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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Weekend in Orlando

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 A few weeks ago I mentioned that my sister Julia and I were heading to Orlando, FL for a girl's weekend with my cousin Ashlyn who moved there a year and a half ago. It was our first time visiting Ashlyn in Florida, but not the first time we'd all been there together and we had an absolute blast remembering the memories we created more than 15 years ago while also making new ones. The trip was undoubtedly one of my favorite weekends of 2013 so far and I left Orlando with so much gratitude for the fact that my family members are also my best friends! I could go on and on about how much fun we had, but I'm instead going to hit the food highlights, because I know that's what you guys care about anyway!
Eola Wine Company: We kicked off Friday happy hour (literally--sat across the street waiting for the place to open!) at this wine bar in Winter Park, FL. We sat outside with glasses of wine, catching up and people-watching on Park Ave. Although they had a great-sounding menu, we stuck to the baked brie because we had big plans for dinner. Not only was it the perfect pre-dinner snack, but we felt like our grandma, sipping wine and eating brie (her favorites!). 

Prato: I'd been looking forward to this meal for months, since Ashlyn had texted Julia and I long before to tell us she'd made reservations here, at one of her favorite restaurants in Florida. Thankfully it did not disappoint! Although the interior of the restaurant is very cool, we again sat outside, taking advantage of al fresco dining whenever we could! Our cocktails were each fantastic, but the real stars of the night were the food. We opted to split three things: the campagna salad [arugula, pancetta, almonds, and the best croutons I've ever had!], the funghi pizza [roasted mushrooms, radicchio, charred onions, and aceto]. and the whole wheat tonnarelli [pork ragu, kale, barolo]. We had no problem finishing any of the three off, but the pizza was a particular favorite. If you find yourself in the Orlando area, do yourself a favor and get thee to Prato for this pizza! It is one of the best pizzas I've ever had (rivaling Serious Pie, which held the previous record!)

Red Mesa: Saturday, we decided to head out of Orlando and over to St. Petersburg to soak up a little beach time. The day was full of adventures and we had a fun time walking the beach and eating ice cream for lunch (a vacation tradition in my family!). By the time 5 pm hit we were tired, hungry, sunburnt, and dehydrated....which turned out to be nothing Red Mesa couldn't handle! We dragged our burnt selves to their patio (notice a trend here?), where we rehydrated with a pitcher of margaritas and water, LOTS of water! Given that it was the day before cindo de mayo, Mexican food seemed fitting. At that point anything would've tasted good, but even so, our quesadillas and tacos were top notch!

Epcot - Tutto Gusto: All of Sunday was spent in nostalgia, fondly remembering the last time the three of us had been together in Disney World. We started off at Hollywood Studios (what I remember as MGM) where we harmed our eardrums listening to Julia scream her way through Tower of Terror...twice. We then met up with my friend Lauren at Epcot where we enjoyed just about every attraction there, as well as a whirlwind tour around the world! We stopped in Italy at Tutto Gusto, a wine cellar that truly feels like you're walking into a little place in Italy. After glasses of wine and a cheese & olive plate, we continued our trek, taking photos in each city along the way (pictured above: the UK).

Wolfgang Puck: We almost missed seeing my aunt and uncle, who were out of town the weekend we came, but thankfully met up with these in Downtown Disney for a quick dinner on Sunday night. Although Wolfgang Puck's menu is large enough that you can find something for everyone, we all stuck to pizzas and salads. I recommend the Greek salad and veggie pizza! Because of our VIP status (or because Ashlyn's boyfriend works there...), we found ourselves with a giant platter of dessert to finish the meal, including carrot cake, key lime pie, and molten lava chocolate cake. We pretty much rolled out of there!

Market Street Cafe: We spent our final morning in Celebration, FL, a picturesque little town near Orlando. Sitting outside once again, we soaked up the last of the sunshine and our time together. It was at this little diner that we were asked if we were triplets, much to our delight ;) I stuck to a basic breakfast of eggs, fruit, and toast, but the waffles and pancakes that Julia, Ashlyn, and Josh ordered were met with rave reviews!  

All in all, while the food was great, it was the company we were really there for. Thankfully, neither disappointed! We already cannot wait to return for more Orlando adventures with Ashlyn!

One Year Ago: Oatmeal Sourdough Rolls
Two Years Ago: Individual Zucchini, Lemon, and Ricotta Galettes 
Three Years Ago: Black Bean Hummus