Hello Shiquers and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe! Today is the day I finally do my Best and Worst Places to Eat During Conventions post! Yay! Sorry for the wait since life and of course getting my subscriptions got in the way, now I pushed those aside to do this!
Well, as convention goers we tend to save money up for things like gas for traveling back and forth or going from one city to the next, hotel rates like for the La Quinta, Wyndham, or even the Residence Inn and many more, cosplays, dealer room items, and so on! One thing we definitely save up for is food! Whether if you get a suite with a kitchen like we did during Metro 2014 with our gang of friends or not, we tend to spend a lot on food during the weekend. Heck, I still remember spending close to $20 on a philly steak sandwich and fries at the World Center last year. So, I decided why not write about what is the best and worst possible places to go to for food because there are times when people go to a place and get good food and fel great or not so great! Food poisoning does happen and it’s not fun! So, will be mentioning some locations and some places in general!
Disclaimer: This Post is based on opinion from suggestions from posts I asked on convention boards!
Worst Possible Places
Convention Center Stands: To start off the list for worst places is convention center stands. I am not just talking about on quality alone, which there are times when it’s tasty but other times not as great but the food at these centers are pretty pricey for what you get. One good example, a burger and fries meal that I got in 2003 was $9.50 which is pretty close to the price you pay at Disney but hold on, add on the price of a drink that you have to pay separately and that will be around $5 and you bump it with tax to $14.75. The patty was pretty much what you find in a cafeteria at school and you get a bunch of fries. If I want to pay that much, I would go to Denny’s and create a huge burger with all the stuff I like! Another example, a hot dog, just plain, costs $6.50 when you can just go to a stand for half the price in Downtown Orlando in the club district. See where I’m getting at? If not, the thing is you are better off spending less outside the convention center because we tend to save a lot for these events and of course bring our own snacks or buy from the snack dealers. If there is a cheap snack area, like the Rosen Center has, I would suggest that as well!
Hotels that Offer Breakfast: I know we stay at hotels and get the free breakfast buffet option but there are times where it doesn’t taste as great as it’s advertised. When we stayed at the La Quinta for AFO, I decided to check it out and well it didn’t taste that great to me despite just having a waffle and a muffin and sucked that they didn’t have eggs, which kind of makes it worse because there are times when places don’t restock on certain foods. I got back to the room and said better having poptarts and other things we’ve brought to my buddies. Hey, at least we know for any other places we do stay at, just have your own stuff or just go to WaWa or Dunkin Donuts if there are any. Well, McDonald’s as well since they are doing breakfast all day now…speaking of which!
McDonald’s on International Drive Near the Wyndham: Why am I mentioning this location?? Well, it as a warning! Even though it is a convenient walk from the Wyndham but there are times when the place is not as clean as other locations and would warn about the tea since in the past a lot of people did get sick from it and some food items. I would say tread warily if you are in this location, if not, would say go to the one near the OCCC for safe experiences. Icy’s Pizza in Kissimmee: Knowing with how we travel between cities for different locations due to how some conventions move like Holiday Matsuri, Omni Expo, and a very old one to many people’s hearts, JACON! We went to this convention for its final two years which were 2008 and 2009 and not sure if this place is still open but wanted to mention it anyway! It’s known as Icy’s Pizza! No, I am not talking about CiCi’s which is on my best portion , Icy’s is almost like it with the buffet style but it almost looks like it was being runned out of someone’s billiard room because it has pool tables near the dining area. A year later, when watching videos, there were little fliers passed to convention attendees staying at the Ramada to watch out for any pizza places that are runned out of people’s garages and don’t have the specific food code cards which would be somewhere in the restaurant. We didn’t know about this during 2008 since the pizza was good but a bit cold, which kind of set off some bells and they didn’t make pizza after pizza like CiCi’s tends to do when restocking. I didn’t eat much same with Gondras and everyone else, heck I spilled my tea all over myself by accident. Hey, at least to watch out for my drink whenever eating anywhere. Still, hoping this place is still not open and after knowing about these fliers during 2009, definitely watch out for these kinds of places visiting the touristy area of Kissimmee as in near Oldtown or Celebration.
Waffle House as a Warning Place: Don’t get me wrong, this place does have good food but a warning to people, you might get sick if you’re not lucky! Why do I mean by this? Well, meeting someone during Omni who told about her story from Holiday Matsuri one year that she and her friends were staying at the hotel and they decided to eat at a Waffle House and they all had the same thing! Next morning, half of the party got sick! It’s kind of shocking and not as shocking because there are places that do make people sick if they aren’t careful. I did have a burger from Waffle House since they catered a Post Grad Career event at UCF and I felt fine but hearing this story made me tread lightly when I see a Waffle House, heck they opened one across the street from IHop. That is why I say be careful with what you order if you come to a place like this.
Pao Gustoso, or for most places, Sabroso: Now we are getting into the best places! First off is a Brazilian place that we were taken to all thanks to a former friend and that is Pao Gustoso or Sabroso depending on who you ask directions for it. This place is located near Wet N Wild on International. This place has an amazing selection of baked goods and savory items like empanadas, ham and cheese rolls, even little hot dog rolls! One thing you guys must must try…and it is our wedding cake selection…THE BRAZILIAN CHOCOLATE CAKE! This cake is the most amazing cake ever! You will pass out in enjoyment and rool from one bite! Heck, they used to have mini ones as mice decorated ones and they taste like brownies! Uber fudge brownies at that since they have the same chocolate frosting as the cake! Still, this is a must try if you are ever in Orlando for MegaCon, Omni Expo, AFO, Ranger Stop, or even Holiday Matsuri, heck even Florida Anime Experience, try go as early as possible since they do close around 9:30 by what I remember the last time I went, or even on the last day after closing ceremonies, GO TO THIS PLACE!
Del Taco: Since we are on the topic of Hispanic food, not sure if I should count this one as Hispanic food but Del Taco is one of these best places! With two in Orlando, one across the street from UCF and the other one on International, there used to be a third across from Oviedo Marketplace now Mall, but closed down, this place has better food than Taco Hell, excuse me Bell! Why is that? The burritos are big and appetizing, hell you can get breakfast all day if you’re not craving for lunch or dinner, they have a choice between fries and nachos, and burgers! Even can get taco salads from these guys! Not only that, they do Taco Tuesday and Thursday, so if you check in on a Thursday night and your party is craving something Mexican then you can get three tacos for $1.65 with chicken on Thursdays since Tuesday it’s beef. Not only that, I also recommend d the desserts they offer like the cookies and cheesecake bites! The great thing is that their lobby is open late until 3 AM by what I remember, they used to be 24 Hours, but if you get out at a convention around midnight and need something like a taco, there you go!
Renny’s Oki Doki Food Truck: : Since Tampa doesn’t have any Del Taco locations, which they should, but the next best thing are food trucks! Since a lot of people don’t like buying from convention center stands, this is one area they like to go to outside right as you get out the main entrance to the Tampa Convention Center and one truck in particular that I tend to miss during our two years there, which we are thinking of returning to Metro in the future, is Renny’s Oki Doki Food Truck. A Okinawa-born cook, Renny was always watching his grandmother cook and watched her carefully so he can re-create the flavors and the food she made for everyone and his wife read about how food trucks have become popular and decided it was the best venue for them. In 2012 their food truck was born and people have enjoyed their food, which I want to try! Heck, I want to try their soba noodles or even their teriyaki bowl since I looooove teriyaki chicken! If you run into this truck, try it!
CiCi’s Pizza: I did say it was on my best list because it kind of deserves to be it after going to it for a few times, especially during AFO. This place has been around since I was in elementary school and sad that the one near me got closed down but there are locations along International and near Disney. This place has pretty good pricing and you get to have all-you-can-eat pizza, salad, and desserts for that price! If you work for theme parks, you can get a group discount as well. Not only that, sometimes places do give coupons to conventions to pass out and CiCi’s is one of them if you’re lucky!
Red Robin: YUM! They deserve an entry because…well…they are amazing! Plus, you can walk to a location on International. They are a bit pricey though but with the extra cash if you got it or have any left over on a Sunday, you can get a nice burger for a good price! So glad they opened here in Orlando, one on International as said before, and the other in Sanford. You can switch the fries with sweet potato fries if you’re not craving regular ones and of course there is the bottomless option, which they give you more fries after you finish! After eating most of my Bonsai Burger, no bottomless fries for me! Still a good place, they also have wraps and a BLT if you’re not feeling for a burger.
Well, that is about it for this post! I know there are a lot of places to mention and if I haven’t mentioned those that weren’t in this post just comment down below!
What is next? Wil be doing my September and October favorites and with November coming around, I will be doing a Convention Impossible for Ranger Stop since I purchased a Three Day for it. I did try for press but I don’t have the amount of readers nor YouTube subscribers to qualify for this year but they did say I can try next year and that doesn’t mean I can’t bring you videos from panels and other events. I want to at least give some breathing from anime for a bit. So stay tuned for all that! Oh almost forgot! Nerdy Shique Universe now has a Twitter! Just go to Twitter.com and it’s at Nerdy Shique, couldn’t fit the entire title for anyone who wants to know, which is where I post updates about posts, press announcements if I get any since I didn’t get anything from Holiday Matsuri, knowing with other conventions it will be there as well, any video announcements from those conventions since we still have YouTube, and so many more! It does help that we expand the Social Media outlets with how some conventions do ask for it and so we listen and provide! So, go to our Twitter and follow! In the future, we will update business cards, trying to give out the ones for the Word Press page to get new ones. So, check out our Twitter! Stay tuned for new posts!