Florida has been a popular vacation spot for decades and with good reason: world-class amusement parks, stunning beaches and some of the most delightful delectables you and your family could ever imagine! In fact, Polk County is fast becoming known as a culinary epicenter of both traditional and innovative menu choices for locals and travelers alike.
Polk County offers over 8,000 vacation homes and condos for your Central Florida vacation to choose from, providing unique and comfortable accommodations for every budget, style and schedule. Most homes offer private pools, and many are located on golf courses. You will be able to pamper your palette at breakfast, lunch and dinner with down home Southern cooking, steak and surf and some surprising original concoctions never before seen anywhere.
Southern Style Steak And Surf
Southern cooking isn't just about ham hocks and grits. Of course, no Central Florida vacation would be complete without some Southern barbeque. If you have a hankering for some of the best, down home barbeque, Peebles in Auburndale is the place to go! The locals tell you it's almost impossible to drive by Peebles Barbeque without stopping for a bite. For something truly unique, try "Harry in a Bag" from Harry's Old Place in Winter Haven. This dish features grouper garnished with crushed pecans for an unforgettable meal!
The Cherry Pocket Steak and Seafood Shak on Lake Pierce will dazzle your taste buds with a local twist on traditional steak and seafood dishes or you may want to throw caution to the wind and order up some fresh alligator. It really is delicious! Their desserts are substantial, so be sure to pace yourself. Of course, once you've tasted alligator, you are sure to want more, so head on over to the Texas Cattle Company in Lakeland for your next dining adventure.
Your Central Florida vacation will have a decidedly French flavor when you stop at the Antiquarian in Lakeland. Beautiful artwork only serves as a backdrop to the superb menu. If you are looking for a romantic evening with that special someone, Antonio's Ristorante offers authentic recipes straight from the heart of France, Spain and Italy and features fine wine, tableside cooking and live piano music.
For another evening of superb Mediterranean fare on your Central Florida vacation, Arabella's Restaurant in Winter Haven is sure to please your every taste, as they ensure that every detail of your meal is perfection. Beautiful architecture will surround you at the Terrace Grill in Lakeland where you can enjoy incredible crab cakes among other delicious fare. At Lavender & Lace Tea Room in Lake Alfred, you can primp and preen in a Victorian setting as you nibble your way through a Chicken Puff Pastry or a decadent Tunnel of Fudge dessert, topped with a chocolate Amaretto sauce.
Casual, Comfortable And Interactive
The Lakeland Center's Super Chef Series is a culinary event not to be missed as you enjoy your Central Florida vacation. You can watch live cooking demonstrations from the highly acclaimed Chef Cat Cora on November 19th, 2009, or you can sit back and observe the Bad Boy of Cuisine, Chef Anthony Bourdain, live and in person on January 8th, 2010.
For some unique, local flavor, you are sure to want to try the grapefruit pie at Taste of Florida Cafe at Lang's Sun Country Groves in Lake Alfred. Be sure to take the time to talk with the family that started this business as a road side fruit stand back in 1951. If you enjoy good food and a cold beer on a hot day, then you simply must stop off at Tanner's Pub in Winter Haven where you can partake of 15 different imported and domestic beers as you peruse their popular menu and enjoy some live entertainment.
The range of flavors, settings and ingredients used in Polk County make it the perfect Central Florida vacation choice. Long after you have forgotten the museums, the sunburns and the souvenirs, your thoughts will easily recall the elegant, 6-course meal, including broiled grapefruit and Moon Soup, you and your family enjoyed at historic Chalet Suzanne Restaurant and Country Inn, your first bite of alligator and, of course, the ever-popular Grapefruit Pie. Bon appetit!
Christine O'Kelly is an author for Central Florida's Visitors and Convention Bureau, offering tips for fun things to do in Central Florida. The organization helps tourists plan an exciting, fun-filledCentral Florida vacation for families of all ages to enjoy.