Locations in Winter Park Area

Clear Filters
Loading...
6 results

    The new Whole Foods Market is a great stop for a quick bite, and not just because of the free samples -- from chocolates to cheeses, fresh-baked sunflower loaves to black-bean hummus. It's a different food-gathering experience altogether.

    With background swing music, Utne Readers at the check-out and booth-seating at the front, it's the kind of market that we didn't know we were missing. The deli has an impressive display of takeout delicacies: saffron-yellow paella primavera ($4.59/lb.); grilled portobello mushrooms ($10.99/lb.); oriental sea bass with ginger, honey and pineapple ($14.99/lb.), and more. Plus, the smoothie counter offers an array of liquid energizers, including espresso shots (95 cents). Try "OrangeMango Madness ($3.50)," filled with chunky, organic mangoes.

    After the slap of Charley and too many hours in a powerless, mildewing kitchen, the sight of the lights aglow inside Winnie's Oriental Garden drew us in like a magnet.

    Though dressed in post-hurricane attire, we were welcomed by the young host, who sat us out of sight of the main dining area (at our request) in a corner table near the bar, in perfect sight of the color TV. (Another old friend, the A/C, was doing its job too.) We were just going to order takeout, but were convinced to sit and enjoy and not worry about our downscale attire.

    Though dressed in post-hurricane attire, we were welcomed by the young host, who sat us out of sight of the main dining area (at our request) in a corner table near the bar, in perfect sight of the color TV. (Another old friend, the A/C, was doing its job too.) We were just going to order takeout, but were convinced to sit and enjoy and not worry about our downscale attire.

    Gracious, relaxed service and a sense of elegance – fresh flowers, pleasant music – has been the hallmark of Winnie's ever since it opened in 1996. Before that, for 15 years, Winnie ran the China Garden restaurant in Winter Park, which never recaptured her classy touch. The sense of elegance extends to Winnie's menu as well, which has always been a cut above the area's other Chinese restaurants.

    Gracious, relaxed service and a sense of elegance – fresh flowers, pleasant music – has been the hallmark of Winnie's ever since it opened in 1996. Before that, for 15 years, Winnie ran the China Garden restaurant in Winter Park, which never recaptured her classy touch. The sense of elegance extends to Winnie's menu as well, which has always been a cut above the area's other Chinese restaurants.

    Never mind the hurricane hardships, the typical pampering experience was the same on this night. Warm towels were delivered by our server, and it was tempting to use them for more than just grimy fingers, considering the habituation to cold showers.

    Never mind the hurricane hardships, the typical pampering experience was the same on this night. Warm towels were delivered by our server, and it was tempting to use them for more than just grimy fingers, considering the habituation to cold showers.

    Ordering was easy: For an appetizer, the four pieces of crab rangoon ($4.25) were crispy outside and full of creamy flavor. For an entree, the moo shoo vegetables ($8.25) are the best in town (if anyone else even offers this meatless version), and served with brown rice, if requested. The savory gravy holds together the colorful shredded vegetables that you roll up in Mandarin pancakes spread with hoisin sauce, and savor to the last bite.

    Ordering was easy: For an appetizer, the four pieces of crab rangoon ($4.25) were crispy outside and full of creamy flavor. For an entree, the moo shoo vegetables ($8.25) are the best in town (if anyone else even offers this meatless version), and served with brown rice, if requested. The savory gravy holds together the colorful shredded vegetables that you roll up in Mandarin pancakes spread with hoisin sauce, and savor to the last bite.

    Winnie, you still rock like a hurricane.

    It appears that queuing up outside Winter Park restaurants has become de rigueur, what with lines snaking out the door at Four Rivers Smokehouse (a brisket paradise), Black Bean Deli (oh, those medianoches!) and, now, the Winter Park Fish Company. Okay, they all qualify as shacks more than restaurants, but if folks are willing to brave the elements and wait upward of 30 minutes just to make it to the order counter, then clearly they're all doing something right. This joint prides itself on its fish-friendly practices and commitment to sustainability ' I just wish their commitment to inventory were as superior, at least on the one Friday I visited. They seemed to be out of quite a few dishes by early evening: conch fritters, lobster bisque, salmon burgers, wild coho, Caribbean mahi and, the one dish I was really looking forward to eating, grouper cheeks wrapped in parchment.

    Still, there were plenty of dishes from which to choose, and on this particularly cool night, the fish chowder ($4) sounded perfect, but what we were expecting ' a hearty soup thickened with flour and cream ' wound up having a consistency akin to a traditional bouillabaisse. That didn't negate the soup's heartiness, however, thanks to a just-right ratio of veggies (carrots, celery and potatoes) to fish (cod and mahi). Items labeled 'conesâ?� were intriguing, but that was before we learned they were wraps or, rather, hand rolls. The tuna salad cone ($9.50) had plenty of yellowfin tuna lathered in a creamy mango cole slaw, but it didn't exactly wow us, even if the accompanying thick-cut fries were worthy. What did wow were the addictive hush puppies ($1.50 for four), fresh-out-of-the-fryer'crisp and dusted with powdered sugar. While the price was a bit steep, the lightly fried grouper in the Key West style sandwich ($15) was a sizable cut and undoubtedly fresh. Mild Alaskan ling cod ($14), another fried wonder, was made all the better by sides of crisp green beans and pearl couscous.

    I did manage to sample the grouper cheeks ($12) a few days later. While they're widely considered to be the best part of the fish, I found the chunky morsels cooked with onions and peppers to be properly meaty, but also a tad chewy. The 'Bruce Goreâ?� wild coho ($22), named after the noted fisherman known for providing the finest Alaskan salmon, was the menu's highlight. Caught by hook and line, then stunned, bled and cleaned immediately, Gore's coho embody unparalleled flavor, and that certainly parlayed to the plate. The fish was juicy, fork-tender and simply outstanding, whether grilled or Cajun-seasoned.

    Decor at the Winter Park Fish Company has just the right amount of kitsch (love the canopy of inverted dinghies) and the few picnic-style tables inside lend to communal dining, though there's plenty of seating in the partly covered patio outside. The wait staff, including owner George Vogelbacher (previous owner of Le Cordon Bleu and Nicole St. Pierre), is pleasant, friendly and always willing to stop and chat, which can help pass time when you're standing in line waiting to order. And while parking can be a real pain here, the food is good enough to get you hooked. Consider this one a keeper.

    It's obvious why Wrap Planet appeals to Rollins students who want to skip the swank of Park Avenue and grab a casual bite next to a 7-Eleven. Wrap Planet offers a United Nations of unusual, vegetarian-friendly wraps for breakfast and lunch, smoothies, tacos and salads without the grease and guilt of fast food. 

    That said, the ingredient combos seem odd at first. How about chicken, mashed potatoes and curry? If that's your cup of chai, you'll love the Big Bali. Tofu (or chicken), tomato sauce, brown rice and pinto beans? That's the Mayan Delight. Why is the Mr. Gourdini wrap so named? Not sure: There was no winter squash to be found in the whole-wheat wrap full of mashed potatoes, rice, beans, pico de gallo and Greek dressing. I did, however, enjoy the Bangkok Delight ($5.95), a flour wrap with shredded chicken, cabbage slaw, rice, cucumbers and peanut sauce. 

    Don't expect to lounge around inside; there's no seating, so be ready to claim a bench on Park Ave., walk it off or take it home. Wrap Planet isn't a novel concept ' we've heard the healthy wrap/smoothie song before ' but the innards of their roll-ups are certainly inventive.

Calendar

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

© 2019 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation