La Madeleine Country French Cafe

Interior

*** (3 stars)

Although the name implies this is a cafe, it’s really a counter serve place, albeit one with some nice outdoor seating.

The best bets are the baked goods. My chicken salad sandwich came on a very authentic croissant. The accompanying Caesar salad and fruit salad were nothing special.

Several in our party had various pastas, and all through they were watery.

Decaf coffee was certainly not the quality you’d get in France.

The employees were friendly enough, but since it is counter serve, there isn’t really much service.

La Madeleine Country French Cafe
4175 Millenia Mall Blvd
Orlando, FL 32839
(321) 332-7001
https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-madeleine-country-french-cafe-orlando

India House Restaurant

*** (3 stars)

This is a very nicely decorated restaurant with about 150 different dishes on the menu. Unfortunately the staff isn’t very good, and the food is just average.

It’s odd browsing through the menu, because it seems to have little organization with multiple sections devoted the similar categories, and very few of the standbys like korma, saag, and so on.

We tried Papdi Chat as an appetizer, and the flavors were good, but it wasn’t enhanced by the sturdy wafers mixed into it.

Mahi Mahi Fish Tikka was good fish, but the seasoning on the fish skin wasn’t my favorite flavor.

Bhuni Gobi was extremely overcooked cauliflower; it resembled something that had been sitting on a buffet for hours.

The best dish was Channa Palak, chick peas in a garlic, onion and spinach sauce. Garlic naan bread was also okay.

The service staff seems to be mostly Russian, and wasn’t strong on communication. They were out of all the juices, and couldn’t produce a beer list.

There aren’t many Indian restaurants in River North, but even so, I wouldn’t bother to return here.

India House Restaurant
59 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 645-9500
http://www.yelp.com/biz/india-house-restaurant-chicago-2

Foodstuffs

**** (4 stars)

I’m not sure whether to call this a grocery story, a gourmet shop or a bakery, because it’s all three and more. The meats are particularly good here, with good steaks; fish is pretty good, too. Oh, and the hot dogs from the deli case are the best I’ve had anywhere, perfect for a 4th of July BBQ. I also always get some bread. They have a great variety, and the employees are a hundred times nicer than they are at the bakery down the street.

Foodstuffs
2106 Central St
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 328-7704
http://www.yelp.com/biz/foodstuffs-evanston

Bubbalou’s Bodacious Bar B Que

**** (4 stars)

Bubbalou’s has been doing its thing for a long time, and at this location for close to 20 years, so they must be doing something right. The pork sandwich is my favorite here, and I prefer it sliced to pulled. For a splurge, ask for it on the grilled toast rather than the bun. Beans and fries are excellent accompaniments, but the best thing about the BBQ here is the sauces. I like to mix the sweet and hot.

Newly discovered secret: their wings are delicious! Try the sweet ones and add some hot bbq sauce.

Bubbalou’s Bodacious Bar B Que
5818 Conroy Windermere Rd
Orlando, FL 32835
(407) 295-1212
http://www.yelp.com/biz/bubbalous-bodacious-bar-b-que-orlando

TooJay’s

** (2 stars)

This place has the most annoying front of house personnel in the city. The restaurant may be half empty, but they’ll keep you standing there for ten minutes while they act officious. This is not the description of a single experience, it’s the description of every experience I’ve had during ten years, every time someone has dragged me to this place. The food is fine, but I’m so annoyed by the time I’m seated that I can never enjoy it. Orlando has very few delis. But we could get by with one less.

TooJay’s
7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 355-0340
http://www.yelp.com/biz/toojays-orlando-4

Arthur’s Catering

***** (5 stars)

We’ve been hosting Christmas parties for more than twenty years, and have had many great events, but this year’s catering by Arthur’s outdid them all. The staff was friendly, energetic, and just plain nice, and the food was simply awesome. We were looking for some healthful alternatives to the usual party buffet fare, and Arthur’s provided lots of interesting stations with imaginative and extremely tasty offerings that were enjoyed by the adults and kids alike. My favorites were fish tacos, Thai spring rolls, cocktail glass salads and the s’mores bar. What a wonderful evening!

Arthur’s Catering
860 Sunshine Ln
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714
(407) 331-1993
http://www.yelp.com/biz/arthurs-catering-altamonte-springs

Tabla Bar and Grill

***** (5 stars)

Don’t be put off by the somewhat tired looking Days Inn next door. Tabla offers the most sophisticated Indian dining you’ll find in Orlando, and perhaps anywhere in the US. The complexity of each entree is amazing, with gourmet twists on old favorites, and lots of creative surprises. Ask for the avocado and mint sauce to dip your papadums in! Lunch is a particular bargain, with a multi course meal starting at just $7. Desserts are a specialty. The mango tempura with coconut gelato is amazing.

Tabla Bar and Grill
5827 Caravan Ct
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 248-9400
http://www.yelp.com/biz/tabla-bar-and-grill-orlando