Allison van Tilborgh
[VegOut Magazine] 24 Hours in Orlando
Orlando, Florida is world-renowned for its theme parks, attractions, and proximity to some of the world’s best beaches. Lesser known is its thriving vegan food scene featuring everything from decadent cream donuts to bold “bean” Wellingtons. Enjoy an adaptogenic latte while exploring the quaint North Orlando neighborhoods, and wrap up your day with a Peanut & Banana Torte on the Walt Disney World Resort property. If you can only give The City Beautiful your attention for one day, consider this your itinerary.
Start your day off bright and early in Winter Park, where you will find several iconic Orlando vegan eats. Nestled in the downtown area, explore New General Cafe, a hybrid retail store and clean food cafe popular with the local college students. Begin with a cozy beverage from their impressive adaptogenic-focused menu featuring Rose Cacao Wellness and Blue Majik Lattes. Take your drink of choice down Park Avenue, Winter Park’s principal road leading you to Rollins College, one of the nation’s most beautiful college campuses, where you can find your next stop.
Open since 2007, Ethos Vegan Kitchen has championed vegan food for over a decade and a half—before anyone else was doing it in Orlando. Their brunch menu is known for the double pancake stack and tofu scramble breakfast skillet, which has both vegans and non-vegans flocking to their location.
Before heading downtown, take the short drive to East End Market, North Orlando’s bustling food hall and home to Winter Park Biscuit Company. The vegan fast-food phenomenon has frequently been in the press for their out-of-this-world vegan chik strips. Order a side with the vegan blue cheese dip.
Before sitting down to eat at your next location in Downtown Orlando, go for a leisurely stroll around the one-mile loop at The City Beautiful's crown jewel: Lake Eola. Enjoy watching swans swimming and catching a tune at the outdoor Walt Disney Amphitheater, which often hosts live talent.
A culinary visit to Downtown Orlando would be incomplete without stopping by Kres Chophouse, which serves four-course vegan meals all week long. Offerings rotate, but their Vegan “Beef” Wellington continues to be a hit. Prepared with sautéed black bean pea protein and mushroom walnut duxelles wrapped in puff pastry, this veganized meat-lovers classic provides vegans access to high-end dining.
UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA
After treating yourself to high-class fare, it’s time to get back to the basics with a quick treat at cult-favorite Valkyrie Doughnuts near the University of Central Florida—the country’s largest university. Drive by this vegan-friendly bakery which has been developing mind-blowing egg- and dairy-free treats for years to the likes of Ube, Fruity Pebbles, and Orlando Creme. When they are out, they’re out!
A trip to Orlando would not be complete without visiting Disney. To avoid entrance fees to the parks, wrap up your day down at the California Grill located inside the Walt Disney Contemporary Resort. California Grill is open to the public and offers a pre-fixe menu with several vegan options, including herbed focaccia bread, a Florida Peach & Raspberry Salad, and Bucatini Cacio e Pepe. Finish your magical meal by enjoying a Peanut & Banana Torte while gazing out upon Magic Kingdom’s fireworks that show each night across a spectacular view.
This piece was originally published in VegOut Magazine's Winter 2023 issue. Subscribe here: https://ezsubscription.com/veg/subscribe