Monday, September 17, 2018

Triple D's and seeing the Mouse in the Sunshine State

This trip came about in a strange way.  It began  few weeks before when my work assignment changed from Phoenix to Dulles.  I was bummed because I had really wanted to visit Arizona, but I understood the reason, Dulles is my home station and I am badged and can escort other team members.  After Dulles I was assigned to go to Tampa and Fort Lauderdale.  I was planning to stay and drive between the two cities so I decided to travel a couple of days early so I could get to some Triple D places and also go to Epcot International Food Festival.

I flew into Tampa and rented a car and headed to the Orlando area.  The drive wasn't bad until you get to the area around the Disney parks and then getting in the downtown area, I swear I think that the construction on I-4 will never end!

After getting lost due to the construction I got to my first place.  "The Pastrami Project" is a food truck parked in an old gas station.  As I got out of the car I was warmly greeted by George, the owner and chef of the truck.  I was wearing my Triple D shirt which got our conversation started.  We talked about the show and how much his business has been helped by being on it.  He has become friends with all of the other 5 Orlando area Triple D locations.  I told him about my travels and some of the other food trucks I had visited on my travels.

The Pastrami Project food truck in Orlando

The "Guy Ate Here" and Guy poster on the truck

He has a Coat of Arms!

I love his truck's calling card!

I decided to ty what Guy had, the Pastrami sandwich.  While George was making it he told me that whenever his episode airs he has a bump of 300 to 400%.  He also told me that since Guy visited he now bakes his own Rye bread on the truck, in fact while I waited he had just started to bake 3 or 4 fresh loaves.  I decided that since it was so hot and humid I would take the sandwich to go and George presented me with my meal, the sandwich had a huge portion of sliced pastrami and brown mustard on the fresh baked bread along with a sliced sour pickle and home made slaw.  As soon  as I got in the car I ate probably the very best pastrami sandwich I have ever eaten.  The pastrami was thick sliced with very tasty bark and just a little fat to give it awesome flavor.  I would put this sandwich up against any pastrami sandwich in America!  The pickle was a great compliment and the slaw was very tasty.

The best Pastrami Sandwich I have ever had!

George (in my mind The Pastrami King) and I
Before leaving George gave me a picture of all the different Orlando places that were on the show, a great keepsake of my Triple D Orlando travels.  I highly recommend The Pastrami Project, great food and great company!

I drove about 15 minutes to my next stop.  "Saigon Noodles and Grill" really doesn't look like much from the outside, but looks can be deceiving.  I entered a very nice and authentic Vietnamese  restaurant.  There are a number of tables and booths along with a party area that looked to be set up for a wedding reception.



I looked over the menu and decided to try the Vietnamese Appetizer sampler.  The plate included two Summer Rolls, 2 Classic Spring rolls and Shrimp paste.  The plate came with a small cup of traditional Vietnamese Fish Sauce, an oil based fish sauce with some shreds of hot peppers and a rich brown peanut sauce.  The Summer Rolls were large and served cold and stuffed with shrimp, beef and veggies.  I liked the fresh met and shrimp and it was enhanced by the veggies, but I wasn't a big fan of the chewy shell.  The  Spring Rolls were a very traditional deep fried Asian roll.  The Shrimp Paste was interesting.  It was pretty good and tasted like the shrimp had been put through a food processor and formed into a small loaf.  All I could taste was the shrimp.  The fish sauce enhanced all of the items.  The Peanut sauce was a bit sweet for me I could really taste the peanut butter in the sauce.

My Saigon Noodle and Grill Sampler Appetizer. Fish Sauce and Peanut Sauce on top.  Spring Rolls and Summer Rolls  with the Shrimp Paste on the boittom

After I got my book signed by the owner I headed out.  This was my first experience with Vietnamese food and I don't think it will be my last.

My last stop in the Orlando area was a funky joint on the eastern side of the city in a small strip mall.  "Willie Pincho's in Orlando" features authentic Puerto Rican food, specializing in sandwiches but also proudly serves the All American Burger!  The staff was awesome!  I got to meet the chef that worked with Guy on their episode.  I chose the Jibaritos sandwich that Guy had on his visit.  The Steakstrami is a large portion of sliced steak and pastrami made into a sandwich but instead of bread they use fried plantains as the bread with lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, cilantro and garlic sauce.  While I waited they brought me a drink a Virgin Pina Colada, a gift of the restaurant, it was sweet and refreshing.

Willie Pincho's in Orlando - A Funky Puerto Rican joint!




Love the colorful restaurant decorations

My Pina Colada drink compliments of Willie Pincho's

The sandwich came I was amazed, this sandwich, called a Jibaritos was huge!  I had visions of Guy eating this in his classic hunch!  I knew I couldn't do that.  For me this was a knife and fork sandwich! The sandwich was delicious, especially the thinly sliced steak.  The plantains gave the sandwich a very unique taste.  

Willie Pincho's Steakstrami Sandwich

One big sandwich and that's not a roll but fried plantains

Willie was not there during my visit but he called and I had a nice conversation with him.  He is so proud of his wonderful staff and to be part of the Triple D family.  He was at their new Kissimmee location but invited me back on my next Orlando visit and I plan to take him up on that.  Before leaving I had the staff sign my book and got a picture with them, too!

Willie Pincho's wonderful staff!


 I had one more stop to make.  Guy had recently opened a new restaurant in the Disney Springs shopping entertainment area of Walt Disney World. Disney Springs was formerly know as Downtown Disney and Pleasure Island.  "Chicken Guy" is Guy's fast food place featuring Chicken Sandwiches and Strips.  He has about a dozen special sauces to choose from for your order.  I chose the three strips and a soft drink, which included 2 of Guy's dipping sauces and I chose the  Bourbon Brown Sugar sauce along with Bleu Cheese sauce.  The strips were large and I loved the breading so much that for me it really didn't need the sauces!  The prices were very reasonable so if you're at Disney, Chicken Guy is worth a visit for good inexpensive food.


Chicken Guy in the Disney Springs area of the Walt Disney World Resort


That's the Chicken Guy!

Three Strips and two signature sauces
My last day in the Orlando area was spent at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort.  Epcot was having it's annual International Food and Wine Festival. I had not been to this event for at least 10 years and was really looking forward to it because they have numerous displays, tasting and seminars.  I was very disappointed because many of the seminars wee already full.  In the past you could sign up for these in the morning of your visit.  Now they allow guest to sign up to 60 days in advance so if you're plans are last minute (as mine were) you are out of luck.  Considering those walk up folks will spend over $100 for a day ticket (luckily I have a multi day ticket) it really is not too fair.  I was able to ride on some attractions I had never been on and Epcot is still my favorite

Epcot's Annual International Food and Wine Festival

Food foilage

One of the seminar areas inside the Festival Center

Wine area inside the Festival Center

Cheese tasting area

The Chocolate tasting area

Coca Cola's Planet Cool where you can try Coke products from around the world

I love Disney's monorails!

After spending the weekend in Orlando I had to get back to Tampa to start my week of work at Tampa International Airport.  I still had one place to try and after my co-worker Eva arrived we headed from the airport area to St. Petersburg to try my last area Triple D place.  "Buya Ramen" is in the downtown area near Tropicana Field, home of the Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays.  Eva and I were seated at a booth near the back of the restaurant.  The place specializes in Asian cuisine with Ramen and Izakaya dishes.  They also have a huge bar menu with at least a dozen bourbons and sakes.

Buya Ramen in St. Petersburg, Florida

We were served by a number of the friendly staff who answered our questions about the menu.  I chose the most popular item on the menu according to both staff and regular diners that we talked to, the Crispy Duck Ramen.  A soup based meal with chunks of crispy duck, ramen noodles, spring onions and greens.  Eva chose Pork Gyoza, pan-fried dumplings with a soy based dipping sauce.  The ramen was delicious!  The broth was flavorful, the duck very crispy and the ramen tasty.  I am not the biggest fan of soups but this was very good.  I was surprised that the duck stayed crispy in the broth.  Eva really enjoyed her dumplings, they were very crispy on the outside and meaty on the inside.  We not only enjoyed the food but the atmosphere was really cool with a very neat painting on the wall.

Inside Buya Ramen

Love the wall art

My Crispy Duck Ramen meal

Eva's Pork Gyoza
After getting my book signed by my server Eva and I left to start our week of work.  My Triple D count now stood at 667!





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