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Have 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.
RusTeak 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…)
The 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.
The 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.***
The 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.
The 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.
The 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.
I 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.
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.
Sweet 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.
The 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.
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.
The 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.
I 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.
The 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.
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.
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)***
HOURS: Mon-Sat: 11:30am-11PM
Ah, Orlando.. “the city beautiful” as they call it. With such tourist attractions like Disney World and Universal Studios, the dining options are abundant but as I always say, it’s not about the quantity. I most definitely prefer quality over quantity any day unless I’m super hungry. Just kidding, maybe. I have quite a few vegetarian friends and sometimes it’s a bit hard finding a place for them to eat. Who wants to just order side items as their meal?! Also, sometimes you may not realize but even sauces are not vegetarian/vegan friendly. I end up being the bad guy and telling them, “You know… that Caesar dressing has anchovies in it.” Hey, I’m a good friend and if you’ve chosen not to eat meat then I’d be a bad friend for knowingly letting you devour some meat product. Right?! Right. So, I’ve even met some people who are particular in the fact their food has no interaction with meat whatsoever. (Such as the oil the food is fried in, or the knife previously touching meat.) Well luckily at Dandelion Cafe, you won’t have to worry about that.
Nestled near the Vietnamese restaurants, we have this quaint place on Thornton Ave. If you’re coming from I-4 towards Bumby, take a right when you see a big mural on the wall. (If you’re past Mills, you’ve gone too far. Make the U-y!) On the right, you’ll see a bright green house. Yep, you’re at the right place. As I walked inside, there’s definitely a warm ambiance. Along the wall, there’s a bunch of tea and baked goods. It’s a bit crowded by the register so I grabbed a menu and took a seat to glance over the selections. There’s seats and couches inside Dandelion as well as outdoor seating for the folks who want to enjoy the Florida weather.
This is a great place for anyone who loves tea, vegetarian food, or has celiac disease. Celiac what? Celiac disease, that essentially means if you have a gluten intolerance (where you can’t eat oats, wheat, and barley). Of course this list isn’t all inclusive, but just a guideline. The menu had a large selection of entrees from soups, appetizers, burritos, and sandwiches. The sweet potato burrito caught me eye immediately. MMMM…. sweet potato.. but in a burrito? Sure, why not. I use the “why not” philosophy with pretty much everything. “Why not?” as long as it doesn’t cause bodily injury to myself or is dangerous. This sweet potato burrito seemed pretty safe for me! For my side item, I ordered the “whirled peas”. What a cute name! My burrito had the sweet potatoes, of course, and quinoa. For those who aren’t familiar with quinoa, it’s pronounced “KEEN-WAH” not quinn-no-ah. You can thank me now, since you won’t look like an idiot. Quinoa is amazing nutritious and delicious. I buy it at Costco for much cheaper than what you’d expect to pay from Whole Foods. It’s a pseudo-grain that you can cook in a sweet or savory dish, very adaptable. The burrito worked very well with the mix of sweet potato and quinoa as well as the other ingredients. You can’t go wrong with blue corn tortilla chips either.
I shared my other half of the burrito with one of my friends so I could try the black bean burrito. Sharing is caring, don’t-cha-know! Cheesy, black bean goodness with a little kick. I definitely recommend this one! This burrito also had quinoa in it. Between my cups of iced tea, my burrito, chips and whirled peas, I am stuffed! But not to the point of food coma. That my friend, is an uncomfortable feeling. Oy! No one ever wants to be that full. So if you’re in the mood for something healthy and filling, go to Dandelion Cafe. Enjoy the art on the wall, make convo with people, and have a fun time! Even if you aren’t a vegetarian, this is a great place. Maybe it’ll change your mind.
This place also has different events going on, so be sure to check out their website.