About steve

Steve Alcorn is the CEO of Alcorn McBride Inc., a company that designs products used in nearly all of the world’s theme parks. He is the author of many books, including historical fiction, romance, young adult novels, and many non-fiction books including How to Fix Your Novel, Building a Better Mouse and Theme Park Design. During the past decade he has helped more than 30,000 aspiring authors structure their novels through the online learning programs of 2000 colleges and universities worldwide. Learn more at writingacademy.com

Keke’s Breakfast Cafe

Interior

Exterior

Belgian waffle and bacon

**** (4 stars)

I guess I’m a little ambivalent about Keke’s menu. It’s probably because I’m not a big fan of sweets, and the emphasis here is on sweet variants of waffles and pancakes.

The rest of the menu is pretty much typical eggs and omelet dishes that aren’t particular standouts, and are more expensive that at traditional coffee shops.

On the other hand, the atmosphere is bright and open, and the service is excellent.

Keke’s Breakfast Cafe
6526 Old Brick Rd
Ste 130
Windermere, FL 34786
(407) 612-5800
https://www.yelp.com/biz/kekes-breakfast-cafe-windermere

The Soda Fountain

Interior

Thin mint shake

***** (5 stars)

This is an old fashioned soda fountain and ice cream place. I really like the ambiance.

I had the thin mint shake, which had a great mint flavor and huge chunks of chocolate. Excellent!

It’s attached to The Doghouse, so you can have a dog, tots and dessert, all at the same table.

Service was friendly.

The Soda Fountain
2525 Edgewater Dr
Orlando, FL 32804
(407) 540-1006
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-soda-fountain-orlando

Doghouse

Exterior

Chili dog and BBQ tots

**** (4 stars)

This is a small counter service place in college park that offers hotdogs and tater tots. There are premade specials, or you can just specify whatever you want on your dog and tots. I tried the certified angus beef dog with mustard, onions and chili. The bun had a good consistency, and the chili was okay. I wasn’t wowed by the meat, so I might try the regular do the next time.

It’s attached to a larger ice cream shop with more seating. and you can have a shake for dessert.

Service was friednly.

Doghouse
2527 Edgewater Dr
Orlando, FL 32804
(407) 412-5409
https://www.yelp.com/biz/doghouse-orlando

Pepe’s Cantina

Interior

Exterior

Tacos Al pastor

Vegetable fajitas

**** (4 stars)

This I-Drive Tex-Mex restaurant is certainly an improvement on the counter-serve concept that was here before. Now there is full table service. While the menu seems to be a bit tourist priced, there are some excellent lunch deals.

The best deal of all is the house margarita, which is very well made, generous, and is about half price during the day. Plus, it comes with free queso which was quite tasty.

We enjoyed all the menu items we tried, and the service was pleasant.

Pepe’s Cantina
5415 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 317-6649
https://www.yelp.com/biz/pepe-s-cantina-orlando

Roque Pub

Interior

The Silo

***** (5 stars)

Roque offers a very extensive selection of beers on tap, and a really staggering list of beers in bottles and cans. There are many local offerings, and the list is brilliantly categorized by style, alcohol, bitterness and color. This was the most informative beer list I’ve ever seen, and is ther reason for their fifth star.

Unlike many of the beer-centric places in town, they also have a nice menu of sandwiches and pub food. The Silo was piled high with tender roast beef, and the grilled cheese panini was even better.

Service was fast and friendly, and there are darts and electronic games, plus live entertainment and special events most nights of the week.

Roque Pub
3076 Curry Ford Rd
Orlando, FL 32806
(407) 985-3778
https://www.yelp.com/biz/roque-pub-orlando

Currito

Interior

Cantina bowl

Quesadilla

Frijol torta

*** (3 stars)

If Currito were a Mexican restaurant in my neighborhood I probably wouldn’t be a regular visitor. But on the other hand, I’m not a regular visitor to places like Chipotle or Tijuana Flats, and frankly the food is better at Currito.

The atmosphere isn’t bad–considering the time-worn condition of this terminal at La Guardia, they’ve carved out a cozy niche.

We tried a quesadilla, some chips and salsa, a bowl and a wrap. All of them were just fine. The salsa was better than at half the Mexican restaurants I go to, and the chips were nice and crisp.

The house margarita is excellent, and a decent value and size serving for an airport drink.

Service was polite and reasonably attentive.

Currito
Newark International Airport
Terminal A
Newark, NJ 07114
(973) 547-7938
https://www.yelp.com/biz/currito-newark-3

Times Square Diner

Intererior

Exterior

Turkey Club

Fresh Tuna Salad Club

**** (4 stars)

This narrow space near the theatre district is still decorated the way I imagine it was designed in the 1960s, which is pretty cool. (Well, actually, their air conditioning on a hot day was not particularly effective, if it was working at all, so it wasn’t literally cool, just figuratively.)

The menu is classic diner food, and most portions are enormous. I had a turkey club, and one I located it under a mountain of french fries, I thought it was delicious. Even better was the iced coffee, one of the best I’ve had anywhere.

Unlike some complaints I’ve seen online, I thought the service was excellent, with a plethora of servers constantly refilling our drinks and checking on us, even though they were very busy. I would definitely stop here again for a pre-theatre lunch.

Times Square Diner
807 8th Ave
New York, NY 10019
(212) 315-2400
https://www.yelp.com/biz/times-square-diner-new-york-4

Blue Fin

Interior

Salmon Burger

Chef Boo’s Chirashi Bowl

**** (4 stars)

Restaurants near Times Square don’t need to be particularly good to have a steady stream of customers, so I was pleasantly surprised by Blue Fin.

The narrow first floor space is pleasant and airy, and a broad staircase leads up almost two floors to an expansive and lovely upstairs dining room.

The restaurant offers a combination of cooked food and sushi, and we liked everything we tried. The standout was actually the Bang Bang Edamame, which had been tossed in a wonderful kung pao sauce. Chiriashi was also good, with a nice assortment of fish, although definitely Times Square priced at $33.

Service was friendly and profewssional.

Blue Fin
1567 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
(212) 918-1400
https://www.yelp.com/biz/blue-fin-new-york

Per Se

Exterior

Interior

View

Extensive selection of half bottles

Oysters and Pearls

Yellow fin tuna

Scallop

Parker House roll

Quail

Lamb

Assortment of Desserts

**** (4 stars)

Whenever I go to Per Se I come away comparing it to all the other top-rated restaurants I’ve been too. Although I think the staff is wonderful, and the restaurant is beautiful and beautifully situated, I can’t convince myself that the food lives up to expectations. It’s all beautiful, but there are no home runs.

In its favor, it has perhaps the best selection of half bottles of wine I’ve seen anywhere, so you can put together an amazing tasting to match your meal. But I think you’ll find that the food doesn’t live up to the wines.

On this latest visit, the best course was the quail, and the most forgettable was a completely mundane lamb chop.

The desserts were the best. Usually when a restaurant fills the table with a half dozen small desserts, many of them are misses; but at Per Se each dessert deserved to be there, and provided a lovely variety to end the meal.

If you’re looking for a sophisticated experience with great service and a beautiful view, and if cost is no object, the Per Se is a great choice. If you’re looking for the best food in the city, this is not it.

Per Se
10 Columbus Cir
Fl 4
New York, NY 10019
(212) 823-9335
https://www.yelp.com/biz/per-se-new-york

Le Grill de Joël Robuchon

Exterior

Bar

Nibbles

Gazpacho

Cheese soufflé

Duck

Ice cream and sorbet assortment

***** (5 stars)

l’Atelier is one of my favorite restaurants around the world, so I always try to visit when I’m in a city that has one. However on this Monday night only Le Grill was open, so we decided to try it, and we were glad we did.

Le Grill offers a relaxed environment, a reasonably priced and very interesting menu, and an excellent wine list. Service is as perfect as at all of Joel Robuchon’s restaurants, professional, yet never stuffy. It’s wonderful to have such an excellent meal experience without it having to be a production number.

Le Grill de Joël Robuchon
85 10th Ave
New York, NY 10011
(212) 488-8885
https://www.yelp.com/biz/le-grill-de-jo%C3%ABl-robuchon-new-york-4