Best Of 2017

Best Slice That Doesn't Exist (Yet)

The Lazy La Zi Mashup

Lazy Moon, 1011 E. Colonial Drive,

Chuan Lu Garden, 1101 E. Colonial Drive,

It seems like a no-brainer. The Mills 50 outpost of venerated UCF pizzeria Lazy Moon opened up on East Colonial late last year, less than a block away from the city's best Sichuan Chinese restaurant, Chuan Lu Garden. And one of Chuan Lu Garden's most addictive dishes, fried pieces of chicken tossed with chili oil, Sichuan peppercorns, dry chilis and other spices, is the La Zi Chicken. La Zi. Lazy. The combination practically writes itself. The hypothetical slice hasn't appeared on the Lazy Moon menu yet, but we're holding out hope. In the meantime, DIY diners have to order the chicken to go, then walk over to Lazy Moon to get a cheese slice, and then surreptitiously combine the two in secret. It's no way to live.

Best BS
Photo by Yesenia Lima

Daily "Bullshit $9 Drink"

Valkyrie Doughnuts

12226 Corporate Blvd.

What you can count on: The daily "Bullshit $9 Drink" will always have vegan soft serve mixed with coffee or a flavored sparkling drink topped with whipped cream, a tiny doughnut, and a cone. What you can't count on: ever getting the same thing twice. The Daily BS is created by Valkyrie's team of temperamental geniuses – it might be a "Johnny Cash" with strawberry, coffee, coconut and Oreos; or it might be a "Caffeinated Girl Scout" with matcha, coffee, Thin Mint and caramel. You pays your money and you takes your chances. (Or, you check Instagram early in the day for a hint.)

Best Avocado Toast
Photo by Jessica Bryce Young

Farm + Haus

3201 Corrine Drive


Mock if you must; tell us we don't own homes because we're spending all our money on avocado toast; we won't notice because our eyes will be closed as we savor the blissful, creamy, crunchy, carby goodness of a slice of the best avo-to in town. A generously sized slab of fine-grained bread (no holes for the topping to drop through) is slathered with ripe-ripe-ripe mashed avocado and sprinkled with sea-salt flakes, chopped herbs, ripe tomato and gorgeous watermelon radish slices.

Best Sweet Slushie
Photo by Monivette Cordeiro

Frostville Chamoyada Mangonada

925 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Apopka


This tiny hole-in-the-wall joint on a strip off OBT provides the perfect way to beat the heat: with a spicy, tangy frozen mangonada. Popular across the Southwest, this Mexican fruit drink is made with mango chunks, shaved ice and chamoy with kicks of lime juice and chili powder. The chilled drink is topped off with a thick straw covered in sticky tamarind that will get red food coloring all over your fingers. Come to Frostville after a day at the springs for an icy respite you won't forget.

Best Croissant
Photo by Rob Bartlett

Best Croissant

Buttermilk Bakery

1198 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park


Whether you've got a full set of sweet teeth or you're a salt-and-butter fiend to the end, skipping a trip to Buttermilk Bakery would be a big mistake. We love the bright, juicy pop-tarts and the dense, insanely rich brownies, but their croissants – the true test of a baker – are the pastries that really stand out. They're shatteringly crisp and meltingly buttery, filled with sweet almond paste or rich chocolate on the sweet side, or sophisticated savory combos like smoked cheddar and charred jalapeño or mushroom and Gruyére.

Best Always-86ed Menu Item

Garlic knots

Pizza Bruno

3990 Curry Ford Road

Honestly, if you get to Pizza Bruno after 7:30 p.m. on most weeknights, you're going to miss the boat on these oily, garlicky, pillowy pods of glutenous goodness. We'd estimate there are about six total cloves of garlic sending up their savory steam from every order of knots, which means the tables around you who missed out will probably slyly steal a few whiffs.

Best Puerto Rican 
Comfort Food
Photo by Chris Tobar Rodriguez

Mofongo pionono

Melao Bakery

2001 Consulate Drive


Let's start by acknowledging that traditional mofongo is already fantastic. Puerto Ricans hit the jackpot when they decided to mix fried mashed green plantains with olive oil, garlic and pork cracklings. But Melao Bakery takes it to a different plane of gastronomical existence with its mofongo pionono. This dish has the basic elements of mofongo, but adds sweet plantains, ground beef and melted cheese on top for a truly soul-replenishing experience. Wash it down with a cold Malta India and one of Melao's delicious quesitos.

Best Local Sucker

White Male Tears lollipop

Big Tim's Fancy AF Lollipops

Anyone who's ever gotten stuck in a Facebook argument about Ghostbusters or Doctor Who knows that there's a vocal minority of whiny guys out there who can't handle any sort of change to the genders of fictional characters. They're the same sort of snowflakes who preface sentences with "I'm not racist, but ..." or wonder why there's no such thing as a Straight Pride parade. Thankfully, local craft candy company Big Tim's Fancy AF Lollipops has just the flavor to savor while reading idiotic diatribes from fragile dudes in need of a safe space. Their "White Male Tears" lollipop – actually a delicious blend of salted almond and a hint of vanilla – has a patina of salt on one side for just the right balance of sweet schadenfreude with lachrymose lamentation.

Best Unicorn-Colored Drink
Photo by Monivette Cordeiro

Honey lemon anchan tea

Krungthep Tea Time

1051 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park


We were already obsessed with Krungthep's delectable sandwiches and eye-popping desserts when we saw their rainbow-colored teas make a debut on Instagram. The honey lemon anchan tea is a slightly sweet tea with hints of lemon zest and vanilla bathed in deep azures, lavenders and violets that ultimately lead to a golden finale. And the best part of this Technicolor drink is that it's all natural – no added colors, just some good tea craftsmanship. Get outta here with that Unicorn Frappucino.

Best Place to Eat Invertebrates

Joyful Garden

5210 W. Colonial Drive


With seafood selections like jellyfish, geoduck, conch, snails, razor clams, live baby abalone and cuttlefish alongside your average squid, octopus, shrimp and crab, new West Colonial Chinese restaurant Joyful Garden is without a doubt the place to go for quivering, spineless, delicious marine life. (If you're OK with spines, there's plenty of frogs, eels, goosefish and croaker to keep you busy.) Even if you're not an adventurous eater, there are plenty of less-challenging dishes here that are way out of the ordinary – like rabbit noodle soup or clams stir-fried with Chinese zucchini.