It’s a rare thing for me to take a vacation. My work schedule generally doesn’t allow me to take weekend breaks, never the less trips that last an entire week (*gasp*). But since I put in well-over-two-weeks-notice, I was able to board my 10:07 flight to Orlando without any issues with them. Sure, problems arose with the SUV rental car but not with work itself.
Right now, I’m sitting on the balcony overlooking a lake and fountain at my hotel with a cold V8 next to me, which I predict is quickly warming up due to the prolonged exposure to Florida sunshine. The resort is what I like to call my second home, due to how long my family has been traveling to this particular timeshare property. It’s roughly fifteen minutes from Disney World, thirty from Universal Studios and the same amount of time from where this story takes place at.
I had heard of this little gem in the Orlando gaming scene a year ago, and was sad because we had just returned from our excursions here. A small location, the Cloak and Blaster beckoned me with the promise of pub fare in a geek paradise: an Alice in Wonderland charm to the tabletop and card game player alike. But alas, I had already returned to not-so-sunny New Jersey, and the location remained in the back of my mind like a specter haunting one’s dreams.
Last night, though, I was finally able to dispel such a being from my dreams. It took some coaxing on my father and brother’s part, who were not so keen on driving a good half an hour from our hotel to some nerdy restaurant, but my mom was all on board the hype train after seeing the selection of games they had at their disposal.Saddling up the vehicle, a group of tired adventurers got together once more and made the trek at the promise of food and drink.
If one had to gve my family roleplaying game classes, I can imagine the folks as such:
Mom would be a Druid, hands down. Her training in the local Master Gardener’s program makes her a natural at cultivating and using her green thumb to the best of her abilities. Dad perhaps would be a cleric, since he spends many hours slaving away over tomes for a pharmaceutical company. My brother would hands-down be a barbarian, since he is prone to bouts of rage. Me? I’d say a warlock-bard multiclass: a magic-user borrowing power from otherworldly forces who also has a knack for the arts.
But enough about the flavor text, let’s get down to the meat and potatoes of the review.
The Cloak and Blaster makes you realize just how large an area Orlando really is: a thirty minute drive makes you think that you’ve actually traveled halfway across the state. Spoiler: you haven’t. But the Cloak’s sign is impossible to miss: in an unassuming strip mall, it stands out with it’s medieval font and the word ‘geek’ written on it. That, and there’s a design etched into glass from the Lord of the Rings on the entry door.
Once inside, you are greeted to a very spacious, open area. Adorned with object from just about every fandom you can imagine, spanning from a Klingon sword to the banners of houses Stark and Targaryan. But it is not the paraphanalia that attracts potential customers. No, that would be the card and board game library which houses over one hundred fifty different games to choose to play as you dine. Our group of intrepid adventurers decided on a game of silly voices, appropriately called Utter Nonsense. A good time to be had by all, if I may say so. I wanted to show them how to play Ultimate Werewolf but alas, we did not have the time to do so: we still needed to do a Publix run.
All of the reviews which I had read about the Cloak and Blaster were either yay-or-nay: they were either raving about everything or had a hatred of almost every aspect of the place. I say cast Magic Missile at them, because I had a blast there.
Let us move onto the food then. Again, the reviews I found on Yelp said that the food was nothing brilliant. It was standard bar fare, yes, but you did get a decent chunk for the money you paid, given the price of food in most Orlando eateries. Treat yourself, and purchase the Tri-Force: it comes with their much-adored Dragon Eggs, house-made onion rings and pretzel bites. For ten dollars, that’s actually a lot of food.
Another beloved item on the menu is the not-so beloved noble house of Westeros. The Lannister, which is what the Warlock and Cleric both got, is a decadent sandwitch with peanut butter (yes, peanut butter), bacon and onions on it. Oh, it also comes on a pretzel bun. This says my name all over it, and I ate that thing (SPOILER ALERT) faster then wildfire consumed King’s Landing.
If there are options on your sandwiches that you aren’t quite a fan of, the Cloak and Blaster’s got you covered. You can switch out the patty to either beef, turkey or veggie, swap the bun, add extra stuff to your order, etc. There’s literally something for everyone here. I was torn between the Lannister and the Smaug, but that pretzel bun won me over.
The drink menu is absolutely MASSIVE. Not only can you get mixed drinks such as the Clever Girl and the White Walker, but they offer artisan beers, ciders, and even sodas too. I went to trying a glass of Leliana’s Song, mostly because I was wearing my ‘Agent of Fen’Harel’ shirt and anything Dragon Age-inspired gets my attention. I’m not the biggest beer fan, but it didn’t have a very hoppy taste and quite a nice berry aftertaste. Definitely appealed to my palate. It also paired with the Lannister really well, now that I think about it.
Our server for the night, a young man named Daniel, was a terrific sport and was just such an nice man. One could easily tell he loved working at the Cloak and Blaster, and was overjoyed to meet more nerds like him. A jokester with a good head on his shoulders and a true nerd who was proud of who he was, he made the family’s dining experience memorable at this new, unique Orlando dinner location.
In conclusion: if your in the Orlando area and are in the nerd scene, I definetly recommend Cloak and Blaster.While it may be out-of-the-way for many, for the die-hard geeks out there this is a spot you cannot miss. There aren’t many locations catered to the nerd culture anywhere, so this is a point of interest you should keep marked on your map.
And now I’m thirsty again for a Leliana’s Song. Maybe I’ll take another trip back there.