It's the beginning of Orlando's first Eat Local Week, so I've stopped by one of the participating restaurants to try their special menu featuring items from local purveyors.
Maybe restaurant is a bit of a stretch in the case of Austin's Coffee & Film. It is a tie-dyed in the wool stereotypical coffeehouse, complete with underground music playing not very far in the background, rustic, colorfully painted tables and chairs and the requisite dilapidated sofas, and -- most appropriately for our purposes today -- walls filled with works by local artists.
I'm availing myself of Austin's free wi-fi while I wait for my local meal. Im already sipping my "small" cup of coffee, which is included with the prix fixe menu. The not-so-small cup is charmingly chipped and filled with a darkly flavored brew, just as I like it.
I ordered and paid for my food at the counter -- charming young woman there with an impossibly big smile and sunny disposition for a Monday -- and someone else has just brought my first course. It's the beer and cheese soup, also served in a cup (also chipped). It is not too thick, which is a good thing -- some people think they can serve melted cheese and call it soup -- and it has a slightly piquant taste with perhaps a tad too much salt. What's local about it? It's made with Blonde Ale from Orlando Brewing. (The people at the next table have the tomato soup, made with produce from Waterkist Farms, and they've just told the server, who may be one of the owners, that they love it.)
My second course is a Cuban sandwich with pork from Palmetto Creek Farms prepared by Big Wheel Provisions, which also provided the pickles. The bread, of course, is from Olde Hearth Bread Co. The sandwich has been pressed in the Cuban tradition, but the fillings are substantial enough that it still has some heft. The pickles are both tart and sweet, and the mustard adds a nice, spicy note.
For dessert there's Black & White Cookies from Veronica's Vegan Delights. (There are other vegan options on the Eat Local menu as well.) It's a thick and cakey cookie. Pretty tasty, actually.
The cost of Austin's Eat Local menu is $15, which seems like a lot, but according to the owner is a savings of about 25 percent from the a la carte menu. And local cost more -- as it should. Cheaper food often comes from mass producers. This is worth a little more.
Austin's Coffee & Film is at 929 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park. It's open daily, and the Eat Local menu is available for lunch or dinner through the 31st. Austin's phone number is 407-975-3364.