Authors Posts by Kha Duong

Kha Duong

Kha is a food enthusiast and culinary adventurer. An alumni of the University of Central Florida where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science with a focus on International Relations and Comparative Politics.

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“Celebrate Labor Day by getting all dolled up in your flapper attire, jazzed up in your 1920’s style suits and dance the night away. From the moment you step on the red carpet and enter the opulent party setting, be prepared to be entertained. From flairtenders serving swanky spirits, flying aerial champagne performers, flapper dancers, cigar rollers, live band, stilt walkers and more, you will be dazzled till the end.”


A Gatsby Evening at the Edison located in Disney Spring was a homage to the classic, to the vintage, and to the debonair. The Edison with its steampunk setting that was a backdrop for a roaring party that celebrated all the great things of the 1920s from Flapper dancers to its classic cocktails.

The cocktails for A Gatsby Evening were unique and offered a taste of classic cocktails that even Jay Gatsby would serve them at his soirees.

Fried Calamari and Lighting Shrimp

The Edison Burger

Black Cherry Cream Shake


If you are ever at Disney Springs do not pass up a chance to sample some great cocktails and tasty morsels.

The Edison at Disney Springs
1570 E. Buena Vista Dr, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830


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When I heard that STIR was opening in Ivanhoe Village, I thought this place might be another restaurant in the long line of businesses that have occupied the space on the corner of Virginia and N. Orange.

However I was proven quite wrong. STIR is a restaurant that is at its heart, a refined version of Southern cuisine.

According to their owners “The menu at STIR is designed to be creative yet practical. With this STIR wishes to maintain an approachable menu.  STIR will introduce exciting menu options, including a brunch, appetizer, lunch, full dinner menu, desserts, and signature cocktails that draw in new and local guests in our city of Orlando.”

All food was delicious but the stand outs for me were the Pork Puff Pasty and Pork Tenderloin.

After sampling their menu I truly think this restaurant is about Southern Traditions and Ingredients Refined, quite frankly not to be missed.

Southern Caviar
Three cheese creamy blend with artisan bread

Buffalo Calamari
garlic buffalo sauce, house made blue ranch, celery carrot slaw

Pork Puff Pastry
braised pork cheeks, shallots, cheek ju, and fresh chives

Shrimp and Grits
succulent shrimp with bacon and red pepper in buttery and creamy stone-ground grits

Pork Tenderloin
herbed corn, baby carrots, and mixed greens

Chef’s Selected Trio

Orange Avenue


Sunset Sangria

Chef Chastity Harvey and her culinary team.


STIR Restaurant and Bar

1409 North Orange Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32804,

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Ocean Prime, a classic ocean liner supper club.  Renowned for both their steak and seafood offerings, with their impeccable service has helped them established an ever growing popularity all over the Untied States.

Ocean Prime served a selection the pemequid oysters to commemorate National Oyster Day, these oysters from the cold pristine waters of the Northeast are truly some of the East Coast’s best.

Ocean Prime does regularly serve Blue Point Oysters from Connecticut and West Coast Oysters from Washington state (which do vary depending on the catch of the day).  For Shake, Shuck & Pop, Ocean Prime uses James River Oysters from Virginia.

Chef Mattson, Executive Chef of Ocean Prime Orlando, gave a brief history of oysters that are chosen by Ocean Prime and what to key flavor notes that vary from different species of oysters. Also different ways oysters are prepared and demonstration on how to shuck them.

In addition to offering oysters raw, Ocean Prime serves them fried in a delectable batter, as well as a southern style preparation with aged Parmesan.

A pairing of Chandon champagne go very well with these fresh oysters, in addition with their selection of hand crafted cocktails.


With its great oysters, aged steaks, and other weekly offerings, Ocean Prime is a place to go for a casual dinner or celebrating a special anniversary.


Weekly Eats:

Wine Night – on Sundays – enjoy a half priced bottle of wine from the Wine Spectator award-winning wine list

Shake, Shuck & Pop – Fridays from 5-7 p.m., enjoy $1 oysters,  $10 sushi rools, $10 glasses of Veuve Rosé & $10 featured cocktails shaken tableside

Happy Hour – seven days a week from 5-7 p.m. Enjoy $5 off small plates and sushi offerings in the lounge. Ask your server about Happy Hour beer, wine and cocktail feature

Live music – offered in the piano bar Thursday through Saturday from 6-10 p.m.

Ocean Prime
7339 W Sand Lake Rd Ste 400, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 781-4880


About Chef Mattson

Garnering more than 17 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry, including eight years as an executive chef, Mattson joined the Cameron Mitchell team in 2003. He held a variety of positions before joining the OCEAN PRIME culinary team in July 2011.

With experience from line cook to executive chef, he has trained more than 25 sous chefs and won several honors including Ruth’s Chris Hospitality Group’s “Executive Chef of the Year,” and a nomination for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants’ “Sous Chef of the Year.”

Originally from Lansing, Michigan, Mattson currently resides in Orlando with his wife and three sons. In his leisure time, he enjoys being with his family, playing hockey, discovering new music and collecting vinyl records.

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EPCOT’s origins may have started off as the template for the city of tomorrow but it has also become the premier host of excellent food festivals, including the International Food and Wine Festival, which runs in fall and The Festival of the Arts, a new addition for 2017, which runs prior to Flower and Garden.

The 24th EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival©, runs from March 1st to May 29th and showcases an abundance of flower displays, ranging from classic Disney characters to more intricate floral designs. Along with those displays, each country in the world pavilion also has a delicious sampling of food and complementing beverages, making for a delightful afternoon in the park. The following were but a small selection of the over 100 food and beverage items.

Urban Farm Eats: Crabless Cake with Crispy Vegatable Slaw, Lemon Vinaigrette and Old Bay Remoulade, the crabless cake with a delicious remoulade has a crisp exterior and a delicious vegetarian option.

Florida Fresh: Carne Asada with Black Bean Cake and Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream, this dish has the elements of a great southwestern style barbecue.

Smokehouse: Beef Brisket Burt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapenos, by far my most favorite dish, a balance of flavors with the heat from jalapenos and coolness of sour cream created a spoonful of delight.

La Isla Fresca: Sugar Cane Shrimp Skewer with Steamed Rice and Coconut Lime Sauce, on a bed of herb flavored rice and coconut sauce brought the flavors of the tropics.

Northern Bloom: Seared Scallops with Green Beans, Butter Potatoes, Brown Butter, Vinaigrette and Apple-wood Smoked Bacon, on a bed of green beans with potatoes and bacon was my second favorite sampling.

Everything Berry: Warm Wild Berry Buckle with Pepper Berry Ice Cream, this refreshing dessert showcased a tasty blend of seasonal berries and an even tastier ice cream.

Florida Fresh: Key Lime Tart topped with Toasted Meringue, had true zest of key lime with a natural sweetness and tart flavors.

Tea, scones and Disney’s baking prowess were on display with both a selection of sweet and savory scones accompanied by a selection of Twining’s Tea©. The savory scone filled with the Earl Grey Butter and a side of tea was my favorite. I am partial to Earl Grey though.

The wine pairings included Floriography Blooming Red 2014 and Blooming White 2015 from the Western Cape of South Africa.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Highlights for 2017 currently include:

  • Outdoor Kitchens offering delectable small plates, and flavorful non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages—along with several new food and refreshment kiosks
  • More than 70 world-renowned Disney-themed topiaries—including many totally original displays
  • Vibrant gardens, flower towers, wildlife habitats and walkways—some being presented for the very first time
  • Inspirational exhibits, seminars, how-to demonstrations and all-new farm-to-table dining experiences
  • Garden Rocks™ Outdoor Concert Series featuring throwback beats from fan-favorite bands—with an assortment of debuting acts and dining packages

Blossoming from March 1 to May 29, 2017, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival boasts fun-filled exploration for every age and interest. It is a foodie festival that is not to be missed for those who enjoy great food, beautiful flora and the Florida sunshine.

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When it comes to vacation resorts, Orlando is home to many, but few offer the level of luxury and impeccable cuisine as Reunion Resort. This world class resort which sits on 2,300 acres of beautiful Florida land, and offers some delectable choices when it comes to dining fare.


The Grande Lobby Sushi Bar is a prime choice for the casual sushi aficionado; from spicy tuna rolls to their signature Grande Reunion Roll, any choice is a good choice when deciding on sushi. Reunion also has plans to expand their sushi bar and selections in the near future.

Reunion June 2016 Photo Ruddy 068

Forte is one of Reunion’s signature restaurants and is currently modernizing while maintaining focus on the culinary history of Tuscany & Milan. Chef Russell Stehle created his own taste of some classic pairings.


Compressed Watermelon with Feta and Mint was a delightful and refreshing way to start the meal. The sweetness of the melon paired with the balsamic reduction was a pleasurable contrast while coupled with the saltiness of the Feta and bright flavor of the micro mint.


The Panzanella Salad was a continuation of bright and bold flavor from the Heirloom tomatoes to made- in- house croutons that served as great vehicles for Forte’s signature vinaigrette.


Braised Beef Short Rib with Mushroom Risotto, Grilled Shrimp and Fried Leeks was the main course for this meal. The risotto was cooked to delicate perfection and plated beautifully. This dish combined all the best tastes of umami and was by far my favorite.

Wine Pairings

Rosso Di Montalcino Col D’Orcia 2011

Château Montelena Chardonnay 2010



For dessert, Reunion Resort’s flagship restaurant Eleven, located on the 11th floor, offered a selection of mini pastries including s’mores tarts, creme brulee and many others. My personal favorite was the mini fruit tart with a combination of sweetened cream and fresh fruits.

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Reunion Resort is a hidden gem along Florida’s culinary map. This is a worthwhile destination that offers a unique dining experience. I highly recommend visiting Reunion Resort on your next trip to the Sunshine State.


Reunion Resort

7593 Gathering Drive Kissimmee, Florida 34747

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Hard Rock Cafe known as one of the premiere food and entertainment venues at Universal CityWalk, has recently revamped their special events catering service. Hard Rock Catering keeps their rock ‘n’ roll theme and it shows in their cuisine. Keeping up with the ever evolving tastes of the American palate, showcasing Korean inspired dishes as well American classic fare. their made in house specialty cupcakes were a nice finishing touch to the menu.

IMG_1734Spanish inspired paella with chorizo sausage and shrimp.


IMG_1727Beef Tenderloin with crab and Bearnaise sauce


Peanut Butter and Amaretto Cake

Death by Chocolate

Havana Banana Cream with Grand Marnier

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At Black Rock Bar and Grill,  an Australian-style cooking with searing volcanic rocks has made its way to the Sunshine state for the first time. Black Rock is well known in their native state of Michigan. They have been selected third in 2012, but have maintained the coveted top spot since 2013 for Michigan’s #1 Steakhouse. What has made them stand out from the rest, is their selection of high quality Certified Angus Beef and unique culinary experience.

A concept of “do it yourself” cooking is new to some, however Black Rock makes it very approachable with helpful staff offering instructions and tips.

The atmosphere at Black Rock has something for everyone, from a casual happy hour with co-workers to a romantic setting for an elegant date night.  If being a little food adventurous is on your list, give Black Rock Bar and Grill a visit.

Special Thanks to: Billy Grimm Vice President of Operations, Courtney Franks Press Marketing and our wonderful server Hannah.


BlackRock Bubbling Shrimp

Bubbling Shrimp


BlackRock Sirloin

Black Rock Signature Sirloin


BlackRock Carrot Cake

Colossal Carrot Cake


BlackRock Cocktails

Cocktails (L to R)

Front Row:

Grilled Pineapple Collins

Blackberry Mojito

Back Row:


Fig Jam Margarita


Black Rock Bar and Grill

8965 Conroy Windermere Rd, Orlando, FL 32819

Phone: 1+ 407-217-7170

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Nine18 at the Grand Cypress is a culinary gem, located at the Villas of Grand Cypress it is one of only two Forbes Four Start Restaurants in Orlando. It has been a mainstay for many visiting Florida and Villas of Grand Cypress.

Their new menu, which starts in June of 2016,  displays why they have earned those stars. From Tea Smoked Quail to their Summer Berry Tart, each dish showcased Chef Lonny Huot’s vision of local ingredients with  Latin flavors and modern French cooking techniques.

To add to his already extensive accolades, Chef Lonny had the chance to flex his culinary muscles at the world renowned James Beard House New York in December of 2015. An opportunity granted to only a few chefs each year.

Nine18 is a chance to experience culinary mastery at its best and it is not to be missed.

Special Thanks to: Chef Lonny Huot and his wonderful staff, and Jessica Milton


Chef Lonny Huot


Tea Smoked Quail

Tea Smoked Quail Baby Kale, Drunken Cherries, Minus 8 Vinaigrette


Tuna Tartare Stack

Tuna Tartare Stack Ancho Tuile, Finger Lime, Avocado Cream, Roasted Red Pepper Coulis


Arugula & Herbed Goat Cheese Crisp

Arugula & Herbed Goat Cheese Crisp Strawberry Balsamic Compote


Grilled Baby Octopus

Grilled Baby Octopus Apple and Papaya Salad, Baby Cilantro, Crispy Plantains, Saffron Dressing. Paired with Paul Hobbs Ellen Lane Estate 2014 Chardonnay



Port Braised Pork Cheeks Creamy Organic Polenta, Green Apple, Mild Chili Threads, Natural Pan Sauce. Paired with Paul Hobbs 2013 Pinot Noir



House Aged New York Strip Heirloom Sweet Potato, White and Green Asparagus, Roasted Micro Vegetable, Aged Sherry Sauce. Paired with Paul Hobbs 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon



Summer Berry Tart Strawberry Rhubarb Coulis. Paired with Cross Barn by Paul Hobbs 2013 Cabernet Franc


Nine18 at Villas of Grand Cypress

One North Jacaranda, Orlando, Florida 32836

Phone: 1+ 407-239-1999

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Homemade meatballs are hard to come by. Meatballs are prepared to the highest quality of freshness at Meatball Stoppe. The restaurant’s great cuisine is served up by an equally great family. Isabella Morgia di Vicari guides guests through her favorite offerings on the Meatball Shoppe menu.

As proof that great things come in small packages, this intimate restaurant packs a wallop when it comes to flavor! Meatball shoppe hosts Happy Hour from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. Guests are encouraged to sample numerous meatballs and find out which one is their favorite. Feeling lost in the sea of delicious meatball varieties? Isabella holds a wealth of foodie wisdom, and she is ready to help guest select truly enjoyable dishes. These delightful meatballs are not to be missed. 


Tomato and Mozzarella with a hint of basil



Caponata a flavorful eggplant spread



Fried Calamari with a roasted red pepper tomato sauce


Eggplant Sandwich



Layered Eggplant with roasted tomato sauce



Vegetarian Pesto meatballs over a white bean ragu



Nona’s Traditional Meatballs with roasted tomato sauce and penne pasta



Chicken Marsala Meatballs with a Marsala mushroom sauce over polenta



Spicy Meatball Smash Sandwich with a fried egg




Traditional Italian desserts of canolis and sfogliatelli



Meatball Shoppe family history in photos

The Meatball Stoppe
7325 Lake Underhill Rd, Orlando, FL 32822, United States
Phone:+1 407-270-6505

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Tommy Bahama, known for it’s beach chic apparel, also serves guests at several successful restaurants. The brand’s Island Time Happy Hour welcomes guests to a tropical theme that matches the new wave of culinary restaurants that are appearing on the recently renovated International Drive. We were recently invited to attend a media tasting to showcase their new menu!


Executive Chef Matthew Oakley showcases Tommy Bahama’s new spring influenced happy hour menu items. Fried Green Tomatoes is the outstanding dish among the appetizers. The refreshing Grapefruit and Jicama Salad is a great choice for lighter spring time fare.

Of the entrees, the Pan Seared Whole Branzino is the favorite. The boldness to serve whole fish at a more mainstream establishment is to be applauded. It is prepared with the right combination of herbs and grilled citrus.

Chef Matthew prepares a personal dessert creation, which is now on the menu of all Tommy Bahama’s Restaurants. The Brown Butter Blondie sets itself apart by not following other chocolate based desserts. The incorporation of Hawaiian Sea Salt adds a special element of enhancement for the classic Blondie flavor.

The Pineapple Paradiso is the favorite of the two newly minted cocktails. General Manager Nancy Lingo recommends some of the more classic cocktails including the Cloudy Coconut, a dessert unto itself, as well as Tommy Bahama’s classic Mai Tai, which paired well with all the dishes sampled.

Ever in need of a happy hour that not only serves good food, but also provides great cocktails and outstanding service? Tommy Bahama’s is hard to beat.

Special Thanks to: Executive Chef Matthew Oakley, General Manager Auruto Coronel, General Manager: Nancy Lingo, and our Server Jessica.


FullSizeRender_3(1) Fried Green Tomatoes with a Plantain Crust, Jalapeno Cilantro Aioli, and Charred Corn Salsa

FullSizeRender_4 Filet Mignon Flatbread with Bacon, Garlic Aioli, Honey Roasted Onions, Gruyere, and Crispy Shitakes Mushrooms

FullSizeRender_2(1)Salad Grapefruit & Jicama Salad with Baby Greens, Red Cabbage, Macadamia Nuts, and Mojito Vinaigrette

FullSizeRender_1Pan Seared Whole Branzino with Jiacama Hash and Jalapeno Brown Butter

FullSizeRender_2Roasted Prawn Papperdelle Pasta with Lemon Parmesan Broth, Citrus Gremolata, and Fresh Herbs

FullSizeRender_3Brown Butter Blondie with Toasted Macadamia Nuts, White Chocolate Mousse, Hawaiian Sea Salt Caramel, and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Fresh Cocktails (L to R:  Mai Thai, Hibiscus Lime Cooler, Pineapple Paradiso; Cococut Cloud in second row.)
FullSizeRender_1(1)Pineapple Paradisio: Bacardi Pineapple, St-Germain Elderflower, Creme de Banana, Scratch Sour, and Fresh Pineapple

Hibiscus Lime Cooler: Ketel One, Cointreau, Pineapple, Hibiscus Syrup, and Lime

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An event inspired by Jammet Restaurant, one of Ireland’s most famous culinary destinations of the 20th Century.

Raglan Road has been Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) premiere Irish pub and restaurant since 2005.


Birth of a Nation: A Centenary Dinner was a journey through some of the most refined Irish cuisine.
Chef Kevin drew inspiration from not only Jammet but also his childhood, which was displayed by incorporating some of his favorite ice cream Teddy’s 99 from when he was a young lad.
The Raglan Road signature spring season event has become one of the most sought after culinary experiences in Central Florida. Do not miss it in 2017.
Chef Kevin Dundon is a famous Irish celebrity chef, television personalty and acclaimed author. He is the owner of the famous Dunbrody Country House Hotel, in County Wexford, Ireland. Right next door is the Dunbrody Cookery School.
He started his training at The Oldschoolhouse in Dublin and at the age of twenty two made a name for himself as the youngest executive head chef at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts in Canada. After an extenstive time at the Fairmont, Chef Kevin decided to return to his Irish roots at Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel.
1st Course
St Stephens Greens Smoked Chicken and Vegetable Terrine
capers, gherkins, grain mustard and aspic.
Moet & Chandon, Champagne, France
2nd course
Dublin Docks Cockles and Mussels Soup
Lemon butter broth with potato and sapphire
Cloudy Bay, Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand
3rd Course
Dublin Bay Bull Island Monkfish
Pan roasted monkfish served with marrow and mushy peas froth
Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay, Napa Valley
4th Course
Smithfield Dublin Coddle
Sausage stuff loin of pork, potato mousseline, cabbage and a bacon broth
Numanthia Termes, Spain
5th Course
Ginger Gerk Care with custard and Teddy’s 99
Veuve Clicqout, Demi Sec, France
After Dinner:
Petit Fours

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