Peach Valley Cafe Reply

Dear Diners,

For the most part I try and not write about chain restaurants but on occasions I can’t resist. This is one of those occasions.  I recently had breakfast out on a Sunday morning at Peach Valley Café. This establishment is owned and operated by the Stonewood Grill & Tavern folks. Stonewood has about 16 locations (including Dr Phillips and Lake Mary) in Florida and they have have one location in North Carolina. Peach Valley has about 4 locations in Florida, and growing. I went to the Peach Valley location in Dr Phillips in Southwest Orlando off of Conroy Rd, and ironic enough the older brother Stonewood restaurant is right next door only about 30 yards away, interesting business strategy they have, I might add. What sets Peach Valley apart from Stonewood is Peach Valley is only open for Breakfast and Lunch only, and Stonewood is mainly a place for dinner. The Peach Valley location I was at had seating outside and seating inside and they also have counter service, I like these 3 options. We choose for inside. I am glad we did. I guess and assume this place is pet friendly? I witnessed several folks eating breakfast outside who brought their dogs with them. Personally I would never do this nor would I have a desire to do this.  I love animals, and dogs are no exception but there are places you bring pets and places you don’t. I don’t believe in bringing pets to a restaurant, even if outdoor seating is available, period.  I bet you even Cesar Millan would even agree with me on this one??  Anyway back to my breakfast experience. I ordered the corned beef hash extra well done, the house potatoes and wheat toast $8.  The corned beef was cooked perfectly to the requested extra well done, this gave it a nice crispy crust to its texture.  It was seasoned with just the right amount of salt and pepper; it was not overly greasy like some corn beef hash you order. Its probably the best corn beef hash I have had in a long long long time…. The fresh chopped up cube potatoes were fried up well and crisp and seasoned up well with onions and peppers in them. I also added cheddar cheese to my breakfast potatoes. The cheese added a nice dimension of flavor to the potatoes, onions, and peppers, yes I know, lots of calories here, but those cheese potatoes were worth the extra calories. I also had the wheat toast. It was a nice big piece of toast that was filling. On my next visit I had the Buttermilk Drop Biscuits & Sausage Gravy. It came with two big freshly baked biscuits topped with homemade sausage gravy. Wow, talk about good. These biscuits were almost as good as my Granny’s. It was served with plenty of sausage gravy; it was a very nice size portion. My guests ordered Buttermilk pancakes. It was the classic buttermilk pancakes dusted with powered sugar and served with warm syrup. Trust me, you won’t leave hungry after you visit Peach Valley.   The service was good and attentive and friendly. If you go ask for Diane, she was a great attitude and you can tell she likes what she does. If you are like me, you don’t usually go out for breakfast and lunch everyday of the week, so when you do, you want to go to the restaurant or café where you know you’ve going to have the vibrant, delicious flavors you crave. Peach Valley delivers on this, plus their dishes are very hearty. Peach Valley is open Monday – Friday 7am-2:30 and Saturday and Sunday 7am-3:30. Plenty of parking is available.

 Address:
5072 Dr. Phillips Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32819

www.peachvalleyrestaurants.com

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Palma Maria 4

Dear Diners,
The local guy was in the mood for some local authentic Italian food once again. How many Italian restaurants do you know in the Orlando area that has been around since 1981? Well, I only know one, the name of this gem is Palma Maria. Its family owned and operated, which is always a plus. It’s more of a plus when the staff of servers are all sisters. Another plus is Pete the sister’s brother which is the chef and he is the person that usually comes around and talks to his guests and thanks his guests for coming in.
All entrees are served with a loaf of Homemade Bread, and your choice of House Salad or soup. We started off with the house salad. The salad is served so it can be shared amongst the table(family style). Besides the salad at Columbia their famous 1905 salad, the house salad at Palma Maria is better than fabulous! They use fresh lettuce, tomatoes, olives, onions, salt, pepper, garlic powder, with a base oil and vinegar dressing that is mixed and balanced perfectly I might add. I am Italian and I know how to make a fresh Italian salad, and the salad at Palma Maria’s is Outstanding! The only argument I have about this salad is it comes with cut up/sliced hard boiled eggs. I always request my salad without the eggs but that is me. I am not a fan when it comes to eggs being in an Italian salad. Your Italian meal at Palma Maria also comes with fresh Home Made bread. A full loaf of fresh Italian bread. It was warm, fresh, and I felt like I was eating bread in Naples, Italy. Make sure you bring your left over bread home with you. It freezes well. I use this bread in a variety of ways, sandwiches, garlic bread, I even use when I make homemade sauce on occasional Sundays.
I ordered the Eggplant Parmesan $15.95. They have an interesting way of making it. The Eggplant is stuffed with tasty seasoned ground beef, topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese and baked to perfection. This dish reminded me of lasagna from a looks point of view. This eggplant dish was awesome. I felt like I was eating a dish from home. The dish came with a side of pasta, topped with a basic marinara sauce. The side of pasta was just typical did not set the world on fire but it was fine.
My wife ordered the Lasagna $13.95. Out of all the Italian dishes there are, lasagna is her favorite. She knows a good lasagna dish when encountered. Well, she was not disappointed. In her own words “it’s the best ever”. Enough said ladies and gentlemen. They also make their lasagna in a non typical fashion. Most lasagna is stuffed with cheeses and meat. The lasagna at Palma Maria is just stuffed with the Italian cheeses but not with any meat. They choose to give you two wonderful sized meatballs on the side. The meat balls were made just right with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cheese, parsley, garlic, bread crumbs, egg. The meat balls were browned just right and covered with the right amount of Italian red sauce. The meat ball I tasted was very good but I like my meatballs a little smaller in size.
The servers were friendly, attentive, and caring. It shows they have skin in the game. The brother Pete stopped by. He thanked us for our business. When was the last time the owner of a restaurant thanked you for coming in and thanked you for your business? The point is, it does not happen very much. Besides the great quality of food Palma Maria serves, the value is there. Where can you find a home made entrée that comes with high quality home made fresh salad, fresh baked bread (a full loaf), and all served by a family who CARES for $13.95-$15.95? Yes some items are slightly more but you get my point. I know a good value when I see and taste one. When you dine with the Rosinola Family you’re more than a customer, you’re a friend. Palma Maria is open Tuesday-Saturday 5pm-10pm. Early Bird hours 5:00-6:30 pm. Palma Maria is in the Summit Plaza shopping center located off of 436 and Red Bug Road in Casselberry. Plenty of parking is available.
Address 1015 East Semoran Blvd
Casselberry, Fl 32707
http://www.palmamaria.com
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