Not Your Typical Florida Restaurant

While I’m busy preparing for the coming hurricane here in Florida, I thought I would cover a little less violent topic – food.

Once in a while, you want something different when you go to a restaurant.  A gander at one of those television shows where the prime mouth takes on a challenge to eat enormous burgers and whole turkeys and ice cream sundaes so large they look like they are in a toilet bowl reminded me of some of the unusual restaurants I have seen in my Florida travels.

The Meatball Shoppe in Orlando is the stepchild of the popular New York chain, but the Florida place on Lake Underhill Road has gained high ratings from all the food spots and even a 10Best status on that travel website.   The fact there is a Guy Fieri Veggie Meatball tells you the famous TV chef visited here on his Diners and Dives food show.

floridatraveler MEATBALL SHOPPE sausage meatballs

Meatballs every way you can imagine.

I went with the Mediterranean Lamb Balls topped in Tzatziki sauce, but other table favorites was Jeff’s Crab Balls in Roumalaude and the Chicken Buffalo Blau balls just covered with a sea of blue cheese crumbles.  I guess they serve a few other dishes, but I just didn’t even look.

Floridatraveler pork, chicken and vegetarian meatballs on one plate

This plate as pork, chicken, and veggie meatballs!

There are loads of places serving alligator in Florida and the old reptile tastes a lot like chicken to me.  But Florida also has over one million feral wild pigs roaming about, sometimes causing harm to Florida’s winter vegetable crop.  It is not shocking that wild boar pops up in many hunting lodge places, but I had wild boar in a Disney restaurant that ranks in the top five dining establishments in Central Florida – Jiko: The Cooking Place at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

floridatraveler JIKO wild boar

Jiko’s Wild Boar is just the warm-up on their unusual menu.

Their wild boar tenderloin appetizer is the first thing half the diners order at Jiko.  The dark meat has a sweet pork taste.   Down the road at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge’s Artist Point, they often serve wild boar agnolotti, which is pasta with braised boar.

I love gelato and whenever I see a small shop or a food truck, I have to take a look.  Dolci Pecatti Food Truck in Miami serves 47 incredible flavor combinations and 12 sorbets.  At night the truck is a blazing violet which is appropriate since they have a “hot gelato” made of strawberry mixed with jalapeno.  I decided to have a milk shake although the gelato sandwiches made with whoopee pie or brioche was real interesting.  They also make for parties – shotpops – with alcohol of course.

floridatraveler dolci pecatti miami

Even the food truck is cool in Miami.

Over  on  South Kirkman Road in Orlando is Mrs. Potato, a place that takes the Brazilian rosti potatoes to a new level.  This place specializes in jamming everything you could cook on a menu into roasted hot potatoes – hash-browns, pizza, beef stroganoff, Philly cheese steak, even creamy shrimp.  And it all tastes so good (but sometimes not so pretty looking).

floridatraveler Mrs Potato has many friends

Do you believe that potato is the star in this kitchen?

floridatraveler Mrs Potato chicken catipury rosti potato

This is the chicken catipury rosti potato

I have to get back to my hurricane preparations here in Tampa so see you soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About floridatraveler

Historian and travel writer M. C. Bob Leonard makes the Sunshine State his home base. Besides serving as content editor for several textbook publishers and as college professor, he moderates the FHIC at www.floridahistory.org
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