Barley & Hops

Beef brat

Flatbread

Exterior

Fried mushrooms

Potstickers

**** (4 stars)

By my count this is the fifth incarnation of this place, and definitely the best. The previous version, The Big Easy, was also good, but didn’t last long because of the narrow focus on Cajun food, I guess. This new sports bar menu should have broader appeal.

We tried the fried mushrooms and pan sauteed pork potstickers as appetizers, and both were very good. I particularly liked the cole slaw that came with the pot stickers.

For my main course I had the beef brat, which was nicely seared and served with sauteed peppers, onions, and sauerkraut.

My companion has a pepperoni flatbread. It wasn’t really a flatbread, it was a large rectangular pizza. And boy was it good! Lots of pepperoni, and most importantly lots of delicious pizza sauce, what I regard as west coast style. Ironically, this is the best pizza ever served in this building, a place that was three different Italian restaurants in the past!

Our server, Ashley, was terrific.

The space is mostly unchanged since the previous use, but this is the first time when the concept has truly matched the layout. It works as a sports bar, and I wish them much success.

Barley & Hops
7782 Winter Garden Vineland RdSte 140
Windermere, FL
34786
(407) 347-3688
https://www.yelp.com/biz/barley-and-hops-windermere-3

Petrossian Bar

Caviar sampler

Interior

**** (4 stars)

This is a delightful piano bar just off the Bellagio lobby, and next to the casino. Despite its location, it is neither noisy nor smoky.

Many creative cocktails are one offer. One of the most interesting items is the caviar sampler, which includes a taste of three grades of caviar, and a glass of Champagne. I suggest ordering it with the creme fraiche on the side, though, as the way it’s served it’s almost impossible to keep it from getting mixed into the caviar, which makes them all taste the same.

Petrossian Bar
3600 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV
89109
(702) 693-7111
https://www.yelp.com/biz/petrossian-bar-las-vegas

Vitality Bowls

Immunity Bowl

Dragon bowl

**** (4 stars)

This new, healthy restaurant is a nice improvement over the yogurt sop that was here. It’s a bright, corner space with inside and outside tables. It’s a counter service franchise concept, although they do bring the food to your table.

Ordering is the biggest challenge. The menu, presented on multiple digital signage screens, has about a million items and descriptions. There are pre-made bowls, paninis, and smoothies, plus at least a dozen ingredients you can add in.

As with most healthy eating places, there are some ingredients the casual consumer may find–there’s no other way to say it–unappetizing. You need to order carefully. We tried two bowls. The Dragon Bowl was sweet and fruity, more like a dessert on berry sherbert than a main course. The Immunity bowl was less appetizing, with a green substance in the bottom influenced by the kale and other vegetable ingredients. It tasted okay.

Smoothies are more of a challenge. I honestly couldn’t drink my Immunity smoothie, but maybe it was just a poor choice.

If you’re dubious about healthy items, it’s probably best to stick with the paninis, as they seem more conventional.

Service was very friendly, a big improvement on the former tenant. If you’re looking for something healthy in the Dr. Philips area it’s worth checking out.

Vitality Bowls
8014 Conroy Windermere Rd
Ste 101
Orlando, FL 32835
(407) 730-6358
https://www.yelp.com/biz/vitality-bowls-orlando-3

Pret A Manger

Interior

**** (4 stars)

I like the simplicity of Pret if you just want a coffee and croissant. The baristas can certainly whip up something fancy, but sometimes it’s nice to just serve yourself a cup.

The chocolate hazelnut croissant is noteworthy, because it’s filled like pain au chocolate, but is the shape and consistency of a croissant.

Pret A Manger
787 7th Ave
New York, NY 10019
(212) 262-2328
https://www.yelp.com/biz/pret-a-manger-new-york-79

Allen’s Creamery & Coffee House

Interior

Exterior

**** (4 stars)

I’ve driven past this places a thousand times and never thought of stopping. Finally did, and was surprised it was more than just the window facing the street. Inside it’s like an old fashioned ice cream shop.

Carrot cake ice cream was very interesting.

Friendly service.

Allen’s Creamery & Coffee House
523 Main St
Windermere, FL 34786
(407) 876-3558
https://www.yelp.com/biz/allens-creamery-and-coffee-house-windermere

West Orange Creamery and Soda Fountain

Exterior

Interior

***** (5 stars)

This delightful local creamery serves my very favorite ice cream–Hershey’s–in a wide range of flavors. This Hershey’s is unrelated to the candy company; it’s actually older. Their flavors a rich and complex, with great consistency.

I usually just like a scoop or two in a cup, but West Orange Creamery have everything from waffle cones to genuine banana splits. The employees and owners are really into it, and can give you great advice about their favorites.

West Orange Creamery and Soda Fountain
1575 Maguire Rd
Ste 101
Ocoee, FL 34761
(407) 656-6066
https://www.yelp.com/biz/west-orange-creamery-and-soda-fountain-ocoee

Harajuku Crepe

Egg spinach cheese tomato

Interior

Menu

Exterior

**** (4 stars)

This small counter service crepe place makes tasty dessert and savory crepes. You can customize everything about your crepe, including batter type, contents, and sauces. I had an egg, cheese, spinach and tomato crepe, with Tabasco, and really liked it.

The crepes are folded into an ice cream cone shape and placed in a paper wrapper, which makes it easy to eat them on the go, which you’re going to want to do, because the sun beating into the place through the glass windows makes it hot as an oven!

Harajuku Crepe
9405 S Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 285-3946
https://www.yelp.com/biz/harajuku-crepe-beverly-hills

Alfred Coffee Beverly Hills

Exterior

Breakfast burrito Rico Suave

Interior

**** (4 stars)

This is a nice little privately run coffee shop with all the usual offerings, plus they make a breakfast burrito, which is what drew me in.

My decaf latte with almond milk was excellent.

The breakfast burrito is made in a sandwich press, which imparts a crispy crust. There are a couple of options. I selected the Rico Suave with bacon. $10 seemed a bit steep, but on the other hand I could only finish half of it, so I guess that’s cheap for two meals. It came with two interesting sauces, although I would have liked something a bit spicier.

Service was friendly.

Alfred Coffee Beverly Hills
490 N Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(424) 335-0170
https://www.yelp.com/biz/alfred-coffee-beverly-hills-beverly-hills