Marita’s Latin Bites

On the east side of metro Orlando just past Hwy 417 on the south side of Colonial Drive is this wonderful little Mom and Pop restaurant.  We read about this place in the Orlando Sentinel.  Since we live way on the opposite west side of Metro Orlando we decided to take a drive and give this place a try.  Boy were we glad we did.

The menu has many selections so we asked the owner what she would suggest for our first time.  She suggested their rice bowls. So we decided on two different rice bowls.  We ordered the Churrasco Steak Rice Bowl


and the Fish Rice Bowl.


The food is cooked when you order it.  So it is fresh!

They also have a large selection of juices.  We tried the Passion Fruit juice.


Just before we finished we decided to give their Empanadas a try.  Sorry, we got so excited with the food we were eating forgot to take a picture of those.  They were very good.  We had one beef and one chicken.

The best thing about this restaurant is that it is very inexpensive.  It is a place we will drive across town for again and again.  There is nothing better than cheap eats with a ton of flavor.

If you are looking to give this place a try here is their website:

and their address: 9446 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL

Garibaldi Mexican Restaurant

Very near the Florida Mall in Orlando is a wonderful Mexican restaurant.  The restaurant is called Garibaldi.  It is located at 848 Sand Lake Road, Orlando, FL.  The decor inside the restaurant is upbeat and colorful.  There is plenty of seating.


The Margarita’s are well worth the price.  In fact, we had just one margarita a piece and we could feel the buzz before our meals came.


The food was tasty authentic Mexican fare.  You also have a lot of choices on the menu.  So much so that we cannot wait to go back again and try something different.


Leu Gardens Annual Plant Sale

Being avid gardeners we look forward to this annual plant sale.  There are vendors from all over the state selling their wares.  There are tropical plants, flowers, and all the things that a gardener could need to tend their garden available.  In addition, there are groups that are at the plant sale to give gardeners information.  Such as this little guy who is a native species and the group was asking gardeners to plant native specie plants.


Every year there is a private hour for members of the botanical gardens to get in an hour before the general public.  Luckly, we are members of the botanical garden.  Even getting there early for the private hour, the crowd starts to get big.  The below picture is just one entrance to the garden and you can see it was starting to get busy.


All who are knowledgeable of this plant sale always bring a wagon of some sort.  Because those who buy do buy a lot.  The following slideshow is just a small portion of the plants we saw for sale.

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It is a great time for all who attend.  We came away with our wagon full of plants as you can see.


Wizarding World of Harry Potter

We are giant fans of the J.K. Rowling books so this weekend we took a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  It is truly magical what Universal has done to transform the images we conjure in our heads when reading the books to making them come alive.  So for your viewing pleasure we will take you to Hogsmead and Diagon Alley.


Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs

A recent addition to Disney Springs over the past couple of years is the Christmas Tree Trail.  It is a wonderful family fun walk-through experience.  Each tree is inspired by a Disney character or theme.  The Christmas Tree Trail is open from early November until January 6th.  We decided over the weekend to go and take a look so we can share it with all of you.


Disney sure does put a lot of details into these trees.

It even snows at the Christmas Tree Trail!!


Here are just some of the trees we saw.

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A Day at Universal Studios

Celebrating the holiday season in Orlando can be a real treat for visitors!  The parks get into the holiday spirit with fanciful decor, cheerful touches, and special surprises that add something extra to this time of year.  At this time of year, the weekend temperatures can be a bit unpredictable, oscillating between “perfect weather” weekends and those that are a bit chillier.  This past weekend, however, was just perfect.  A light sweater warded off the chill in the morning and was taken off by mid-morning as the sun came out.

If you visit at this time of year, you will also find that the parks tend to have lighter crowds, the pace is less hurried and there is so much more you can see when you take the time to go at your own pace.  Of course, that all changes for the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  Each park has so much to do that it can be a tough decision on deciding where to start.  However, rest assured, that whatever you decide to do, it will be fun!  Today, we will take you on a tour of Universal Studios, skipping the big thrill rides to see some of the often-missed entertainment and capture a few lovely holiday views along the way.


As we enter Universal CityWalk, we make a beeline to the informational desk to ask which park had the early entrance between Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios.  On this lovely day, the crowds headed to Islands of Adventure to begin their day. So… we chose Universal Studios as our destination to make the most of our time, knowing that we are getting into the park as it first opens at 9 AM, perfect to make the most of a full day.  Right away, we took note of the new Voodoo Donuts restaurant that just opened.  A perfect breakfast stop for our next visit.  We will fuel our day in sugar and caffeine the next time we come.  We get closer to the main entrance and we get this spectacular view!  Yes, yes, yes, it’s a time to be Merry, wahoo!


Today, we are taking time to meet some important people in the parks.  Every time we come here, it’s someone new so we stop to appreciate the fun that each of these epic characters bring and reminisce about the first time we enjoyed their storylines.  Bumblebee, Doc Brown, and Beetlejuice.


A little-known secret is that Universal has an app where you can check on ride times.  We consulted it throughout the morning to check for wait times in line to strategically enjoy the most rides with little to no wait.  With that in mind we make our way around quickly, covering a lot of ground through some of our favorites, the Fast & Furious, Men in Black, the Simpson’s Ride, and ET.


Time flies in the park, and soon it is lunchtime and there is no place better to get something to eat in than in Diagon Alley.  We walk the streets and take in the atmosphere as we make our way to the Leaky Cauldron.  Today, we try the “Toad in a Hole” which is a dish made of sausages baked in a Yorkshire pudding batter, served with delicious caramelized onions and a side a minted peas and roasted carrots.  It is absolutely delicious, and we gobble it right up before we remember that we should have taken a photo.  Sorry readers!  So instead, we snapped a picture of the interior atmosphere.  Insider’s tip: we suggest you pay a visit to see the living framed pictures on the wall.


In the afternoon, we get our steps in and walk off lunch in Universal Town, a whole city built to create an illusion of being ‘downtown’.  The store fronts are just that, imitations of real buildings but look so real and now they are covered in tinsel and ornaments.  We have a few minutes to jump on the Mummy’s Revenge ride before coming back out to get a good view of the Christmas parade.


Nailed it!  We are out right on time to see the floats of Secret Lives of Pets and Dora the Explorer.  We know they are waving to the kids, but we cannot help but wave back!  Oh, what fun it has been today!  We check the time and it almost 4 PM so this is our goodbye until next time.  We hope you enjoyed walking around the park with us, until next time!


Lunch on I-Drive

In one of Orlando’s tourist sections is a street called International Drive.  The locals call it I-Drive.  Today we decided to wander to I-Drive and have lunch.


The weather is perfect for it today.  A slight breeze, comfortable temperature, and an outdoor patio at the restaurant.


A perfect Saturday lunch.  We started with some drinks.  One was a Zombie and the other was a flight of Margaritas.  The Margarita flavors were Hibiscus, Strawberry, and Tamarind.  (Left to Right)


Instead of full entrees we decided on three appetizers instead.  They were Firecracker Shrimp, Tostones with Chicken, and finally Lobster and Shrimp Quesadillas.  For appetizers the portions were fairly large.  So much so that we brought some home with us.