Tommy Bahama Restaurant

9101 International Dr. Ste 1200 Orlando, FL 32819 (321) 281-5888tommybahama.com

tommybahaamafood

I know. I know. Ferocious, what in the hell are you doing eating in a clothing store? And a fairly cheesy one, no less! Well, it might surprise you to know that what their clothing lacks in taste, they make up for with food. Stop laughing. I’m trying to be serious here (for once). The food is actually pretty impressive and all hand made to order.

At the start, I found their bread to be just okay on its own, but the butter they serve it with makes it a worthwhile event. It’s made with cinnamon, nutmeg and honey.

The best thing of the meal for me was the coconut crab cake with thai chili. I know everyone on Yelp swoons about the coconut shrimp, but let’s be honest, how hard is it to nail as a dish? Have you ever had a bad one? Crab cakes on the other hand, are more of a skill test, especially this far from Baltimore. But consider this test aced, because it was friggin awesome. Spicy and sweet. Crunchy and tender. And much lighter than one might think.

On the heavier side, but also very good where the Chicken “Lollipops” rolled in hazelnuts with a jerk remoulade. I’m not exactly sure how you can call a drumstick a lollipop, but I’ll forgive them because they were also pretty damn-tastic.

Down from there, I stole a bite of the crab and avocado salad and found it to be decent, but not quite as nummy as the mentions above.

And the only miss for me was the ahi tuna taco appetizer, served on fried wonton shells with spicy mayo drizzle that was more drizzle than spice. That said, if you ask for a side of that thai dipping sauce from the crab cake and dip the tacos in them, then you’re talkin’.

Being that we were quite full at this point we opted for a half portion of the key lime pie to share and while it is also pretty good, it does fall a touch shy of great, because it lacks the necessary tartness that true key lime pies should have. Luckily it doesn’t go too sweet though either.

So skip the Hawaiian shirts and the tuna tacos and you are poised to have yourself a Bahelluva good meal.

3 teeth

Lalibela

37 S Moger Ave. Mount Kisco, NY 10549 • (914) 864-1343 • lalibelamountkisco.com

VegPlatter

I can count the number of Ethiopian restaurants I’ve been to on one hand. And part of that is a reflection on me, I suppose. But the balance of blame, to be fair, should be on Ethiopians. After all, it’s not like they have a ton of options out there to choose from. I’m not saying they need to catch up to Italy or anything, but let’s just say there’s room for improvement.

So, why don’t I eat at the ones I have been to more often? Well, to be honest, I can’t say I LOVE the cuisine itself. It always comes up short for me. And while I certainly enjoy the cultural novelty and ritual with the huge, dramatic plates and using bread as a utensil, it’s still not enough to distract me from the inadequacies of the food itself.

But strangely enough, my issues with Ethiopian cuisine of the past was very different this time around. Usually my gripe is that every dish tastes exactly the same. Just a hodgepodge of spices and sauce with some sort of indiscernible meat floating within.

This time, it was nothing of the sort. At Lalibela I could quite clearly taste the differences between each dish, but ironically I found myself missing all of those spices. I know, I just can’t be happy, right? I’m like a bad client. But is it so much to ask that I be able to taste the meat within in my dish and have a little heat? Apparently.

Nonetheless, Lalibela did have its moments. Surprisingly the avocado salad was the runaway success. Highly recommend. Worth 4 or 5 knives on its own. I also loved the roasted beet salad that came as a side accompaniment with our main dishes. Very tasty. And third for me would be the misir dat (alicha) – “alicha” means the non-spicy version and “misir” means lentils. We got it because we were expecting our two meat dishes to be much hotter.

The two meat dishes, a.k.a. losers, were a grounded meat and jalapeno dish- and yes, it wasn’t spicy… And their signature chicken dish with drumsticks and a hard boiled egg. Also not very spicy.

So it would seem that perhaps vegetarian dishes are the Lalibela’s bailiwick. Good to know for next time. Either that or we ask the kitchen to make the other stuff spicier. Always a dangerous game of semantics.

Décor is very charming with its brightly color walls adorned with beautiful photography of the Ethiopian people.

And staff, while friendly, is a touch on the slow side. But I’ll forgive them because they gave a very solid recommendation on the beer. St. George is a very refreshing Ethiopian lager that pairs nicely with the food… and would pair even nicer if the food was spicier. Okay, horse officially beaten to death. Check!

3 teeth