Mount Dora is a pleasant drive on a Sunday afternoon. It's even pleasanter when the destination is 1921 by Norman Van Aken.
I went to the restaurant recently to present the Foodster Award for Best New Restaurant to Van Aken and combined the trip with brunch. (See the video below for Van Aken's acceptance of the award.)
There were a number of things on the menu that caught my eye -- Shakshouka with lamb merguez and Andouille Hash, for instance. But a fish sandwich sounded just right, so I ordered the Grilled Red Snapper. It's been a while since I've had a fish sandwich this good. The fillet was thick and moist, topped with ancho mayonnaise and a slaw fashioned out of cabbage and corn. The toasted bun made it perfect. Even the fries, served in a metal cylinder, were too good to push away.
My companion had the Pork Belly Benedict, with strips of the bacony meat on muffins with perfectly poached eggs drenched in some of the best hollandaise sauce I've had in a long time.
I would have liked to have indulged in some of the cocktails that are exclusive to the brunch menu -- the Barreled Cold Brew Negroni made with gin-steeped cold brew coffee, for example, sounded wonderful.
Unfortunately, I still had to drive back to Orlando.
1921 by Norman Van Aken is at 142 W. 4th Ave., Mount Dora. Brunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is 352-385-1921.