Favorite local team I can get behind
• Orlando Pride all day, baby
One thing you wish every local would stop doing
• Trying to make a left-hand turn on Colonial Drive heading north on Mills Avenue towards Winter Park
This is embarrassing but I can’t get enough of (for ex., insert crappy tv show, disgusting food, questionable celebrity)
• True crime podcasts. And I wonder why I can’t sleep at night.
Unpopular opinion but:
• Kissimmee’s got a real cute downtown and it and Clermont are often overshadowed by places like Sanford and Winter Garden (which I love too SO much).
My perfect Orlando day (summer edition) includes
• An oat milk honey latte at Deeply Coffee.
• Lunch at The Neighborhood Eatery (and I’m ordering the Mills 50 bowl).
• A walk through the Lake Eola Heights Neighborhood with a stop for a green juice from Juice Bar at Eola General (and a boozy popsicle).
• Happy hour and cocktails, preferably a spicy marg, sitting out front at Lil Indies.
• A show at the Enzian, complete with kettle corn and a glass of Savvy B.
If I had to give a vote for Orlando’s hidden gem, it’d go to…
- Rocco’s Italian Grille & Bar in Winter Park, especially on a Friday night. You’ll go for the delicious pasta paired with tasty wine and stay for the live music and audience participation.
- The chicken and waffles OR breakfast croissant from Foodie’s Cafe. I can’t emphasize enough just how good both are.
- Edible Education Experience in College Park. The brainchild of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation and Chef Kevin Fonzo (formerly of K Restaurant), this local culinary oasis is a treasure to local communities.
A hill I’d die on…
- Pub Subs are incredibly overrated. Give me Stasio’s, Pom Pom’s, and even Firehouse, all day, y’all. All day.
If you do one cool thing all year, I urge you to… (I can’t choose one so I’m going with three)
- Attend Sanford Porchfest in February (FREE!)
- Check out Creative City Project’s Immerse in October (FREE!)
- Make time to see the annual Florida Prize exhibit at the Orlando Museum of Art ($5-$15)
What I love most about Orlando is
- also what I hate: the weather. I love it because we have been able to gather outside for months in the middle of a pandemic because our climate allows it. Our farmers’ markets thrive all year long (special shout out to my favorite farm Infinite Zion Farms powered by Raymond and Cherette Warthen and crew) because we aren’t short on sunshine nor rain (though spring has been exceptionally dry).
Orlando should pay more attention to…
- I have to say it: local journalism and storytellers. We have so many amazing writers, creators, and artists in our community who are capturing the essence of our city and shaping the narrative of the future of Orlando. A few I really love are Scott Maxwell, Amy Drew Thompson, and Joy Wallace Dickinson at the Orlando Sentinel, Brendan O’Connor at Bungalower, and Faiyaz Kara at Orlando Weekly.
An easy way to appreciate local storytellers?
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Katie Johnston is our founder, director, and resident defender of the Alabama football program (but still appreciates a good tailgate at UCF with the rest of them). She’s also rarely met a dad joke she didn’t like, never met a new city she hasn’t loved, and adores her 17-year-old pup Luda more than most. You can find her on a walk around Eola Heights, a bike ride through Mills 50, or at a bar in Ivanhoe. Her metaphorical newsroom office door is always open for questions, news leads, tips, and hellos at firstname.lastname@example.org.