Monday, April 1, 2013

Cafe 118 Degrees - Winter Park

While attending a seminar near Orlando, Florida in January I drove to Winter Park to eat at Cafe 118 Degrees, a raw vegan restaurant located at 153 E. Morse Road (407-389-2233).
It gets 4 stars on Yelp and I liked it so much I went back a second night for more. 
The best vegan item I have ever eaten was their spiced macadamia nut hummus with sun-dried tomato and herb  flax crackers. 
Whoever made this up is a culinary Einstein. 
I ate it very slowly, over the course of about 30 minutes, savoring each bite. The crackers are primarily made out of sun-dried tomatoes and have the texture of fruit roll-ups, but are a little bit harder. Unlike most crackers, they are bendable, not crisp. This whacky combination of ingredients is made in-house. But even better is the macadamia nut hummus with an orange-ish oil on top which is olive oil infused with cayenne pepper. The spicy oil with the creamy hummus on the bendable cracker is taste-bud Shangri La.  
I had their Divine Cherry milk shake made with almond milk, banana, cherries and cacao. The cacao was slightly bitter, it had a hint of cherry and it was mild overall, very pleasing. 
The Pad Thai had zucchini and carrot noodles, in pad thai sauce, drizzled with sesame cashew glaze. This was my first time tasting vegetable noodles (we later learned how to make zucchini noodles at a cooking raw class in Los Angeles).  The noodles were very similar looking to wheat noodles, but had a slight veggie crunch. The glaze and sauce was mild, but pleasing. However, after the flavor wallop of the macadamia nut hummus, this was a little bland. 
Finally, for dessert the first night, I had 'Smores, a cinnamon graham cracker with a marshmallow filling topped with a cacao sauce. The cacao sauce was sweeter than the cacao in the milk shake, which I liked, and the cinnamon jumped out at the taste buds. It had a very pleasing texture as well, and after the hummus, was the best thing I had.
The next night I had petite peppers, sweet peppers with almond paste with truffle oil, red pepper cream and wilted greens. It was so mild that I was tempted to ask for some oil infused with cayenne. That seriously was entering into my dreams. Nothing else was going to be able to measure up. 
The chocolate mint milk shake was a nut milk, I'm just not sure which kind. It also had mint leaf, cacao, coconut oil and banana. It was less minty than the cherry shake was cherry, but still good. Very mild. 

The main course, the Mayan tacos, had soft raw tortilla, walnut taco meat, guacamole, salsa fresca, corn sour cream and mango sauce. The tortilla was thin, but not real breakable, like most vegan taco shells. The combination of innards was mild, but pleasing. I could have used some olive oil infused with cayenne. More dreaming.
Finally, I had a chocolate hazelnut tart which was cookie crust with chocolate sauce. Chocolate was the initial register on the taste buds, but then hazelnut jumped in. 
Everything I had at Cafe 118 Degrees was good, and the hummus and 'smores, were outstanding. This was my first real raw vegan food and I enjoyed it immensely. If I go back to Orlando again, the macadamia nut hummus is going to be the first thing that I attempt to find. 

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