For many years, I have been a champion of Se7en Bites (http://www.se7enbites.com/), the local bakery and restaurant run by the delightful Chef Trina Gregory-Propst, a woman I am honored to call a friend. Ever since I first tasted her Signature Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Pecan Pie at another local establishment, Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria, I knew she was a master of her craft. It is, and still remains, the finest pie crust I’ve ever had. This is praise of the highest order, as I will always choose pie over all other desserts. Long before The Saboscrivner, long before the Orlando Foodie Forum on Facebook, I used to post about local food on the Florida forum of the website Chowhound.com, and I remember being the first to review her awe-inspiring pie on the entire Internet. As far as I was concerned, a star was born.
This was several years ago, long before Chef Trina founded her own place, Se7en Bites. It started out in Orlando’s “Milk District” on Primrose and Robinson, in a very small space that regularly had lines out the door, especially for weekend breakfasts and brunches. Peering over the counter at the array of beautiful baked goods was like looking through a window into Willy Wonka’s factory: a world of pure imagination, crafted from sugar, flour, and love. We didn’t go as often as we liked, simply due to the crowds, but it was always a feast for the senses, as well as a great place to bring my co-workers and occasional out of town guests to show them one of Orlando’s best independent eateries.
Chef Trina became successful enough to expand to a larger location with much more parking on Primrose, just south of Colonial. And in 2017, she received a well-deserved accolade that some restauranteurs only dream of: Se7en Bites was featured on Guy Fieri’s ubiquitous and beloved Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, which only added to her status as a local legend. (That was Season 26, episode 10, “Wonder Women,” in case you’re ever lucky enough to catch a replay.) Once she started serving burgers (which are amazing!), I named her Italian Stallion burger one of my top five dishes of 2017 in a feature I wrote for the Orlando Weekly in their last issue of the year, but I’m no Guy Fieri, I get it. (I spent much of the late ’90s and 2000s wearing shirts straight out of the “hipster doofus collection,” just like his, though.)
Needless to say, it has been a pleasure to watch Chef Trina become a recognized and respected face of Orlando’s culinary community, and my wife and I have been huge fans from the beginning! Whenever we go to Se7en Bites, we always get the friendliest service and some of my favorite food in Orlando. Whether we choose handmade burgers with ranch-seasoned crinkle-cut fries, buttermilk garlic breakfast biscuits heaped with bacon and eggs, or meatloaf sandwiches with a mashed potato schmear, we know we’re always in for a treat. Chef Trina never fails to come out of her bustling kitchen to check on us, and she always asks how my wife is doing when I pop in alone, as I did last Friday.
I was just planning to bring a crack pie home to her, that rich, custardy concoction popularized by another delightful designer of delectable desserts, Chef Christina Tosi of New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar. It’s a small, individual-sized pie that we ended up splitting into quarters, with a buttery crust and a creamy, sticky center, dusted with powdered sugar. Like most of Se7en Bites’ pies, it is small — just a 5″ diameter, but rich and thick enough for two people to easily share and be satisfied.
Chef Trina, knowing our mutual love for croissants, strongly recommended I bring home her new lavender honey butter croissants, and how could I refuse that? They weren’t enormous, so I got one for each of us. And when we enjoyed them the following morning for breakfast (since we tried to not make this CarbChella Fest ’18), they were definitely fine croissants, hon hon hon! I wonder how it would be if it was just honey butter, without the lavender. Still pretty amazing, I have no doubt.
(Pardon the end I ripped off — it was hard to resist the buttery aroma and perfect pastry texture before remembering I need to be documenting this!)
That day, they also had “Beach Bum cheesecake” listed on a chalkboard of daily specials, so I had to ask what that was. It was a mini-cheesecake with mango, coconut, and something else I’m blanking on at the moment, which instantly became something I couldn’t live without. I love cheesecake and tropical fruit, so I had to have it! When I brought it home, my wife was a little skeptical, but she ended up loving it too, and concluded that it was far better cheesecake than the Cheesecake Factory (which I wholeheartedly agree with, because Cheesecake Factory cheesecake is totally overrated). That one didn’t last long enough for me to take a photo, but it has a nice, moist graham cracker bottom crust, and the whole thing was just about 5″ diameter, like most of Chef Trina’s pies.
As usual, I should have taken more pictures, but this really was just a quick pop-in for one dessert item that ended up becoming four. We’ll be back to Se7en Bbites without fail, and I’ll report more on it then. But for now, I’m so glad it exists here in Orlando. It’s a real treasure, and so are Chef Trina and her lovely staff.