Cask & Larder

565 W Fairbanks Ave. Winter Park, FL 32789(321) 280-4200caskandlarder.com

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Having been to the Ravenous Pig, Cask’s sister, I sort of knew what to expect and those expectations were pretty high. Then, after some fellow foodies hyped it up even more, those expectations ballooned higher than Cheech & Chong smoking Whitney Houston’s ashes. Too soon?

The point being that Cask had a LOT to live up to, and live they did. Thrived actually. From the moment we entered I loved the gastro pub vibe with a chef’s table set amidst the beer kettles.

I also want to give a big shout out to service. Everyone was great. Not just our waiter who was actually training, but to his trainer, and to the chefs in the kitchen, who invited my son back for a tour, just because he was curiously looking in through the kitchen window. Sentimental gestures aside, after all, as a Ferocious Foodie I am immune to such ploys, the food really was great. Not all of it. But enough to plant a wow firmly on face.

The biggest wow coming from the duck ham. What? Yes. It’s duck prepared like an old school dinner ham. Served over a bed of harvest grains. And speaking of beds, I loved it so much I wanted to crawl in bed with it and make sweet, sweet love to- Getting weird? Well, it’s glazed in ecstasy I tell you! And it’s an Ultimate.

The kale salad was another superb bowl of blessedness. Garden fresh and loaded with goodies like Florida peaches, avocado and walnuts. Nowhere near as original as the duck ham, but sometimes it’s the simple things.

A hair below these two dishes I would put the grilled octopus and the strawberry angel food cake for dessert. Both are very good and very worth ordering as well.

After that would be the bread pudding for me. It’s a touch on the dryer side of things, which is not how I like to roll, but the layering of chocolate and caramel flavors makes up for a lot.

Down from there is the flounder. A bit of a snore to be honest. Almost as if it came from a different restaurant.

And worst of all were the roasted oysters. Shoulda gone with the deviled eggs. Saw a tray go by right after we ordered and the pangs of buyer’s remorse swelled inside me like tidal wave of sub-par oysters. But ohhh that duck ham… If beating a dead horse is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

4 teeth

The Collins Quarter

151 Bull St. Savannah, GA 31401 • (912) 777-4147 thecollinsquarter.com

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This Australian transplant and relative newcomer is off to a pretty popular start because the place was packed from the time we arrived at 1:00pm to the time we left at 2:30pm. And for good reason, Collin has pretty great menu, cool decor and very friendly service, albeit a bit slow, but I’m guessing that was mostly due to how busy it was- a good problem to have if you are Mister Collin.

A lesser ideal problem is that they are a bit hit and miss.

Among the hits I would like to give a round of applause to the burger. It’s very, very good. Made from ground brisket, served on a brioche and topped with an onion aioli. But if you want to make it truly transcendent, I recommend adding bacon and taking that slaw on the “side” and putting it “on top.” There is a certain alchemy that takes place between great slaw and great meat that never ceases to amaze me. From Virgil’s pulled pork sandwich in New York City to Elizabeth on 37th’s pork chop with mac and slaw it’s a classic combination that could give Oreo and milk a run for its money.

Another apparent hit across the table was the Aussie Brecky. Basically a kitchen sink of brunchy-type things. Fried eggs, bacon, andouilli sausage, peppers, onions, etc… I only tried the bacon from it, but as bacon goes, and if it was any indicator of the dish at large, I’d say it was pretty darn good.

The miss, however was “The Catch.” A rotating dish based on the local fish market bounty. On that day it was flounder, set amidst fried eggs, potatoes and few other odds and ends that sounded better on the menu than they tasted in the field. And this is after having to add both salt and pepper to try and eke some flavor out of it.

But while we’re on the menu and talking about things sounding good, while I didn’t actually try it, there is a S’mores hot chocolate that has my name on it the next time I’m in town. It sounds pretty insane. I also hear their lavender latte is crazy sick as well.

3 teeth