When most people think of Central Florida and the Orlando area, theme parks immediately come to mind. Heck, without them, the city wouldn’t exist. What isn’t synonymous with most visitors is the pairing of “Central Florida” and “amazing food.” The area has seriously stepped up its culinary presence over the past several years. Since I moved here in 2007, I’ve watched the city grow and find its place in the culinary world.
Run an online search for books about Central Florida and you’ll result in scores of titles touting the theme parks and the tourism aspects of Orlando. If you’re looking for dining, you’ve been largely out of luck, relegated to blurbs of theme park and hotel restaurants within the travel guides. What if you’re NOT going to the parks? What if you’re exploring the Orlando area and need suggestions? Now you can rely on local blogger Ricky Ly, owner of TastyChomps.com.
Ricky recently published his book, Food Lovers’ Guide to Orlando: The Best Restaurants, Markets & Local Culinary Offerings. I had to pick up a copy, because, believe it or not, I don’t only eat at Walt Disney World! His book breaks up Central Florida into 10 distinct dining areas featuring best area restaurants, fan favorites and specialty stores, markets and producers. And yes, there is indeed a section on Disney/Lake Buena Vista, highlighting top and favorite restaurants like Jiko, California Grill, and even Earl of Sandwich. The section on Disney is brief, but this book is about celebrating the food and restaurants of Orlando.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a review from a restaurant in Downtown Orlando. Late last year, Whitewood Mediterranean Grill opened in a former tattoo parlor on the corner of Orange Ave. and E. Central. Since I typically pack my lunch, I’m a bit out of the loop on what’s going on in the Central Business District when it comes to restaurants. A few weeks back, one of the people I follow on Foodspotting posted a picture of one of the wraps, and I knew I had to stop by to check it out myself. I decided to try one of their platters, which comes with pita bread and two sides. I ordered the Lamb Gyro platter with Fattoush and Baba Ghanoush (9.50).
Okay. I’ve avoided this for a week now. I have not seen The Avengers, nor do I really care to. Matt can’t stand the super hero thing. I’m more of a Batman kind of girl, and I don’t even see those movies in the theaters. Sure, I have a small comic book collection, but they’re pretty much all on Slave Labor Graphics and feature artists like Jhonen Vasquez and Roman Dirge. Oh, and The Hulk will always be Lou Ferrigno in my heart. What I can’t look past is the attention the shawarma scene is getting. Just Google “the avengers shawarma” and see what I mean if you haven’t seen the movie.
At Ro Ro’s Chicken — a famed Lebanese joint in Hollywood — the manager says shawarma sales jumped 80% in the days after the movie opened. We’re told the same thing happened a few years back when a baba ghanouj joke was featured in “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.” – TMZ
So without further ado, get out there and get some shawarma! Tangierine Cafe in Morocco at Epcot is our top pick, featuring both lamb and chicken shawarma.
Chicken & Lamb Shawarma Platter
Lamb Shawarma Platter
Posted in Dining, Epcot, Food, Orlando, Restaurants
Tagged Lamb & Beef Gyros Pita, Lamb Gyro, Lamb Wrap, Middle East Market, Morocco, Platter, Shawarma, Tangierine Cafe, The Avengers, The Dolphin, The Fountain