Mastering the Art of Food Adventures with @Metaldon
When it comes to blending lifestyle, travel, and food, very few come close to perfecting it as much as Metaldon. We linked up, as friends do, to have a whirlwind of a unique food experience. Immerse yourself in the excessive, fast-paced, gluttonous occasion while I uncap the masterful art of food adventures.
Metaldon is one of those guys that is seemingly in a different city on a different food adventure on any given day. Keeping up with him is a challenge in and of itself. Check out his Instagram to see exactly what I am talking about. Fellow foodie and The Dapper Hour host, Metaldon believes in one thing that I believe as well, using our bodies as vessels for the consumption of delicious food.
CFS Coffee Shop
We started by meeting up for a cup of coffee at CFS Coffee Shop, a locally owned Colombian Café in Hannibal Square. There we caught up on what we have been up to, the Dapper Hour, and I gave him some restaurant recommendations for his upcoming trip to Savannah, Georgia. We also talked a bit about the day and he opened my eyes to his “never stop moving” approach to food adventures. To sum it up, create a nonstop food experience and stop by interesting places along the way. After nailing down the details for the day we got to it.
Jesse's Rib Shack
Our first stop was a grass root gem and local shrimp and rib joint. Metaldon lived near Jesse’s Rib Shack for some time and it was always a reliable stop for him to indulge in something remarkably delicious. We went for what I call the holy trinity; wings, ribs, and shrimp. The abundance of flavor was both awe-inspiring and revelatory. The shrimp was so good. They stir up so much emotion in me that my eyes began to tear up. The shrimp was coated with some sauce that tasted amazing. I was too distracted by the food to even inquire about the sauce. As I am writing this I am already plotting my next opportunity to swing by Jesse’s for a plate of wings, ribs, and shrimp. I’m thinking next Friday, right after work.
But while there, I had a chance to meet the owner and chef Jamaal Jackson. In between bites, we talked about the local fried shrimp scene, what he was cooking in the smoker, and the restaurant. Jesse’s Rib Shack was founded by Jamaal’s father, the late Jesse Jackson back in 1987. Jamaal recounted watching him serve diners the legendary southern style bar-b-que ribs that the restaurant is famous for. Since taking over the business, Jamaal has added a few more options to the menu, including that delicious shrimp.
Some people will think that starting the day at Jesse’s Rib Shack, with their ribs and chicken and shrimp, will quickly put an end to a day with a food coma. Those people are absolutely correct, which is why we had to keep moving to fend off the itis.
East End Market
After crushing that plate and with our bellies on swole, we hobbled over to East End Market to check out the scene. East End is a properly hipsterlicious corner of town. With craft goods, delicious coffee, and exquisite ramen next door at Domu, it is a place where you can burn a few hours taking in all that it has to offer.
Gideon’s Bakehouse is a bakery and number one source for a chocolate-chip cookie. That’s not conjecture, they were named Best Chocolate-Chip cookie in Florida by the national foodie website Delish. With cookies the size of a bear’s palm, its definitely a place to try if you are craving rich and moist cookies.
The Owl's Attic
Across from East End Market is The Owl’s Attic, a charming vintage thrift shop that is filled with unique pieces.
Luke's Kitchen and Bar
To top off a momentous day, Metaldon figured some fine dining was in order. Luke’s Kitchen and Bar is a third concept from the masterminds of Prato and Luma on Park. Both of which are Winter Park institutions and must-visits in Orlando. Prato is known for their killer pizzas, one of which has an egg in the middle and appropriately named Widowmaker. I stop by for a bite or brew as much as I can and always go for their delicious meatball appetizer. Luma on Park provides an exceptional dining experience and features a vault of a wine cellar that sits in the center of the restaurant. Luma on Park is one to visit for great service and intimate dining. Given my experiences with the sister restaurants, I was looking forward to seeing what Luke’s Kitchen and Bar has to offer.
Now Luke’s focuses on classic American cuisine and creates balanced plates with the use of seasonal ingredients and responsibly-sourced meats. The menu is exquisitely curated and has a solid range of options depending on your preferences and desires. Metaldon and I sat down refreshed but hungry after our East End Market visit. After being greeted by a friendly member of Luke’s waitstaff, we honed in on the cocktail options and quickly settled on the Florida Paloma and the Gatsby.
Both the Florida Paloma and the Gatsby are unique drink creations mixed exclusively for Luke’s and feature two of my favorite liquors; tequila and gin. The Florida Paloma was perfect and was what I was looking for after such an eventful day. Featuring tequila from a brand that I consider great at making tequila, Herradura, and delicious grapefruit soda it was a pleasant cocktail with subtle flavor.
Metaldon, like myself, is a gin lover, so he went for the Gatsby. With cranberry and peach bitters this one is more of an opposite to the Florida Paloma. It has a bold flavor, sweet and if you don’t have your wits about you can sneak up on you. I could tell Metaldon was digging that drink.
At this moment, I was looking for something full of flavor and crabcakes are usually great for achieving just that. The ones on offer at Luke’s met my wants and then some. The balance of texture and flavor was stellar.
Idaho Rainbow Trout
Metaldon got his plate of the Idaho Rainbow Trout and I immediately got taken over with a case of food envy. If it wasn’t so obvious, I would have switched plates. But the perfectly cooked trout sat on a savory bed of grilled squash and tomatoes. The whole affair was just exquisite.
After going through such a copious amount of food, we had to walk it off. A crucial part of food adventures with Metaldon is always mixing things up. This varied grab a bite here, grab a bite there style is how Metaldon is able to squeeze in a lot of great moments to make great overall experiences. It’s very much a mural that he’s creating with restaurants and unique places being the paint.
That day, Metaldon showed me how to live a life filled with true gluttonous tenue. A grand tour of food. His way. A blur of sheer excess, flavors, and adventure. This is the way that I not only want to dine, but this is the way that I want to live. As we paint our lives, we can all aim for Jackson Pollock levels of spontaneity, mystique, and depth. It is not only a great way to take in life, but also a great way to express it.