A coffee guide, visits to new places, plus festivals celebrating the taco, Cuban sandwiches and more.
A New Year, a new opportunity to find that perfect eatery. 2018 was an exciting (and change-filled) time for restaurants, and I’m looking forward to even more sensational places opening that will advance the status of Orlando’s food scene even more.
I have stories planned on the Orlando coffee community; visits to Sanford, Winter garden and DeLand; new places to shop and have breakfast; the always-changing fast food scene; and a sit-down place (or three) that you’ll want to visit.
Let me know what you’re intrigued about this year, and let’s explore together.
* In the midst of final construction of their new Proper & Wild restaurant in Winter Park, Chelsie and Jamie Savage of Sanctum Cafe quietly slipped into the former Wheat Berry Cafe & Raw Juice Bar space in Altamonte Springs and are opening Sanctum Coffee & Juice Bar this month. We are big fans of the Golden Hills Roasters coffee Sanctum serves, so this should be a good stop for Altamonters (Altamonties?).
* Two upcoming music events also focus on great food. The Apopka Blues, Folk & Jazz Festival on January 19 presents roast pig barbecue, Louisiana crawfish and food trucks, and music from hot indie band Whyte Tygers. Then, Indie-Folkfest at the Menello Museum of American Art on February 16 brings food and drink from Tapa Toro, The Courtesy, Olde Hearth Bread and Maxine’s On Shine; local and regional painters and craftspeople; and amazing music from the likes of Terry Binion, Beemo, the great Eugene Snowden (the hardest working man in Orlando), Beth McKee and Joseph and Jessy Marten.
* New craft beer destination and cider brewery Tuffy’s Bottle Shop and Lounge in Sanford presents the Side By Cider Festival on January 26, featuring collaborations with other Sanford-area breweries, a plethora of food trucks, local crafts, and music from The 502s, Hannah Harber and the Lionhearts, Someday Honey, and The Groove Orient. Free entry and several VIP ticket levels are available.
* As if there wasn’t enough available anyway, February 9th brings the Orlando Taco Festival to Drive Shack in Lake Nona. There will be tacos from 30 area restaurants and food trucks, a tequila expo, live bands, kids’ areas, and a “best dressed” contest (I don’t know if that means dressing as a taco). Tickets range from $9.95 early bird to $69.95 “last chance” entry; proceeds benefit The Trauma Survivors Foundation.
* March 2 is the 4th Annual Kissimmee Cuban Sandwich Festival at Kissimmee Lakefront Park, which sounds like a fun time all by itself. The Ybor City version of the fest (on March 31 this year) strives to make the world’s largest cubano sandwich, and the Kissimmee crowd will attempt to meet that challenge. Last year’s contestants for Best Sandwich included Chef Jose Juarez (The BarbaCuban), El Cubanito Subs, and Winter Haven’s La Flor de Espana, competing in historic, traditional and non-traditional categories. The free event includes live and DJ’d music.
Start the New Year as you mean to go on … find some new and exciting dining, and let me know about it! Stay in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org, and access a comprehensive list of my print and online reviews here!