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Florida Guide > Other Florida

A Taste of Winter Park

Whilst we were driving up to the new Best Buy store at Winter Garden Village recently, my wife was browsing through a book on Florida when she chanced upon an article about Winter Park, and as we were half way there by the time we had reached Best Buy we decided to carry on and see what this suburb of Orlando had to offer.

Doing our best to follow the directions in our book we eventually found ourselves on Winter Park’s main street – Park Avenue. Parking on the main street was limited and while there were directions to a couple of pay car parks we were lucky enough to turn off Park Avenue and find a free public parking lot.

On walking back to Park Avenue we found a street so unlike many that I have seen in America. Except for the section of the street occupied by the park itself, either side of Park Avenue is lined with shops and restaurants. Whilst the shops include the likes of Gap and Pottery Barn, these ‘bug name’ shops are in the minority and small independent boutiques and jewellery shops are the norm. It is the restaurants however, that make this street really stand out. Apart from the ubiquitous Starbucks I didn’t see one name that I recognised. Not only that, but most of the restaurants and wine bars had tables outside and the kerbside, giving this street a definite continental atmosphere.

We decided that we really only wanted a snack for lunch and so opted to visit a small eatery just off the main street, little realising that the Powerhouse Café was something of a legend in Winter Park. This Mediterranean style café was founded over 35 years ago and is still going strong. After digesting their signature ‘Powerhouse Salad’, which with grilled chicken added cost only $10, I can fully understand their success. Packed with only the best leaves from a romaine lettuce and containing raisins, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, avocado, sunflower seeds and garnished with tabbouleh this was a little more than the ‘snack’ that I had envisaged! My wife meanwhile had a tuna salad served in a pita bread with tomato and bean sprouts. Whatever they did to the tuna I don’t know, but my wife said it was the best she had ever tasted and it cost less than $6. Add a couple of freshly prepared fruit smoothies and this was an excellent lunch for two for less than the equivalent of £15.

Next time we visit Winter Park we will defiantly be sampling one of the other fine looking restaurants – maybe for dinner this time.

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Page added on: 30 July 2008
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