Pammie's Sammies

Written by Scott Joseph on .

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I’m always surprised at what a quick trip it is from downtown Orlando to downtown Winter Garden via the 408, turnpike and 429. The raison de trip was to visit Pammie’s Sammies, a rockin’ little sandwich shop a half block off of Plant Street.

The rockin’ part (more classic than hard) comes from the musical theme of the decor and overall ambience. The walls are decorated with guitars and band posters mixed among such eclectic miscellanea as wooden chairs nailed upside-down to the ceiling, a bank of unconnected beer taps (also upside down), and sundry works of local art.

All of this is curated by Pam Thomas, the Pammie in question, and her husband, Thorp, both of them die-hard and tie-dyed musicians. (Notice the vintage photos over one of the windows of Pam singing while Thorp plays the drums.)

Even the menus are printed on the backs of old album covers. Mine was from the Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men,” which was appropriate because it was drizzling outside (standard non-humanoid precipitation).

Ratatouilleland opens at Epcot with new crepey restaurant

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Walt Disney World has opened an expanded section of the France pavilion that isn’t but really should officially be called Ratatouilleland.

You access the new area by going around the, um, derriere of the pavilion. There you’ll find a meticulously recreated Parisian streetscape with typical storefronts, ironworks and a not so typical fountain with gushing champagne bottles.

At the end of the rue is the new attraction Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, an immersive ride that combines 3-d animation and sensation-enhancing vehicles that take you on a rat’s-eye-view of a kitchen in a French restaurant.

After the ride you’ll want to visit Epcot’s newest French restaurant, the presumably rat-free La Crêperie de Paris. It’s a full service but tres casual restaurant featuring the crepes of Brittany, which are made with buckwheat and are a bit different from the usual rolled pancakes you might be familar with. But I’ll let Jérôme Bocuse explain in the video below.


RusTeak Thornton Park

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I’m wondering if there’s a sign maker in town that keeps a template at the ready for the marquee that hangs on the corner of the building at 101 S. Eola Drive. It’s touted Mucho Tequila and Tacos, Muddy Waters, and most recently the Menagerie in the past 10 or so years.

Now it reads RusTeak, the newest occupant of the corner restaurant space that recently relocated from its College Park location.

I reviewed that restaurant in November of 2014 and the original, in Ocoee, the year before that. Both were enjoyable experiences, with above average food and good service (in the case of the College Park RusTeak it was a little too good).

But for some reason, the Thornton Park RusTeak had me thinking it was a restaurant run by newbies who were still trying to figure how everything works. Instead of above average food, it was mostly just average.

Las Carretas

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When I first saw that a Mexica restaurant called Las Carretas was opening in Winter Park, I figured it was a reboot of a restaurant with the same name that occupied a building on South Semoran Boulevard in Orlando a half dozens years or so ago.

But apparently not. The Winter Park restaurant, whose name means the carts, is a first endeavor for the owners, I was told. And as a first effort they’re doing a fine job.

The Porch South Orange

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Things are really starting to pop in the Fort Gatlin shopping center in SoSoDo. The much anticipated Gatlin Hall Brewing food market is oh-so-much-closer to opening, maybe even this weekend, with food vendors Frenchy’s Wood-Fired Pizza, Willy’s Original smash burgers, and DaKine Poke, as well as the brewed-on-site beers.

We’ve already told you about Buttercrust Pizza. Nearby, Raptor’s Meals, a takeout-only dinner provider has made room for Clara Jean’s Polish Cuisine to work out of the same space. Brazas Chicken has been there longer than any of them (and I’ll have some news about Brazas soon).

But today we’re visiting The Porch South Orange, an outpost of the original Porch bar and restaurant in Winter Park (on North Orange) .

The Pass

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I’m not sure how to present the name of this restaurant. It might be The Pass Progressive Cuisine or it might be The Pass, with a descriptive subtitle of Progressive Cuisine. The pass being the surface where the cook passes the plated food to be picked up.

It might be a play on the grammatical term past progressive, at least that’s what I was thinking.

I’m going to go with the name being The Pass and give them a pass on the progressive cuisine part because it really isn’t too.

Red-Eye’s Git N Messy Smokehouse & Tavern

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Git-N-Messy BBQ has certainly had a head-spinning trajectory in its relatively young life.

Started in 2019 by Chuck Cobb in a Sanford gas station, it moved to another gas station on Hall Road in Orlando last year before partnering with Red-Eye Sports Tavern in late 2020 and moving to that Winter Springs location.

Cobb and his barbecue gained a loyal fanbase that willingly followed, and he earned national attention, appearing on the ABC talk show “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” preparing his outrageous concoction of Southern poutine.

Then, in April, Cobb was killed while riding his motorcycle. The tavern’s management announced that even before his death, Cobb was looking into pursuing other projects and had been grooming William O’Neal to take over as pitmaster at the renamed Red Eye’s Git N Messy Smokehouse & Tavern.

Soupa Saiyan

Written by Scott Joseph on .

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If you’re not familiar with the terms manga, anime or Dragon Ball Z, you may find the surroundings at Soupa Saiyan a little odd. Actually, even if you know about those things you may find the surroundings odd. But you might understand them a little more.

Soupa Saiyin (pronounce it like you’re sayin’ sayin’) is a hole-in-the-wall noodle house, the wall in question being in a sketchy looking mini strip mall on Vineland Road. The decor is based on manga (either comic books or graphic novels depending on your level of devotion) and anime, the Japanese animation style, usually based on manga sources, used in films and television shows. One such show is a franchise known as Dragon Ball Z and images and merchandise from the series fill the place.

Lombardi's Cafe

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Lombardi’s has long been my go-to fishmonger. I always appreciate the variety of fresh fish even though I generally stick to a few usuals. (Swordfish steaks cooked sous vide is my current favorite.)

But I always try to get to the shop early, as soon as it opens, to get the best selection. And so I’m usually there too early to have something from the adjoining cafe. Plus, if I’m cooking fish that night I’m not likely to have seafood for lunch.

But I recently made a point of visiting during lunchtime and found the food to be mostly good even if the overall experience was less so.

Buttercrust Pizza

Written by Scott Joseph on .

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I could see where some purists might take umbrage with Buttercrust Pizza’s name. Not the Buttercrust part – that’s a perfect description of the taste.

It’s the word Pizza some might object to. That’s because Buttercrust’s does not fit the usual mold. And that includes the shape of the mold. I can see the point of the pizza snobs who won’t have anything but a New York style thin crust wedge you have to fold the fit in your mouth. I get it. But they should get over it and try Buttercrust because whatever you call it it pretty darned delicious.