But if you make the effort to get to the northeast side, you’ll find an entirely different theme in Winter Park and Maitland, with museums, parks, gardens, art festivals and plenty of shopping destinations. It also has some of the best dining options available in the area.
Park Avenue, the main drag of Winter Park, offers many local boutiques and a few national retailers. For almost 40 years, the place to fuel up for a day of shopping has been Briarpatch.
Before the humidity takes over, grab a prime people-watching seat at one of the pavement tables and try a Belgian waffle topped with two eggs and four chunky slices of bourbon-braised pork belly ($19/R237). A short rib Benedict ($18) piles the braised beef and poached eggs on top of fries and covers it all with chipotle hollandaise. On the weekends, there will probably be a line, but it moves fast, and there will be a cold-brew coffee cocktail spiked with coconut rum ($12) as a reward for waiting.
Chefs James and Julie Petrakis, who helped make Winter Park a dining destination with the Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder, have teamed with Rhys and Alexia Gawlak to open Swine & Sons as a quick-serve and take-away option for house-made charcuterie.
A popular sandwich is the pastrami ($12) brined for seven days, smoked for four hours, then cooked in a sous-vide bath for 12 hours before being sliced and topped with Swiss, horseradish mayo, bread-and-butter pickles, and a sprinkle of dill. A shrimp roll ($12) celebrates two of the state’s most famous ingredients - shrimp and citrus - on a sub roll.
Chef Brandon McGlamery already had a corner on Park Avenue’s fine dining market with Luma on Park and Prato when he opened Luke’s Kitchen and Bar in Maitland. The vibe is relaxed, with classic dishes prepared with a James Beard Award nominee’s attention to detail. It’s easy to make a meal of the small plates, such as a few devilled eggs ($10), or a plate of fried fingerling potatoes on a bed of pimento cheese ($9). But if you’re game for a half a chicken ($23), the bird comes off the rotisserie on a baked potato puree. The cocktail programme takes a similarly classic approach with drinks, such as a bracing Sazerac ($10).
- The Washington Post.