New Tastes!


Chuan Lu Garden

1101 E. Colonial Drive
Orlando 32803
Tel: (407) 896-8966

The Sichuan province in Western China is often called the "heavenly country".

It is said to have an abundance of food and natural resources. Theres also an ancient Chinese proverb that says... 'the people of Sichuan uphold good flavor, and they are fond of hot and spicy taste."

The same can certainly be said about the province of Colonial Town and the people of Chuan Lu Garden. There are plenty of Asian and Vietnamese inspired cuisines around the part of Colonial Drive known as the ViMi district, but no one in that area has attempted authentic Szechuan food, neither has any one in Orlando for that matter, until Chuan Lu Garden.

Szechuan Is all about big, bold flavors that cause your mouth to explode with heat and good taste at the same time. The cuisine is very well known for its liberal use of chili peppers, and  the use of a microscopic food made explosive device known as a Sichuan Peppercorn. 

Most dishes are not just hot in flavor, there is always a good mixture of  Sesame Paste, Ginger, Garlic, Star Anise and Peanuts to even things out.

However,  you should use caution when eating real Szechuan food. There are some dishes that are not hot at all, and are actually very good and flavorful, but the vast majority of of the cuisine is HOT.....and I mean mouth on fire, lips tingling, and your tongue going numb and salivating hot.

The physical address at Chuan Lu Garden is actually for Ginza. That is a Japanese Hibachi and Sushi restaurant. 

When you arrive...just go past the first entrance for Ginza and open the second door down that is facing Colonial Drive.

The inside of Chuan Lu Garden is not very large. There are nine tables to be exact, but since the restaurant is part of its big brother restaurant, Ginza, seating should not be a problem, as I was told that if no seating is available, patrons may sit inside Ginza. 

As a starter we shared a rather large bowl of "Ma La Niu Rou"---Or Spicy Beef Noodle Soup.

It's important to point out that Chuan Lu Garden makes their own Lanzhou noodles in house. 

Lanzhou style noodles are made with a flour based dough that is worked aggressively and pulled in straight, quick, tugs with no twisting or waving. 

The soup was very spicy, but very flavorful. It consisted of beef broth, filled with hand pulled noodles and beef brisket slices topped off with peanuts, cilantro, and chili paste.  The  portion was certainly large enough to make an entree out of or to share for two.

For an appetizer we ate the "Hong You Chao Shou"---Szechuan Wonton in Chili Oil.

This is a spicy Szechuan version of wonton. They are filled with pork, spices, ginger, and sesame oil and served with chili oil and aromatic soy sauce. 

Traditional won tons are fried but these are more like dumplings, since they are boiled. The flavor profile is best described as a succulent explosion of  heat and savory flavorings from the pork and ginger. Even if you like heat, I suggest you eat only about two won tons at a time  to give your tongue time to recover. Keep the water near by.

My wife ordered the Beef with Scallions.

It is a Sichuan tradition to eat at least one dish, or side dish of something that will cool the palate. All main entrees come with a side of white rice that will certainly help to cool you off, but an entire dish is even better.

Although there is a red pepper on the menu next to the Beef with Scallions, this dish was not spicy or hot at all. It was flavored very well in a nice brown gravy beef sauce with lots of sliced scallions.

The beef was very moist and tender, and once again proved to be too large of a platter for two people to consume.

The "ChongQing Lazi Chicken" was the star of the show.

These tender morsels of fried and spicy goodness were the equivalent of a food strip tease in your mouth.

At first bite all you taste is the garlic and seasonings of the chicken and the batter, and you think your in love.

Next the the dried chili's and jalapeño's hit the back of your tongue with the force of a land mine, and although you can feel the pain, you are still hooked and have an overwhelming desire to consume more Lazi Chicken.

Lastly the Szechuan Peppercorns pull you back to reality with such an intense heat, your tongue will go numb and begin to taste like metal as it starts foaming and frothing all the way.

It is only then....that you realize....You need to take a break from the Lazi Chicken Strip Show, or you wont have any taste buds left.

This dish is very hot , but this dish is ridiculously and deceptively delicious. Use caution and take short breaks in between, and keep the water even closer! 

Yes... Szechuan food is not for the the faint of heart, nor is it for the non adventurous eater. 

However if you desire the most authentic Szechuan cuisine in Central Florida, with outstanding service.....Tastes Of Orlando invites you to stop by and say hello to a place that certainly upholds good flavor, and is very fond of hot and spicy tastes.

The menu is moderately priced with dishes starting in the $7.00 range and going up to $12.00. We had enough left over for lunch for both of us, and our bill was under $36.00

Chuan Lu Garden is open from 11:00am until 10:00pm Sunday-Thursday,  and from 11:00 am until 11:00pm Friday and Saturday.

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Red Eye Bar And Grill

2594 Maguire Road
Ocoee, FL 34761


View Website Here

Thanks to my fellow blogger DrooliusI was invited to a media preview for Red Eye Bar and Grill's new Beer Garden they have set up out back. 

Red Eye is the creation of Rob Nelson.

Many of you may know Rob from his food truck days, where he spent countless hours perfecting his meat-smoking skills and formulating his distinctive, award-winning sauces while operating the food truck known as the Red Eye BBQ Truck.

Tucked away in a Publix shopping plaza, you will find the Red Eye Bar and Grill. Although it is in the Winter Garden/Ocoee area, Tastes Of Orlando recommends you to make a drive out there and check them out for yourself and say hello to Rob, if he is not to busy loading meats of all kind into the smoker.

This was more or less an event to check out the Beer Garden and sample some foods, so this is not going to be a full review, but you can bet Tastes Of Orlando will be returning soon for a full menu review.

Just out back at Red Eye, they have a newly set up Beer Garden/ Outdoor Lounge area. 

Here guests may simply sit at the bar and order beers or mixed drinks, or order from the menu. Be advised though,.....Even if you are not hungry, the smell of the smokers which are located just behind the beer garden, will certainly entice you to order something.

We had a sampling of the draughts that included, La Fin Du Monde, Lagunitas, Red Hook Wisecracker, Fruli Strawberry Ale, and a special Woodchuck Cider called "Pink".
Wise Cracker from Red Hook

Everything we had was very good and quite tasty. Especially the WoodChuck Cider----It was like a Beer Wine that my wife really enjoyed.

Most nights outback, there is music playing, and some nights they have live music. The Thursday night we were there, a man was playing the saxophone with accompanying music which was very inviting and relaxing. 

There are plenty of large fans blowing air all around, so don't let the muggy Florida heat keep you from hanging out in the Beer Garden at Red Eye.

The staff and service at Red Eye was very friendly and efficient, and made sure we were taken care of.

We had plenty of Pulled Pork and Beef Brisket Sliders. 

All I can tell you is...mmmmm---they were very good. You can tell Rob is a master of the smoked meats. The sliders we had were really good and did not even need any sauce because the flavors of the meat were really exceptional.

But I digress, the house made sauces which are offered, made them that much better. They have everything from a mustard based sauce, to a sweet sauce and even a Kansas City style sauce which were all very delicious. 

For something a little lighter we decided to order a  Wood Grilled Portabello and Veggie Stack sandwich with a side of macaroni & cheese.

The sandwich is a marinated grilled portabello mushroom with slices of grilled zucchini, summer squash, roasted red peppers, red onions and goat cheese. This was fantastic, and I'm not a vegetarian, but I would order this again!

The Macaroni and Cheese was also really good. It is a four cheese blend that really makes you want to have another bite... over and over and over again, until its all gone.  

I will definitely be returning to Red Eye Bar And Grill in the near future to do a full review, and I think I'm gonna go for the Ultimate Combo, or the BBQ Rib Combo. If the sliders were any indication of how good the smoked meats are at Red Eye, then I can't wait to see what a full platter of food will taste like.

In the meantime, even if you do not live in that area, it was about a 20 minute drive for my wife and I from East Orlando....Tastes Of Orlando really recommends you stop by Red Eye Bar And Grill. 

This may be some of the best BBQ in Orange County.

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