Summer diversions are necessary!
Last week, on a VERY rainy Wednesday, we took The Stinkers to ride our area’s new commuter rail and try a new local restaurant. It was the kids’ first time riding a real train, so that was a blast, and it was a new adventure, so we didn’t mind the torrent as much as we usually would have.
The Greater Orlando Area has a new commuter train called the SunRail. It’s pretty nice. The destination choices and times are quite limited, as it merely utilized a line and stations that’ve been historically used for cargo transport. It’s also pretty pricey for “excursioners”, but it was a smooth, stress-free ride and the kids were over the moon!
We did see someone we knew on the train and learned that he’s commuting into downtown Orlando 5 days a week and has gone from $65ish/week in gas (and untold wear and tear on his vehicle) to $35/week in train fare. On our way in (from DeBary to Winter Park), we saw very few people, but our train back to DeBary had quite a few medical personnel from Florida Hospital Health Village (where we took StinkerBell for her bug bites back in October). For a commuter, this thing is going to be great! And for those of us who are “exursioners”, there are plans in the works for expanding their service times and areas.
One of our favorite restaurants has been a spot called 4Rivers Smokehouse. We love this place. LOVE.
Well, the founder (Mr. Rivers) has a new baby called The COOP. It’s on Morse just a few blocks’ walk (west? I think?) from Winter Park’s Central Park train station.
The best way to describe it is a journey through Southern food.
If you’re from the South, you know that not all Southern food is the same. There are similar elements, but we have definite regions with specific regional flair. From fried chicken and collard greens to cajun-style shrimp and cheese grits to your grandma’s meatloaf (topped with bacon, of course), The COOP expertly captures the flavors of all the major Southern flavor profiles.
I read a lot of reviews before we went. Some were pretty bad. Most of the bad reviews expressed ideas like “under-cooked greens” and “under-breaded chicken”. Because we love 4Rivers, we still wanted to give it a try. As a self-proclaimed foodie, I can tell you with great certainty that the folks who are writing poor reviews just don’t know how properly cooked food is supposed to taste and feel.
This food is AMAZING. Jesus lives in that place and the recipes are Divinely inspired. Let me tell you!!
Excuse me while I take a praise break for a minute…
But seriously. The food was incredible (maybe even … dare I say it … BETTER than 4R). The dining room service was intuitive and on the spot. The restrooms were clean. They even have a dining room space to the side that I’m sure one could secure for private events (but I didn’t check on that).
Be warned! They are closed on Sundays; which I think is totally cool … only, it’s a great day for this family to go there, which makes it not cool for us, but wonderful for the company’s employees.
If you live in the Greater Orlando Area, go to The COOP in Winter Park. You will be thanking me. Your taste buds will thank me. Your belly will thank me. Maybe they’ll thank me too! 😉
And ride the train.
Even on a day with torrential rain. The memories are worth it.