Saturday, September 28, 2013

Yellow Dog Eats, Windermere, FL

I have been jonesing to try Yellow Dog Eats over in Orlando (okay, Windermere, which basically falls into the same geographical touron-laden locale that is Central Florida) ever since I first read about it on Urbanspoon a year or so ago. could I not be intrigued by Yellow Dog Eats Bistro and Wine Store since I...

am "owned" by one inscrutable yellow dog who, judging on appearances alone, seems to spend the better portion of his life plotting to overthrow all of mankind...

like to eat almost as much as he does...

and love wine almost more than life itself?

Yellow Dog Eats and I looked on paper like we would be a match made in heaven, except for their pesky sandwich menu.  I've always found sandwiches oddly off-putting...simple stomach-filler for when you're too tired, too lazy, too poor or too uninspired to put together a "real meal" (but I'm highly evolved enough at this point in life to know that this idea is rooted in my childhood where 3,000 too many baloney sandwiches on Sunbeam were tossed at me and called "supper").

Moving forward, I was immediately enchanted by the Old-Florida-Meets-Dog-Lover kitschy exterior and decor of this charming establishment (please note that "Hippies" are requested to use the back entrance).

It really is a wine store!

While there's a spacious, shady and inviting deck out back for dining, the interior (while delightful) can get tight as diners queue up to place their orders and then wait for their names to be called for food pickup.  Fortunately, the uber charismatic chef/owner entrances the crowd via microphone like a carnival hawker, seamlessly bouncing from "cat herding" the patrons, fetching free beers for impatient line-standers, terrorizing the bartender for her (ostensibly) prehensile toes and extolling the virtues of some of the gorgeous pastry counter offerings. This is a one-of-a-kind resto business model, folks...and you won't be able to stop yourself from loving it even if the very thought of the whole "taking a number" ordering concept makes you shudder (as it does I)!  Helpful Hint: There's a tiny corner bar indoors where we scored a couple of stools and got awesome backup service from the lovely Alyssa after picking up our lunch offerings

Yellow Dog Eats' Mission Statement (copied directly from their website):  The menu of sandwiches, salads, barbeque and daily specials are all Yellow Dog originals conjured from the imaginative mind of your humble proprietor, Chef Fish Morgan. We start with the highest quality ingredients: lean, flavorful deli meats, our 15 varieties of locally-grown baby greens, homemade pastries, and multi-grain “Pioneer” bread. Our bacon, pork and other yummy things are smoked on the premises over apple and natural woods, Yellow Dog strives to create distinctive combinations of favors to delight the palette and raise the spirits.

You know...I think you're doing a good job delivering on that promise, YDE.

Highest possible praise from a sandwich-hater from way back goes to the Classic Yellow Dog Club - Honey Mesquite Turkey, Smoked Gouda, Crunchy Applewood Smoked Bacon, Leaf Lettuce, Orange-Contreau Mayo and Crunchy Cucumber Rings on Freshly-Baked Multi-Grain. The Best Sandwich on Earth has now been clearly identified. Thank gawd someone finally realized that not every sandwich is incomplete without a slimy slab of tomato (and whoever decided that adding booze to mayo seemed like a good idea is my new hero).  I snorted this thing like it was my last day on the planet.  

Its little coleslaw sidecar was fresh, crunchy, and sweet...yet still provided an almost undetectable subtle after-beat of heat on palate. 

The roasted potato salad side I ordered a la carte was also quite pleasing.  Creamy and cold, I liked the texture that the caramelized potato edges added to this deli standard. The high chunk factor of the ingredients coupled with the fact that an appropriate level of fatty binder had been administered (as opposed to it being awash in a standard-issue soupy swamp of mayo) earned it bonus points.
UD, seemingly hell-bent on placing a strain on our marital bliss, tried to argue that his $8.95 Black Forest Hambone Sandwich (Black Forest Smoked Ham with Smoked Gouda, Layered with Wood Smoked Pineapple, Blankets of Leaf Lettuce, Tomato, Sweet Smokey Pommery Grain Mustard and a hint of more of that orgasmic Yellow Dog’s Orange-Cointreau mayo, served on the same fabu multi-grain bread) somehow trumped my selection. lost me at "tomato".  Otherwise, it might've been a close race.  His side selection of oven roasted potatoes also did not disappoint.
God's Own Blondie (second only to moi, of course), was presented to my better half in the form of two decadently chewy slabs of a chocolate-free "brownie" oozing with a gooey, melted Heath Bar center.  Are you there, Satan? It's me, Sweet Polly.
My Caramel Apple Bread Pudding was also extremely well done, but trumped (I must admit) by the Blondie.
Final word...I have an undying crush on this place.  Yeah, it's unconventional (the ordering, seating, wine purchasing, etc., is a bit chaotic and confusing...especially for first-timers), but you'll be sold at first bite.  

Yellow Dog Eats on Urbanspoon
My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.

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