Good Afternoon! I have finally uploaded all of my pictures from our recent adventures in Florida. Considering we spent a week down there, I feel like I have done a pretty good job condensing the stories down to a couple of blog posts.
Last week, I shared an Orlando Eats + Trip Highlights post. I honestly thought it might bore a lot of you, but figured it might help even a few of you to do something new if you ever end up visiting my hometown.
Here is the second part of our trip highlights to finish it off!
Also, stay tuned for a post about things to do and places to eat in Orlando, that will hopefully be up sometime next week. Although we hit up a lot of our favorites this trip, I have been meaning to compile a list of all of them for years. All in due time, friends!
More Orlando Eats + Trip Highlights
• Yellow Dog Eats
One of Scott and I’s absolute must-visit spots for lunch or dinner every visit is Yellow Dog Eats in Gotha.
I have written about this place before, and every time we go it just gets better and better. And hey, they finally finished the bar!
Unlike past visits, we took advantage of the gorgeous weather and took our lunch to the outside patio.
I just love it there.
Scott predictably ordered the special of the day, while I scaled back on the vacation eating binging with the Are You Chicken? Salad.
The epitome of a BBQ sandwich, topped with baked beans, cole slaw and bacon crumbles.
Smoked chicken served on a bed of gourmet field greens and garnished with cucumbers, grape tomatoes, carrots, sun dried fruit & nut blend, sprouts, red onions, red peppers, and scallions.
Ahh! I want to go back… like now.
• Amway Center
After an afternoon of driving around aimlessly, Scott and I decided to make a stop in Downtown Orlando. Oh hey, Amway Center.
During our last year working for the Orlando Magic together, this building was truly like a second home to both of us.
It was nice to pull up and pay it a visit.
Scott enjoyed taking pictures of everything mascot related, while I enjoyed browsing everything in the team shop and listening to The Little Mermaid being played overhead.
Yup, it’s a Disney building for sure.
• Church Street (Downtown Orlando)
After leaving the arena, we took the rest of the afternoon to wander around the downtown area. I forgot how beautiful Church Street Station can be, especially in the daytime!
The streets were pretty bare, and we took it upon ourselves to walk up and down them to see what buildings and businesses have changed.
Eventually, we ran into frozen yogurt which is always a highlight in my book.
For those of you who have never visited the state, fro yo stores in Florida are like Starbucks everywhere else. You can almost find one on every corner. Okay fine, I might be exaggerating a bit, but they are really, really popular.
• Thornton Park – Dexter’s
We had dinner plans in Thornton Park, and ended up driving straight there probably looking less than desirable after a day of walking around in the hot Florida sun.
Scott and I spent many Sundays in this area of town walking around and dining out with friends for hours. Sunday Fundays, if you will.
We chose to eat at Dexter’s which was one of our frequent restaurants to visit when we lived in the city.
Still full from a day of eating, we split a spicy shrimp pasta dish.
And got talked into ordering their Thin Mint cheesecake for dessert.
All right, all right. Nobody had to talk me into anything.
They totally had me at Thin Mint.
• Burger 21
Yes. More food.
Thursday was another full day of running around town and meeting people for meals. After a quick hello to some friends at church, we scooped up one of them and drove over to the Millenia Mall area to have lunch at a new (to us) burger joint called Burger 21.
I was really impressed by this place. Described on their website as a “modern fast-casual burger restaurant that offers a unique variety of high-quality food in a hip environment,” that’s exactly what it turned out to be. On top of having a huge selection of gourmet burgers and specialty topping combinations, they stand out by offering turkey and veggie options, as well as a gluten free menu.
They have funny “B-isms” all over the restaurant like a “B-clean” hand washing station and “B-saucy” sauce bar.
A lot of their sauces are even gluten free and I loved the variety. Ragin’ Cajun, Apple Cider, Toasted Marshmallow? Yes.
Scott went with some kind of impressive spicy Thai shrimp burger while I ordered “The Skinny” turkey burger with a large side of sweet potato fries for us to split.
Yum and done. We will definitely be returning!
• walking outside in the sun
Living in Michigan where it is anything but warm and sunny the majority of the year, I often forget how fabulous it feels to just walk outside and enjoy the sunshine and even heat.
We had plenty of opportunities to do so on this trip, and one of them was by parking across the street from Universal Studios and making the half mile trek over there.
Although it felt scorching in the 90s, it really was enjoyable with views like this on the way.
(Notice anything green and creepy behind one of the trees? Ha.)
• mini golfing at Universal
While we didn’t actually go inside the theme park, we kept plenty busy on the outskirts of the property. Since we moved, they put in a mini golf course Scott really wanted to check out.
I love Universal. It seems so much cooler to me than Disney. Maybe just more grown up?
Anyways, there were two separate courses to choose from: one haunted and one sci-fi themed. We chose to play alongside the ghosts and ghouls.
It was a creatively designed course and we (literally) had a ball.
• Universal’s City Walk
After a quick 18 holes I almost beat Scott in, we cooled off with a trip inside Starbucks, then made our way back out to explore City Walk.
City Walk is a pretty outside strip of restaurants and shops, also filled with tons of fun night spots. I spent many, many weekends here in high school!
After doing some window shopping, we walked over to the water and enjoyed the views.
I’ll be sure to cover more spots to visit here in my upcoming Orlando entertainment post!
• Publix subs
Those of you who follow me on Instagram already know how obsessed I am with Publix subs.
I don’t know why this sub from a grocery store deli is so dang delicious, but it just is. Looks like I’m not alone in this, either. A lot of you commented on the left photo with the same yearnings for one I am experiencing right now! I can still taste that dreamy bread.
• catching up with my mommy-to-be friends
Visiting home can always get stressful with trying to fit in seeing everyone. Although it was nearly impossible to be everywhere we wanted to, we did manage to sneak in a few catch up visits with life long friends of mine.
Both of which, who happen to be expecting their first child!
I hope to make it down again to see the little ones when that time comes.
• Bern’s Steak House (Tampa)
We finished off our trip with a night in Tampa, since that is where we were flying out of. I was grateful to be able to see a family I grew close to in college and had a wonderful dinner at one of the best steak houses we have ever been to!
You can read the full post about Bern’s here.
I guess that does it for now! Thanks for joining me on this special trip home. Like I mentioned earlier, stay tuned for another post dedicated to the fun things to do and see in Orlando from a local.
Have a great rest of your night.
I’ll be back early in the morning with a HIIT workout!
Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment
Fun trip! Love the pic in the wine cellar at the steakhouse.
Thanks! I really can’t wait to go back some day.
I must have skimmed over the part about Scott going to Fogo de Chao…
The burger joint looked so good! I am always hesitant to go to burger joints too as I am not a burger kind of girl, but that one has changed my mind!
Runner Girl Eats
All these places look so fun…and delicious!!
Glitz Glam Gluten-Free
This looks like such a fun trip! I’m impressed how much you were able to fit in with a short amount of time! That burger place sounds awesome too- a burger place with gluten free buns is always exciting to me! Since you grew up in FL I was wondering if you could help me with something! I’ve been thinking of planning a FL resort vacation for July and basically just want to lay by the pool and the beach. Is Florida in July just too hot for that? I’d love an insider perspective!
I’m not going to lie, Florida in July is HOT. But, if you are at a resort I’m sure they have plenty of ways to cool off in between your sessions in the sun or at the beach. I grew up in the heat, so it never really bothered me. Whatever you do, bring lots of sun block and drink lots of water! We actually got married at the end of July three years ago… so I guess if we could get through that a vacation by the pool wouldn’t be much to stress about. 😉 Have fun!