Food & Drink » Restaurant Review

A well-rounded assemblage of food and beverage offerings await at the Hourglass Social House



There are star bakers behind the perfect, and I mean perfect, rolls that go into making Le Ky Patisserie's banh mis. Just a few steps away, Tamale Co. fashions some of the finest steamed bundles in the city. Vegans seem to go gaga over Leguminati's hearty crunchwraps; and what can be said about Foxtail Coffee that hasn't already been said?

Yeah, it's a formidable foursome occupying the Hourglass Social House – a transformative, and relatively corporate-free, space in Curry Ford West of the kind every neighborhood should be so lucky to have. Straddling the spatial scales of café and food hall, this social house is just that – social. It's a locus for meet-ups, pop-ups, pick-ups and break-ups. Line-ups too, though to a far lesser degree.

  • Photo by Rob Bartlett

Waiting is but a small price to pay for the small price you'll pay for Le Ky's classic banh mi ($5), especially when you consider owner Uyen Tran spent five years as a pastry chef at Disney's Contemporary Resort and her father, Ky, spent a quarter-century there before her. Baking's in their blood, and that sandwich with its porcine mélange is, without question, a bloody good one. But there are also pastries – cute, boutique-y, seasonal pastries – of the sort that cause the patrons standing behind you to roll their eyes and mutter under their breath for making you take so damned long to pick.

Sensing autumn's approach (and the approach of a smack from the exasperated lass behind me), I thought a Champagne-poached pear tart ($6) seemed fitting, even if the dense, somewhat dry crust wasn't. Nice almond flavor, though. If you haven't tried ruby chocolate – the purported "fourth" chocolate after dark, milk and white that's all the rage – Le Ky's gorgeous ruby chocolate mousse tart ($6) blinged with gold leaf is a worthy introduction to the sweet and slightly tangy confection. If you're like me and given to submergist temptations, I suggest grabbing a latte ($4.50) from Foxtail and dunking Le Ky's buttery almond-raspberry cookies ($4.50 for three) into it. I'm not ashamed to admit the combination has comprised a very sustainable breakfast (or two) for me in the past.

  • Photo by Robb Bartlett

Other sugar fiends find the lure of Tamale Co.'s tres leches ($5) irresistible, and it's no wonder. That light, airy cake is a beaut and comes with a heretofore unseen by me topping of peaches and strawberries. So fetching was the tres leches that it suspended my wolfish scarfing of their chicken mole tamale ($11). BTW: Tamale Co. is my destination of choice when a craving for lengua tacos ($12 for three) strikes. Gift yourself the pleasure. The tacos are reinforced with a double layer of corn tortillas, too.

Le Ky’s tiramisu and ruby chocolate mousse tart - PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • Photo by Rob Bartlett
  • Le Ky’s tiramisu and ruby chocolate mousse tart

Of the four businesses at the Hourglass Social House, Tamale Co. offers more seating (and more visual stimulation), though there's nothing stopping you from bringing your cortado ($4) over from Foxtail or your handheld from Leguminati into this more colorful and muraled sector. It's where we shared Leguminati's grilled OG Crunch ($9.75), a hefty flour wrap layered with a crunchy tostada and filled with asada-seasoned, soy-based, ground "beef" – an impressive facsimile of the real thing. Enjoy it with a cold one procured from Leguminati's bar (where there are 12 beers on tap) or any of the other adult beverages available from this diverse market, be it more beer, wine, micheladas or bottomless weekend mimosas. When beverages flow, folks tend to linger, spend and lose track of time – an irony not at all lost at the Hourglass Social House.

  • Photo by Rob Bartlett

This story is from the Sept. 18, 2019, print issue of Orlando Weekly. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.

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