In my earlier post about Orlando, I talked more about how I went on the trip after not flying and traveling for so long. It was about my motivations for the trip and how I coped before and during it.
Now I want to focus on the city itself. As an adult I haven’t really had the opportunity (through no fault but my own) to visit and explore a city other than my own. It’s a unique experience and somewhat remarkable that my mentality changed into vacation mode, at least as much as my brain allows such a mode, almost instantly.
It’s a nice feeling, one not entirely unlike wonderful experiences I have had close to home, but taken to a different and longer lasting level.
I have to shout out the team at Alamo at the Orlando airport for having all hands on deck to make the long rental car line move quickly. We all also really liked our car, a Cadillac, even though we’re a Ford family.
Because we came in late, we stuck to in-room dining upon our arrival. Because I wanted to stick to some semblance of a familiar routine and schedule, I also chose to utilize in-room dining for breakfast. At some hotels, this might not have worked out so well, but the Four Seasons makes great food and drink at every turn.
Fresh halibut and a club sandwich were on the menu for our first dinner. The fish was tender and succulent and the vegetable sides super vibrant and fresh. Dad really enjoyed his club sandwich.
He headed out early the next morning so he grabbed coffee and a tasty breakfast sandwich at Lickety Split, another of my favorite parts of the trip. It’s on the lobby level of Four Seasons Orlando and has some seriously fantastic coffee (move over, Starbucks), ice cream, and food. Plus, the staff is wonderful. Hiiiiiii Larissa!
I actually ate some of the food I packed like nutrition bars and nut butter (RX is my favorite lately and super portable) with fresh berries from the hotel, along with some tastes of Mom’s food. The omelets and housemade sausage were HUGE hits, as was the roasted potato medley.
At the end of our first official day in Orlando mostly looking at potential houses, we returned to the hotel to grab a frose at PB&G, the outdoor restaurant in the middle of the pools. Though their machine was down to prepare the soft serve one they tout, the blended one was made with fresh strawberries and quite tasty.
Then it was up to Capa on the top floor of the hotel. It’s a sprawling, semi-casual restaurant with tasty food and tight service. Wild salmon crudo and fried cauliflower were huge hits. The cauliflower was unique in that it was not coated; the raw vegetable was fried giving a great texture without obliterating the natural flavor of the vegetable.
Their signature margarita with a serious kick and salt air really hit the spot too. I’ve never had a drink like it before and I may not again.
Mom and I split the dry aged bone-in ribeye, because as she would tell you, I’ve become quite obsessed with trying different giant pieces of meat. Overall, it was tender, well cooked, and certainly large enough to share. It paired perfectly with the chimichurri sauce, though it was overshadowed by Dad’s Iberico pork chop.
The fries were decent, green beans with cranberries a decent side, but it was the brown butter mashed potatoes that were my favorite bite of the evening. They didn’t look like much at all. When the waiter set them down, it was like, wait, what? I’m not always a big fan of brown butter, but it totally took these potatoes to the next level.
We skipped dessert but headed to the patio to catch some Disney fireworks, three different shows in total: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. I wasn’t anticipating that they would be quite so far away, but I loved every moment of the warm early summer night enjoying the magic of Disney without the crowds.
The second day began again with in-room breakfast, a trip to the gym, and then a stop at the mall in large part because it poured rain most of the day. The Mall at Millenia is unlike any I had been to before with fun floor mosaics and stores I had previously only dreamt about entering: Hermes, Saint Laurent, Bulgari, Chanel. It’s a fashion lover’s paradise!
We all really enjoyed driving around the city, catching glimpses of the Orlando Eye, Universal Resort, various restaurants, theaters, attractions, and cities, and of course plenty of Disney since whenever we were near the hotel, it surrounded us. The Swan and Dolphin Hotel and a super brief glimpse of what we thought to be Splash Mountain were my faves!
Dinner that night was at Del Frisco’s. though it’s a chain, it’s one I’ve never eaten at and the menu sounded super enticing. It totally lived up to my expectations with a friendly staff and some fabulous food and drink. Their signature margarita is made with Casa Dragones Blanco (it was also my go to at FS Orlando!)
The caprese salad was a simple way to start the meal that centered around a Wagyu tomahawk we all shared. It was fatty since that’s the nature of the beast (literally) but so flavorful and plenty for us when paired with the asparagus, lobster macaroni and cheese and the Uptown Del’s Potato, a twice baked potato taken to the next level with fontina and truffles. It’s even better than it sounds.
Dad loved the banana bread pudding for dessert and Mom and I enjoyed the sorbet. What’s interesting about their sorbet is that it held a surprise in the form of dried fruit throughout it. I can’t decide for sure if I liked it but it made me think about sorbet in a new way.
The drive back to the hotel proved to be a pretty exciting part of the trip since I saw the world’s largest McDonald’s (!!!) and the Disney fireworks from the highway (#nbd). It’s funny how the simple, unexpected things are sometimes the best. We also deviated from the plan of checking out downtown Winter Garden or downtown Orlando but things worked out just right somehow.
Back at the hotel, we stopped in the Lobby Bar where a one-man band was playing some awesome covers. We had no idea the mini concert was going on but so enjoyed it and spent far longer than we anticipated in the spiffy bar with great cocktails.
I was pretty sad to leave home the next day, finding myself half wishing I had planned another day in the Sunshine State and half unable to wait to be home. Isn’t that life sometimes???
Orlando is an awesome city that I hope to be able to explore a lot more very soon!