Posts Tagged With: dinner

Funky Bananas Diner

Bananas Diner

TEDDY’s RATING: 

After taking in a show at the Orlando Fringe Festival, I thought it appropriate to take in a meal at Bananas Diner, near downtown Orlando. Why was it appropriate? Well, the shows at the Fringe Festival and the atmosphere at Bananas are kind of the same: funky, off-the-wall, unusual to say the least.

Bananas DineBananas calls itself a “modern American diner.” I don’t know if I would say that. They do have a lot of comfort food on their menu like burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, soups, ribs, chicken and waffles and their ever-changing macaroni and cheese which is different based on seasonal ingredients. They also have breakfast all day which includes biscuits and gravy, pancakes, waffles, eggs benedict, omelets, even Spam and eggs and their unique stuffed French toast coated with Rice Crispies and stuffed with strawberries and cream cheese.

The décor isn’t your traditional diner décor. Mainly because this place is owned and operated by drag queens. Yep, drag queens. (Another reason why it was appropriate to visit there after the Fringe.) The walls are decorated with huge poster-size photos of “women.” They even have drag shows at different French Toasttimes throughout the week and late night on weekends, the “girls” are servers. We were there on a Saturday afternoon and our server (not a drag queen) wasn’t that great. It wasn’t very busy in there, yet it took a long time to get the food. The waiter was friendly at first, but then became kind of aloof, which was odd.

I had the chicken and waffles which was good, but the chicken wasn’t very tender. Bananas is supposed to have amazing milk shakes, but that day they only had strawberry ice cream, so choices were very limited. You are also supposed to get complimentary cotton candy at the end of your meal. We were not offered any.  We’re giving this 3 paws instead of 2 only because of its uniqueness.

Bananas Diner is open Monday through Thursday 9am-12 midnight and Friday and Saturday 24 hours closing at midnight on Sunday.

Dates of Visit:  May 2013

http://bananasdiner.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Tavern on the Bay

Teddy at Tavern on the Bay

TEDDY’s RATING: 

If you’re a sports fan, you’ll love Tavern on the Bay. But even if you’re not, and I’m not, I still had a good time there.

Tavern on the Bay says that they are the only waterfront sports bar in Naples. They have 13 plasma TVs and Southwest Florida’s largest big screen HD TV at over 130 inches! Puts you right in the game, I guess! They also claim to have Naples’ best Happy Hour from 3pm to 7pm Monday through Friday.

It’s a great location, right on the bay. And is accessible by boat. We sat outside on the patio so we could watch the sunset. We ordered the sliders. The portions were huge, big enough to share. We got the BBQ pork, meatball, Cuban and All-American burger. They all were quite tasty.  They also have chicken wings, flat bread pizzas, burgers, salads, sandwiches and other entrees.

Tavern on the Bay          Sliders

They have a large selection of signature drinks including the Soco Hurricane, which I got (pineapple juice, sour mix, grenadine and Bacardi Rum). It was good, but I not as potent as I would have thought. I also tried their frozen Mudslide (vanilla whipped vodka, Kahlua and Bailey’s) and again, not that potent. Still both tasted good. Some of their their signature drinks are: Neapolitan Cosmo, Grand Slam Margarita, Classic Mojito, Blueberry Brain Freeze, Frozen Chocolate Razz and the Tavern Rum Bucket.

Soco Hurricane          Mudslide

Tavern on the Bay has gotten mixed reviews online. But I thought it was pretty good. And if you’re a sports fan, you’ll probably enjoy it even more.

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

http://www.tavernonthebay.net/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Rib City-No knife required

Rib City with Teddy

TEDDY’s RATING: 

I usually don’t like to write about chain restaurants, but in this case, I just have to. While researching a trip to Naples, Florida, I saw mention of Rib City and thought about giving it a try. They claim that “if you have to pick up a knife to eat our baby back ribs, then we’ll pick up your meal.”

We got there after lunch and before dinner, so there was a shift change and there was only one waitress on duty. She was super friendly and apologized several times for taking so much time. But the food came out promptly and piping hot.

Rib CityI ordered the baby back ribs platter which came with two sides, cole slaw and French fries. I like sweet, creamy cole slaw and this did not disappoint. I also like sweet barbeque sauce and again, I was not disappointed. Considering these were lunch-sized portions, they were huge. Plenty of food, and very good food. For dessert, the waitress recommended the coconut cream pie. Again, wonderful. Super huge and delicious.

The menu includes all the traditional barbeque options: pork, beef, ribs (baby Rib Citybacks and St. Louis), chicken and turkey. Sauces: Sweet, Tangy, Hot or Carolina Mustard. Sides: French fries, corn on the cob, cole slaw, baked beans, apple sauce. Desserts: Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake, Key Lime Pie, Southern Pecan Pie, Coconut Cream Pie, Chocolate Chocolate Mania.

Rib City started out as a small family-style barbecue in 1989 in Fort Myers, Florida. They branched out into nearby Cape Coral and several other Florida cities. They now have locations in Colorado, Utah, Missouri, Tennessee and Illinois.

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

http://www.ribcity.com/rc/index.php

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Breakfast at Blueberry’s

Teddy at Blueberrys

TEDDY’s RATING: 

Had it not been for the fact that we couldn’t find Peace, Love and Little Donuts that morning, we probably wouldn’t have gone to Blueberry’s. But even though we didn’t get donuts that day, we had a nice breakfast here.

Pigs in a blanketThis restaurant kind of reminded me of Joey’s Pancakes in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. It’s not a chain restaurant and tries to come across as being “homey.” The breakfast was very good, but not as good as Joey’s. (If you read my post about Joey’s you’ll understand why.) At Joey’s you feel at home. You get your food quickly, but you’re never rushed and the wait staff is extremely friendly. I didn’t find that at Blueberry’s. The service was a bit slow and yet they tried to rush you out.

I had pigs in a blanket, three pancakes with sausages. The pancakes were light and the Pancakes with eggssausage not spicy. There is an extensive menu. In addition to several types of pancakes, they have crepes, waffles, Eggs Benedict, French toast, breakfast sandwiches, skillets and, of course, eggs any way you like them.

For lunch they have sandwiches, salads, chicken grillers, wraps, and burgers and Reubens. The dinner menu includes chicken pot pie, pot roast, meatloaf, pasta dishes, steak, ribs and some all-day breakfast items.

Their website boasts that they were voted “Best Breakfast” in 2012. But they don’t say by whom or where.

Blueberry’s is open 7 days a week, from 7am, but not for dinner on Sunday.

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

www.blueberrys-restaurant.com

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Kick up your heels at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant

Exterior

TEDDY’s RATING: 

For quite a few years now, I’ve been in love with Celtic music – Irish, Scottish, even Canadian bands like The Chieftans, Solas, Altan, Leahy, Off Kilter, The Corrs and the Celtic rock band, Enter the Haggis.

Irish dancersWhat does this have to do with travel and food? Well, Raglan Road is an authentic Irish pub in Downtown Disney where you can enjoy a traditional Irish meal and be entertained by traditional Irish dancers and musicians. Two of my favorite things: great music and great food.

Raglan Road was constructed using salvaged pieces of Irish taverns and churches. The four bars are each over 130 years old. All of this adds to the authentic atmosphere and charm of Raglan Road.

Now, the Irish aren’t that famous for their culinary creations, but Raglan Road’s updated menu of old world favorites is definitely worth tasting. And there are a lot of choices on that menu. Master Chef Kevin Dundon has taken classic Irish dishes and pumped them up with a contemporary flair. It’s more Sod the Stewthan corned beef and cabbage. The menu includes Shepherd’s Pie, Fish and Chips, chicken and wild mushroom pie, bangers and mash, beef stew and several lamb and seafood options. For dessert try the amazing Strawberry and Apple crumble, the bread and butter pudding, Triful Sinful or the Black Forest Kiss.

I couldn’t decide between the Shepherd’s Pie and the Stew. I opted for the stew because the pie contains lamb, which I’m not that crazy about. But I am going to try the Shepherd’s Pie next time for sure. The stew was full of beef, carrots and potatoes and flavored with a hint of Guinness. For dessert, the crumble with vanilla ice cream was quite delicious.

Irish DancerAnd don’t forget the libations – beer, wine, specialty drinks and a wide variety of whiskeys. You can even have flights of beer or whiskey, a great way to try new flavors. I had Jay’Gail Sangria which was a blend of Magners Cider, Peach Schnapps, fruit liqueurs and juices. Yummy. With dessert, I asked for an iced Bailey’s coffee, not on the menu, but they made it for me. Also, yummy.

The service was exceptional. Our waiter, Todd, was very knowledgeable about the different beer offerings as well as the dinner menu. Our food arrived piping hot and very quickly.

Of course, since Raglan Road is part of the Walt Disney World Resort, you can expect high prices. But I think the delicious food is well worth it, plus you get free entertainment. There’s live music and Irish folk dancers “river dancing” seven nights a week. I think the price is quite reasonable for dinner and a show.

Date of Visit:  February 2013

http://www.raglanroad.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Brook’s Gourmet Burgers & Dogs

ExteriorTEDDY’s RATING: 

Naples, Florida is a very affluent city. You expect to see lots of high-end shops and expensive restaurants on every street. And mostly you do. But there are a few small places where you can dress very casually and enjoy a burger and a beer. One such place is Brook’s Gourmet Burgers & Dogs.

InteriorWhen Todd Brooks moved his family to Naples from Kansas City he was looking for a location for his new restaurant that was small and personal, a place where he could get to know his customers. He found that in Lindburgers, a Naples landmark restaurant for over 25 years. Brooks renovated the building a bit, created a menu of 20 unique burger and hot dog options, and Brook’s Gourmet Burgers & Dogs was born.

The menu includes all beef hot dogs, Black Angus beef burgers, as well as turkey, bison and chicken burgers. With unusual combinations like Todd’s Way – bacon, three cheeses and a fried Western Burgeregg; Greek – onion, feta cheese, kalamata olives, green peppers and Greek dressing; Farm – barbecued pulled pork, fried egg and cheddar cheese; and the Reuben Burger, which is a Reuben on a burger, of course, you’re sure to find something to your liking.

I’ve read that the menu used to include a Twice Baked Potato Burger and The Donut Burger where two glazed donuts replace the bun. Yikes! Those two weren’t on the menu when I was there. I tried the Western Burger – onion ring, cheddar cheese, bacon and barbeque sauce. Delicious and overwhelming!

The portions were huge and the prices reflect that. The service was exceptional, very friendly staff.

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

http://www.naplesburgers.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Porkie’s Original BBQ – It’s Smokin’

Exterior

TEDDY’s RATING: 

There’s a lot of competition out there when it comes to barbecue restaurants. You’ve got your major chains like Smoky Bones and Sonny’s and the up and comers like 4 Rivers. So how does a small, single location survive? Well, Porkie’s Original BBQ in Apopka, Florida must be doing something right because they’re still open and thriving.

InteriorThey seem to distinguish themselves from the Big Guys by using oak and hickory wood and slow smoking their meats on their 20-foot BBQ pit. They also have 6 sauces, all original recipes and made from scratch. Owners Steve and Mike started Porkie’s back in 2002 after traveling the southern states in search of the “perfect BBQ flavor.” That flavor is getting rave review from locals. They’ve been voted “Best BBQ” in Central Florida. (However, I don’t know where that title comes from!)  And apparently comedian Dennis Miller is a huge fan of the place and recorded a radio commercial for Porkie’s.   That’s totally awesome!

The menu includes pork, chicken and beef which can be served pulled, sliced, chopped or chipped. You can get platters, combos or “samiches.” Side dishes include baked beans, potato salad, collard greens, green beans, garlic toast, macaroni & cheese and dirty taters. I had the Pig Dip, thickly sliced smoked pork on Cuban bread and served with au jus. It was good, Pig Dipas were the dirty taters which are cubed red potatoes sautéed in onion and garlic. And supposedly their Monster Ribeye Samich is something worth trying.

Sometimes Porkie’s features some experimental dishes using very unusual meats like bison and beaver. When I visited, they had samples of bison chili. (I don’t like chili, so it wasn’t for me.)

Another thing that makes Porkie’s unique is that every Thursday night they host a local biker’s night. This weekly event sometimes draws several hundred bikers to the restaurant.

Porkie’s Original BBQ is a casual, family friendly restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating. It’s open Mondays through Saturdays for lunch and dinner. Catering is available.

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

http://www.porkiesapopka.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Eat, Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

In the mooooooood for good cooking? Try Island Cow

Island Cow sign

TEDDY’s RATING: 

While on vacation I always like to try unusual restaurants, local places rather than national chains. Sometimes I’m impressed, sometimes not. I thought the Island Cow on Sanibel Island was a place worth visiting again. As their ad claims, “udderly great food.” I wouldn’t necessarily say “great,” but it was very good.

Outside Island Cow          Island Cow Inside

This quirky, family-friendly restaurant is decorated in a cow motif, hence the name. Their menu is almost too extensive. It’s good there’s always a wait for a table because it takes you a while to go through the entire menu to decide what you want. They have all sorts of seafood combos, pasta, sandwiches, burgers, wraps, BBQ, salads, and breakfasts like pancakes, omelets, French toast and waffles. And there are a lot of choices for the kids.

Island Cow meatloaf          Island Cow fried shrimp

The entrees we ordered were the Mooliscious Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and veggies, and the fried shrimp basket. Both were very good and the portions were large. Their corn muffins were also good, very moist, not crumbly like some others I’ve tried. I also had a great drink, the Island Breeze, a simple concoction of orange juice, cranberry juice and champagne.

Because the place is always so busy, it can get quite noisy inside. If it hadn’t been so warm out, I might have liked to sit outside. The service was very good and fast, considering how busy they were.

Island Breeze                Island Cow outside

Island Cow serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. They have live music and a daily Happy Hour. Southern Living magazine voted them “Top Breakfast in Florida” and “Best of the Islands” for dinner and lunch.

Dates of Visit:  October 2012

http://www.sanibelislandcow.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Sea Star Cafe

Sea Star Cafe

TEDDY’s RATING: 

Sometimes it’s nice to not have to get into the car and drive somewhere to have dinner while on vacation. So, on my last trip to Sanibel Island, my first dinner was at the hotel next door to Song of the Sea, where we were staying. The restaurant-Sea Star Café at Song of the Sea’s sister resort, the Sanibel Inn.

Sea Star Cafe interiorWe got there a bit early, so there was nobody in the restaurant. But it was Happy Hour and Sea Star Café is known for their Happy Hour. They have $5.00 appetizers and two for one drinks. Well, apparently the wait staff, who were extremely friendly and attentive, didn’t really know what drinks were two for one. Jason, our waiter, said everything was. So, we ordered two Fuzzy Navels and two Pina Coladas. Come to find out, those drinks were not two for one. But they were well made and very Boscoe Sticksgood.

We tried the Boscoe sticks for an appetizer, bread sticks with dipping sauce. Pretty good. For entrees we had the Penne a la Vodka and the Hawaiian Chicken. Both were tasty, not fabulous. And the portions were large.

I have to say that the service is very good, the atmosphere nice, but I wouldn’t rush back there for the food. Had it not been for the great staff, Sea Star Café might have only gotten two paws from Teddy. And if you look at the sign above or visit their website, you’ll see that they call themselves a “waterfront bar.” Well, they’re not really right on the water. Sanibel Inn is on the beach, but the restaurant is not on the water.

Hawaiian Chicken          Penne A la Vodka

Sea Star Café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu includes pancakes, omelets, French toast, soups, salads, sandwiches, pasta, chicken, beef and seafood options. There’s live music every Friday night as well.

Dates of Visit:  October 2012

http://www.seastarcafeandwaterfrontbar.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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The Catfish Place-An Apopka Landmark

TEDDY’s RATING: 

If you’re a follower of my blog, you already know that I’m not a big fan of seafood. Yet, I keep checking out seafood restaurants and writing about them. I wouldn’t normally choose a seafood restaurant if asked where I wanted to eat, but I had been wanting to write about The Catfish Place for a while.

Steve Johnson opened the first location in St. Cloud, Florida, in 1972. At that time, it was called the “Brew and Chew,” but soon the name changed to The Catfish Place when they became known as a place to get great catfish. Several years later, Steve convinced his son, Bob, to open a second location in Apopka and it’s been a success for over 35 years, becoming a landmark in Apopka, Florida, and the oldest independently owned restaurant in town. The building was once a railroad depot and the atmosphere, like the food itself, is southern-style, down home.

To me, what really stands out here is the super friendly wait staff and great service. The food is great too, but it makes the experience all the more enjoyable if you have a waiter or waitress who really likes his or her job. Our waitress, Lisa, was very friendly and knowledgeable. She even mentioned that the sweet potato fries weren’t an extra charge of $2.00 as the menu said. And even though she brought me regular fries by mistake, she was incredibly apologetic and brought me the sweet potato fries right away.

They have a great early bird menu available from 4pm to 6pm, offering some of their most popular items at a nice discount. For an appetizer, our group tried the fried green tomatoes. I wasn’t crazy about them, but everyone else seemed to like them a lot. For my entrée, I had the grilled chicken breast which was very tender and tasty. My sides were their wonderfully sweet cole slaw and the sweet potato fries, at no extra charge. All meals come with their fabulous hush puppies, crispy outside and tender inside with just a hint of their own sweetness.

For those of you who are seafood eaters, you can get shrimp, scallops, clams, flounder, and of course, all you can eat catfish. Their catch of the day when I went was Mahi Mahi, grilled or broiled. And for the more adventurous eater, The Catfish Place offers gator tail and frogs legs. Their Florida Cracker Special includes both of those along with boneless catfish.

Though we didn’t partake of dessert, they have home made key lime pie, New Orleans style bread pudding and the chocolate volcano, which I’ve read is something else.

The Catfish Place is open from 11am to 9pm Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11am to 10pm Fridays and Saturdays. They’re closed Sundays and Mondays.

Dates of Visit:  October 2012

http://mycatfishplace.com

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

Categories: Eat, Florida | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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