Thursday, January 31, 2008

Baja Burrito Kitchen - dj

2716 E. Colonial Dr.
Colonial Plaza
Orlando, FL
Totally Fresh Cal-Mex”

Baja Burrito Kitchen is the place to go in Orlando if you are in need of a Fish Taco! There is no other place that is even close. I’ve been a fan since they open the first restaurant in the early 90’s in Jamestown Place in Altamonte Springs on 434.

We use to sit in the dining room and talk to the owner I can’t remember his name. He had great plans at the time to open another restaurant on Fairbanks Ave in Winter Park just east of 17-92, but those plans fell through. In the intervening years several other locations have opened and closed, but the original store on 434 in Jamestown Place is still there.

The restaurant today was packed at 12:15 when we arrived. After we went through line several tables had opened up. We filled up on their fresh salsas. I always enjoy the Habanero it is fresh and has a distinct citrus flavor, although I always eat too much. The Salsa Verde, Fire-Roasted Chipotle, and Inferno sauce are also good.

Our meals were delivered in about 5 minutes. They were fresh and oh so good.

Rating: ****
Service: ***
Price: 2 Fish tacos and a soft drink $8.52

Monday, January 28, 2008

bd's Mongolian Barbeque - CLOSED

300 S. State Road 434
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714

I didn’t feel like cooking tonight so we decided go to a new restaurant around the corner. bd’s is in the old Tony’s Roma next to Sports Authority. The restaurant opened about a month ago, while construction was being done on 434 right out front.

We walked in the front door to be greeted with a “Welcome to db’s!” this is shades for Moe’s or Captain D’s a practice that I hate.

We were seated in a nicely remodeled booth. The waiter arrived shortly to explain the menu. Basically go to the bar pick out the meats and vegetable that you want. Then go to the next station and choose one or a combination of sauces that are available they range from fajita, buffalo, to teriyaki sauce. There are 18 to choose from. After you have created your recipe you go to the Mongolian grill and have it cooked up.

While the dish I created was good, I could have easily created it for all three of us for maybe $5.00. Next time I want to spend $50.00 for a stirfry I think I’ll order King Kooker's Cajun Portable Propane Outdoor WOK. Then I can have a really good stir fry right at home.

When our waiter arrived with the check he also presented us with an electronic survey form, and asks if we would be returning. I think not. I’ll just cook a stir fry at home next time.

Rating: **
Service: ***
Price for 3 with tip $48.00

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Jade Bistro - DT

Jade Bistro is a stylish setting staffed by decades of experience serving select Asian favorites. We joined a group of ten co-workers for lunch in the College Park dining corridor just north of Princeton on Edgewater Drive. We walked in and were greeted immediately by an older gentleman who I assumed was the owner. The wait staff, while just as friendly and prompt served us with a diligence and efficiency usually reserved for the big city restaurants. Our group ordered Chinese staples such as Singapore Noodle and Mongolian Chicken. One member of our party even ordered Sweet and Sour Chicken. We asked if he could get the crayons and coloring sheet with that but after tasting the food you will realize this is no trifle effort. I chose the General Tso Chicken and fried rice with a house salad. A fine white ginger dressing over a simple chilled salad preceded the entrée. Other options included Miso or egg drop soup or a spring roll. The better parts of the chicken were fried in a firm batter but not overdone then glazed sweet and spicy with a significant garlic influence. Usually treated as unimportant, even the fried rice stood on its own merit. Before you leave, you must try the Tempura Cheesecake lightly striped with chocolate. I am looking forward to my next visit where I plan to indulge in the Japanese maki rolls. On my way out, I introduced myself to the older gentleman who indeed is the owner. His name is Joseph Duen. You will know him by his smile and his background includes 20+ years at the famous Four Seasons in Rockefeller Center New York. Somehow Mr. Duen has made the decision to give us all the class and elegance he is known for in our quaint little part of Orlando and at a amazingly affordable price.

Service - Impeccable
Quantity – Just right
Price – Lunch and water $7.50

Beto's Mexican Restaurant- DT

My friend JoAnna says Beto’s is muy bien. JoAnna is a gringa from the Southwest and one of the most discerning people I know, so we went. Located just east of the corner of 436 and 17-92 in Casselberry, I found that while it is not much to look at from the outside, Beto’s is equally unremarkable on the inside. I did however find it to be clean and spacious and simple. All signs that the food should be affordable. I had a difficult time at the counter deciding what to try. I love Chimichanga, but wanted to try something new. The main menu board had plates priced around $7 give or take. They had 3 or 4 lunch specials, including a drink, for around $6.50. I ordered the Pollo Asado plate. Marinated chicken and peppers served with rice, refried beans, sour cream, fresh lettuce, onions, and tomato mixed with cilantro and a large flour tortilla on the side. I guess I could have wrapped it all in the warm, soft tortilla but I chose to mix all of the flavors and use the tortilla as a flat bread. In the middle of the restaurant was a small salsa station. Along with your choice of red or green, they offered seasoned carrots with peppers. JoAnna really likes the carrots and peppers and said it was a mistake for me to pass on them. She reminded me that Beto’s is open 24 hours and recommends the machaca (breakfast burrito). Apparently it is something you pick up for breakfast on the way to work and finish for lunch. I’m now very curious. This is exactly the type of place we created this blog to showcase. If you are looking for flavor in a local food experience without the hype and circumstance, Beto’s will not disappoint.

Facility – Heritage rich flavor in a fast food setting.
Service – Broken English with a smile!
Quantity – I thought it was just right which may be a lot for most.
Price - $6.50 including drink.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Beto’s Mexican Food - dj

103 E. State Road 436
Fern Park, FL 32730

Lunch time where to go? DT suggested Thai, I had it last night, Chinese we both had that yesterday for lunch. DT says how about Beto’s in Fern Park, while a little drive for us it was worth the drive.

Beto’s is located in an out building in the parking lot of Bed Bath & Beyond shopping center. According to the Orlando Weekly it has been a roast-chicken stand, a bagel place and a Chinese takeout. The decor is early fast food, I guess. Plain and simple, but clean.

The menu board is quite extensive it includes about 20 numbered plates, and then all of these ingredients are available al-cart. I could not decide between the Enchiladas Verdes and the Fish taco special. I ordered the #2 Enchiladas Verdes with two chicken enchiladas, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, and sour cream $5.39. I also ordered a side of Fish Taco $1.99. When the food came it was way too much. The tortilla shells of the enchiladas tasted as though they were homemade I did not ask them to find out. The chicken was tender, the Verde sauce was excellent not to tart from the tomatillos. The Fish Taco was also very good. It had shredded cabbage and a sweet / sour cream based sauce. The fish was fried to perfection. There was also a small salsa bar that had about 6 things on it.

This is the kind of Mexican restaurant I could eat at every day. I just wish they had glass plates instead of Styrofoam, and it was a little closer.

Rating: ****
Price: Special + side $7.90
Open 24 Hours

What others are saying:

This years Foodies for Best Mexican Critic’s choice when to Beto's “I went .. with Beto's, which doesn't even offer table service. But for authenticity — and bargain prices — it's my choice this year.” Said Scott Joseph.
Orlando Weekly

Note 1/13/2008: On a revisit with my family I found that the dishes are not always prepared the same way. We had the Fish Taco. It was missing the cabbage, and the sauce that made it so good on the last visit. Also the fish was over cooked. I will have to change my from 4 stars to 3.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Revisited Restaurants - dj

Winnies Oriental Garden: We went with a big birthday crowd again, the service was good for a group of 10 people. I was going to get something different from last time but ended up with the same dish Chicken & Cashews. I had the same impression as last time as well BLAND. Even with the addition of salt it still did not have much taste.

Rating: **
Service : ***

Siam Garden The restaurant looks the same as last year. The menus have been updated with photos of the food. They look quite nice. I had the Stir Fried Ginger with Chicken again. It was just as good as I remembered.

Rating: ****
Service ***