Downtown Orlando and Winter Park are absolutely beautiful places to visit! I’ll say it now and I’ll most definitely say it again, PLEASE visit the ACTUAL city of Orlando if you’ve booked tickets to the theme park resorts which make Orlando famous. I spoke to many locals who were all quite surprised to see us there, as the majority of tourists would completely skip the city centre and just focus on the parks.
We visited Winter Park and the surrounding streets in the evening when the heat of Florida had calmed down to relaxing and peaceful temperatures, which absolutely matched the atmosphere of the city. The symmetrical streets were quiet and clean, with what I can only describe as delightfully dated, but well maintained architecture which gave the city a feel of timeless 20th century authenticity. A complete contrast to downtown Orlando, which had contemporary and sophisticated skyscrapers which dominated the highway skyline as we drove past, and the tourist, gift shop dominated International Drive and Highway 192 of Kissimmee. It was a breath of fresh air to say the least.
Back to the food: I had spent hours researching which Thai restaurant to visit during our stay in Florida, as it is one of my of all time favourite cuisines. Orchid Thai simply had the best menu for us – they had a seriously good range of vegetarian options, including the golden tofu which was a must have. America in general has their tofu game down, whereas in the UK, it is still rarely served as a vegetarian option.
The tofu was deep-fried, which gave the outside a golden crispy texture, but left a soft and light centre. I could have eaten another 4 portions of these, for sure!
These rolls had mixed vegetables wrapped inside, served with a deeply rich hoisin sauce which was topped with crushed peanuts. This was my boyfriend’s favourite hoisin sauce ever – I’m not sure how he’s going to cope with the UK bottled varieties now.
For those of you who know me well, you know satay is my absolute favorite thing in the world. Although it was served on the menu with chicken, I had to get a serving of their peanut sauce to dip in the tofu and pour over our rice.
You can’t go wrong with a green curry – it was so light and creamy with a hint of medium heat which gave us our spice fix. Although it’s one of the most popular Thai curries, I’ve only ever made them at home – and never actually tried one in a restaurant, so I just had to try it out there (for educational purposes, of course).
Coconut rice? Yes please. I would imagine this rice was boiled in a tin of coconut milk (correct me if I’m wrong Orchid). I’m most definitely going to replicate this at home very soon. It went very well with the peanut sauce!
Overall, this gorgeous Thai restaurant had a calming, intimate atmosphere. It seemed like the place to be on a weekday night for a few quiet drinks and a meal after work. The service, of course was outstanding – I got everything I wanted and felt like no request I could have made would be a tall order.
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Check out their menu here.
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