An update on the local food scene in Orlando.
At Pepe’s Cantina, the menu may have shifted from paella and patatas bravas to quesadillas and queso fundido, but the former Mi Tomatina has kept the pleasant outdoor dining, Miró-esque mosaic tables and funky backyard cocktail bar since transforming from Spanish to Mexican cuisine, with Chef Jose “Pepe” Baranneko in the kitchen. It’s worth a visit just for the outstanding guacamole (pictured above), made fresh tableside and alive with just the right touch of cilantro, lime and jalapeño juice. pepescantina.com
Our latest entry in the Garbanzo Wars (pitted against Hubbly Bubbly and the Pita Place, among others) is Hummus House, an eco-sensitive, chickpea-centric spot next to the Green Bank in Winter Park, with another location over UCF way. Along with savory grilled chicken and paper-thin pita bread, they offer several house-made, preservative-free delights (including salsa and guacamole varieties) of creamy smooth legumes just begging to be your quick lunch. The roasted red pepper and garlic options are particularly good. hummushouse.com
The influx of Brazilian tourists, having surpassed the UK as our biggest group of overseas visitors, means we’ll be seeing many more specialties from the land of Carnival. One standout is Mrs. Potato, a South Kirkman Road eatery that has introduced to Orlando the rosti—a hot, plate-sized hash-brown covered in a multitude of toppings including catupiry, a creamy Brazilian cheese paired with pulled chicken or dried beef. mrspotato.net