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CRAVE Orlando

CraveQuingio

CraveExteriorCRAVE is a chain restaurant with eight locations in the U.S., two of which are in Florida.  The Orlando location is located near Mall of Millenia.

CraveInteriorI had heard some pretty good things from some of my friends and decided to check it out.  Their tagline is “Fresh. Vibrant. American.”  It definitely was vibrant in here.  I really was fond of the atmosphere here.  It felt like someone from Pier 1 Imports came in here and decorated this place.  It’s very spacious inside, high ceilings, and warm inviting colors.

The menu had a good variety of food with sushi, salads, burgers, tacos, pasta, flatbreads, etc.  I selected the Kogi Beef Tacos as an appetizer.  The tacos contain beef short rib, kimchee, spicy mayo, green onion, and cilantro.  I found the Kogi Beef Tacos too salty.  Where’s the flavor of the kimchee?  Where’s that pungent smell? I just get a lot of saltiness.

CraveKogiBeefTacos

 

CraveLambBurgerCraveSpicyLambBurger1The only item I was really fond of during my visit here was the spicy lamb burger although I would hardly call it spicy.  I enjoyed the unique flavors and this would be something I’d reorder again.  I always enjoy a good tzatziki sauce and the combination of goat cheese and carmelized onions definitely made this burger.  The french fries were more thin than I had preferred.  The burger is a good portion size.

CraveQuingioThe Quingio is a fruit sushi roll consisting of soy paper, apple, mango, grapes, cream cheese, topped with strawberries & coconut with a blueberry sauce.  It sounded intriguing but unfortunately this is one of those items that sounds way better than it tastes.  The cream cheese was overpowering, it made the roll salty and I did not get enough sweetness from the fruits.  Less rice and less cream cheese would have made this more enjoyable.

 

The service here was fair.  Not impressionable, not terrible, just fair.  The atmosphere is great.  The food was very much a hit or miss in my book. In general, I would find it hard to come back and pay full price.  CRAVE does have some good happy hour specials Sunday through Friday.  I most certainly would not go out of my way to come here.  Being a the location so close to Mall of Millenia, there are plenty of other establishments I would go to first.

http://craveorlando.com

HOURS:
Sun: 10am-10pm
Mon-Thurs: 11:30am-10pm
Fri-Sat: 11:30am-11pm

 

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Matilda’s on Park

MatildasRooBurgerHalfView

I absolutely love going to different restaurants and trying new food.  Matilda’s on Park doesn’t disappoint!  I hadn’t heard much about Matildas but recently a friend told me that they served Kangaroo burgers here.  Oh really?  Hmm….

Matilda’s on Park is located on Park Avenue across the street from Panera Bread.  Outdoor and indoor seating is available.  In the front of the restaurant, the doors were open so it was more like covered outdoor seating for me.  Towards the back of the restaurant, there were more dining tables.  Flat screen televisions throughout the front area and in the men’s restroom as well (from what I was told).

MatildasCrabBitesThe menu had a nice selection of salads, sandwiches, burgers, classic entrees, and gourmet mac and cheeses.  One of the appetizers jumped out at me.  The Jalapeno, Cream Cheese, Cheddar & Crab Bites ($11).  When I selected it, my server’s eyes lit up.  “They’re soooo good!”  Brittany was so genuinely enthusiastic about it.  I could only hope I’d feel the same way afterwards.  The crab bites had a nice crunchy layer on the outside and lots of crab meat inside.  Bits of jalapeno throughout, not overwhelming with the cream cheese flavor.  It was very tasty although I wouldn’t have minded if it were spicier.  The crab bites were served with a mango honey mustard although my friend and I agreed the mango flavor wasn’t that prevalent.

I just knew I had to get the kangaroo burger.  Even for the sheer novelty of bragging rights.  The Roo Burger is not 100% kangaroo meat due it’s leanness.  There is some beef mixed into the kangaroo meat to form the burger patty.  They no longer carried the pretzel buns but brioche, multigrain and croissants were still available.  There was an option to make the burger “Aussie style” by adding a fried egg and beet but I really wanted to just try burger without the extra fixings.

MatildasRooBurgerThe Roo Burger ($14) has onion straws and a cheese lager sauce on it.  I made my fries the Crab fries with a cheese sauce.  The old bay seasoning wasn’t overpowering and made the fries extra delicious!  The cheese sauce was really good as well but the only problem when you have a cheese sauce like this, it tends to solidify quicker.

So the real question is, what did the kangaroo meat taste like?  Absolutely amazingly delicious.  It was beef like; however, it gave me a food flashback to summer of 1997.  That’s when I had my first venison burger.  It wasn’t too gamey but there definitely was a unique flavor here.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed this burger.  It was simple yet so tasty.  The buttery flavor of the brioche bun, the crispness of the onion straws, the light saltiness from the cheese sauce.  I really enjoyed it overall.  Unfortunately, I was so stuffed from only half of the burger.

MatildasRooBurgerHalfView

Considering the location of the restaurant, the quality of the food, and the portion size I don’t think the entrees are overpriced.  Nice atmosphere, unique menu items, I’d definitely return here.

 

If the thought of eating a kangaroo burger isn’t appealing , I’m certain there is something here everyone.

https://www.facebook.com/MatildasOnPark

Hours:

Mon – Sun: 11:00 am – 1:00 am
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80/20 Burger Bar Ghent

8020BurgerBarAlamo

It’s always good to see my family in Virginia although it seems that whenever we go out to eat, it’s buffets.  Well, this girl is tired of buffets and need of some good social interaction.  One of my best food buddies mentioned some restaurants in Ghent.  If you’re unfamiliar with Ghent, it’s an area in Norfolk, Virginia.  It’s towards downtown but has a quaint atmosphere.  Full of restaurants and boutiques, it’s definitely my kind of place.

8020BurgerBarSign

So John takes me to a place called 80/20 Burger Bar.  I sure do love me some burgers!  Man, oh man.  Well, 80/20 Burger has only been opened since the second week of December 2012.  It’s relatively new but I see it making a mark here for awhile.  All the beef is grass-fed from Virginia and the patties are 80/20 percent lean meat to fat ratio.  Hence the name.  Pretty simplistic but it gets the point across.  For those not into beef, there are other options like appetizers, salads, and sandwiches.

8020BurgerBarShinyRubyRed80/20 Burger Bar has a nice draft beer selection as well as bottled beers.  I’m not the biggest beer drinker in the world but I’m learning to appreciate it.  For the craft beer lovers, they’ll certain appreciate the selection here.  I ended up ordering a Shiner Ruby Redbird beer.  It’s a ginger/grapefruit beer with 4.2%ABV.  It’s not as sweet as a cider but not a bad option for the ones who aren’t beer afficandos.

 

8020BurgerBarInterior8020BurgerBarBar

The inside of 80/20 Burger Bar is dark.  Wooden seats everywhere, black ceiling tiles, nice use of lights.  It was a relaxed vibe in here although in a way, it felt way too open for me.  The interior look matched well for the Ghent area.  The restaurant also has a bar with specials written above it.

8020BurgerBarAlamo

8020BurgerBarSweetPotatoTurnipAuGratinThere are 17 burgers on the menu and then you have your build-your-own-burger.  I selected the alamo burger which consisted of crispy bacon, fried onion rings, and sharp cheddar, smothered in house made bbq sauce.  For my side, I had the sweet potato and turnip au gratin. The alamo burger was very tasty.  I had the burger prepared medium.  At first glance, I wondered to myself, “how on Earth am I going to eat this?”  Fear not, the Feisty Foodist always finds a way.  The meat, it was flavorful beef not greasy at all.  The bacon was absolutely delicious, seasoned well.  I’m a saucy gal, so I definitely could have used more bbq sauce.  It was a truly enjoyable burger although I wasn’t a big fan of the bun.  It was too crumbly for me.  The bun itself was tasty but it didn’t seem to hold up well with my burger.  A nice pretzel bun would probably have held up better.  The sweet potato and turnip au gratin was a nice change instead of french fries.  It was slightly sweet but more savory side.  Both John and I agreed it was tasty.  The sweet potato isn’t overpowering and it achieves a nice tasty balance of flavors.  There’s nothing I would have changed with this side dish.

 

8020BurgerBarPanchoVilla

John ordered the pancho villa with house fries.  The pancho villa was topped with roasted corn and shallot salsa, black bean puree, roasted red peppers, and pepper jack cheese.  It wasn’t a bad burger but not a favorite for me.  Again the meat was perfectly cooked, very good indeed.  The bun just didn’t seem to work well with the burger.  Also, this burger could have benefited from being a tad spicier. Give a little “oomph”.  By the end of eating the burgers, we gave up on the bread.  The house french fries were seasoned with garlic, rosemary and Parmesan cheese.  Very good.  If garlic isn’t your thing, they have other seasonings as well.

 

All in all, a very good restaurant.  The burgers starts off at $11.  For some, that maybe too expensive but this is quality food here.  If you enjoy grass-fed beef, local produce, unique side items, and local beers this is a great spot.  Unfortunately, 80/20 Burger Bar isn’t open for lunch.   Indoor and outdoor seating is available.  I had a thoroughly enjoyable meal and friendly service and would recommend 80/20 Burger Bar.

 

8020BurgerBarHook(On a random note, the hook in the ladies restroom is terribly high.)

 

 

 

 

8020BurgerBarBurgers

 Just look at that burger!  Mmmm…

 

HOURS:

Sunday-Saturday: 5pm-2am

http://www.8020burgerbar.com/
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Oblivion Taproom Revisited

Pork Lover's Pigout

OblivionExteriorI tell people about this place all the time yet I hadn’t been here in awhile.  It’s been more than half a year since wrote my first post about Oblivion.  After a thrilling game of bowling,  I had a hankering for some good drinks and good food.  Well, Oblivion doesn’t disappoint.  What I said the first time about Oblivion still stands true.  I had great service and the food was very good.

OliverBeanBlossomPeachCiderCider lovers, you will not be disappointed!  (And all the other beer folks too, of course.)  The cider list here is quite extensive.  I ordered the Oliver Beanblossom Hard Peach Cider. I’ve had a few different flavors before and they’re all very tasty.  You’d be surprised to find out that it’s 8% ABV.

OblivionPorkLoversPigout1Soooo hungry but I really had a hard time deciding what to get.  It all sounded tasty but the pork rinds keep jumping out at me.  Fine, I’m going for it, the Pork Lovers Pigout.  Pork rinds with jalapeño cheese sauce, jalapeños and pulled pork on top.  I was really digging the pork rinds, jalapeños and the cheese sauce.  Crispy, salty, spicy, yum!  The pulled pork?  Not so much.  I know it’s the Pork Lovers Pigout but it was too much pork for me.  Or rather, the pulled pork wasn’t doing much for me.  Perhaps if the meat was smoked or had a different type of sauce to accent it more?  I didn’t use much of the salsa but the cumin-lime sour cream was good.  This was pretty much a pork rind play on nachos.  Timing is the essence with this dish since the pork rinds started to get soggy from the cheese.  Some of the pork rinds were so large, I was so glad there was a napkin dispenser.  Messy might have been an understatement with me.  Overall, I’d order this again sans pulled pork.

 

OblivionYou'reMyBoyBleuBurgerI also ordered the “You’re My Boy Bleu” burger.  This burger was really good.  Not greasy, good portion and on a brioche bun.  Pretty minimalistic, just a seasoned beef patty with lettuce, tomato and smoked bleu cheese.  The tater tots were also super tasty.  When you order a sandwich/burger, you pick your side and then you pick your seasoning.  I selected the tater tots with the Hawaiian Raw Garlic seasoning.  I was curious what made it Hawaiian but apparently, it’s just raw garlic seasoning.  It just happens to be that Hawaiians like raw garlic a lot.  Well, that’s good to know because I thought the “Hawaiian” was going to indicate some sort of sweet flavoring.  I thought the tots were really good although I didn’t get that strong raw garlic flavor.  There was some cheese sauce left from my “Pork Lovers Pigout” which went fantastic with the tots.

As a random piece of info, Oblivion does have free wifi.  I ran a speed test (out of curiosity) and got a download speed of 6,377 kbps.  Nice!

 

All in all, this is a great spot for the beer lovers and the adventurous eaters.  Be forewarned, you’ll leave here a happy glutton.

http://www.obliviontaproom.com/index.html

Tuesday – Saturday 4pm-2am
Sunday 4pm-12am
Closed Monday
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