Now we come to the less formal food we found in Florida.
Can we talk BurgerFi? Yes we can. There was a newish location in Altamonte Springs that we tried instead of going to somewhere I can hit up any time like Five Guys. I don’t know if all their locations are like this, but they make you queue like 20 feet from the counter where you order. Weird. CAN I HELP WHO’S NEXT?! Weird. They’re very clearly going for the upscale burger restaurant niche. Fine, whatever. The menu is in line with Five Guys, pretty standard, not jazzed up like Smashburger or Burger 21. The burger itself is a little more fancified than Five Guys, though. The seasoning was decent, but I wasn’t clamoring for more or anything. For a ‘first taste’ I went for a basic cheeseburger, two patties (you can pick from 1, 2, or 3). Since I’d already had fries for lunch, I decided to try the onion rings (healthy, right?). Before I continue, let me show you what these things looked like.
Those are three onion rings. My extraordinarily greasy onion ring bag had all of five rings in it. FIVE! But look at those things! Compare them to the burger, which is normal burger sized. I think I had like a whole onion with those five rings (not that I could eat all of them). Sadly the first one was not good, they didn’t remove enough layers from the onion, so there was a tough outer layer that was almost impossible to bite through. Fortunately the others were better. You basically fold these ridiculous monster rings like a slice of NY pizza, smear it through some ketchup and try to bite through it. The shell is greasy and crispy, but with decent clinging power, it didn’t all just shatter and crumble off, which was a relief, because that would have been ludicrous with such large rings, can you imagine trying to take a bite and being left with a huge, floppy ring of naked onion in your greasy mitt? Yeah, eww. The burger comes in a little wax papery pouch that somehow made it really hard to get at the burger (assuming you don’t just take it out of there). Like the other places I mentioned above, they’ve got shakes (although they use frozen custard, apparently). They also have a veggie burger and hot dog options, too. For a place that throws out the word ‘gourmet’ over and over again on their website, I was pretty shocked at how greasy all three bags were. I mean, Five Guys bags with fries get greasy, but these paper bags were to the point that you barely wanted to touch them. That goes for all three, one with rings, one with fries, and one with two burgers in it. Prices were OK. Under $6 for the burgers, $3 for fries, and $4 for a giant fried onion.
That brings us to the end of meals, but we still have snacks to get through! One of the places we walked around was Winter Park. Lots of restaurants on the main drag with outside dining options (if you don’t mind people constantly walking right by your table). I decided we had to pop in to two places. The first was Peterbrooke Chocolatier. Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. Chocolates, chocolate on things, and gelato. Since it was hot I wasn’t about to buy stuff to just melt in the car, so I limited myself to a small bag of 72% dark chocolate dipped Nutter Butters to share. Of course they were delicious (if not cheap). Something like $4.75 for the 4 of them.
Last stop was a Rocket Fizz, one of a chain of soda and candy shops. Actually there was another candy shop that we dropped into, but instead of an old-timey candy shoppe it was a little joint with basically plain stuff like candy bars. Lame. Rocket Fizz was the real deal, though. Yes, some ‘normal’ stuff you can get anywhere, but also a giant selection of flavors of taffy (by the piece or by the bag), a Japanese area, etc etc. Plus SO MUCH SODA! They had so many things I wanted to try, but knowing that I had to get whatever I bought in our luggage, I just resigned myself to missing out on a ton of stuff I wanted to try and went for the 6-pack for $9.99. Except for a few pricier options that are individually priced, you pick any 6 – you can also do like a 9, 12, maybe 4. They had everything from straight up normal everyday soda to ‘weird’ choices. They’re sort of organized, too…cola here, fruits there, ginger over there, etc. If I had access to one of these places I’d have a great time going through all the choices.
As you can see, I went heavy on my favorite – black cherry. My 6-pack:
- The Pop Shoppe Black Cherry
- Fitz’s Black Cherry
- Goody Red Pop
- Goody Yellow Pop
- Rocket Fizz (store brand) Limeade
- Americana Black Cherry
I did cheat a bit and looked up the Goodys before picking them so I’d know what I was getting in to. They also had blue and green I believe. The yellow I think is lemon pineapple and the red is strawberry cherry or something like that. I’ll try to update this post with reviews of the sodas as I consume them. I still can’t believe I barely made a dent in the black cherry choices let alone the colas, root beers, etc etc. I’m not sure if I’m glad or not that I skipped the gingerbread soda. I honestly cannot even guess how many choices they had. Easily several hundred. The only thing I didn’t see, and maybe I just missed them, were foreign options like wacky Japanese flavors. I would’ve liked to have that option, but maybe the pricing doesn’t work?
Goody Yellow – very lightly carbonated, but it might be due to age, I should have been more careful, as these note on the neck that they were bottled in Jan 2013…that’s old for soda…it didn’t taste flat necessarily, though – supposedly the flavor is pineapple and yellow nectarine, but before looking it up my wife and I both got a hint of light lemon and that’s about it, would not buy this again
Fitz’s Black Cherry – this held its carbonation very well, it didn’t just bubble all out right away, which was nice, has a light flavor that was noticeably cherry, happily it wasn’t a cough syrup cherry, but at the same time it didn’t scream that distinctive black cherry flavor, just cherry)
Goody Red – better carbonation than the yellow, I want to say the flavor is sort of a cherry and a bit of strawberry, I actually like this one quite a bit, the cherry is almost medicinal, but instead it stays on the candy-sweet cherry, it’s a bit yummy
Rocket Fizz Limeade – mixed feelings going into this one, but I ended up pretty pleased, light carbonation, almost like a straight limeade flavor (candy-like limeade flavor, not fresh-made) with just a touch of fizz, just about the right amount of sugar for a novelty soda, it went down really easy and I’d probably buy it again given the chance, nice job, Rocket Fizz, from a lime lover
the Pop Shoppe brand black cherry claims to be Canada’s original and it’s very different…almost non-existent carbonation and a strong, thick, almost syrupy taste, not terrible, but I wouldn’t hurry to buy this again)
We got a few taffys (the gingerbread was SUPER gingery, more like a ginger chew than anything else, very soft) and I couldn’t resist a few of these:
These things always get me – Orange Pineapple, Strawberry, Blackberry, and Orange Cream. They probably had 2 dozen or so flavors.
So that’s about it. Other than adding some soda reviews that’s all I got from our trip. I know you’re not popping over to Winter Park next weekend for kicks, but you never know when a review might come in handy. I’m glad to say we mostly enjoyed tasty food on our trip and am happy to pass along what we found.