Toasted Windermere

Interior

Exterior

Periodic table of cheese

**** (4 stars)

I need to return here to try the grilled cheese sandwichs, as they look good, but we tried the burgers, which are half their offerings.

In particular I wanted an Impossible Burger, the meatless patty that is–when correctly prepared–just as good or even better than meat. It’s best with a nice crust on the outside and a thin patty. Toasted’s version was actually a bit too thick and a bit too big, with pieces falling off around the edges, but it was nicely crusted.

I like my burgers fully dressed, with a slice of onion, pickles or relish, mayo, mustard, and so on. Not sure if they can do that, but the default isn’t the case.

At $12 including fries the Impossible Burger seemed a bit pricey, but I suppose it is because it is exclusive.

We also tried the Southern Burger, which is basically a BBQ bacon cheese burger plus mac and cheese on the burger. The meat in this burger was definitely inferior to the Impossible Burger, and I wouldn’t order it again. We also didn’t think the mac and cheese added anything.

Both burgers came on a nicely grilled bun.

I probably wouldn’t order burgers here again, but I would go back to try the grilled cheese. The employees were all great, very enthusiastic, and the place has a nice ambiance.

Toasted Windermere
6506 Old Brick Rd
Ste 100
Windermere, FL 34786
(407) 217-5485
https://www.yelp.com/biz/toasted-windermere-windermere

Bocas Grill – Orlando

Interior

Pabellon

** (2 stars)

This nice space has been a succession of restaurants, all of them better than this incarnation.

The extensive menu offers a variety of Latin cuisines, with an emphasis on Venezuela. The prices are pretty ridiculous, with a soda or iced tea costing $5, and a milkshake an astounding $15.

Fortunately there are lunch specials for $9. We tried several, and none rose above mediocre. Your money would certainly be better spent at an alternative such as Pio Pio or Arepas El Cacao.

Service can only be termed snail-like, despite the place being only half full, with plenty of servers.

I’m already looking forward to the next restaurant in this space.

Bocas Grill – Orlando
7600 Dr Phillips Blvd
Ste 22
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 723-8351
https://www.yelp.com/biz/bocas-grill-orlando-orlando-2

Vida 365 Bistro Juice Bar

Vegan tacos

Cup of chili

Interior

Exterior

Kitchen

Breakfast menu

Lunch menu

***** (5 stars)

This place is much more than a juice bar, with a complete menu of delicious food, some vegetarian, some vegan, but also lots of items that aren’t.

My favorite was the chili, a delicious concoction of ground turkey and beans with many interesting spices and just the right kick to it.

The Vegan tacos were also good, with crisp shells and a flavorful slaw to add some interest to the quinoa filling.

The servers and chefs were all very friendly.

Vida 365 Bistro Juice Bar
16129 State Road 50
Unit 104
Clermont, FL 34711
(352) 474-8432
http://www.yelp.com/biz/vida-365-bistro-juice-bar-clermont

The Chicago Diner

**** (4 stars)

This is one of the better vegetarian restaurants I’ve been too. They do a great job of using ingredients such as seitan in ways that give it great texture and flavor.

We started with the barbecued sauce coated “wings” which had a great crust and delicious coating. The serving was generous, to say the least, and when we’d finished sharing the appetizers we were wondering if we could eat any of our entrees.

The cuban sandwich was okay, but the tostadas were great, with just the right balance between quinoa and black beans.

Shakes are a specialty here, and my coffee flavored one was wonderful. Note: a small is plenty!

The Chicago Diner
3411 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 935-6696
http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-chicago-diner-chicago

Amazing Kale Burger Lunch Counter

**** (4 stars)

It’s always a pleasure to eat where the employees are really passionate about what they do, and that epitomizes The Amazing Kale Burger. From the moment I walked in I felt right at home, and my server’s enthusiasm for the food was very clear.

I tried the Vaden, which is served with a beet-based BBQ sauce. The kale burger patty is quite delicious, with all the ingredient in balance, and a nice crust from cooking. The accompanying lettuce and tomato were quite fresh, and the BBQ sauce was delicious. The bun was a bit small, sturdy and dry for my taste, but I can see where others might like it.

For a side dish I had pickled asparagus, which was tossed with yellow peppers and extremely fresh oregano bits. It was delicious.

House made mint tea was pleasantly unsweetened.

The kale burger was one of the better vegetarian patties I’ve had, and I’d often choose it over a meat patty if it were available elsewhere. Coincidentally, I ate here on national burger day!

Amazing Kale Burger Lunch Counter
741 Howard St
Evanston, IL 60202
(847) 660-4330
http://www.yelp.com/biz/amazing-kale-burger-lunch-counter-evanston

Tempo Bistro To Go

**** (4 stars)

This small shop offers delicious sandwiches and salads made to order from very fresh ingredients. I had the BLT (a surprising offer from a mostly vegetarian place) and it was quite good. I found the inclusion of cheddar cheese odd, and would omit it on a future visit. The green salad was mostly spinach, very fresh, and came with a delicious miso dressing option.

There are only a few tables in side, and a few more out back, so a lot of orders are to go.

Temp Bistro is definitely a great choice when looking for a healthy alternative.

Tempo Bistro To Go
1516 NW 13th St
Gainesville, FL 32601
(352) 336-5834
http://www.yelp.com/biz/tempo-bistro-to-go-gainesville

Wild Ginger

**** (4 stars)

This small restaurant offers amazingly good sushi, plus a variety of other pan-Asian dishes. We loved everything we tried, including several creative rolls. The Thai Basil Beef was the best I’ve encountered, as was the hot and sour soup. Particularly creative was the salmon skin salad, which was (different from its menu description) tossed with greens and a touch of spice, making it more Vietnamese or Thai than Japanese. The dinner ambiance was fairly intimate, although I understand it is bustling at lunchtime, and with good reason.

Wild Ginger
212 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 218-8828
http://www.yelp.com/biz/wild-ginger-brooklyn

Hubbly Bubbly Falafel Shop

***** (5 stars)

I first had falafel many years ago in Los Angeles, so that’s how I expect it to be, and Hubbly Bubbly does it just that way, slicing the pita in half and filling each half, rather than rolling it up. I like the fact that you can select from an array of ingredients as you walk along the counter.

They also have “bowls” and Halal meats, so there are many possible combinations.

Sides include a sort of potato puff and “crispy” cauliflower, which is fixed in the fryer, without batter. I tried both, and though the potatoes were a bit heavier than I wanted, the cauliflower was delicious, and almost completely drained due to the lack of batter.

The owner, George, took time to explain to every new customer what all the options were, and provided free samples of things to try next time.

My new favorite place for falafel in Orlando.

Hubbly Bubbly Falafel Shop
3405 Edgewater Dr
Orlando, FL 32804
(407) 985-5841
http://www.yelp.com/biz/hubbly-bubbly-falafel-shop-orlando

Candle 79

*** (3 stars)

This is a charming place, with excellent service. I loved the house made ginger ale. I was a bit disappointed in the food, because it seemed under-seasoned and under-flavored, despite having quite a few ingredients. The hummus appetizer was fine, but the falafel seemed like almost the same dish, just seared hummus in a pita without much sign of tahini or other ingredients.

Candle 79
154 E 79th St
New York, NY 10075
(212) 537-7179
http://www.yelp.com/biz/candle-79-new-york