Fine Craft

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Location: Astro Craft Ice Cream –Tampa, Florida

Date of Visit: 03/04/2020

Florida Stuffed welcomes you to a unique ice cream spot in Tampa, Florida. As some of you know, March is “Ice Cream Month” here on Florida Stuffed and I spend the month visiting some new and unique ice cream spots around the state. It has been a while since I have visited a place to eat in Tampa, so I made a quick stop here. This particular place is a popular spot among the locals and nestled within the Heights Public Market. Along my stroll through this place, I noticed several other places to try. The atmosphere of the marketplace was upbeat, modern with a pleasant ambiance.

Astro Craft Ice Cream is a small spot but in one short turn, you see an abundance of flavors, topping and extras that will cure your sweet cravings. My interaction with the crew was minimal but they were friendly, helpful and made everyone welcomed. You get a comfortable atmosphere to sit down after getting your order and despite mixed comments from others, I thought prices were reasonable.

Accessibility: Astro Craft Ice Cream is located at 1910 N Ola Avenue in Tampa, Florida. Parking was a challenge as there are two lots for the marketplace but I was driving around for approximately fifteen minutes. My arrival time was approximately 730PM.

Customer Service: There was a line when I entered but I was greeted when I reached the register. Orders are taken immediately and I had my order in less than a couple of minutes. The crew I spoke with were nice and patient with me while I decided on what I wanted to order. Open seating is available next to the restaurant.

Dating Scene: With plenty to do in this market, this is suitable for a nice date spot. Seating arrangements are comfortable to couples, and both small and large groups.

Lets Get to the Menu: On this visit, I ordered a large two scoop ice cream bowl which featured both Brown Sugar Whiskey Cookie Dough Ice Cream and Vanilla Duo Ice Cream, all topped with chocolate chip cookie dough bites. Both combined for a great treat. The Vanilla Duo included vanilla bean ice cream, vanilla shortbread cookies and the waffle segment. Underneath was the Whiskey Cookie Dough. This had a great smooth flavor of cinnamon, sweet bourbon and the quality of ice cream overall is extremely fresh. The vanilla ice cream had a fresh taste of cream , milk and the cookie dough bites were great. My bill came to $8.05. You may see a picture of another ice cream creation here. I took a picture of an order from another customer as well.

Restaurant Cleanliness: No issues to report.

Extras: There are other places in the market to check out, look around. You are approximately five minutes from Interstate 275, fifteen minutes from downtown Tampa and Ybor City.

Forms of Payment Accepted: Cash or credit card.

Florida Stuffed Keyword(s): Ice Cream, Tampa

A Busy Spot on US-27

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Location: Davenport Diner –Davenport, Florida

Date of Visit: 02/09/2020

Florida Stuffed started off February 2020 with the first restaurant to be visited in Davenport, Florida.  Davenport Diner is a good thirty to forty minute drive outside of Orlando depending on traffic. This place was recommended to me by a couple of friends that stay close in the Celebration area and they were right, this place is popular and it is busy. When I arrived approximately 12PM, there was a wait in the lobby and a wait that lingered outside. Since I was alone, I was able to get a seat in less than fifteen minutes after arriving.

This place offers a spacious dining area, plenty of breakfast options and everyone I met there, customers and crew were very friendly. It felt a little awkward for me as I was eating alone and most of the patrons were older but overall, I had a good experience, comfortable seating and food left me with great impressions with good quality and very reasonable prices. This place has a homey atmosphere that keeps you comfortable and prices keep you well under budget here. Very satisfied with food portions. Be sure to check hours as this place is open until 3pm.

Accessibility: Davenport Diner is located at 40230 North US Highway 27 in Davenport, Florida between Holly Hill Tank Road and Park Place Boulevard. Plenty of parking is available near the restaurant and in front. Traffic was moderate in the area at the time of my arrival but no problems getting in or out.

Customer Service: I was greeted upon entry. Do not expect to be seated immediately. After arriving, my name was place on a waiting list but the wait was less than fifteen minutes. I was seated after being called. My server was great, friendly and attentive. She checked on me a few times during my stay. Another server checked on me as well. My order came out in approximately ten minutes.

Dating Scene: Davenport Diner may not be considered an intimate date spot but it is a good spot to visit during the day, with lots of options  for those looking for a good breakfast or early lunch. Seating arrangements are comfortable for couples, and both small and large groups.

Lets Get to the Menu: On this visit, I wanted a simple yet filling breakfast. I went with the short stack pancakes (per the recommendation of my server) along with a side of sausage links and an order of smoked sausage with a large orange juice. My order came to $15.90 before tip. The pancakes were great. The short stack includes two pancakes. Very satisfied with portions, the apple topping was done nicely, still had space to add butter and even more sugar with the syrup. Pancakes themselves were very fresh. While the sausage links were good, we know I am more partial to smoked sausage and theirs was great. It was cooked right, and had plenty of flavor. All of this made the perfect ingredients for a filling breakfast.

Restaurant Cleanliness: No issues to report.

Extras: There are a few shops and care facilities in the same strip as the diner. You are approximately ten minutes from Interstate Four.

Forms of Payment Accepted: Cash or credit card.

Florida Stuffed Keyword(s): American, Breakfast, Lunch, Davenport

Cajun Heat

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Location: Cajun Café on the Bayou –Pinellas Park, Florida

Date of Visit: 01/12/2020

Florida Stuffed welcomes you to the first restaurant of 2020 and the first restaurant to be featured in Pinellas Park, Florida. Welcome to Cajun Café on the Bayou. This is one spot serving great Cajun food I recommend visiting for those of you on the search for Cajun food. Pinellas Park sits near Saint Petersburg and is a short drive from Tampa, Largo, Clearwater and Indian Rocks Beach. This long-establish restaurant is a spot I will visit again soon as I visit the area frequently.

Before visiting this spot, I suggest you call them to verify their hours and they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. This place offers a comfortable atmosphere, and offers a wide variety of Cajun dishes. After a glance of the menu, this is a place where I can eat anything from the menu. Overall, service was great with a friendly and welcoming crew and with so many choices of what to eat, the food did not disappoint. Being from Mobile, Alabama, we have our own version of Cajun but nothing beats the Louisiana original, which I found here.

Accessibility: Cajun Café on the Bayou is located 8260 66th Street North in Pinellas Park, Florida. Traffic was light in the immediate area at the time of my arrival, approximately 330PM. I remained approximately one hour. Plenty of parking is available.

Customer Service: I was greeted and seated upon entry. Most of the restaurant is open seating. Larger tables are reserved. My server was helpful, friendly and attentive as he check on me a few times during my visit. The manager on shift was great to talk with as well. My order was brought out in approximately ten minutes.

Dating Scene: This is a spot I would recommend for a lunch or dinner date. Seating arrangements are comfortable for couples and small or larger groups. Take a look at the bar area as well, it should make your gathering a little smoother. Plenty of choices available.

Lets Get to the Menu: On this visit, I ordered the Big Tail-On Shrimp Dinner. This dish comes deep-fried, grilled, blackened or bbq. I chose the BBQ option for the shrimp. It features ten large shrimp (tail-on) on a bed of lettuce with a side item. Fried okra was my choice. A side of bread was also included. The shrimp had an ultra-fresh taste,  cooked just right and the bbq sauce added a nice amount of heat. Presentation overall was nice and the sauce gave the shrimp a nice coating. The okra needs to be mentioned here. I really enjoyed it. The breading had an unexpected kick to it. To be honest, I could have eaten another two or three orders of it. I also ordered a bowl of gumbo to-go for a friend I was visiting. My order came to $27.60 before tip.

Restaurant Cleanliness: No issues to report.

Extras: You are approximately fifteen minutes from Interstate 275. Other shopping areas are within less than three miles.

Forms of Payment Accepted: Cash or credit card.

Florida Stuffed Keyword(s): Pinellas Park, Pinellas, Cajun, Tampa, Saint Petersburg, Seafood, American.

The Azalea Spot

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Location: Caobana Café –Orlando, Florida

Date of Visit: 12/14/2019

Florida Stuffed welcomes you to Café Caobana located in the Azalea Park area of Orlando, Florida. As you may know, I am a big fan of Cuban cuisine and there is no shortage of places to try. Some people may drive by this place daily as it is close to the 408 Expressway and if you do, I suggest you give this place a try. One thing I enjoy about Cuban restaurants in general is how each place delivers the cuisine in their own unique fashion. This restaurant may seem unimposing and it is quietly tucked away off of the road but once you go inside, you would think you are eating at a five-star restaurant.

Café Caobana is a comfortable place to check out for those looking for a quiet environment, comfortable seating and a great variety of Cuban food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Service overall was good. The crew here is very friendly, attentive and they make everyone feel welcomed here. I took it easy here as I kept my order on the light-side. I was here for a brief time for lunch but I will return. If you are looking for a good Cuban spot in Orlando, this place is recommended.

Accessibility: Cafe Caobana is located on South Semoran Boulevard at the intersection of Dahlia Drive. Adequate parking is available in front of the restaurant. Traffic can become thick in the immediate area during commute hours. Traffic was moderate in the area at the time of my arrival, approximately 3PM.

Customer Service: I was greeted and seating upon entry. My server checked on me a couple of times during my stay. He was friendly and helpful as I looked through their bakery case and the menu. Everyone else was very nice and made me feel welcomed.

Dating Scene: This place offers seating comfortable for couples or even small or large groups. Pleasant lighting give this place a comfortable ambiance throughout the day. Between the desserts and the wine selection, this place will make a good date spot.

Lets Get to the Menu: On this visit, I ordered their Charizo Sandwich with Papas Fritas. This dish included thin-slice Spanish sausage on fresh Cuban bread with onions and string potatoes. I finished up with a M&M cookie. My order came to $10.80 before tip. The charizo sandwich was a pleasure to eat. Everything from the bread to the meat was freshly prepared, the fries were great as well. I would ask for extra sausage on this particular sandwich in the future but very happy with flavor, presentation and portion.

Extras: You are within walking distance of a PepBoys Auto Center (with additional p[aces to shop in an adjacent strip), two minutes from SR-408 (Tolls), and the Florida Highway Patrol Station…if you are actually looking for that place.

Restaurant Cleanliness: No issues to report.

Forms of Payment Accepted: Cash or credit card.

Florida Stuffed Keyword(s): Orlando, Cuban, Latin

Catching Up With Alex

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Location: Alex’s Fresh Kitchen –Casselberry, Florida

Date of Visit: 11/30/2019

Welcome to Part Two of Alex’s Fresh Kitchen!

Florida Stuffed welcomes you to a follow-up special of Alex’s Fresh Kitchen. This new spot opened earlier in 2019 in the Casselberry, Florida area and this is one spot I recommend you to try. You can find a link to Alex’s Fresh Kitchen on the sponsors section of the Florida Stuffed website! Instead of making this my repeat restaurant of the month, I decided to do something special for this place and make a second review article here.

In this review, I had the chance to catch up with Mr Alex himself. It was great to see him again along with his parents. I was joined by a friend on this visit as well, and we will get her feedback in a moment. It was great to see this place still thriving. Alex is a creative guy that comes up with new menu items and he also refines his previous creations. This is a comfortable spot for you to enjoy your breakfast or brunch. This remains a good spot for those looking for a vegan option and their cakes remain gluten-free.

I wanted to see what has changed here so I decided to re-order the Chicken Mini-Waffles I had tried and enjoyed on the first visit. Speaking of refinements, this dish has changed from its original. While I was in love with the dish the first time I tried it, this dish has gotten bigger and bigger both in size and flavor. The chicken mini-waffles is anything but mini now. You will find larger waffles, with larger selections of fried chicken still garnished in vanilla cream sauce and chives with a light coat of syrup. A larger portion was a nice surprised. I promise to try something different on my next visit but this remains a favorite.

My lady friend enjoyed her experience as well. As a first-time customer she saw many options she liked and chose to try the croissant sandwich with turkey along with a side of home fries. She also took a couple of slices of carrot cake-to go. She was happy with service and food presentation as well as food quality. I wanted to make her drive from Winter Garden worth it and this place did not disappoint her.

I hope you enjoyed this revisit of Alex’s Fresh Kitchen. You can find a link to his website and find out more about this place in the Sponsors tab of the Florida Stuffed website. You can find the article of the original visit on the homepage under “Alex At Work.” A shout out to Mr Alex for featuring Florida Stuffed on his site as well. Keep up the great work!

Chinese Turf

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Location: Cheng’s Chinese Restaurant –Orlando, Florida

Date of Visit: 10/04/2019

Florida Stuffed welcomes you to the first stop of October 2019. I live close to this restaurant and after receiving a recommendation, I wanted to check this out for myself. We know I enjoy finding those nicer eat-in Chinese spots. Orlando is dominated by no-thrill take-out only spots with almost no amenities nor real service. Cheng’s Chinese Restaurant sits in a busy Walmart/Publix shopping plaza a few minutes from the Orlando airport, making this spot easy to find.

A large dining area and a comfortable atmosphere make this spot a cozy one to satisfy your Chinese-food craving. Service overall was good, very satisfied with overall food portion and menu variety. I was joined by a friend on this visit and her feedback will be provided further into this article. Prices here are slightly higher than other spots I favor but food quality and portions make up for the difference in a good way.

Accessibility: Cheng’s Chinese Restaurant is located in the Lake Fredrica Plaza at the intersection of Semoran Boulevard (SR-436) and Lake Margaret Drive in Orlando, Florida. Traffic was moderate at the time of my arrival, approximately 8PM. Traffic can become heavy on this stretch of Semoran during commute hours. No issues parking.

Customer Service: My friend and I were greeted and seated upon entry. Our server was friendly and attentive to us. We were check on a few times during our stay, along with drink refills. Our orders were brought out in approximately ten minutes.

Dating Scene: Relaxed lighting and comfortable seating make this a good spot to host a date. Seating arrangements are comfortable for couples or groups.

Lets Get to the Menu: On this visit, I order the Black Pepper Chicken with a small Egg Drop Soup. My company ordered the Shrimp w/Chinese Vegetables combination with Egg Drop Soup. Together our orders came to $27.60. The Black Pepper Chicken is an entree that varies in style form place to place. In fact, many places do not offer this dish. This was a surprisingly great dish. It features onions peppers and lightly fried chicken chunks in a peppery brown sauce. I was definitely enjoying the larger chicken portions. This dish had the right amount of kick to it with me ordering my dish “extra spicy” as I do normally. The chicken was not overcooked, not dry and satisfied with overall flavor and presentation. My friend enjoyed her meal as well. I tricked her into trying the egg drop soup as she is not a huge fan of eggs but she said she enjoyed it. The shrimp with vegetables was served in white sauce with pork fried rice. She was very happy with portion, flavor and she was very into the fried noodles with duck sauce.

Restaurant Cleanliness: No issues to report.

Extras: You are approximately fifteen minutes from the Orlando International Airport (Depending on traffic). You are within walking distance of both a Wal-Mart and Publix and ten minutes from the Beachline Expressway (SR-582/Tolls).

Forms of Payment Accepted: Cash or credit card.

Florida Stuffed Keyword(s): Orlando, Chinese.

Italy “From Scratch”

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Location: Fra Diavolo Italian Restaurant –Lauderhill, Florida

Date of Visit: 09/27/2019

Florida Stuffed welcomes you to a special restaurant feature. Fra Diavolo is a Florida Stuffed partner that I have been promoting for several weeks prior to this visit. I have been doing social media advertisements, and never visited this place, which made this an exciting visit. This is also the first restaurant to be featured from the Fort Lauderdale area. Classic Italian style cooking is what this place is all about.

Fra Diavolo is a unique spot that I recommend you visit if you are in the area. This spot has been around for twenty-six years and it stays true to its roots. You get a fine-dining experience in a traditional Italian setting and the crew here is very nice, very professional and welcoming to anyone coming through the door. The food here is made from scratch, expect fresh ingredients and a comfortable atmosphere. I had the chance to chat with the head chef, Mr Diego. Great guy, enjoyed hearing his insights on this restaurants and getting to know him. He knows what he is doing and his passion is felt in his food. You can find a link to this restaurant on the Sponsors section of the Florida Stuffed website.

Accessibility: Fra Diavolo is located on North University Drive in Lauderhill, Florida. Plenty of parking is available inside of the shopping strip. Traffic was moderate at the time of my arrival, approximately 515PM.

Customer Service: I was greeted and seated upon entry. Open seating is available inside and comfortable seating is available outside as well. I was checked on several times by the crew during my stay. For each stage of my meal, they checked on me to make sure I was enjoying it, and I was. Not only does that make me feel welcomed but I feel at home.

Dating Scene: This place is perfect for a date night. You get fine-dining service, plenty of wines to choose from, reasonable prices and a nice mix of background music. Seating arrangements are comfortable for couples or small groups. This place also handles larger parties as well. Just contact them ahead of time.

Lets Get to the Menu: Fra Diavolo hosts a wide range of authentic Italian dishes. I ordered the Sausage and Peppers with pasta, along with a glass of merlot wine and a slice of white chocolate cake. The first course included a basket of bread and salad, both of which I enjoyed. I recommend you try their bread with their garlic dipping sauce. The sausage and peppers had the right balance of meat, sauce and pasta. You get a taste of some very fresh ingredients. The sausage was mild but flavorful and sauce and parmesan cheese created the perfect topping. Very happy with overall portion and presentation. The sauce had a very fresh tomato base. The white chocolate cake took me by surprise! It was a chocolate cake with layers of white chocolate, topped and garnished with whipped cream. I hope they keep that on their menu. Perfectly sweet. The merlot was good too. I also had the opportunity to take a picture of a dessert a couple at the next table was enjoying. It was a chocolate mousse cake in a glass. They are long-time customers and it was pleasure meeting them as well.

Restaurant Cleanliness: No issues to report.

Extras: You are within walking distance of the rest of the shopping strip. You are also approximately 15 minutes from the highways.

Forms of Payment Accepted: Cash or credit card.

Florida Stuffed Keyword(s): Italian, Lauderhill, Fort Lauderdale

A Good Deed

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Location: Chicago’s Best Burgers –Brandon, Florida

Date of Visit: 08/01/2019

Florida Stuffed welcomes you to the first stop of August 2019! It has been several months since the last time I featured a restaurant from this city and it was time to visit again. This place became known to me after they followed the Florida Stuffed Twitter page recently and visiting here left me with a good impression. This is one place I recommend you try if you are anywhere in Tampa area or Lakeland. Chicago has always had a reputation for hot dogs, pizza, but burgers? If this is true, this is probably one of their biggest secrets.

Chicago’s Best Burgers offers a relaxed atmosphere, great service and some great food for sure. The restaurant is comfortable for all ages and I was very happy with the short wait time for my food. I will get into the burger I ordered in a moment but expect fresh meat, fresh toppings and lots of choices. I arrived at approximately 1230PM and remained approximately forty-five minutes.

Accessibility: Chicago’s Best Burgers is located on Brandon Boulevard near Providence Road in Brandon, Florida. Parking was available throughout the strip. Traffic was steady in the area at the time of my arrival.

Customer Service: I was greeted upon entry. Orders are taken at the register. I was checked on a couple of times during my visit. My order came out to me in approximately ten minutes. Had a friendly team working in there and definitely felt welcomed.

Dating Scene: I would suggest this place for a low-key date if you are in the mood for a good plate of burgers and fries. Seating arrangements are comfortable for small groups, couples or individuals.

Lets Get to the Menu: On this visit, I ordered a Build Your Own Burger. For an extra charge of $3.75, I made it a double. It included two 6-ounce burger patties, on a brioche bun (other bun types were available to choose from), topped with a fried egg, barbecue sauce, ketchup, mozzarella cheese, onions and pickles. After making it a combo with fries and a drink, my total came to $19.01 but it was worth every penny. The burger was done just right, cooked medium-well per my request and the right amount of toppings made this one of the best burgers I have tried. I was surprised to see the pickles diced, but I liked how that was done. Despite all of the toppings, nothing fell off of the burger. Very fresh meat, cheese and I enjoyed the other toppings. The portion of fries was very generous. This was a hefty meal but enjoyable. My compliments to the kitchen.

Restaurant Cleanliness: No issues to report.

Extras: You are approximately five minutes from the Brandon Mall, within walking distance of other shops and restaurants in the same strip and ten minutes from Interstate 75.

Forms of Payment Accepted: Cash or credit card.

Florida Stuffed Keyword(s): Brandon, Burgers, American