Ellie Lou’s Brews & BBQ

Pork platter




***** (5 stars)

Orlando is an excellent town for barbecue, with many great choices, and a lot of different styles, from Southern to Midwestern and more. I like the barbecue here better than almost anywhere I travel to, because of that diversity. And I have to say, of all the great Orlando barbecue places I patronize, Ellie Lou’s is the best.

I had the pork platter with two sides. I was expecting sliced pork, so I was pleased when something more like burnt ends appeared: succulent chunks of lean, moist pork, with a nice charred crust on some of the pieces. It was a generous serving, too.

I liked all four BBQ sauces on the table: Kansas City (sweet), Memphis, Hot, and Mustard. The combination of the first three was my favorite. All of them are made in-house, and it shows.

Also made in-house are the sides. The baked beans were loaded with chunks of meat; a squirt of sauce and they were perfect. One of my favorite parts of the whole meal was the potato salad, which was also obviously homemade, with big chunks of potato, a creamy dressing and lots of herbs.

The two slices of garlic bread were also excellent: fresh, crispy and with lots of garlic butter.

Perhaps the thing that most distinguishes Ellie Lou’s is the environment. It’s not crowded and is actually quite pleasant inside. And even though you order at a counter, the staff is very attentive once you’re seated, so it’s like a real restaurant. A real GOOD restaurant.

Ellie Lou’s Brews & BBQ
336 Moore Rd
Ocoee, FL 34761
(407) 347-9515

Huey Magoo’s Chicken Tenders



Counter and menu

Magoo’s favorite salad

Buffalo chicken salad

**** (4 stars)

When I read about a new chicken tenders place I imagined something like Chick fil a, which I despise, but Huey Magoo’s is much, much better. For one thing, if you get the chicken grilled rather than battered, it’s actually healthful.

We tried two different salads. Magoo’s Favorite, mixed greens with grilled chicken, cranberries, walnuts, grape tomatoes, & raspberry walnut vinaigrette dressing. The chicken was a bit bland, but the dressing was excellent.

Even better was the Buffalo Chicken Salad ordered with grilled chicken. It included bleu cheese crumbles, and grape tomatoes. Unlike the menu description it was made with mixed greens, not romaine.  And rather then jalapeño ranch & spicy Magoo’s dressing it came with a wonderful blue cheese dressing. Thanks to the Buffalo sauces, this chicken really had a lot of flavor. This was really a top-notch salad, far beyond expectations for a quick serve restaurant.

They have a Coke freestyle machine.

While there isn’t table service, the staff was attentive.

Huey Magoo’s Chicken Tenders
7538 W Sand Lake Rd
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 203-2051

Harry and Larry’s Barbeque

Smoked brisket 1/4 pound

St Louis Ribs & Cole slaw



***** (5 stars)

This small shotgun style business is always packed, and there’s a reason. While there is lots of pretty good BBQ in Orlando, it’s largely represented by small local chains such as Bubbalou’s and 4 Rivers. While those places turn out some good products, Harry and Larry’s seems to take it to another level, because of the small, home-made approach to everything.

Both the St. Louis Ribs and the Smoked Brisket I tried were, simply put, awesome, with a smokey crust and tender, flavourful meat.

Even the house-made coleslaw was a cut above, with fresh, crisp cabbage and carrot flavors coming through the light and flavorful sauce.

The only miss was the soggy piece of grilled bread served with the ribs.

Note: It can be a bit confusing on your first visit. You order at the counter (inside or out) and if you’re dining in they give you a playing card to put on your table to keep track of who to deliver it to.

Harry and Larry’s Barbeque
54 W Plant St
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 614-5950

Cask & Larder

CL burger with cheddar

Crispy cauliflower

Grilled fish





*** (3 stars)

This is certainly a step up in the food available in the D terminal at MCO. Fans who remember the food at the Cask and Larder in Winter Park may be disappointed, but the food her is certainly above average for an airport.

The open atmosphere is sunny and pleasant, and spacious enough to feel like a bit of an oasis from the bustle of the gates. The menu focuses on Southern and barbecue, which means the only healthy choices are three salads and the grilled fish. I chose the latter. The fish was a nice piece of swordfish, which was a bit well done, but good. The accompanying rice was delicious. Zucchini and tomatoes were very overcooked.

We also tried the CL Burger. It was a generous two patties, and we opted for cheddar rather than blue cheese. The best thing were the crispy fries, well worth the extra three bucks.

Speaking of crispy, the Crispy Cauliflower wasn’t. It also wasn’t very good: a small, overpriced portion served in an oddly sweet sauce.

Service was friendly. The kitchen was pretty slow, considering there were few customers at 10:30 am, but it’s more a place to relax than somewhere for a quick bite.

I’ll go back, but I’ll stick with the burgers and BBQ.

Cask & Larder
1 Jeff Fuqua Blvd
Gates 100-129
Orlando, FL 32827
(321) 280-4200


**** (4 stars)

It’s about time Orlando had some authentic Cajun food. Pointe Orlando seems an unlikely location, and this upper deck location seems cursed, but so far Lafayette’s is doing a lot better than the former succession of tenants.

The large space is divided into four dining areas that feature three bars. Live music is featured in the evenings, but if you don’t want it quite so loud it should be possible to sit a fair ways away from it.

The menu features Cajun classics such a Po’Boy sandwiches and Jambalaya. Note, however, that they’ve applied a twist to some dishes. The Jambalaya, for example is made with angel hair pasta, which sounded awful to me. Fortunately our server, who was from Louisiana suggested getting it made with dirty rice inside. Great call! It was the best jambalaya I’ve had outside of New orleans. The food is pretty mild, so be sure to ask for that bottle of hot sauce if you like it spicy.

There are also non-Cajun dishes such as chicken wings, but I wasn’t too impressed with them. The cheese grits, however, were delicious.

There’s a decent selection of beers and some wine. Service was extraordinarily friendly and helpful. This place definitely is filling a much needed niche.

9101 International Dr
Ste 2220
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 917-2870

Café Amelie

***** (5 stars)

There are few better places for lunch on a nice day in the French Quarter than Cafe Amelie. It’s secluded garden patio is an oasis from the touristy surroundings.

The lunch menu features New Orleans standards such as blackened catfish, along with creative starters like glazed shrimp. The breads are delicious, and there are some nice wines and cocktails, all at reasonable prices.

Service is very friendly and gracious.

Café Amelie
912 Royal St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 412-8965

Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop

**** (4 stars)

Considering the owners are not originally from the South, this is a remarkably authentic dining experience.

I had the lunch special of a half blackened catfish poboy and a cup of gumbo. The catfish was the perfect spiciness, still moist, and not muddy, and the bread was fresh. Gumbo was a tasty, rich mixture, served with the rice separate on one side of the cup, which was an interesting approach. My meal came with a pair of corn meal pancakes rather than muffins, which is a bit unusual, but tasty. At under $7 it was a good buy for lunch.

The unsweetened peach tea was very tasty; it’s hard to find good unsweetened tea in the South. The breakfast items and salads I saw also looked good.

I love the funky atmosphere. The space is decked out like a bait shop, and red checkered plastic tablecloths brighten things up. There are also four tables out on the sidewalk.

Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop
825 Church St
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 733-9030