Noodles & Company

**** (4 stars)

This is a very well run outlet, with friendly staff and a nice seating area with a roll-up glass door that lets in a bit of the outdoors.

The menu offers a good variety of different noodle-based cuisines, plus salads and soups. The noodle dishes have the same issue as at Pei Wei where the calorie counts look attractive until you realize there are two servings in each bowl. However Noodles and Company has come up with a great solution. Their “Buff” bowls leave out the noodles, and substitute spinach, while doubling the other ingredients.

I tried the Buff version of the Japanese Pan Noodles. It seemed funny to remove the Japanese Pan part from the dish, but it more than halved the calories, to just 320 in the whole bowl. And it was extremely tasty. I feel like I got all the flavor, without the carbs. And since the veggies (other than the spinach and cilantro) were hot, it didn’t seem like a salad.

As with the other bowls, you can get a side dish. I had a Caesar salad (side salad with a salad, ha!) and it was also tasty, and added only another 90 calories.

They also have the Coke Freestyle machines that can make a hundred or so different combos, including many with no calories.

In all, quite a satisfying low-cal lunch.

Noodles & Company
7822 W Sand Lake Rd
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 354-1301

Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen

**** (4 stars)

This vibrant space off the Marriott lobby offers appetizers, small plates and beer. The concept is local sourcing from the property’s farm, although that’s not apparent in a lot of the items, since they aren’t raising pigs or cows or fish.

Many of the beers are microbrewed. I liked the porter I had, although the menu changes so often you can’t count on the selections listed on the sample menus outside the door actually matching the menu inside. Since they’re both just pieces of printer paper, I’m not sure why.

The background music is lively, so it’s a better after convention spot to have a drink than a place for a relaxing meal.

Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen
4040 Central Florida Pkwy
Orlando, FL 32837
(866) 435-7627

Bedford & Burns

**** (4 stars)

This terrific bistro offers a great lively ambiance, and both indoor and outdoor dining options.

There is an excellent assortment of food ranging from sashimi and caesar salad starters to steak and lamb entrees.

The winless offers great variety, and there are some very nicely priced gems.

Service is friendly, attentive, and yet not at all rushed.

One of the best choices in the area.

Bedford & Burns
369 Bedford Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 273-8585

The Attic Door

**** (4 stars)

Since Winter Park’s revival, Plant Street has become a wonderland of interesting bars and restaurants with live music. Of all the bars, The Attic Door has my favorite ambience, like being in someone’s living room. Lot’s of funky tables, chairs and couches, all mismatched, moderate lighting and noise levels, and talented singer/guitarists create a wonderful place to spend an hour or the whole evening.

The only downside is the food, which is pretty limited and not that great. In particular, the pretzels and beer cheese dip is a secret family recipe that should have remained a secret. Skip the food an enjoy the very reasonably priced wines and beers while enjoying the cozy atmosphere.

The Attic Door
28 W Plant St
Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 877-0266