Friday, April 17, 2009

Welcome to Florida Week...

I recently returned from Florida, where we have a time share in Orlando. We spent two weeks in Florida this year as my husband is driving me crazy to buy property there. We decided we would do some checking and comparing of different areas and this trip we decided that Orlando, Tampa, and Sarasota would be our focus. I hope you will enjoy these posts and I will try to make them as food related as can be, featuring some restaurants, recipes, tourist attractions, can places for you to visit.

I am going to start with Cariera's Cucina Italiana, located in Orlando, in the Marketplace at Dr. Phillips, which is off Sand Lake Road. This is a great restaurant to know about, especially if you are traveling with children. It is very user friendly, a real family restaurant, and the prices are the portions large, and the prices reasonable.

What I like about Cariera's is there is something for everyone, catering service, a deli counter for take-out,

a bar for drinks, and a restaurant that is fact, the walls are brimming with pictures of diners from all over!

We have been coming to Orlando for over ten years now, and we eat here everytime we come. In fact, this time, we ate here twice. The first time as at the beginning of our vacation, when my "daughter" Sachi, (Lauren's best friend from Exeter who I have adopted) called and said "Mom, I know you are always in Orlando in March, when are you going this year, because I'm going to be there for a few days.
Marc, me, and Sachi

Luckily, we were in town at the same time, and she and two of her friends,

met us for dinner after they toured Universal Studios.

The first night, we ordered on the light side, Pizza and salads, as the kids had been in the park all day. They always start you off with a great basket of breads.

The pizza is fairly close to New York City Pizza (by Florida standards) and it was delicious!
The pizza come in two sizes 14" and 16", and the prices run anywhere from $12.75 - 21.95.

They also have low-card pizza, vegetarian pizza, specialty pizzas, and full lunch and dinner menus as well. Dinners range from about 12.00 to 29.00 (most dinners include salad or soup, and pasta or vegetables.) The staff is extremely friendly, and bend over backward to please the customers.

We all had a great time, and the waiter was kind enough to take a group photo of us

According to Cariera's legend, they celebrate Holy Cannoli day on April 13th. The storu goes that in the small village of Carini, Sicily (north of Palermo) during the Easter season, people enjoyed celebrating, but money was scarce. People donated food to the poor and one year the Cariera family donated a large basket of homemade cannoli to the church.

Supposedly, the priest exclaimed, "Holy Cannoli!" The priest blessed the abundance of food, and shared them with the people of Carini. From then on the Monday after Easter become Holy Cannoli Day, a tradition that the Cariera family brought to the United States. They invite all their patrons to stop by for a free cannoli, and enjoy live entertainment!

Our second visit to Cariera's came the following week, right before we were heading for home. We have family in the Orlando area and we had dinner with them earlier in the week, but planned to meet again. My dear cousin Joanne was going to bring me several of my Aunt Julia's recipes for our family collection. They had suggested The Macaroni Grill, but my husband is not a fan. I knew this would be an easy restaurant for them to get to, and since we like it so much, suggested they meet us there. They did and they loved it!

From these pictures, you can get a better idea of the salads, main courses, and desserts...

The Ceasar Salad

I think this was the Lobster and Shrimp Tortellachi

This was mine, and it was fabulous, it was the baked ziti
to which they added some eggplant
It was pne of the better pasta dishes I have ever had out!

Cappellini Puttanesca

Capellini Piquante with Shrimp

Lobster Ravioli

Chicken Picatta

Grilled Chicken Ziti

another friendly waiter

The whole gang enjoying the evening

The perfect ending a little cappuccino

some creme brulee

a piece of carrot cake

The New York Cheesecake

and a fond farewell to the family until next visit

Here is their website: Cariera's
Call for reservations 407 351-1187
FAX 407 351-1565
For Delivery 407 352-1170

Cariera's Cucina Italiana on Urbanspoon

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  1. This looks wonderful!

    I am a total pizza junkie and the pics of the the pizza here make me drool!

    And the place has so much character. I bet it was a fabulous meal. I am kinda jealous over here!

    Wonderful blog. Keep up the good work!

    Jeff Young
    The Catholic Foodie... where food meets faith!

  2. Hi Jeff,

    I am a pizza junkie too, as a matter of fact, I think it is my favorite thing to eat. We always go here when we are in Orlando, love this place. If you get the chance to visit, go... You'll enjoy it! Thanks for following my blog.