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The Brass Tap in Mills Park

I don’t know much about The Brass Tap (actually, I know absolutely nothing about it) but when I was in the Mills Park area this past weekend this sign caught my attention. A little research piqued my interest even more.

Pulse Pic I I love beer, and The Brass Tap promises to deliver with over 300 craft beers. If I even understand their website, customers can select their favorite beers and have them packaged to take home.

In addition to beer The Brass Tap will offer its customers live music from local bands/musicians:

“At The Brass Tap, our line-up of leading local bands adds a distinctive flavor to a vibe that’s already upbeat.”

OrlandoSentinel.com reported in February of last year The Brass Tap’s intent to arrive in Central Florida as “later this year” (meaning ’13), so apparently development is a little later than originally intended. We’ll keep an eye out and update you on any news or progress.

For a complete listing of locations for The Brass Tap visit TheBrassTap.com. You can also keep up with them on Facebook. (PET PEEVE: They highlight their Twitter profile on the website, yet they’ve only Tweeted once…back in October of 2010!)

Are you familiar with The Brass Tap? Ever visited one of their locations?

The Porch in Winter Park

The Place

The Porch LogoWord spreads pretty quickly when anything new opens in Central Florida…particularly if it’s food related. Am I wrong? So I’ve been hearing a little buzz about The Porch in Winter Park for about a month or so. This past weekend a friend and I decided to go check-it-out and see what’s good in the ‘hood.

I really didn’t have any expectations about what to find once inside The Porch, which is right next door to Floyd’s Barbershop and about a block west of Cask & Larder. The interior definitely has a bar atmosphere, which large screen televisions sprinkled throughout, likely most often used to show sports games (the World Cup was on during my visit). Essentially, the entire place is split into two distinct rooms: one more of a dining area with booths and high-tops and games, the other mainly a bar. Outside there are picnics tables which I’m sure are perfect during the cooler months.

The Food

One of the things The Porch can proudly boast about is their eclectic selection of food dishes. And although there are salads on the menu if you’re on the hunt for healthy eating this is probably not the place where you want to land. In addition to the food there’s a healthy selection of beer, wine, and cocktails.

I simply must highlight the dish I personally enjoyed…and hope my trainer doesn’t stumble upon this post.
Basically a glorified french dip, which I’ve always had a weakness for.

The Porch 6

I know, she’s beautiful, isn’t she? And while it may look like they skimped on the meat, I can assure you under that heap of crispy onions is a whole mound of delicious roast beer.

Aside from the food (of which there are more photos below), I must also add the staff is incredibly social and friendly…at least, they were the day we were there.

The Porch 4

Check it:

Our delicious eats consisted of: Flowersprouts (flour-dusted sprouts and cauliflowers); wings; and my “The Big Dipper.”

Based on all of this it’s pretty safe to say I’ll include The Porch in my bag of places to grab a tasty dish from time-to-time.

Interested in making your own visit sometime soon? Feel free to take a glance at The Porch menu before heading over.

Places you can find The Porch online:

Location deets:

The Porch
43 N Orange Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789
407.571.9101

WinterParkPorch.com

The Lucky Lure in Ivanhoe Village

I’ve been driving by The Lucky Lure for the almost year it’s been around in Ivanhoe Village, which is just north of downtown Orlando if you’re not familiar. I finally got an opportunity the opportunity to pop-in this past rain-drenched weekend. Gotta say I am not a fan.

I can see where this dive would appeal to a particular niche (think PBR, Natty Lite, and Coors Lite), but there’s nothing from my recent visit that connected me to it or left me wanting to go back again. I’d much rather head down the street to Imperial down the street and hang out there (with the domestic beer and wine crowd).

The Lucky Lure II

Occupy your time with pool and foosball.

The Lucky Lure I

The Bar Area

The Lucky Lure is co-owned by Amy Smith (AKA Lounge, 57 West) and Mike Blaise (Go Lounge), so there’s definitely some bar/nightlife experience behind the establishment. It also runs some pretty great happy hour deals, if that’s something you typically look for when deciding on a bar to go to.

Now, while I’m obviously not personally a fan of this little bar, one of the great things about the location is the opportunity to catch an awesome Central Florida sun setting over Lake Ivanhoe across the street (the place has an open-air concept).

Location deets:

The Lucky Lure
1427 North Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32804

If you wanna see what other folks are saying about their own experience at The Lucky Lure–including at least three reviews about a “rude, prick bartender”–check out Yelp.

Raglan Road Irish Pub

Raglan Road logoStraight up, I can already tell you I’m pretty much going to be drooling the entire time I’m putting this post together. Not only because the food in the pictures is delish, but because I’m daydreaming back to the day it was sitting right in front of my face. I’m talking about Raglan Road Irish Pub, a strangely authentic, yet tourist-geared Irish restaurant/pub located in Downtown Disney.

I love what the restaurant states on their website:

“There’s only one wee problem with 99.9% of the Irish pubs in America. They’re not Irish. Oh, they use green tablecloths and put dainty shamrocks on the menu – some even say Slainte. But to be a true Irish pub, you need to be from Ireland.”

Pretty much spot on.

I’ve never been a huge fan of the very traditional Irish eating (i.e., “fish & chips”, cabbage, etc.); however, I’ve always had a soft spot–literally–for Shepherd’s Pie (sometimes referred to as Cottage Pie). When I saw this on Raglan Road’s menu, and also upon the strong recommendation of one of my dining companions, the deal was sealed for me. Check it:

Shepherd's Pie I
Shepherd's Pie II
Looks amazing, right? And definitely not the Shepherd’s Pie you know or are familiar with. It was so tasty, the meat almost having a sweet aftertaste. I literally had dreams about this, and would certainly make a special trip out to “that area” simply to have it again.

I honestly can’t even remember what my dinner companions had because I was so focused on my own plate. I believe it was a roast something or other…. But there’s lots to choose from at Raglan. They don’t really have a menu listed on their website but there are a few photos here, which you can check out before making your trip to the Downtown Disney area.

Location deets:

Raglan Road Irish Pub
1640 E Buena Vista Drive
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

RaglanRoad

Artisans Table in Downtown Orlando

Folks really, really seem to be loving Artisans Table in downtown Orlando, now home to where a couple of places have been over the past few years (see: Pine 22, The Black Olive). I went there not too long ago with a group of people, to see what all the fuss is about.

While I’m definitely willing to give it another shot, I hate to admit I did not have the same amazing experience everyone else is constantly raving about. We went on a Friday night, and I have to say the service was pretty subpar. The place was not busy at all yet we still managed to have the slowest server on earth. What probably should’ve taken us an hour lasted more like two.

Also, I wasn’t really that impressed with the food. Sorry, guys. I’m a big fan of lamb ragout so when I saw a dish listed on the menu I was immediately excited. It just wasn’t that flavorful, and again…I waited so long for it I probably built up my expectations. One of my dining companions, though, ordered the same dish, and their feedback was the same.

I also had the wedge salad pre-main meal, which was pretty good. It’s hard to mess up lettuce, though.

If you wanna check out what Artisan’s Table has to offer before heading downtown to experience it yourself, here are the menus.

Location deets:

Artisan’s Table
22 E Pine Street
Orlando, FL 32801

ArtisansTableOrlando.com

Like I mentioned, I’m always willing to give a place two tries, so I’d like to head back sometime soon. I’d also love to hear about your own experience at Artisan’s Table. What are your thoughts?

Wanna keep up with all things Artisan’s Table? Be sure to Like them on Facebook, and Follow on Twitter.

EXTRACT Juice & Tapas Bar in Winter Park

I’ve driven by EXTRACT Juice & Tapas bar in Winter Park several times, and gazed at the folks who seemed to be enjoying its charming atmosphere as I breezed by. This past weekend I got to experience this health-conscious neighborhood joint, and I’m happy to say I’m a fan!

Attachment 2 (14)

Outdoor seating

Now, I’m the first to say (and it’s quite clear by looking over our “Food” section) I’m not the healthiest eater in the world, but I’m taking strides to make better decisions, so I was certainly eager to check-out EXTRACT. My dining buddy and I both opted for the great little brunch offer they’ve got going – three courses and all-you-can-drink Sangria for $27! Yup…and we did NOT drank all we could drank! Let’s take a look.

Attachment 3 (10)

Brunch menu

Please keep in mind their brunch menu could change at any time. This is just what it looked like when we dined here.

There’s a great variety on the menu, and diverse enough that just about anyone should find something they like. Scroll through the gallery to check out all the amazing noms we enjoyed! I can honestly say everything was really good, but for me the standout had to be the mini Italian sliders with pretzel crisps. So simple but so tasty!


This is just what’s on the brunch menu. There are many, many other dishes on their regular menu, including affordable smoothies (some local places charge a buttload for smoothies!). It’s also a dog-friendly establishment so if you’re looking to get out with your pooch on a beautiful Central Florida summer afternoon, go for it!

Location deets:

EXTRACT Juice & Tapas Bar
400 W. New England Ste 13
Winter Park, Florida 32789

See what folks are saying about EXTRACT on Yelp! Have you been? We’d love to know about your experience.

Avenue Thai and Sushi on Park Avenue

I have something I need for you to thai.

I’m talking about Avenue Thai and Sushi located on the very south tip of Park Avenue in Winter Park. #1, because it’s delicious. #2, well…moreso because I love thai cuisine (not big on the sushi). It’s kinda hard to mess up thai food (see: Orchid Thai), but this is exceptionally good.

When it comes to thai food I’m not really afraid to try new things; however, I do have my staples. One of which is PAD SE-EW. Mostly with beef but from time-to-time I’ll get a little crazy and switch it up with chicken. Yum!

photo (29)

photo (28)

And here’s a tasty dish compliments of Pulse friend @ColleenBurns:

Avenue Thai

Chicken with Mixed Vegetables

To check out more of what Avenue Thai and Sushi has to offer take a peek at their menus:

Location deets:

Avenue Thai
525 South Park Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32789
AvenueThaiandSushi.com

There’s a very tiny outdoor sitting area on the sidewalk, and if the weather’s nice I highly recommend taking advantage of it.

photo (31)

Soco Comes to Thornton Park in Downtown Orlando

So we’ve just learned from Orlando Business Journal by way of Yelp Orlando, that there’s a new tenant coming where downtown favorite HUE used to be located (can you believe it’s been nearly a year since they closed?!).

Actually, not a lot of information has been released other than the name of the new restaurant is Soco, “named for its Southern contemporary cuisine.” Another concept offering from Thornton Park Restaurant Group, Soco will make its debut in the downtown Orlando shopping and dining district this summer (no specific date provided).

TPRG

(Photo courtesy of ThortonParkRG.com.)

Well, we’ll look forward to hearing more, and trying out this new place once it opens. If you happen to have any more info we’d love to hear about it.

Mingo’s in Downtown Orlando

Sometimes I feel like the block of Pine & Eola in downtown Orlando is the little block that could (or can’t…depending on your perspective). Seems like over the past couple of years every restaurant that’s come through–with the exception of Mucho and Sonoma Draught House–has struggled to stay afloat. Here’s hoping for the best for its newest resident, Mingo’s.

First of all let me say I love the motto as featured on their website,

“Great people. Amazing atmosphere. Tastey food.”

I can honestly say they fulfill all three of these sentences.

I popped in recently for a quick dinner with a friend. Honestly, I wish we’d had more time to really enjoy ourselves because overall it was a good dining experience and I wanted to try more.

Mingo's Dining Room

Mingo’s Dining Room

To start off, Mingo’s brings naan to each table. It’s phenomenal: warm, soft, fresh. My dinner companion thought it would be good to have some hummus along with it, but I was just fine with it being by itself. I’m a big fan of naan, though, pretty much any way it’s served, so I’m easy to please that way.

Mingo's Naan 2

Delicious Naan

Next up we tried an order of the pork shanks with smoked plum sauce. Holy shankfurter were they delicious. The perfect amount, too, as a starter. Tasty without being too overwhelming with seasoning or sauce.

Mingo's Wing 2

Pork shanks w/smoked plum sauce

After that I wasn’t really in the mood for anything too terribly heavy so I ordered the roasted shrimp flatbread, and candidly it was the right amount of what I was looking for. Quite flavorful, and plenty of shrimp in the dish (some places would tend to skimp out, in my experience) – cut up to ensure a little piece would be included in every bite.

Mingo's Flatbread 2

Roasted Shrimp Flatbread

Looks good to ya? Check out the Mingo’s menu before heading over to give it a try yourself. We hear they have a pretty bangin’ Sunday brunch too, just FYI.

Location deets:

Mingo’s
100 S Eola Dr #105
Orlando, FL 32801
407.781.2539

Mingos.com

And keep up with Mingo’s by Following them on Twitter and Facebook.

Have you dined at Mingo’s yet? If so, we’d love to hear about your experience.

Trader Joe’s Opening Date Announced!

Trader Joe's

Exciting news … Trader Joe’s announced it will open its new Winter Park store June 27!

Two-buck Chuck, here we come!

Read the full story over at the Orlando Business Journal.

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