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Posted by on Jan 3, 2010 in Featured Destinations | 17 comments

Cavallari Gourmet

outside

Yesterday Lisa and I rode the length of the Cady Way/Cross Seminole trail (~11 miles) from the Fashion Square head to where the most recent phase unceremoniously ends just before Red Bug Rd. It would seem that ending offered little of interest—a Home Depot, a MacDonalds… no coffee shop. However, tucked into the shopping center is Cavallari Gourmet, a fantastic locally-owned gourmet market — a worthy destination.

Our plan was to pick up something fun to cook for dinner.

meat

Their meat counter stocks a fabulous selection of fresh meat and prepared items, like a unique variety of stuffed chicken breasts. When we arrived they were sampling their holiday sausage, a product they only make from November to January. It’s pork sausage with maple, cranberries and blueberries, and WOW it’s amazing! I think they have a little bit left, I didn’t completely clean them out :-)

olives

A big draw for me is the olive bar. They have several varieties of whole olives that I have not found anywhere else in town.

wine

They have a nice selection of sauces, marinades and condiments, plus wine and…

beer

microbrew. But, more importantly…

cold beer

cold microbrew! You can mix and match your own six-pack. Or if you’re making it a lunch destination…

deli

You can have a cold brew with a deli sandwich. The sandwich menu looks great, but I haven’t tried one yet. I had a delicious cup of pasta frijole yesterday. Nothing like hot soup on a chilly day!

bike rackWhen we arrived there was a small group of cyclists outside finishing up some pastries. There’s a good-size wave rack out front, so they’re clearly prepared to receive cyclists here (and it was full when we arrived).

Some Notes About the Trail

I plan to do a more detailed write up of this trail (and the others) in the future, the following is just a heads-up about a few things.

Where the trail crosses the Howell Branch & Aloma intersection (and changes name to Cross Seminole) the intended path for cyclists is on the south and east sides of the intersection. This is indicated by the crosswalk design—an open space in the middle of the white bars. Be vigilant to look for right-turning traffic when crossing the south side from west to east. I’ve almost been right hooked there several times. There is an above-grade crossing planned for this intersection, it will be a welcome addition.

When the new phase of the Cross Seminole becomes a sidepath, you must be vigilant at all driveways and intersections. When headed eastbound, be sure to look behind you for left-turning traffic. In my relatively few trips up this section, I’ve had several close calls, even after slowing and looking for conflicts. There aren’t many intersections, so it’s not a huge inconvenience to be extra cautious.

Those issues aside, I really do like this trail. It is a direct route down a major transportation corridor and it gives me easy access to a number of destinations.

Distance Perception

bythelakeOut of curiosity, I checked Google maps to see how they would plot a driving route from my house to Cavallari. The fastest route was 13.4 miles and used a toll road (Google clearly doesn’t know about the construction on 50, that route would not be fast). The trail route from my house (I live 3000ft from the trail head) is 11.6 miles. The difference in mileage isn’t really the issue, though, it’s the difference in distance perception. I don’t contemplate car distances in mileage but in lost-time & frustration. By car it is only 13 miles, but it might as well be on the moon. Even though Cavallari has a number of items I have not found anywhere else, I would not drive to that part of the metro area unless I had a bunch of other things to do there to make the trip worthwhile. But 11 miles is nothing to me on a bike and I’d ride up there just for the heck of it. The trail makes that ride incredibly pleasant and far more enjoyable than using the adjacent roads.

Back to the Food

fullpannierSo, aside from stocking up on the holiday breakfast sausage, we did find some good ingredients for dinner: hot Italian chicken parmesan sausage, some eggplants, fresh mozzarella and 2 ciabatta rolls. We also stopped at Publix (using the lakeside Baldwin Park trail extension) for a few staple goods on the way home. As you can see from the photo, I should have brought both panniers. I think that thing was carrying about 40 pounds when all was said and done. Not bad work for the axiom rack on my road bike.

Lisa made eggplant parmesan baked in a sauce made with the sausage, stewed tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers and kalamata olives. It was amazing. I ate way too much. So much for that New Year’s resolution. Well, at least I preempted some of the calories with a 25-mile bike ride.

17 Comments

  1. I’ve been meaning to ride out the newest construction of Cross Seminole going into Jamestown/Slavia. Would be very nice to complete the circuit and tie into the Seminole-Wekiva trail in Lake Mary/Heathrow area.

    That part of the trail is nice, but construction made it a bit of a chore to navigate. Prolly much better ow with the addition of the “tunnel”.

    • Right now part of the Cross Seminole in Tuscawilla is closed for a bridge repair. I have a 50 mile loop map that links the trails together and bypasses it. (It has some other stuff on it to, but that will give you an idea of the connector roads.)

      • Thanks for the great map. I was out there two weeks ago and was a little short on time so I didn’t pursue finding a connection with the cross seminole trail, but I was wondering…now I know. I like the look of that market too. YUM!!! I have been trying to rack up some more miles to prep for the Tour de Cure.

  2. Yum!! I went in there briefly sometime ago – this sounds worth the ride over!

  3. I have to deal with the Howell Branch & Aloma intersection on my commute. It’s tricky going east. Going west you can take the left turn lane and cross with the light. Any help there would be good. What is an “above-grade” crossing? A bridge would be wonderful, but I can’t imagine it the budget these days.
    Cavallari is a gem. I go there once a week. The spaghetti sauce is terrific and check out all the fabulous Cajen stuff in the frozen section. Also the Balsamic vinegar is better than most costing much more. It’s still expensive however. The first time you buy a bottle, then refills are less.

    • An “above-grade crossing” is a bridge. Seminole does have plans for one, though I don’t think money is programmed for it yet.

    • you can write that post ;-)

  4. Keri,
    Your post made me hungry for food as well as a nice long ride!

    Peace :)

  5. The main post is a shameless advertisement by the store.

    • The store didn’t even know about the post.

  6. Can anyone tell me how safe the Cross Seminole trail is? I’m a runner and I’d like to do my long, early morning runs on it (with a friend, of course) but I am worried about our personal safety. Any insight would be helpful. Thanks!

  7. I just went down this, didn’t see the gourmet store. Beyond the trail end about a block up on 426 is another piece of the trail. Caught me off guard as the only access from the road is from the sidewalk, and I’m not much of a curb hopper. That led me right to thge northern part of alafaya at downtown oviedo, where I saw a guy in the road with a sign for breakfast!

    Might have to go back and check out the store. I also saw the sign for harvey’s cigar and brew. Need to check that out too, that could be fun.

    The only bad thing about this route is that the trail has a stop sign for every road. Yield signs would be more appropriate at some and others the cross street should be the ones stopping. There were a number of crossings for private roads and commercial driveways.

  8. Cavallari’s and Harry’s are in the same shopping plaza.

    From the trail, turn into the shopping center at Interstate Battery/McDonald’s. Cavallari’s is located next to Staples.

    If you find yourself in downtown Oviedo again, be sure to stop at the Townhouse Restaurant for breakfast. Rumor has it that the eggs come from the chickens that walk around the parking lot!

    • Thanks for the tips! I’m going to have to make another trip up there. I’ve been dying to find some really good sausage, I have my fingers crossed.

      I looked up the townhouse menu online, looks yummy! There a lot of greeks up in oviedo? Seems that the place I went and this are both greek places. Seems that greek places are far between in other parts of town.

  9. I took the “bait” on this shameless promotion and went for a midnight ride. Not too bad of a ride, about +/- 30 mile r/t for me. I reckon going in daylight ours might prove more effective, especially if one wishes to partake the wares.

  10. The Cavallari Gourmet deli offeres great premade burgers as well.
    There is a connection to the cross seminole trail just before the oviedo mall on the right side of 426 heading west. Taking the trail it will end abruptly at 434 the Townhouse is a nice breakfast place, but also there is a good family owned italin and pizza place just down on 426 a couple blocks.
    Another note. The cross seminole trail starts back up another block down 434 down from the Townhouse resturant which i think adds another 12-15 miles to the elementary school. Winter Springs commons just over the bridge on 434 has a Barnies, Tia Juana flats, Heuy Magous and a couple new resturants, Subway etc…