Nosh Pit: Our five favorite Orlando dishes of 2018

click to enlarge Nosh Pit: Our five favorite Orlando dishes of 2018
Photo via Orlando Meat/Instagram

LaSpada’s Famous hoagie, LaSpada’s Original Philly Cheese Steaks and Hoagies: This sandwich is a gargantuan architectural marvel featuring genoa salami, pepper ham, capicola, sopressata, prosciutto and sharp provolone on an overstuffed soft roll. Lettuce, tomato and onion come standard, and you can add hot or sweet peppers for a slight upcharge. I recommend both. It smells like heaven and tastes even better than it smells. If you order the large, you simply can’t finish the whole thing in one meal. Half of it will be larger, more filling and more satisfying than a typical “foot-long” sub at most chains.

Seafood ho fun noodles, Kai Asian Street Fare: Kai absolutely kills it with their noodle dishes. The Legendary garlic noodles, served with crab or shrimp, are rich, buttery, garlicky goodness, but their newer ho fun noodles are even better. Wide, thick, flat, perfectly chewy rice noodles are made in house and stir-fried with beef, shrimp, squid and a thick dollop of umami-rich XO sauce in the middle of the plate that really brings the dish together.  

Lamb shanks, Cappadocia Turkish Cuisine: The dish comes with two large bone-in lamb shanks, braised in tomato sauce until they’re tender enough to cut with a fork. The meat is rich and delicious, not gamey at all. They are served with carrots, onions, bell peppers and buttery rice pilaf, but make sure you order the fluffy hollow bread and some cold appetizers like soslu patlican (sautéed eggplant dip) or cacik (yogurt blended with cucumber, dill, garlic and mint) to go with them.

Spicy poke bowl, Poke Hana: I’m so happy poke has become a trend. It is rare when healthy food is also this tasty, and with endless variations to boot. My favorite combo at Poke Hana is ahi tuna and salmon over white rice, tossed in Hawaiian spicy aioli with slightly sweet pickled cucumbers and masago. I could eat that every day and never get sick of it, especially with a side of Poke Hana’s spot-on perfect mayo-based macaroni salad.

The Medium Rare burger, Orlando Meats: This is my favorite burger in Orlando, without a doubt. The butcher shop/restaurant only serves it juicy medium rare (the best level of doneness for a burger) and tops it with provolone, garlic aioli and bacon XO sauce on a crusty-yet-soft French roll. Hmmm, XO sauce showed up twice on this list. Hopefully in 2019, it will become the hot new condiment. Time to move over, sriracha! Anyway, this magnificent burger also comes with potato chips fried in beef tallow and excellent cole slaw.

Orlandoan Louis Rosen blogs about food at