Last weekend my husband and I spent four days visiting with our good friends in Orlando.
The main reason for the trip was to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon which we registered for back in August. The bonus of the trip was having a couple who lives in Florida who could show us around. And show us around they did – we had some of the best food & craft beers that we have ever tried and along with sightseeing the local towns, it made for one heck of a weekend.
Thursday: Getting off work late and hitting loads of traffic in Pittsburgh made us almost miss our flight. We arrived at the airport with about 25 minutes to spare, missing the deadline to check our bag. We were the last two on the flight and five minutes before takeoff it was announced that our luggage made it on board, YAY! The relief was real.
We landed at the Orlando airport, grabbed our luggage and headed out the doors to meet our friends! First things first, food, always. They took us to a great restaurant, Teak Neighborhood Grill. They have a decent craft beer menu and their burgers are out of this world. My husband ordered the Cronie Burger which is a half pound angus burger topped with bacon, smoked gouda cheese, over an egg, between two – stay with me here – french doughnuts tossed with cinnamon & sugar.
He absolutely loved it. I ordered the Drunken Monk
which was also an angus burger but mine was topped with Angry Orchard onion jam, roasted cherry tomatoes, smoked bacon, herb mayo, provolone cheese, and chips with melted cheddar cheese served on a pretzel bun.
Paired with a Magners Pear cider, it made for the perfect late night, I’m starving and tired but excited to be here first meal in Orlando.
Friday: We headed over to the ESPN World of Sports Complex at Disney to pick up my race registration packet and check out the expo. My excitement for my first half marathon in two days was ramping up and being in an area with thousands of other Disney fans was making me anxious for the time to go faster. I am glad it didn’t! We spent the afternoon lounging around a pool, soaking up the rays, talking nonsense, playing with their dog, and grilling. I found a new favorite beer, Quat.
It just so happened that it was the fourth Friday of the month and in Windermere that means it’s Food Truck Night! We put on our best, comfy clothes and headed down to check out the best roundup of food trucks I have ever come across. There was even a double decker bus pizza oven! I ended up ordering pan-seared ahi ahi tuna with fries and truffle sauce. It was AH-mazing. Especially coming from a food truck. I am glad I took a chance and ordered it!
After dinner we headed over to the Corona Cigar Shop. I am not nor have I ever been a smoker but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy the sweet smell of an unlit cigar. This was the largest cigar shop I have ever witnessed and I had fun perusing the aisles and smelling the cigars – they had coffee flavors! and honey!
That night we stayed up until 2am playing Trivia Murder Party. If you haven’t played it, I recommend buying it! It’s a deadly good time 😉
Saturday: We made our way over to Winter Garden to spend a couple of hours in the sunshine, eat some delicious barbecue from Harry & Larry’s, walk around the farmer’s market, grab some delicious craft brews from the Crooked Can Brewery, and shop the many local vendors in the Plant Street Market. The pulled pork from Harry & Larry’s was the best I have ever had and their sweet potato fries were delicious. Paired with their own BBQ sauces, the meal was fulfilling. I purchased some dark chocolate from Italy that was cooked at such a low temperature, the sugar still had texture. At the Crooked Can I enjoyed an Ace Pineapple cider and then traveled down to Antiquiteas to purchase some loose leaf tea – I got the Watermelon Oolong and it is the perfect blend of fruit without being too sweet. My husband also purchased Florida sourced apricot honey jam but we forgot to check our luggage when we got to the airport so unfortunately it didn’t make it back with us. Hope you enjoyed our jam TSA!
After a short, afternoon nap we made our way to Caprino’s Italian in Windermere where I was bound to eat ALL the carbs I could possibly fit in my body. (Bonus: Chef Stefano is from Pittsburgh!) They served a delicious mini loaf of bread with their balsamic vinaigrette drizzled over top before my meal of Penne Bolognese. My husband got the Caprino Pie which comes with goat cheese, figs, spinach, olive oil, and a cream base. It isn’t like him to be adventurous and order anything other than meat & potatoes so I was stunned when he did but also very proud of him. It also means I get to try two great meals! Post dinner I prepared for my race the next morning and went to bed.
Sunday: It’s 3:30am. I am sleepily pulling on my running outfit, double checking I have all my gear, eating a banana, brushing my teeth, waking my husband, and out the door we go to Epcot. By 5:20am, after sitting in traffic for over an hour, we finally get the car parked and I am off to find my corral. At 6:00am, I start running the first of 13.1 miles and by 8:45am, I am crossing the finish line with the biggest smile on my face and tears of joy streaming down my face.
To celebrate, our friends took us to this wonderful place called the Dixie Cream Cafe in Windermere. We got there before the after church Sunday rush and were able to get seated within twenty minutes. I was still on a high after my half marathon so I went ahead and made the mistake of ordering a super sweet, super yummy, Almond Joy latte and the DC Waffle (Belgian Waffle Topped with Caramelized Bananas, Dark Chocolate Sauce, Toasted Coconut and Whipped Cream). It’s safe to say that I could not finish my waffle and like clockwork, I forgot my leftovers on the table.
The leftovers were quickly forgotten by many glasses of mimosas, hours of playing SpeedRunners, and a long, well-needed lap. Afterwhich we ordered Chinese and spent hours laughing and yelling at the many ridiculous Oscar speeches & outfits.
Monday: We slept in on our last day, enjoyed a lazy morning, and then made our way over to Disney Springs, one of my favorite places in Florida. With no admission, it is the perfect place to kill a couple of hours shopping and eating. Of course, we had to stop at the Ghirardelli chocolate store and get our fix. Their cup of drinking chocolate is to die for. We walked around enjoying the good weather, admiring the caramel apples, and soaking up the Disney spirit.
After one last lunch with our friends at Bonefish, we headed back to the airport for a short flight home.
After picking up our darling dog from the in-laws we settled in for a good night’s sleep before heading back to work.
All in all it was a fun trip and a quick break from reality! It is good to get a dose of friendship in and we are lucky to have a couple who have many close interests to ours and who live in Florida! We are thankful to Juliane & Aaron for letting us stay and exploring the area for a few days.
Also, Juliane writes a fantastic blog, One L of a Journey. Check it out.