Best of Winter Park 2014: Food & Drink

STAFF PICKS: FOOD & DRINK

 

BEST PLACE TO CHEAT YOUR DIET

Croissant Gourmet, 120 E. Morse Blvd. 

Every so often, a dieter should succumb to temptation and invest in some high-calorie item. Not only does this “cheat meal” help control one’s metabolism, it also provides a ray of sugary sunlight amidst the bland battlefield of salmon, brown rice, and steamed vegetables. Whilst a Zebra Cake or Twinkie may sound appetizing, I can promise you that there are far more delectable offerings elsewhere (less gas-station convenient store, more Paris patisserie). Croissant Gourmet is sort of a Winter Park pastry equivalent of the Louvre. The desserts are not just delicious—they are art (mind you, I will still down that éclair despite its external beauty). You will find treats frothing with cream, sprinkled with curls of chocolate, stacked with fruit, or stuffed fat with custard. Next time you consider sucking down a Ho-Ho after class, remember this classy alternative.

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BEST PLACE TO MEET A SEXY WAITER

Prato, 124 N. Park Ave.

Do you know what’s better than a man who can rock plaid? A man who serves you food whilst rocking plaid. I am not quite sure what it is about these Prato waiters, but most of them are severely attractive. Maybe there is some sexiness evaluation during the application process. Unlike the Olive Garden uniform (black shirt, black pants—very ninja), Prato’s garb is “stylish mountain man,” and plaid or checkered shirts seems to be the restaurant’s standard.  Those with facial hair are vaguely reminiscent of the Brawny paper towel mascot. So, if you are hunkering for a man, here’s a location to prowl. Oh, yeah, their food’s pretty good, too.

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BEST PLACE TO MEET SOMEONE FAMOUS

Park Avenue Starbucks, 400 Park Ave.

“Guess who I saw at Starbucks?”  I would answer with the name of some infamous Rollins student. “Nope! I saw [insert celebrity name here].” This slot has been filled with various celebrities over the years: Aaron Samuel from Mean Girls (his real name’s Jonathan Bennett) and Tyra Banks for example, in addition to some of the local celebrities which include Carrot Top and some member of N*Sync (though everybody has a different answer when asked which one it is). Three things stimulate celebrities: attention, money, and Starbucks’ overpriced coffee. Maybe this local store is their home away from home, something to remind them of L.A.  Anyway, if someone famous happens to be in Winter Park, check the local Starbucks. Maybe you will see a real, live celebrity! Or maybe you will just see a bunch of people pretending to write novels.

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BEST PLACE TO BE SERVED BY ALTERNATIVE PEOPLE

Ethos, 601 S. New York Ave.

You are not edgy until you have undergone some radical dietary change for a humanitarian cause. This is why I have immense respect for the will power of the vegans of the world, often sacrificing McFlurrys for their own version of impassioned justice. Winter Park’s culinary critical epicenter expands from Ethos—the vegan restaurant that shares its space with Pi-Hole Pizza. Here servers rock custom henna tattoos, piercings you cannot name, and a 50-50 shot at A) a pixie haircut and spritely attitude or B) a bored, fixed glare paired with oversized frames. Now if that experience does not make you feel cooler, or at least healthier, please feel free to trudge back to The Grille; no Fair-Trade tea for you.

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BEST PLACE TO ACCIDENTALLY CONSUME FLORA

Orchid Thai, 305 N. Park Ave. 

Orchid Thai was just as good as I hoped it would be. The location is charming as it sits farther down Park Avenue away from the main hustle and bustle, the staff is lovely and had no problem accommodating most any need, and the food was spectacular. I was mildly surprised, and a little perturbed, by the fact that they sacrifice one of their namesake flowers for every dish they send out, but it is still my favorite place to eat on Park Ave. Another bonus is the fact that the restaurant is within walking distance of the campus but is just far enough to help reduce the feeling of “Holy buckets, I can’t believe I just ate that much Thai food.”

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BEST PLACE TO EAT BREAD BIGGER THAN YOUR FACE

Bosphorous, 108 S Park Ave, Winter Park

Of all the restaurants littering Park Avenue, Bosphourus is superior in my mind. You get the full experience: authentic Turkish cuisine, a beautiful environment, and fast service, all for an affordable price (for Park Ave). In all honesty, the true reason that the restaurant remains my unquestioned favorite is the bread, otherwise known as the most impressive display of carbs I have ever seen.

Traditionally called Lavas, the gigantic hollow loafs are presented before the meal. The bread is pumped full of hot air, but sweet and soft on the outside. Warning: do not immediately pierce bread with knife. This will result in a boom of hot air, which is quite unpleasant when it in contact with skin or styled hair.

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