Authors Posts by Ricky Ly of TastyChomps.com

Ricky Ly of TastyChomps.com

1129 POSTS 17 COMMENTS
Ricky Ly founded TastyChomps.com in 2008 as a local Orlando food blog dedicated to finding the tastiest bits and pieces of Orlando as well as around the world. His first book, Food Lovers' Guide to Orlando: The Best Restaurants, Markets & Local Culinary Offerings (Food Lovers' Series) is available now on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. Photography is taken using a Canon EOS 6D and a Sony Nex-3. E-mail him at tastychomps(at)gmail.com. Google

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Housed in a former Checker’s drivethru stall on South Orange Blossom Trail, just north of the Florida Mall – I may have just found it. Some of THE best tacos in Orlando are at Tortas El Rey.

At first, it might look sketch with the neighborhood and setting, but look closer and you will find some of the best eats in all of Orlando. Even Edible Orlando magazine recently featured the tiny taco shop for their torta – a type of Mexican sandwich – for their Carnitas Torta – a huge sandwich of fried pork, a slather of refried beans, mayo, tomato, and lettuce on a cemita roll.

The tacos are not to be missed – for about $1.25, they are some of the best valued tacos in town. I ordered 4 – the cabeza (tender pulled beef head),  al pastor marinated pork, chicharron (Mexican sausage),  and the carne asada steak. The tacos here are served in fresh, hot corn tortillas and  topped with some cilantro and onion. They also came with these two special salsas, slices of lime, and pickled peppers.

Truly a well deserved name – they are the kings of not only tortas but tacos as well. Make your way over there asap.

Overview of the Carnitas Torta

Cross section view of the carnita torta – magnificent

These tacos are full of meat and flavors. Chorizo, cabeza, al pastor, y carne asada.

TORTAS EL REY
6151 S Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32809
https://www.facebook.com/TortasElRey/

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“What drives me as a chef is learning what’s new in the ever-changing culinary world, and having unique experiences with people I’ve met throughout my career who motivate me to be innovative in my craft.” – Chef Gabriel Massip of Capa Spanish Steakhouse

Born in Paris, France, Chef Gabriel Massip recently took over as the Chef at Capa, the 17th floor Spanish-influenced steakhouse at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.

Massip brings more than 11 years of experience to Capa, with a career spent cooking in award-winning restaurants across the globe, from Australia to New York and Bora Bora.

He began his culinary training in his hometown at the young age of 15.

“From the beginning, I was taught by my mother that the best dishes are cooked well, with simple ingredients.”

Continuing his growth after culinary school, Massip began his career in France as chef de partie at multiple award-winning restaurants and two 1-Michelin star restaurants. He then relocated to a resort in tropical Bora Bora, where he spent the next four years working as a sous chef.

After relocating from Bora Bora to Australia, he made his way from Down Under to board the Disney Cruise Line in Orlando working at the ship’s signature restaurant venue, adding to his diverse resume of culinary genres.

“Despite my French background, my travels have influenced the evolution of my dishes to be more on the bright side, lighter on the butter.”

More recently, Massip took his talents to New York City, where he worked at the renowned Daniel Boulud eatery DB Bistro, eventually moving on to re-open the downtown New York City restaurant Acme as chef de cuisine.

Now back in the Sunshine State, Massip is excited to bring his talents to elevate the dining experience at Capa.

“My recipe for success is simple: I know flavours and I know cooking. I love working with the team to continue to provide the high quality dining experience that makes Capa one of the best restaurants in Central Florida.”

We recently spoke to Chef Massip via e-mail to dive deeper into his background and inspiration.

 

What inspired you to start cooking?

Very young, I was already eating a lot of different things and was more curious than my brothers on that matter. I have two brothers, one who is three years older and one who is two years younger. I was the only one who tried everything my mom was cooking, while my brothers stayed away from trying new things. I enjoyed eating sautéed veal brain with parsley and garlic, and helping my mother with cooking and baking.

What are some of your favorite dishes at your restaurant?

The Cerdo (beer brined pork belly with apple butter and pistachio jazz) has a great balance of flavours, Zanahoria (thumbelinas carrots with za’atar spices, turmeric vinaigrette and puffed quinoa) is a great way to eat vegetables and is packed of flavors too.

Tell us about the new CAPA menu!

It is consistent with what has been done before; the tapas are inspired by the many different trips during my career. Some of them are dishes that I have created in the past, but I have tweaked and worked differently. For instance, the carrots dish I created in NYC. I took the main idea of roasting the carrots with the za’atar spices and made homemade vinegar with fresh turmeric. The celltuce dish comes from a restaurant in France, although it was completely different in France. I like the vegetable and worked the dish differently for Capa. As always, Capa is the place to go for incredible steaks and seafood.

What are your first childhood food memories?

My mom’s cooking with some staples of French cuisine: stews, fresh vegetables, foraging mushrooms in the forest and the fresh aromatics in the backyard.

What do you like to cook for “comfort food” at home with your family?

Anything, it can go from bread to roasted chicken to a fresh piece of fish. I like to randomly open the fridge and make up a recipe with whatever is available. It can be a simple roast chicken with mashed potatoes, black sausage with apples and plums, braised lamb shoulder with garlic olives and tomatoes. I also love light and acidic dishes such as ceviche and fresh tomato salad. The simpler, the better.

Where are some of your favorite local places in Orlando to dine in (outside of CAPA)?

A local Korean restaurant next to where I live, called Beewon Korean Cuisine, and Luma on the Park was a great experience along with SoCo.

Photos Courtesy of Four Seasons

Capa at Four Seasons Orlando
10100 Dream Tree Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32836
http://www.fourseasons.com/orlando/dining/restaurants/capa/

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Starting June 20, Bulla Gastrobar will celebrate summer with “Paella Tuesdays.” Every Tuesday night (“Noche de Paellas”), Bulla will offer a special menu for dinner that will include 3 original paellas plus 2 new ones each week. The first Tuesday will feature the Paella de Vejetales (vegetable paella) and Paella de Cordero (lamb paella).

Bulla Gastrobar
110 S Orlando Ave #7, Winter Park, FL 32789
Phone: (321) 214-6120

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Hawkers originally started out here in Orlando’s Mills 50 District, serving up southeast Asian street fare like the char kwa teo chicken noodles and roti canai. In recent years they have expanded to Jacksonville, Neptune Beach, and St. Petersburg.

At Hawkers, the founders Kaleb Harrell, Allen Lo, Wayne Yung and Kin Ho – all traveled the world to curate a menu of handed-down family recipes and hand-picked popular street foods from all over Asia — Korea, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan to be exact.

Four additional locations are slated to open throughout the Southeast in 2017 and 2018.

Tavistock Development Company, a diversified real estate firm owned by Tavistock Group, announced with Hawkers Asian Street Fare (Hawkers) that they will open a new location in the latest phase of The Grove at Isleworth located at the hard-southwest corner of South Apopka Vineland Road and Conroy-Windermere Road and adjacent to the world-renowned Isleworth Golf & Country Club, expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Hawkers Asian Street Fare Green Papaya Salad Mix

Ingredients

2.5 Oz.of Finely Shredded Green Papaya
1?2 Oz. of Finely Shredded Carrots
1 Tbsp. Crushed Roasted Peanuts
2 Oz. Poached Shrimp (cut down to bite size pieces)
2 tsp. Chiffonade Basil
2 Fluid Oz. Dressing

Instructions

Place finely shredded green papaya, carrots and dressing together in a mixing bowl and blend together. Add the basil, cilantro, and shrimp to toss together with the salad mix. Plate and garnish with crushed peanuts.

Dressing Ingredients 4 fluid ounces Water 8 fluid ounces Lemon-Lime Soda
3 fluid ounces Fish Sauce (recommended Squid Brand)
6 tablespoons Sugar 1 tablespoon Chili Paste (Sambal Olek)

Instructions

On the stovetop, slightly simmer the water. Add sugar and mix well until dissolved. Turn off the heat and transfer the liquid to a cold mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator.

###

Hawkers Asian Street Fare
1103 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803
Website: EatHawkers.com

If you would like to know a recipe from a local restaurant or would like to submit one, please do email us at tastychomps@gmail.com

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Seasons 52 – as its name aptly suggests – is a restaurant concept that changes its menu along with the seasons. It’s owned by the Darden Restaurant group and so with the headquarters here in Orlando, the Sand Lake location (they are located on Restaurant Row – though it might be more accurate to call it Darden Row nowadays?) gets to have first dibs when it comes to being the test kitchen for new dishes.

The summer menu is full of fresh corn and watermelon flavors.

We were recently invited to try some of Seasons 52’s new summer menu, just launched and here are our favorite bites:

 

 

SUMMER CORN SOUP
bacon, leeks (230 cal)

LUMP CRAB, ROASTED SHRIMP & SPINACH STUFFED MUSHROOMS
panko crust (230 cal)

WATERMELON & HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD
shaved red onion, feta, lemon vinaigrette (190 cal)

ROASTED SUMMER CORN SKILLET
crispy bacon, caramelized onion, Parmesan (410 cal)

TRUFFLE MAC ‘N’ CHEESE EN BRODO
cave-aged Gruyère, cheddar, trio of roasted mushrooms, truffle zest, panko crust (350 cal)

*WOOD-GRILLED HANDLINE TUNA
black rice, kohlrabi slaw, sesame-peanut vinaigrette (530 cal)

*WOOD-GRILLED NEW YORK STRIP
sauté of vegetables, Yukon mash, roasted garlic butter (670 cal)


SIGNATURE MINI INDULGENCES INCLUDING:
KEY LIME PIE
pecan crust, toasted meringue (290 cal)
PECAN PIE
vanilla bean mousse, whipped cream, honey-glazed pecan (370 cal)

Other new dishes for the summer at Seasons 52:

· Roasted Prosciutto Wrapped Figs: Fresh seasonal figs have a distinctly smooth skin and sweet, chewy texture that pairs beautifully with rich gorgonzola, topped with a 15-year aged balsamic.

· Heirloom Tomato & Burrata Board: Sweet, Vine-ripe heirloom tomatoes pair perfectly with creamy burrata and prosciutto and topped with 15-year aged balsamic.

· Heirloom & Watermelon Salad: This color-rich dish combines the best summer produce flavors and textures: Sweet watermelon cubes resting on bright heirloom tomatoes, paired with shaved red onion, creamy feta and a pop of lemon vinaigrette.

· Chilean Sea Bass: This guest favorite entrée is roasted and drizzled in an Asian glaze, the Chilean Sea Bass is served with organic black rice, snow peas, shiitake mushrooms, and micro wasabi. Fun fact: Black Rice packs more antioxidants than blueberries.

· Copper River Salmon: Coming Soon! Sourced from the glacial rivers of Alaska’s famous Copper River, these fresh salmon are considered among the most flavorful and sought after fish in the world. Copper River Salmon will only be available for a short time, and every year our guests count down to the start of wild Alaska season when this rich, distinctly bright red salmon hits the menu paired with seasonal sweet corn risotto, toybox tomatoes and snap peas.

· Michigan Cherry Crème Brulee Mini Indulgence: Known as the Cherry Capital, Traverse City, MI, is considered the heartland of sweet cherries in the United States, and every summer visitors flock to taste the distinctly dark, sweet fruit. For a seasonal twist on a classic dessert, try our Michigan Cherry Crème Brulee Mini Indulgence, with classic vanilla bean infused custard over an intense compote of some of the best cherries from Traverse City and throughout Michigan.

 

There are two locations in Orlando:

Seasons 52 www.seasons52.com

7700 W Sand Lake Rd, Orlando, FL 32819

463 E Altamonte Dr, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

 

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This year, Father’s Day is especially poignant for me because it will be my first Father’s Day as a new dad. Wishing all the fathers out there – a very Happy Father’s Day! If you know of any specials going on that should be included, email us at tastychomps at gmail.com  – thanks!

Texas de Brazil Churrascaria in Orlando
5259 International Drive
texasdebrazil.com
On Father’s Day (June 18), Texas de Brazil offers a $20 return-visit gift certificate for every Dad dining on “his” holiday.

Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen – Lake Nona

6967 Lake Nona Blvd, Orlando; 407-955-4340; chromalakenona.com

Opening early at 12 p.m. on June 18, this Lake Nona favorite is offering a $5 Spectrum Beer Flight for dads around Central Florida, featuring a choice of (4) four, 5 oz. pours of beer. In addition, Chroma is offering two specials: Charcoal Grilled Prime Hanger Steak($25) with hand cut fries, cress salad and burnt orange chimichurri and Grilled Mexican Street Corn ($8) with cotija cheese, ancho crema and cilantro.

Urbain 40 – Orlando

8000 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando; 407-872-2640; urbain40.com

Urbain 40’s 2017 Father’s Day celebration will feature the restaurant’s new dinner menu all day, plus festive holiday specials including Aged Sherry-Laced She Crab Bisque, “Steak & Eggs” with Char-Crusted 6 oz. Angus Beef Filet and Poached Lake Meadow Naturals Eggs, “Surf & Turf” with Grilled Gulf Swordfish and Herb-Laced Maine Lobster, and a dessert trio with Dark Chocolate & Candied Bacon, Milk Chocolate and Salted Caramel, and White Chocolate and Single Barrel Bourbon.

4 Rivers Smokehouse – Multiple Locations

Multiple Locations; 844-474-8377; 4rsmokehouse.com

4 Rivers Smokehouse is celebrating Dad with Jack Daniel’s Cake Balls ($1.99) double chocolate cake mixed with house frosting and splash of Jack Daniel’s, then dipped in milk or white chocolate; German Chocolate Brownies ($2.99) topped with coconut and pecan frosting; and Sugar Cookie Grills ($1.99) decorated just for Dad. Available June 9 – June 17.

Dragonfly Robata ? 7972 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, FL 32819 ? 407.370.3359

In addition to their regular a la carte menu, Dragonfly Robata will offer the below special menu item for Father’s Day, in addition to two drink specials just for Dad:

– Robata Grilled Bison ($24) – Japanese eggplant, sweet shoyu broth, togarashi, ryu oil, scallion, daikon oroshi

-$6 Smoked Old Fashioned

– Japanese Whisky Flight ($29)

·       Hibiki

·       Nikka

·       Hakushu

The Ravenous Pig  – 565 West Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park – 407.628.2333

Father’s Day Specials Include:

  • Complimentary Cask & Larder Draught Pint for all dads
  • Confit Prime Rib ($33) with grilled asparagus and crab hollandaise
  • Photo HERE

1921 by Norman Van Aken  –  142 East 4th Street, Mount Dora –  352.385.1921

Sunday Brunch Special

  • Smoked Beef Tenderloin Benedict – fried farm egg, Béarnaise Sauce

Sunday Supper Special

  • Grilled Lamb Merguez ­– Italian pork, veal sausage with country grits, mustard and grilled pepper agrodolc
 Located in Pointe Orlando on International Drive, will celebrate Father‘s Day with a complimentary Cuba Libre, made with Don Q Añejo Rum, Coca-Cola and lime, for Dad during dinner on Sunday, June 18 with purchase of an entree. Dinner reservations begin at 5 p.m., with Cuba Libre’s brand new menu featuring the Crispy Pork Pata For Two, 48-hour slow-cooked Berkshire pork shank. Grilled seasonal vegetables and Moros y Cristianos. Citrus pan reduction, or the Puerco Cha Cha Chathree pork favorites in one jumbo cut: bone-in loin chop with meaty rib and crisp pork belly. “Boniato Bravas” and charred herb salsa. Chipotle allioli.
BOGO offer for Fathers Day
Buy one Panini get one free for dad/grandad, Dine in only, excludes combos

Sonny’s BBQ is encouraging fathers to take trade their chef hat in for a dad hat, enjoy all-you-can-eat sweet and smokey St. Louis ribs generously slathered in Sonny’s famous Sweet BBQ Sauce for a one-day-only price of $13.99.
All Central Florida Locations
Paddlefish at Disney Springs
Paddlefish will be offering a 20-ounce Porterhouse, jumbo Gulf shrimp and a double stuffed potato paired with a glass of Turnball Cabernet Sauvignon. And for dessert, a rich red velvet cake.  $85
Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs
Celebrate dad this Father’s Day at Morimoto Asia with a complimentary pint of Crooked Can Brewing Company’s finest Barrel Breaker Lager, free with the purchase of an entrée. Featuring a dry, clean, and crisp aroma with low bittering hops, the light bodied Barrel Breaker is as refreshing as it is flavorful. With a conservative ABV of 5.34% and only 11 IBU’s, this golden colored, cold-conditioned seasonal offering is easy and approachable to drink due to the Pilsner malt used in the brewing process.  Start off with a heaping bowl of Morimoto’s crispy rock shrimp tempura bathed in a spicy gochujang aioli or the garlic soy sauce soaked chicken wings, and make sure to leave room for an entrée like the hoisin sweet chili glazed sticky spare ribs to pair with dad’s new favorite lager.
Highball and Harvest at the Ritz Carlton Orlando
4012 Central Florida Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32837
Celebrate dad on Sunday, June 18 ?with our Father‘s Day Feast at Highball & Harvest from 12 to 3 p.m. The menu will include Sunday morning libations, charcuterie, raw oysters, Jack and Coke marinated skirt steak, roasted suckling pig, and whole smoked red snapper. Indulge in the special feast of Southern-inspired food and craft beer for $99 for adults and $45 for children. Reservations can be made by calling 407.393.4333
Ruth’s Chris Steak House’s specials for Father‘s Day 

Fathers who dine in on Saturday, June 17 and Sunday, June 18 will receive a complimentary, $25 dining card to use towards a future purchase. Select locations open early at noon on Sunday, June 18 and will offer the following Surf & Turf Specials:

  • 6-ounce Filet with Twin Cold Water Lobster Tails ($49.95)

  • 8-ounce Filet with Twin Cold Water Lobster Tails ($56.95)

  • 12-ounce Ribeye with Twin Cold Water Lobster Tails ($59.95)

  • 16-ounce Ribeye with Twin Cold Water Lobster Tails ($68.95)

 
Additionally, select locations will open early on Sunday at noon.

CELEBRATE FATHER’S DAY AT FOUR SEASONS RESORT ORLANDO
Dad can enjoy complimentary golf, brunch, special pop-up shops and more

Celebrate Dad on Father’s Day, Sunday June 16, 2017 with a delicious brunch at Plancha at Four Seasons Resort Orlando – plus, dads dine free and golf free.*

Dad’s round of golf at Tranquilo Golf Club is complimentary on June 16, 2017 as is his meal, however, reservations are required. Plancha’s brunch is USD 68 per person and includes a three-course with appetiser and dessert buffet and choice of entrée, plus bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Marys. For this special day, in addition to all the regular brunch stations, Plancha will also offer a hot dog station with a variety of gourmet hot dog fixings.

Also, guests dining for Father’s Day brunch will be able to experience a pop-up shop by Bobby Jones Golf, and each dad who dines with the family at Plancha will also receive a special gift from Bobby Jones Golf.* In addition, OMEGA will have a display set up for Dad to peruse the latest timepieces and accessories from the iconic line.

Brunch is available from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Reservations: 407 313 6161.

Sips & Cigars
If celebrating with Dad on a weekday, come try “Sips & Cigars,” now offered at Plancha at Four Seasons Orlando. Available Monday through Friday from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, the restaurant is featuring half price cigars and half price signature cocktails for happy hour. Guests can enjoy a cigar outside on the spacious Plancha terrace, with picturesque views of the lake. Signature cocktails, such as the refreshing Hemingway Daiquiri, Lemon Basil Punch, Plancha Mojito and more are priced USD 12-16 and are half-price during Sips & Cigars.

* Tee times are required for golf, and space is limited; reservations are required for brunch. One complimentary brunch per dad, per table. Gift courtesy Bobby Jones Golf is for brunch patrons only, while supplies last.

Se7en Bites Bakery

617 Primrose Dr, Orlando, FL 32803

Se7enbites will be having a Dad inspired Brunch menu both days complete with Beermosas
Two special is Chicken fried steak Farmers Breakfast Sandwich and The Beverly Hillbilly

Hawkers Asian Street Fare.
Address: 1103 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803

They are toasting and cheering on dads by offering a complimentary glass of beer! It’s the perfect way to wash down pad thai, lettuce wraps and roti!

Tijuana Flats

Tijuana Flats will be giving out a free taco and beverage to all dads on Father’s Day. I’ve included more information in the media alert below for any Father’s Day round-up features you may be working on.

What: All Tijuana Flats locations will participate in a Father’s Day special that includes the following deal for dads:

  • One Free Taco
  • One Free Drink

When: Father’s Day, Sunday, June 18.

Where: All Tijuana Flats locations. Store locator: https://tijuanaflats.com/locations/

Adobe Gila’s

Adobe Gila’s located at Pointe Orlando on 9101 International Drive is offering all Dads something sweet in celebration of Father’s Day. Mini dessert selection choices include Chocolate Chip Blonde, Apple Carmel Crisp, Strawberry Cheesecake and Chocolate Decadence.  Offer is valid all day on June 18, 2017.  Dad must order an entrée to get the free mini dessert.

Bulla Gastrobar in Winter Park

Bulla Gastrobar will be offering a special Father’s Day market menu at its Winter Park location. For $35, guests can select an appetizer, main course and dessert from the menu.

They’ll also be serving a special cocktail called “Llego Papa!” (which means “Dad has arrived!”)

LLEGO PAPA!    $12 –  Monkey Shoulder, vanilla, pineapple, Angostura bitters

Happy Father’s Day yall!

 

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One of the most impressive new hot pot restaurants opened recently here in Orlando called Nine Spices Hot Pot. This one utilizes a conveyor belt that is continually on, rotating through dishes of veggies, meats, fish, and more for diners. Though we may be more familiar with it through videos of sushi restaurants using this conveyor belt system, it is truly an impressive sight to see.

A popular dish in the winter time, hot pot is a type of Asian fondue method of cooking, usually with a steaming, simmering pot of hot broth.

While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. Typical hot pot dishes include thinly sliced meat, leaf vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, tofu, and seafood. The cooked food is usually eaten with a dipping sauce.

Located on Kirkman Road, just north of Universal Studios, Nine Spices Hot Pot has a plethora of sauces to mix and match for dipping and with which to accentuate your broth. Our broth choices needed a little extra kick for flavor, but was enjoyable once the spices were added.

I especially enjoyed the option of having all you can eat buffet style for $23.95 per person, so you can just choose what you like as much as you like from the conveyor belt in the convenience of your food both. There is a two hour time limit though, so you can’t be sitting there eating all day.

Menu at Nine Spices Hot Pot

Rotating in and out of your life

Sauces Galore
Beef bone broth
The spicy broth

Quality beef

Our server was also very friendly and accommodating as well, coming by to check on us often.

Overall, I would definitely recommend folks to visit and try out hot pot at Nine Spices, especially for newbies just for the experience alone!

Nine Spices Hot Pot
5320 S Kirkman Rd, Orlando, FL 32819
Phone: (407) 704-1033
https://www.facebook.com/9SpicesHotPot/

Nine Spices Hotpot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Bangrak Thai Street Kitchen has been holding pop up sessions at Swine and Sons the past few months, specializing in authentic Thai cuisine not usually found anywhere else in Central Florida.

We at Tasty Chomps chatted with Dylan Eitharong, one of the founders of Bangrak along with Jordan Neumann recently to find out more about the project and where it’s all headed.

Dylan on Why Bangrak…

When it comes down to it, we’re just two dudes who cook Thai food. Our mission is to bring the Thai street food that my (Dylan) family grew up with to Orlando, where finding these types of dishes is either what we feel misrepresented or totally unavailable.

We try to make all of our dishes 1) from scratch, down to our curry pastes and spice mixes and 2) identical to how you’d find it on the streets of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, etc. We don’t get too fancy or anything. We even get the plates and bowls we use from a little shop in Bangrak (where our name comes from) district, Bangkok. With our events, we really want to evoke a feeling of actually “being there” – minus the 100 degree heat and humidity, haha.

When it comes down to it, we’re just two dudes who cook Thai food.

From the Apartment to Swine and Sons…

As for how we started, well – originally, it was just me, serving thai noodle dishes out of my apartment. I’d constantly be posting Instagram photos of things I’d make at home, and friends would always be like “ohhhh I’ll pay you to cook for me”, so I was like “prove it.”

That was a regular thing for a while, until it got to be too much for just me, but around that time, Jordan had just moved back from Portland, so I approached him about 1) going to Thailand with me to eat “real Thai food”, as I called it, 2) learning to cook the food with me, and 3) starting to make it in a bigger venue (legally, haha).

We did all those things, but not without doing several more guerilla-apartment-dinners first, until we finally partnered with Swine & Sons, which is where we’re based out of now.

Chef Lexi (Alexia Gawlak of Swin and Sons) had actually asked me if I’d be interested in doing the pop ups there a while back, but I hadn’t felt ready, but once Jordan joined me we were able to get our shit together enough to actually do it.

The rest is kind of history I guess – we had our first pop up there October 26th, 2016, and we sold out in 2 hours.

We’ve done several since then, including one at redlight redlight, and as of a month ago, after a month long stint back in Thailand, we’re at Swine every other Wednesday. We love it. We could not be more grateful for the opportunity they’ve given us (if this goes in writing, I want them to know that, hah – I’m sure we drive them crazy sometimes).

We also have some other events in the works around town, with some different sorts of menu items and stuff. We’re really excited. A brick and mortar is inevitable, we just wanna make sure we do it right. Until then, we really like doing the pop-up thing. It feels different than anything we’ve been to here and it’s a lot of fun for us.

Dylan and Jordan

On Acceptance…

On top of that, the Thai community seems to Approve – thankfully, haha. They always seem a little apprehensive that one half-Thai guy and one non-Thai guy is making their food, but the response has been great.

Khanom jeen Nam ngiaw, a northern thai curry of ground pork, pork ribs, steamed blood, tomatoes and dried cotton flowers served over spaghetti noodles with a side of pickled mustard greens.

On previous training in the kitchen…

Neither Jordan or I had any kitchen experience. We just cooked a lot, haha.

On meeting the Gawlaks and how did they get involved…

Lexi and I actually used to work together at Whole Foods. We bonded over loving Asian food and Lucky Peach Magazine (RIP). We were Facebook friends after she left Whole Foods, and I guess she saw what we were doing through that.

I was cashiering and she came through my line and was like “Hey, wanna do one of those things you do in a real restaurant?”

It was a long time before we actually did it though…we were nervous. Now me and Jordan work there (at Swine) outside of Bangrak, too, ha. The Gawlaks are the best – I wonder what Bangrak would be doing without them.

I was cashiering and she came through my line and was like “Hey, wanna do one of those things you do in a real restaurant?”

On future plans for Bangrak…

We’re going to stay a pop-up for a little bit – but not tooooo long. We wanna keep it exciting. While we just started going biweekly at Swine, we have some plans to pop up elsewhere too.

The idea is to keep a full, more sit-down-and-share, type menu there, more variety, and when we go elsewhere, have some sorta themed thing going on – we really wanna do a Thai noodle shop type thing, with the plastic stools and tables and everything.

We brought some cool stuff back from Bangkok with us for that sole purpose. Think you’ll be seeing that soon. We are planning on a brick and mortar when we’re ready too – but we want it to be just right.

We want it to feel like a shophouse you’d eat at in Thailand. When we find the space, we’ll take it.

On some of their favorite dishes on the menu…

So, our Swine menu changes every time except for 3 things – Khao Soi, a curry noodle soup, and two versions of Som Tam, or green papaya salad.

Otherwise, we try to showcase foods from the 4 regions of Thailand – Northern, Northeastern, Central, and Southern.

We pretty much always have some kind of Laab – a salad of minced meat, on the menu, and it’s all but once been a Northeastern (called Isaan) variation. That’s my favorite food of all time – especially the catfish version, which we did recently. It’s delicious.

Jordan really likes the Panang Neua, which is a Southern Thai style curry of beef. It’s super rich, and we do it the old-fashioned way – very dry, thick, not soupy, and oil. It’s goooood.

My tip to anyone who comes to our events – order what sounds the least familiar to you.

On some things most people in Central Florida don’t know about Thai food …

Number 1 – put down your chopsticks. In Thailand, chopsticks are ONLY used for noodles. That’s it. And not even every noodle dish. We send out forks and spoons with all the dishes and we still see people eating Laab (minced meat) with chopsticks. No need! It’s only making your own life more difficult, haha. But in Thailand, it’s mostly either a fork and spoon or your hands. Even then, you use your fork just to push your food onto your spoon. But no chopsticks. It drives me craaaaazy – probably more than it should.

Other than that, it’s really just that Thai food is more varied than just Phad Thai and red, green and yellow curries. In fact there are literally HUNDREDS of types of Thai curries that aren’t eaten over here, and they aren’t even referred to by their color – and they don’t even contain coconut milk!

Thai food is SUPER diverse and regional, and chances are, that dishes that you’re used to eating are entirely different in so many ways than what’s available in Thailand.

A BIG thing we’ve had people ask us is why there’s a lack of vegan or vegetarian dishes on our menu – and our honest answer is that that’s generally how it is in Thailand, especially once you leave the tourist trap areas.

PS – Khao San road and Pai are popular tourist destinations with lots of vegan restaurants and pizza shops, but are far from representative of Thai culture. Steer far, far away. Just a heads up for traveling foodies.

In fact there are literally HUNDREDS of types of Thai curries that aren’t eaten over here, and they aren’t even referred to by their color – and they don’t even contain coconut milk!


On this week’s menu – Nam Tok Muu Yang – “Waterfall Pork”! Grilled pork salad with lime and fish sauce dressing, fresh herbs, chili and toasted rice powder! Spicy, smoky, and also refreshing, this is an Isaan classic! Available this Wednesday, 6/7, from 5-8 PM!

Bangrak Thai Street Kitchen

Popup at Swine & Sons, 595 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park
http://bangrakthaistreetkitchen.com/

Photos courtesy of Bangrak Thai Street Kitchen via David Burns https://www.instagram.com/daveyxburns/

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Last year, after the Pulse Tragedy, restaurants throughout Florida came together to fundraise to support the families and survivors of the tragedy through Dine Out For Orlando (https://www.frla.org/dine-out-orlando/).

This year, to honor the memory of the 49 innocent victims who lost their lives at Pulse and to support the survivors, the City of Orlando and Orange County, in collaboration with Pulse, have designated Monday, June 12, 2017, as Orlando United Day – A Day of Love and Kindness.

On this day, a number of community events and activities will take place, including Acts of Love and Kindness – a homegrown movement led by the One Orlando Alliance and influenced by victims’ families.

Local restaurants are also commemorating June 12th with fundraising with specials.

Here are a few (to be updated as we hear more):

Brooklyn Water Bagel

In support of Orlando United Day on Monday, June 12, Brooklyn Water Bagel’s Winter Park and Lake Mary store locations will serve special limited-time only rainbow bagels – with 100% of the proceeds from rainbow bagel sales to benefit the Better Together Fund at Central Florida Foundation. The bagels will be available in-store Saturday, June 10 through Monday, June 12.

Brooklyn Water Bagel hopes to sell thousands of bagels over the course of the weekend, and you can help do your part! Customers who wish to support the effort may purchase the rainbow bagels individually or even take home a baker’s dozen to share the Brooklyn love.

Brooklyn Water Bagel Lake Mary: 3801 Lake Mary Blvd Unit 139, Lake Mary, FL 32746.
(407) 878-7863

Brooklyn Water Bagel Winter Park: 4026 N Goldenrod Rd, Winter Park, FL 32792.
(407) 681-4011

Umi Restaurant

On Monday, June 12 for #OrlandoUnitedDay, 10% from the day’s sales will be donated to Equality Florida, to support all they do for our community.

Umi Japanese Restaurant
525 S Park Ave, Winter Park, Florida 32789
www.umiwinterpark.com.


Sweet By Holly

On June 12, please join Sweet as they #ActLoveGive together as a united community! On #OrlandoUnitedDay, 50% of all Classic sized Rainbow cupcake sales will be donated to Equality Florida. They anticipate on selling out, so call ahead to book yours! Waterford Lakes – 407.277.7746 or Jacksonville – 904.564.2711. #HonorThemWithAction

Waterford Lakes Town Center
711 North Alafaya Trail
Orlando, FL 32828

St. John’s Town Center
4624 Town Crossing Dr., Suite 137
Jacksonville, FL 32246

Sus Hi Eatstation

As a dedication to “Orlando United Day” and in loving memory of the Pulse victims, they will be donating $5 for every t-shirt sold to the onePULSE Foundation. Pre-order at www.makemeninja.com!

– 4498 N Alafaya Trail #324 Orlando, FL 32826 (UCF/East Orlando area)
– 380 S State Rd 434 #1004 Altamonte Springs, FL 32714 (Altamonte Springs area)

The Osprey Tavern

Proceeds from cookie sales to benefit the Central Florida Foundation
4899 New Broad St, Orlando, FL 32814

Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park

Proceeds from marshmallows to benefit Zebra Coalition
300 S Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
—–

There are a number of ways for you to show the power of love, acceptance and inclusiveness by participating in one of the events and activities on June 12, 2017.

On that day, Orlando After-School All-Stars is also partnering with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s Central Florida Chapter to host “Round Up For Kids” to help fund the Summer of Dreams program. This free 10-week program provides homeless youth with meals, academic enrichment and mentoring.

“Engaging in Acts of Love and Kindness on June 12 is a respectful, meaningful and deeply loving way to remember and honor the lives of those who were lost too soon,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “One year later, I still believe the Pulse tragedy will not define us, but will bring us together.”

Some of Orlando’s best restaurants are making it easy for you to contribute on June 12, 2017. When you dine at any of the restaurants listed here, http://orlandoasas.org/round-up-for-kids/ round up your check to the nearest dollar amount and let your server know you want to Round Up For Kids. The change you donate will help change lives.

“Florida’s hospitality industry is proud to lend its unequivocal support to assist homeless youth in Central Florida. FRLA encourages patrons to dine at participating restaurants and to round up their tabs for children in need,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of FRLA.

Last summer, Summer of Dreams served 1,137 homeless students from 36 different sites in Orange, Seminole and Osceola Counties. Each of those students received academic enrichment, tutoring, mentoring, financial literacy training, a back pack filled with school supplies and two meals a day thanks to support from Summer of Dreams Founding Sponsor, Fifth Third Bank. Those students also worked with staff to provide nearly 8,000 hours of community service.

Barb Scherer, Sr. Vice President/Communications from Fifth Third Bank added, “We are pleased to be sponsoring our seventh year of Summer of Dreams. This program is so critical to provide support for homeless children during the summer gap when there is little access to meals. To partner with the City of Orlando, After School All-Stars, FRLA and area restaurants to honor the Pulse tragedy on Orlando United Day by helping these kids is the ultimate act of love, kindness and generosity. Fifth Third Bank is proud to be a part of the Orlando community.”

http://orlandoasas.org/round-up-for-kids/

Event Site: https://www.frla.org/event/orlando-united-day/

For more information about how you can engage in Orlando United Day—A Day of Love and Kindness, go to orlandounitedday.com and actlovegive.com.

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Blue Bunny® Ice Cream launed its first-ever ice cream food truck concept this year with one of the two exclusive trucks in Orlando, Fla. this month.

This new dessert truck serves gourmet, customizable ice cream cookie sandwiches throughout the Orlando and occasionally the Tampa areas, surprising people with a truly fun and memorable ice cream experience.

For a list of the food truck’s stops this month in Orlando, visit: http://bluebunnytruck.com/events

“Orlando is a nonstop, entertaining city all year round,” says local truck manager Amy Fischer, “All the activity and liveliness provide the perfect atmosphere for Blue Bunny to surprise people with a unique and clever ice cream experience. The truck takes the traditional ice cream sandwich concept to the next level with fresh-baked cookies and many ways to customize each cool treat.”

The Blue Bunny Ice Cream truck bakes four flavors of cookies fresh to order and offers a variety of ice cream flavor and topping combinations to pair with them, choosing from vanilla or chocolate ice cream and adding tasty toppings like sprinkles, candy, mixed nuts and more.

The Blue Bunny Ice Cream truck will be making many stops throughout the greater Orlando area, with occasional trips to Tampa as well.

Orlando, along with Phoenix, Ariz., is one of only two cities to enjoy this new Blue Bunny ice cream sandwich truck concept, making these customizable treats even more special.

To track the truck’s path and find the next ice cream hot spot, fans can follow on Twitter at @Blue_Bunny, and Instagram at @Blue_Bunny and Facebook at facebook.com/blue_bunny
For more information, visit BlueBunny.com.

Photos courtesy of Blue Bunny.

This post was sponsored by Blue Bunny, but the content and opinions expressed are my own.

Bad As’s Sandwiches was originally founded as a food truck but now includes a brick and mortar restaurant, taking over the space once occupied by Se7en Bites Bakery in the Milk District of Orlando.

Founded by Chef John Collazo, whose resume includes KASA and Raga restaurants, Bad As’s Sandwich was his first operation run by himself. He wanted to ‘wow’ food truck lovers in Central Florida with their wild and frankly, badass sandwiches.

Some of their sandwiches include the Big Boy, a huge sandwich sure to please the inner fat boy in each of us, made with Adobo roasted pork, bacon, pepperoni, tater tots, and more.

I ordered the special of the day: El Anormal, with adobo roasted pork, chorizo, chipotle jack cheese, pickled fried onions, topped with savory aioli and drizzled with a sweet guava glaze. It was a spectacle behold, oozing with meat and cheese and sauce, but was so, so satisfying of a sandwich. Make sure to ask for wet naps to go with this though.

Bad As’s Sandwiches
207 Primrose Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 757-7191
http://badasssandwiches.com/

Bad As's Sandwich Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Spanish Winter Park restaurant Bulla Gastrobar has its fair share of Spanish wines, but its mixologist Joel Mesa is suggesting two favorites this National Wine Day (May 25): Serras del Priorat (red) and Avancia Godello (white).

Mesa says:

The red wine most exclusive to Bulla is Serras del Priorat. It is from Priorat – a very unique and prestigious region of Spain. It is a “red wine for red wine drinkers,” as they say.

Avancia Godello, which comes from another amazing region of Spain called Valdeorras, is an exclusive white wine we offer at Bulla. It is top-of-the-line when it comes to white grape wines.


Serras del Priorat

What dishes would you suggest to pair with it?
Any braised red meat dishes such as Costillas de Res or Montado de Costillas.

Can you describe the flavors of the wine?
Delicious dried fruit such as figs, raisins and dates on the aroma and palate with great concentration and just enough acidity to pair excellently with food.

What are you looking for when you pair certain dishes with certain wines?
In this case, I’m looking for similar intensities between the wine and the food. A bold red wine begs for very flavorful food.

Avancia Godello

What dishes would you suggest to pair with it?
Salmon Organico, Paella

Can you describe the flavors of the wine?
The ultimate expression of the Godello grape. A full bodied white with citrus and melon aromas but still loaded with lots of minerality to remind one of how serious it really is.

What are you looking for when you pair certain dishes with certain wines?
In the case of the Salmon, I’m pairing the wine with that silky lemon cream sauce and looking for the parallel there. It also must be remembered that this wine, being fresh but full-bodied, will resonate very well with rice dishes, particularly those featuring seafood.

Bulla Gastrobar
110 S Orlando Ave #7, Winter Park, FL 32789
Phone: (321) 214-6120

Menu:
http://bullagastrobar.com/media/menus/BullaWinterParkMenus.pdf

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by Hoang Nguyen

We were invited to try out one of Ruth’s Chris Tastemaker Dinners featuring an assortment of Johnnie Walker. The atmosphere was very casual, but I felt that was what really made the night memorable.

I have to be honest, my first time visiting Ruth’s Chris was not great, and the main reason for it was the atmosphere. This experience completely changed my perspective.

The dinner was quite informative, with the history of Johnnie Walker and their whisky. Two characteristics of Johnnie Walker bottles is that it has the iconic square bottle, which was established by Johnnie Walker’s grandson, Alexander Walker, in 1860. With this shape, it meant more bottles fit the same space and resulted in fewer broken bottles. The other characteristic is the label, which is placed at an angle of 24 degrees. This allows the text to be more visible and allows text to be made larger.

We were escorted to our table and immediately served our first drink of the night.

The Scottish Standard, which comprised of Johnnie Walker Black, Cointreau, Cardamom, Prosecco. This drink was paired with Stuffed Shrimp Scampi, Lasagna Roulade Spinach Ricotta, and Tomato Basil Sauce. The dish was a refreshing way to start off the night. The Prosecco did well to mask the sometimes intense flavor of the Johnnie Walker Black. The shrimp was made well with a zesty lemon flavor and garlic, which was not overpowering. The lasagna was not packed with as much flavor as I was hoping for, and the pasta was also on the dry side, even with the marinara sauce.

The second course was a balsamic roasted pear salad with caramelized pecans and blue cheese, paired with Johnnie Walker Black, served neat. The salad was refreshing, where the sweetness of the pear and pecans helped ease the strong bite of the Johnnie Walker Black. The pear had just the right amount of sweetness, without tasting like it was soaked in syrup.

The third course was a red lentil and cauliflower soup with cilantro and tomato chutney. The drink that accompanied the entree was called the Tiki Scotsman, which was made with Johnnie Walker Black, Fassionola Syrup, Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice, Mint, and Nutmeg. The soup had a strong curry flavor, which I enjoyed. The drink was a little too sweet for my taste. However, this drink would be great for a person who does not regularly drink scotch/whisky.

The fourth course was the Petite Filet Mignon Oscar with Lyonnaise Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms. This entree was paired with Johnnie Walker Platinum, served neat. The platinum had a very smooth flavor, which complemented the heaviness of the filet and crab meat. The steak was cooked to perfection and just melted in your mouth.

The night ended with tiramisu and a glass of Johnnie Walker Blue served neat. The tiramisu was very light, not overly sweet. The tiramisu lacked more of the espresso flavor. Other than that, the creaminess of the dessert enhanced the flavor of the exceptional blend of the Johnnie Walker Blue. I highly recommend this experience for anyone. Not only was it a very fun night, but you might learn a few interesting tidbits. If you would like more information on upcoming tastemade events, such as their Chateau Montelena wine dinner next month, please check out the following link:

https://www.ruthschris.com/promotions/taste-maker-dinners?utm_source=WDPR&utm_medium=Various&utm_campaign=WDPR

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National Brisket Day (Sunday, May 28) is quickly approaching and 4 Rivers Smokehouse is celebrating with a week of delicious specials available Monday, May 22 – Saturday, May 27.

Specials Include:

· John’s Big Dog Loaded Chili Cheese Brisket Burger ($7.99) Chargrilled ground brisket smothered with John’s Big Dog Chili, nacho cheese, crispy French fries, onions and jalapenos. Add 2 sides for $2.50.

· John’s Big Dog Chili Cheese Fries ($4.99) Crinkle cut French fries topped with John’s Big Dog Chili, nacho cheese and fresh Pico de Gallo

· Cornbread Salad ($2.29) Romaine lettuce tossed with pickles, peppers and onions in a sweet creamy dressing topped with crumbled Texas cornbread and chopped bacon.

visit https://4rsmokehouse.com/ for more info

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The Taste of Yucatan is a new Mexican taco restaurant specializing in food from the Yucatan – with a heavy emphasis on Mayan influences. We owe much to the ancient Mayan culture which has given us gems such as guacamole, tamales, and chocolate.

Taste of Yucatan sells empanadas and also a limited daily supply of vaporsito, a banana leaf wrapped ground beef tamale.

Cochinita pibil (also known as puerco pibil or cochinita con achiote) is another traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish originating from the Yucatán Península. Cochinita stands for pork and a pibil is the Mayan oven that it is roasted in.

Preparation of traditional cochinita involves marinating the meat in strongly acidic citrus juice, seasoning it with annatto seed which imparts a vivid burnt orange color, and roasting the meat while it is wrapped in banana leaf. At Taste of Yucatan, the pork is marinated in sour orange and slow roasted for 8 hours wrapped in banana leaf.

When ordering, guests can first choose preparation – whether with hand made corn tortilla tacos, or salbute – deep fried handmade Mayan corn tortilla, panucho – similar to the salbute but with fried beans inside of the tortilla, quesadilla style, or burrito style.

Then, choose your meat – from cochinita pibil, to al pastor (layered pork steak marinated in a combination of dried chilies, spices and pineapple), carnitas (seasoned pork braised until tender with lard and herbs), barbacoa (spicy shredded beef slowly braised for hours in a blend of chipotle adobo and herbs), rajas Poblanas (sliced poblano pepper with onion, mushrooms, corn and cream), carne asada (marinated Grilled Beef), Pollo Adobado (Chicken marinated with mixture of dried red chiles, garlic, spices, and vinegar), Carne Molida (Ground Beef Mexican Style), Papa con Chorizo (Smash potatoes + Mexican Chorizo), Champiñon (Sauteed mushrooms), or Queso (Mozzarella Cheese).

It’s a small place, but the tacos pack a lot of flavor. It did bring me memories of my trip to the Yucatan a few years ago, especially the influence of the Mayan dishes.

My favorites included the barbacoa and the cochinita pibil. I really enjoyed the salbute style of fried corn tortilla in the tacos – unique and delicious.

Taste of Yucatan
1375 S. Semoran Blvd.
Orlando, FL, 32807
(407) 704-2248
thetasteofyucatan.com

The Taste of Yucatan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Millenia106, recently opened (no surprises here) in the Millenia area (Suite 106) and helmed by local Chef Bruno Fonseca. You may remember Chef Fonseca once owned and operated the 5 Gastronomy food truck in the beginning of the gourmet food truck days here in Orlando. He taught at Le Cordon Bleu and also worked in several local restaurant kitchens in town.

We got to chat with Chef Bruno via e-mail to dig a little deeper into his story and the new venture at Millenia106.

Chef Bruno Fonseca of Millenia106.

Tell us about yourself and background.

I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  I was raised in a household with strong Portuguese influences, where we sat nightly for dinner together, with a variety of foods through the weeks. Fish, potatoes, olive oil were seen at the table as often as black beans and rice.

My mom is a great cook, and she made sure that we always had variety not only in flavors but also culturally. She would always explain where the food originated, etc…  I got to the US (Orlando) in 1993, where I have travelled through the US extensively.

Lived in Tallahassee while attending school, spent a ton of time in Portland, OR., and I have enjoyed driving cross country often.

However I always would circled back to Orlando…

What inspired you to start cooking?

Multiple things… where I grew up, I lived right across the street from the ocean.  We were always eating incredibly fresh seafood and I loved it!!

Also my family was never wealthy, but my mother truly enjoyed taking us out to eat at nice places once a month or so.

In the beginning, it was a drag for me since I was so young, but as I grew older and got exposed to other things, I began to enjoy it.

After moving to the US, I worked in various restaurants in the front of the house.  One day working a server shift at the Governor’s Club, I was asked to help in the kitchen.

It was a fine dining club, headed by Master Chef Jack Shoop… and I was hooked.  I dropped out of college, moved to Orlando, and went into culinary school.

 Tell us about the Millenia 106 concept and the menu.

106’s concept is very straight forward: we source ingredients locally, we change our menus daily, and we serve New American fare.

From oysters, to pork, to whole fish, pan seared chickens, to local beers, craft cocktails, boutique wines.  We identify ourselves as an ever changing restaurant that takes pride in serving great food at an affordable price.

I am proud to say that I put our food up against any restaurant in Orlando.

My previous experiences as a cook and as person (culturally) are seen on the menu daily as are the personalities of others that work with me are in there as well.

What are your first childhood food memories?

So many… my “ a-ha” moment was going to a traditional French restaurant as a kid in Rio, and breaking the sugar dome in a dessert.

Also, seeing my mom frying “bolinho de bacalhau” (salted cod fish cakes) and eating it before lunch with a load of olive oil…eating “feijoada” (traditional black bean stew) after the beach on Saturdays, was a big deal too.

I consider myself very lucky on that department.

What are some of your favorite dishes at your new restaurant?

The Portuguese Surf and Turf is incredible with pork belly confit, fish collar, grilled royal red shrimp, and sofrito Ipa broth, and murro potatoes., as is the chicken that we get from Orlando Farms, but I am really enjoying this new tuna dish we have now.

Its Fl Tuna, farro “verde”, chanterelle mushrooms, tomato-citrus salad, coriander jus.

What do you like to cook for “comfort food” at home with your family?

My daughters love a simple pasta with tomato sauce, and whole roasted chicken.  Nothing better.

Where are some of your favorite local places in Orlando to dine in (outside of Millenia 106).

Once a week I am at Border Grill (Mexican) and Pizza Bruno.  Great honest delicious food.

Millenia 106 Restaurant and Bar
4104 Millenia Blvd, Ste 106
Orlando, FL 32839
Phone number (407) 930-6206
www.millenia106.com

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I recently had lunch at DoveCote, coined as a modern brasserie,  now open on the ground floor of the Bank of America Center at 390 N. Orange Ave.

Led by Chef Clayton Miller, a past winner of a “Best New Chef” award from Food & Wine Magazine, the restaurant draws inspiration from classic French cuisine to refine his take on dishes such as Cote De Boeuf, Steak Frites and Bouillabaisse. DoveCote also features a raw bar serving a curated assortment of oysters, shrimp, mussels, clams and other seasonal seafood selections.

In addition to daily lunch and dinner service, DoveCote offers a coffee and pastry breakfast Monday to Friday beginning at 7 a.m. until supplies last. A craft coffee menu and barista service is available all day.

I recently went to visit with some friends for a lovely lunch there. Inside,  the restaurant is furnished with a rustic French look, kind of like something out of the department store, Anthropologie. The seating was a bit uncomfortable as I recalled being a little bit too close to other diners. It may be a turnoff for those who prefer their lunch conversations private.

We began with an order of the pain maison, the house bread rolls accompanied with black olive butter and roasted garlic.

I ordered the Croque Monsieur, $15, a wonderful French style ham and gruyere cheese sandwich topped with more cheese and mornay sauce. The bread was flavorful and soft, and overall the sandwich was a delight.

My dining companions had the chicken salad croissant sandwich and the shaved roast beef sandwich. Both were well received.

DoveCote is open Monday to Friday 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Saturday 5:00 p.m. to 10:00PM and closed Sunday.

DoveCote Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The Florida Hospital Foundation

presents

Rosen Shingle Creek 9939 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL 32819

 

Sunday, May 21, 2017 5pm – 9pm

 

Roll up your sleeves and join over 60 of Central Florida’s talented chefs for Florida Hospital’sGourmet Soiree Chef Show on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at Rosen Shingle Creek.

 

At this exciting event, hosted by top culinary professionals, teams will prepare a delicious and healthy meal while competing against other tables for best dish.

Join us for a hands-on dining experience where all proceeds benefit vital programs at Florida Hospital — focusing on children’s health and wellness initiatives that teach good eating habits and healthy life choices.

 

HOW TO DESCRIBE THIS EVENT:

INTERACTIVE COOKING ? TEAM BUILDING ? COOK WITH YOUR CHEF ? LIKE “IRON CHEF” ? CASUAL EVENING ?

BEST DATE NIGHT EVER ? FUN WAY TO RECOGNIZE AND ENTERTAIN CLIENTS ? HEALTHY ? FARM TO TABLE ?

HIGH ENERGY ? FRIENDLY COMPETITION ? SOUS CHEF ? ENTERTAINING WAY TO LEARN HOW TO COOK ?COOKING FOR A CAUSE

 

Will you accept this healthy challenge?

 

For questions and additional event and sponsorship information, please contact Tamara Dempster at Tamara.Dempster@FlHosp.org or (407) 303-9574.

 

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Join me this Thursday at First Watch in Mills 50!
First Watch is hosting our 4th annual “Breakfast for Dinner” on Thursday, May 18 from 5:30pm until 7pmto raise money for Mills 50 beautification projects.
Local celebrity servers, including City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, City Commissioner Robert Stuart, Ricky Ly of Tasty Chomps, Eric Rollings, Chair of Orange Soil and Water Conservation District and the infamous Saucy Bernaise, will be on hand to take your orders!  Suggested donation is $20 (which includes your meal) and will be collected at the door.
Seating is limited to 75 people so please rsvp to: director@mills50.org

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Founded in 1981 in Palm Beach, TooJay’s is as a classic New York-style deli.

Its Executive Chef Dennis Snuszka was born & raised in Buffalo, NY who worked as a line cook at a hotel while attending high school.

Eventually, he graduated in 1974 from the Culinary Institute of America with a degree in Culinary arts, going on to work with Landry’s Seafood, RJ Gator’s Grill and Bar, and now Vice President of Food and Beverage at TooJay’s Deli.

Here is a quick interview we had with him via e-mail about his likes and favorite memories.

Favorite first memories of food and my inspiration to cook:

Early influence was at an early age cooking with my grandmother all food from scratch.
Prepared egg noodles, yeast breads, sauerkraut, soups, coffee cakes, pickles, canning fruit, etc.

Best Dishes to Try at TooJay’s:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Medley/Mini Loaded Latkes/Matzo Ball Soup



Reuben


Strawberry Citrus Salad


Chipotle Bacon Burger


Hot Pastrami on Rye

Also,

Chicken Capri
Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Soda
Banana Dream/Carrot Cake

One Dish to make for myself after work:

Braised Short Ribs, Roasted Vegetables

Favorite Local Restaurants to dine in Orlando:

• MoonFish, Dr. Phillips: Beef Carpaccio, Tuna Sashimi and Swordfish au Poivre
• Fleming’s Steakhouse, Dr. Phillips: Maple Slab Cut Bacon/Prime Dry Aged NY Strip
• Fish Bones, Sand Lake/Republic: New England Clam Chowder/Citrus & Oak Grilled Black Grouper

——-

TooJay’s is also now celebrating National Burger Month with three new mouthwatering burger creations from April 24 through June 4.

The Hamburger originated in the 1600s as “steak tartare” in Hamburg, Germany and evolved to cooked beef patties on a bun that grew popular among U.S. workers at the beginning of the 20th century as they were easy to eat on the go. Stats show that 73% of burger fans worldwide eat at least one burger a month, 22% top their burgers with cheese, and 60% choose french fries as the perfect accompaniment.

  • Hangover Burger

In the quest for hangover remedies, hearty burgers often do the trick. Caramelized onions, American cheese, bacon, and remoulade sauce topped with a fried egg make TooJay’s new Hangover Burger the perfect cure for a hangover or for simply beating the boring burger blues! $11.49

 

  • Avocado Burger

Prized for its nutrient value, good flavor and rich texture, avocado has become a popular superfood. Fresh sliced avocado, Swiss cheese, arugula and lemon garlic aioli make TooJay’s new Avocado Burger a discriminating diner’s delight. $11.49 Add bacon for $1.29.

 

  • BBQ Burger

For National Burger Month, nothing says BBQ like the aroma of a burger topped with smokehouse bacon, American cheese, smoky BBQ sauce and a crispy onion ring. $10.99

find the closest toojays to you at: toojays.com

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There is a new Cantonese style Chinese restaurant in town, located right next to 1st Spring Supermarket on Colonial near Rouse Road in East Orlando.

Hong Kong Alley Kitchen had recently been re-modeled and are having a $19.99 two lobster special.

We went to dinner with a group of family and friends and I came back mostly underwhelmed. I think the most upsetting thing about the meal was the menu – all translated I believe using Google Translate.

Many of the items made no sense whatsoever and it irked me that they didn’t bother to consult with any one fluent in English to help them smooth out the translations so that customers can get an idea of what they are ordering.

Overall, I thought the dishes were a bit ho hum, and though came out beautifully, had some off flavors that I did not enjoy. Mostly bland, and the sauce a bit too cloying.

My favorite dish was probably the fried rice.

I hear the three cups chicken and some of the other spicy dishes were good so will have to return to investigate further. Hopefully they will have their menu translated by then.

Sure I’d like some honey pork baking or miscellaneous vegetable shrimp…

 

Crab and Corn soup
Hong Kong Pepper beef ribeye
Mandarin Pork Chops
Young Chow Fried Rice
Stir fried lobster with ginger and scallions
Seafood Clay pot
Stir fried Water Spinach with Garlic
Beef and tomatoes

Hong Kong Alley’s Kitchen

10625 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32817

Hong Kong Alleys Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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LUMA ON PARK

Showing mom all your appreciation in just one day can be a hefty task. Start off the day with a Mother’s Daybrunch at Orlando’s culinary gem, Luma on Park. The chefs at Luma will serve their popular menu as well as an assortment of unique brunch items, with Bellinis and Bloody Marys. Brunch will be served from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Reservations are encouraged, please call (407) 599-4111 or visit our website www.lumaonpark.com.

PRATO

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, so treat your most special lady to brunch at Prato. The lunch menu will be served alongside select brunch items, along with Bellinis and Bloody Marys from the culinary team at Orlando’s favorite Italian restaurant. Brunch will be served from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., reservations can be made by calling (407) 262-0050 or visiting our website www.prato-wp.com.

LUKE’S KITCHEN + BAR

Show your gratitude this Mother’s Day by starting her special day with some quality time at Luke’s Kitchen + Bar. The latest concept by Chef Brandon McGlamery will offer its fresh new lunch menu served alongside select brunch items that capture the very best of locally grown American fare. Bellinis and Bloody Marys will also be available to be sipped inside or on the patio. Reservations can be made by calling (407) 674-2400 or visiting our website www.eatlukes.com.

HIGHBALL & HARVEST

Moms deserve the best every year, start the day off right with brunch at Highball & Harvest at The Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes. The buffet brunch will feature spring vegetables, a champagne bar, and freshly shucked oysters from 12 p.m. until 3 p.m. Reservations are encouraged. Adult guests may dine for $99 and children ages twelve and under for $40. Reservations can be made by calling (407)393-4422 or visiting our website www.ritzcarlton.com.

The Alfond Inn at Rollins, Winter Park

Mother’s Day Brunch at The Alfond Inn on Sunday, May 14, will feature seatings at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Adults are $69 and children ages 5-12 are $29.  Complimentary valet parking. For more info visit: http://www.thealfondinn.com/blog/for-a-mothers-day-brunch/

Tapa Toro (I-Drive 360, 8441 International Dr)

Mom drinks free during a special Spanish-style brunch buffet with live entertainment from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Complimentary bottomless mimosas and sangria available with purchase of adult buffet. $35 per adult and $15 per child. http://tapatoro.restaurant/mothers-day-brunch/

Taverna Opa (Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Dr)

Mom eats free on Mother’s Day with family-style menu for four. One offer per party. Traditional Greek entertainment all day.  http://opaorlando.com/mothers-day/

Emeril’s Tchoup Chop

Mother’s day brunch (from noon-3 p.m.) with some unique takes on some brunch favorites including… Crab Cake Eggs Benedict with Tri Color Potato Sweet Pepper Maui Onion Hash, Crisp Bacon; Lobster Avocado Mango Salad with Local Baby Greens, Hearts of Palm, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Champagne Papaya Seed Vinaigrette; Stuffed Hawaiian French Toast with Strawberry Guava Cheesecake, Chantilly Cream, Lilikoi Mango Maple Syrup; and “KFC” & Waffles with Korean Fried Chicken, Sriracha Maple Syrup, Garlic Spinach Sesame Butter.  Also, all you can drink Bellinis, Mimosas or Bloody Marys for $22 per person from Noon to 3 p.m.  Click here to view Chef Ryan’s entire Mother’s Day Brunch Menu.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Celebrate Mother’s Day all weekend-long with Surf & Turf specials, extended hours and a special surprise for mom. Moms who dine in on Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14 will receive a complimentary, $25 credit to use towards a future purchase.  Guests are encouraged to make reservations for Mother’s Day weekend and can do so by either calling their nearest Ruth’s Chris Steak House or visiting https://www.ruthschris.com/promotions/mothersday. Pricing, menus, special gift and hours may vary per location.

Ocean Prime Orlando

Guests of Ocean Prime Orlando can begin their brunch experience with a Blood Orange Mimosa, with cointreau, champagne and blood orange juice, available for $9 or, a Signature Bloody Mary with vodka, house-made mix and jumbo shrimp, available for $14. For brunch, guests can enjoy smoked salmon with sliced tomato, arugula, whipped cream cheese and bagel for $18, blackened salmon salad with an assortment of fruit, goat cheese, field greens, candied walnuts and basil poppyseed dressing for $19, French toast with mixed fresh berries, lemon curd, candied bacon and maple syrup for $15, quiche with spinach, provolone, parmesan, arugula salad and fresh fruit for $14, crab and eggs with an english muffin, poached egg, mixed greens, hollandaise, fresh fruit, and balsamic vinaigrette for $19 or braised short rib surf and turf with crispy gouda potato cake, lobster claw, poached egg and hollandaise for $22. Ocean Prime Orlando is located at 7339 West Sand Lake Road in Orlando. For reservations, please call 407-781-4880.

Fogo de Chão

All mothers who dine on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 14; 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.) will receive a complimentary dining card for a free lunch or dinner on her next visit (redeemable May 15 – July 13; one complimentary card per mom while supplies last).  Please note that kids 6 and under dine free at Fogo, and children ages 7 – 12 are always half price (and not just on Mother’s Day!).

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Cinco de Mayo is coming so we were wondering what are your favorite places for tacos in Orlando? Send us your answer, and you could win $100 gift card for with Qdoba  who are promoting their catering service for Cinco de Mayo!

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Qdoba Mexican Eats® makes hosting the perfect Cinco de Mayo fiesta a breeze with their catering menu!

 

· The food is delivered right to your party, and guests will love the hot, delicious and completely customizable meals, and the hosts will love how easy Qdoba makes it!

· Perfect for parties big and small, Qdoba’s catering bars are fully stocked with warmed chips and salsa, savory meats and fresh toppings, including delicious guacamole made with Avocados from Mexico, and more.

· You can order Qdoba catering for your Cinco party by visiting www.qdoba.com/catering or calling: 888-736-2224.

QDOBA $100 GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY CONTEST

One entry per person, winner will be chosen randomly on Friday April 28,2017 at 5pm!

TO ENTER:
1. Subscribe to our E-mail Newsletter -TastyChomps Newsletter here
2. E-mail us the answers to the questions below to tastychomps@gmail.com:
a. Did you subscribe to the e-mail newsletter? Yes/No
b. What’s your favorite place for tacos in Orlando? 

THANKS!

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Orlando’s Mills 50 District is known for its eclectic and diverse restaurants and businesses – from the Vietnamese markets and restaurants to fusion restaurants like Tako Cheena and Pig Floyd’s serving up creative and delightfully delicious dishes with a modern twist.

Lately there have been new restaurants popping up so here is our latest guide to the Mills 50 District – visit soon!

Black Rooster Taqueria
Image via yelp.com

Dishes to try: Achiote Pork taco made with slow roasted pork in banana leaf, achiote, pickled onion, cilantro, habanero salsa and the divine Chocolate Chipotle Flan for dessert.

Black Rooster Taqueria
1323 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 601-0994
www.blackroostertaqueria.com
Banh Mi Nha Trang
Dishes to try: Any of the 22 Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches! I like the traditional banh mi dac biet nha trang with their spicy nuoc cham sauce.
Banh Mi Nha Trang
1216 E Colonial Dr #9, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 346-4549
Lazy Moon Pizza

Dishes to try: Their ginormous pizza – top it any way you like. Eat with a knife and fork.

Lazy Moon Pizza

1011 E Colonial Dr, Ste 101
Orlando, FL 32803
Phone number (407) 412-6222
lazymoonpizza.com

Tasty Wok

Dishes to try: Cantonese bbq plate with crispy skin roast pork, honey bbq roast pork, and roast duck, and the fried salt and pepper squid.

Tasty Wok
1246 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 896-8988
King Bao

Dishes to try: Hogzilla bao, braised pork belly with pickled carrots and daikon, and the truffle tater tots.

King Bao
https://www.facebook.com/kingbaoorlando/
Address: 710 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803, United States
Phone: +1 407-237-0013

King Cajun Crawfish – Vietnamese influenced Louisiana cajun cuisine

Dishes to try: Boiled crawfish, crab, and shrimp in “sha-bang” sauce, a unique blend of buttery garlic, spices, and sweet orange peel. Also try the beignets and fried shrimp po boy sandwiches.  The owners are from Louisiana and imbued their Vietnamese heritage into some of the dishes like the gumbo. They recently moved into this larger place next door.

King Cajun Crawfish
924 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 704-8863
www.kingcajuncrawfish.com

Mamak – Malaysian street food

SONY DSC

Dishes to try: Wontons in hot peanut sauce, Indian mee goreng, char kwa teo, and the roti canai.

Mamak
1231 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 270-4688
www.mamakasianorlando.com

Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa

SONY DSC
Dishes to try:  The Oak-smoked St. Louis ribs (half-rack $14.99, full $22.99) are truly among the best, if not the best, ribs in all of Orlando – slow-cooked with a crispy surface yet tender, fall of the bone meat within and a nice sweet flavor. Try it with the crispy sweet fennel apple salad. Also,  great chicken tikka tacos and shrimp and chorizo tacos.

Pig Floyds
1326 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 203-0866
www.pigfloyds.com

Chuan Lu Garden – Sichuan Chinese cuisine


Dishes to try: La Zi Fish, fried with spicy numb Sichuan peppercorns, cumin lamb, beef and chicken clay pot, dan dan noodles, sliced tofu and fish in hot sauce, and the pan fried house made dumplings.

Chuan Lu Garden
Phone (407) 896-8966
??1101 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
http://www.chuanluorlando.com/

The Strand


Dishes to try: STRAND BURGER – bacon, blue cheese dressing,
lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, & roasted jalapeño on brioche bun served with fries

The Strand
807 N Mills Ave
Orlando, FL 32803
Phone number (407) 920-7744
strandorlando.com

Vietnam Cuisine:


Dishes to try: Banh cuon, a rice noodle crepe dish filled with mushrooms and pickled daikon radish, and the oxtail beef pho noodle soup.

Vietnam Cuisine

1224 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 228-7053

Ming Bistro: Dim Sum

Dishes to try: Dim sum! Shrimp ha gow dumplings, siu mai pork dumplings, fried taro shrimp balls, chicken feet, steamed spare ribs, a plate of beef chow fun, salt and pepper calamari, and some egg custart tart pastries for dessert.

 

Ming’s Bistro
Phone: 407-898-9672
1212 Woodward St., Suite 6
Orlando, FL 32803

 

For more on things to do when visiting Orlando, Florida, visit: http://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/things-to-do.html

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It was an honor to judge the 2017 Taste of Winter Park this year – the restaurants and chefs of Winter Park pulled out all the punches this week in presenting their best eats to benefit the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce.

Here are some of my favorite eats:

Prato – Dessert , Luke’s – Crabcake, Luma – Meatball

Swine and Sons – Pulled Pork burgers with like 30 house made accompaniments 

  • Chefs Rhys and Alexia Gawlak brought not one but TWO whole smoked pigs for Winter Park Taste, and they were moist and tender and altogether delicious!

Hunger Street Tacos – Beef brisket quesadilla and watermelon margarita 

Bulla Gastrobar – Chicken and Mushroom Paella and Seafood Salad

Four Rivers – Cochon lait tacos

Boi Brazil
Peterbrooke Chocolatier

Antonella’s Pizza Winter Park

Umi Sushi

Anthros sponsor

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Quickly Boba is “quickly” expanding across the Central Florida region with five shops open already with more to come. The original Quickly is located at Maguire and Colonial next to Del-Dio’s pizza and is popular for their boba tea, poke bowls, and many appetizers like Taiwanese popcorn chicken.

Quickly

While four of the Quickly’s are owned by the same family, the newest Quicky Cafe by UCF is owned by a UCF alumni and friend named Daniel Dang and his family.

Spam and eggs rice bowl

There are a few differences here: they serve a variety of rice bowls including Korean bulgogi beef bowl and spam musubi, in addition to the many boba teas. They do also have the Taiwanese popcorn chicken made famous in Taiwan by the original Quickly and even have giant fried Chicken breast chops that are a popular street food item in Taiwan.

Quickly Boba by UCF
Quickly Boba by UCF
Quickly Boba by UCF menu
Quickly Boba by UCF menu
Variety of topping for the tea
Sizes
Korean bulgogi beef and egg bowl
Fried tofu bowl
Quickly Boba by UCF
Quickly Chicken bowl
Quickly Boba by UCF popcorn chicekn
Spring rolls

Quickly Boba Café
Address: 11772 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32817
Phone: (407) 930-2233
http://quicklybobacafe.com/

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