Banh Mi Nha Trang Subs

***** (5 stars)

The house special here is not only the best Banh Mi sandwich I’ve ever had, it is the best sandwich I’ve ever had. The bread is incredibly fresh, and perfectly toasted around the edges. The meats are smokey and flavorful, and the vegetables incredibly fresh and piquant. Just an absolutely sublime combination of ingredients.

Located at the back of a court surrounded by old shops, the place looks pretty decrepit from the outside, and no better inside. There are no tables, and not even a register. You simply pick what you want from the list and wait for it to be handed to you.

Nevertheless, it is an awesome sandwich, and I will be back here often. See you tomorrow!

Banh Mi Nha Trang Subs
1216 E Colonial Dr
Ste 9
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 346-4549
http://www.yelp.com/biz/banh-mi-nha-trang-subs-orlando

Crispers

*** (3 stars)

We used to go to this Crispers all the time, but a number of years ago they reduced the potions sizes and we stopped going. I’m glad we tried it again, because it seems like things are back on track. My flatbread was good, and the Thai Chicken salad was excellent. Portion sizes are now generous, and the pricing seems reasonable. I like the “pick two” approach.

The thing that drives me crazy is the inefficient ordering process for a group, which is unchanged after all these years. They make each person place their order while everyone stands around waiting, and then process the credit cards one by one. This means the first item can’t start being prepared until the last item has been paid for, which is incredibly inefficient. And having six or eight people standing around at the register is really annoying. Every other counter service restaurant in town manages to put the same table placard number on each person’s check without this nonsense (see Pei Wei, for example). It’s time someone with some efficiency sense showed Crispers how to do it.

Crispers
2228 S Kirkman Road
Orlando, FL 32811
(407) 296-4551
http://www.yelp.com/biz/crispers-orlando

Perrotti’s Express

**** (4 stars)

This smaller outpost of the popular Perrotta’s Deli makes real deli sandwiches–hard to find in Orlando–and they make them fast. It’s easy to customize what you want, and they can do subs and wraps as well.

While bread and cheese selections are somewhat limited by the microscopic kitchen, the meats are true New York deli caliber. There’s a small inside dining area.

Definitely one of the best deli sandwiches in Central Florida.

Perrotti’s Express
7828 Winter Garden Vineland Rd
Windermere, FL 34786
(407) 347-3631
http://www.yelp.com/biz/perrottis-express-windermere

Dan’s Family Restaurant

*** (3 stars)

This coffee shop has a particularly welcoming and enthusiastic staff.

They offer the usually array of breakfast and other coffee shop choices, and everything is carefully prepared and served.

The interior is a bit tired, but the friendliness of the place makes up for that.

Dan’s Family Restaurant
7300 E Colonial Dr
Orlando, FL 32807
(407) 917-6318
http://www.yelp.com/biz/dans-restaurant-orlando

Gators Dockside

*** (3 stars)

All of the Gators I’ve been to are similar, but this one seems to have a few service issues, or perhaps it was just our server, but almost nothing we ordered came out correctly, from drinks to salads to wings.

That said, Gator’s grilled wings are about the best there are, especially with the hot garlic sauce.

If you’re passing through on I75, this place is about a mile and a half off the highway, but worth driving past all the fast food places to get to.

Gators Dockside
313 NW Commons Loop
Lake City, FL 32055
(386) 438-5446
http://www.yelp.com/biz/gators-dockside-lake-city

Alberto’s Cheese & Wine Bistro

***** (5 stars)

This little gem in the Farmer’s Market section of the French Market offers just two seats at the counter and four tables across the aisle. The muffulettas are huge, and stuffed with a mild olive salad, served on excellent crunchy bread. The cheese plates–available with three or five cheeses–feature your choice of top quality cheeses, and are served with grilled bread and crackers. The spinach salad is huge, and may be one of the most healthful choices in all of the French Quarter. Service is very friendly.

Alberto’s Cheese & Wine Bistro
1100 N Peters St
Bay 11
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 522-0507
http://www.yelp.com/biz/albertos-cheese-and-wine-bistro-new-orleans

Mellow Mushroom

**** (4 stars)

This is a really nicely decorated Mellow Mushroom, with a music theme that is well executed throughout. Because it’s near the theme parks, it attracts a larger crowd of newbies, and a lot of small rather rambunctious kids, so it has a different atmosphere than other Mellow Mushrooms.

The pizzas are still great, and there are lots of creative offerings. As at other Mellow Mushrooms, you can build your own salad or pizza from scratch, however because the individual ingredients are quite expensive, you can quickly end up with a twenty or thirty dollar production.

I took the opportunity to try the new veggie burger, and I must say it was one of the better veggie burgers in town, with a nice sear on the mostly bean-based patty.

Service was a bit inexperienced, but the location is new, and I’m sure it will work itself out. Management seemed on top of things.

Mellow Mushroom
10725 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32821
(407) 351-9670
http://www.yelp.com/biz/mellow-mushroom-orlando-2

Panera Bread

**** (4 stars)

Every Panera I’ve been to has essentially identical food, so reviewing it seems superfluous; you either like it or not.

Panera always seems a bit like a bait and switch to me, as they bill themselves as healthy, yet most of what they serve is not particularly good for you. Just look at that bakery display! But you can eat healthy if you try, and assuming their calorie counts are honest they must have the lowest calorie tuna sandwich on the planet. Also, did you know you can get an apple instead of chips?

What sets Paneras apart is the location, and this one is well-sited. It’s easy to get in and out, has lots of parking, and even a drive through. Also, there is a porch, so you can eat outside, yet be in the shade.

Service is friendly, but I sure wish they wouldn’t page you before your food is up, a reliable occurrence. What’s the point of the pager if you’re just going to stand at the counter anyway?

You can also order online and pick your food up in a bag on the shelf; very convenient.

Panera Bread
4200 Conroy Road
Orlando, FL 32839
(407) 248-0811
http://www.yelp.com/biz/panera-bread-orlando-7

Doc B’s

docbtuna

***** (5 stars)

I absolutely loved the chill atmosphere of this place, with its upbeat soundtrack that’s not too loud, and its modern ambience. On nice days the front opens out onto the sidewalk, but my favorite spot is at the full service bar, where the servers are as knowledgeable about the menu as the drinks.

And what a menu! I started with the grilled artichokes, which were charred around the edges and tender and meaty in the center. The bitterness of the char worked perfectly with the remoulade (which was really more like an aioli).

At the bartender’s recommendation I had her favorite, a tuna sandwich. Okay, now erase the image that just formed in your head, as this was nothing like any tuna sandwich you’ve ever had. Tender, rare circles of ahi tuna decorated a sesame bun, and slices of crisp apple added a delightful crunch to every bite. Amazing!

For desert I chose the mint gelato sandwich, which was served between two chocolate chip cookies. It went great with a generous pour of Macallan 12.

A limited wine and beer list contains very thoughtful selections. Although there are only twenty or so wines by the glass, I would have happily have any of them, and I’m not sure I’ve ever said that about a restaurant’s wine by the glass offerings before.

Needless to say, I will back at Doc B’s very soon!

Doc B’s
55 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 999-9300
http://www.yelp.com/biz/doc-bs-chicago-3

Manny’s

**** (4 stars)

This is an excellent choice for a quick sandwich at Midway. Even if you’re flying out of terminal B, it’s only a short walk down terminal A.

Manny’s is essentially a fully equipped delicatessen, so the sandwich you’ll get here will be far above normal airport quality. Each is prepared to order, so allow few extra minutes, but it’s worth it.

There is more seating available back at the juncture of terminal A with terminal B, a place the visitors to the nearby food court rarely find.

Manny’s
Chicago Midway International Airport
Concorse A, 5700 S Cicero Ave
Chicago, IL 60638
(773) 948-6300
http://www.yelp.com/biz/mannys-chicago-2