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Showing posts with label Brunch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brunch. Show all posts

Keke's Breakfast Cafe


345 West Fairbanks Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789
407-629-1400
View Website Here


Keke’s Breakfast Cafe has always been a favorite of a lot of people I have spoke to over the years, but I never got around to trying them out until a few weeks ago. If you are not familiar with Keke’s they are a small chain of breakfast and lunch only restaurants that opens at 7:00 am and closes at 2:00 pm. Currently there are 13 locations with more soon to open throughout Central Florida.

Breakfast covers the usual line up of omelets, pancakes, waffles, french toast etc. Lunch includes selections of burgers, wraps, and a variety of sandwiches and paninis. All of the food at Keke’s is handmade, using quality ingredients and fresh fruits and vegetables that are delivered daily and served up in a clean environment with great service.

The food here can best be described as American comfort food with a gourmet twist. On my visit we did breakfast items only, and selected a few dishes. All of our food was excellent. It was crowded when we arrived around 11:00 and we were told there would be a wait of fifteen minutes, but we only waited about five minutes.

The Home Fries with Bacon and Cheddar Cheese were pretty awesome, and are really great for a hangover remedy. This comes in a large enough portion that if you just wanted to order this only, you would be satisfied.


The Southwest Omelet is filled with tomatoes, onion, jalapeño and pepper jack cheese, petal sauce and is served with salsa a side of home fries and your choice of bread. This was omelette was fluffy and tasty with a touch of spice.


I ordered the “Create Your Own Combo” with French toast, two eggs sunny side up and two strips of bacon. The French toast at Keke’s is not to be missed. I only had the basic regular version, and it was among the best French toast I have had. I hear that the stuffed versions are pretty spectacular as well.

Whatever part of town you are in, look up the nearest Keke’s Breakfast Cafe location the next time you are in the mood for breakfast, lunch, brunch, or whatever you want to call it. There is a reason they have won Orlando Weekly’s Best Of Orlando award for breakfast two times in three years.

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Brunch at American Gymkhana

7559 W Sand Lake Rd.
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 985-2900

You have probably noticed that "Brunch" has become the cool social thing to do on weekends. You have also probably noticed that lots of restaurants have been making a push to serve brunch over the past year. But I bet when you think of a typical "Brunch", you are not thinking Indian food. 

Say hello to brunch at American Gymkhana, the all new modern Indian restaurant and lounge on Orlando’s famed "Restaurant Row" in the Dr.Phillips neighborhood. If you recall, I recently visited there and really enjoyed the food and and just about everything that is American Gymkhana. You can see my review Here, in case you missed it.


With the recent boom in the restaurant business that Orlando has had the past few years, the brunch craze soon followed. You have an endless selection of waffles, omelets, bacon, mimosas and biscuits & gravy. Some places have even refined the brunch theme to include extravagant items like Spanish tapas and a gourmet crepe station, but I can almost guarantee you no one is serving Lamb Vindaloo. This is what makes American Gymkhana a special treat for brunch.


For $25.00+ tax & tip, you get your choice of an outstanding selection of some pretty darn good Indian dishes, and that includes one side item and two cocktails. Selections include things like Lamb Vindaloo, Angrezi Chicken, Gymkhana Club, and they even have a Gymkhana version of chicken and waffles and french toast. Side selections include your choice of masala potato wedges, black cardamom & hickory smoked lamb bacon, warm spice granola & berry parfait, daily bread basket and a kale & cashew salad.


The cocktail choices feature an orange-mango mimosa lychee mimosa, peach bellini mumbai Bloody Mary. If you prefer something non alcoholic they also have brunch mocktails which are basically virgin drinks with freshly squeezed juices. If that was not enough, American Gymkhana also features a live DJ. Yes They have that too, because really nice groovy house music is always a great accompaniment to any meal.



You can sit anywhere you like, but go for the veranda if its available. Its a great spot to eat, drink, relax and jam out to sounds of the live DJ. 




My wife ordered the Gymkhana Club. This is a sandwich made with sharp English cheddar, mint coriander chutney, spiced potato,red onion and tomato. Very delicious and unique. 


For her side, my wife chose the Kale & Cashew Salad. The salad was light and refreshing with light vinaigrette dressing.




As a southern guy, I had to order the Banjara Chicken & Waffles with spiced fried chicken, garlic yogurt, a buttermilk tadka waffle and a variety of house made syrups and butter. This was simply outstanding.


My side choice was the Masala Potato Wedges. Another twist on an American classic from Chef  Aarthi Sampath. These wedges were lightly fried and crispy and full of flavor.

Our drink selection included an Orange Mango Mimosa and a Mumbai Bloody Mary. Both were very good, but the Mumbai Bloody Mary was a game changer. Hemant Pathak, the beverage director for Junoon in New York and for American Gymkhana, has created a couple of really good cocktails that set his tastes and standards apart from others.

The Mumbai Bloody Mary is his version of the classic Bloody Mary, with a  blend of house toasted spices and curry. By using other ingredients instead of the standard Tabasco or Worcestershire sauces normally used, this Bloody Mary mixture is one that you will remember. Its hot and fiery, but full of flavor. 

Flavor is the key ingredient at American Gymkhana. Whether you go for brunch or dinner, you will not be disappointed. Chef Sampath certainly knows what she is doing in the kitchen and she knows how to excite your taste buds. For $25.00+ tax and gratuity, this is one of the best brunch deals in Orlando. 

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Mingos



100 S Eola Dr #105
Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 781-2539


If you are not  familiar with the location at 100 S. Eola drive in Thornton Park, let me give you a refresher course. Over the years it has seen a few different restaurants come its way...and sadly none have had long term success.

Some of the restaurants you may be familiar with are...Graze, Prickly Pear, and Lotus. I did a review of Lotus last year, and I liked the interior design and the location. The food was pretty good, but aside from the terrible service, I thought the place was very unfocused and could not decide whether it was a night club, bar, or a restaurant. Next door to Lotus, the same owners were going to open an aphrodisiac bar called Honey...but that has been scrapped also. 

Mingos is the newest concept from the same ownership group that owned Lotus. They have retained Chef Luis J. Negron of Lotus and have brought in a new management team as well as getting rid of the ditsy servers. Mingos is short for Flamingos, as the restaurant is really going for an upscale but casual  Florida and Caribbean theme to the menu with a strong emphasis on fresh seafood. 

This time around, Mingos just might be the restaurant to have long term success at what some think is a doomed location. The servers are top notch and very knowledgeable about all the menu items. All of the food we sampled was very good, and the sea bass was among the best I have ever had.

Chef Negron is a talented chef, but he really excels at selecting fresh seafood and carving it up. The biggest difference from Lotus to Mingos is FOCUS...they have a solid idea of what they are going for and so far they are executing it quite nicely.

The Inside is not much different than Lotus, but it has a solid continuous theme. Its a very relaxed atmosphere with smooth jazz playing in the background.

You will feel welcomed dressed up in  a suit and tie...or just a polo shirt and jeans

Although the plans for Honey, the aphrodisiac bar, have been scrapped, that space is in the process of becoming an extension of Mingos. It will have a private dining area that can host large parties and private functions.


We started our evening off with Tuna Pokewhich is a raw salad served as an appetizer. 

The Tuna Poke at Mingos is served atop sliced cucumbers and is topped with scallions, lime and a Tamari sauce with a fried wonton. 

The tuna was very fresh and the Tamari sauce, which is a thicker and richer type of soy sauce, made for an excellent flavor profile.


The Marlin Taco's are a house specialty and I would recommend them.

Marlin is like a fish steak and as such has to be prepared right or it can be too rubbery and thick. 

The house made naan bread, garlic crema, and the crunchy slaw went well with this appetizer and it was a treat to have marlin.


To go in a more savory direction, our next dish was the Pork Wings

These are individual pork shanks that are seared on the outside and finished in the oven and served with a smoked plum sauce.

The meat on these shanks literally fell right of the bone and were absolutely delicious. 


One of the two entrees we sampled was the Sea Bass.

As I said earlier, this is by far one of the better Sea Bass entrees I have had. The fish was delicate and buttery with flavor in every bite.

The accompanying smoked bacon ratatouille and chardonnay sauce went well with the sea bass, as well as a glass of fine chardonnay.

The second entree we had was the Angus Filet paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon

The steak was cooked nicely and served atop a  mix of vegetables with a shallot demi glaze, truffle oil, and was topped off with a piece grilled foie gras.


For desert we had Fireball Apples with Bavarian Creme with a candied almond bar.

A very nice ending that was smooth and creamy and perfectly sweet to end our evening.


We really liked everything about Mingos...from the food to the service to the atmosphere...it all works well together. I think they may have what it takes to ensure long term success at 100 S. Eola Drive. The restaurant is dedicated to quality and has things on the right track. If you are in the area, stop on by and see for yourself. 

Mingos is open Monday through Saturday from 4:00 pm until 10:00 pm. They also have a Sunday brunch buffet with all you can drink Mimosas from 11:00 to 4:00 that is generating quite a buzz. Perhaps Tastes Of Orlando will return soon to check that out as well.

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