Sloppy Taco Palace STP 5

Well the local guy has been on a search for some good tasty tacos lately.  I asked myself where can I find good tacos in town besides going to a traditional tex mex joint?  I must say I do like the tacos at PRs and Pacos both in Winter Park, both are local, however, I found another local spot that serves up delicious tacos. STP or Sloppy Taco Palace is the name and tacos is their game. This little dive bar is located off of Kirkman Rd and Conroy in a strip shopping center.  It is more of a bar than a restaurant in my opinion.  It appears the place is owned by some Bostonians by seeing all the Boston Red Sox, Patriots memorabilia hanging up. STP is my opinion wears many hats and it appears their concept  is working being a sports bar- restaurant, a dive bar, and a place to watch live bands perform Thur -Sat (no cover).  But make no mistake about it,  the kitchen is always open for business and they know how to make good tacos.

My guest and I started off with the chips with House salsa $2.50. The chips were well done and crispy and  the salsa consisted of fresh tomatoes and fresh veggies, the salsa was kinda on the sweet side but good. STP also has hot salsa as well. It was your typical chips and salsa nothing fancy but good.  For another starter we also tried the chicken  quesadilla $5.75. It was served with fresh pico and sour crème. It was served nice and hot, the chicken was tasty and tender, fresh peppers and onions with melted cheese.  Arguably the best quesadilla I have had in a long time and my guest agreed.  

Clearly, the main attraction here is their  ” Sloppy Tacos”. It’s not called Sloppy Taco Palace for the heck of it.  I ordered the ground beef Sloppy Tacos $3.50.   Their Sloppy Tacos are dripping with coarsely chopped pico de gallo and drenched with chile con queso in a fried flour tortilla shell. The meat choices are ground beef, steak, pork or chicken. All are sloppy, moist, and tasty. They all hit the spot after a long day of doing whatever you’re doing. I also tried a regular steak taco $2.50 hard shell. It was loaded up with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese, and steak. I thought the steak was a little on the salty side. Stick with the Sloppy Tacos, they are to die for. And yes they are a little sloppy but that’s what napkins are for.

On another note, according to their website, STP has buck fiddy ($1.50) tacos til close on Wednesdays. That is a food steal, guys. That is almost taco bell prices but STP is no Taco Bell.

We were there on a Saturday evening right before 7. The bartender was tending bar and also all the tables outside the bar. There is only about 12-15 tables in the place, some our high tops as well. Anyway, he was doing a good job for a one man show, help arrived at 7. One person. The place is small so it does not take a lot to support but a couple of more hands or bodies would of done wonders for the service. Regardless, I would still go back, the Sloppy Tacos are really amazing.

If you want to go to a dive bar that has good cold beer and decent priced drinks and wonderful Sloppy Tacos you can’t go wrong with STP folks.   

There is plenty of parking available.

STP is open Monday – Friday @ 11.30am for lunch- til close (per the website). Friday and Saturday STP is opened til 2am. 

STP is located in the Kirkman Shoppes Plaza

4892 S Kirkman Rd

Orlando, Fl 38211

ph# 407-574-6474

website = www.sloppytacopalace.com

                                                                                                   
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CUBANS ON THE RUN Reply

 I have been out searching for some good Cuban food lately. I really miss my old favorite Habana Grill at 436/434 which has now closed. Well, I still have not found a replacement for Habana Grill but I did find an admirable place to grab some Cuban favorites especially if you are on the run or pressed for time. I am talking about Cubans On The Run. 

Cubans on the Run is located on 17-92 in Casselberry. The focus is the food and surely not the decor. It’s a hole in the wall but a good hole in the wall type of place.  When you walk in you place your order at the register. You really have two options here if you dine in. Order one of the Cuban hot meals which you see behind the counter or order from the menu at the register, and then they will bring out the food to your table.

On the first visit I tried the traditional Cuban sandwich Regular size 7″ $4.69. What a bargain!  This Cuban is prepared the traditional way with Ham, Roast Pork, Swiss cheese, mustard & pickles and served hot and pressed.  Talk about a great Cuban sandwich. Reminded me of some Cuban sandwiches I have tasted in Little Havana/Calle Ocho  in Miami. It was that good! I also tried the Empanadas $1.50. I had the beef Empanadas. This Cuban classic is a stuff pastry with flaky crust and is usually stuffed with beef or chicken. I went for the beef.   Two thumbs up for the Empanadas at Cubans On the Run.

On another visit I tried one of the hot meals. Normally you will find Cuban classics like Picadillo (beef hash), Roast Pork, Steak W/Onions (Bistec Encebollado) and Ropa Vieja just to name a few. All meals are served with a choice of Rice, Black Beans or Red Beans, & Sweet Plantains $6.99-$9.25 range.

I elected for the Roast Pork $8.25, with Red beans and rice. The pork was seasoned well, and it was so tender you could cut it with a fork, and the roast pork was topped with the usual sautéed onions. The red beans are served on the side in a separate container accompanied by white rice. Don’t worry coming out of this restaurant hungry, the hot meals portions are very sizeable.   

Service was prompt and friendly and polite at Cubans on The Run. Parking is tight and can be challenging. There are no frills at Cubans on The Run but if you want some good Cuban food and want it fast, Cubans on The Run is a good choice.

Cubans on The Run is located at 2956 S. Hwy 17-92 Casselberry, Fl

Ph# 407-339-2272

Hours- Monday-Saturday 10:00am- 9:00 pm.

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RANGETSU OF ORLANDO Reply

     Have you heard the saying what is old is now new again? Well do you remember the old Rangetsu on International Drive that was there for 24 years then closed in 2010. Well it’s been brought back to life in Maitland. Rangetsu is a Japanese restaurant where the focus is refining and re-defining Japanese dining.  I was recently in Vegas for a fun trip and went to many restaurants as usual.  When I walked into Rangetsu of Orlando, I immediately felt like I was back in Vegas. Rangetsu has high energy and great ambiance and a vibe that does not stop.  This place reminds me of Dragon Fly on Sandlakde Rd; both are Japanese concepts, both have robata grill items on their menu, and both places have a sushi bar.

I started with the Spicy Soft Shell Crab $11. I liked this appetizer very much. It was cooked with a spicy batter and it turned out very crispy to my liking. It was served with a sweet soy aioli sauce. This dish was very well executed.  For my entrée I ordered the Yakisoba $14. It was a traditional Japanese dish with stir fry noodles with beef and vegetables. It was just ok, nothing amazing. Reminded me of PF Changes lo mein dish but PF beats them hands down just on pure flavor. My guest ordered the Tokyo Chicken $16. This is a bone- in chicken breast served with Japan style teriyaki sauce.  It was just ok, again, nothing amazing.

What is amazing? The architecture, the décor, the bar area, the restaurant‘s look and feel as a whole. But the food was just OK on this night. Would I go back and try the sushi and other things on the menu? Yes.  At this point do I feel PF Changs food is better than Rangetsu? I would say YES.

The service was very good at Rangetsu; she did not miss a beat. Lots of managers were very visible to make sure the restaurant was firing on all cylinders.  That was a nice change to see restaurant leadership everywhere.

Parking was tricky. Rangetsu is located on the bottom level in an apartment complex so parking was limited so we used the valet service.  It was raining that evening and the valet guys did an exceptional job making sure we did not get wet at all because its not covered from the valet area to the building itself.

Rangetsu is located at 901 S Orange Ave, Maitland, Fl 32751.

Hours are: Lunch served Monday – Saturday 11:30-2:00, Dinner Sunday-Wednesday 5:30-9:30 bar open till 11. Dinner Thursday- Saturday 5:30-10:00, bar open til midnight.

Ph #- 407-345-0044

Website: www.rangetsu.com

  

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LASPADA’S ORIGINAL HOAGIES FAMOUS PHILLY CHEESE STEAKS 5

Well the local guy has been in search for a long time for a great authentic Philly Cheese steak sub in the metro Orlando area. I have always liked the local Gabriel’s Subs in College Park. But trust me when I say this, I think I discovered the best Cheese steak restaurant outside of Philly?  LaSpada’s Original Philly Cheese Steaks is the name. This  is my new current  favorite place to go for a authentic Philly Cheese Steak Sub in town.  LaSpada’s is located in Orlando, off of Lee Road in the Lee Road Shopping Center. The place LaSpada’s occupies used to be a Sobiks Sub Shop.

LaSpada’s is owned  and operated by the LaSpada family. Originators of the LaSpada’s of Florida third and forth generations of the LaSpada family. This family has been serving Philly Cheese Steaks since the first LaSpada’s opened up in 1938. That folks tells me this family is serious about making good cheese steaks. Heck,  they have been making Phillys for over 70 yrs.  They got to be doing something right regarding making cheese steaks.  

I knew something was special about this place when I walked in at lunch. Most of the workers had on their Philly garb for starters.  It was packed. Jammed packed. Always a great sign good food is in the house. On my first visit I had the Original Cheese steak 8 inch $6.10. The subs come in 8/10/12 inch sizes.  My cheese steak came with top sirloin steak chopped up perfectly, with onions, and white American Cheese and I also added fresh hot peppers which only kicks it up a notch, all in a nice fresh warm hoagie roll. The sub came right off the grill into the basket and they then  called my name. I picked up my fresh hot Philly and thought I was at Geno’s or Pat’s for a few seconds.  Folks, this place knows how to make a Philly, period. I also ordered a side of French Fries$2.29. The fries were good and hot as well, they don’t keep their fries sitting around very long at all, the fries are cooked to order for the most part, and I like that.

 On another visit I tried a Hoagie,  LaSpada’s Famous,  $6.95. This home style Italian hoagie consisted of Pepper Ham, Genoa Salami,  Cappicola, Prosciutto, Soppreatta, & Provolone Cheese with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, oregano,  and oil and vinegar.  Choice of hot, sweet, or banana peppers.  The sub was fine. Nicely prepared. Fresh Italian cold cuts and all the fixins but it was a little too salty to my liking. My lunch guest ordered the Cheese Burger $4.25 and fries $2.25. He stated it was one of the best burger’s he has tasted in the Orlando area in some time. And this burger looked good too, see the photo.   

 Other menu items are hot dogs, various hoagies & deli sandwiches, sides, wraps and salads. But did I say they make fabulous cheese steaks?? Stick with the Philly cheese steak at LaSada’s ladies and gentlemen, they know how to execute on this old classic cheese steak sub.

Other items of interest about LaSpada’s. Plenty of parking is available.  You place your order at the counter. You then wait for your name to be called. It can take a while during the week at lunch for your name to be called. You can call ahead your order.  It’s a hole in the wall. There is lots of grease occupied here. It’s a place you might not want to take a first date to. It’s probably not the cleanest place you will ever go to, but did I articulate they make great cheese steaks?

LaSpada’s is open Monday – Friday 10:00-5:00. Saturday – Sunday 11:00-4:00.

Address: 1010 Lee Road, Orlando, Fl 32810.

ph# 407-539-0067 website: www.laspadas.com

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COCINA 214 Reply

 

Well the local guy was in the mood for Tex-Mex and I have been dying to try COCINA 214 since it opened on Cinco De Mayo 2011.  COCINA 214 is located in Winter Park, its right off of the elegant Park Ave on Welbourne Ave.  214 stands for the area code of Dallas, TX. Apparently after talking to the server, the new owners are from the  Big D.  Having numbers in your name is starting to get even more popular these days, even on Park Ave.  Have you heard of 310 on Park Ave?

In Mexico, cocina means  kitchen. In Winter Park, cocina means contemporary interpretations of traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex favorites.

 The Chef of COCINA 214 is Francisco (Chico) Mendonca.  The menu states Mendonca combines bold flavors from around the world with the freshest local ingredients to create exceptional Tex-Mex.  

This restaurant is very spacious. They have a nice size bar area, they offer covered outdoor seating, and their main dining,  well,  it has enough room to feed a small army this includes the extra dining space in the back for which they open when its busy. This area also has nice HD TVs playing in the background. The restaurant accommodates  small, medium, and large parties easily.  

We started with the house Chips & Salsa (gratis).  Their chips were crisp and not to thin and very fresh. I really liked their salsa. It was not the typical tex-mex  salsa (chunky) with cut up chopped  tomatoes, onions, garlic, parsley etc. COCINA’s salsa had all that but it looked like a side of marinara sauce or a smooth puree type of salsa with a slight kick to it but it had all the traditional salsa flavors.  I am convinced 214 knows how to make great chips and salsa.

However the rest of the meal was kind of 407ish. We had the Chicken Fajitas $15.  The chicken was lime marinated and char grilled with the usual onions and peppers in the skillet served with sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo and fresh homemade tortillas on the side. This Fajitas are also served with rice and beans (was given red beans) on the side.  Overall the dish was good, but nothing exceptional.

We also had the Street Tacos $12. The tacos are made with chile rubbed filet beef, chopped onion, cilantro, and de arbol, and with a side of roasted garlic salsa. This dish also comes with rice and beans (was given black beans) on the side. The Street Tacos were just good, but nothing  exceptional.

In my opinion I believe the  Sea Breeze cocktail  was a little pricey for $8 plus tax and tip, but again we are close to  Park Ave, but again we are in a Tex-Mex establishment?

I found the service at COCINA 214 very good and attentive. The servers were great about refilling our chips and salsa and refilling our waters and generally checking back often enough. There is ample parking in the area but you might have to walk a short distance. On the night we went, Valet Parking was an option.  I am giving  COCINA 214 a good review but not great but if I lived in the area it’s a place I could see myself frequenting.  I really like the ambience and bar vibe as well,  Cocina is vibrant and has a refined setting and they serve good food.

COCINA 214 is located on 151 East Welbourne Avenue, Winter Park, Fl 32789.

Hours of operation: Tuesday -Saturday 11am-10pm and Sunday 11am-9pm.

Website: www.Cocina214.com

   

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