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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Embrace the Outdoors in Orlando

2. Where to Eat

Updated British Colonial vibes set the stage for innovative Indian cooking at American Gymkhana.  

Feast on imaginative Indian at American Gymkhana. French-trained Aarthi Sampath heads up the kitchen at this cushy spot meant to evoke a lounge for British and Indian polo players (check out the vintage photos of royalty playing, hunting, and dining on the walls). Start with a Jalisco Sour (tequila, jalapeño-infused maple syrup shaken with lime and curry leaves) at the Hunter’s Bar, where foodies, locals, and an international crowd come for cocktails with Indian liquors, spices, and homemade syrups. Then dig into tasty dishes like Galoti lamb sliders ($14), salmon with baby beets and toasted coconut ($16), and, for dessert, Royal Kulfi: sweet basil seeds, rose-petals anglaise, and spiced crumble made with almonds, nutmeg, cloves, mace, and black cardamom ($9).

Dig into killer barbecue with a Latin twist at Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa, from Thomas Ward, one of Orlando’s food-truck pioneers. Snag a spot at a picnic table in the shade, and come hungry for gargantuan sandwiches like the Pig Floyd, stuffed with smoked brisket, pulled pork, sausage, citrus peanut slaw, and French fries on a toasted pineapple-coconut roll ($9.49). Save room for the Cuban banana pudding, a tribute to Ward’s Dominican grandma.

Sit down for tasty Southern fare at Soco, opened in late 2014 by Greg Richie, who’s often a guest chef at the James Beard House in New York. Start with the cornmeal-crisped oysters with pickled-green-tomato relish and rich chicharrones in a velvety herb cream ($9), then hunker down with the grilled meatloaf with lobster mashed potatoes ($22). Savor fresh-churned toasted-pecan molasses ice cream ($6) while soaking up the sun in one of the 50 outdoor seats: prime people-watching territory.

Published on Mar 19, 2015 as a web exclusive.