A Perfect Day in Orlando

Chef Joseph Creech shares his ideal 24 hours in his hometown
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Chef Joseph Creech

Photo by Artful Life Studios

Mexican-born Joseph Creech founded Hunger Street Tacos, which the Orlando Sentinel called the home of the best tacos in town. Photos of his birria “machete”—slow-cooked beef wrapped in a knife-like tortilla and dipped in bone-marrow broth—went viral, prompting Orlando Weekly to name the dish the city’s “Best Buzzworthy Bite.” Here, Creech shares his ideal 24 hours in his hometown. 

BAGEL BREAKFAST
Jeff’s Bagel Run has the best bagels outside New York City. They do 240 bagels every day and sell out by 11 in the morning, so that tells you how great they are. My favorite kinds are rosemary, sea salt, and cacio e pepe.”

TO MARKET, TO MARKET
”I always encourage people to check out Orlando’s Mexican markets and ask questions. My two go-tos are La Hacienda and Los Girasoles. Finding cactus paddle is big for me; we make amazing quesadillas with that at home. Epazote is a Mexican herb that’s very hard to find fresh, but these markets have it.

Cactus Paddle

Photo from Shutterstock

READ ALL ABOUT IT
“I love just walking the grounds of the new Winter Park Library. The city spent insane amounts of money to bring in a world-renowned architect [Sir David Adjaye] to design it. The quality of the construction is spectacular; from a gravity standpoint, the building just doesn’t make sense.”

FAMILY TIME
“My wife, Seydi, and I like walking with our kids along the Lake Apopka Loop Trail. If you want to spot Florida wildlife, this is the closest thing to the Everglades you can find in Orlando. We’ve seen hundreds of alligators there.”

LUNCH BREAK
Swine & Sons is a great place to have a quick bite—the menu has high-quality, chef-procured meats and local craft beer. The Chiang Mai hot-chicken sandwich is crazy hot and not for the faint of heart!”

BACK TO THE BEGINNING
East End Market has really given restaurant startups a platform to flourish and grow. Hunger Street Tacos started as a pop-up, and we used East End to prep all our foods. I love walking through there, meeting new vendors, and seeing their determination. I know what that grind is, struggling to build something from nothing.”

BIKES AND BEERS
West Orange Trail is beautiful for biking; you can see all kinds of birds and wildlife. It also goes right by Plant Street Market, where you can pop in and grab a local beer from Crooked Can Brewing Company, plus tacos from our second Hunger Street location.”

EVENING STAR
Kadence is a Japanese omakase restaurant that started at East End Market with us—and it just earned a Michelin star, along with three other Orlando restaurants, which is a huge deal for our city. Kadence is easily the best restaurant in town. Their level of execution, attention to detail, and service is as good as anything you’re going to find in a larger city. The build-out of the space is spectacular, and the ambience is spot-on. It’s perfect. I always leave there wanting to push my business to the next level.” 

NIGHTCAP
“Mezcal is my go-to; I love the smoke and the nuance. My favorite cocktail in the city is the Oaxacan old fashioned from Reyes Mezcaleria. The ambience is very creative and respectful of Mexican culture at its essence. And the chef there, Wendy Lopez, is one of my favorite people alive.” 

Photo courtesy of Reyes Mezcaleria

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This article appears in the Fall/Winter 2022 issue of Southbound.

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