Zimmer is coming to Orlando, do not eat bugs, have a good time


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It’s no secret, Orlando has gotten a lot of love lately. Everyone from the New York Times to USA Today to Alton Brown has sung praises of our small town for the past year or so, so this roundup in Food & Wine Magazine should come as no surprise. Think of it as internet official: you have eternal bragging rights over many of your friends and relatives out of town – or anyone who thinks all we have to offer is Disney, Universal, and the Holy Land Experience .

So Andrew Zimmer, speaking of the bizarre eating habits and inspiring life story, visited the city of Beautiful and his shortlist is almost exactly what ours would be. No shockers here, but it’s always nice to feel the national spotlight shine on us. Zimmer picked eight sizes, and Rifle Paper Co.’s Anna Bond came up with another handful of classics, adding up to “12 Places to Stay, Eat, and Shop In and Around Orlando”.

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Zimmer’s tips and some excerpts of his praise:

  • The new Four Seasons Orlando at WDW (OK, so this one is a theme park-a-riffiic.)

  • 4 rivers smokehouse
  • Hawkers Asian Srteet Fare: “The food in this little Formica-tiled room in Orlando has lots of great flavors … everything I’ve tried is shockingly good.”
  • The Rusty Spoon: “Kathleen Blake is a proud torchbearer of the Central Florida food movement. She runs farm tours and changes her Orlando gastropub menu as often as O-Town boy bands change their hairstyles.” (Hmm, O-Town boy bands … are there any more?)
  • Luma in the park
  • Black Bean Deli: “Local wisdom has it that this place for lunch in Winter Park (which has just opened an outpost in Orlando) serves the best fried plantains on this side of Cuba.”
  • Barrel & pantry

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Bonds tips:

  • Barnies CoffeeKitchen, Winter Park: “It’s the café where my creative circle hangs out,” says Bond, who recommends finding a place in the courtyard.
  • East End Market
  • Stardust Video & Coffee
  • Enzian Theater
  • The Imperial: “This place has been around since I moved here, but I didn’t go in until they teamed up with a woodworking friend to build a bar. They have lots of great Florida craft beers, like the one at Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, “says Bond.

Like I said … when you can only pick a dozen great places to visit in Orlando (difficult), this is a pretty excellent round-up.


Janet Smith