Saturday, September 14, 2013

Dandelion Communitea Cafe - Orlando, Florida

While at a conference outside Orlando I visited various vegan restaurants in the area. One of the most fun was Dandelion Communitea Cafe located at 618 N. Thornton Ave, Orlando, FL 32803 (407-362-1864). I got there as the sun was going down as I battled through horrible rush hour traffic. It appeared to be in more of a residential neighborhood than a business district and I had a hard time trying to find it at first. 

What I found was totally different than what I expected. I felt like I had been transported to Berkeley. It is in a brightly painted green house and the customers appeared to be late teens and twenties. I felt like the ancient of days as I walked in. I'm not sure I've ever felt more out of place. But their food is organic, mostly local and much of it is homemade. People were kind of milling about and their did not appear to be much of a system to ordering, but I eventually caught someone's attention to order. 
I got the Abundant Harvest Wrap, which included garbanzo beans, tomato, cucumber, carrot, bell pepper, corn, celery, broccoli, scallions, sunflower seeds, quinoa and Green Goddess dressing. The ingredients were all great and it was good, but not on the same level as Cafe Gratitude, which also has a Berkeley feel, but where they somehow manage to mix ingredients in a magical fashion. I would say that Cafe Gratitude is more high-end Berkeley and  Dandelion Communitea is low-end Berkeley. The wrap came with a side of hummus and whirled pea guacamole, a first for me. The guacamole tasted quite a bit like avocado, had chopped tomato, onions and peppers, but was made out of peas. Very unique. 

I also read that they had fantastic cupcakes. I tried one at the restaurant, a lemon berry, and liked it so much that I got another one to go, a raspberry lavender. They were moist, with very sweet frosting (both musts for great cupcakes) and were as good as any cupcake I've ever had, vegan or not. 

As I left I found they were selling locally harvested vegetables outside, in keeping with the Berkeley atmosphere. Some of them looked very good. 

If I get back to the area for another conference this will probably be on my list again, if for nothing else, more cupcakes. This is truly a unique, fun, good-for-you gem. 

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