Before I left Japan I told my parents that I wanted a Papa John's pizza waiting for me. Papa Johns isn't even my favorite delivery pizza I just hadn't had it in years and had a craving. The sausage is unbeatable in my opinion and I ate on that large pizza (and some of the meat lovers my parents got for themselves) nearly every day for the next week. Also their cheesy bread was fantastic.
For my second night back we headed out to a newly opened local sports restaurant called Friendly Confines. It was a sort of overwhelming experience for me (and prompted this entry) , and the wait staff was less than stellar. The restaurant seems to be going for a young college vibe, but has really just ended up hiring a bunch of cute young girls who appear to lack the proper training. The burger was very "meh" as well. Nothing special. Unlikely to go back.
After a few days of home cooked meals we had plans to meet up with family friends at this Italian restaurant over near Disney and Universal Studios, Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza. The pizza claims to be "well-done" but it is really about 30 seconds from being burned beyond eatability.
The toppings themselves were great, and if you got a less blackened slice it tasted great! We also ordered some side dishes and they were completely phenomenal! The meatballs were some of the best I have ever had and the marinara sauce was fantastic. The big dollop of ricotta was a perfect compliment. Not to mention it just looked beautiful.
We also ordered their chicken wings, which were a great light herby taste and perfect after being cooked in the coal oven. Their beer list is also great, featuring a nice variety of craft brews that I am still trying to wrap my head around after years of the one-note Japanese lagers.
The following day I made my way out to Chipotle for the first time. With my new eating habits I was able to enjoy something other than their tacos, and I can now say that I really do understand the love the place gets. I always enjoyed my barebones chicken tacos back in college, but getting a bowl loaded down with everything is even better.
Orlando has a few Asian markets. There is a rather large Vietnamese population due to the Air Force base that was here prior to Disney World. I drove way out down Colonial Dr. to visit the Eastside Asian Market. It had a nice selection of snacks and even a few surprising finds. Now I have what I need to make a few of my favorite Japanese dishes. They were also cheaper than I expected them to be!
Yesterday I met Suzy of The Kawaii Planet for brunch over at Dexter's. I actually met her years ago when she was dating a good friend of mine who lives in Sapporo! It's such a small world that she is now living in Orlando, my hometown, when she herself is from the Czech Republic! My uncle actually had his art on display at Dexter's years back so it was nice to return to the small, busy restaurant. Even though it was busy we didn't have to wait long for a table, and the food was amazing. My eggs Benedict were to die for, and Suzy's salad was beautiful.
That about sums up my first couple of weeks of American food! There are still so many things I want to eat and I am discovering things I didn't even know I missed on an almost daily basis! Hope you all have a wonderful day and I'll catch you next time!