On the Menu: Ocala’s The Crazy Cucumber
Story By ADAM HUNT
Photography By CHRIS REDD
From the culinary genius of Wendell Landry and Carlos Sanchez comes “The Crazy Cucumber”. The dynamic duo of Landry and Sanchez are better known for their landmark restaurants the Horse & Houndss and Swampy’s. But the duo’s newest creation, The Crazy Cucumber, will complete their trifecta of palate pleasing restaurants.
The Crazy Cucumber was introduced to Ocala in February of this year as a healthy and refreshing answer to fast food. It has since gained attraction as an affordable and delicious alternative to unhealthy eating. The Crazy Cucumber dishes up a number of creative takes on Salads, Wraps, Flatbreads, Panini’s, Sandwiches and Burgers. The theme of The Crazy Cucumber is to “create crazy & healthy choices.” But if I had to sum it all up, I would say it’s “fast-food gone healthy.”
The Crazy Cucumber has a collection of salads, all made fresh and come with your choice of dressing. You can try the creamy fat-free Ranch or the tangy Light Italian. For a more classic approach, you may want to sample the Red Wine Oil & Vinegar or the fat-free Dijon Honey Mustard. But for the bold, I suggest you try the House Cucumber or the H&H Poppyseed, the rustic Russian or the hardy H&H Garlic Bacon Ranch.
Two of the Salad favorites at The Crazy Cucumber are the O’Sally and the Fajita. The O’Sally is a creative blend of grilled salmon with an orange glaze resting on a bed of mixed greens, asparagus spears, kalamata olives, carefully segmented orange slices and diced red onions, drizzled in sweet Florida orange dressing. The Fajita is a sizzling explosion of Latin flavor. It is a fiesta of mixed greens, marinated chicken or beef, pico-de-gallo, low-fat sour cream and a splash of Southwest Chipotle sauce, topped with avocado slices. But for a power punch of wholesome goodness, you should try The Popeye. The Popeye is a salad with roasted sweet potatoes, diced apples and smoky flavored applewood bacon and, of course, spinach garnished with almonds.
The wraps at The Crazy Cucumber are amazing. They come in your choice of wrapping. There’s lettuce, flour tortilla, spinach, honeywheat or tomato basil. The house favorite is the Chicken Waldorf. The Waldorf is a wrap stuffed with grilled, chopped chicken breast. Enjoy the sweetness of split red and white grapes, apple chunks and crunchy walnuts, dressed to impress the taste-buds with a creamy fat-free dressing. A fresh catch from the wrap selection is the Mahi Mahi wrap. Picture fresh grilled Mahi chopped to perfection, alongside lettuce, tomato and a fat-free salsa-ranch dressing. Yum!
The flatbreads at The Crazy Cucumber are a game changer. My favorite was the Mediterranean. This menu item is a flatbread layered with Hummus, roasted red and green bell peppers, black olives, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, all bathed in a roasted garlic olive oil. The house choice is the Greek’d Out flatbread, piled high with spinach, basil, red onions, tomato, feta cheese and Kalamata olives, drizzled with signature cucumber sauce. It looks as if Alexander The Great could have eaten it as a pre-conquest snack.
The Crazy Cucumber also offers paninis. But these aren’t your ordinary paninis – they seemed to have a life and story in each bite. The Newton is a panini with brain power. It’s stuffed with gluten-free ham, fresh basil and Arugula, then crowned with split figs, fig glaze and provolone cheese, piled inside a Telera roll. The house choice is a cartoon classic, The Looney Bird. This delicacy is a chopped BBQ chicken panini covered in a blanket of Swiss cheese and red onions. This panini, with its tangy BBQ sauce, is a winner in my book.
A testimony to the creative vibe of The Crazy Cucumber is there “BYO Sandwich” selection. It’s your choice of meat, cheese and fixings for only $5.99. Now that’s a deal! But if you don’t have time to ponder over this selection, might I suggest you try The Pilgrim? Now this isn’t your run-of-the-mill sandwich. This sandwich is Thanksgiving on a bun with its sliced turkey breast, bread dressing, whole cranberry sauce and fat-free cream cheese, all piled high on Pumpernickel. Hold the Mayflower!
If you like the sound of these sandwiches, wait until you get your hands on a Crazy Cucumber Burger – a favorite amongst many who travel the S-curve. The “Crazy Cuc” is a flame grilled classic topped with lettuce, tomato and a signature house cucumber sauce. There is also the Bacado Burger, grilled with applewood smoked bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato and fat-free salsa ranch.
Now let’s switch gears for a moment and focus on the most important meal of the day – breakfast! We know that The Crazy Cucumber serves up a killer lunch selection, but like most Ocalians, we love a hardy, heartfelt breakfasts. And The Crazy Cucumber has just that making them arguably one of the city’s best breakfast destinations. The Crazy Cucumber has thick and fluffy Belgian Waffles, served with hot maple syrup and fresh fruit or cinnamon apples, alongside homestyle potatoes. Another breakfast choice is the Cheesy Bacon Grits & Eggs. This belly-filler is a favorite of the kid at heart. Or just grab a fork full of a southerner classic, the Country Biscuits & Gravy, which aims to please. Breakfast at The Crazy Cucumber offers all its customers a sense of warmth and comfort and I promise you won’t leave hungry.
The Crazy Cucumber opens its doors at 7 a.m. and closes at 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday. They serve breakfast daily until 10:30 a.m. So come join the crazy, creative team at The Crazy Cucumber for breakfast and lunch. “Eat on Ocala!”
Now, under new management, the crazy cucumber has taken good to great and “crazy” to can’t get enough!
Check out this recipe courtesy of the Crazy Cucumber!