New Tastes!


Rocco's Tacos and Tequila Bar

7468 W.Sand Lake Road 
(Restaurant Row)
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 226-0550

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a review or write up for Rocco’s Tacos. My last write up for Tastes Of Orlando was back in 2012 for Rocco’s, and lots of things have changed since then.

I have visited a few times intermittently since then for friends and family members birthday events or corporate gatherings, so I was excited at the opportunity to return and revisit for a proper blog write up.

As I said back in 2012, the one of many things I love about this location of Rocco’s is the fact that it makes me feel like have arrived at an upscale version of the bar from the movie "From Dusk till Dawn".

Do you remember that movie with George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino? It's the one where they get stuck at a crazy and wild bar on the dark side of Mexico and everyone turns into vampires. Although I never feared anyone at Rocco's turning into a vampire, the ambiance and feeling of the place certainly reminded me of the film.

Owner Rocco Mangel opened his first location in West Palm Beach in 2007, and has had quite a good following with a total of eight stores that have opened since then. The Orlando location was still in its infancy when I went for the first time in 2012, but they have maintained a steady business since then.

That is a testament to the brand and quality that owner Rocco Mangel brings to his establishments, especially when you consider how many restaurants have opened and closed in Orlando and Restaurant Row since then.

They have a few new additions to the menu and also have reinvigorated some of the old classics and kicked things up a notch now in 2018.

Inside, or Outside, both of the bars at Rocco’s are pretty impressive. This is the inside bar with just about every type and brand of tequila you can imagine.

Whether you choose to dine inside or outside, there is plenty of room, with great views no matter where you are. The inside is full of unique chandeliers, skeletons, bizarre statues and an array of interesting things to look at. Outside they have seating lakeside with a great view of Little Sand Lake and plenty of tiki torches to light up the night.

The Chips and Guacamole here have always been a favorite of mine, with guac made table side and the seasoned chips that are good by themselves.

Jalapeno Rellenos are stuffed and fried jalapeño poppers with cotija cheese, lime crema, avocado ranch and cilantro for a really good appetizer to share at the table.

Pollo Al Carbon is a generous platter from the Especiales de la Casa section of the menu with chicken, green bean and frisee salad, pickled red onions and sweet plantains.

Of course Rocco’s has the tacos as well, and they do a pretty good job of serving them up with a variety of protein options, like this platter with Chorizo, Carne Asada, and Pollo.

Camarones Patron are a cool item on the menu that I really enjoyed, with shrimp sauteéd in tequila and rojo chipotle butter sauce, padrón peppers and served with flour tortillas.

Hey… they have salads here too, and they are pretty darn good. The Ensalada de Espincaca at Rocco’s is made with blackened chicken, spinach, mixed greens, goat cheese, bacon, grilled onion and a very delicious charred jalapeno vinaigrette.

Enchiladas are always a good choice, especially these Mole Poblano ones filled with pulled chicken in adobo drenched in a mole poblano sauce.

For all you meat lovers out there, I strongly recommend the Gaucho Platter with grilled steak, chicken breast, shrimp, chorizo, chimichurri, grilled green onions, radishes and corn tortillas.

You can not go to Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila bar and not get a margarita. They make some of the best margaritas in Orlando. One of my favorites is the Cadillac Margarita made with El Mayor Anejo, Grand Marnier, and Rocco’s Housemade Sour Mix.

Back in the beginning phases of Rocco’s, Rocco himself went and scoured the globe and visited Mexico more than 20 times to get a better vision for his concept. His goal was not just getting the food right, but more bring the best and widest selection of Tequila's in the southeast to his loyal patrons.

At any given time Rocco's can have as many as 300 different Tequila's on hand. A single shot of a lower end Tequila may cost you around $5.00, But, for the discerning customer, they have a shot of "1800 Coleccion Anejo" for a mere $250.00.

Back in his heyday, Rocco was known for visiting his establishments and donning the shoes Pee Wee Herman made famous during the “Tequila” song and dance in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. He would jump on the bar and pour tequila shots down patrons throats and the place would go crazy.

Nowadays, Rocco Mangel is a little laid back and not as crazy as he once was. He was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis not too long ago, so he has undergone a lifestyle change, but it’s all for the better. Rocco has a made a big effort to be part of the National MS Society because as he says, he wants people to know that his life, and those of others with MS, can continue to thrive.

In addition to all the walks and fundraisers Rocco is a part of, he has also added a special drink to the menu called the MS Miracle Margarita that is made with Maestro Dobel Diamante, Cedilla Acai Liqueur, Agave Nectar, Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice, and best of all, the proceeds go entirely to The National MS Society.

I said it in 2012, and I’ll say it again... The only thing that would have made our experience better at Rocco’s Tacos, is if Salma Hayek playing the part of Santánico Pandemonium would have been our server. The food is always good here, and it’s an atmosphere that is so fun and enjoyable and they make a damn fine margarita.

Rocco's Tacos and Tequila Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Fish Camp on Lake Eustis

901 Lake Shore Blvd.
Tavares, FL 32778
(352) 742-4400
View Website Here

The Fish Camp on Lake Eustis is a newer restaurant to the area, that is serving up some pretty darn good seafood in a hospitable atmosphere that is directly on the lake. 

The locals are flocking to this new hotspot, but even if you live in Orlando or any surrounding areas, this place is certainly worth the drive, especially for a Friday night or a weekend visit.

The exterior is pretty low key, but that's a good thing, because they do a fine job of selling the whole fish camp vibe. Many patrons have snapped photos of gators resting dockside, wild birds, eagles, owls, you name it, can be seen on a daily basis from the docks surrounding Fish Camp.

People who live on Lake Eustis, or are out on a weekend fishing trip or a nature tour can easily pull right up to the boat slips they have outside and go inside the restaurant to grab a bite to eat and a drink or two.

The food served here is very seafood and fish oriented, hence the name. The appetizer list starts off with items like Middle Neck Clams, Grouper Nuggets, Old Bay Crab Cake and Groveland Gator Bites. Moving on to entrees, they have Shrimp Scampi over linguini, Grouper Tacos, Shrimp and Grits, Seafood Trio and a Pineapple Marinated Sirloin to name a few.

The Bar is nice and cozy at Fish Camp with a laid back atmosphere.

Speaking of the bar, I was very pleased to find out that Fish Camp is very dedicated to not only local food sourcing, but also working with local distilleries as well. We did sample and try some very good spirits from Palm Ridge Reserve and Yalaha Bootlegging Co., both of whom are located in Umatilla and Yalaha Florida.

The inside dining room is very spacious with plenty of seating, and they also have a nice outside deck area to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature during your visit.

We started our evening off with Swamp Cabbage Ceviche that is made with fish and shrimp with lime, roasted corn, hearts of palm, red onion and tomato and is served with homemade tortillas. The flavors going on in this appetizer were pretty impressive with a perfect blend of citrus and spice, and the housemade tortillas really made this dish excell. Everyone has their own interpretation of Ceviche, and I personally really enjoyed this version.

The drinks at Fish Camp are pretty impressive as well, and they don’t skimp on the ingredients either. On the left is the Unhinged Anhinga Mojito and The Grand Ol' Osprey old fashioned on the right.

Gator Bites can be tough, chewy, or just plain not enjoyable, so when you find some really good ones, it is required to eat every last bite, and that is exactly what we did. The Groveland Gator Bites are breaded pieces of Gator Tail, fried and served with Sriracha Garlic Aioli and a Pineapple Salsa Cruda. These were delicious.

The Seafood Trio Tavares is a great way to sample a few things while dining at the Fish Camp. This dish comes with butterflied shrimp, grilled fish of your choice, and a crab cake over a dijon sauce with two sides. We chose blackened grouper for the fish. All of this was phenomenal, and the crab cake here has as much crab as possible with almost no fillers. Everything was fresh and full of flavor, and the dijon sauce went very well with all of the selections plated.

They have a variety of sides available here also like Linguini, Wilted Kale, Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potato Fries, Corn on the cob, Bacon Cheddar Grits, Salt & Pepper Fries, Side Salad and Hush Puppies. We chose to sample the Bacon Cheddar Grits, Wilted Kale and the Shaved Brussels Sprouts and all of them were quite tasty side selections and really a notch above what one might find at a traditional fish camp type of restaurant. 

A Redneck Margarita made with Yalaha Bootlegging Moonshine is on the left, and a splash of Palmridge whiskey on the rocks is on the right.

I have been to some rather famous locations on Florida’s West Coast and have had some pretty darn good grouper, so I'm always impartial when it comes to grouper, but this is hands down some of the freshest and tastiest grouper that I have had from Orlando to Clearwater. These Fried Grouper Tacos were excellent. They are served with a light drizzle of chili crema and topped with Pico de Gallo salsa. You can order them fried, blackened, or grilled.

The Bacon Caramel Cheesecake is pretty ridiculous at Fish Camp. This little slice of heaven is worth the drive over there all by itself. This is a sweet and savory dessert that was a perfect ending to a great visit The Fish Camp in Lake Eustis.

The Fish Camp on Lake Eustis is a great place to enjoy some fine seafood, craft cocktails, and warm and friendly service, all with a view and a location that is unmatched in the area. If you are a local, make sure you hit them up. If you live in Orlando like I do, It is certainly worth the drive.

They also have a few specials throughout the week like Maryland Mondays with a Baltimore-style Blue Crab Feast Old Bay Crab Cake Dinner with Two Sides for $9.99, Soft Shell Crabs 6.99 per 1lb and a Snow Crab Dinner for $19.99

Raw Bar Wednesdays start with Fresh Oysters raw or steamed Middleneck Clams for $6/Dozen and Oysters $9.99/Dozen as well as a Pound of Peel n Eat Shrimp for $10.99.

Thirsty Thursdays feature $1.99 Margaritas and Martinis with dinner from 4pm to close, Fish Friday is Every Friday with All You Can Eat Fish N’ Chips.

They recently started doing a weekend brunch special as well, which would make for a great start to your day of fishing or sightseeing on Lake Eustis.

Fish Camp is open Monday to Thursday from 11:00am until 9:00pm and on Friday and Saturday from 11:00am until 10:00pm.

Fish Camp Lake Eustis Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Olive Tree Greek Grill

2270 Town Center Ave.
Suite 113
Melbourne, FL 32940
(321) 631-0188
View Website Here

On a recent day of shopping, we headed over to Viera to hit up The Avenue. It’s pretty much a mall, but all the shops are outside, just like Waterford Lakes, and they are both Simon Properties. 

There is plenty of traditional mall type food around the area, and even other options, but mostly chain spots. We were very glad that when we got hungry, and we happened to be by the shoe store, we spotted Olive Tree Greek Grill.

The Olive Tree is pretty much a fast casual dining experience that specializes in serving authentic Greek food. The Menu here is full of your traditional Greek items one expects to find in such an establishment like Greek salad, Gyro sandwiches, Shish Kebabs, Falafels, Spanakopita, Dolmathes, and Souvlaki.

Prices are pretty reasonable and everything is al a carte. It’s a very simple ordering process where you walk up, take a gander at the menu and place your order. You then pay, have a seat and someone brings you your food.

All dishes are made on premises from scratch using the finest ingredients. Olive Tree is family owned and operated, and a sign says they have been dedicated to serving the highest quality, best tasting Greek cuisine for over 34 years. I’m certain they have not been in business in Viera for over 34 years, but there was a poster of some sort talking about the family being from New York and having a similar business there. 

The kitchen and prep area is open, so as you move along the line you can see them making your food. 

There is a decent amount seating inside, but on a Saturday, it can get packed and seating may be limited as the space is not that big.

We decided to split an order of the Falafel balls. These were really good, and served with an interesting yogurt based dipping sauce. 

My wife and I both were craving a good Gyro, so we each ordered one. This was by far one of the better Gyros I've had in quite some time, and this thing was loaded with meat and toppings. They actually make the pita in house too, and it was delicious as well. These can be ordered with Souvlaki, or with grilled chicken and served on white or wheat pitas.
Although we did not try any, the dessert case looked to have some really appealing items in there, like Baklava, Rice Pudding and Honey and Spice cookies.

I have a lot of family in Brevard County, so I’m sure I will be back to the Olive Tree Greek Grill. Since we kind of went here last minute doing some shopping, we did not get to try out the menu like I normally like to do, but everything we had was really good, and the place was packed, so apparently other people really like the food there too.

If you find yourself over on the East Coast and are at The Avenue in Viera, do yourself a favor and hit up Olive Tree.

The Olive Tree Greek Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Hot Dog Heaven

5355 E Colonial Dr.
Orlando, FL 32807
(407) 282-5746

(No Website Available)

Hot Dog Heaven is pretty much an Orlando Icon, after all, they have been in business for over 30 years.

In today’s restaurant industry with so many opening and closings, being in business that long is a true testament to the quality and dedication that this true mom and pop place puts out on a daily basis. 

This place is exactly what it sounds like, a restaurant dedicated to hot dogs. They try as hard as they can to present their customers with a true Chicago dog, but also offer it in a variety of flavors and topping varieties as well. All the hot dog options here are made with Vienna Beef Hot Dogs, which is a true staple to the Chicago theme.

The menu starts with an Authentic Chicago Hot Dog that is made with a 100% pure beef Vienna natural casing hot dog on a steamed poppy seed bun, topped with mustard, relish, onion, tomato, pickle, and hot peppers. From there you can go on to other options like...Jumbo Chicago Hot Dog, American Cheese Dog, Swiss Cheese Dog, Slaw Dog, Kraut Dog, Chili Dog, Baked Bean & Onion Dog, Kraut & Slaw Dog, Cheese & Kraut Dog, and a Reuben Dog just to name a few.

If you want something more extravagant, they also offer The Great Chicago Fire Dog with a 100% pure beef Vienna spicy hot dog on a steamed poppy seed bun, topped with mustard, relish, onion, tomato, pickle and hot peppers, and of course they also have Italian Sausage, which is a Thursday special, with green peppers & onions. They also offer a Spicy version of the classic Vienna beef hot dog.

All of the hot dog options here can be ordered separately, or as a combo with fries or chips, and your choice of one side, like coleslaw, macaroni salad, or baked beans. You can also upgrade to Cheese Fries or Chili Cheese Fries.

I opted for the The Spicy Chicago Dog with a spicy all beef Vienna beef hot dog that is served on a steamed poppy seed bun, topped with mustard, relish, onion, tomato, pickle, and hot peppers, with sides of French fries and a side of macaroni salad. This was a really good dog. I’ve been to Chicago and other areas of Illinois, so I'm a bit impartial, but I really enjoyed the spicy dog option Hot Dog Heaven has.

My wife loves a good Kraut Dog, so she ordered the Kraut Dog Combo with sides of French Fries and coleslaw. She really enjoyed her hot dog, and the bite I had was delicious as well. The fries here are made fresh also, and they are nice and crispy. The coleslaw wasn't bad, and my macaroni salad I had as my side was decent.

When you visit Hot Dog Heaven, do yourself a favor and order your soda or whatever you drink in a mug. The Mugs are $2.35, and you own it… bring it back next time, and refills are .35 cents. They are also good to make your favorite cocktails or milkshakes in at home.

Lines on Saturday especially, can be a bit long, but It's worth the wait, and they move pretty fast. Inside the seating is pretty limited, but they do have additional seating outside with several benches on a covered patio, there is also a nice little park directly behind the location with bench seating and a lake view.

Hot Dog Heaven is open Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 am until 6:00pm. They close at 5:00pm on Saturday, and they are closed on Sunday and Monday. If you are in the area, we highly recommend you stop by and visit Hot Dog Heaven. It's truly an Orlando institution that serves up some pretty tasty dogs, and really good fries.

Hot Dog Heaven Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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International BBQ Teams Are Headed to Orlando March 2nd and 3rd for Sonny's Smokin Showdown

287 S Tampa Ave.
Orlando, FL 32805
View Website Here

The annual Barbecue Invitational and Music Festival is set to host 10,000+ locals, while more than 50 pit-masters from Australia, Canada and Beyond compete for $68,000.

This year’s Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown is promising high barbecue competition paired with heightened senses for the expected 10,000 guests to celebrate the culture of barbecue on March 2nd to the 3rd, 2018.

Sonny’s BBQ announced in November 2017 that it was set to move its annual event from Sanford to downtown Orlando at Tinker and McCracken Fields, part of Camping World Stadium located at 1 Citrus Bowl Place, Orlando, FL to accommodate the attendance demand and the increased number of barbecue teams traveling to Orlando to compete.

“We’re thrilled to put on this invitation-only competition that brings together the world’s top pitmasters, including Country Boys BBQ from Australia and Team Eatapedia from Canada, in one arena for an epic barbecue battle, said Bryan Mroczka, Head Pitmaster of Sonny’s BBQ.

The two-day celebration will include the following:

Friday, March 2nd: Barbecue Invitational, Sanctioned by Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS)
-More than 50 professional pitmaster teams from around the world (Australia, Canada and beyond) will be onsite to compete in five categories for a total purse of $68,000
-This event is not open to the public, but media are allowed for interviews.

Saturday, March 3rd: All-day event for families and children of all ages 
-Live music with top country artists Rodney Atkins and High Valley
-Multiple food vendors including Firehouse BBQ, Donut Love, and Lickity Split
-A kid’s zone area with fun and games
-Donut and rib-eating contests
-Special cooking demonstrations from The Polite Pig’s Chef Jeff Adema, Sonny’s BBQ Head Pitmaster Bryan Mroczka and more.

Teams are judged on five different meat categories: chicken, ribs, pork, brisket and a mystery meat, which will be announced at the event. The grand champion team will receive $20,000. The total prize pool totals $68,000.

"We're looking forward to hosting 'Sonny's Smokin’ Barbecue' in Orlando for the first time and welcoming some of the best pitmasters from around the world to share their tips and techniques," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. "Barbecue is a big deal in the South so the competition should be fierce and fun."

Tickets are available HERE for $15 up to March 2, 2018. Kids 12 and under are free. VIP tickets can also be purchased for $40.

For more information about Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown, please visit For more information about Sonny’s BBQ, visit

Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown Invitational is a national barbecue competition hosted by Sonny’s BBQ and sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS). The competition and large-scale festival is designed to bring barbecue enthusiasts from all over the country to the heart of Florida for a full day of live music, family fun and good food.

A first of its kind in the area, Sonny’s BBQ created the Smokin’ Showdown to share its passion and expertise with the barbecue community, as well as provide a platform for pitmasters to showcase their talents alongside some of the best in the business. Last year, Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown hosted approximately 10,000 attendees and more than 50 competing teams.

With 112 locations spanning the Southeast, Sonny’s BBQ is one of the largest barbecue restaurant companies in the country. Its signature pulled pork, sweet tea, and unique appetizers like the Redneck Egg Rolls have afforded the restaurant the title of “Best Barbecue Chain in America” by The Daily Meal for three consecutive years, and counting. Floyd “Sonny” Tillman and his wife, Lucille founded Sonny’s BBQ in 1968 in Gainesville, Fla. in hopes of creating a local barbecue joint for their community to enjoy.
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MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company

720 Centerview Blvd.
Kissimmee, FL 34741
(407) 201-3824
View Website Here

MidiCi is one of the newer entrants to the fast casual pizza concept, but if you ever visit any location, you will quickly find out they are aiming for an experience that is worlds away from the competition.

Anyone who walks into any of the fast casual pizza chains in the country like Blaze Pizza, PizzaRev, Pieology, Pie Five and other players in a category that seems to announce new development deals overnight, will see a very distinct difference from what Midici is offering from the moment you walk in the door.

At MidiCi the mission is to bring friends together around pizza because it behaves like a friend, it connects people. It crosses barriers and unites people.

The pizza served here is the Original. Pizza with a capital N. Neapolitan Pizza.
The way Italians invented it over 300 years ago. It is authentic, made with few and fine ingredients, and accessible to everyone.

Staying true to Neapolitan heritage, the dough is made with only four fine ingredients – non-GMO double zero flour imported from Naples, pure water, sea salt and live yeast. The authentic and pure garnishes include – crushed non-GMO Italian peeled tomatoes, fresh whole mozzarella and non-GMO, Italian extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil.

They serve way more than pizza here too, with a great selection of meat and cheese boards, antipasto dishes, salads, desserts, beers, wines and some really good coffee too.

This is fast casual, so you do have to walk up to the counter and place an order, but that is where the fun starts. They have a few classic styles of Neapolitan pizza you can choose from, as well as specialty pizzas, and of course you can make your own pizza with whatever toppings you wish.

Burrata with Melon & Prosciutto is a great antipasto selection to start your meal at Midici. This is served with Burrata, melon, prosciutto, extra virgin olive oil and a balsamic reduction drizzle with wood fired Neapolitan bread. All appetizers are served fresh with balsamic reduction and wood-fired Neapolitan bread.

The House Meat & Cheese Plate with Black truffle cheese (sottocenere al tartufo), Goat cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, rosemary ham (cotto), prosciutto, spicy Italian salami (calabrese) is big enough for 2. This is served with Kalamata olives, dried apricots, dates, walnuts and honey.

We really enjoyed The Italian Salad. This is made to share, and it’s full of seasonal greens, Romaine lettuce, Neapolitan salami, bell peppers, grape tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, Kalamata olives, Parmesan, crushed croutons and tossed in a housemade Italian vinaigrette dressing.

The House Cheese Board with Black truffle cheese (sottocenere al tartufo), fresh Mozzarella, Goat cheese, Gorgonzola, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pears, dates, walnuts and honey is a very good starter as well, perhaps even better with a glass of wine.

Midici also makes excellent House Made Meatballs that are made with Angus beef and topped with fresh Mozzarella in an Italian marinara sauce with Parmesan and basil.

You can order from a variety of pre-designed pizzas at Midici, but you can also build your own. You simply pick a base, like the Margherita, the Pesto, Truffle, or a Red Marinara then add from a variety of toppings. It’s best not to do more than 3 toppings at once, because it will make your pizza too heavy and not give you that good cracker like crust. 

This is The Margherita Pizza made with Italian tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, parmesan, basil, extra virgin olive oil. The signature Neapolitan dough is light, thin, soft and chewy, with a high crust. Made from 4 fine ingredients: non-gmo double zero Neapolitan flour, water, sea salt, and yeast.

The Forest Pizza is on the Specialty Menu at Midici and is topped with Italian tomato sauce, fresh Mozzarella, rosemary ham (cotto), mushrooms, black olives, and is finished with with Parmesan, basil and extra virgin olive oil.

For my “custom pizza”, I chose the Margherita base and topped it with Applewood smoked bacon, red onions and sun dried tomatoes. 

The Signature Nutella Calzone is a must have must try item at Midici. This was extravagant and delicious made with a house made dough pocket stuffed with Nutella and served with strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.

Like the Italians, the folks at Midici believe a meal is about taste, flavors and colors, but it is also, and if not more, about the people, the conversations, the laughter. The best meals always have your friends circled around the table. Because they believe it is moments we remember, not days, not posts, not pictures.

The food here is excellent. The staff even better, and the atmosphere is perfect. Although Midici must call itself fast casual, this brand of pizza is anything but.

MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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