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Showing posts with label Mexican. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mexican. Show all posts

Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food


6000 Universal Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 224-3663
View Website Here



Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food is one of many dining options available at Universal City Walk. Although the decor is very lively and fun, It certainly is very far from being Authentic. That’s not necessarily a bad thing thing though.

The food that is served up is pretty decent for the most part, and some things can be hit or miss, but let’s face it...this in the heart of a huge tourist area. While I wouldn't go so far as to say it’s a tourist trap, it is a place that I’m ok with not being fully authentic.

Once you step inside of Antojitos, you will find a lively fiesta vibe with neon lights, loud music, and array of decorations that get you into party mode. 

The bar has plenty of cocktails and tequila creations like the “Blood Orange Margarita” or the “Horse You Rode In On” made with Herradura Reposado Tequila, Ginger Beer, Amarena Black Cherry and Simple Syrup. They also have a very extensive line up of tequila by the shot that range from $5.00 to $60.00 for a shot of Casa Dragones.

The menu features made from scratch Mexican street fare with flavorful favorites like tacos, empanadas, and fajitas with traditional creations like hearty Mar y Tierra Stew and bright Mahi Veracruzana. Some items are just not quite authentic, are more of an artistic expression of what that dish should be.

The Chips and Salsa were pretty much standard fare for any Tex-Mex place. The salsa was a tad bland, but not too bad.

A Tropical Mojito on the Left and The Horse you rode in on the right made with Herradura Reposado Tequila, Ginger Beer, Amarena Black Cherry and Simple Syrup.

The bar is a focal point as soon as you walk into Antojitos and it has pretty cool vibe with lots of neon lights.

Queso Fundido La Generala is made with Menonita Cheese topped with chorizo sausage and ancho spice, served with warm flour tortillas.

The Carnitas were really good with beer braised chili pork, salsa verde, guacamole, queso fresco, grilled Serrano chili, black beans and house rice, but for the price of $16.95, the portion was underwhelming.

We really enjoyed the Churrasco that is composed of skirt steak, ancho, chimichurri, grilled chorizo, black bean puree, house rice and crispy chile onions. This was very tender and flavorful and had adequate portions.

As I said earlier, some things are hit or miss here, and they try to do too much with artistic expression. This is the Tamales at Antojitos and they were rather strange. They made them as a souffle, and I get the idea they were going for...the flavors were there, but it lacked the ultimate flavor of a good Tamale with a good homemade corn tortilla. Interesting, but missed the mark.

Inside of Antojitos is very spacious and open with a few different dining areas.

With live Mariachi music setting the tone on select nights, Neon Lights galore and a crazy atmosphere this is a festive dining experience every day of the week. The food is good and you will have a good time here, just don't expect authentic Mexican as the name suggests.

Antojitos is open Sunday to Thursday from 3:00 pm to Midnight, and Friday to Saturday from 3:00 pm to 1:00 am.

Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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New “Smokehouse Summer” Specials at 4 Rivers Smokehouse


11764 University Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32817
(844) 474-8377

(All Locations)
View Website Here


After Chef John Rivers returned from his most recent trip to Mexico, he came back really inspired by some great dishes while he was there. 

Naturally he wanted to share what he had found, so 4 Rivers Restaurant Group will debut four new limited time only “Smokehouse Summer” dishes at its locations in Florida and Georgia (excluding downtown Orlando).

Available from June 4th to August 4th, the Smokehouse Barbacoa Bowls will be offered in four varieties – Brisket Barbacoa, Nana’s Pork Sofrito, Chicken Tinga and Black Bean & Cilantro Rice.

“We’re excited to celebrate one of our favorite times of the year at 4 Rivers with the delicious new Smokehouse Summer offerings and family fun happenings,” said John Rivers, 4 Rivers Founder/CEO. “The Barbacoa Bowls serve our signature smoked meats in an all new flavor combination that will introduce guests to a side of 4 Rivers they may have never experienced.”

4 Rivers Sweet Shop will also offer two limited time only summer specials. In June the featured dessert will be a Mountain Dew and Doritos Cupcake and in July a Coca-Cola and Potato Chip Cupcake.


I was fortunate enough to visit the 4Rivers Test Kitchen and not only get to hang with John Rivers, but also get a first bite of the new Smokehouse Summer Specials.


This is the Chicken Tinga Bow. The chicken is shredded and prepared in a tomato chipotle sauce, then it is served with rice and black beans, salsa verde, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, queso fresco and cilantro topped with a sliced jalapeno. A This bowl had great flavor with a good spice.

Next up was Nana's Pork Sofrito Barbacoa Bowl. All Barbacoa Bowls will have base ingredients like black beans and rice, Pico de gallo, Cilantro, sour cream, and queso fresco, but you can add or subtract any ingredients you wish.


Here is the Brisket Barbacoa Bowl made with 4Rivers famous beef brisket, that is served with rice and black beans, salsa verde, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, queso fresco and cilantro topped with a sliced jalapeno.


While visiting your local Smokehouse, 4 Rivers guests can show their summer spirit by taking pictures at the Smokehouse Summer photo booth with their friends, family and food. Guests are encouraged to share their photos with #4RSmokehouseSummer on social media for chances to win prizes.

All prize packages include a beach towel, beach tote, 4R koozie, magnet and pen. Weekly rotating prizes include 4R spice rubs and BBQ sauces, 4R insulated water bottle and an autographed copy of John Rivers’ The Southern Cowboy Cookbook.

As a thank you to teachers on break, 4 Rivers is extending a 10 percent discount to all teachers with valid ID this summer. Additionally, each Smokehouse will host a backpack drive benefiting selected local Title 1 elementary schools. The drive will take place during a two-week period prior to the start of the school year – dates to be announced. For every backpack filled with school supplies that is donated, the donor will receive a free sandwich at that Smokehouse.

On Friday, June 15 and Saturday June, 16 each Smokehouse will offer family friendly Father’s Day activities including cookie decorating kits for kids and special gifts to buy dad such as Pitmaster Kits and 4R merchandise. Beginning June 1 each Smokehouse will offer complimentary “A Date with Dad” invitations for children to color and give to their fathers.

For the first time ever, this 4th of July 2018, 4 Rivers Smokehouses and Catering will be open this year on the holiday from 11:00am to 5:00pm.


4 Rivers Smokehouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Taco Maker Mexican Grill

7790 Lake Underhill Rd.
Unit 105
Orlando, FL 32825
(407) 930-0496
View Website Here

And… we have yet another entrant into the Taco Craze currently erupting in Central Florida. More tacos, more Tex-Mex the more the merrier as some would say, maybe others are tired of it, but either way, Tacos are here to stay.... for now.

With more than 100 franchise restaurants in Puerto Rico, the Taco Maker brand has expanded into the U.S. with their concept of made to order Mexican with the introduction of Taco Maker Mexican Grill in 2014. With more than 70 franchises now sold, the team at Frans Global – who acquired the Taco Maker brand in 2006 has made its way to Orlando.

Whether it’s tacos, burritos, fajitas or dessert, the food is served fresh and with passion. The menus are full of savory and customizable Mexican food options to fit any taste and any diet. Taco Maker features beef and chicken fajitas and fresh made on site guacamole, tortillas and chips as well as fresh made sauces with over 20 fresh ingredients to choose from. 

Inside is pretty open and spacious. Guests walk up, place their order and customize it as they go through the line and seat themselves, Fast-Casual at its core. 

Guests have a variety of toppings and options to fully customize their orders as they go through the line.

Mexican Grill Bowl with seasoned ground beef and Mexican rice and a Jarritos Lime soda.

A Quesadilla Platter.

This is a taco salad that is fully customizable and served in a house made deep fried tortilla. This was filled with Chicken Criollo. Proteins available here are Ground Beef, Chicken Criollo, Steak Fajita, Chicken Fajita or Pork Carnitas.

A Taco Trio Platter with Chicken, Carnitas and Ground Beef with black beans, chips and Mexican rice.

The Grande Platter I ordered came with a taco and a burrito, so I got the burrito stuffed with carnitas, and went with the ground beef for the taco. The carnitas were very flavorful and really good for a fast casual place, but they do make it everyday in house. 

The Apple or Cherry Pies are deep fried tortillas with apple or cherry filling and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon...what’s not to like?

Of course the Nutella Cheesecake Pie is pretty much a game changer. This is a deep fried flour tortilla with cheesecake and Nutella filling and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. They also serve Rellenitas XL, which is basically a quesadilla filled with nutella and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

Overall, we really enjoyed Taco Maker. The prices are very affordable, a combo is about $9.00 here, and that includes a drink. For the freshness of the food and ease of ordering, I personally don't mind another taco spot in Orlando, as long as it’s decent food and they are not trying to hop on another food trend like some local establishments.

They have another location in Central Florida as well, at 9924 Universal Blvd.
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Cafe Rio


1040 N Orlando Ave.
Winter Park, FL 32789
(321) 422-2099
View Website Here


Cafe Rio is yet another entrant into the Fast Casual market, and of course the ever growing Taco Craze that is currently consuming Central Florida. 

Much like it’s competitors, you walk in, order a bowl, a burrito, tacos, salads or tostadas, and you pick the meats, toppings, sauces and sides while everything is put together as you go, you pay, then seat yourself and dig in. 

Cafe Rio Mexican Grill, is a fast casual restaurant chain based in Salt Lake City Utah, with branches in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.

The Brand’s recipes are inspired from the traditional cooking styles of the Rio Grande region of Northern Mexico, Southern Texas and New Mexico. The Winter park Location is the first one in Florida.

The first thing you see when you start your order at Cafe Rio is a tortilla maker rolling freshly made dough and placing it on the comal. An essential tool in traditional Mexican cuisine for over five hundred years, the comal is what gives the tortillas their rich, deep and nutty flavor.

Cafe Rio makes their signature sauces, salsas, dressings and toppings fresh every morning, hand slicing fresh chiles, vegetables and fruits and mixing them with a blend of secret spices. From mild to “I can’t feel my tongue” hot, they have the fresh, flavorful kick for your favorite meal.

Options for ordering at Cafe Rio include, Burritos, Salads, Tacos, Enchiladas, Quesadillas, Tostadas, Nachos, Chips & Salsa, Queso, Guacamole, Tortilla Soups and a small selection of desserts.


Everything you order at Cafe Rio can be customized…Proteins, Toppings, Sauces, Beans, Etc… can all be customized after choosing your base.

We ordered an appetizer of Chips with salsa and queso and a side of the Cilantro Ranch as well as a side of Tomatillo. The queso was really good with a little heat to it.

Two Enchiladas, one with Shredded Chicken, one with Fire Roasted Chicken. Really enjoyed both, but of course the fire roasted version stole the show, but the black beans and the rice were quite tasty also.

Cafe Rio is almost as famous for their house made drinks as they are for the freshmade food. I was really impressed with the horchata and the fresh squeezed mint limeade. (I couldn't help but think that the limeade would have been dangerous with a shot of Vodka in it...We almost asked to take a gallon home!)

Two Tacos at Cafe RIo... one with Sweet Pork Barbacoa and another with Fire Roasted Steak served on house made tortillas. Both were really good, but the sweet Pork Barbacoa is ridiculously delicious.

Folks, this is indeed a Big Ass Burrito. We ordered it with the Chile Beef and topped it with enchilada sauce and extra cheese then had it baked for the win. It was large and in charge, and really good.

Here is a shot of the menu, to give you a better idea of how the ordering process goes at Cafe Rio.

There is a decent amount of seating available inside here, but they do have a nice little side patio area with umbrellas as well for additional seating.

Each day at Cafe Rio begins with a delivery of fresh fruits and vegetables, right from the farm. They hand squeeze over a thousand limes, hand scoop over a thousand avocados and they cook or grill all of their proteins and meats on site every day and prepare all the sauces, salsas and desserts fresh daily.

We really liked Cafe Rio, and think you will too. Sure, there is an ever growing taco craze going on in Central Florida right now, but what's not to love about even more tacos, burritos, enchiladas and nachos? If you are anything like me, you could probably eat TEx-Mex/Mexican food almost everyday of the week.

Cafe Rio is open everyday from 10:30 am until 10:00 pm, except Sunday, as they are open from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.


Cafe Rio Mexican Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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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 importantly...to 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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Pepe's Cantina

120 West Church St
Orlando, FL 32801
407-730-2341


Pepe’s Cantina in Winter Park took over a space that used to be Mi Tomatina, a place that specialized in Paella in late 2015. Ever since then, Pepe’s has been a great success at the Hannibal Square location and has become a staple of good eats in Winter Park.

Pepe’s has done so well in fact, that the owners decided to open a second location in Downtown Orlando at 120 W. Church street, adjacent to Hamburger Mary’s.

Sure, they have Tex-Mex classics like enchiladas, chimichangas, tacos and burritos, but Pepe’s strives to be innovative with a menu that puts a new twist on traditional Mexican cuisine. Table side guacamole, tacos with authentic fillings and fresh homemade tortillas are great for lunch or dinner, but ordering off of the dinner menu is where the difference is. Pepe is a real person by the way, as in Chef Jose "Pepe" Baranneko.

For dinner they serve entrees like Pollo Pepe’s a grilled chicken breast served with onions, peppers, tomatoes and bacon and is topped off with a signature red sauce and queso, or the Pacific Salmon topped with a sweet and sour mango jalapeno sauce. An interesting appetizer on the menu is the Shrimp Dip which is grilled shrimp with cheese dip, topped with pickled onions and cilantro.

Of course any good Tex-Mexery should have plenty Tequila and Margarita specials on hand, and Pepe’s certainly delivers in that category. Guests can try a Spicy Mango Margarita, a Jalapeno Margarita, a Mezcal-Rita or just go straight for the good stuff and slam a shot of Avion Reserva 44 extra anejo for $26.00/shot.

I haven't got to try out all there is at the new Church Street location, but we did stop by for lunch one day, and it was really good.

Chips and Salsa are standard fare at any Mexican restaurant these days, but this salsa is made in house as well as the chips, and that’s what really makes Pepe’s so good. They focus on fresh.

These Grilled Chicken Tacos were topped with radicchio, pickled red onions and cilantro then topped with a chive aioli sauce and are served with black beans and Mexican rice. You can choose flour or corn and soft or hard for your taco, and all tortillas are made in house.

This is a Mexican Pizza. It’s totally not what you would expect, but that’s what Pepe’s really strives for...classic dishes, or even not so classic, like a Mexican Pizza, made with different ingredients, flavors and styles that you are not accustomed to. You can choose shredded chicken or ground beef, and they top it with red sauce, cheese, jalapenos, sour cream and cilantro and serve it atop a lightly baked tortilla.

Stop by the new location and say Hola to Pepe. Chef Pepe and his team are doing a great job at both locations offering his signature blend of authentic Mexican ingredients with innovative culinary techniques.


Pepe's Cantina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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