La Granja

Interior
Interior

***** (5 stars)

This place far exceeded my expectations for a counter serve restaurant. I had the mixed ceviche, and it was wholly authentic, and almost as good as the best I've had in Lima, Peru. My companion had the quarter chick, which was a great lunch time deal.

The only downside of this location is that the strip mall needs a parking lot twice as big!

La Granja
3120 S Kirkman Rd
Orlando, FL 32811

https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-granja-orlando-2

K-Town Cafe

Exterior
Exterior
Salmon
Salmon
Chicken Bulgogi
Chicken Bulgogi
Interior
Interior

***** (5 stars)

I love Korean food, with all the elaborate little side dishes, and large range of flavors. But sometime you just want your Korean fix without taking the time for a multi course st-down meal. K-Town Cafe hits the high points in a quick serve format without sacrificing flavor. Beef or Chicken Bulgogi are probably the go-tos here, although I also really liked my grilled salmon. Each mean comes with either white rice or fried rice. I really like that the fried rice was light and flavorful without being oily. You also get a choice of side dishes, and my generous helpings of kimchi and spicy cucumber were both excellent. There's a more elaborate Korean BBQ next door, but I suspect I will find myself often opting for the convenience here.

K-Town Cafe
7800 Dr Phillips Blvd
Orlando, FL 32819

https://www.yelp.com/biz/k-town-cafe-orlando

The Cheesecake Factory

Interior
Interior
Reception
Reception
Exterior
Exterior
Skinnylicious Asian Chicken Salad
Skinnylicious Asian Chicken Salad

***** (5 stars)

Cheesecake Factories seem particularly consistent, and this one is no exception. Thank goodness for the Skinnylicious menu with many items at 500 calories or less, to make up for that 1600 calorie slice of cheesecake with almost three day’s worth of fat.

The potstickers and samosas were particularly good appetizers, and the Asian Chicken Salad is a very large, low-calorie alternative.

Note that it’s much easier to get to this location via Palm Parkway than from International Drive and all the congestion around the factory outlets.

The Cheesecake Factory
11602 Regency Village Dr
Orlando, FL 32821
(407) 390-7071
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-cheesecake-factory-orlando-6

Pea Soup Andersen’s Restaurant

Exterior
Interior
Placemat
Crackers
Quesadilla

*** (3 stars)

A flashback to the 50s in every way from decor to menu to the cracker basket on the table. Even the placements are unchanged! Anderson’s has never been my favorite soup, but the other food on the menu is quite good. My tuna sandwich was just like Mom used to make, and the quesadilla (which I’m pretty sure wasn’t on the menu in the 50s) was huge.

Pea Soup Andersen’s Restaurant
376 Avenue Of
Buellton, CA
93427
(805) 688-5581
https://www.yelp.com/biz/pea-soup-andersens-restaurant-buellton-3

Cream Bean Berry

Interior

***** (5 stars)

Excellent local ice cream maker with a great assortment of ice cream and sorbet flavors. There are several choices for cones and cups, or you can have a unicorn sundae, which is served in a cup with a cone (and some magic) on top. They also make floats with sodas or coffee. The line can go out the door, but moves right along.

Cream Bean Berry
1021 Main Ave
Durango, CO
81301
(970) 903-1300
https://www.yelp.com/biz/cream-bean-berry-durango

Ship Tavern

Slow Roasted Prime Rib
Burger and onion rings
Pretzels
Bar
Bar
Interior

**** (4 stars)

You might expect an upscale hotel like The Brown Palace to have an equally upscale dining room, but this tavern is actually more like a 60s BBQ joint. The entree selection is somewhat limited, but there are lots of sandwiches and sports-bar-like appetizers. The prime rib was truly delicious, and they make a great burger. There is also a nice selection of whiskey. Service was friendly and helpful.

Ship Tavern
321 17th St
Denver, CO
80202
(303) 297-3111
https://www.yelp.com/biz/ship-tavern-denver-5

The Soda Fountain

Interior

Thin mint shake

***** (5 stars)

This is an old fashioned soda fountain and ice cream place. I really like the ambiance.

I had the thin mint shake, which had a great mint flavor and huge chunks of chocolate. Excellent!

It’s attached to The Doghouse, so you can have a dog, tots and dessert, all at the same table.

Service was friendly.

The Soda Fountain
2525 Edgewater Dr
Orlando, FL 32804
(407) 540-1006
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-soda-fountain-orlando

Doghouse

Exterior

Chili dog and BBQ tots

**** (4 stars)

This is a small counter service place in college park that offers hotdogs and tater tots. There are premade specials, or you can just specify whatever you want on your dog and tots. I tried the certified angus beef dog with mustard, onions and chili. The bun had a good consistency, and the chili was okay. I wasn’t wowed by the meat, so I might try the regular do the next time.

It’s attached to a larger ice cream shop with more seating. and you can have a shake for dessert.

Service was friednly.

Doghouse
2527 Edgewater Dr
Orlando, FL 32804
(407) 412-5409
https://www.yelp.com/biz/doghouse-orlando

Carmine’s Italian Restaurant – Times Square

Interior

Exterior

Cold appetizers

Side of meatballs

Penne Alla Penne Alla Vodka

Tugboat (1/3 of a Titanic)

**** (4 stars)

When someone tells you a restaurant serves large portions, you probably think you know what to expect. You don’t.

Carmine’s is a restaurant you want to go to as a group of eight, and then order two dishes. I’m not kidding. You’ll leave full. Four of us ordered two dishes, and left with an eight-pound bag of food.

We started with the cold appetizer plate. The calamari salad was particularly noteworthy.

The Penne ala Vodka was very good, properly al dente. Truth to be told we also had a side of meatballs. A side is eight meatballs the size of baseballs.

Service was good, and the large, crowded dining room is not as loud as you might expect.

Carmine’s Italian Restaurant – Times Square
200 W 44th St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 221-3800
https://www.yelp.com/biz/carmines-italian-restaurant-times-square-new-york-3

The Goblin Market Restaurant

Exterior

***** (5 stars)

I’ve been going here for over twenty years, and it just keeps getting better.

First off, there isn’t a restaurant in Central Florida with better atmosphere. The place is divided up into a collection of amazingly cute and cozy rooms, each with the feel of a private library.

The food is great, too. I’ve only been at lunchtime, when you can’t go wrong with any of the sandwich choices. I’m not much of a wrap fan, but I love the ones here. And for something less healthful try the grilled cheese. Their fries are good, but the homemade potato chips are even better.

Service is friendly and attentive.

In case you’re wondering about the name Goblin Market, do a Google search for the poem by Christina Rossetti.

The Goblin Market Restaurant
330 Dora Drawdy Way
Mount Dora, FL 32757
(352) 735-0059
https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-goblin-market-restaurant-mount-dora