Authors Posts by Brittany Bhulai

Brittany Bhulai

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I am a current resident of Orlando, FL who has a love for writing and food. I am also a reporter for a local newspaper in Lake Nona. Journalism is a passion of mine.

I had the honor of tasting nine different sakes from distilleries all over Japan. The tasting was hosted by the Consulate-General of Japan in Miami and UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.  

Douglas Mueller, owner of a Japanese cafe and grocery store in Jacksonville, led the tasting. Mueller claims to have gained his experience from traveling through Asia. He has picked up a lot of knowledge from the locals who live there. Sake will differ in taste depending on what region of Japan you are in. The beverage usually has an alcoholic content of 14-17 percent. Since sake is made out of rice, the grains are milled to a certain degree.

He began by saying sake was served from a whole range of temperatures. You cold drink it either hot or cold. The temperature will affect the taste. Drinking it hot will give a rounder taste. However for premium sake, it is normally served slightly chilled. There were two grades of premium sake; Ginjo and Daiginjo. The grains for Ginjo sake are 40 percent milled away and it is considered to be “super premium sake”. Daiginjo is at least 50 percent milled away and is classified as “ultra premium sake”.

 

Mueller describes these as the “Nine great sakes of Japan”.

 

 

 

 

  1. ) Junamai Daiginjyo

milled to 23 percent, alcohol content is 16 percent by volume, serving temp is 50-50 degrees fahrenheit.

 

2.) Junmai Daiginjyo

milled to 35 percent, alcohol content is 16 percent by volume, serving temp is 41 degrees fahrenheit.

3.) Junmai Daishinsyu

Milled to 38 percent, alcohol content is seven percent by volume, serving temp is 50 degrees fahrenheit.

4.) Episode

Milled to 40/50 percent, alcohol content is 16 percent by volume, serving temp is 50-59 degrees fahrenheit.

5.) Aizu Homare

Milled to 40/50 percent, alcohol content is 16 percent by volume, serving temp is 41-50 degrees fahrenheit.

6.) Kiddo

Milled to 45 percent, alcohol content is 15 percent by volume, serving temp is 41 degrees fahrenheit.

7.) Karaku

Milled to 50 percent, alcohol content is 15 percent by volume, serving temp is 50-59 degrees fahrenheit

8.) Mizubasho Pure

Millled (n/a), alcoholic content is 13 percent by volume, serving temp is 41-46 fahrenheit.

9.) Kishu Umeshu

Milled (n/a), alcoholic content is 20 percent by volume, The brewing begins the day the plums are picked, that’s why there is no milling.

According to Lexi Grant from Pierson Grant “the ultimate goal is for sake to become a staple of Orlando’s restaurant, catering and hospitality industry, allowing both residents and visitors to experience sake and Japanese culture in Orlando”.  

 

32 local brewers came together at the Central Florida Top Brewer Festival on May 17. All of the brewers had to draw four ingredients out of a hat to come up with a beer. They chose a one grain, one hop and two other random ingredients. Each brewer got a chance to show their creativity. Guests were given three beer caps and chose their top three brewers by giving them one of their caps. At the end, the attendees and the judges score come up with an overall score that determines the winning beer. “We quickly determined that we were making a brown ale, more of a dessert style because we wanted to insert some caramel malts in there,” states Josh Greenberg, co-owner of Wolf Branch Brewing. Greenberg goes on to say they partnered with The Glass Knife which is a dessert shop located in Winter Park, Florida.

They wanted to partner with someone in the community who did exceptional dessert pairing. The Glass Knifes’ Executive Chef, Stuart Whitfield, decided to put together a small tart dessert. The center of the tart contained lemon boysenberry cream.

The winner of the competition was Intracoastal Brewing Company. Their competing beer was called “Rip Current”. It contained biscuit, comet, elderberries and oak chips. According to Intracoastal, their beer was “brewed with lactose then fermented on huge amounts of black currants and elderberries with a touch of vanilla beans and American oak chips”. Rip Current was actually my favorite beer out of all the ones I tasted. Its unique red color led into an almost sour taste which worked well for this beer.

“We definitely wanna continue this festival. We wanted to collab with bloggers, restaurants… just any local business that’s gonna be able to be highlighted for the creativity and awesomeness,” said Oscar Bowen, co-founder of the Central Florida Top Brewer Beer Festival.

Sharing some of the other beers I tasted…here is the “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” by Bowigens Beer Company. The ingredients are, (as stated by Bowigens), “red x, cascade- cryo hop, tomato, dandelion root”. The style is Bloody Mary Gose.

Here is the “Candyman, Candyman, Candyman” by Deadly Sins Brewing. According to Deadly Sins, their ingredients are “Munich, Newport, jellybeans and limes.

Here is the “Peep This MF!” by Hood’s Up Brewery. They state their ingredients to be, “flaked wheat, centennial, watermelon and marshmallow peeps”.

Bowen says they would like to have at least 80 vendors at the next festival. He would also like to make it an annual fest. 

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On May 11, Wild Florida hosted Wild Paint Night Out where folks were able to meet two albino alligators, indulge in hearty BBQ and paint their hearts away. The goodies at the buffet was provided by Chomp House Grill which is the restaurant located right inside of Wild Florida. Cole slaw, baked beans, deep fried brownies, their signature alligator and pulled pork/pulled chicken sandwiches were on the menu. Executive Chef of Chomp House Grill, Ramon Ayala, said that the creation of the menu came from “just playing around with it and being creative.” Ayala adds that he only does these dishes for banquets and events only. 

Besides the savory food, we got to venture back in the park itself and visit all of the animals. I got to see lemurs, porcupines, several gators, zebras, snakes, foxes and plenty of wild birds. The freely roaming peacocks were also a memorable sight to see.

Above all the animal encounters I had, my favorite interaction was getting to go inside the habitat where the two albino gators were. The gators names were Blizzard and Snowflake and they were surprisingly more friendly than I expected. I was able to walk right up to the rim of the pool where they were kept. Staring directly into their glazed eyes with nothing but open space in between my being and their floating bodies was unlike anything I had experienced before. I was captivated by how majestic and peaceful they were. They did not hiss or growl. Both gators just swam up to the rim where I knelt. 

Afterwards, I proceeded to the event room where dozens of canvases and brushes were set up next to plates of paint. The objective was to paint a picture that copied a picture of an albino alligator that was already painted on a canvas. At the end, the best painting done by an adult and child were given recognition. I did a pretty decent job with my painting and I am very happy with it. 

Overall, Wild Florida has a lot to offer in terms of getting outdoors and experiencing a real taste of Florida. The interaction one gets with the animals is very hands on. There is something to look at everywhere you turn. Also, towards the end of the event I was able to catch a gorgeous sunset over the lake. It was definitely a sight to see. 

Wild Florida also offers boat rides to guests. According to their website, they offer deals for Florida residents in which you can get 15 percent off one hour airport tours. As for anyone in the military, a teacher or a first responder, you can get 15 percent off of the boat rides and other events.


Visit Wild Florida’s website at wildfloridairboats.com or drop by their location at 3301 Lake Cypress Rd, Kenansville, FL 34739.

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As I walked through the doors of Del Frisco’s, I was immediately captivated by a vibrant atmosphere. Their upstairs bar, where the event was hosted, offered a great venue. It was the perfect setting for wine tasting and mingling with guests. 

The winemaker himself, André Hueston Mack, greeted guests and conversed with them about his Maison Noir wines. According to Mack he has been working with Del Frisco’s for the past three years and they have been a huge aid in getting his business off the ground. “They were really one of the big anchor accounts in New York that really put me on,” says Mack. This is the second meet and greet of its kind, the first one was held in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mack likes the “hang out” vibe that meet and greets have to offer which is why Del Frisco’s decided to hold the event in such manner. There is less pressure and overall it is a relaxing stage for people to sample wines and foods.  At this tasting, there were six wines in total. They read directly off of his menu as follows:

White wines:

2017 Love Drunk Rose (left)

“100% single vineyard fruit (77% Chardonnay with 23% Pinot Noir) from McMinnville AVA Vineyards, some of the oldest and best plantings, produce fruit of consistently outstanding quality. An intoxicating rosé. Much like new love, it clouds the brain, causes the eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise, and lips to pucker.”

2015 Knock on Wood Chardonnay (right)

“100% Chardonnay, all stainless-steel and no malolactic fermentation. Procured from hillside vineyards in Yamhill-Carlton AVA, reminiscent of the grand crus of Burgundy’s Cote d’Or. It benefited from a very long and cold fermentation – almost two months – resulting in a lean and mean wine with perfume of honeydew melon and pear surfing huge waves of minerals, bringing a nice tide of racy starfruit to the finish.”

2015 O.P.P. Pinot Gris (Other People’s Pinot Gris) (left)

“The 2015 vintage was Oregon’s hottest and largest harvest on record, producing lush round fruit with balance acidity! We would like to introduce our take on Pinot Noirs favorite mutation: The 2015 Other People’s Pinot Gris is like Juggling Apples, Pears and Peaches while dancing to Pharell’s ‘Happy’ – enthralling, upbeat, fresh and deluxe”

 

Red Wines:

2015 O.P.P. Pinot Noir (Other People’s Pinot Noir) (right)

“The 2015 Other People’s Pinot is classic Oregon Pinot- earmark Willamette Valley. It is accessible, a great value, and stays true to the character of vineyards from which it was born. Earthy, spicy, floral, herb-framed flavors of cherry with gingery wood spice tones.”

2013 XL Pinot Noir (left)

“Nuff Said…A special bottling inspired by Andre ‘Mouton Noir’ Mack’s 40th Birthday”

Horseshoes & Handgrenades Red Blend (Oregon Syrah, blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from Red Mountain Washington) (right)

“Fruit-driven, full-bodied complex red blend sourced from Southern Oregon and Red Mountain Washington. The rich, ripe, voluptuous fruit comes from Oregon Syrah with just enough Washington Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to give it complexity and structure.”

 

There were also hors d’oeuvres prepared by Executive Chef Greg Thompson in order to compliment the taste of the wines.

 

 

HEIRLOOM BRUSCHETTA  Fresh Mozzarella, Sweet Red Onion, Basil & Balsamic Glaze on Ciabatta Toast

JUMBO LUMP CRAB STUFFED OYST Lemon hollandaise and Hackleback Caviar

LAMB CHOPS AND BACON Tender Lamb Served with Light Sauce & Seared Bacon with Garnish

Each dish was very unique and offered their own personality when tasted with each wine. And likewise, each wine portrayed a different character depending on which appetizer it was paired with. My favorite pairing was the HEIRLOOM BRUSCHETTA with the Knock on Wood Chardonnay. It was a match made in heaven. The smoothness and deep taste to the chardonnay soaked into the thick mozzarella and it was a soothing sensation upon my tongue, very rich. I also enjoyed the pieces of seared bacon. Since they were fatty bits, it melted in your mouth and unleashed a savory classic bacon flavor.  I also enjoyed the slight crisp shell in which the piece of meat was enclosed in due to being seared. 

The upstairs bar and veranda room is a suitable place for holding parties and functions according to Del Frisco’s Sales & Event Planner, Jo Truett. It satisfies both an indoor and outdoor experience. The outside patio overlooks International Drive and provides a warm welcome to friends and family. Del Frisco’s hopes to host events similar to this one in the future more frequently.  Overall, it was a great experience and something to look forward to if you want to unwind and meet new people while indulging in scrupulous food and wine.  

 

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