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Restaurants & Bars 26

Daytona report and wish list (long)

Covert Ops | Jan 21, 200605:02 PM

Hey guys, haven't posted in a while.

I live in Port Orange now, and we've been trying to find the chow-worthy places around Volusia. Here's a partial list of places I've been, places I've heard of and what I'd like to know more about. Any help is greatly appreciated! :-)

WINGS: Booth's Bowery, Herbert St. and Nova Rd., Port Orange. This is one of our favorite places, especially for the wings. And mostly just for the wings. Bad experience with the chicken fajita, which comes already rolled up like a giant enchilada. I asked the server what I should do with the side of lettuce, tomatoes and cheese, and she said, "Just put it on top!" I like to assemble my own fajitas, thanks. :-P But the wings are terrific -- meaty, great sauces, very reliable. I'm all about getting what a place is known for, and sticking to that. But they do have other good selections. Portobello burger with pepper jack cheese is great, as is the meatball sub (but they add chopped up peppers, which I'm not thrilled about). Bruschetta is great, as is the fried zucchini sticks. They also serve escargot, but I'm a little wary of that. ;-) Good place to bring kids.

MEXICAN: La Fiesta, Nova Rd. and Dunlawton in Port Orange; and Cancun Lagoon, near the Speedway, ISB and Airport Road, Daytona. We discovered La Fiesta near our home. Almost entirely Mexican staff, great happy hour margarita specials (the house one is delicious). I liked the assortment of dips with the chips, including a salsa with cilantro and a white dip made with Mexican cheese, sort of a spicy ranchero-type. Jalapeno poppers perfectly cooked and full of cheese (no explosions!). Had a special enchilada with shrimp, lobster and salmon, and it was fabulous. Other dishes seemed common, but well prepared with excellent service. Menu was very large, with lots of seafood options (which I'm not accustomed to seeing). I'd definitely go back.

My husband brought me to Cancun Lagoon because he had enjoyed it years ago. It is still very excellent. I had a similar dish as the other restaurant, but this time the seafood enchilada had some pink sauce that was like a Newburg, with pepper jack cheese melted on top that gave a great bite. Great little side dish was a cornbread crumbles with pieces of corn in it. Amazing fried ice cream dessert (coated in cornflakes), with strawberries, bananas and caramel sauce.

CHINESE: The Chinese takeout I've sampled around here totally sucks. I have a theory, that it's because there are fewer New Yorkers in Daytona than in other places I've lived in Florida. (Everyone here seems to be from Pittsburgh, or the Midwest.) If you can point me toward decent Chinese takeout (the closer to Holly Hill, the better, because us newspeople gotta eat, and I can't STAND China Star) I'd be thrilled.

DINER: Steve's Diner, next door to Office Depot, Nova. Rd. and Beville Rd. Steve's is neither Greek nor Jewish, but it's still a terrific diner. They have this homemade thick bread that makes great (and filling!) French toast. I was disappointed at breakfast because I wanted scrambled egg and cheese on a roll, and they were out of rolls. But at lunch I had awesome chicken soup and the best diner lunch, grilled cheese on rye. (With pickle, of course.) Some Polish specialties on the menu, like stuffed cabbage.

PIZZA: Not feeling good about the pizza search, see earlier comment on lack of New Yorkers. And also, since I got Chuck to drive down from Ormond all the way to Melbourne for pizza. :-P However, a friend told me there's a NY-style pizza place, I think it's Joe's New York Pizza, opening up in a GAS STATION (maybe that's a good sign??) in Ormond, on Granada just west of the I-95 exit/overpass. Was just there recently, but had already eaten, so didn't check it out. Chuck? Anyone? Worth the drive up?

SUSHI: Haven't gone to any around here. . .wait, haven't FOUND any. Heard a rumor of a Japanese steakhouse in Port Orange with a sushi conveyer belt. . .anyone been? Not a big fan of the Benihana-like hijinks, but I would like freshly prepared, reasonably priced sushi if there's any around.

ITALIAN: Don't get me started. Haven't been to a single place around here. But I did get a calzone from Giuseppe's Steel City Pizza (nova rd, across the street from Booth's Bowery) and it was cold in the middle. And they were out of an advertised beer. And it took the server 10 minutes to figure that out and tell me as I sat thirsty. Don't get me started -- I'm nto going back there, and it's not because I'm not a Steelers fan. Wings were decent, but not as good as Booth's across the street. Decor was atrocious (again, unless you're from Pittsburgh). Didn't try the pizza, because putting "steel city" in front of the name threw me off. :-P

BBQ: My husband was happy to find Dustin's, which we went to often when we lived in Melbourne (nto as good as Fat Boy's though). Honestly, I think their meat is too dry, and prefer Sonny's (which isn't saying much). But I heard there's a place called Robinson's (?) on Orange Avenue, west of the police station. But I've been warned by several people to only go there in the daytime, which freaked me out. NC-style Q, with red sauce mixed into the meat.

STEAK: Best so far is Lone Star (Dunlawton and Village Trail), and I say best beacuse the steak is 100% perfectly cooked every time it's ordered medium-rare. You'd be surprised how many steakhouses mess this up! I love the grilled shrimp over rice, very flavorful. And they serve sweet potatoes with a sugar/cinnamon/brown sugar mixture, none of that Country Crock Cinnamon Spread crap Sonny's throws at you. (Note: Dustins also gives straight brown sugar, a plus.) Great rolls and honey butter at Lone Star -- the exact same rolls I fell in love with at the Beverly Hills Cafe down in Dade/Broward, only with melted butter on top. HEAVEN!

OK, so that's where I've been, and here's what else I'm looking for:
-- Casual seafood, possibly raw bar
-- Casual beachside dining
-- Slightly-more-than-casual restaurant, non-ethnic, where we can take my non-chowish parents. (Note: They must serve chicken fingers, and have a bar.) View/location a plus.
-- Other good BBQ that's not a chain and won't get me shot.
-- Better wings than Booth's Bowery, if you know of them.

I also want to try that place in DeLeon Springs where you make your own pancakes, but I'll wait until the stepkids come this summer for that.


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