Victoria & Albert’s

Kitchen view from the Chef's Table
Kitchen view from the Chef's Table
Starters at The Chef's Table: Seared Pink Pineapple  Langoustine Tartelette Cinco Jotas Iberico, Miso Caramel, "Éclair"
Starters at The Chef's Table: Seared Pink Pineapple Langoustine Tartelette Cinco Jotas Iberico, Miso Caramel, "Éclair"
Mini baguette
Mini baguette
Danish Hiramasa, Carrot, Okinawan Potatoes
Danish Hiramasa, Carrot, Okinawan Potatoes
Royal Belgian Caviar, Cauliflower Panna Cotta
Royal Belgian Caviar, Cauliflower Panna Cotta
Chef's Table platinum plated cutlery
Chef's Table platinum plated cutlery
Glacier 51 Toothfish, Charred Mushroom, Sambal
Glacier 51 Toothfish, Charred Mushroom, Sambal
Wild Turbot, Fennel, Baby Leeks
Wild Turbot, Fennel, Baby Leeks
Green Circle Chicken, Australian Black Truffle, Corn
Green Circle Chicken, Australian Black Truffle, Corn
Lamb, Pickled Blueberries, Violet Mustard
Lamb, Pickled Blueberries, Violet Mustard
Miyazaki A-5, Potato Rösti, Romesco
Miyazaki A-5, Potato Rösti, Romesco
Preparation of Cheese
Preparation of Cheese
Chef's Table Menu
Chef's Table Menu
Honey Elderflower Ice Cream
Honey Elderflower Ice Cream
Spectrum of Chocolate
Spectrum of Chocolate
Warm Chocolate Cookie
Warm Chocolate Cookie

***** (5 stars)

V&A is back and better than ever! After a more than two-year pandemic closure, Central Florida's greatest restaurant has reopened at the top of its game.

Manager Israel Perez has used the time to update the decor, service pieces, furnishings, and pairings. Matthew Sowers, always a creative spark in the kitchen, is now the Chef de Cuisine, and the new menu already shows off his skills.

We've dined at V&A dozens of times over the years, and this meal was simply the best we've ever had. We were privileged to be the first to experience the new Chef's Table, which gives you a great view into the kitchen, now easier to see into, and busier than ever.

The menu and serving pieces at the Chef's Table are the same as in the intimate Victoria Room, which offers a more romantic experience. Both offer courses not a part of the main dining room menu, including the caviar and the turbot, so they are well worth the additional cost.

Of course the menu is evolving, but our meal included:

Pink Pineapple, Thai Basil, Spiced Mango
Langoustine Tartelette, Watermelon, Finger Limes
Cinco Jotas Iberico, Miso Caramel, "Éclair"

Royal Belgian Caviar, Cauliflower Panna Cotta

Danish Hiramasa, Carrot, Okinawan Potatoes

Wild Turbot, Fennel, Baby Leeks

Glacier 51 Toothfish, Charred Mushroom, Sambal

Green Circle Chicken, Australian Black Truffle, Corn

Lamb, Pickled Blueberries, Violet Mustard

Lamb, Pickled Blueberries, Violet Mustard

Miyazaki A-5, Potato Rösti, Romesco

Preparation of Cheese

Honey Elderflower Ice Cream

Warm Chocolate Cookie

Spectrum of Chocolate:
Pistachio Petit Four
Praline Truffle
Pavlova
Tropical Caramel

Each course was a home run, and it is hard to pick favorites, but the chicken was a standout, sitting atop an incredibly complex Perigord sauce. The A5 Wagyu was also the best I've had anywhere.

New offerings are a completely vegan alternate menu, and a full set of non-alcoholic pairings. The one we sampled was delicious.

The wine list remains one of the best in the state, although most guests opt for the very reasonably priced wine pairings.

A measure of how wonderful this meal was is that before it had ended we were already planning our next visit.

Victoria & Albert’s
4401 Floridian Way
Orlando, FL 32830

https://www.yelp.com/biz/victoria-and-alberts-orlando-4

Bishop’s Castle

Photo of Bishop's Castle - Rye, CO, United States
Photo of Bishop's Castle – Rye, CO, United States
Photo of Bishop's Castle - Rye, CO, United States
Photo of Bishop's Castle – Rye, CO, United States
Photo of Bishop's Castle - Rye, CO, United States
Photo of Bishop's Castle – Rye, CO, United States
Photo of Bishop's Castle - Rye, CO, United States
Photo of Bishop's Castle – Rye, CO, United States
Photo of Bishop's Castle - Rye, CO, United States
Photo of Bishop's Castle – Rye, CO, United States
Photo of Bishop's Castle - Rye, CO, United States
Photo of Bishop's Castle – Rye, CO, United States
Photo of Bishop's Castle - Rye, CO, United States
Photo of Bishop's Castle – Rye, CO, United States

**** (4 stars)

Definitely Colorado's most unique and insane roadside attraction. The fruit of one very — shall we say, Individual — person's work, this massive structure is at once breathtaking, beautiful, crazy, and dangerous as all get out. Worth the detour.

Bishop’s Castle
12705 State Hwy 165
Rye, CO 81069

https://www.yelp.com/biz/bishops-castle-rye-2

Cuptown

Exterior
Exterior
Interior
Interior
Croissants
Croissants

***** (5 stars)

This nice little coffee shop is just off the main road through Sedona. They have a nice selection of locally made pastries, plus the usual coffee drinks. It's nice to patronize local business rather than the chains.

Cuptown
274 Apple Ave
Sedona, AZ 86336

https://www.yelp.com/biz/cuptown-sedona

Chateau Tumbleweed

Interior
Interior
Exterior
Exterior

***** (5 stars)

What a great find! Although the grapes are not grown locally (they are from Southern Arizona) the winemaking here is impeccable. You will find many classic varieties from Europe that you rarely see in the US, and every one of a dozen wines we tried was perfectly crafted.

And what a wonderful host we had for our tasting! Even though he has only been with the winery for six months, he was very knowledgable and accommodating, providing us with great recommendations for not only wines, but also local sights and restaurants.

This was our favorite stop in this wine country.

Chateau Tumbleweed
1151 W State Rt 89A
Clarkdale, AZ 86324

https://www.yelp.com/biz/chateau-tumbleweed-clarkdale

Maskadores Taco Shop Buckeye

Interior
Interior
Wet burrito with red sauce and sour cream
Wet burrito with red sauce and sour cream
Al Pastor Street Tacos
Al Pastor Street Tacos

***** (5 stars)

This is one of a chain of taco restaurants around Phoenix. This one is in a Chevron gas station in Buckeye. It's counter service, but there is a surprisingly nice seating area, and you can buy any beverage you like in the adjacent convenience store.

The Pastor Street Tacos were excellent. As with all of the menu items, you can select your toppings (we chose onions and cilantro) and add any sauce you like from a salsa bar (the green sauce is quite good). The four tacos came with generous servings of rice and black beans.

We also tried the Barbacoa Wet Burrito with red sauce. It was stuffed with rice and beans, and we added onions, cilantro, and guacamole. It was also quite good, and authentically spicy, even without adding hot sauce.

Everything is made to order, so it takes a few minutes, but the service is friendly.

Maskadores Taco Shop Buckeye
2075 N Miller Rd
Buckeye, AZ 85326

https://www.yelp.com/biz/maskadores-taco-shop-buckeye-buckeye

Hinoki & The Bird

Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Sourdough bread
Sourdough bread
Lobster roll
Lobster roll
Sashimi
Sashimi
Ceviche
Ceviche
Mushrooms
Mushrooms
Boar ribs
Boar ribs

*** (3 stars)

The good: amazing wine-list with a broad selection of medium to high priced wines from excellent producers and appellations, worldwide.

The bad: crowded and deafeningly noisy making conversation nearly impossible.

The so-so: all the food we tried (ceviche, sashimi, mushrooms, boar ribs, lobster roll, sourdough bread) was just okay. No standouts or anything I'd order again.

Service was friendly, and coping well with the chaos.

Hinoki & The Bird
10 W Century Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90067

https://www.yelp.com/biz/hinoki-and-the-bird-los-angeles

Se7en Bites

Exterior
Exterior
Interior
Interior
Se7en Bites Benedict
Se7en Bites Benedict

***** (5 stars)

This is a wonderful spot for breakfast or lunch, both of which are served all day (although all day is only four days a week and until mid-afternoon).

There are two order counters inside, one for hot food, and the other for baked goods.

The breakfast items almost all feature their fabulous garlic biscuits, which are huge, flaky, crusty, and moist inside.

Lunch offers a wide variety. They're famous for their chicken pot pie.

The baked goods are my favorite. The dark chocolate pecan pie had an amazing flaky, buttery crust. The macaroon was the perfect combination of toasty and moist without being too sugary or sticky.

The entire staff was exceptionally friendly.

Se7en Bites
617 N Primrose Dr
Orlando, FL 32803

https://www.yelp.com/biz/se7en-bites-orlando

T-Rex Cafe

Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Interior
Chicken and ribs
Chicken and ribs

**** (4 stars)

This place is an excellent choice for a meal that will entertain the kids and provide credible food for the adults. The decor is a step beyond Rainforest Cafe-level (although the animation of the dinosaurs is not going to challenge Disney). The menu is typical sports bar plus some larger plates, and the service is good. It's large and fairly noisy, but so are dinosaurs.

T-Rex Cafe
1676 E Buena Vista Dr
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

https://www.yelp.com/biz/t-rex-cafe-lake-buena-vista

Solamente Al Pastor

Chicken and pork tacos pastor
Chicken and pork tacos pastor
Truck
Truck

**** (4 stars)

This is a review of the food truck, which was parked near Pike Place Market at at 4th and Pine. Very good pork and chicken pastor tacos, served with lime and your choice of mild or spicy sauce. Three to an order, and one tortilla per taco, so more fork food that hand held.

Solamente Al Pastor
4435 A St SE
Auburn, WA 98002

https://www.yelp.com/biz/solamente-al-pastor-auburn