As lovers of all things homegrown and local, this summer, we are making our way around the state to track down what makes different Florida cities unique. We want to learn about their makers, their food, their music, what they do for fun, and so much more. First stop: Orlando
Our adventure to Orlando was definitely one for the books and it’s all thanks to everyone who took the time to make the most spot on recommendations. The main goal of this trip was to stay away from all things tourist, no matter how much Mickey Mouse and Harry Potter called. It started out as any regular road trip, heading out on the road and making a stop in Fort Pierce to refuel, naturally with milkshakes. It was there that we were called to coordinate a pop-up concert with Shakira for her fans. So obviously, we headed right back down to where we left from to make it happen.
Fast forward to after the show, hyped on adrenaline, we made our way up to Orlando. After several coffees and red bulls we arrived at our destination around 6AM. Obviously a bit tired, we took a bit of a cat nap before rising to dive right into what we came to find: all things local. And thanks to all the recommendations we received, there was a ton to discover.
Our first stop was Foxtail Coffee. We were immediately greeted by Lake Street Dive playing on the radio which created the best musical ambiance we could ask for. The decor was absolutely incredible. The industrial feel of balanced metal and wooden attributes made for quite the coffee dream. With everyone dressed in brown aprons and denim shirts, we knew that this would definitely be a place we would spend our time at.
Right after, we peeped into The Brewstillery at Winter Park where the home to Bear & Peacock Brewery and Winter Park Distilling Co.’s rustic taproom and menu called to us to stay for a brew. But we held strong because beer isn’t always the best chaser to a latte. But no doubt, we will be back to indulge.
Caffeinated and ready to take on our day, we headed over to one of the most highly recommended stops we were told to make, East End Market. Our first stop was to grab a bite at Domu, where we feasted on Korean Fried Chicken wings, Curry Ramen, and Pork Benedict Baos. Way too delicious for our own good. Bellies full, it was time to explore the market. We had the chance to get to talking with Seth of Freehand Goods. He handmakes and customizes the most intricate leather goods right before your eyes in the middle of his shop. After getting to know more about him and the success he has been having since moving into the market a few months ago, we browsed the rest of the market’s selection and made sure to stop at Gideon’s Bakehouse where we got our hands on some of the most epic cookies we have ever made contact with. Just look at the photo below and take a few moments drool with us over the chewy, gooey, amazingness.
And, we are back to our regularly scheduled programing. After leaving East End Market we embarked on our journey to find some local retail. From Park Ave CDs, to The Lovely boutique and The Owl’s Attic we were completely overwhelmed in the best way with the realness, and heart and soul that was oozing from every store.
Next on our list was a mini road trip to Lakeland for Indie Flea’s pop-up, where first and foremost we were absolutely blown away by the space. Held at 801 E. Main, the flea was complimented by spatial activations on another level. With a trailer, a full bar, and a teepee to boot, the space alone was a dream. Add in vendors like Josh “Bump” Galletta, Rane Made, and The Folklohr, and you have the market for the books. The ultimate treat of the Indie Flea was getting a chance to chat with Seanissey and Rosey, the masterminds behind this monthly phenomenon, in Tampa and Gainesville, and the St. Pete Indie Market. After fangirling over what they have built for so long, it was great to put real faces behind incredible passion.
After the flea, we headed back to Orlando for some Tako Cheena. I know that food continues to make us speechless, but our dinner here was literally on another level. The ultimate level of Mexican and Asian fusion. From our Indian Butter Chicken Burrito to the Kimchi Cheese Fries, it’s going to take some time for us to adjust to the fact that this isn’t in our backyard. With daydreams of Korean Beef tacos floating in our heads, we made our way over to Lil Indies for some drinks. It honestly felt as though we were walking into a friend’s home where they were catering to the lovers of all things Destiny Child’s “Say My Name” inside, and all things metal on the outside. It was an all around dope little spot hang and debrief our pretty eventful day.
Our Sunday began with a dose of impact. We made our way to coffeeshop Downtown Credo where we were so encouraged to learn about the amazing things they are doing for the community. Jordan, one of their baristas, gave us the lowdown on their mission. Downtown Credo works with organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs, John H. Jackson Neighborhood Center, Keeping Orlando Beautiful, and New Image Youth Center to make a difference in the community. Instead of raising money to just donate, they partner with these organizations to build relationships and work with them to enhance and develop programs. Whether it is recruiting kids for monthly trash clean ups or teaching them how to sew, garden, and even bits of computer programming, they are using the coffee shop as a conduit to make an impact. To make their impact greater, they are working with Rollins College to create a curriculum for social enterprise and entrepreneurship. This all culminates in the thoughtfulness instilled in their “name your own price” method to allow their customers to feel self-empowered to not just be a consumer, but to participate in making a difference. Our hearts were so full to see this type of leadership sprouting from Orlando’s core.
After our enlightening coffee stop, we grabbed brunch at Maxine’s on Shine, where two local musicians made the experience that much more memorable. To their tune, we made our way to Orlando’s Farmers Market at Lake Eola. The farmers market was such a beautiful showing of community. Families, friends, food, and finds. All complemented by swan boats and acro yoga. This is what a farmers market should be. Leaving the farmers market on a high, we made our final stop at Market on South for some Valhalla Bakery donuts for the road. Honestly can’t think of something better to snack on for the drive back to Miami.
All in all, after our brief adventure into Orlando we realize though we were able to get a great idea of the magic sprouting from Central Florida, there is still so much more for us to discover. And, we can’t wait to do just that. Stay tuned.