Thursday, June 16, 2011

Vote for Orlando!

Travel & Leisure magazine has opened up its annual survey to find America's Favorite Cities. Vote for Orlando; help this awesome city get some of the respect it deserves. We've got a lot more than just thrill rides, after all!

The survey covers everything from food and shopping to people watching, culture and weather, and Orlando has definitely got it all covered. Here are just a few examples of some great picks in survey categories.

Burgers: On Kirkman Road, near Citywalk and Universal Orlando lies a hidden gem for carnivores and burger lovers -- Junior Columbian Burger. The place is tiny, cramped and often warm. It's cash only. And they don't offer fries. Trust me -- you won't miss them or mind any discomfort. In fact, you'll forget all about it the moment you bite into a burger that Orlando Weekly called "[a] crunchy, meaty, juicy glory." Grab extra napkins and bring the family. And don't balk at the ingredients (pineapple sauce? Really?) -- the owners routinely offer a money-back guarantee if it's not love at first bite.

Ethnic food: From the many options in EPCOT's World Showcase to the long strip of Asian delights on Colonial Drive downtown, Orlando offers ethnic cuisine in nearly every possible flavor. Vietnamese is a local favorite, with loads of options; all the other Asian countries are represented as well, from sushi to dim sum to pad thai and back again. Cuban food and Carribbean delights abound -- Havana's is a local fave located right in the Disney neighborhood. Authentic Mexican can be had, along with German food. Try tiny little Ciao Italia near Sea World for some of the finest pasta this side of the Mediterranean. It's all out there, just waiting for you to find it.

Antiques: Head downtown for antiques -- Orange Avenue (Orlando) and Park Avenue (Winter Park) -- or take a ride up I-4 to gorgeous Mount Dora for a day trip filled with antiques, architecture and even afternoon tea. Get away from the malls and department stores and search for hidden treasures and exceptional art pieces. All you have to worry about is the cost of shipping it back home.

Orlando also features amazing nightlife, cultural arts, museums and so much more. Go vote and then make your plans to explore.


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