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RusTeak Restaurant & Wine Bar Ocoee

RusTeakNYStripSteakPureAwesomeness

RusTeakExteriorHave I ever mentioned that I will travel for good food?  RusTeak in Ocoee does not disappoint!  I hadn’t heard of RusTeak before but I heard about the delicious burgers at Teak in MetroWest.  Both restaurants have the same owners.  RusTeak has been opened for 10 months.  It’s a gastropub with New American cuisine.  They strive to have produce come from 3 Boys Farm (an organic hydroponic farm)  which is located in Ruskin, FL.  This is great because you know it’s organic and the produce is coming in from a few hours away.

RusTeakIceWineMartiniRusTeak has salads, sandwiches, pasta, entrees, signature cocktails, draft beer, bottled craft beer and of course, wine.  The Signature Cocktails Menu had unique drinks but the Ice Wine Martini ($9) caught my eye.  Vodka, St. Germain, fresh grapes, fresh lemon juice, and Malbec.  Light, refreshing and very fresh tasting.  (And might I add, strong…)

RusTeakHouseSaladThe menu has some gluten-free options which are indicated on the menu with a symbol.  I had a house salad ($4) and tried all three of the dressings.  The house salad consisted of a spring mix, peeled and seeded cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, carrots and croutons.  It was typical a house salad.

RusTeakDressingsThe dressings are gluten free and are made in house.  So, there’s the Cilantro Mango, Roasted Tomato & Red Wine Vinigrette, and the Citrus Honey.  By itself, I wasn’t so fond of the cilantro mango but when accompanied with the salad, it tasted pretty good.  Of the three dressings, I liked the Citrus Honey the most.

 

***The pictures of the next three entrees are actually half-portioned.  The actual entree sizes of these dishes are very generous.***

RusTeakCrabbySteakThe Crabby Steak ($24) is absolutely fantastic!  Flat iron steak, jumbo lump blue crab meat, topped with hollandaise.  Scalloped potatoes are underneath the proteins and grilled asparagus on the side.  The hollandaise here is on point! Lemony-buttery taste, beautiful color.  Needless to say, I devoured this dish.

RusTeakFishOutOfWaterThe Fish Out Of Water ($23) is snapper, zucchini and squash, roasted beets, cherry tomatoes served on top of a farro and goat cheese salad.  Truth be told, I had never had farro before.  It’s a type of grain, slighty chewy.  It looked like a miniature version of oat puffs.  I wish the flavor of the buerre blanc sauce was more prevalent.  Buerre blanc sauces in general are very light and delicate but since it’s supposed to be a Riesling buerre blanc, I would have imagined the flavor to be a little more robust.  Overall, the dish was enjoyable and tasted very light.

RusTeakFishCandyThe Crabby Steak is a great entree but the Fish “Candy” ($24) is favorite!  The name is slightly off-putting but it is absolutely phenomenal.  Miso glazed snapper, sea salt caramel fusilli pasta, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, and shiitake mushrooms in a brown butter sauce.  Brown butter is also known as buerre noisette, it’s essentially where you heat the butter until it browns.  The brown butter has a nutty flavor.  If you like Teriyaki sauce, you’ll love the dish.  The sweetness of the fish, the savoriness of the pasta, the umami flavor from the shiitake mushrooms, it was great.  The pasta had an ever so slight chewiness but I didn’t mind one bit.  So much tastiness going on with one dish, I was blown away.

RusTeakPinaColadaTrifleI am a happy camper!  So many yummy items!  Well, how about the desserts?  At RusTeak, they have a daily trifle among their other desserts.  The trifle is a mason jar full of deliciousness and it changes day to day.  I had a Piña Colada Trifle.  Pineapple jello made with club soda (so you get that extra bubbliness), layered with pound cake soaked in Malibu rum, coconut creme and topped with toasted coconut.  And trust me, it’s as delicious as it sounds.

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I enjoyed the food at RusTeak so much, that I returned before I finished my blog post.  When I returned, Courtney (one the managers) remembered me.  That was pretty cool.  So, I decided to sit in the bar area this time.  I had Mary as my server, she was great.  My second visit gave me an opportunity to try more things that caught my eye previously.

RusTeakSweetPotatoTotsSweet Potato Tots ($4), where have you been all this time?!  This is terribly addicting!  I am warning you all!  They are mini-sized tater tots that are amazing.  The sweet potato in these tots aren’t too sweet, it’s very well balanced.  It’s served with a side of ketchup.  Just a little dab of ketchup or plain is great.

SprecherHardRootBeerThe Sprecher Hard Root Beer ($5) was nice and refreshing.  It tastes like…root beer, who’d have thunk it?!  If you love root beer, this is delicious.  It goes down smooth and the flavor lingers on the back of your tongue.  As far as the smell goes, I didn’t notice it as much.  Unfortunately, it’s only 5% ABV.  I bet this would be super duper awesome as a root beer float.

RusTeakCaesarSalad

Between the house salad and the Caesar salad, the Caesar salad wins.  The dressing is light and flavorful, and who can go wrong with Parmesan cheese?  Yum, yum.

RusTeakNYStripSteakPureAwesomenessThe NY Strip Steak ($24) is 10 ounces of NY Strip Steak, scallop potatoes, zucchini with a brandy glazed mushroom creamed sauce.  The sauces here are great!  My friend said he felt this dish was undervalued and would have easily paid $35 for entree.  I wholeheartedly agreed.

RusTeakPureAwesomenessI ordered the Pure Awesomeness ($18) with a name like that, I had to see for myself if it was indeed made of ‘pure awesomeness.’  Sweet potato gnocchi, mozzarella morney (I’m going to assume it’s supposed to be “mornay” – béchamel sauce with cheese), candied walnuts, cherry tomatoes, toasted sunflower seeds and with skewers of shrimp.  My verdict?  It was definitely different, an interesting dish but I found it far too sweet for my liking.  If you’re a fan of walnut shrimp, then this would be a good dish for you.  The dish gets points from me for the originality.

RusTeakShrimpRisottoThe Shrimp Risotto ($18) came with blackened shrimp, risotto and sautéed broccolini.  Well seasoned entree, simple but tasty.  The first time I had broccolini, I thought to myself, “Man, this tastes like kai-lan!”  Well, lo and behold, broccolini is a hybrid of broccoli and kai-lan (Chinese broccoli).  The Shrimp Risotto is a good and safe dish.

 

RusTeakCoconutMangoMojito

The Coconut Mango Mojito ($8) wasn’t too minty and it was a nice refreshing beverage.
Bacardi Rum Coconut, mango schnapps, fresh squeezed limes, muddled mint.

RusTeakMojitoFeistyFoodist

I really enjoy the food and atmosphere at RusTeak.  The music here is mostly been alternative rock like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam.  Outdoor seating is available.  It’s casual environment with top notch dishes and great drinks.  For the folks who like draft beers, they have a draft beer flight.  I always leave here full and happy.  I definitely plan on bringing more people back here!

 

 

***FYI:Monday Mayhem: 1/2 priced all bottles of wines all day ($50 and under)***

http://www.rusteakwinebar.com/

HOURS: Mon-Sat: 11:30am-11PM
closed Sundays

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Willy’s Mexicana Grill Gainesville

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Willy’s Mexicana Grill is located on Archer Road among all the other restaurants.  I really didn’t have a craving for anything in particular but I was in the mood to try a new place.  It’s set up like Moe’s or Chipotle where the employees make the meal in front of you.  To the left, there’s the big menu board.  For the vegetarians out there, they have tofu and of course, lots of fresh veggies.WillysMexicanaGrillInterior

I selected the burrito bowl for my meal.  One time, I made the mistake of eating a whole humongous burrito one time and suffered a horrible tummy ache.  No more, I say, no more!  Sorry, horrible flashback.  My burrito bowl consisted of the rice, black beans, cilantro-garlic steak, salsa, cilantro, cheese, lettuce, black olives, tomatillo sauce, and corn salsa.  Chips come on the side.

 

WillysMexicanaGrillBurritoBowlMy verdict: “ehh.”  The food is definitely fresh but it seemed like it was lacking.  I needed some extra OOMPH.  My “cilantro-garlic steak” wasn’t that flavorful, quite a shame really since it sounded tasty.   I even went up to the salsa bar and tried to pizzazz my burrito bowl with different sauces.  The chips were good, very thin and crispy.  You’ll get a generous portion but for the flavor, I’d go elsewhere.  Service was good, food could be better.WillysMexicanaGrillBurritoBowlSideView

 

 

 

http://www.willys.com/index.php

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Hot Krust Panini Kitchen

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HotKrustExteriorI walked into Hot Krust Panini Kitchen not knowing anything about it and left loving it.  Recently, I had an opportunity to attend an event where I got to sample many of the food items.  I meet the owner Evan Dimov and he’s so genuinely nice and super passionate about this place!  Everything is fresh, no processed meats, the meats are actually roasted in house and they don’t even have a deep fryer.  I did have a little difficulty locating this place.  It’s somewhat hidden from the main road of Turkey Lake but it’s next to Barnie’s right by the Whole Foods.  I really came in here with no expectations aside from knowing that they offered sandwiches.  As I entered inside, I get a sense of a simple, clean, and open atmosphere.  The menu is on a screen above the registers.  It’s definitely got this “new” appeal in here.  By the soda fountain, there are Fat Cat hot sauces which are locally based.  The Purry-purry sauce was my favorite, garlicky flavor with a medium level of heat.

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HotKrustCactusChili

I had the cactus chili first.  It was hearty but not the typical dense chili I was accustomed to.  The menu description lists: “Savory cactus, ground beef, diced tomatoes, onions, corn, northern beans & spinach in a spicy broth.”  Spicy broth?  Well, it wasn’t THAT spicy which is fine since some people’s heat tolerance can be quite low.  The cactus chili wasn’t just a name, it actually had cactus in it.  That was a first for me but no complaints on my end.  Next, I tried the waffle fries.  Hot Krust offers three types of waffle fries where are regular, spicy and sweet potato.  These fries are actually baked so I didn’t feel as guilty about eating them.

Then I see the Burgernini “HK Monster”.  Wow, what is this?  I took a bite and wanted more!  The  100% Angus beef burger patty was cooked perfectly.   Wait, am I eating fries in it too?  Yep but it works especially with the BBQ-honey mustard sauce.  I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of a burgernini before but whatever this is, it’s just great.  The actual size of this sandwich is an 8 ounce burger on a huge bun.  The Cowboy Jack was my second favorite sandwich.  It has steak, horseradish peppercorn, black olives, tomatoes, spinach, red onions and Monterrey Jack cheese.  Fear not, the horseradish peppercorn is mild.  It does sound a bit intense but the sandwich is seriously fantastic.

The Florentine chicken panini had roasted chicken, sundried tomatoes,  havarti cheese, spinach,  lite mayo & pesto sauce.  It was really good.  And I mean, really good.  The Buffalo Bill Chicken (chicken, buffalo sauce, onions, jalapeno peppers, lettuce, provolone cheese and blue cheese crumbles) was a bit strong on the blue cheese flavor.  A little blue cheese definitely goes a long way and in this instance it managed to overpower the other ingredients.

My vegetarian friends, I can assure you the veggie sandwiches here are great.  The Alibaba Veggie (hummus, fresh mozzarella, red onions, lettuce and tomatoes) was good but Veggie Vacation (freshly roasted portobello mushroom, Swiss cheese, bell pepper, pesto, spinach, red onions and tomatoes) was even better.  They definitely don’t skimp out on the toppings here.

The Sangria Shrimp was “different”.  It has grilled shrimp glazed with sangria vinaigrette, pesto, red roasted pepper, spinach and provolone cheese.  I’m sure there’ll be fans of this one but it was a tad too sweet for me.  I do appreciate the originality of this sandwich.  If they have any chocolate chip cookies, go for it.  MMMM cookies…..  My only gripe would be that I wish the chicken wings were a bit more crisp aside from that, everything really was enjoyable.

I’ve tried enough sandwiches here that I bet everybody will find something they’ll like.  The price of the food is definitely reasonable considering the quality of the food here.

 

This place may be small but the flavor certainly isn’t!

www.hotkrust.com

HOURS:
Mon-Sat: 8am-8pm
Closed on Sundays

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Greens & Grille Millenia

GreensGrilleSteakHouseSalad

GreensGrilleExterior
So I finally stopped in to see what Greens & Grille was about.  Why has it taken me so long?!  Well, let’s see…Whenever I drive past this place, it looks closed.  That dark tint threw me off and then the restaurant didn’t really stand out to me.  The sign looked gimmicky or perhaps TOO healthy.  I don’t know, there was just something that never made me stop in to eat there.  Also, I didn’t know anyone else who had ate there before.  Finally someone I knew ate there and just raved about it.  Well, you don’t have to twist my arm to get me to eat food!  Maybe bone marrow.  Maybe.  As soon as I walked in, I see the menu on the wall to the left.  It’s got nice, vibrant colors in here.  As soon you walk up to the counter, the employee takes your order.  It’s not till the end of the line where you pay for your meal.  In between the trip from the ordering station to the register you’ll pass the salad station and then the grill station.

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I was a little overwhelmed at first.  It seems so simple, salad or sandwich but the choices were abundant.  If you weren’t feeling either option then you could also order some grilled items.  I selected the “steak house salad”.  The menu description reads: ‘Mixed greens, candied almonds, sliced egg, cranberries, grilled onions, bleu cheese with aged sherry thyme dressing served with flank steak.’  There’s always a moment of ‘will the description match the dish’ and in this instance, it really did.  I thoroughly enjoyed my salad.  The portion was generous, the flavors were great!  I kept eating more than I should have but it was just so good!  Even the candied almonds were amazing.  Instead of just roasting whole almonds or roasted pieces, they used sliced almonds.  The great part about this was the fact that it was candied all together so there was a layering effect and then broken into pieces.  Thus more flavor achieved and easier chewing.  My flank steak was very tender and flavorful.  I tried some of the baked mac and cheese, pretty tasty as well.GreensGrilleSteakHouse

I like how Greens & Grille uses half sheet trays as trays for the customer.  How resourceful!  The employees were quick and attentive. My only quip would be that the outdoor seating was so crowded. I thoroughly enjoyed this place and will definitely return for more!

http://www.greensandgrille.com/index.shtml

HOURS:
Mon-Sat: 11am-9pm
Sun: 11am-8pm

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