open Store in Orlando

Our friends over at Cloak & Dapper are finally opening a store. A real store! Like, you can go in and shop.

Here’s a little tease they posted on their Instagram not too long ago:

Screen shot 2014-08-31 at 11.04.24 AM

“Front Door Eye-candy”

And just yesterday this:

Screen shot 2014-08-31 at 11.03.48 AM

We’re really proud and happy for them. It’s been fun to watch their growth, contribution, and recognition within the Central Florida community. Remember this profile we did last year?

Can’t wait to pay the new store in Ivanhoe Village a visit soon!

Nature in Central Florida

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” – William Shakespeare

Think about it. Not to get totally mystical here but nature really does connect us. With each other, creatures, the earth.

I frequent a couple of Central Florida parks fairly regularly, typically for an afternoon/evening jog or Boot Camp fitness class. I’m always enamored by the nature that’s right underneath my nose…and something I feel most ignore or don’t appreciate so much.

I snapped (no pun intended) this amazing pic one night last week while jogging around Lake Eola in downtown Orlando:

Turtles

Pretty amazing, right? I need to remind myself to take note of scenes like this way more often. How about you? Where are some of your favorite places to soak up nature? Would love for you to share some pics with us.

Wanna find out where other Pulse fans like to spend their time enjoying nature? Check out this poll we did last year.

Strike Outs Bowling at Fashion Square Mall

Fashion Square Mall is really, really trying to step up its game. And quite honestly I’m really happy to see it (the whole area could use a breath of fresh air) – although I still question what the end result will be. We already know there are plans for an Element by Westin hotel to be added into the mix of shopping and dining, and now Strike Outs–a bowling and game facility–has just opened. Check out their Facebook Page:

Not personally my cup of tea but 1) I wouldn’t mind checking things out at some point and 2) I imagine this bowling/movie package would be quite appealing to a family looking to do something fun together one evening or on the weekend.

Fashion Square bowling

You can keep up with future developments on the Fashion Square Mall website or by Liking them on Facebook.

What do you think? Excited about all of the new development in this part of Central Florida?

Jazz Tastings in Maitland

Tucked on the side of a little plaza near Lake Lily in Maitland is the unassuming restaurant/bar Jazz Tastings. I heard about it from a few friends who wanted to check it out, but none had ever been.

Not knowing really what to expect, we opted not to eat dinner there, even though I read on Yelp and their site that they offer a number of delicious food options. Instead, we decided to head there for a few drinks. Jazz Tastings is an intimate space and not at all what I was expecting. It was every bit the sophisticated, relaxing atmosphere they promote it to be.

The room is long and narrow, but has a good amount of seating and a small L-shaped bar near the kitchen. While the smaller size of the place might seem like a negative, it’s truly the opposite because you’re that much closer to the stage.

jazztastings

Speaking of the stage, the whole point of the bar is to showcase phenomenal Jazz talent, and boy have they succeeded. We were there on a Friday night and the performers were ridiculously good. I was really blown away by the vibe of the place, how into it the audience was and just how well it all just “worked.”

Jazz Tastings is open six days a week, so you have no excuse not to check it out!

Olea Mezze Grill

After weeks (maybe months?) of driving past Olea Mezze Grill in Maitland, I finally decided to stop in and check it out. It’s in the same plaza as one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants, Francesco’s, so I figured why not.

First of all, Olea is not at all what I was expecting. Not sure why, but I assumed this was a sit-down-and-be-served kinda place. It’s not. It’s more of a walk-through-the-line-like-Chipotle kinda place.  This was completely fine with me, and exactly what I like in a lunch/easy dinner place.

Basically, you go through the line and select the type of meal you want:  pita, bowl or salad.  Then you add spreads (GET THE ZESTY FETA, TRUST ME), protein (chicken, falafel, gyro or meatball), toppings and dressing.  There are so many possible options and combinations, each seems as delicious as the next.

I dare you to look at this and not drool:

olea

 

Olea was super-clean, the staff was lovely, and the price was right.  That delicious, fresh lunch was $7.99 + tax.  How can you go wrong? (Hint: you can’t.)

Go support this locally owned business so I can get Zesty Feta spread for life.

 

 

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