There is a smorgasbord of happenings here. Relax, we are on Island time. Everything moves at the pace of the Caribbean sea. There is no amount of time spent on family, breaking bread and enjoying each other’s company.
At first entrance it appears chaotic. People milling around. A couple of lines, some people ignoring the lines and cutting in front. Watch out for children dashing around your ankles. Grandma screaming her order from a table to people in line. Music blasting, smells wafting in the air. Stop. See this is why this place is special.
The aromas of love, joy, togetherness, family, friends, a culture that transcends from food to music, to family. Yes, my friends this is the essence of Melao Bakery. It should be the essence of every eating place. With this kind of energy everything just slows down and people start to enjoy living.
After you take a few salsa steps and sway to some merengue, realize that there are three areas of ordering. As you face the counter, far left is the sweets and desserts section. Order in that line, pay in that line. Center is the take out cooked to order food. All the mofongo is delivered from here. Order there, pay there. Right is the hot food buffet line. Join line, let the attendant know if you are taking out of dining in, order away and pay at the end of the line.
From the Buffet Line– Beans, rice, sweet plantains, and roast pork. The flavors and textures are more tantalizing than a reggaeton track. This is stick to your ribs goodness that just keeps hitting until the last bite.
Cow Heel Soup – Every great culture has one of these hearty blends of love in a bowl. This is a thick well seasoned and balanced dish that really just sooths the soul. The cow heel is tender and melts in your mouth. Nourishment for the soul.
Mofongo with Shrimps and Garlic Sauce – This is a delicate balance of ripe and green plantains with pork fat to create a luscious silky mold that still has large enough chucks of bits to recognize what you are eating. Everything is not pulverized into a smoothie, rather each ingredient stands out yet they are combined. Incredible. Full flavored garlic just announces who is the boss. Notably one of the better mofongos around Orlando.
Assorted Pastries – I am not going to attempt to figure this all out. Honestly, I walked up to the counter and started pointing at anything that looked delicious. How did I do? Guess the price for this entire box? $10. Best $10 ever spent. The pastries were fresh, with full flavors. There was an understated sugariness that allowed the items to flourish and not induce a diabetic shock. I’ll make the drive back just for this.
Flan – I did not expect this little thing, but it is convenient. The taste was a smooth blend of sweetness.
Tres Leches – Anything with milk is great, three times the milk and there is a treat. Lusciously sexy.
Even though this is primarily a food establishment, I’ll venture to say that this place allows for a cultural gathering in Kissimmee. It feels like a warm embrace from grandma as she welcomes you home. For that kind of unconditional love, I’ll make the hike again.