Authors Posts by Ricky Ly of TastyChomps.com

Ricky Ly of TastyChomps.com

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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. In 2017, he was inducted into the Orlando Sentinel's Culinary Hall of Fame. He is also featured in the Orlando Sentinel's Central Florida 100, a weekly opinion column featuring 100 of the most influential people in local government, politics and culture. In 2018, he was chosen by the Orlando Weekly as one of the "Ten People Making Orlando a Better Place to Be." E-mail him at tastychomps(at)gmail.com. Google

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National Mezcal Day Dinner
Sunday, October 21 – 6pm

Join Reyes Mezcaleria for a 5-course mezcal pairing dinner
featuring Del Maguey. Along with dinner, guests will enjoy insights on the history of Oaxaca, Mexico and the distinguished process of Mezcal distillation and production.
Presented by Del Maguey, Bartist Orlando and Reyes Mezcaleria.

ticket info
https://reyesmezcaldinner.bpt.me

National Mezcal Day Dinner
Sunday, October 21 – 6pm

Join Reyes Mezcaleria for a 5-course mezcal pairing dinner
featuring Del Maguey. Along with dinner, guests will enjoy insights on the history of Oaxaca, Mexico and the distinguished process of Mezcal distillation and production.
Presented by Del Maguey, Bartist Orlando and Reyes Mezcaleria.

– NATIONAL MEZCAL DAY DINNER MENU –

—First Course
chicharrón Preparado
cabbage, avocado, tomato, red onion, purple potatoes,
salsa fresca

-Otoño Loco
Del Maguey Vida, cactus pear, lime, agave, bubbles

—Second Course
Oyster Duo
grilled oyster topped with adobo butter, with sun dried tomato and cotija croquet / cold smoked oyster with jicama and lime aquafaba

-Taza de Dios
Del Maguey Chichicapa, acorn squash, avocado pit orgeat, lime

—Third Course
Jícama Taquito
shrimp ceviche, cilantro, tomato water, red onion

—Fourth Course
Cochinita Pibil
traditional slow roasted pork cooked in banana leaf parcels served with pickled red onion, tostada and black beans

Grilled Calabaza
pumpkin seeds, queso fresco

Fresh Corn Purée
charred poblano, tomatillo salsa

-Del Maguey Iberico Tasting

—Dessert
Churro Ice Cream Sandwiches
horchata ice cream

– Dulce Vida –
Del Maguey Crema, cocoa, cinnamon, chile, Genepy infused whipped cream, vanilla bean

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Homestead Harvest at Whisper Creek Farm
Friday, October 26, 2018, 7pm-10pm (Registration opens at 6:30pm)
PLEASE PARK AT THE RITZ-CARLTON GOLF CLUB TO REGISTER FOR THE EVENT.

Please join us for the Second Annual Homestead Harvest hosted at Whisper Creek Farm at Grande Lakes Orlando.

With a mission to foster a movement to encourage more sustainable farming and food production systems in the region, Homestead Harvest is a one-night-only exclusive food and beverage event with proceeds jointly benefitting Fleet Farming and Frog Song Organics.

This is an exciting evening for a wonderful cause enabling guests to wander through Whisper Creek Farm as they sample amazing culinary creations at reception-style food stations, beverage pairings including beer, cocktails, and wine by Tito’s Vodka, Breakthru Beverage, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and Icelandic Glacial, as well as live music.

Purchase Tickets here: https://events.handbid.com/auctions/homestead-harvest-at-whisper-creek-farm-2018/tickets

The resort’s own Highball & Harvest culinary team will be joined by:
Todd Richards, Iron Chef participant, Author of SOUL, Culinary Director of One Flew South and Chicken + Bar
Scott Pizzo, Highball & Harvest
Elek Kovacs, The Osprey Tavern
James Petrakis, The Ravenous Pig
Andrew Yeo, The Miami Beach EDITION
Jeffrey Scott, The Miami Beach EDITION
Norman Van Aken, Norman’s and 1921 by Norman Van Aken
Andres Mendoza, Norman’s
Camilo Velasco, 1921 by Norman Van Aken
Brandon McGlammery, Luke’s Kitchen & Bar
Kevin Fonzo, The Kevin Fonzo Foundation
Paula DaSilva, Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits at The Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale
Alexander Isidron , The Grill at The Ritz-Carlton Naples
Juan Pablo de la Sota Riva, The Grill at The Ritz-Carlton Naples
Sheldon Millett, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
John Janucik, JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes
Stephane Cheramy, The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes

 

Norman van Aken
Chef/Owner
Norman’s

View Biography

Andres Mendoza
Executive Chef
Norman’s

View Biography

Scott Pizzo
Chef
Highball & Harvest

View Biography

Stephane Cheramy
Executive Pastry Chef
The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes

View Biography

Paula DaSilva
Chef de Cuisine
The Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale

View Biography

Brandon McGlamery
Chef & Partner
Luma on Park
Prato
Lukes

View Biography

John Janucik
Executive Chef
JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes

View Biography

James Petrakis
Chef/Owner
The Ravenous Pig

View Biography

Camilo Velasco
Chef/Owner
Chef de Cuisine – 1921 by Norman VanAke

View Biography

Elek Kovacs
Chef de Cuisine
The Osprey Tavern

View Biography

Andrew Yeo
Executive Chef – Edition

View Biography

Sheldon Millett
Executive Pastry Chef

View Biography

Fleet Farming:
Fleet Farming is a non-profit urban agriculture program whose mission is to empower all generations to grow food to increase local food accessibility. Fleet Farming has a vision to create localized food systems, which bring communities together for a healthier, more connected world. Fleet Farming accomplishes this by converting underutilized lawn space into productive localized edible gardens or micro farms, ultimately changing the cycle of food.


Frog Song Organics:
Free Mulch Incorporated is the For Purpose organization housed within the Frog Song Organics Farm. Its mission is to grow farmers by creating a farm incubator model which provides a structured path for aspiring and beginning farmers to learn hands-on production skills and business skills to enable them to create viable business plans and thereby launch their own farm businesses.

Homestead Harvest Sponsors

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Romano’s Macaroni Grill will thank all first responders during National Pasta Month as part of its second annual #MacGrillGratitude program that recognizes their tireless efforts in aiding communities nationwide. It’s also a great time to thank our first responders as Hurricane Michael recently passed through Florida, leaving much destruction in its wake.

From today until Wednesday, October 31, any first responder can receive one complimentary Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs + Spaghetti entrée at any Macaroni Grill location nationwide.

Police officers, firefighters, EMTs, emergency service personnel, paramedics and all hospital medical staff members can receive one Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs + Spaghetti entrée per person for lunch or dinner when they show their credentials when dining-in at any Macaroni Grill location during regular hours of operation.

Macaroni Grill locations nationwide.

Fall Menu

Romano’s Macaroni Grill also unveiled eight fall-inspired favorites that have been added to the menu for a limited time. Fall classics from Osso Bucco to Braised Lamb Shank and Pumpkin Cheesecake take center stage on the seasonal menu and are now available at participating locations nationwide. The brand has also broadened its everyday happy hour menu to include a variety of craveable food and beverage offerings at $4, $6 and $8 price points which will be offered seven days a week from 3:00 p.m. to close*.

The Macaroni Grill fall favorites menu is available through the holidays and is sure to provide a savory and sweet twist to any autumn evening.

Items include:

  • Prosciutto + Cheese Board: Imported prosciutto, sun-dried tomato herbed goat cheese and grana padano cheese are paired with rosemary crackers and fig jam.
  • Mediterranean Hummus: House-made hummus is topped with toasted pine nuts, olive oil and is served with rosemary crackers.
  • Osso Bucco: Tender braised beef is served with Italian brown onion gravy, roasted butternut squash mashed potatoes and is finished with crispy sage.
  • Grilled Mahi-Mahi: Grilled Mahi-Mahi filet is paired with bruschetta tomatoes, pesto gnocchi and topped with fresh basil.
  • Braised Lamb Shank: Tender braised lamb shank is served with a marsala demi-glace, butternut squash mashed potatoes and is finished with crispy sage.
  • Porterhouse Steak: This Porterhouse steak features rosemary lemon butter and crispy brussels sprout halves with a balsamic glaze.
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake: Creamy pumpkin cheesecake is topped with caramel sauce, fresh whipped cream and house-made caramel croccante pieces.
  • Sea Salt Caramel Gelato: A house-made caramel croccante cup features sea salt caramel gelato, chocolate ganache and toffee crumbles.

The new everyday happy hour menu promises guests a unique bar experience at prices that everyone can appreciate. An assortment of 10 appetizers and a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages were created to suit any taste.

Signature Mac + Cheese Bites
Signature Mac + Cheese Bites

From flavorsome bites such as Toasted Cheese Ravioli and Signature Mac + Cheese Bites for just $4 each, to flatbreads and Crispy Artichokes for $6 each and Mediterranean Hummus and Spinach + Artichoke Dip for $8 each, there’s no shortage of options from which to choose. Delectable beverages including draft beers, sparkling water Frizzantes, premium and signature cocktails offer endless opportunities for guests to unwind as well. Macaroni Grill’s full happy hour menu can be found at www.macaronigrill.com.

 

For more information on Romano’s Macaroni Grill, fall favorites available for a limited time or new everyday happy hour menu, please visit www.macaronigrill.com or check us out on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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All month long in Oct, Ivanhoe Park Brewery are selling pink beer to raise awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society and the upcoming Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Oct 27 at Lake Eola. 50% of the sales go to ACS (100% of the sales on Oct 27 (event day)).

They are asking everyone who’s interested in walking at our upcoming event to register online at orlandostrides.com.

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The Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic offers guests unlimited tastings at more than 70 stations featuring culinary selections from the hotel’s award-winning restaurants and wine from more than 30 wineries amidst a festive backdrop of live entertainment on the hotel’s scenic causeway. New to the event this year is The Pig and the Poke, a luau-themed area serving Kalua pork, tuna poke and shaved ice. Upgraded ticket options allow guests to enjoy access to a beer garden featuring a wide selection of craft beers and Oktoberfest-inspired cuisine. The evening causeway event runs from 5:30pm – 9:00pm on Oct 26 and Oct. 27 and the Sunday Bubbles Brunch take places Oct. 28.

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort has announced its musical line-up and interactive seminar offerings for the ninth annual Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic, Oct. 26-28. For the first time, the event will be expanding its live entertainment offerings beyond the main stage and into several of its themed areas.

New musical performers will add to the immersive environments of three of the themed sections, each selected to perfectly match the unique tastes and décor of the area. The acts making their festival debuts this year include:

  • Manureva, a family group, will perform authentic songs and melodies from Polynesia in the new luau-themed area, The Pig & The Poke
  • Vintage Vibe, a group of renegade musicians who reimagine songs from a variety of genres into the smooth, lavish sounds of the 1920s and ‘30s, will be in the Bubble Lounge
  • Singer-guitarist-songwriter Harry “Captain Henry” Hann will play a blend of rock, soul, jazz and reggae – a style he calls Floribbean – in the Beer Garden.

Returning to the Dolphin clamshell fountain main stage for both nights are festival favorites:

  • Epic, performing today’s best dance, pop and party rock music
  • 501 Blues, playing the top blues, soul and classic rock hits from the past 40 years
  • Atlantic City Boys, featuring the rock ‘n’ roll harmonies of the Beach Boys, Drifters, the BeeGees and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

Another fan favorite are the event’s popular educational seminars, which give guests a chance to learn from the resort’s award-winning food and beverage team in an interactive setting. The 2018 seminar line-up includes:

Pairing Seminars:

Fine Art of Sushi and Sake
The Cheese Course
Pasta Making

Beverage Seminars:

Wine Blending
Base to Bubbles (Champagne)
Beer, Please
Craft Cocktails
Italian Wines
Riesling, So Sweet & So Dry
The Grand Tasting presented by Master Sommelier Matthew Citriglia (sold out)

Seminars will take place on Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27. Beverage seminar tickets are $50 per person, while pairing seminar tickets are $85, including tax. Specific dates and times of each seminar are available on the event website.

 

More information and tickets for the causeway, seminars, Sunday Bubbles Brunch and more can be found at www.SwanDolphinFoodandWineClassic.com, www.facebook.com/swananddolphin or by calling 1-800-227-1500.

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The Pastry team at Marriott World Center resort

One of my favorite foodie events of the year, Taste of Central Florida! features the area’s most accomplished chefs, brewers, wine purveyors and spirit vendors. Ticket proceeds benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida specifically for programs that combat childhood hunger. One in four children in Orlando experience hunger issues.

When: Saturday, September 8, 2018 6:45 to 10:00 PM

Where: Orlando World Center Marriott

Attire: Cocktail/Semi-Formal

New restaurants this year include: Big Fin Seafood Kitchen, The Glass Knife, The Old Jailhouse, Pharmacy Orlando, Ravello at Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Tiffins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Big Top Brewing Company, Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout, Playalinda Brewing Company, and Wild Buck Whiskey & Mermaid Rum.

Tickets are $175, and can be purchased at tastecfl.org.


The full list of food providers includes:

1. 4 Rivers Restaurant Group

2. A Taste of Reunion Resort

3. American Culinary Federation & Nestle Professional

4. Benihana

5. Big Fin Seafood Kitchen

6. Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine

7. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

8. Canvas

9. Catering for Good

10. CFHLA Food & Beverage Council

11. Chroma

12. Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar

13. Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi

14. Eddie V’s Prime Seafood

15. Empress Sissi

16. Florida Nitro

17. The Glass Knife

18. Hemisphere Restaurant at Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport

19. Highball & Harvest

20. JW Marriott Grande Lakes, Whisper Creek Kitchen

21. Marlow’s Tavern

22. The Old Jailhouse

23. Orlando Food Department Co.

24. Orlando World Center Marriott

25. Pharmacy Orlando

26. Raglan Road

27. Ravello at Four Seasons Resort Orlando

28. Red Wing Restaurant

29. Rosen Shingle Creek, A Land Remembered

30. Rosen Shingle Creek, Cala Bella

31. Seasons 52 Fresh Grill

32. SeaWorld Orlando

33. STK

34. Sysco

35. Tapa Toro

36. Taverna Opa

37. Tiffins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

38. T-REX Café

39. Universal Orlando

40. The Whiskey

41. Yak & Yeti

Beverage vendors include:
1. Acqua Panna & San Pellegrino

2. Big Top Brewing Company

3. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants

4. Crooked Can Brewing Company

5. Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout

6. Florida Farm Distillers Palm Ridge Whiskey

7. Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards

8. Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company

9. NOI CAFFE by Mr. Cappuccino

10. Not Your Father’s Root Beer

11. Orange Blossom Brewing Co.

12. Orlando Brewing Co.

13. Playalinda Brewing Company

14. Scavi & Ray

15. Tsing Tao

16. Wild Buck Whiskey & Mermaid Rum

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Sunday, September 9, 2018
6:00 p.m. Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month dinner.

Everglades restaurant at Rosen Centre Hotel.
9840 International Drive, Orlando, Fla. 32819
$35 per person plus tax and gratuity
All dining guests enjoy complimentary valet parking.

As a member of Tasty Chomps’ Orlando Foodie Forum, you and a guest are invited to an exclusive Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month experience. Mix and mingle with fellow foodies and of course, your host Ricky Ly, while enjoying the Everglades’ Magical Dining menu, special presentations of each course by the restaurant’s Head Chef Fred Vlachos and drawings for fun giveaways!

Led by Orlando Magazine Culinary Hall of Fame inductee Head Chef Fred Vlachos, Everglades features an array of steak and seafood dishes that artfully blend Florida traditional flavors with contemporary dishes.

Savor Grilled Angus Filet served with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Baby Vegetables and delicious desserts such as Double Fudge Chocolate Overload and Key Lime Pie.

For the complete menu, please visit RosenCentre.com/MagicalDining.

This offer is limited to 30 guests — 15 Foodie Forum fans with one guest per fan. Don’t miss out! Contact Ricky Ly at tastychomps@gmail.com to make your reservations for this exclusive event.

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This weekend, Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Disney Springs celebrated their 7th Great Irish Hooley Music Festival, featuring a colorful live playlist of traditional Irish, Celt grass, folk, blues and soul as well as food and drink.

Many of the new dishes featured “Wild About Ireland” products like Chutneys and dressings, similar to our “Fresh from Florida” labels which help promote “from” Ireland food products.

We were invited for a preview of some of the new dishes on the menu, as well as listen to the very talented Lisa Canny, 7-time All-Ireland champion on harp and banjo, and an emerging Irish force blending pop and hip-hop with traditional Irish rhythms.

The festival runs from Friday August 31 through Monday September 3rd (Labor Day weekend).

Here are some scenes from the event:

 

Chick n Pea Skewer – a play on chickpeas with chicken (spicy) grilled with rosemary that reminded me a bit of tandoori chicken, and a lovely fried potato ball topped with crispy toasted chickpeas!

The Pork Blah Blaa – shaved pork porchetta, Wild about Celtic chutney, caramelized onions, and crispy crackling chicarrones.

Lusty Lobster – a kind of fun play on avocado toast and lobster rolls – lobster with avocado, egg, mayo, pancetta, and watercress on a multigrain roll

 

The Chunk Monk featuring beer battered monkfish (the poor man’s lobster) and fried zucchini chips and tartar sauce

Wild about Wild – wild mushroom and fried goat cheese terrene with quinoa, purple beets

Super Cauli Caponata Tasty N Delicious – spiced curried cauliflower, eggplant caponata, with lentil and pumpkin seed dressing.

Stewbaa – braised lamb with root vegetables and herb dumplings

Bangin Bangers and Mighty Mash – guiness and onion bangers, mashed potatoes, onion gravy

 

Pumpkin Creme Brulee Tart

 

PRESS RELEASE:

7th Annual ‘Great Irish Hooley’ Music Festival Rocks Labor Day Weekend at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Disney Springs

Central Florida’s high-voltage boutique Irish music festival serves up a colorful live playlist of traditional Irish, Celt grass, folk, blues and soul Aug. 31-Sept. 3 during the 7th Great Irish Hooley at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Disney Springs.

Celebrating Irish song, dance, food and drink over the long Labor Day weekend, the Great Irish Hooley kicked off performances by nine Irish bands and the new Raglan Road Irish Dance Troupe beginning at 3 p.m. Friday, August 31, and continuing all day Saturday through late Monday, Sept. 3, and into the wee hours.

Paired with Orlando’s finest contemporary Irish cuisine, local and national craft beers, new hand-crafted cocktails featuring Wild Irish syrups and day-into-night entertainment, the Great Irish Hooley promises a high-energy music festival for families and revelers alike.

A traditional Irish social celebration, the “Hooley” combines music ranging from trad to rock tunes with entertainment and fun for the whole family (no cover charge). The Hooley also will feature Celtic face-painting throughout the festival. This year’s Hooley entertainment headliners include:

JigJam — The multi-award-winning Irish quartet will bring their captivating brand of “CeltGrass” (a.k.a. I-Grass) – blending the best of traditional Irish music with Bluegrass and Americana. (Friday through Monday)

Lisa Canny – The outrageously talented Lisa Canny, 7-time All-Ireland champion on harp and banjo, is an emerging Irish force blending pop and hip-hop with traditional Irish rhythms. (Saturday through Monday)

Billow Wood – Known as Flat Out when they played Raglan Road in 2016, this male/female four-piece band fuses their unique brand of instrumentation with multi-vocals and harmonies for a blend of Irish and folk music. (Monday)

The Raglan Road Irish Dancers, plucked from the casts and stages of the world’s greatest Irish dance shows, will perform throughout the Great Irish Hooley. And champion Irish dancer Ciaran Keating, Raglan Road’s show choreographer, will host an entertaining workshop that traces the origins of Irish dance from earliest jigs and reels through contemporary times.

Additional music acts throughout the long weekend will include:

Strings & Things — Strings & Things are an original Irish folk/trad crossover four-piece band from Tipperary/Galway. Over the years together they have created their own original sound and produced a variety of crossover songs by putting their own stamp on them.

The Byrne Brothers — An exceptionally talented traditional Irish music family from Donegal. They are Luca, 13 (button accordion); Finn, 11 (banjo, mandolin and whistle); Dempsey, 8, (whistle and bodhran); and father, Tommy (guitar, Uilleann pipes, fiddle, whistles, bagpipes and bodhran). Their show combines traditional Irish tunes with modern dance beats, and they love to interact with every audience.

Reel Republic –- Hailing from the southwest corner of Ireland, Reel Republic are four seriously talented musicians revving up audiences with a solid spectrum of Irish tunes and songs.

TradGad – Three talented lads from Kerry, Dublin and Edinburgh charm Raglan Road audiences singing and playing guitar, fiddle, mandolin, uileann pipes, tin whistle, banjo and bazouki.

High Road – Three talented musicians hailing from Dublin, Kilkenny and Glasgow meet in the middle to play a crowd-pleasing symphony of traditional Irish tunes and songs.

Aaron O’Grady – An Irish import who will entice and beguile with his eclectic mix of Irish music.

The Raglan Road Irish Dancers — Plucked from the cast and stages of the world’s greatest Irish dance shows, the Raglan Road Irish Dancers perform throughout the Great Irish Hooley. You can even learn some traditional Irish dance steps – no experience necessary!

Throughout the Hooley, guests can step up to one of Raglan Road’s 130-year-old imported-from-Ireland bars or grab a table for authentic contemporary Irish fare. A TripAdvisor Hall of Fame honoree and The Daily Meal’s 2018 “Best Irish Pub” in Florida, Raglan Road is known for its beer-battered fish and chips, Shepherd’s pie with a contemporary twist, delectable seafood and desserts, plus gluten-free entrees.

The complete entertainment schedule will be posted at www.raglanroad.com and www.greatirishhooley.com closer to the event.

Owned and operated by Irish partners John Cooke and Paul Nolan, Raglan Road features traditional Irish dishes and new creations with a Celtic twist. The restaurant’s warm interior of aged walnut and mahogany woods from old Irish bars and churches was built in Ireland and shipped to Orlando. Live entertainment nightly includes the NEW! Rhythms of Raglan 2018 suite of shows featuring Irish bands and dancers. Guests also can enjoy shows during the weekend Rollicking Raglan Brunch. Lunch is served 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Dinner 3-11 p.m.; Bar menu 11 p.m.-late; Saturday and Sunday Rollicking Raglan Brunch from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant is located at Disney Springs in the Walt Disney World Resort, 1640 E. Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Visit www.raglanroad.com or call 407/938-0300. Follow us @RaglanRoadPub

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Move over Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, there is a new Queen in town. Swords clanging, sparks flying, horses galloping – it is all a family-fun filled evening of gallantry and surprisingly good chicken.

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament has ushered in a new royal ruler as the lead role at the wildly popular Central Florida production. This past spring on April 19th, Medieval Times broke from tradition with a QUEEN taking over the King’s 34-year reign over the Orlando Castle.

This matriarchal move comes as a positive result of guest feedback on the roles that women played within the fantasy story-telling production, and is accompanied by a new script and storyline, new costumes, new music and more. It has already been unveiled at Medieval Times castles in Dallas, Chicago, New Jersey and Buena Park, CA and will debut at four additional North American castles following Orlando’s launch.

Tickets for the dinner and show start as low as $36.95, making it an attractive alternative for families looking for an evening of fun, or even groups of adults celebrating everything from birthdays to corporate events.

“Our new female queen is a sign of the times and we couldn’t be more excited to bring her to Florida,” said Doug Dorn, Medieval Times Orlando, FL General Manager. “The queen is fully in-charge. Her authority is sometimes challenged, but she quickly asserts herself as a strong leader.

Medieval Times’ Orlando, FL venue is the first castle to open and has entertained more than 20 million guests since 1986. The iconic Central FL castle performs more than 600 shows per year, that’s a lot of chicken!

In addition to epic battles of steel and swordplay, to royal falconry and horsemanship, there is an elaborate four-course meal fit for royalty (including vegetarian options), and the wide variety of libations and spirits, make for a festive evening of food and fun.

Medieval Times’ noble guests feast on garlic bread, tomato bisque soup, succulent roasted chicken, sweet buttered corn, herb-basted potatoes, the pastry of the Castle, coffee and two rounds of select beverages. Of course, it is the middle ages, so you will be eating with your hands. Don’t worry – wet naps are available upon request.

Royal Court’s Vegetarian Meals includes hummus, warm pita bread, carrot and celery sticks, three-bean stew with fire roasted tomato and brown rice, fresh fruit or Italian ice, coffee and two rounds of select beverages. Vegetarian meals available upon request.

In addition to the debut of the queen character and storyline, the new production features:

  • More than 700 new costumes for all nine castles’ performers including horses, all of which are custom-designed and hand-made at a dedicated costume shop near the Dallas Design District.
  • Two hundred new suits of armor, shields and helmets, all custom-designed and hand-made at a dedicated armory in Florida.
  • More than 350 team members and 225 horses who have rehearsed new lines and fight scenes for three months while still presenting the current show.
  • This include the queens undergoing an intense two months of training to become experts at riding the impressive Andalusian stallion for the new show.
  • New music composed by Dr. Daniel May, the composer and jazz pianist who scored “Everest” and other films, and has worked with notables such as Sting and The Moody Blues. He directed and recorded Medieval Times’ new show composition in Kiev with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. This includes directing the choir in Ukraine with lyrics written by notable poet and choir member Solomia Gorokhivska.
  • A live-action film score precisely synchronized with every element of the show, from lights to fights; jousts to jabs; the Queen’s entry to curtain closings; and more.
  • A sound and light production featuring 120 hours of programming with 300 new music cues and 500 new lighting cues. Orlando, FL is one of several castles installing and programming a new LED lighting system that offers 256 colors versus the old 14-color system. The system is powered by 10 miles of cable and an estimated $1 million upgrade.

For more, visit www.medievaltimes.com.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/medievaltimes
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/medieval_times/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MedievalTimes
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/medievaltimes/

We were recently invited to visit Clearwater Beach by the lovely folks at Wyndham Rewards to check out their Ocean Hai restaurant at Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach, recently awarded Four Diamonds by AAA.

The restaurant has a strong emphasis on seafood and pan-Asian cuisine featuring sumptuous sushi and sashimi platters to succulently pan-seared sea bass, all prepared under the culinary eye of Executive Chef Sean Ragan. Dishes are prepared with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, including seafood and farm-raised meats and poultry.

Chef Sean Ragan has over 25 years of professional experience in the hospitality and restaurant industries, previously working at Caretta on the Gulf at the Sandpearl Resort.

Throughout his career, he had been handpicked to train with highly regarded chefs such as Julia Child, Paul Prudhomme and Martin Yan, and cooked for other top restaurants including Oystercatchers under Chef Hans Hickel and Innisbrook Golf Resort and Spa as Executive Sous Chef. Most recently, Chef Ragan was named the 2015 Best Chef of Clearwater Beach – and the fine dishes at Ocean Hai live up to his curriculum vitae.

Born in New York, Chef Ragan was exposed to a melting pot of flavors and cultures, developing a passion for cooking and global cuisine. He received his degree with honors in Culinary Arts and Hotel Restaurant Management in 1994 from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. He is also ACF Certified, a recipient of the honored Le Cordon Bleu Medallion and belongs to the historic and distinguished Chaine des Rotisseurs and Societe Mondiale du Vin.

On our visit, we experienced the Omakase – “Chef’s Choice” – multi course tasting menu designed to allow guests to experience a sample of all of Ocean Hai’s cuisine. The cost is usually $75 per person with an optional $25 add on for wine pairings to go along with the dishes.

The first dish of the evening: Lobster Fried Rice, a decidedly elevated take on the traditional fried rice, with delicate pieces of lobster, saffron rice, crispy shallots, and topped with a sunny side up egg. I could not get enough of this dish!

Our second dish of the evening was the Tetsubin Miso Soup – the humble miso soup is brought to new heights here, with smoky charred tofu and smoked mussel, and finished tableside with a pour over from a hot kettle with dashi miso broth miso.

The next course, a delightful compressed watermelon salad that was truly a work of art – cubed, pressed watermelon, heirloom tomato, marinated feta cheese, slices of cucumbers, dollops of basil pesto, and some soy gastrique drizzle. It sings of summer.

To highlight their sushi, we tried their nigiri sushi sampler, with ultra-fresh slices of tuna, salmon, and yellowtail fish that had me reminiscing some time ago in Tokyo, Japan.

For the entree, my dining partner had the pan-seared then broiled Asian Sea Bass, a succulent flaky sea bass with a nice crisp from the pan sear, on top of black Forbidden rice with some sugar snap peas, shiitake mushrooms, and microgreens.

My entree was the Mongolian Lamb Chops, perfectly seared and delicious chops of lamb, accented by a dash of Chinese five spice, and served alongside roasted eggplant, baby bok choy, and crystalized ginger.

The evening ended on a high note – dessert that was playful and delightful – ube / purple yam “twinkie” and deconstructed strawberry cheesecake. Art on a plate. From start to finish, Ocean Hai soared to new heights in Asian cuisine.

Lobster Fried Rice | Saffron Rice | Peas & Carrot | Sunny Side Egg | Crisp shallot | Sweet Soy 20

Tetsubin Miso Soup | Dashi Broth | Smoked Mussel | Charred Tofu | Wakame 9

Compressed Watermelon | Heirloom Tomato | Marinated Feta | Cucumber | Basil Pesto | Soy Gastrique 11

Nigiri Sampler – Tuna, Salmon, Yellowtail Nigiri SushiAsian Sea Bass | Forbidden Rice | Sugar Snap | Shiitake Mushroom | Micro Green 38

Mongolian Lamb Chops | Roasted Eggplant | Baby Bok Choy | Edamame Yogurt | Crystalized ginger 42

Deconstructed Strawberry Shortcake DessertPurple Ube Twinkies

If you do come to Ocean Hai, make sure to plan to have dinner while the sun sets over the shimmering waters of the Gulf.

From Wyndham Rewards

  • Wyndham Rewards recognizes ordinary, hard working men and women for what they do every day. From the annual vacationer to the frequent traveler, no matter how often our members stay with us, they are all united under the same loyalty program.
  • Go free – With just 15,000 points, you’ve earned a free night at any Wyndham Rewards hotel. 15,000 points = a free night. It’s that simple.
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  • Go get ‘em – For every qualified stay you’ll get 10 points for every dollar or 1,000 points, whichever is more.
  • Wyndham Rewards: InstagramTwitterFacebookOfficial Website 
  • Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach: InstagramTwitterFacebookOfficial Website 
  • Official Hashtags: #WyndhamGrand, #WyndhamGrandClearwaterBeach, #LiveGrand, #GrandLife

Stay and dinner at Ocean Hai provided by Wyndham Rewards and Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach. All other views are my own.

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On August 16, 2018, Universal’s Aventura Hotel became Universal Orlando’s sixth hotel. The “prime value” hotel features 600 rooms, including 13 kids’ suites, and 17 floors, bringing the total number of hotel rooms at Universal Orlando to 6,200.

Special Grand Opening Rates
Rates start as low as $97 per night for a seven-night stay and $116 per night for a four-night stay in a standard room. When booking, guests will receive a free $50 hotel dining credit (per room) with a four-night stay or a free $100 hotel dining credit (per room) with a seven-night stay or longer. This special introductory offer is valid for reservations booked by September 30, 2017 for stays from August 1 to December 20, 2018.

Guests who stay at Universal’s Aventura Hotel will receive exclusive benefits including Early Park Admission to Universal’s theme parks, complimentary resort-wide transportation and charging privileges with a room key and more.

Universal’s Aventura Hotel will offer tech-savvy accommodations, including in-room tablets that allow guests to order pizza to their rooms in addition to controlling many of the rooms’ features like the TV and room temperature controls. The hotel will also include a virtual reality game room.

Bar 17 Bistro – Universal’s Aventura Hotel will feature Universal Orlando’s first-ever rooftop bar & grill, Bar 17 Bistro. Guests will be able to enjoy cocktails and small plates inspired by global cuisine, while taking in stunning views of all three Universal Orlando theme parks and the Orlando skyline.

Bao Buns – an entire section of their menu that features bao buns, with fillings that range from braised pork belly to lamb satay to tempura baby vegetable.

Firebird cocktail – made with tequila, jalapeno, strawberry and cilantro – a refreshing cocktail with just the right amount of kick.

Summer Beet & Glazed Fig Salad

Pineapple Turmeric Lemonade mocktail

Wagyu beef sliders

Urban Pantry – Universal’s Aventura Hotel will introduce something new and different to Orlando’s theme park food scene. Urban Pantry will be Aventura Hotel’s modern food hall. Here guests will enjoy diverse flavors, fresh ingredients and globally inspired dishes. Inspired by world-famous food halls and markets found in major cities like San Francisco and London, Urban Pantry fits perfectly into the contemporary and stylish vibe at Aventura Hotel.

Urban Pantry – Roast Station 2

The Roast Station will feature entrees like cuts of lamb and prime rib, plus chicken, salmon and paella. You can pair these dishes with sides like quinoa, couscous, roasted marble potatoes, spinach and seasonal veggies.

Urban Pantry – Pizza Station

At the Pizza Station you can watch chefs create mouthwatering pizzas topped with gourmet ingredients like prosciutto and smoked salmon. These are baked in high-temperature stone ovens with seating designed to let you watch your pie in the making. For dessert, indulge in a gelato sandwich, a pressed sweet bread bun filled with hazelnut chocolate and gelato.

Wok Station from Urban Pantry at Universal’s Aventura Hotel

The Wok Station lets you customize a hearty, healthy bowl of fresh ingredients. Choose stir fry or ramen-style, then pick your protein like steak, chicken, shrimp or tofu and top it off with your choice of vegetables. This station will also offer a selection of sushi and appetizers like tuna poke, crab spring rolls and dumplings.

Urban Pantry – Burger

The Burger Station serves delicious handhelds with your choice of grass-fed beef, Black Angus beef, turkey burger or vegetarian burger garnished with an assortment of cheeses and toppings like aged Gouda, bacon and fig jam, and roasted mushrooms. If you’re craving seafood, dive into the Florida Grouper sandwich. Don’t forget to add a pickle, French fries and savory dipping sauces.

Here are some more photos inside the new Aventura Hotel:

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Happy Hour just got a lot happier in Winter Park.

First, there were Happy Hour drink specials from 4 –7 p.m., then a second round of Happy Hour drink specials added from 9 p.m. – close … and now, Bulla Gastrobar in Winter Park is adding tapas to the Happy Hour lineup.

From 4 – 7 p.m. Monday through Sunday, guests can enjoy discounted tapas and half off all beer, wine and liquors at the bar.

· Bulla’s happy hour is available daily from 4-7 p.m.

· All beer, wine and liquors (including cocktails) are half off for happy hour

· $2 pours of draught craft beer, $3 bottles

· $6 craft cocktails

· $4-$5 glasses of sangria

· $4.50-$8.50 glasses of wine

· Three boards and nine small plates are featured on Bulla’s new happy hour

We got a sneak peek at the new menu for your viewing pleasure:

Chef Mariano Vegel showcases the new flatbreads on the menu

BOARDS
CHEF’S BOARD 18. Tetilla, Manchego, Jamón Serrano, Chorizo de Cantimpalo, olives
CURED MEATS 14. Jamón Serrano, Coppa, Chorizo de Cantimpalo
CHEESES 14. Tetilla, Murcia al Vino, Manchego

$5
HAM CROQUETTES Serrano ham, fig jelly
PATATAS BRAVAS Crispy potato cubes, spicy brava sauce, aioli
ANDALUSIAN GAZPACHO Spanish chilled vegetable soup
PIMIENTOS DE PADRÓN Blistered shishito peppers, sea salt
POTATO TORTILLA Traditional Spanish omelet, caramelized onions, garlic aioli

$8
SAUTÉED GARLIC SHRIMP Brandy, pepper flakes (no bread)
PINTXO MORUNO Cumin marinated grilled pork skewers, mojo verde, Greek yogurt
KALE SALAD Barley, roasted beets, Spanish goat cheese, lemon maple dressing
ALBÓNDIGAS Veal and pork meatballs, Manchego, tomate frito

CHEF’S BOARD 18. Tetilla, Manchego, Jamón Serrano, Chorizo de Cantimpalo, olives

HAM CROQUETTES Serrano ham, fig jelly

PATATAS BRAVAS Crispy potato cubes, spicy brava sauce, aioli

ANDALUSIAN GAZPACHO Spanish chilled vegetable soup

PIMIENTOS DE PADRÓN Blistered shishito peppers, sea salt
POTATO TORTILLA Traditional Spanish omelet, caramelized onions, garlic aioli

SAUTÉED GARLIC SHRIMP Brandy, pepper flakes (no bread)

PINTXO MORUNO Cumin marinated grilled pork skewers, mojo verde, Greek yogurt

KALE SALAD Barley, roasted beets, Spanish goat cheese, lemon maple dressing
ALBÓNDIGAS Veal and pork meatballs, Manchego, tomate frito

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Nothing screams summer more than a romantic dinner on a veranda – Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse offers a Prime Pair pre-fixe menu – all summer long!

Guests can indulge in a salad, side, and 8 oz. filet paired with Del’s infamous Jumbo Lump Crab Cake.

And with a wine selection of over 1,200 labels, they’ll also find their inner Sommelier on a warm summer night.

The Prime Pair is a pre-fixe menu which includes a salad, side, and 8 oz. filet paired with Del’s infamous Jumbo Lump Crab Cake. The deal ends on September 3rd.

Now through Labor Day, choose the two-course Prime Pair menu for just $59. It’s available daily and includes a salad and an entrée paired with our signature lump crab cake and a side dish. It’s the perfect way to enjoy a summer like no other.

PRIX FIXE MENU
CHOOSE ONE ITEM FROM SALADS, ENTRÉES & SIDE DISHES
$59 Per Guest

SALADS

DEL’S SALAD
Mixed Greens, Tomatoes, Shaved Carrots, Croutons & Crisp Bacon

CLASSIC CAESAR
Crisp Romaine Leaves, Shaved Parmesan, Texas Croutons & Caesar Dressing

Paired with Del’s Jumbo Lump Crab Cake

HAND-CUT FILET 8 oz.

MANHATTAN-CUT NEW YORK STRIP
Wild Mushroom Bordelaise Sauce

 

SIDE DISHES

CHÂTEAU MASHED POTATOES

SEASONAL ASPARAGUS

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La Luce is Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek’s signature restaurant created by famed Napa Valley chef and restaurateur Donna Scala. I first met Chef Donna Scala back in 2012 for a special dinner there – she was a breath of fresh air and always so full of light – La Luce.


Chef Donna Scala was an incredibly talented chef, gracious host and beloved friend who passionately operated La Luce in Orlando, Florida at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa, California. In 2014, she tragically passed away at the age of 60, but her spirit lives on through her recipes and her restaurants. If you look closely at some of the paintings here, you may see her favorite vespa featured – which she loved to use to travel around the wine country in California.

Chef Alberto Navarrete Arias, who trained under Chef Scala for over 20 years in California, continues to helm the modern Italian country kitchen here at La Luce serving up dinner nightly from thin crust pizzas, homemade pasta, Mediterranean-inspired drinks and a Trattoria-style wine program.

In 1993, when Chef Donna Scala and her husband opened Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa Valley, back before the “trend” of the farm-to-table movement, they installed a garden to supply ingredients for Mrs. Scala’s Italian dishes like Pasta Alla Gianni.

The menu here at La Luce continues that tradition of fresh, seasonal ingredients. This summer, they are featuring a wonderful stone fruit salad (for those that don’t know that means fruit with pitted seeds like peaches, figs, etc.), a wonderful fig and speck pizza baked in house in their wood oven with a delightful crustm and freshly grilled lamb chops.

Take a look at their newest Summer Menu below from our recent (superb) dinner visit:

Pesca “Mocktail” – Pasco Peaches, Pomegranate

ASPARAGI AL FORNO
Baked Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus, Fontina, Parmesan Cream Sauce

STONE FRUIT
Local Greens, Shropshire Blue Cheese, Candied Hazelnuts, Moscatel Vinaigrette

PIZZE (PIZZA) – FIG and SPECK
Melted Leeks, Gorgonzola Dolce, Aged Balsamic – the proscuitto was crisp like BACON so good.

LINGUINI DI MARE
Roasted Mussels and Clams, Tomato, Garlic, Chilies, Pinot Grigio

AGNELLO AL SCOTTADITO
Grilled Lamb Chops, Warm Fregola and Kale Salad, Feta Cheese, Lemon

BUTTERSCOTCH PUDDING
HOUSE-MADE TOFFEE


La Luce at Hilton Bonnet Creek

http://www.laluceorlando.com/

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Are you a member of our Orlando Foodie Forum presented by TastyChomps? Join today: https://www.facebook.com/groups/orlandofoodieforum/

Also if you love our newsletter – make sure to forward it on and ask your friends to sign up!

Be the first to taste Tapa Toro’s Magical Dining Month prix fixe menu. Plus, you will enjoy a cocktail reception and wine pairings with your meal included in the price of your ticket. It’s going to be a FIESTA!

Tickets: https://tapatoro.restaurant/magical-dining-month-preview-2018/

Password: TASTYCHOMPS

LIMITED TO 20 GUESTS TOTAL.

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month

2018 MENU

— Appetizer —
Choose One:

Wahoo Crudo
pickled shallots / garlic chips / puffed farro / leche de tigre “cilantro lime foam”
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian

Fabada “White Bean Soup”
pork belly / sausage / chorizo / scallion oil / smoked paprika
gluten-free, dairy-free

Rioja Braised Pears & Cabrales
lola rosa lettuce / arugula / shallots / queso de cabrales “blue cheese” / rioja wine dressing
gluten-free

— Entrée —
Choose One:
Grilled Mediterranean Sea-bass
red lentils / tomato / shaved apple / piquillo pepper
gluten-free, dairy-free

The Fryda Kawlo
pan fried cauliflower steak / herbed yogurt / marble potatoes / baby carrots / tomato sauce
vegetarian

Grilled Lamb
lamb chops / polenta cake / pickles veggies / romesco sauce
gluten-free

— Dessert —
Choose One:
Crema Catalana “Catalan Cream”
orange / fresh mint / brûléed sugar
gluten-free

Chocolate Mousse
almond cake / chocolate shortbread / almond crunch glaze /
salted caramel / white chocolate covered pretzels

Dinner & Wine Pairings $45
Limit: 2 tickets per guest

Wednesday, August 22
6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
at Tapa Toro on International Drive

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SECOND HARVEST FOOD BANK HOSTS CHEF’S NIGHT FEATURING WINE, CHEESE AND CHOCOLATE: A PERFECT PAIRING

WHAT: The Tasty Trio – Three of Orlando’s top food and wine experts are partnering to host a four-course dinner at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida as part of the nonprofit’s Chef’s Night Series.

Tonda Corrente, owner of La Femme du Fromage; Lisa Wilk, founder of Orlando Uncorked; and Jill Ramsier, co-owner of Quantum Leap Winery, will lead guests on a “wine, cheese and chocolate” pairing journey featuring delicious food and specialty drinks, including chocolate from Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park.

Chef’s Night brings Central Florida’s top chefs into Second Harvest’s Community Kitchen to celebrate delicious food and raise funds for a good cause. All proceeds benefit Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program, which provides students with the skills and inspiration they need to obtain an entry-level position in a food service establishment.

MENU:

Passed Appetizers
Bruschetta – Olde Hearth Bread with Taleggio cheese, chopped strawberries, white chocolate and micro greens (Veg friendly)

Mini Taco – 2 versions
1) Chicken Mole, veggie mix, cilantro and Prairie Breeze Cheddar
2) Black Bean Mole, roasted peppers, grilled corn, jicama, cilantro and Prairie Breeze Cheddar (Veg friendly)
Quantum Leap wines

Salad
Butter or bib lettuce, roasted butternut squash, Meredith dairy feta, cashew brittle crumble, Apricot dressing (Veg friendly)
Quantum Leap wine

Entree
Pepper Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Wine Maker Cuvee & Chocolate Reduction, Potatoes Gratin and Roasted Carrots with Balsamic Chocolate Glaze and Crumbled Goat Cheese

*Vegetarian Options Available
Quantum Leap wine

Dessert
Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park’s Awarding-Winning Ultimate Dark Chocolate Brownie with Gjetost fondue and Mascarpone cream (Veg friendly)
Quantum Leap wine

WHEN: Thursday, August 30, 2018

6 – 9 p.m.

WHERE: Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

411 Mercy Drive

Orlando, Fla. 32805

COST: $75 per person

REGISTER: Purchase tickets at www.FeedHopeNow.org/ChefsNight or call 407-514-1070 for more information. Seating is limited.

____________

About Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
SHFBCF is a member of Feeding America – the largest charitable domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States. SHFBCF secures and distributes food and grocery products to approximately 550 local nonprofit feeding programs throughout Central Florida. Last year, with the help of food and financial donors, volunteers and a caring, committed community, the food bank distributed nearly 58 million meals to partner programs such as food pantries, soup kitchens, women’s shelters, senior centers, day care centers and Kids Cafes. In addition, Second Harvest’s 16-week culinary program teaches foodservice-based technical, life and employability skills to economically hard-pressed adults. Second Harvest is distributing enough food to feed 48,000 people a day. To learn more about SHFBCF, visit www.FeedHopeNow.org.

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Urbain 40 American Brasserie and Lounge, the 1940s big band era inspired restaurant on Sand Lake Road in Orlando, recently updated their menu for the summer. Helmed by Chef Tim Keating, with an extremely capable line-up of sous chefs and pastry chefs, has unveiled their latest offerings based on the best of the season.

Though Chef Keating was out this evening, the team held the high standards for Urbain 40 and definitely made him proud

Take a look below at what is new as well as some classics to try on your next visit to Urbain 40.

Urbain 40 American Brasserie on Orlando’s Restaurant Row
House baked bread

The highlighted items are the new seasonal ingredients and dishes

The Classic Mussels in Lemon Butter

Chef’s Seasonal Salad with strawberries, red onions, radishes, aged feta cheese, greek olives Wild Red Argentinian Shrimp Cocktail with Tito’s Spiked Roasted Tomato Cocktail Sauce Campagna Flatbread pizza with stracciatella, fennel sausage, roasted peppers, arugula, parmigiano reggiano The Blended Burger – Umami Burger – and the Grilled Gulf Coast Grouper Filet Truffle pommes frites (truffle fries) so good! Grilled Gulf Coast Grouper Filet with Fingerling Potato – spring onion – tiny pepper and summer crop squash hash Orecchiette alla Campana – Italian Fennel Sausage, Eggplant, Rhapini

Desserts!!!

Urbain 40 American Brasserie and Lounge
8000 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, FL 32819
urbain40.com

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Ok I admit I had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April Fool’s Day or something but this is real.

Celebrity Chef Guy Fieri and restaurateur Robert Earl, are creating a new chicken tenders concept that will launch its flagship location at Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. called Chicken Guy!, sourced from chicken that is all-natural, antibiotic free, never frozen, hand-pounded and breaded fresh every day.

Here is the info from their press release:

The menu at Chicken Guy! will feature one-of-a-kind all-natural fresh chicken tenders, hand-pounded to maximize crunch and paired with a wide selection of delicious sauces. Brined in fresh lemon juice, pickle brine and buttermilk, and infused with fresh herbs, these tenders deliver on flavor and texture. The menu features the tenders—grilled or fried—in sandwiches, straight up on skewers, or in meal-sized salad bowls, and a wide array of sauces to enjoy with the chicken as well as tempting sides like Guy Fieri’s fries, crowd pleasing mac ‘n cheese, fried pickles and fresh slaw. If all of that isn’t enough to satisfy, Chicken Guy! has two delicious Flavortown Frozen Treats that will make anyone’s mouth water! Guests can end their meal on a sweet note with the Triple Double Ice Cream Treat, a large cup of deliciousness combining triple chocolate and double mint, that may cause a few cases of brain freeze or the Cinnamon Apple, a heaping cup vanilla soft serve ice cream smothered in Cinnamon Toast Crunch & Apple Jacks cereal, yum!

“I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Guy—first with the launch of his sandwich and burger menu at Planet Hollywood. Since then, we have kept in touch, determined to work on more projects together,” said Planet Hollywood Founder and Chairman Robert Earl. “We have found the perfect venture with Chicken Guy!, certain to be a crowd-pleaser. I have personally tasted all the menu items and can’t wait to open at Disney Springs and across the country, because I know our guests will love what Guy has put on the menu.”

Fieri, a chef, entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author, has brought his signature blend of authentic-meets-surprising flavors to Chicken Guy!, once again creating crave-worthy blends of spices and seasonings that keep his fans coming back for more. In this new concept, Fieri has taken the always popular chicken tender, endowed it with a proprietary blend of flavors, and provided guests with a myriad of delicious sauce options resulting in endless combinations of flavors.

“I’m stoked to be building Chicken Guy! with my friend, Robert Earl,” said Fieri. “It’s all about the real deal, all-natural chicken but lemme tell you, our sauce game is on point.”

For more information, visit www.chickenguy.com Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @realchickenguy and on Facebook at Chicken Guy

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What is this “Blended Burger” anyway?

According to the Atlantic, a team of scientists from Oregon State University, Bard College, and Loma Linda University calculated just what would happen if every American made one dietary change: substituting beans for beef. They found that if everyone were willing and able to do that—hypothetically—the U.S. could still come close to meeting its 2020 greenhouse-gas emission goals, pledged by President Barack Obama in 2009.

That is, even if nothing about our energy infrastructure or transportation system changed—and even if people kept eating chicken and pork and eggs and cheese—this one dietary change could achieve somewhere between 46 and 74 percent of the reductions needed to meet the target.

Urbain 40’s Umami Blended Burger

The James Beard Foundation’s annual Blended Burger Project is a nationwide initiative that challenges chefs to make a “blended burger” by blending ground meat* with finely chopped mushrooms to create a delicious, healthier, and more sustainable burger.

Now through July 31, 2018 locals can enjoy these blended burgers from the following participating restaurants, K Restaurant & Wine Bar, Urbain 40 and 310 Park.

Diners can vote and support the Blended Burger Project™:

· Visit jamesbeard.org/blendedburgerproject to view the gallery of blended burger photos, and cast their vote for the blended burger

· Visit the participating restaurant through July 31, 2018 and ask for the “blended burger”

· Post their burger photos to social media with the hashtag #blendedburgerproject

In August, a prestigious panel of judges on behalf of the JBF will review 20 restaurants receiving the most votes to select the five top winners, based on most creative use of mushrooms, best flavor profile and presentation.

The Judges are:

· Andrew Zimmern, TV personality, chef, writer and teacher.

· Antoinette Bruno, CEO and Editor in Chief, StarChefs.com.

· Susan Westmoreland, Culinary Director, Good Housekeeping.

Chefs from the top five restaurants will win a trip to New York City to cook their blended burger dish during a special fall event at the historic James Beard House. Visit jamesbeard.org/blendedburgerproject for a list of participating restaurants and follow #blendedburgerproject on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

K Restaurant & Wine Bar
1710 Edgewater Dr.
Orlando, FL
407.872.2332

“Blended Burger”
Ground Mushrooms and Beef, Topped with Melted Swiss Cheese, Mushrooms, Heirloom Tomatoes, Crisp Bibb Lettuce & Black Garlic Aioli Sauce $18

Urbain 40 American Brasserie & Lounge
8000 Via Dellagio Way
Orlando, FL
407.872.2640

James Beard Foundations Blended Burger Project “Umami Burger”
Ground Short Rib, White & Porcini Mushrooms & Bush Dreams Pepperberry Rub-laced Steak Burger, Brioche-Sesame Bun, Truffled Tomato-Bacon-Onion Jam, Melted Truffled Cheese, Arugula, Heirloom Tomato, House Pickles & Truffled Pommes Frites $18

310 Park
Lakeside, Park South, Lake Nona

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One of the first interviews I ever did on TastyChomps was with Master Sommelier George Miliotes, where he taught me some of the most basic things about wine, as well as his family’s history in Orlando.

Now, Mr. Miliotes, with more than 40 years experience in the industry, has opened a new concept at Disney Springs – the eponymous Wine Bar George. Disney Springs – formerly known as Downtown Disney – has exploded in recent years with a plethora of new dining experiences led by celebrity chefs and arguably home to some of the best eats in Orlando.

We were recently invited to visit the 200-seat, 6,000-square-foot space to learn more about the new restaurant as well as a first-hand lesson from the Master Sommelier himself on wine tasting.

The opening at Disney Springs is a kind of coming home event for Mr. Miliotes who was part of the opening team of the California Grill restaurant at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and managed the venue from 1995 to 2002. While there, he created an award-winning wine list and one of the first “100 wines by the glass” lists in the country.

As one of only 249 worldwide industry professionals certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers, Miliotes features wines from acclaimed and well-known wineries as well as growing regions and wineries that are up-and-coming. The location offers an unparalleled wine list including more than 130 selections by the ounce, glass and bottle. Wine Bar George is actually the only Master Sommelier-led wine bar in Florida.

“The wine list will feature more than 130 wines all served by the ounce, glass or bottle,” Miliotes said. “The list will include more than 40 varietals from regions around the world. We will use the Coravin, the Vinfinity system and wine on tap to ensure each wine is enjoyed to its fullest extent. Servers will adeptly pair a range of small plates, cheese and charcuterie, shareable entrees and dessert with each wine. If you are looking for an awesome $9 glass on tap or a few ounces of Château Margaux, we will have wines for you to enjoy.”

In addition to the extensive wine list, Wine Bar George offers a variety of cocktails, a selection of beer and cider and frosé.

Executive Chef Ron Rupert worked closely together with Mr. Miliotes to create a menu that would pair perfectly with the extensive wine selection, from small plates to artisan cheese and charcuterie boards, but also sharable entrées. The food here is definitely not an afterthought, but indeed is a part of what makes wine tasting such an enjoyable experience.

Upon arrival, we were treated with a selection of their craft cocktails including the American 75 and the New York Sour, with a board of select artisanal cheeses and charcuterie.

American 75 St. George Terrior Gin / Roeder Estate / Lavender

New York Sour Russell’s Reserve 10 Yr Bourbon / Venta Morales Tempranillo

The Big Board Chef’s selection of six artisanal cheeses & five crafted meats / condiments

Master Sommelier George Miliotes then gave us an education on wine tasting by giving us tips on the smells and tastes of wine, from dry to sweet, depth of flavor and taste, and how this all ties to the age and origin of the wine.

Taste Like a Master Sommelier Tasting of three wines led by George
Tasting:

Giocato Goriška Brda, Slovenia ‘17
Casas Del Bosque, Reserve Casablanca, Chile ‘16
Zuccardi Salta, Argentina ‘16

Our dinner included some small appetizers as well as family sized shareable entrees, all paired wonderfully with our wines. My favorites of the evening included the crispy mac and cheese bites (you will never guess what they are coated in!), the togarashi dusted chicken skewers, house-made meatballs, supremely tender skirt steak, and the wine braised chicken in mushrooms and vegetables.

Crispy Mac & Cheese Bites – tomato nage / pecorino

Chicken Skewers – togarashi / Asian slaw

House-Made Meatballs – triple cheese polenta / tomato sauce

Pairings selected by George Miliotes

First Wine: Selbach-Oster, Bömer, Zeltinger Schlossberg, Mosel, Germany ‘16

Second Wine: Foillard, Côte du Py Morgon, France ‘16

Grilled Whole Greek Sea Bass – cannellini bean ragout / seasonal vegetables / lemon

Wine Braised Chicken – mushrooms / Yukon potato hash / seasonal vegetables

Skirt Steak – roasted potatoes / chimichurri / seasonal vegetables

Desserts

Olive Oil Cake – candied olives / lemon mascarpone

Key Lime Pie – A Florida favorite

Follow George @WineBarGeorge on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and join the #WineBarGeorge conversation. Visit WineBarGeorge.com for more news and updates.

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Hawkers Asian Street Fare was founded in Orlando’s Mills 50 District by four friends, Kaleb Harrell, Allen Lo, Wayne Yung and Kin Ho, who traveled the world on a mission to curate an eclectic and memorable dining experience built on passed-down recipes and hand-picked popular street foods from all over Asia — Korea, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan.

The brand’s name was inspired by street vendors that the friends encountered throughout the streets of Asia known as hawkers, who are famous in their own right and thrive off of locally grown ingredients to create dishes sold from mobile carts and stands.

I’ve been to Malaysian restaurants from Atlanta to New York City, and I have come to realize that our very own Hawkers serves up some of the best curry prawn mee noodle soups and roti canai in the United States.

They recently opened their second Orlando location in Windermere at The Grove (9100 Conroy Windermere Road, Suite 110, Windermere, FL 34786) and have announced their newest (seventh!!) restaurant will be coming soon in 2019 to Charlotte, North Carolina.

“For the last few years, we’ve watched Charlotte grow into one of the most dynamic urban markets in the Southeast,” said Kaleb Harrell, Co-Founder of Hawkers Asian Street Fare. “We absolutely love the culture, and the city’s investment into walkability and revitalization. It is an honor for us to open in Charlotte.”

The seasonal menu features house favorites such as Roti Canai (Row-Tee Can-Eye), a flaky Asian flatbread paired with Hawkers’ signature curry sauce, an award-winning Pad Thai, and other popular items such as Yi Yi’s Chicken Dumplings and Curry Laksa.

With all the growth recently at Hawkers, we wanted to chat with Kaleb Harrell, one of Hawkers’ founders, about the restaurant and where it’s all headed:

Tasty Chomps: What was it like in those very first days when Hawkers began?

Kaleb: It’s so different! The four founders were running the kitchen while we had a few servers running the front for us (including our wives after they left their day jobs at 5). I can remember opening around 9 a.m., working the entire day to close, cleaning the kitchen, then talking about building our systems until 3, 4, 5 a.m. some nights. Those were days that I’ll never forget and wouldn’t trade – it was a time when our partnership strengthened and we built the foundation of what Hawkers is growing to be. Most of all, I remember the guest reactions – excited that they had found this gem of a restaurant with a cuisine they had never tasted and an adventurous experience that would leave them wanting to show it off to their friends.

What will the new headquarters coming to downtown Orlando be like?

Designing that space has been very difficult. Of course, we have to make it a “functional” work environment (so says our architect 🙂 ), but we are really trying to create a space that is connected to our restaurants. There will be a workspace side that functions more like an office with heavy street art and some very creative elements, including our “rice bag room.” Then there will be the mock dining area that sits on the bridge – this is our opportunity to bring street culture into the space. We will have a fully functional bar, a few booths for flex space, and an instagram-worthy neon installation on the ceiling.

What can new visitors to Hawkers expect when they dine at Hawkers?

We love for our first-time guests to come in with an open mind, ready to be adventurous. There is always a little education upfront, because our service style is very different than a typical full-service restaurant. We have taken inspiration from eating at hawker centers on the streets of Asia, so our food comes out as it’s prepared, not as it’s ordered (no heat lamps), and everything on our menu is meant to be shared. You won’t find forks on the table or served with dishes (although they are available for our less chopstick-savvy guests). Lastly, our team will encourage our guests to be a little adventurous and try something new! Afterall, that’s what eating the streets is all about.

What are the upcoming plans for Hawkers?

Currently, there are three units under construction, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Delray Beach. We are launching an initiative titled “20 in 20” where our team has committed to having 20 units open by the end of the year 2020. All of our focus is in growing the brand in a meaningful way without diluting the what we have already built. It’s a challenge and requires intentionality with every decision, but our team is up for it and we are excited!

Why is Hawkers so delicious??

Haha. We just don’t cut corners. All of our sauces are made from scratch. We hand-cut vegetables every day. Dumplings are hand-rolled every day. It’s the difference in your grandmother making her meatballs and bolognese sauce from scratch and your roommate from college heating up Chef Boyardee… only in our case the meatballs are covered with an addictive curry sauce.

For more about Hawkers and their menu, visit eathawkers.com

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A few months ago, I had the honor of serving as a guest judge for Orlando Magazine’s Orlando Burger Battle. The competition took place at the newly opened Ace Cafe in downtown Orlando, known for their rock and roll and biker theme, renovated in the 91-year-old Harry P. Leu building at 100 W. Livingston Street, just across from the Lynx bus station.

The space is massive with a 14,000-square-foot restaurant space featuring bars, lounges and a stage. There are plans for a retail space, motorcycle dealer, and outdoor and indoor event space as well. Almost every day of the week there is a special event with meet ups for biker enthusiasts, car enthusiasts, and more (check their calendar online at acecafeusa.com)

If you didn’t know, Ace Cafe is actually a famous London diner founded in 1938, developing a reputation as a meeting and eating place for those passionate about cars, bikes and rock ’n roll culture. The original location on London’s North Circular Road began as a transport cafe for truckers, then evolved into a popular destination for rock ‘n roll-loving teens riding motorbikes during the ’50s and ’60s.

We were recently invited to check out the new things going on at Ace Cafe as they just hit their one year anniversary. The food is your standard American diner fare from burgers to sandwiches, but also a few nods to their British heritage like a very good rendition of the fish and chips.

The space is huge!


Buffalo Empanadas – Three Empanadas filled with Pulled Chicken, House-Made Ace Hot Sauce & Cheese. Served with Celery and Blue Cheese Dressing


Bonneville Bacon Cheeseburger – this is a half pound Angus beef burger topped with Hickory Smoked Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Lettuce, Tomatoes & Onions & served on a toasted, buttered Brioche Bun with Fries & a Pickle Spear. It was one of the top ranking burgers from our burger battle as well, if my memory serves me correctly.


George´s Fish & Chips
North Atlantic Haddock dipped in House-Made Yuengling beer batter, fried to a golden brown. Served with Chips (Steak Fries) & Mushy Peas. Just like they serve in London!


Ace Cafe Super Food Salad
Healthy & refreshing Power Greens, Micro Sprouts, Feta Cheese, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Guacamole & Candied Pecans tossed with Citrus Vinaigrette


For more information, visit www.acecafeusa.com, call 407-996-6686, and connect on Facebook, Twitter @AceCafeOrlando and Instagram @acecafeorlando_official.

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Anthony Bourdain passed away at the age of 61 on June 8th, 2018, from an apparent suicide. The death left many around the world who were touched by his work reeling. From giving the public an insider’s look into our “culinary underbelly” inside kitchens across America in his best selling novel Kitchen Confidential,  to opening our eyes to glimpses of far-flung kitchens and street markets around the world for many for the first time during his many food travel shows, Anthony Bourdian was a trailblazer for the food world in so many ways. Increasingly in recent years his shows have been more about the people behind the food than the food itself, showcasing that no matter where we are in the world, we all have many same commonalities.

I remember my first time seeing Anthony on TV, an episode of a Cook’s Tour on the Food Network. It was during college and I had just visited New York for the first time. Here he was in some pub in Tokyo, Japan eating sushi, drinking beer, and overall, having a great time. It was my first time seeing modern day Tokyo and probably was the first time for many other viewers as well, opening our horizons to new corners of the world. I think his adventures inspired so many others to travel, to see new things, to try new foods, and learn from new cultures not only around the world but maybe also down the street from our own neighborhoods, or on the other side of the tracks. For this, to inspire us all to see ourselves in the other, I will be forever grateful to Anthony and his work.

Recently, I asked a few of our local Orlando restauranteurs, writers, food publicists for their thoughts in memory of Anthony Bourdain. The impact he left on our own food scene in Orlando runs deep.

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“It was September of 2005. Janet and I had returned from Spain. Hurricane Katrina had spared Key West during this time but went on to wreak famous havoc on New Orleans. We had been invited by Tony to do a show with him on Key West. Janet and I were living there again with the belief we had re-settled ‘for good’. Tony was in great spirits. He was becoming quite famous by then and folks on the streets were eager to meet him as we walked Duval. Showing him the place that formed the roots of my cuisine was more deeply rewarding than I can convey. His pirate and writer spirits were perfectly aligned on the Island. As we waited to shoot one scene he asked me if I might help him find a house to rent for a few months. He wanted to write a follow-up to ‘Kitchen Confidential’. We joked about all of the fun+trouble we could get into together. It was a fantasy I shall keep forever now … in fantasy land. Rest in Peace my Friend.” – Chef Norman Van Aken, 1921 by Norman Van Aken

 

“Tony was 2 years older than I but we grew with quite similar backgrounds as he lived in in Leonia, New Jersey (one town over from my hometown of Bogota). He spent his summers 2 towns up from me & my family home at the Jersey shore where he & I started our culinary careers. He went on to the CIA to get serious about cooking (I couldn’t afford the $12K to go there so I took a scholarship to play Basketball @ William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. Jumping forward, Reading Kitchen Confidential profoundly changed my outlook on Kitchen life & was a sheer delight as he shared all the experiences of growing up in Jersey.

In 2000, my first year of being nominated for a James Beard award, I walked into the Hall at The Marriot Marquis in NYC where the awards were held & after checking in the first people I ran into was Mario Batali who I had known for some years & Tony. It was then that I was introduced to Tony & was able to share all my Jersey stories & shared a lot of laughs & I then passed along my appreciation for all of his work thus far. He shared that he had heard of me & my Texas colleagues who had a Chef’s Band & how cool that was. Before I left them, both Mario & Tony put their hands on my shoulders & shared “don’t worry Tim, You’ve got this- we voted for you”. Soooooooo Cool.

I also ran into him the next 3 years that I was nominated at the awards & we shared similar moments. Needless to say, I was deeply moved & it remains one of the highlights of my career.

Being a Monster Fan of Tony & Parts Unknown & all that he had achieved, I must say that I was crushed when I heard of his passing. The World lost a great one. God rest his Soul!!” – Chef Tim Keating, Urbain 40

“There’s a lot I could say – but I’ll keep it simple. I never met Anthony Bourdain, but his outlook on the world really shaped me to who I am today. I didn’t grow up traditionally Thai. Like a lot of half-asian kids, I spent a lot of my early teens just wanting to fit in with the white kids. Tony’s outlook on the world and his shows like No Reservations helped me see the world differently, and largely made me see that my Thai heritage was something beautiful to be proud of. Not only that, his books and shows taught me that cooking was something honorable to do. I re-read Kitchen Confidential last year when I was staging in thailand. I would read 20 pages every day before I went into work. It made me excited about what I was about to do. It still does.” – Dylan Eitharong, Bangrak Thai Street Kitchen

Kitchen Confidential was published in 2000 and was a huge influence in our lives as we prepared to attend culinary school in New York. We’ll never forget the thrill of devouring the book and realizing there was a whole world of people out there having experiences similar to ours. It opened our eyes and was a catalyst that has everything to do with who we are today. ” – Alexia and Rhys Gawlak, Swine and Sons

“I have a fair amount I wrote down that day but to keep it short. Anthony was a voice that made us proud to cook and BE cooks or hospitality workers rather than be ashamed of our seemingly endless toil in uncomfortably hot and painful places. All in all, he was an inspiration and like a wise man who had seen it all from our perspective and told the world but also became a voice in the world telling everyone about the adventure, pain, camaraderie, and joy of it all. I’ll always feel very lucky he wrote what he did and became who he did because i feel like a whole generation of cooks owe him a lot of our success.” – Chef Bruno Zacchini, Pizza Bruno

“I have kept quiet on the Anthony Bourdain situation for the last few days now. While everyone else posted their pictures, memories and condolences, I decided I would like to reflect and figure out the right way to describe how his work has impacted me. Despite the incredible fame he received from his tv shows and the platform they extended to him, I never really watched them. That’s not to say I wasn’t a fan of Bourdain, that is just to say that, those shows were not why I was a fan of Bourdain. The thing I liked most about him was his unfiltered and completely real portrayal of kitchen life. He was completely transparent in his work whether through interviews, articles, or books about what life is like in the kitchen. He is probably one of the main characters who actually shed light on the barbaric personalities and lifestyle you must live to be in a professional kitchen, at least prior to recent times. Bourdain’s biggest contribution to my life was that he showed that a cook can have other talents as well. I have been writing for months now nonstop but have not found anything I wanted to publish. I find it very befitting that this piece might very well be the first thing that I do.” – Joseph Roberti, Pizzeria Roberti – read the full piece here: https://medium.com/@josephroberti/in-memory-of-anthony-bourdain-a94dcf14c51b 

 

“Hawkers’ entire concept was based on the idea that thanks to Anthony Bourdain and his loyal foodie community, Americans were finally ready to try, even embrace, flavors and textures from global cuisine that had been previously kept secret, shared only by locals. Chef Bourdain had a coolness about him that was palpable. His raw, bold, no-nonsense approach was the only fit for introducing the world to authentic food, cultures, and traditions – no one else could have done what he did. He taught me that pushing the envelope means more than just being adventurous. It means being appreciative and respectful of what other cultures have been enjoying for generations – flavors and foods that we are now lucky enough to enjoy, too. As my 71-year old mother said, “food today is what Rock N’ Roll was in the ‘60s. Everyone is talking about the next hot restaurant or flavors the same way we talked about bands back then.”

If that’s true, then Anthony Bourdain was our Elvis – an icon to be honored and remembered for his mark on foodie fans across the world. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.” – Kaleb Harrell, Co-Founder of Hawkers Asian Street Fare

“Chef Anthony Bourdain was one of the real ones. His passing reminds me of the importance of communing over food, and not just for food. Their are important stories of culture, injustices, and people that can be found in each dish that we consume. I’d like to think that uncovering these important elements of life was a big part of what Anthony advocating for. Sending love and prayers throughout the community. God bless, foodie fam!” –  Chauniqua Major, Publicist and Founder of Project Pop

“Anthony Bourdain, I’ve read all your books, seen all your TV shows, cooked from your cookbook and felt like I knew you. An unapologetic storyteller who told the stories of those who would have never been told. Shed light on issues others did not want to talk about. An inspiration to broadcasters, foodies and travelers around the world. I’ve worked in the restaurant industry entire life. 14 years as a server & a publicist for restaurants the last six years. You brought my worlds together as writer, telling stories of the industry which had never been done before like it was a underground world. You were a person who appreciated art, music and those who were different. Your words and thoughts have been a part of mine and my husband’s life so much. I’ll never forget driving through the countryside of Spain listening to your audio books and feeling so inspired. Your wit and sarcasm have become quotable one-liners in my home.

There is a chapter in“medium raw” called “I’m dancing.” It tells the story at your daughter’s dance class and being the only dad they are among a sea of nannies. You discussed that moment where you danced with you daughter for the first time. I can’t get that moment out of my mind because it changed you then. I am really hit hard by this and the world will not be the same. #RIPAnthonyBourdain

One of my favorite @Bourdain quotes from “Medium Raw: “If you are literally serving shit to American children, I’ve got no problem with a jury of your peers wiring your nuts to a car battery and feeding you the accumulated sweepings of the bottom of a monkey cage.” – Maria Wyatt-Uhl, Senior Account Executive, Publicity

“He possessed a disarming intelligence and a no-bullshit eloquence that spoke to many a quiet adventurer. He was our generation’s Hemingway. Sadly, both Hemingway and Bourdain died at their own hands at the age of 61.” – Faiyaz Kara, Orlando Weekly

 

“We’re not so different, you and I.”

Anthony Bourdain probably never said that. But he was a major cinephile, and he probably would have scoffed every time a movie or TV character uttered that cliche. The line makes me chuckle every time, but there is truth in it.

I loved the cinematic quality of Bourdain’s food and travel shows, especially Parts Unknown. A lot of episodes were homages to classic films, with the shooting, the editing, even his narration. Some allusions surely went over my head.

But that’s what Bourdain did best. He was a raconteur, an adventurer, a storyteller, a tour guide, a journalist. He was one of my favorite writers and personalities. Incredibly witty, insightful, charming, and “woke.” He took us places and taught us and fed us, at least metaphorically. He made me think more about food, and definitely made me want to write about food. (Sorry, not sorry!)

In so many brilliant books and three wonderful shows (A Cook’s Tour on Food Network, No Reservations on Travel Channel, and Parts Unknown on CNN), he brought us along to all kinds of exotic and not-so-exotic destinations and showed us that everyone has a story that’s worth listening to, especially if we stop to listen and talk over a good meal. I think in this isolating age where society feels more divided than ever, he was on to something. Listening. Empathy. Sharing cultures. Food breaking borders and boundaries. Chefs as ambassadors and anthropologists.

And he seemed like such a cool guy. Someone with demons for sure, which gave him an edge, but we thought he had them under control. Maybe he did too. Most people I know have fought with anxiety and depression. Dear friends, family members, people I love more than life itself. I have too. I have moments of pure happiness, but mostly I just shoot for being content, figuring that’s the best most of us can ask for. But I apologize more than I should. I walk on eggshells too often. I deal with impostor syndrome, self-doubt, self-loathing at times. Maybe Anthony Bourdain did too, even with everything he seemed to have going for him. You look at these celebrities who seem to have it all, and feel shock when they buckle under the pressure. (They’re not so different, them and us.) You wish they had asked for help.

I’m a librarian. My job is to listen and to help if I can. Ask for help, even if you don’t ask me. There’s no shame in it. You matter, and we don’t want anything to happen to you.

We’re not so different, you and I.” – Louis Rosen, saboscrivner.com

Photo by Chef Bruno Zacchini

“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food.” – Anthony Bourdain

How to get help: In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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It’s been a busy month here in Orlando for our foodie scene. Here are some of the latest goings-ons just in time for the 4th!

If you have any foodie news tips, send them over with any pics to tastychomps at gmail.com – thanks!

 

The Ravenous Pig will be hosting a July 4th Backyard Party from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. only. (They will be closed for dinner service; The bar will be open until 6 p.m.).

The Glass Knife is celebrating the holiday through Wednesday, July 4th selling its special edition red, white and blue doughnut. This is a great item to pre-order and pick up for a holiday party.

Orlando Premium Outlets – Vineland & International – will celebrate Independence Day with extended hours and extra shopper savings. Select stores will have special promotions throughout the weekend, offering additional holiday discounts on top of already everyday low prices. Florida residents can also take advantage of complimentary same day valet from 10 – 11 AM daily at both centers.

Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets will offer:

July 4 Super Sale: July 4 – 8
Extended Hours: June 29 – July 8 from 9 AM until 11 PM
Food Truck Festival: June 29 – July 8 located near Reebok and the playground (full schedule below):

Friday (6/29) to Tuesday (7/3) 11 AM-6 PM
Food Trucks include: Vinny & Kory, Bahama Buck’s Original Shaved Ice, Manna International Street Food, PokeKai, and The Big Cheese

Saturday (7/7) to Sunday (7/8) 11 AM-6 PM
Food Trucks include: Vinny & Kory, Bahama Buck’s Original Shaved Ice, Jamaican Jerk Hut

Orlando International Premium Outlets will offer:

July 4 Super Sale: July 6 – 8
Extended Hours: July 6 – 8 from 9 AM until 11 PM

COST: No fee to attend; open to the public

The Honey Baked Ham Company® Celebrates Summer with Limited Time $19.99 Picnic Pack Offer

Launching on June 4, the Picnic Pack offers an assortment of Honey Baked essentials, which including a half-pound of Honey Baked Ham® slices and a half-pound of Honey Baked Turkey Breast slices, one pound of a Deli Side or Ham Salad and a bag of Kings Hawaiian Rolls to create the perfect, easy-to-serve sliders.

For only $19.99, customers can purchase this convenient pack to bring along to any pool party, road trip, or family picnic event.

Honey Baked Ham’s® Picnic Pack will be made available from June 4 through August 26 at all store locations nationwide.

Eddie V’s Team

Through July 29th, Eddie V’s will host Sparkling Sounds, an unparalleled combination of seasonal taste preferences and themed live music in the sophisticated vibe of the V Lounge, featuring champagne and champagne duet pairings starting at $14, plus $8 seasonal oyster duets. These special menu features are offered for a limited time only during the summer

Guests are invited to raise a toast with Sparkling Duets such as Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs, CA & Roederer Brut, Perrier Jouet, Grand Brut & Delamotte, Brut, Le Mesnil sur Oger and A French Master & A Madame. Complementing the champagne pairings is a special menu of culinary-forward, seasonal oyster trios including Batter-Fried Oysters, Carpetbagger and Eddie’s Rockefeller. In the V Lounge, guests can sip creative Sparkling Cocktails such as the Melon Sparkler or Citrus Pearle, all finished tableside in a generously portioned champagne coupe glass.

Live trio performances will pay tribute to the music of various eras of jazz, such as Soulful Fusion, Future Classics and Martini Swing.

 Tacos and Tequila 2018

When: Saturday, July 14 at 12 PM – 3 PM

Where: Cheyenne Saloon & Opera House 120 Church St. W, Orlando, FL 32801

Venue Phone Number: (321) 202-5855

Prices: $20-45

Website: tacosandtequilaorlando.com

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/241160629776519/?active_tab=discussion

Website for Ticket Sales: orlandoweeklytickets.com

About: Tacos & Tequila celebrating the city’s latest, tastiest, creative culinary creation: TACOS. Sample & vote on your favorite among competing food trucks, taco shops & restaurants! There will also be tequila samplings, beer & live entertainment, ALL INCLUDED in your ticket price, happening Saturday, July 14 at Cheyenne Saloon & Church Street.

Sonny’s 50th Golden Anniversary

To celebrate their Golden Year (50th anniversary), they dressed up their beloved ribs   with 24K gold flakes, truffle butter, exotic salts, along with and a heavy hand of home-grown ingredients local to Sonny’s footprint such as bee pollen from Gainesville, truffle butter from Market 2 Table in Winter Garden, and Bulls Bay Saltworks sea salt from South Carolina;

• These one-of-a-kind 24K Gold Ribs valued at $1,968 aren’t for sale — but are using them to create awareness through social media, so that they can donate 100,000 meals to hungry children this summer with Feeding Children Everywhere (FCE), the food nonprofit based in Longwood, Florida;

• Starting today through July 31, fans can visit SonnysGoodAsGold.com for a chance to win an all-expenses-paid staycation here in Orlando where they will enjoy an exclusive rib dinner, hotel accommodations, attraction tickets, one-on-one pitmaster class, gift cards, and more!

– Your Retweet or Favorite of this Tweet can help donate up to 30 meals to Feeding Children Everywhere for children this summer

– Sonny’s Good as Gold contest goes until July 31 (there’s so much time to share!)

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Specials in Orlando this Father’s Day:

Bulla Gastrobar – Winter Park –

Executive Chef Charles (Chad) Mathews and Executive Sous Chef Mariano Vegel have more in common than their culinary titles: they’re also both fathers.  This Father’s Day, Bulla Gastrobar will be offering a puzzle for kids and dads to solve together – in exchange for a plate of complimentary Churros. Chef Charles (Chad) Mathews

Mathews’ grandfather owned a deli. The recipes his grandfather cooked came from his own grandfather. As far as cooking with his kids goes: “On my days off, we do a lot of cooking at home. I’ll whip out the air fryer, and we’ll make hash browns together. One day, I want my kids to be interested in food, and to know that anywhere you go, the one thing you have in common with others is food. Being surrounded by love as you enjoy a meal with your family… it’s a powerful feeling.”

Chef Mariano Vegel

For Vegel, time with family and friends is what makes a meal worth savoring. When he’s not at work, he enjoys cooking with his twin school-age sons. And each day, he takes to heart his father’s advice: “With every dish you cook, imagine that a loved one is going to eat it.”


Hawker’s Asian Street Fare –
Give dad a taste of the street at Hawkers this year. On Sunday June 17, dads can dine in and receive 20 percent* off their entire bill and a complimentary oneTiger Bomb or a Tiger pint. All they (well, the family) has to do is check-in on Yelp to enjoy the perks.
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Pharmacy Orlando
  • Orlando Weekly’s Bite 30 | Friday, June 1-Saturday, June 30 – Join us throughout the month of June and enjoy a $30 three-course, prix-fixe menu in celebration of Orlando Weekly’s Bite 30.  Click here to make your reservation.
  • Happy Hour – 50 percent off our entire dinner menu and select cocktails from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday through Thursday. Enjoy.  Think Big Bites Lobster Rolls with House Slaw (Reg. $12 / Happy Hour Pricing $6); Cape Canaveral Littleneck Clams Arrabiata with “Sop It Up” Crouton and Corn (Reg. $14 / Happy Hour Pricing $7) and our Cowart Ranch Wagyu Burger on a brioche bun with house made fries (Reg. $20 / Happy Hour Pricing $10).
  • Friday Pie Day – Kick off the weekend with Pharmacy’s Pie Day.  Bring your appetite and $20 and enjoy any of Chef Falsone’s gourmet pizzas and a glass of house wine or a beer. Available every Friday from 5 p.m. to close. Limited to one pizza offer per person.
  • Pre-Father’s Day Chopped Challenge Saturday, June 16 – Treat your dad to culinary experience where he’s the star.  $60 enters him into our “Chopped” team challenge where a team of 6 will compete in a mystery basket competition against another team of 6! Our Food & Wine’s Top Ten chef, Loren Falsone will direct you in a professional kitchen to create a meal in this timed mystery basket challenge to win prizes against the competing team!  Post event, sit down and enjoy your creations with wines and beers chosen by Pharmacy’s very own “Libation Specialist”. Dominick Tardugno.  To book dad or yourself for the challenge, click here.
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Celebrate Dad this Father’s Day Weekend at ICON Orlando 

New “ICONic Dad” Package includes Craft Beer Flight and a Soda Float Bar, Tailgate Games, Priority Boarding

Make Father’s Day extra special with a visit to the newly named ICON Orlando! Guests can now book the “ICONic Dad” package for just $139 (plus tax). The package includes a private family capsule for up to four people (additional tickets available for $20 per person plus tax, limit up to 4), a craft beer flight for dad featuring Orange County Brewers, a soda float bar for non-alcoholic options, tailgate games for the whole family to enjoy and priority boarding! Children under 3 and parking are always free. To make a reservation and for more information visit, ICONorlando.com/fathersday.

WHEN:                 June 15 – June 17, 2018

WHERE:               ICON Orlando,8375 International Drive Orlando, Florida


The Capital Grille

For those looking to let Dad rest this Father’s Day, The Capital Grille is offering an off-menu feature on Sunday, June 17: a 20 oz. Wagyu Bone-In New York Strip. Available only by request, this generous offering is the perfect way to make Dad feel special on his big day.

In addition to the classically prepared dish, raise a glass to Dad with the deservingly paired Faust ‘Liberation’ Cabernet blend of Napa Valley, an exclusive wine for The Capital Grille’s guests, hand-picked by our Advanced Sommelier. Faust, “Liberation,” Napa Valley has primary notes of blackberry fruit, mocha and licorice perfectly balanced by pretty aromas of potpourri and sweet vanilla from 100-percent new French oak barrels.


Eddie V’s

This year Orlando residents can celebrate Dad at Eddie V’s over prime seafood and steak, while also giving him a chance to win an exceptionally unique experience; a 3-day, 2-night Gulf fishing adventure. The winner and a guest will embark on a weekend fishing excursion with Eddie V’s Executive Chef Ray Comiskey, who will treat them to dinner at Eddie V’s on day one. On the second night, the day’s catch will be prepared by Chef for everyone to enjoy.

Guests should ask their server for more details on Sunday, June 17 to help their Dad win an adventure he will never forget.


Enzo’s Hideaway at Disney Springs

Sunday Supper is kicking off on Father’s Day June 17 inside Enzo’s Hideaway at Disney Springs. Gather your loved ones around one of our communal tables to enjoy a hearty spread of cured meats, cheeses, pasta, entrees and sweets, shared family-style, in an intimate setting that focuses on bringing people together with the promise of good food and meaningful conversation. This is a weekly event where the only menu being served will be the Sunday Supper menu and the regular menu will not be available. Bring a bottle (or two) of your favorite wine to toast  with no additional corkage fee! This family-style feast is $45 a person and $19 for children nine and under (price does not include tax or gratuity).  

To view the menu and make reservations, visit: https://www.patinagroup.com/enzos-hideaway/menu#Sunday+Supper

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Ace Cafe Orlando

Join Ace Cafe Orlando on Sunday, June 17th for the Ultim-ACE Dad’s Day, featuring special brunch and beverage items that are sure to fuel any tank. Dad grinds it out all week and deserves a day to relax, so bring him out to the Ace for a day filled with awesome cars and bikes, delicious food, giveaways and a cigar roller on site (for purchase).
Loosen up that tie and bring it into the Ace to enter to win the Ultim-ACE Dad’s Day Experience gift basket! The Ace will donate all new and gently-used neckties to the Covenant House of Florida to help homeless young men who are actively interviewing for jobs and in need of the proper business attire.
  • Car & Bike Show from 11am to 2pm with a DJ outdoors
  • Brunch from 10am – 2pm, with special brunch food/beverage menu items, reservations required.
  • Ultim-ACE Dad’s Day giveaway items
  • Bring in your new or gently-used necktie to be donated to the Covenant House of Florida
  • Cigar roller on site

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Tony Roma’s

Tony Roma’s on International Drive, known for its traditional Baby Back Ribs, is the perfect lunch or dinner spot to show dad that you’re thankful for everything he’s done. Dad can also enjoy a special menu from June 16 -17for just $35. The menu includes a 12 oz. New York Strip, grilled to perfection and topped with creamy, spicy Kickin’ Shrimp and served with his choice of salad or soup and a fresh vegetable.

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Del Frisco’s

Del Frisco’s on International Drive, is serving up a delicious slow roasted herb crusted Prime Rib served as a 16 oz. or 20 oz., just for dad on Sunday, June 17th. The 16 oz. is available for $45 and the 20 oz. for $55. The Prime Rib pairs perfectly with a Del Frisco’s signature Old Fashioned.


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

Make Father’s Day unforgettable with a pig roast at Tapa Toro! Enjoy a three-course meal with suckling pig and flamenco entertainment for $28 per person. Plus, complimentary 20oz beer, bourbon tasting & cigar lounge while supplies last. Sunday, June 17 from 5 – 11 p.m.

Reservations: https://tapatoro.restaurant/fathersday-dinner


Taverna Opa (Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Dr)

Have you ever seen your dad dance on a table? Would you like to? Party with Pops at Taverna Opa this Father’s Day! Dad eats free with family-style menu for four. One offer per party. Plus, Greek entertainment all day. Sunday, June 17 from noon – 11 p.m.

Reservations: https://opaorlando.com/fathersday

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The first Friday in June is National Doughnut Day and this year it falls on Friday, June 1st, 2018.

Doughnut Day was established by The Salvation Army in 1938 to honor The Salvation Army’s “Doughnut Lassies,” who served the treats to soldiers during World War I. The “Doughnut Lassies” are often credited with popularizing the doughnut in the United States when the troops returned home from war.

The Salvation Army celebrated the first National Doughnut Day in Chicago in 1938 to help raise funds during the Great Depression and commemorate the work of the “Doughnut Lassies.”

Here are some ways to celebrate for National Doughnut Day here in Orlando, with lots of specials including free doughnuts:


Krispy Kreme
Any donut free – no purchase necessary, but we suggest a cup of dark roast for ultimate dunking.

Krispy Kreme Winter Park
1031 S. Orlando Avenue (17-92), Winter Park, FL 32789

Krispy Kreme Millenia
4080 Millenia Blvd., Orlando, FL 32939

Krispy Kreme Kissimmee – East
5310 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway
(192 / Mile Marker 11.5), Kissimmee, FL 34746

Dunkin Donuts
Free “classic” donut with purchase of a beverage.

Wawa
Any donut free with purchase of a specialty beverage.

The Donut King
Free glazed donut – No purchase necessary.
208 S. Highway 27, Minneola
3716 Howell Branch Road, Winter Park
thedonutking.com

The Glass Knife
Offering a complimentary glazed doughnut with a purchase of a coffee on Friday, June 1 from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.; they will also be debuting their newest edition, the “Doughnut Banana Split;” and last, but certainly not least, offering one lucky Instagram winner complimentary donuts for a year. Entering the contest is simple – like the post the post on @theglassknifewp Instagram page, follow @theglassknifewp and tag 3 friends. The contest ends at 11:59 am EST on Friday, June 1. Details can be found on their Instagram page.

DUCK DONUTS
710 Centerview Blvd, Kissimmee, FL 34741
(407) 350-5832
One free donut (bare, cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar) no purchase necessary. There will also be raffles, music, an area for guests to take pictures, and warm, fresh donuts – made to order. ?With each free donut, each guest will receive a coupon for their next trip to DUCK DONUTS.

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