Sometimes I feel like the majority of Orlando consists of one ghetto strip mall after another.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not one of those “Orlando sucks and I can’t wait to get out!” people. Actually, I’m one of those rare natives that has never felt that way. Sure, I left for schooling, living in New Orleans for four years and Washington DC for another two. But I never had any complaints about Orlando. I returned to my hometown with a fresh outlook and really got to know her in a different fashion. Gone were the high school days of hours wasted at Denny’s or Village Inn drinking coffee. Gone were the days of running around reaping havoc at The Exchange. Now it’s the days of discovering the hidden gems. The days of cultural events and good shopping. The days of finding my new top choice for Thai food in Orlando. Even if it is in a ghetto strip mall.
Sea Thai won a Foodie Award this year for best Thai restaurant. I’d been meaning to go for a while and finally headed over this past weekend. First impressions of this restaurant are anything besides the typical strip mall restaurant. The geometrical blue earthy tones on the walls and the bubbles hanging from the ceiling literally give feelings of dining beneath the sea. We were seated quickly and enjoyed prompt service throughout our meal.
We started off the meal with an order of Veggie Summer Rolls. The fresh rice paper was a perfect encasing for seared Tofu sticks and the peanut sauce was lusciously thick and creamy.
I had the Herbal Tea Smoked Chicken for my entrée. It was delicious; moist with the perfect hints of charcoaled smokiness. I didn’t really get the jolt of tea flavoring that I was expecting but nonetheless I was happy with my choice.
My dinner companion got the pan seared Tofu steaks that I didn’t get to try but looked beautiful. (Although certainly more fried than seared). Our only complaint about both dishes was the small amount of veggies on the plate. So we ordered an extra side, only to practically collapse in laughter as we divvied up the miniscule amount of veggies that were brought out to us (Imagine, “Ok, I’ll take the piece of broccoli, you take the snap pea…”).
We splurged on dessert and got the Fried Banana with a scoop of Coconut Ice Cream. The ice cream was absolutely fantastic in its rich but not too sweet creaminess. This was a new flavor combination for me and reminded me of a hot beachy summer day. It was the perfect finish to a great meal experience.
Later in the weekend I stopped in at the new location for The Dessert Lady. Located across the street from Ceviche on Church Street, it has one of the coolest atmospheres in Orlando. The décor is straight out of a boudoir and practically transports you to France ala Moulin Rouge. My friends and I couldn’t come to a consensus on ordering, so we split the dessert platter (4 different ½ servings). First and foremost, the Peanut Butter Pie was out of this world. The light and fluffy PB mousse really made this dessert unique. We also tried the Lemon Rum Cake that was freakishly moist with a delicious icing. The Cannoli Cake was also fantastic, but the Flourless Chocolate Torte, while tasty, was a bit on the dense side for me. All of the staff were very friendly and gung ho about finally being open. On one hand I’m thrilled to have such a new and central location for this dessert eatery. On the other hand, I kinda wish I never knew that they existed because I must have that Peanut Butter Pie again!
(Call for directions; the new location is not yet listed on the site.)