Authors Posts by Katherine Nguyen

Katherine Nguyen

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Katherine Nguyen is currently a Dental Hygiene student at Valencia College. She has a major in Molecular Biology and Microbiology and minoring in Health Service Administration from the University of Central Florida. She enjoyed playing soccer and was captain of an intramural team for 4 years at UCF. Photography is her favorite hobby since 2008; she is very diverse in the field, but her favorite sub-fields are portraits, culinary and maternity photography. In her free time, she tutors students from elementary to college level as well as volunteers at Camp Boggy Creek in Eustis, FL. Link: Katherine Nguyen Photography

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4 Rivers Restaurant Group will debut four new limited-time-only “Smokehouse Summer” dishes at its locations in Florida and Georgia (excluding downtown Orlando).

The Squash Blossom Quesadilla is a great vegetarian choice. All of the flavors blend well and the ingredients are fresh in each bite.

The Beef Short Rib Neat Nachos were tender, but it doesn’t stand out to the point where I would be ordering it again.

Although 4 Rivers is a Smokehouse, it doesn’t stop them from building a beautiful and delicious Charcuterie and Fromage Board. This would have to be my favorite thing from the night. I was tempted in carrying the whole board out to my car!

Available from June 4 to Aug. 4, the Smokehouse Barbacoa Bowls will be offered in four varieties – Brisket Barbacoa, Nana’s Pork Sofrito, Chicken Tinga and Black Bean & Cilantro Rice.

Each of the Smokehouse Barbacoa Bowls have their specific flavors that are slightly unique from one another.

The Chicken Tinga may be my favorite of the night with its juiciness.

Nana’s Pork Sofrito has a beautiful story behind it, which you should ask your waiter/waitress about. It is made by a local grandmother with all her love and care shared to 4 Rivers owner, John Rivers. I’ve heard rumors that the sauce may be found at Publix in the future.

4 Rivers Sweet Shop will also offer two limited-time-only summer specials. In June the featured dessert will be a Mountain Dew and Doritos Cupcake and in July a Coca-Cola and Potato Chip Cupcake. Each of these desserts have interesting ingredients that you may not think they would blend well together; yet, to your surprise, they are all delicious.

My favorite dessert would have to be the Key Lime Brûlée with Rum-Infused Whipped Cream. It is nice, creamy and the key lime is not overwhelming whatsoever.

While visiting their local Smokehouse, 4 Rivers guests can show their summer spirit by taking pictures at the Smokehouse Summer photo booth with their friends, family and food. Guests are encouraged to share their photos with #4RSmokehouseSummer on social media for chances to win prizes. All prize packages include a beach towel, beach tote, 4R koozie, magnet and pen. Weekly rotating prizes include 4R spice rubs and BBQ sauces, 4R insulated water bottle and an autographed copy of John Rivers’ The Southern Cowboy Cookbook.

In addition to these additional eats, 4 Rivers will offer a few events and promotions:

  • Teachers enjoy 10% off of their meal during this summer event with a valid ID.
  • Children can invite their dad on a date for Father’s Day: A Date with Dad from June 15-16 to enjoy family friendly activities.
  • 4 Rivers Smokehouses will also be open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on the Fourth of July.
  • Cooking Demos will take place with 4 Rivers at local hardware stores cooking their signature favorites.
    • The first demo and sampling is at University Ace Hardware located at 3755 Alafaya Trail from 11am-3pm.
  • Be on the lookout for a backpack drive in a few months. Diners can trade a FULL backpack (with items from a list to be provided by 4 Rivers) for students at locally selected Title 1 elementary schools for a free sandwich.

For more information, please visit 4 Rivers Smokehouse.

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The Halal Guys was started as a NYC food cart but now has grown throughout the nation. They just opened last year in Central Florida near the University of Central Florida. At this Central Florida location, they offer deals daily. For this month, they are offering special group discounts and children get free side of fries or falafel with purchase for Ramadan.

Ramadan is a special time of year for Muslims for fasting, from sunrise to sunset for a whole month. At sunset, there is usually service and then a family or community feast. Fasting includes not eating but also refraining from harmful or hurtful activities. In the past 10 years, the number of Muslims in Central Florida has grown over 10 times according to the US census, ranking as the second fastest growing religion in the region only after Roman Catholicism. This year, Ramadan is the May 15 – June 24.

Beef is cooked on a vertical broiler and cut when ready throughout the day to maintain freshness for each order. The beef is moist and flavorful.

Chicken is chopped on the stove with beautiful steam rising. The chicken is very tender and tasted delicious with their white sauce as well as their hot sauce.

The most popular order is the combo platter, which has both chicken and beef. Their dishes can be made per person or to cater for a gathering.

This is what a small combo platter looks like – pure deliciousness! I was right, it tasted as great as it looks. This includes a special white sauce from The Halal Guys. There are a number of other options. For instance, a spicy sauce with a major kick. As Ricky would suggest it, “you should try it! It is really hot.”

If you are not fond of meat, have some falafel instead. Falafel is a deep-fried ball, doughnut or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. It is a great alternatives for those who prefer a meat substitute.

Sometimes, fries can be used as a substitute to the rice in dishes or you could order it as a side. Again, children get free side of fries or falafel with a purchase for Ramadan.

 

Other sides available include Hummus and Baba Ghanouj, respectively shown in the photographs. Both are made well and a delight to have as a side or snack with some pita bread.

For dessert, check out their baklava. I can taste it now looking at this photograph. If only I could pull out baklava to eat from my photograph. Until that is a possibility, stop by The Halal Guys for an order.

For more information, visit The Halal Guys.

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Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen brought Tasty Chomps in to taste some popular items they are rolling out this summer. Not only that, but we were able to learn how to stack the homemade onion rings similar to how they are delivered to our table in a beautiful presentation. Our presentation may not be as beautiful, but we did our best!

The new summer cocktail is a Watermelon Vodkarita and it is dangerously delicious. You can’t taste the alcohol and it is so refreshing it’ll make you want more constantly throughout the summer.

The Warm Honey Butter Croissants are mice and fluffy. Although I am not fond of carbs, I may make an exception for these croissants.

The Homemade Onion Rings are nice and crisp. They come with two sides for you to try with. This stack was created more nicely than my stack since it was by Cheddar’s amazing Executive Chef, Brittany Neisen.

The Chicken Tender Platter isn’t only popular for the kiddos. They’re ordered and enjoyed by all. They come with a few sauces and Buffalo still takes the prize on being my favorite.

New Orleans Pasta has a nice cajun flavor to it. If only I wasn’t allergic to shrimp.

Some sides include broccoli cheese casserole, freshly made coleslaw, mac ‘n’ cheese, and black beans.

The Blackened Salmon with Mango Salsa is my favorite. The salmon is made well and it is not overcooked. The flavors are fresh and slightly sweet, naturally from the mango.

The Salmon & Strawberry Salad is refreshing for a summer day. It comes with a strawberry vinaigrette made at Cheddar’s each day, similar to the majority of what you find on the menu.

Last, but not least, is the Homemade Chocolate Fudge Cake. It is served with ice cream, whipped cream and drizzles of chocolate and caramel. The cake itself is very rich and not too sweet. On the other hand, the icing will add more sweetness to your bite.

For more information, please visit Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen.

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Nature’s Table is dedicated to using fresh and healthy ingredients to create food that not only tastes great, but can also be good for you. From fresh fruit used in their salads and smoothies to spinach and kale in their protein bowls, you can always feel good about choosing Nature’s Table for lunch.

All protein bowls at Nature’s Table include red quinoa, baby kale and spinach – ingredients that are rich in iron, protein and fiber. These foods will help you focus and give you the energy to power through your day. Below are two of Nature’s Table’s most popular bowls.

The Sesame Thai Bowl is a blend of different grains and vegetables topped with all-natural chicken breast, scallions, sliced almonds, and Sesame Thai aioli sauce. The sauce adds a slight spiciness to the bowl.

The Carnitas Bowl was my favorite with its tender marinated carnitas, especially if there’s extra lime to add a fresh citrus touch to the bowl.

Nature’s Table plans on bringing Mexican and Mediterranean twists to their dishes throughout this year. This Greek Protein Bowl includes Tzatziki and olive tapenade created by Michael Navarro.

Each Nature’s Table may include items on the menu that isn’t found at other locations. At the RDV location, you can find a number of desserts and other to go items for your fast pace schedule after a nice workout. This Coconut Creme Pie was light and tasted like a healthy version. It won’t leave you guilty about having a delicious dessert.

If you’re not convinced about the pie, how about supercharging your day with an Açaí Bowl full of superfoods? It was the first açaí bowl I have eaten and I feel as if I now have a new addiction to them. These bowls are made to order and is only $6.99. These may only currently be found at the RDV location along with the coconut creme pie.

Watch your meals be made through a glass window whether it’s a salad, smoothie, bowl, etc.

Nature’s Table is also going green. They fully recognizes the importance of sustainability and has recently joined forces with World Centric to offer compostable bowls in their restaurants. The goal is to eliminate the use of petroleum-based foam containers, and instead use compostable bowls made from sugarcane and wheat straw fiber, complemented by plant-based plastic lids.

Find a Nature’s Table near you…

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We were invited to a vineyard style lunch with Master Sommelier George Miliotes and winemaker Andy Erickson from Leviathan as a preview to George’s location opening this Spring in Disney Springs.

Wine Bar George will be the only Master Sommelier-led wine bar in Florida.

During lunch, I experienced a preview of what’s to come with future winemaker events at Wine Bar George and it left me wanting more.

George and Andy gave us a sneak peek of details not released to the public about Wine Bar George.

For instance, they will have wines on tap along side a number of beers selected by George and his Executive Chef. Aside from the wines on tap, George plans on having over 140 different wines on the menu to have a glass or an entire bottle.

Speaking of the menu, it’ll mention a number of unique signature dishes that are small plates to share or large dishes suggested for sharing family style. I only say it is suggested because I could probably consume the entire dish myself.

The Grilled Romaine with dressing and pecorino wafers salad is a nice added to the menu by Executive Chef Ron as a request by George’s daughter who requests it at almost every gathering. The pecorino wafers line the bowl; they add texture and a sharp flavor to the salad.

This Jicama-Kholrabi Salad with mint vinaigrette and pickled jalapeño is very unique and refreshing. Great for a warm day in Florida…which consists of 364 days a year.

Executive Chef Ron (left), Winemaker Andy Erickson (center) and Master Sommelier George Miliotes (right).

For more information, please visit Wine Bar George.

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Whether you decide to sit outside in the warm Florida sun or inside the unique restaurant, Harry’s Poolside Bar & Grill have a number of drinks and meals for you to enjoy. You can find Harry’s inside Rosen Centre Hotel along with many of their other restaurants serving a variety of cuisines to please your palate.

Here is a little insight to the poolside restaurant menu.

Cayman Island Calamari – Crispy Island Spiced Panko Calamari served with Cayman Aioli. If you are not fond of the calamari texture, this is a calamari dish for you as it is more crispy than anything from the panko coating. The Cayman aioli sauce will add a nice flavor to the crispy appetizer.

Island Coconut Shrimp – Crispy Coconut Gulf Shrimp usually served with Orange Chili Sauce. These shrimp are a decent size and fresh. They are lightly seasoned and also go well with the Cayman aioli sauce on our plate.

Oh My “Gorgonzola” Dip – with Caramelized Onions, Garlic, Roasted Tomatoes & Artichokes served with Baked Roti Bread. The dip itself is very flavorful and one bite will not be enough. In my opinion, I would prefer the dip with the to stones over the roti bread. Maybe you could try it both ways and let us know your preference!

Island Mahi Mahi Wrapped in Banana Leaf – Island All-Spiced Mahi wrapped in Banana Leaf. Served with Jasmine Rice, Coconut Curry and Mojo Tostones. The Mahi was slightly dry, but a little drizzle of lemon will help that as well as add a nice citrus kick to brighten up the coconut curry flavors. The jasmine rice had notes of coconut as well as it was topped with coconut shavings.

Jamaican Jambalaya – Chicken, Shrimp and Chorizo Sautéed with Onions, Peppers and Tomatoes with Zesty Creole Sauce served over Rice and Beans. This dish is a favorite of Harry’s and we can see why. The proteins are prepared on the side and added to the sauce when ordered, which allows alterations to occur when clients have allergies. The sauce is already slightly spicy, but you can crank up the spicy level by letting your waitress and chef know your preference on spice level when given a scale of 1-10. We tried the dish with a level 9 on the spicy scale and we were not disappointed; don’t worry, we could still taste the other flavors this dish offered.

Trio of Tropical Sorbets – Mango, Coconut and Pineapple served in a Chocolate Wafer Shell with Fresh Fruit. We were aware of the delicious dessert alternatives, but we wanted something light after our full meals. The coconut sorbet was our favorite of the three.

Zested Mojito – Bacardi Limon Rum with Fresh Muddled Mint and Lime Shaken Vigorously and Topped with Soda. The drink was made strong and delicious. The mint added was not so fresh and the notes of mint were masked by rum.

Pineapple Upside Down – Svedka Vanilla Vodka and Malibu Coconut Rum Served Neat with Pineapple and a Splash of Maraschino. This drink was sweet like fruit punch, which hid the taste of alcohol. This can be very dangerous if you plan on having a few. At that point, go with a bucket deal that they have at this restaurant. If you’re not a fan of sweetness, squeeze a lemon into the drink and it’ll cut the sweetness for you.

For more information on the cocktail bucket deals and Harry’s in general, please visit Harry’s Poolside Bar & Grill.

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We were happy to explore Lion’s Pride, which is a Soccer Pub & Grill found on Church St. of Downtown Orlando, FL. As stated by their motto, “Big screen soccer action for every game; great food at every seat,” they did not disappoint.

This elite soccer fan-den showcases past and present game memorabilia, club level seating, semi private suites, and a private dining space. A stadium experience is provided in a comfortable soccer-centric environment when you are unable to hop in the stands at the stadium yourself.

The menu features sports bar favorites elevated to a new level. Local and fresh ingredients, signature drinks and the very best craft beers compliment the diverse menu served by a welcoming staff. Lucky us, we experienced a Five Course meal pairing that highlighted a number of delicious meals found at Lion’s Pride.

Peppered Tuna with avocado relish and cilantro lime slaw served with a mini draft of Blue Moon and a fresh orange wedge. The tuna was so fresh it swam onto my plate. Each item on this plate had its unique flavors and we could not have enough of the flavors. Warning: a bite of each all together will make your tastebuds dance.

Petite Brisket Tacos with shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomato, Queso Blanco & chipotle aioli served with Sam Adams Winter Lager. These tacos were juice and the tortillas were fluffy. Chef created another delicious item on the menu as all the flavors of these tacos blended well.

If you are a salad person, how about the Caprese Salad with red and yellow vine ripe tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil oil and balsamic glaze? This was paired with a 2015 Terra d’ Oro Blended Chenin Blanc. Lion’s Pride was not kidding when they said their ingredients were fresh. The basil oil and balsamic glaze are very light and do not overpower the freshness of the salad.

Shrimp & Lobster Risotto with creamy parmesan served with Lion’s Pride Signature Hand Muddled Marquita. The risotto was cooked perfectly, but please make sure the staff is aware of any allergies in advance.

Also, the drink packs a powerful punch but it is healthy with all the citrus in the drink, right?

Blue Cheese Filet with garlic Boursin mash potato and red wine demi glaze served with a 2015 Emmolo Napa Valley Merlot. Be sure to notify your waiter/waitress your preference in temperature for the filet. I had forgotten to notify the staff of my preference, yet they know me so well. The filet is very moist, tender and expressed mineral flavors; the mineral flavors make each of the filet unique to one another and enhanced by the blue cheese.

If you’re not a fan of red meat, how about a salmon? The salmon was cooked well, very moist and fresh. The Chef does not cringe at the thought of substitutions as he is here to accommodate to everyone’s nutritional needs.

The desserts include a Chocolate Mousse and a Romeo & Juliet pastry served with lion’s Pride Famous whiskey based Red Sangria and Passion Fruit Pureed Champagne respectively. The Romeo & Juliet is a guava and cheese pastry that is a warm hug to your tastebuds. Both desserts were great, but the chocolate mousse was my favorite. Who doesn’t love chocolate? Feel free to hand me your portion if you don’t love chocolate as much as I do.

If this post hasn’t persuaded you to visit, maybe knowing that their Happy Hour runs to 8pm will convince you to stop in. For more information, please visit Lion’s Pride.

At Duffy’s Sports Grill, Chef Eric Parker allowed us to have a sneak peak of his new healthy spring menu insert at Duffy’s Sports Grill and I am more than happy to share it with you all. The new menu will launch in April and it includes Orange Ginger Mahi, Tuna Poke Stack, Burrata Salad, and Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos.

Burrata Salad – Burrata cheese served with local vine-ripe tomatoes and power greens, finished with balsamic and fig dressing. The greens and tomatoes are very fresh while the balsamic and fig dressing adds a sweet note to the dish. The Burrata cheese is a nice creamy touch and ties all of the flavors together.

Tuna Poke Stack – Ahi Tuna tossed with Duffy’s signature poke sauce stacked with freshly made pineapple salsa and mashed avocados, dusted with nori and tossed sesame seeds, Sriracha smear. Although Duffy’s is known as a sports grill, they do not hide from adding new and unique dishes, such as this. I thoroughly enjoyed this fresh dish and would come back for more!

Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos – 3 mini flour tortillas loaded with marinated grilled shrimp, shredded cabbage, homemade pico de gallo and guacamole. Make sure you ask for lime as it adds a nice citrus touch to the dish and we all know I love lime.

Also, you can’t have your Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos without some tequila!

It was great having a sit down with Chef Eric Parker and a shot of tequila.

Orange Ginger Mahi – is a sweet and lean Mahi Mahi with an orange ginger glaze over stir fried Soba noodles with broccoli, red bell peppers and onion, finished with pineapple salsa. I am not too fond of the Soba noodle flavors, but the Mahi Mahi was pretty great.

Key Lime Pie – cool and creamy key lime filling in a rich graham cracker crust. Duffy’s mentioned how it is an oversized piece of tropical bliss and they were not wrong.

Red Velvet Mini Donuts – red velvet mini donuts spun in sugar and served warm with cream cheese icing for dipping.

The donuts are very fluffy and moist.

As you can tell, this dish is one of my favorite items on the menu.

Duffy’s wouldn’t be Duffy’s with some delicious drinks. They are adding Effen Cucumber Martini and St-Germaine Cooler to their drink menu. Pictured is the Effen Cucumber Martini, which is a refreshing take on a classic cocktail, Effen Cucumber Vodka, agave syrup, mint, and a splash of lime.

Visit a nearby Duffy’s Sports Grill this month to experience the new healthy dishes yourself.

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Fun times at Adobe Gila’s run Tuesday-Sunday at Pointe Orlando with their indoor and outdoor bars as well as live music.

We started our journey on their menu with their Hand Crafted Guacamole made fresh to order from rice avocados and their freshest ingredients. Although the menu says the same words, each word rings true in my opinion.

The Brisket Sandwich, served with french fries, is absolutely flavorful. Make sure to try the brisket on its own, which you’ll taste the smokiness of the delicious brisket. This is my favorite item on the menu.

Ahi Tuna Tacos with a drizzle of cucumber wasabi sauce, served with yellow rice and black beans. The ahi tuna is seared nicely and the cucumber wasabi sauce adds an interesting and smooth touch to the dish. If you’re not a fan of wasabi, this sauce may not be your favorite; however, it may grow on you.

Chorizo Burger is one of the many unique Gila Burgers on the menu, served with seasoned french fries. This Chorizo Burger is a grilled burger topped with spicy chorizo, Pepperjack cheese, lettuce, and pico de gallo. The burger is very tender and moist even if it was served to us well done.

When at Adobe Gila’s, you should try their pork. We decided to have it as our protein with the fajitas. It’s prepared with Mojo sauce with grilled peppers and onions. Lettuce, fresh pico de gallo, cheese, and tomatoes are on the side for you to wrap on your own with flour or corn tortillas. The pork is flavorful and moist. No regrets in picking this option as our protein!

Don’t forget to order a drink with your delicious food. How about a Coconut Margarita or Adobe Colada? The Adobe Colada, among other Bikini Drinks, at Adobe Gila’s will come with a festive souvenir glass you are able to keep!

For more information, please visit Adobe Gila’s.

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We deeply enjoyed visiting our local Cheddar’s to try some made-from-scratch recipes and the new bone-in 10 oz. Bourbon Glazed Pork Chop, with a scratch-made glaze. Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen has a menu built on simple, honest and natural ingredients. Each of Cheddar’s scratch-made recipes are hand-crafted with care and time since 1979.

While waiting for our dishes, we tried Cheddar’s Painkiller, which is nice and smooth. It also has a delicious ring of roasted coconut nibs. Cheddar’s Painkiller is made of Pusser’s rum, cream of coconut, pineapple juice, orange juice, toasted coconut rim, topped with nutmeg. Limit 2 per guest… I wonder why.

Homemade Onion Rings are fresh-cut, hand-battered and made to order. They are served with homemade ranch and Cajun dipping sauce. The sauces are ok for the onion rings, but they are delicious on their own as well.

Chips & Homemade Queso with a side of seasoned ground beef. The cheese was slightly on the salty side.

Citrus Miso Glazed Salmon is on the lighter side of the menu for dinner. It consists of hand-cut salmon fillet glazed with citrus miso sauce and served over seasoned rice with a side of steamed broccoli. The salmon was cooked well, tender and moist; as it should be. The citrus miso glaze is sweet, but it does not overpower the salmon itself.

Half rack of in-house, slow smoked Baby Back Ribs with grilled or fried shrimp served with two sides of your choice. Each bite of the tender ribs leaves a hint of smokiness. We ordered grilled shrimp and it has its own flavors that are unique to the ribs. The shrimp are made well and not chewy, like how it is when someone overcooks them.

We have two made-from-scratch sides here, Mac & Cheese and Broccoli Cheese Casserole. The Mac & Cheese is my favorite side from Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen. I quite prefer it over the Broccoli Cheese Casserole as I’m not a fan of casseroles.

New bone-in 10 oz. Bourbon Glazed Pork Chop is a center-cut, bone-in pork chop on a bed of mashed potatoes and topped with bourbon glaze and homemade onion rings. Served with one side. The pork chop is very tender, moist and flavorful. Congratulations to Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen for being able to appropriately season their pork chop as it is usually hard to do so.

Our side was their housemate coleslaw, which was delicious and refreshing.

20 oz. Bone-In Ribeye is made to order and served with two sides of your choice. The ribeye was seasoned very nicely and I am craving more of it as I type this. The Baked Sweet Potato and Buttered Off-The-Cob Corn are both delicious sides to have.

Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen has a number of delicious desserts on their menu. Their Dessert Minis option allows you to try three types in a shot form. Here, we pick Key Lime Pie shooters after Manager Tim suggested how it is as delicious as his mother’s homemade Key Lime Pie. The Key Lime Pie at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen is made with specific limes from Key West, Florida and Manager Tim wasn’t lying about how delicious these mini Key Lime Pie shooters were.

For more information, visit Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen.

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Cocina 214 can be found in Winter Park of Orlando, FL and a new location opened in Daytona Beach, FL. Tasty Chomps was happy to make a stop into the Winter Park location to see what they have to offer us.

Margaritas at Cocina 214 are high-quality, fresh and strong. Cocina 214 serves their margaritas on the rocks or frozen with a rim of salt. The frozen margarita was my favorite of the two.

What’s great is how the margaritas made at Cocina 214 is extremely fresh and high-quality as they don’t use high-fructose mixes or low grade tequila. All citruses used are freshly squeezed with a juicer on site. If you’d like a sweeter option, try the frozen margarita mixed with sangria that is served at Cocina 214.

Start with the Cocina Trio and a fresh batch of tortilla chips. The Cocina Trio includes guacamole, queso blanco, and a fire-roasted salsa. Each of these, as well as other ingredients and items, at Cocina 214 is prepared daily and throughout the day as needed. Each of the Cocina Trio items were delicious and I cannot seem to decide which is a favorite.

The Fried Avocado Bites are lightly breaded and fried sliced hass avocados served with a chipotle cream sauce. The fried avocado slices are a tad bland if not dipped into the chipotle cream sauce, but the sauce is slightly spicy so be warned.

When ordering tacos, each option on the Taqueria menu comes with 3 tacos; rice and beans can be added for $2. We tried two types of tacos – the Rotisserie Chicken and Brisket. The tacos can be served on flour, corn, or wheat tortilla shells. Cocina 214 prides itself on being very flexible with patient dietary needs.

The Rotisserie Chicken tacos included veggie rice, queso fresco, roasted corn, and sautéed poblano salsa on the side. This dish is slightly bland, but the chicken itself is very moist and tender.

The Brisket tacos consists of beef brisket, pico de gallo, sautéed onions, and Monterrey Jack cheese on flour tortillas with a side of fire-roasted salsa. The brisket is flavorful, yet a little dry. This has to be my choice of tacos at this location, with extra lime because I love a touch of citrus.

Tex-Mex & Mexican Essentials include a number of options, which includes Chicken Tamales. The order of Chicken Tamales comes with 2 Tamales with rice, beans, serrano peppers, tomatillos, chicken, cilantro, garlic, and topped off with a ranchero sauce. The Chicken Tamales were delicious and full of flavors. The rice is more on the soft side, but comes with a number of different flavors you wouldn’t taste in the Tamales and beans.

For more information, check out Cocina 214.

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Something Fishy will celebrate their anniversary exactly two-years after they first opened their doors on February 24, 2016 with a special Two-Year Anniversary Block Party to be held on Saturday, February 24, 2018. Owner Patrice Phillips is a warm and welcoming character towards all of her customers. I came in as a stranger, left as a friend after trying a number of things Patrice surprised me with from the menu created by her husband, Owner and Chef Terence Phillips.

Something Fishy has a number of soups, which they rotate in and out each day. The Lobster Bisque served here is thick and creamy with small bits of lobster as well as appropriately seasoned. Many locals tend to call daily to see what the Soup of the Day is and often request to be on a calling list when their preferred soup rotates onto the menu.

Cauliflower with a Kick is spicy and battered with Aleppo pepper and served with avocado aioli. The sauce cuts down on the heat of the cauliflower and also tastes delicious with french fries as well as everything else on the menu. The cauliflower is nice and crispy, which isn’t what you normally imagine cauliflower being.

The Salmon Tacos are made with blackened salmon, Cole slaw, and black bean and corn salsa in a soft taco topped with a drizzle of the avocado aioli sauce. The salmon is fresh and made just right.

The basket of Fried Swai (house fish) has a very mellow flavor and a great texture. There is an oh-so-slightly crunch from the batter, but that doesn’t overpower the delicate texture of the fish itself. It can be served with some lightly seasoned fries, which I mentioned to be delicious with the avocado aioli sauce.

The North Atlantic Cod photographed here is served with jasmine rice and broccoli, two of the many sides you can choose from. The fish is seasoned and cooked well, just like all of the fish I’ve tried at this visit. You can taste the saltiness of the fish, but it blends well with how it is made and served. You can also combine the fish with the rice to make the fish’s saltiness more subtle.

The Strawberry Cake is part of a number of cakes making up “Something Sweet” desserts. There is nothing fishy about any of the desserts served at Something Fishy. This Strawberry Cake is moist and filled with fresh strawberries. It has fruit in it so it’s healthy, right? The slice is on the sweeter side of the spectrum, but it will entice your sweet tooth.

Being at this restaurant and eating with Patrice was like eating and catching up with your mom-away-from-home. She makes sure you’re happy and doing well. She has an open ear to hear about your day and a great story on hand to get a laugh out of you. Not only will you crave a smile and hug from Patrice after you leave, but you’ll crave of the food she serves constantly. Be warned, you may lose sleep drooling about their food.

Make sure you stop by on Saturday, February 24, 2018 for a special Two-Year Anniversary Block Party. Try the delicious foods offered by Something Fishy, meet the family behind the restaurant, and check out the artwork created by Patrice’s daughter.

Swim by Something Fishy, where the food speaks for itself, located at 2107 E. Semoran Blvd., Apopka, FL 32703.  Something Fishy is open for lunch and dinner and serves a full menu daily until close.  For updated hours of operation and more information, call 407-703-4850 or visit www.somethingfishyapopka.com.

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March 1, 2018, The Brass Tap teams up with another local brewery, Bowigens Beer Company, to host a Girl Scout Cookies & Brews pairing party in Orlando, FL. The Brass Tap, itself, began its franchise in Tampa, FL. This location on Mills Ave is the first to open in Orlando, FL three years ago.

Recently, we were invited for a preview of the pairing and we had a little fun.

The Girl Scout Cookies & Brews pairing includes:

  • Bow N Berries (ABV 4.3%) is paired with Peanut Butter Patties (Tagalongs)
    • This combination resembles a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The peanut butter from the cookie will cut the acidity of this beer.
  • Roschelle Roschelle (ABV 6.5%) is paired with Caramel deLites
    • It is like having cookies with your morning cold brew coffee. Notes of coffee from the beer and coconut from the cookie are enhanced.
  • Bow 9 (ABV 6.5%) is paired with Lemonades
    • A New England style IPA will be replacing the Bow 9 the day of the event
    • This was my favorite pairing. You’ll have to try it yourself to figure out why it’s my favorite!
  • 7 Layer (ABV 5.5%) is paired with S’mores
    • The S’mores cookie is interesting and is loaded with flavor. The 7 Layer beer consists of 7 different malts with flavors mixing with those of the S’mores smoothly.

We had a bite of a cookie before a sip of the beer paired with the cookie. You could also take a sip before taking a bite. OR, you could dip your cookie into the beer if you are brave enough.

The Brass Tap is a dog friendly establishment that brings “craft beer experience” to a whole new level. With 60-80 taps and over 100 bottles in many of our locations, you’ll be sure to find a beer that suits your palate’s needs. Experience live music every weekend while relaxing on our open air patio. Limited wine and cigar offered as well. Come see what craft beer culture is all about.

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Once again, Miami-style nightclub and restaurant switches up their menu for your enjoyment while watching their live show. Check out some items you can find on Mango’s updated menu.

Classic Chicken Parmigiana – A nice twist to an Italian dish.

Shrimp served in plantains

Margarita Flatbread – Delicious and fresh with a number of textures.

Lobster Ravioli – They do not skimp on the amount of lobster in these raviolis swimming in a nice sauce.

Cuban Sandwich – served with potato wedges. Cuban Sandwiches are a must in Florida.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Braised Beef Ravioli

Churrasco Flatbread

Ropa Vieja Tacos

Passion Fruit Lemonade and Blueberry Lemonade – shaken, not stirred.

Mango’s Tropical Cafe is also a charitable location as they donated a $100 gift certificate and VIP access to a lucky winner of a raffle, where proceeds go towards proper oral hygiene education for children within our local community. This raffle will be ending March 12, 2018. For more information and to participate, contact Stephaniea at Vega4680@hotmail.com

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Apopka’s adored, family-friendly, fresh seafood restaurant “Something Fishy” proudly announces their two-year anniversary this February.  Taking home top honors at Taste of Apopka and recognized among Best Seafood in Apopka in its first year, Something Fishy specializes in fresh seafood cooked to order that’s grilled, seared or fried, served in a variety of selections from delicious fish tacos to decadent crab cakes.  The ever-evolving menu, crafted by self-taught, skilled Chef and Owner Terence Phillips, features starters, salads, build-your-own fishy bowls and classic seafood entrees with a fusion of new age, fresh flavors and innovation served straight from “Chef T’s” kitchen.  Joined by wife of 24 years Philanthropist Patrice Phillips, Terence fulfilled his lifelong dream opening Something Fishy, which is a reflection of Phillips family gatherings and celebrations.

For the two-year anniversary, the 1500 square foot, fast-casual restaurant with influences of South Hampton, Long Island will unveil a refreshed menu and new seating arrangements.  Something Fishy will also be introducing “Something Sweet”, their in-house bakery addition, along with implementing more catering and business lunches To Go programs.

“We could not be more excited to celebrate the second year of Something Fishy,” says Terence and Patrice Phillips.  We are beyond grateful for the love, encouragement and support from family and friends and the community who have embraced us in our first year, and we look forward to welcoming even more Central Florida seafood lovers into the Something Fishy family this year and for many more years to come.”

Something Fishy will celebrate their anniversary exactly two-years after they first opened their doors on February 24, 2016 with a special Two-Year Anniversary Block Party to be held on Saturday, February 24, 2018.

Swim by Something Fishy, where the food speaks for itself, located at 2107 E. Semoran Blvd., Apopka, FL 32703.  Something Fishy is open for lunch and dinner and serves a full menu daily until close.  For updated hours of operation and more information, call 407-703-4850 or visit www.somethingfishyapopka.com.

Duffy’s Sports Grill invited us to check out some items from their menu, new and old. Duffy’s Sports Grill consists of 35 locations throughout Florida (including Orlando!) and more than 80 TVs in each location. It is the perfect place to catch your favorite team game or sit back and enjoy a great meal.

Of course, it was after work and the weekend began so we decided to check out some drinks. We discovered with delight that ordering the S’mores Girl Scout Cookies specialty Martini comes with cookies. Who doesn’t like an adult version of milk and cookies? The martini is very tasteful and nice for a night with the girls.

If you are not too fond of a milky liquor, how about Pear…fect Martini? Or two because Duffy’s Sports Grill offers 2 for 1 drinks all day every day. Music to your ears, right?

Loaded Potato Skins include bacon, scallions, jack & cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Textures ranging from smooth/creamy to crispy creates a nice touch to the savory flavors.

Crispy Calamari is dusted in seasoned flour and garnished with crispy cherry peppers, served with marinara and spicy kickin’ bayou sauce. They weren’t kidding when they said the spicy kicking’ bayou sauce had a kick to it, but is nice with the appropriately seasoned calamari.

Seasame-Crusted Ahi Tuna is seasoned, seared in sesame oil and served with cucumber salad and Soba noodles in Asian dressing. Each item on this plate is chilled and has its own flavor unique to one another. I’m not mad we ordered this dish and would order it again!

These ribs are dressed with Duffy’s Sports Grill’s new Korean BBQ Sauce. The ribs have tender parts and crispy sections depending on where you take your bites. The delicious sauce has a balance between sweet and spicy. Also, I hear it is great on wings when it comes to watching a game or in general.

Of course, I can’t go to a sports grill without ordering wings. This is a plate of hot boneless wings served with blue cheese and celery. The hot sauce here is on the vinegar side of the hot sauce spectrum.

Blackened Beef Tenderloin Tips served with Horseradish cream sauce and the options of two sides. Here, we decided on grilled zucchini and sweet potato fries as our sides. The tips were room temperature, but delicious; it would be a greater delight if they were hot. The grilled zucchini were fresh and had a crunch to them, which was to my liking. The sweet potato fries were made well and sapid.

As there is the S’mores Girl Scout Cookies specialty martini mentioned above, there’s a S’mores Girl Scout Cookies specialty involving cupcakes that you could order for dessert. $1 from each order of the cupcakes and/or martinis will go towards Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida!

For more information  check out the Duffy’s Sports Grill website.

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Take a musical journey through the Caribbean during this interactive dinner show. Enjoy authentic food, songs and dances inspired by the islands. Savor the vibrant colors, delightful tastes and rich sounds of the Bahamas, Cuba,  Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad. This is your island escape. Come do the limbo, jump into the conga line and take part in the festivities. Now on Fridays!

Includes all-you-can-eat buffet, plus complimentary non-alcoholic beverages. Wine, beer and Planter’s Punch are also complimentary for those ages 21+.

CARNAVAL TICKET: $71** adult, $36** child (ages 3 – 9)
Children under age 3 complimentary.

PRIORITY TICKET: $81** adult, $41** child (ages 3 – 9)
Sit closer to the action with seating in the first two rows of tables nearest the stage.
Children under age 3 complimentary.

TIME:
Dinner Buffet Seating: Begins at 6pm
Show: 7pm – 7:45pm

LOCATION:
Under the outdoor Cayman Court pavilion at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort.

PARKING: Complimentary self parking (with validation stamp) or $5 valet parking.

AGES: All ages welcome.

Buy tickets at this eventbrite website.

Photographs of the food and event are below. Check out the menu for the event!

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One of the world’s tastiest holiday traditions will receive a “Florida-style” twist with the debate of a limited time only “Feast of the Seven Fishes” menu at Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen + Bar. This menu is offered from December 24, 2017 to January 6, 2018, including a seven-course seafood and wine Christmas Eve extravaganza to kickoff the celebration.

The December 24 dinner will begin at 6:30pm and is limited to the first 25 guests. We were invited to taste the menu as a sneak peak to provide everyone insight of what is to come!

The Bahamian Conch Fritters are served with a mango sauce. The mango glaze adds a nice sweetness to the conch fritters. Conch fritters are crispy, yet smooth in textures. The flavors are mild without the mango sauce.

The Red Grouper Ceviche is fresh and cooked nicely with a lemony zest.

The Smoked Rainbow Trout Fish Dip is a tad salty, but balanced when eaten with some saltine crackers. The trout has a texture similar to tuna. Be careful as it may have bones.

The reception snacks above are paired well with Col De Salici Extra Dry Prosecco, which is a vintage Prosecco.

The Mayport Shrimp on Grit Cake with Seafood Gumbo Sauce was cooked really well. The grit cake is crispy on the outside, while smooth and creamy on the inside. The shrimp was caught off of Jacksonville, FL.

The Nueske’s Applewood Smoke Bacon-Wrapped Scallop with Butter Beans has an abundance of textures and flavors that blend well when eaten all together. When taken apart, the bacon may be salty so make sure you’re eating it with the scallop and butter beans. The scallop is very delightful and cooked well. The butter beans were very smooth and a type of bean I would like for someone who is not fond of beans.

The savory and salty plates are paired with the Stags Leap Wine Cellars Aveta Sauvignon Blanc. It is very smooth with so many notes of fruit. The fruit notes are prominent in smell before it hits your palate.

The Whole Fried Hog Snapper and Black Sea Bass with Smothered Tomatoes & Okra is paired with Spatz & Hall Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast.

  • The Fried Hog Snapper is very fresh with a corn flour seasoning. The meat has a slight sweetness to it.
  • The Black Sea Bass is slightly dry in certain sections, but very tender and moist in other regions because the moistness depends on what area you pull the meat from. Nonetheless, the fish is very fresh! The outside is very crisp and flavorful.

The Lobster Ravioli is very fresh and house made. It is served with a Seafood Bolognese Sauce that brings it all together. The lobster ravioli even tastes great alone without the sauce if you are sensitive to red sauce. It is paired with Stags Leap Wine Cellars Hands of Time Red that is full in flavor.

The oyster of the Gulf Oyster Shooters (featuring Tito’s Vodka) is very fresh. There is a rim of Old Bay around the glass that goes well with the shot. It is absolutely earthy as it is suggested by the menu.

The Famous Carrot Cake is famous for a reason as it is moist and has a chewy texture to it, which is delightful in my opinion.

The Red Velvet Layer Cake is very moist and thick as it coats the palate. The cakes are paired with the Prunotto Moscato D’ Asti. The Prunotto Moscato D’ Asti is very smooth and delightful for a dessert wine as I am not usually fond os sweet wines. This dessert wines is not as sweet as the usual dessert wines that are paired.

For more information, please visit Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen + Bar or their “Feast of the Seven Fishes” Facebook Event.

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Wall St. Plaza Cantina brings a new Feliz Hour taco menu with new tacos and deals you can only get on Tuesdays between 2-7pm. We were invited to try each as well as Terremoto’s new tequila.

The tacos can be served on soft white flour, white corn tortilla, or hard yellow corn shells. The white corn tortilla is a tad dry for my fancy, but the hard yellow corn shell was good. Yet, our favorite has to be the soft white flour tortilla.

  • Taco de Pescado (back left) – white fish grilled “a la plancha” and topped with shredded cabbage and cilantro cream. The grilled fish is tender and has a good kind of unique taste.
  • $2 Tuesday Taco (back center) – choose ground beef or shredded chicken. In this case, we tried the ground beef. It’s a traditional taco of Wall St. Plaza Cantina on a hard yellow corn shell with shredded iceberg lettuce as well as topped with Monterrey and cheddar cheese. It is simplistic, yet delicious.
  • Pollo Frito (back right) – fried chicken strips tossed in a house honey chipotle sauce before being topped with shredded cabbage and cilantro crema. This was my favorite taco of the night. Sweet with a slight hot kick to the end. The chicken has a crispy coating from being fried; yet, it does not heat up the cabbage and cilantro crema, which makes me very happy for it not to do because the cabbage and cilantro crema adds a fresh touch to the taco.
  • Tico Taco (front center) – house braised, shredded pork with onions, cilantro on a white corn tortilla and a signature tico sauce. The shredded pork is slightly dry,  but the flavors are nice. The onions add a nice crunchy texture to this dish.

Terremoto was present with their jalapeño lime infused tequila as well as their churro infused tequila. You can have them in a margarita form or shot form. Both are tasty depending on your mood!

For more information, please visit Taco Tuesday.

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On Monday, Dec. 11, K Restaurant launched their first, monthly, Yappy Hour. To inaugurate this series of tail-wagging fun they have partnered with Woof Orlando from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Orlando locals are invited to bring their furry four-legged friends out and enjoy free spent-grain dog treats made from local breweries and enter-to-win two raffles with prizes including gift certificates for a free grooming.

We were able to experience what “Doggie chaperones” can expect when it comes to tongue-in-cheek Yappy Hour dishes from Chef Ryan McLaughlin as well as drink specials as K Restaurant is excited to share that they just received their full liquor license.

Crispy Pig Ears are fried with dates pepper hot sauce and herbs. The pig ears are sliced thinly to make them crispy like a chip. They are lightly salted and delicious with or without the hot sauce. Be careful, the hot sauce is thick and has a major kick to it.

“Pawsta” is fried ravioli with ricotta filling. Served on marinara with pecorino cheese and herbs. The fried version of ravioli is very airy like a puff pastry. Each ingredient subtly blends well together upon the palate.

“Milk Bones” are veal bone marrow bones with charred bread and radishes. The bone marrow is very smooth and works well with the bread and radishes. The charred bread adds a saltiness to each bite. We almost ordered a second round of this dish!

The Cosmo-paw-litan (left) is made with vodka, orange shrubb, lime, and cranberry juice. A simple drink to socialize with. The Snoop Dog (right) was our favorite out of these two. The Snoop Dog is made with gin and pineapple juice; it is like a tropical version of a Screwdriver.

Since we were still slightly hungry after all the samplings, we ordered the Ricotta Gnocchi off the main menu, which changes up from time to time so you can come back to try new items all the time. The Ricotta Gnocchi is made with duck confit, butternut squash, garden greens, brussel sprouts, and sage veloute. Everything is made in-house and as fresh as possible for each order. Our specific plate was a tad more salty than I would prefer, but the dish is still delicious nonetheless.

The Ricotta Gnocchi was paired nicely with a 2014 Carmenere made in Valle Del Maule, Chile. This wine has a smooth and solid flavor with notes of spices, black cherry and blackberries.

For more information, visit the K Restaurant & Wine Bar Event Page.

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We may have found our new favorite hang out location. Orange County Brewers open industrial design features exposed brick walls, wood accents, a beautiful Florida-themed mural and customized ceiling design, long tables/group interior seating and outdoor seating via patios in the front and rear of the brewery.

Inside or out, it is pet friendly so bring your furry four-legged puppers!

In addition to regular food and drink service, OCB will offer tours, and Brewmaster Amanda will organize multiple group activities that will involve education for anyone who would like to learn more about beer. OCB beers will also be distributed via City Beverages.

Led by Head Brewer Amanda Roberts, the brightly-colored, 3,400 square-foot facility located on the corner of Orange Avenue and Jefferson Street, will brew a variety of different styles of beer, including Ales, Lagers, Pilsner, Stouts, IPAs, Hefeweizen and Porters.

Whether you are a beer lover or not, you’ll end up finding a beer at OCB that you will love with the help of Amanda and her beer-loving family. Order a flight to try a number of beers or go big with a full glass! Also, OCB offer a wide selection of wine if that tickles your fancy.

Orange County Brewers will include a full service craft pizza kitchen with a wood-burning oven called “Orlando Pizza and Wing Co.” serving pizza, wings, salads and sandwiches.

These wings…are brilliant. From the time OCB open, they start to smoke their wings. The skin is wonderfully crispy while the meat is tender and juicy.

Try the wings with some sauces. Our favorite sauces include: Classic Buffalo, Strawberry Jalapeño and Pineapple Habanero. The Classic Buffalo is our #1 choice; keep in mind that not all buffalo sauces are delicious, but this is excellent. The Strawberry Jalapeño is very fresh and we believe it will taste great with salads too. The Pineapple Habanero is unique and delicious with a slight kick at the end.

The Mac & Cheese Pizza is creamy and savory. with a chewy, yet crispy crust. It was the first time I tried a Mac & Cheese Pizza and this was not a let down.

The Tree Hugger Pizza is full of flavors and textures. The goat cheese makes the pizza different from others and it is quite different. This is a healthier choice when choosing a pizza.

Orange County Brewers is located at 131 North Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801.

Hours of Operation

  • Sunday thru Wednesday 11:30am-12am
  • Thursday thru Saturday 11:30am-2am

Happy Hour

  • 4pm-7pm

For more information, call 407-914-2831 or visit www.theocbrewers.com and www.facebook.com/orangecountybrewers.

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Join Bahama Breeze Island Grille for Thanksgiving Dinner. It is the first time where select Bahama Breeze locations in the Central Florida area will be open on Thanksgiving for guests to enjoy an exclusive, one-day only Thanksgiving menu 11am to 11pm.

Of course, we were given a preview to give you an insight on what is served. As we waited for our Thanksgiving Dinner, we had a Jumbo Lump Crab Stack to lead up to the entrée. It consisted of premium jumbo lump crabmeat stacked high with chilled shrimp, avocado and fresh mango. Each ingredient was fresh and abundant to share between two.

The Bahama Breeze Thanksgiving Dinner includes sliced jerk turkey and pork with island-inspired sides. These sides were cornbread stuffing, cranberry-pineapple chutney and guest’s choice of mashed potatoes or cinnamon mashed sweet potatoes.

The meats were seasoned well, while others may believe it is a bit over salted. The gravy was delicious and broth-based. The cornbread stuffing is rich and savory with each bite. The garlic mashed potatoes are delicious, but I fancy the cinnamon mashed sweet potatoes (as seen in the corner of this photograph).

When you think you’re done, Bahama Breeze also has a Pumpkin Praline Pie. It is a pumpkin pie with a crunchy praline topping, served with whipped cream and cinnamon as well as a pudding-like consistency of sauce. The sauce is subtle and delicious when combined with the pie. The pie is delightful and a traditional end to a Thanksgiving dinner.

Little do you know, the pie was not the end for us. We ordered The Rum Raid, which is a featured and limited addition to the menu. It is great for parties of at least two people. It is considered to be the “Ultimate island experience” with 8 rum-filled drinks of the Caribbean.

Shipwrecked (blue drink in the back) and One Love (with the green pineapple stirrer in the former photograph) are two of our absolute favorites from The Rum Raid. Drinking these made us feel as if we were laying somewhere on a beautiful beach with absolutely no worries on our minds.

Another featured and limited time cocktail is the Coquito, which is a Puerto Rican holiday favorite. It is rich, creamy and rum-spiked. It is made with Silver Rum, Coco Lopez and sweet milk topped with ground cinnamon. This creamy cocktail is found in a different category of favorites as the texture is different from the cocktails of The Rum Raid.

For more information, please visit Thanksgiving Dinner at Bahama Breeze Island Grille.

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We were invited to the recent Chef’s Night event on Oct 18, 2017 at Second Harvest Food Bank. It was a mashup of 4 chefs, with Jim Colbert of PrimeTime Kitchen taking the lead.

Friends that accompanied Jim included Chef Tello Luna from Harry’s Poolside Bar & Grill, Chef Bryan Thoman from Canvas Restaurant & Market, and Chef Bruno Fonseca from Millenia 106 Restaurant. Here, they all join in the photo with the Second Harvest Food Bank culinary team.

Hors d’oeuvres were the focus of Chef Tello Luna and paired with

  • Mexican Shrimp Cocktail – poached shrimp, spiced tomato juice, cilantro, onion, and jalapeño.
  • Smoked Salmon Cucumber Cup – Atlantic salmon, cream cheese, and lemon juice. A cup a bite; very smooth and fresh.

The appetizer was made by Chef Bryan Thoman’s team.

Chef Bryan’s Wagyu Beef Cheek Tamale with Kombuca Squash Puree and Mole Negro had great flavors that blended well on your palate. The tamale is very soft and the beef is very tender. The garnish added a fresh feel to bring the dish together.

Chef Bruno Fonseca created the Mahi Crudo with carrot ginger sauce, cashews, carrot, and a pickled mushroom salad.. The Mahi itself was cured in coconut milk. This dish was paired with Snowbirds, Gruner Veltliner, Lake Chelan, Washington, 2016. This white wine is very smooth and fitting for the dish. Good choice.

The Mahi was fresh, but some bites were a little fishy from a sauce. The coconut milk was very subtle. The pickled salad blends well with the fish. My favorite was the delicious carrot ginger sauce.

 

Jim Colbert created a Braised Short Rib, Smoked Gouda Risotto with garden peas, asparagus tips, and honey crisp carrots. It was paired with Quantum Leap, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon.

The tender braised short rib was full of flavor. The risotto was creamy and smooth, while the carrots were soft with a pop of sweetness from the honey.

Back at it again, Chef Tello Luna closes the show with a Chocolate Torte with Pecan ice Cream and Orange Vanilla Sauce. I can tell you now, the man knows his desserts!

In the kitchen, the chefs work side by side with the Second Harvest Food Bank team to bring a delicious menu alive from beginning to end.

The chocolate torte was very thick and coats the palate well – my kind of dessert. The strawberries and orange vanilla sauce adds a twist to the chocolate cake. I can’t stress enough how this was the best dessert I have had in a long time.

The dessert was paired with a Quantum Leap, Kaley’s Rescue Red, Red Blend, Columbia Valley, Washington, 2014.

As the chefs and Second Harvest Food Bank culinary team work together. They enjoy some nice tunes by KitchenKillaz.

Sous Chef John Dizon of Second Harvest Food Bank even stopped by and spoke on Facebook Live posted by KitchenKillaz.

Here are more shots of the event behind the scenes for your enjoyment.

While you wait for the next Chef’s Night, take part with us in Scouting for Food. On Saturday, November 11, 2017, Central Florida Boy Scouts of America will once again be collecting food for our hungry neighbors. Last year, our community helped provide over 96,000 pounds of food for our neighbors in need. For more information, check out Second Harvest Food Bank’s Scouting for Food.

Scout for food Nov 11

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Texas de Brazil is an authentic churrascaria featuring a continuous dining experience that blends the unique culture of Brazil with the generous hospitality of Texas. Founded as a family-owned business in 1998, Texas de Brazil now has 53 domestic and international locations.

The menu features a vast selection of grilled meats, a 50-item salad area and a la carte dessert selections.

Warm sides include baked cinnamon bananas, which taste like warm apple pie.

The pork parmesan is cooked well and has a nice flavor. In my opinion, the chicken parmesan is more salty than the pork.

The bacon wrapped chicken is cooked well as the bacon is crispy, while the chicken is tender. The fattiness of the bacon adds flavor and juices to the chicken.

Filet mignon wrapped in bacon has a nice texture all around, but the bacon makes this item super salty.

The garlic picanha has a nice crispy coat with a tender center.

The lamb shank is gamey when the outer layer is received. It is a different flavor from an inner layer cut, which tastes more mineral-like.

Filet mignon plain without bacon has great flavors and you can taste the smokiness.

The plain filet mignon is my absolute favorite dish at Texas de Brazil and would come back for this alone.

The Brazilian sausages had flavors similar to a New Orleans flavor. There were notes of salt, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes evenly blended.

The service at the Orlando Texas de Brazil was lovely as everyone was friendly and attentive. The servers make sure you enjoy the dishes cooked to your desired preference with how well you prefer your meats to be cooked. Everyone had a lighthearted smile and acted as a family at Texas de Brazil.

For more information to plan your visit, please check out the Texas de Brazil website: http://www.texasdebrazil.com.

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Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is bringing back its popular fall treat, the Pumpkin Spice Original Glazed® doughnut, for a limited time in October, answering customers’ calls for more opportunities to enjoy this delicious fall indulgence.

  • On Friday, October 13 and 20, the Pumpkin Spice Original Glazed® doughnut will be available only after 6 p.m. for “Friday Night Spice.”
  • On Thursday, October 26, customers can enjoy the Pumpkin Spice Original Glazed® doughnut all day in celebration of National Pumpkin Day at participating Krispy Kreme shops across Central Florida:
    • Krispy Kreme Daytona Beach – Open 24 Hours
      • 980 W International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL 32114
    • Krispy Kreme Winter Park – Drive thru Open 24 Hours
      • 1031 S. Orlando Avenue (17-92), Winter Park, FL  32789
    • Krispy Kreme Millenia – Open 24 Hours
      • 4080 Millenia Blvd., Orlando, FL 32939
    • Krispy Kreme Kissimmee – Open 24 Hours
      • 5310 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway
      • (192 / Mile Marker 11.5), Kissimmee, FL  34746

“Guests were so enthusiastic about the Pumpkin Spice Original Glazed doughnut when we first brought it back for one day last month. But their enthusiasm on social media and at our shops has only intensified since then, so we’re pleased to bring it back – again,” said Jenny Bellanca, vice president of operations for Florida Family Foods LLC, an authorized franchisee of Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation.

The Pumpkin Spice Original Glazed doughnut is the same Original Glazed doughnut that Krispy Kreme customers know and love, but with a hint of cinnamon and pumpkin spice flavor, transforming the classic into the perfect fall treat. To find a participating shop in the U.S. or Canada, visit www.krispykreme.com/pumpkinspiceog.

Celebrate the return of the Pumpkin Spice Original Glazed doughnut by using the hashtag #PumpkinSpiceOG and tagging @krispykreme.

Not only were Pumpkin Spice Original Glazed doughnuts are making an appearance, but a few Halloween themed doughnuts have come out of the closet as well in these dark nights.

Reese’s join with Krispy Kreme on a peanut butter crunch of an adventure this season.

The Birthday Cake doughnut has a delicious filling similar to frosting on a birthday cake, but it is not overpoweringly sweet as you may think. Want to eat a birthday cake, but not interested in buying an entire cake? Take a bite of this doughnut instead.

Don’t forget to grab a Pumpkin Spice drink while you’re there for a doughnut. Krispy Kreme offers iced, frap, and hot versions of Pumpkin Spice coffee. Our favorites include the frap and iced versions…mostly because it is still 90 degrees in Central Florida.

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Texas de Brazil partnered with The Fladgate Partnership and local chocolatiers in 22 cities to offer Port Wine & Chocolate Tasting events that help raise additional funds for the American Red Cross. The exclusive 90-minute tasting classes offered between October 17 – 26 begin at 6:30 p.m. in each location.  Class size is limited to 25 participants and $40 of the $45 ticket price will be donated to the nonprofit.

“Port is a versatile, fortified wine that offers a variety of styles fitting nicely into the sweet-wine selection trends we’re experiencing in our restaurants nationwide,” says Rodrigo Davila, Texas de Brazil’s wine and spirits director.  “Guests at these events will learn why ports can be the perfect appertif, after-dinner drink, or refined accompaniment to a decadent dessert,” he adds.

Guests are greeted with a Croft Port of Manhattan before joining the seated class led by port ambassadors who guide participants through tasting and pairing notes on several port categories and share a brief history of port wine.

This event had chocolates from local Orlando chocolatiers.

  • The Manhattan is strong and warms all the way down to your stomach.
  • Upper left chocolate is a 65% dark ganache paired with Bin ’27 from Portugal. The wine has berry and woodland notes. It is very sweet and smooth, which helps balance the smooth chocolate that coats the palate.
  • Upper right chocolate is a Port Wine cheesecake reduction chocolate is very sweet. It is paired with the Taylor Fladgate 2012 blend that spent 5-7 years in oak. The wine has a longer finish and is a favorite of mine.
  • Lower left chocolate is a salted caramel with a liquid center that is very sweet. It is paired with a Croft, which expresses itself with spices and was exposed to more oxygen for a longer time period.
  • Lower right chocolate is an apple pie chocolate. The chocolate has an apple pie crust at the bottom. This piece is very unique and delicious; it is not too sweet and has a smooth texture from the apple combined with the crunch of the crust and woody flavored chocolate shell. It is paired with the Taylor FLadgate 20 that has butterscotch notes. This wine is also great with walnuts alone.

Local chocolatiers will also share their tasting notes providing guests with a wealth of information and new experience.

Guests will enjoy passed appetizers including garlic picanha, Brazilian sausage, and chicken wrapped in bacon from the Texas de Brazil grills which complement other bites offered during the pairing session.

Featured ports and pairings will include: Fonseca BIN 27 Reserve Ruby Port with cheese; Taylor Fladgate Late Bottle Vintage Ruby Port with dark chocolate; Croft Reserve Tawny Port with dried fruits and nuts; and the Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Old Tawny Port with milk chocolate.

Event dates and locations:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 17: Orlando, FL
  • Wednesday, Oct. 18: Addison, TX and San Antonio, TX: Detroit, MI; Huntsville, AL; Memphis, TN; Richmond, VA; Tampa, FL; Yonkers, NY
  • Thursday, Oct. 19: Chicago and Schaumburg, IL; Columbus, OH; Fairfax, VA; Fort Worth, TX; Miami, FL; Rochester, NY
  • Wednesday, Oct. 25: Syracuse, NY
  • Thursday, Oct. 26: Albany, NY; Baton Rouge, LA; Denver, CO; Washington, D.C.; Westlake, OH

Locations and reservations are found on Eventbrite: https://texasdebrazil2014.eventbrite.com/

 

About Texas de Brazil
Texas de Brazil is an authentic churrascaria featuring a continuous dining experience that blends the unique culture of Brazil with the generous hospitality of Texas.  The menu features a vast selection of grilled meats, a 50-item salad area and a la carte dessert selections. Founded as a family-owned business in 1998, Texas de Brazil now has 53 domestic and international locations.  For more information, visit http://www.texasdebrazil.com.

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