On Day 69 of the Nowhere To Be Project, I happened upon an amazing new restaurant in Central Florida. Don’t you love when that happens? I was out gathering supplies for our upcoming six week voyage in our RV when my stomach came a calling. I used my Happy Cow app for the first time to find local restaurants offering vegan options. A place called “The Wildflower Co.” popped up as an option just a few miles from where I was. When I pulled into the parking lot, my first thought was, “oh, well, the place must have gone out of business”. I was so bummed! As I was about to exit the small rundown plaza, I spotted a sign that read “Vegan Cafe Around Back”. With that, I parked and headed out back hoping for a yummy feast.
The facility itself is nondescript to the point that I wasn’t sure if they were open when I entered. I did see someone sitting at a table, so I approached the counter and perused the two-page photocopied menu. Just then, a staff member came from the back to take my order. I was informed that the photocopy represented their brand new menu. I was torn between the ReLoaded Tots and the Shrymp Po’ Boy. I went with the sandwich despite not knowing what soy curls were and was offered a choice between tater tots, potato salad and macaroni and cheese as a side and decided on the latter. I grabbed a seat by the window to wait for it all. While the decor at The Wildflower Co. is very utilitarian and sparse, there was a lovely view of a pond and outside dining area from my hightop table. After about ten minutes, another staff member delivered my meal.
I was shocked by the enormity of the sandwich. It looked and smelled amazing and I couldn’t wait to bite into it. The soft Cuban bread was overflowing with warm crispy chunks of the fried soy curls. The sandwich was dressed with apple slaw, tartar sauce and cranberry sauce. It may sound like a bit of an odd combination, but it was honestly love at first bite. I’m sure I sound hyperbolic, but this was, without any doubt, the best sandwich I have ever eaten in my life. Let me qualify this by saying that this includes all the sandwiches I’ve ever had, both as a vegan and a non-vegan. I was so enamored by the sandwich that I almost forgot the mac ‘n cheese. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as memorable as the sandwich anyway. It could have been a bit warmer and it generally lacked flavor despite the heavy seasoning (paprika?).
I decided to take half of my sandwich home to share it with my son who ended up absolutely loving it. He is not vegan and usually survives solely on cheeseburgers from Burgerfi. When asked, he said it was “really good” and rated the sandwich as an eight out of ten! I gave it a perfect ten and plan on taking my husband to The Wildflower Co. for dinner tomorrow so that I can try more of their offerings! The only recommendations I might offer to the proprietors would be to get a large chalk board to present their menu (instead of the single photocopied paper one) and to offer freshly made iced teas as an additional beverage option. This place was a lucky find (thanks Happy Cow) that has been placed on my list of favorites in Central Florida!
Day 64 of the Nowhere To Be Project brought the first day of our inaugural journey in our new RV, the Tiny Dancer, Too. We decided to do a staycation of sorts at Walt Disney World’s Fort Wilderness Campground. We thought starting small at a campground just a few miles from our home would be wise to ease ourselves back into RV life. Our spanking new rig was loaded down with all the things we knew we would need as we pulled out of the driveway. We also brought some things that we thought we might need and many that we probably don’t need, but hope will make it homier and comfortable for long trips. We are super excited to begin and promise to share the many highs and lows along the way.
On Day 63 of the Nowhere To Be Project I enjoyed the profound luxury of lunching with my son. We were running errands prior to his birthday celebration tomorrow and he agreed to accompany me to one of my favorite spots in Orlando, Ethos Vegan Kitchen. The all vegan restaurant is located on Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park, Florida. Winter Park is a popular suburb of Orlando, known for its oak-shaded brick streets filled with countless shopping and dining options. Ethos Vegan Kitchen is adjacent to the quaint campus of Rollins College (where I was a student for two years:) and Park Avenue, a swanky historic street teeming with activity.
The restaurant is popular with diners of all types because the food is simply delicious. The menu is vast, offering many homemade appetizers, salads, soups, pastas, entrees and desserts. Ethos also serves a wide selection of unique beers and wines. The favorites include popular foods like tacos (the special today), calzones and hamburgers that are usually reserved for traditional restaurants. I think this adds to the restaurant’s popularity.
I have dined at Ethos three times and have never been disappointed. Today, we started with the bruschetta. It was delicious with fresh tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and balsamic vinegar.
My son (a nonvegan) went with the lasagna. It was served piping hot from the oven. He cut into it before I could get a great photograph, haha. It had great flavor and texture. The garlic bread served on the side was also very tasty.
I ordered the Sheep’s Pie, my favorite dish at Ethos. It is satisfying comfort food at its finest with piped whipped potatoes forming a crust over the luscious vegetable stew. Fresh broccoli, carrots and peas abound in the dish and the rich vegan gravy provides a burst of flavor.
We were both so stuffed that we decided to take dessert to go. Ethos has amazing desserts and I’ve had the pleasure of trying many of them in the past. Today we selected an assortment of cookies including chocolate chip, gingersnap and snickerdoodle.
I wish there were more restaurants like Ethos with a focus on serving real food that appeals to vegans and non-vegans alike. Many people incorrectly believe that vegans eat freaky and obscure foods that taste like sawdust. Ethos Vegan Kitchen debunks this myth in spades!