Adventures in Dining

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Yellow Dog Eats, June 12, 2011 June 12, 2011

Filed under: Gotha,Ocoee — hpandaw @ 9:20 pm

We went to see Super 8 at the West Oaks Mall, and then decided to look for a new place to eat.  We’d been meaning to try Yellow Dog Eats for, oh, about three years now, so seized this opportunity of being in the neighborhood.  We got there about 12:45, and the place was PACKED!  So packed that we had to park in the overflow lot across the street. We entered, and were greeted by a friendly but somewhat harassed lady, who was trying to explain how the restaurant worked to a group of people packed into the entryway. Apparently we were supposed to grab a menu, order, and grab a seat. We decided to change the order of events somewhat, seeing how packed the place was, and grabbed menus, then went to look for seats.  We lucked out, in that a couple was leaving right as we were coming in, so we got a seat in the courtyard.  It was literally the ONLY empty table in the restaurant!

After perusing the menu, I decided to order the Kitty Kat, a $9.95 sandwich consisting of “all white albacore tuna salad, distinctive teriyaki marinade, dried cranberries, onions with crisp leaf lettuce, orange-cointreau mayonnaise, sunflower sprouts, and Gouda served on a multigrain bread.” 

This sandwich was AMAZING!  Easily the best tuna salad I’ve ever had, with the orange cointreau mayonnaise and teriyaki marinade adding layer upon layer of flavor to a fairly ordinary dish.  Before we got our food, I was wondering if any tuna salad could be worth $10, and this was!  We were very, very happy campers.

My husband ordered the White Trash, a pulled pork barbeque sandwich served on “Sunbeam white bread topped with spicy coleslaw, Gouda cheese, and bacon” for $9.95. 

The bread largely disintegrated, which he thought was the whole point of it, and the barbeque tasted great.  He wished that it had been pulled a bit better, since there were a few large chunks that were difficult to get through, and thus missed the sauce.  He also thought that the Gouda was too weak to stand up to the boldness of the sauce.  This barbeque sauce was a bright orange sauce, possibly mustard based, since it wasn’t vinegar or tomato-based.  It was sweet, but also pretty spicy, and the coleslaw was also pretty spicy.  He really likes coleslaw with his barbeque, so he enjoyed this very much.  It was  big sandwich and very filling.  The thick, distinctively-flavored bacon was fried to a crisp and so added a very nice crispy texture to the sandwich.

While enjoying our lunch, we were visited by a lovely black cat, who unfortunately had been fed what looked like chocolate cake by another diner, since she upchucked it on the empty seat at our table.  She was a very sweet cat, and we didn’t mind sweeping her mess onto the ground.

While we were finishing up, the owner, Fish Morgan, stopped by our table.  We told him that it was our first visit, and he said that he had something that he wanted us to try.  He went into the kitchen and came back with a thick, decadent slice of chocolate ganache cake, surrounded by four mounds of whipped cream.    He said that even people who didn’t care for chocolate enjoyed this cake, and I can easily believe that.  It was so incredibly luscious, rich, and creamy, that I ate until I thought I would burst!

Overall, we enjoyed our lunch at the Yellow Dog Eats very much, and we will definitely return when we’re next in the Ocoee/Gotha area.  Five stars within its category to the Yellow Dog Eats!

 

 

Chipotle Mexican Grill, July 28, 2007 July 29, 2007

Filed under: Ocoee — hpandaw @ 6:06 pm

One of the goals of this blog is to help us open our eyes to new, different, and oft-overlooked culinary options. This week we opted for a place that many would consider a chain and therefore a bit of an antithesis to our mission. To be sure, Chipotle is indeed a far-reaching enterprise with locations spread across the country like pock marks on Edward James Olmos’ million-dollar puss. Heck, that bastion of gastronomic tedium, McDonald’s, once held a majority ownership stake in the bid-ness. But if their drink cups are to be believed, Chipotle’s goal is to remain “un-chain-like”, and use their size as a catalyst for good in the food supply chain. Cups rarely lie to me, so I took their promises at face value.

EJO

Politics aside, we threw open the doors of the Ocoee location with a burning in the gut and a chip on our shoulder. The former due to our noon-time hunger, the latter chiseled from satisfactory experiences with Moe’s Southwestern Grill and especially Tijuana Flats, both in the same general area geographically and culinarily. The joint was perhaps 25% occupied at the time, with a couple parties ahead of us. By the time we left, the line had gone through several longer versions and more than 60% of the interior chairs were occupied. The patio was forbiddingly suffocated by a blanket of summer Floridian atmosphere.

 

Walls were decorated with black and white photos of street scenes, most notably the first Chipotle location in Denver, CO. Some people may find that offensive- Denver watching over you while you eat- but it didn’t really bother us that much. Partition half-walls were wrapped in corrugated steel which provided a clean, sanitary feel. This was accented by isolated pin-spots and exposed HVAC ceiling ductwork barely hidden behind an IKEA-esque woodwork. The latter looked like the skeletons of bookcases pivoted on their X-axis. Tables were similarly topped with stainless steel and accompanied by chairs in a complementing light-colored wood. Industrial-meets-Sweden. There were a couple piece of art that resembled modern stabs at mezzo-American statues. Employees dressed in black with baseball caps. One grill worker wore a shirt that exclaimed “I marinated the chicken last night”, while another boasted “I made the salsa today”. If these are euphemisms for after-hours shenanigans, I don’t want to know.

interior

You can read the full menu on their website. The better-half opted for a vegetarian burrito, stuffed with black beans, cilantro-lime rice, tomato salsa, shredded jack-and-white cheese, guacamole, and sour cream. I always like the feel of the bloated, steamed flour burrito shells, slightly tacky and with a healthy resistance when palpated. Not unlike the warm cranium of an infant in his second hour. The missus describes the burrito as having a slight heat, possibly due to the tomato salsa. The guacamole, complete with large avocado pieces, was a highlight. Freshness abounded in all ingredients. Not “the best” burrito she’s had, but tasty and complete. A little difficult to eat since it weighed in at roughly the size of an adult Chihuahua’s brisket. She opted for a fork instead of the less-dainty peel & gorge tactic.

burrito

My choice was the three tacos. Naturally, these were vegetarian and contained similar ingredients (down to the steamed shells) to the burrito, minus the rice and guac. Each was a skosh larger than a CD and came in either soft (my choice) or crispy (boo) versions. I opted for the roasted chili-corn salsa in addition to the tomato. I detected a slight sweetness and definite heat from this version. ‘Twas too piquant for the lass to enjoy. Your mileage may vary. A nice touch on both dishes was knowing that the beans and cheese were truly vegetarian. The establishment also proudly displays their list of meat purveyors and describes how they are working towards a goal of provide 100% organic ingredients.
tres tacos

We didn’t get too wrapped up in the chain-that-isn’t concept, but both agreed that it was a model we support. While it’s not a perfect system, they recognize their shortcomings and lay out their ultimate plans. The menu is simple, the ingredients come off as fresh, and the décor comfortable if a little cold. A return visit is in order, and I look forward to trying some of the whispered “off-menu ordering”.

exterior

As a reminder, it’s pronounced “chee-POHT-lay”, and most definitely not “chee-POHL-tee”. The T comes after the L, dear readers. So what’s your take on the not-a-chain Chipotle?