Authors Posts by Ricky Ly of

Ricky Ly of

Florida native Ricky Ly founded 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 and Photography is taken using a Canon EOS 6D and a Sony Nex-3. E-mail him at tastychomps(at) Google

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On far-flung World Center Drive, near the Epcot area, you can find authentic Shanghainese Chinese cuisine at the newly opened iShanghai. It’s a hidden gem that is a welcome addition to the rather bleek Orlando Chinese restaurant landscape.

Shanghai, the bustling port city on the central coast in China, is known for their seafood and the use of fresh flavors and methods that retain the taste of the ingredients.

Shanghai dishes usually are pickled in wine, stewed, braised, steamed, or deep fried.

A notable Shanghai delicacy is xiaolongbao, also known as soup dumplings in the United States. Made popular by the Michelin starred Din Tai Fung restaurant, which is headquartered in Taiwan, but have locations around the world including in the US, the xiaolongbao is a type of hot steamed bun made with a thin skin of dough and stuffed with pork or minced crab, and notably, soup.

The soup is said to be congealed first before placing into the pork mixture and then steamed, allowing for the soup to stay inside the dumpling. Often times in local Chinese restaurants here in Orlando, they may advertise xiaolongbao and the flavors are there but the soup is not there to many a disappointed patron.

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So let’s just say we have finally found the holy grail of dumplings in Orlando – the soup dumplings are found here at iShanghai – with a few caveats.

A good xiaolongbao should be able to hold in the soup until it is bitten – nothing is worse than a soup dumpling that has its soup just missing from the dumpling. The soup dumplings here at iShanghai do hold up well, and there is some soup, some very little soup – but still soup, inside the dumplings.

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A common way of eating xiaolongbao is to place it on your spoon, puncture the dumpling or bite off the top, blow on it to cool down the steaming soup, and then drink the soup from the spoon. Then, finally, eat the whole dumpling together.

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It’s satisfying and quite tasty – but I do believe it is priced a bit high at $6.00 for 3 dumplings, or $2.00 a dumpling. I think even Din Tai Fung’s soup dumplings at locations in California are priced at $10-$13 for 10, or about $1.00-$1.30 each. For that much, there better be a whole cup of soup in those dumplings.

Overall, it was a good soup dumpling and I am glad we finally have a place to try some here in Orlando, even though it is nearer to Epcot than to downtown Orlando.

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The other dishes we tried at iShanghai were also quite good – we started with the salami ham and winter melon soup, a very authentic Chinese soup that is quite refreshing, hearty, and healthy.

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Our coo lao fried pork is a sweet a sour crispy pork belly dish that had praises from all around our table that evening. Crunchy, sweet, and sour – you’d hardly realized you were eating a dish that is literally half pork and half bacon fat.

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A rather exotic dish – the crackling eel – piqued our interest, but we decided to go for a safer
Stir-Fried Grouper Fish with Pine Nut dish instead.

We were quite happy with the selection – the fish, sliced and tender, went well with the pine nuts that added a nice crunchy texture to the dish.

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We ordered the Crispy Skin Chicken, a super crispy fried salt and pepper chicken for an appetizer, but they seemed to have put it the order in late – maybe they forgot – so it arrived after our entrees.

They were very apologetic though and service overall was pretty good.

They upgraded the interior from what was formerly the location of an Asian buffet. They need to play some light music or something because it is awkwardly silent inside.

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I noticed an elderly couple helping out in the back – you know the food is good if you have grandma and grandpa making it.

I definitely recommend coming here with a family or a group of at least four to try several dishes and share family style.

IShanghai Orlando
8216 a World Center Drive, Orlando, FL, United States
+1 407-238-2997, 407-238-2998

Mon – Thu 12pm – 10pm
Fri – Sat 12pm – 11pm
Sun 12pm – 10pm

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Offering prime steak, fresh seafood and top of the line hospitality, Del Frisco’s Orlando is an exceptional steakhouse, and one of the newest additions to the restaurants on International Drive.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House features an impressive, diverse wine list of more than 1,200 labels,  including a number of notable verticals from both old and new world producers.

With two floors that include two bars, four private dining rooms and a picturesque patio, Del Frisco’s Orlando boasts over 400 seats.

The restaurant’s price point is closer to probably better for those with an expense account or for a special occasion, but the dishes from the succulent lobster tails and lobster mac and cheese  to the juicy ribeye steaks. Leave room for dessert – the crispy on the caramelized outside, pillowy soft on the inside butter cake with butter pecan ice cream is really one of the best desserts in Orlando.


Executive Chef Greg Thompson spoke with us recently about Del Frisco’s and his background in cooking.

He tells us, “Del Frisco’s commitment to quality, in everything we do makes us stand apart. From the staff to the ingredients and the restaurant standards we hold, we embrace this commitment to quality each day.”

What are some of the most popular items at Del Frisco’s here in Orlando?
The Crab Cake, for sure. It’s one of the best I’ve ever had! Also, of course the Bone In Filet!

How did you get your start in cooking? Where were you before Del Frisco’s?
I love to eat! I was always fascinated by the metamorphosis of ingredients into magnificent food; almost like alchemy. I am a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, and I worked in NYC for a long time before a stint in Charlotte, NC (both are great food towns). I have traveled around the world opening up steakhouses in locales like Beijing, Shanghai, and Mexico City as well as the lower 48 states and Canada.

What is your favorite childhood food to eat?
Ice cream! It’s still my favorite food, to this day.

If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life from Del Frisco’s – what would that one thing be?
Definitely the Butter Cake!

What were some of your favorite eats while traveling the world?
The Chicken Thigh Sliders at Blue Frog in Shanghai, and also anything at Da Dong in Beijing! I also really love Tacos “al pastor” in Mexico City.

What is your favorite thing to eat at home after a long day?
A really good deli sandwich piled high with all the “fixings”

Take an inside look at Del Frisco’s:

Private Rooms available
Private Rooms available


House baked bread
House baked bread
Classic Caeser Salad  - $9.5
Classic Caeser Salad – $9.5
Crab Cake with Cajun Lobster Sauce - $19
Crab Cake with Cajun Lobster Sauce – $19
Thick Cut Bacon Au Poivre Bourbon Molasses Glaze - $14.5
Thick Cut Bacon Au Poivre
Bourbon Molasses Glaze – $14.5


Broiled Lobster Tail Carved tableside & served with drawn butter & lemon.
Broiled Lobster Tail
Carved tableside & served with drawn butter & lemon.
Bone-In Prime Ribeye 22 oz. - $59
Bone-In Prime Ribeye 22 oz. – $59


Seared Chilean Sea Bass Crab Fried Rice & Black Bean Garlic Sauce - $44
Seared Chilean Sea Bass
Crab Fried Rice & Black Bean Garlic Sauce – $44
Lobster Macaroni & Cheese - $16.5
Lobster Macaroni & Cheese – $16.5
Buttercake Butter Pecan Ice Cream, Fresh Whipped Cream & Caramel Sauce - $12
Butter Pecan Ice Cream, Fresh Whipped Cream & Caramel Sauce – $12

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Orlando Ramen Rumble
Orlando Ramen Rumble

Chef Austin Boyd of Seito Sushi, Chef Greg Richie of Baoery Asian Gastropub, and Chef Chau Trinh of Sushi Pop Restaurant will battle each other on Monday March 7th from 6:00pm  – 9:00pm in Orlando’s first Ramen Rumble.

The chefs come together in a friendly competition to see whose bowl of ramen reigns supreme. The prize to the winning chef is not just bragging rights, but the decision to which charity the proceeds will go. The purpose of this event is to celebrate the growing culinary scene in Orlando through these magical bowls of slurping wonderment.

We all win as long as we have one of these bowls in front of us!

Orlando Ramen Rumble

Ramen, the Japanese noodle dish that has continued to grow in popularity in Orlando, will be made by the chefs from scratch from the broth to noodles.

The event is organized by Ricky Ly of in partnership with Jason and Sue Chin of The Osprey Tavern to bring together local chefs and the local Orlando community in appreciation of ramen.

The proceeds from the event will be donated to the winning chef’s choice of charity.

The ticket prices are $30 and will feature a tasting bowl of ramen from each chef, 1 draft beer, and housemade sweet desserts.

For tickets, visit

Illustrations by Sue Chin

Orlando Ramen Rumble

Pharmacy is now opening their doors to guests on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-2pm to introduce their new brunch menu. Diners have their choice of any entrée and cocktail for $25.

Read further below for the Press Release info:

The owners are putting their unique spin on well-known brunch favorites. Guests are greeted with a complimentary assortment of freshly fried chocolate and spiced glazed donuts for the table to enjoy.

The menu offers a range of fresh entrées, cocktails, and sides.

Diners have their choice of any entrée and cocktail for $25.

Entrées range from buttermilk and chive waffles made with farm fresh eggs and salmon cured in-house to mushroom cream mac and cheese alongside smoked brown sugar cured bacon.

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A variety of cocktails are also available such as the Bloody Michelada garnished with cheese, olive and prosciutto, or their spin on a traditional mimosa known as the Buck’s Fizz featuring Marcel Martin Cremate Brut, Orange Juice and their in-house grenadine.

Pharmacy isn’t just known for its trendy speakeasy environment, but for their menu filled with local and organic foods.

The restaurant’s chef, who was featured in Food & Wine Magazine’s Top 10 Chefs in the Country along with the owners all bring their talents to the table to create unconventional dishes and cocktails.

While guests can always expect delicious and unique dishes, the menu selection changes seasonally.

Here are 6 Delightful Dishes from Pharmacy’s New Weekend Brunch Menu

1. Buttermilk & Chive Waffles

2. Pulled Pork Hash Eggs Benedict

3. Cinnamon Buns

4. Chocolate and Spice Glazed Donuts

5. Pharmacy Mac & Cheese with Double Corn Grits and Brown Sugar Cured Bacon

6. Rose Champagne

Photos via care of The Pharmacy

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On Saturday, March 5, at the Orlando World Center Marriott, top local Central Florida chefs from renowned restaurants and resorts will showcase their creativity to help raise funds at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida’s Appetite for the Arches event.


Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida finds, creates, and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and families. The cornerstone program, the Ronald McDonald House®, provides temporary lodging, meals, and a network of support to families with children receiving medical treatment at local hospitals.

There are two Ronald McDonald Houses in Orlando— one on the campus of Florida Hospital for Children and one on the campus of Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.

A third Ronald McDonald House will open in Spring 2016 on the campus of Nemours Children’s Hospital in Lake Nona.


This is a culinary event with a twist – chefs will use McDonald’s ingredients to create their signature dishes.

Guests will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with participating chefs and each other, enjoy live music, and a silent auction too.

Participating restaurants include:
– 4Rivers
– Capa at Four Seasons Resort Orlando
– Cask & Larder Public House
– DoveCote
– Emeril’s Tchoup Chop
– Hard Rock Orlando
– Hamilton’s Kitchen at the Alfond Inn
– K Restaurant
– LUMA on Park
– Orlando World Center Marriott
– Ravello at Four Seasons Resort Orlando
– RusTeak
– Spanish River Grill
– Swine & Sons Provisions
– The Ravenous Pig
– The Rusty Spoon


Julie Petrakis, who owns The Ravenous Pig, Cask & Larder and Swine & Sons Provisions with her husband James, sits on the planning committee for the event and was in charge of organizing chef participation.

“Appetite for the Arches unites Central Florida’s best chefs and the community on a night of culinary surprises and delight for a special cause. All proceeds from the gala help Ronald McDonald House keep families together when they need it most —during the treatment of a critically ill child.”


For additional information about Appetite for the Arches including ticket information and sponsorship opportunities, please visit

Facebook: @Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida

Twitter: @RMHCCF
Event hashtag: #AppetiteOrlando

Photos below by So May Ly Photography.

Here are 5 Surprising Dishes made from McDonald’s Ingredients that will appear at the upcoming Appetites for the Arches:


1. Chef Kathleen Blake: The Rusty Spoon – Red Devil Stuffed Eggs,Bacon Brittle,Oven-Dried Tomatoes
McDonald’s Ingredients: Bacon, Eggs, Grape Tomatoes


2. Chef Kevin Fonzo: K Restaurant – Chicken Tortilla Soup, Savory Biscuit Bread Pudding
McDonald’s Ingredients: Chicken Breast, Jalapeno, White Onion, Egg, Bacon, Milk, Biscuit, Pepperjack Cheese, Grape Tomato, Corn Tortilla
3. Chef Rhys Gawlak: Cask & Larder – Kale Gnocchi Carbonara
McDonald’s Ingredients: Canadian Bacon, Kale, Spinach, Egg, Romaine, French Fry, Parmesan Cheese, White Onion, English Muffin


4. Chef Clayton Miller: DoveCote – Smoked Beef Tongue Reuben, Crispy Potato, Big Mac Sauce
McDonald’s Ingredients: Hash Brown, Lettuce, Big Mac Sauce


5. Chef Julie Petrakis: The Ravenous Pig – Cheesecake, Espresso Crumble, Strawberry-Frangelico Sauce
McDonald’s Ingredients: Strawberry, Whole Eggs, Espresso Bean, French Vanilla Syrup, Butter, Granola, Cream Cheese, Oatmeal Cookie

Cocktails courtesy of Republic National Distributing Company and prepared by Cask & Larder

Russian Standard Vodka Infused Cucumber Lemonade Soda
McDonald’s® Ingredients: Cucumber, Lemon


Old Fashioned with Brown Butter Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, Smoked Simple, Orange Bitters

McDonald’s Ingredients: Simple Syrup, Butter

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In many ways, the story of St. Augustine is the story of Florida.

With more than 450 years of history, the food culture of St. Augustine has been influenced by the early settlers from Spain, Britain, Greece, Cuba, Italy, and more – like the story of its datil peppers – it’s all about becoming a melting pot of flavors and tastes with each new wave of immigrants.

With its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and fertile Florida farmlands just miles away, St. Augustine has a dearth of local and sustainable resources for their food and culinary community to cultivate.

It’s quickly becoming one of Florida’s favorite spots to visit, as tourist numbers rise year after year to explore the Castillo de San Marcos fort and wander the along the tiny streets of the Colonial Quarter.

You can feel it in the air when you walk down the charming historic quarter of old St. Augustine – the lingering dreams of the Spanish explorer Ponce De Leon and his quest for the eternal Fountain of Youth and the lofty dreams of industrialist Henry Flagler who sought to transform Florida with his railway and luxury hotels.

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Here is a suggested itinerary for a Food Lover’s Weekend in Historic St. Augustine:

Friday Night

Check into one of the many local bed and breakfast inns like the historic St. Francis Inn, the oldest inn in St Augustine founded in 1791, and head out over the bridge to Anastasia Island for dinner at Terra & Acqua, a restaurant specializing in land and sea dishes from Northern Italian cuisine using local and seasonal ingredients.

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Founded by chef/owner, Simone Parisi, the restaurant features a wood-fired oven that gives a wonderful smokey char to their breads, pizzas, and particularly the fantastic charred octopus salad.

Northern Italian food is different from cuisine usually found in Italian restaurants in America – the dishes here are accentuated with seafood, olive oil and fresh vegetables instead of heavy tomato sauces.

Their pastas are handmade in house, and it shows – the pappardelle cinghiale, a handmade pappardelle pasta is luscious and silky to taste, going well with the hearty wild boar and plum tomato sauce.

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Bruschetta Mista
Variety of bruschettas with seasonal homemade toppings

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Polpo Alla Griglia
Charred tender octopus, potato and green bean salad, EVOO


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Bruschetta Avocado Gamberi
Sweet and spicy sauce, avocado, red onion, local shrimp

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Insalate Pera
Romaine hearts, gorgonzola, pears, walnuts, EVOO, balsamic reduction

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Insalata Barbabietole
Medley of organic beets, gorgonzola, watercress salad

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Pappardelle Cinghiale
Handmade pappardelle, wild boar, plum tomato sug, fresh herbs

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Aragosta E Crostacei
Grilled lobster,Frutti di Mare, vegetables

St. Francis Inn Bed and Breakfast
St. Francis Inn Bed and Breakfast

Have a quick breakfast at St. Francis Inn, then head out to what some locals lovingly call the “Sin Quarter” – where you can find San Sebastian Winery, St. Augustine Distillery, and Whetstone Chocolates factory all a few steps away from each other.

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Take a  chocolate tasting tour of the Whetstone Chocolates factory, where you can learn about the process of chocolate making and sample some of their signature chocolates named after historic figures from St. Augustine’s storied past like Aviles, Menendez, De Leon, and San Marco. Do get a bag of their “gator bait” to go – crunchy, deliciously addictive chunks of milk chocolate covered pretzel pieces, rice crispies, and corn flakes.

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Next, visit the newly opened St. Augustine Distillery in the renovated historic Ice Plant for a free tour of their gin and vodka distillery which highlights locally sourced farms and sustainable ingredients.

The ice plant was first used in 1917 and there is a fantastic museum inside showcasing its history and role in bringing commercial block ice to Florida, transforming the cocktail forever.

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Upstairs from the distillery, The farm to table Ice Plant restaurant and bar serves up grass-fed beef burgers, local seafood, and stunning cocktails.

Sip on a signature Lady Killer cocktail, made with St. Augustine vodka, lemon, pamplemousse, aperol, and tiki bitters.

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After lunch, stroll down to Flagler College, once Henry Flagler’s flagship Ponce De Leon Hotel and across the street to City Hall / Lightner Museum, formerly the Hotel Alcazar, for a historic tour highlighting Henry Flagler’s visionary and some might say ruthless development and investment in St. Augustine at the turn of early 20th century.

Flagler College’s cafeteria, once the dining hall for the luxury winter resort hotel, has one of the largest collections of Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass in the world.

The Signature Kessler Calamari at Casa Monica Hotel
The Signature Kessler Calamari at Casa Monica Hotel

Afterwards, head over to Casa Monica Hotel, styled after the Moorish and Spanish Baroque architectural revival, which is today still a hotel and run by Kessler Collections.

Here you can order the signature Kessler calamari, first created by executive chef Rene Nyfeler here and now served in all of the Kessler hotels nation wide – it’s crispy calamari served with kalamata olives, green olives, and a flavorful cumin and curry spiced aioli sauce.

Jambalaya at Harry's Seafood
Crawfish Etoufee at Harry’s Seafood
Blackened Red Fish with Collard Greens at Harry’s Seafood


Walk down the historic Colonial Quarter where you can find a bevy of local eats for dinner like Columbia restaurant featuring Spanish and Cuban cuisine, Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille, known for their take on New Orleans style cuisine or Michael’s Tasting Room, small plate tapas and innovative cuisine with a modern Spanish flair.

For dessert, have one of the many unique fresh fruit, handmade gourmet popsicles like champagne mango and strawberry from The Hyppo.

Michael's Tasting Room
Fried oysters at Michael’s Tasting Room
Michael's Tasting Room
Duck Breast at Michael’s Tasting Room
Michael's Tasting Room
Lamb chops at Michael’s Tasting Room
Michael's Tasting Room
Michael’s Tasting Room

With over 450 years of history, it’s no wonder there have been more than a few lingering spirits with unfinished business in town.

After dinner, grab an EMF meter and hop on a hearse for Ghost Augustine’s Haunted Pub Crawl, which brings you around to explore some of St. Augustine’s more ghostly sites like Scarlett O’ Hara’s or the site of the mysteriously unsolved murder of St. Augustine socialite Athalia Ponsell Lindsley, who was hacked to death by a machete on her front door steps.

It’s all quite an intriguing and macabre tour for those who enjoy stories of death and hauntings accompanied with a few pints of beer.

Scarlett O' Hara's Pub
Scarlett O’ Hara’s Pub

Head on over for a stroll along one of the oldest public streets in America – Aviles Street – in downtown St. Augustine.

Tucked away on this tiny street are some of St. Augustine’s best international restaurants as well as small boutique shops and antique stores.

On Aviles Street
On Aviles Street

It’s also home to one of America’s best breakfast dishes according to PBS – the guajiro at La Herencia Cafe, a local Cuban restaurant on Aviles.

The guajiro is a feast for the senses – an omelette on top of toasted Cuban bread, topped with black beans, pulled pork, salsa, and cheese – this dish is just fabulous.

Cafecito at La Herencia Cafe
Cafecito at La Herencia Cafe
Guajiro at La Herencia Cafe
Guajiro at La Herencia Cafe
Guajiro at La Herencia Cafe
Guajiro at La Herencia Cafe

Around the corner on Aviles, next to the Antiques and Uniques shop – which may or may not be a haunted spirits portal – is the small and homey Greek and Polish restaurant, Gaufre’s and Goods.

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This is a must-try restaurant, particularly for some of the best Polish pierogies I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting.

They are pan-seared crispy with sliced onions and bacon and had such great flavor, with a variety of fresh fillings from spinach, to cheese and potato and lamb.

This is how pierogie dumplings should taste.

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There are also specials from time to time, like the yemista, delicious little Greek stuffed tomatoes and peppers filled with rice and meat.

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Built in 1888 by Henry Flagler, the Alcazar Hotel and Casino was once home to one of the finest winter resorts for the wealthy New England elite, complete with the world’s largest indoor swimming pool.

Today the Hotel Alcazar is now home to St. Augustine’s City Hall and the Lightner Museum, a collection of Mr. Lightner’s collection pieces from around the world including a shrunken head from South America and a programmable orchestrion.

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It’s also home to Cafe Alcazar, where diners can lunch on the floor of the indoor swimming pool where the elite once swam and dived between the columns.

Try the escargot, plump and freshly prepared with garlic butter and minced herbs and white wine, or the east meets west curried chicken salad.

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You could almost imagine being back in the early 1900s when guests dived and swam around the columns where the pool once was, live classical piano music plays.

It’s this timelessness that makes St. Augustine such an enchanting place.

There’s so much to see, to do, and most importantly, to eat in St. Augustine, that when it comes time to leave, you’ll want to return again and again to explore some more of the wonderful hidden eats and charms in St. Augustine.

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St. Augustine’s Food Festivals

March – St Augustine Lions Seafood Festival
April – Annual Rhythm and Ribs Festival, Taste of St. Augustine Festival
September – St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival
October – Datil Pepper Festival, St. Augustine Independent Restaurant Association Food and Wine Fest, St Augustine Greek Festival, A Taste of the Beach, Oceanwise Sustainable Seafood Fundraiser for the Friends of the GTM Reserve
November – Annual St. Augustine Great Chowder Debate

Slow Food First Coast’s Monthly Tour de Farm
Take a ride around the region for a first-look into the fall harvest and an opportunity to learn about our local food system. See where your food comes from and meet the farmers who produce it! The tour is from noon to 5 p.m. and includes farms in St. Augustine, Hasting, Elkton, Ponte Vedra and Jacksonville area. Chefs from area restaurants will be at each farm demonstrating cooking techniques and recipes using local-grown produce. A $20 car pass is required to participate. For more information and a list of participating farms, visit

Follow St. Augustine on Social Media

Special Thanks to Barbara Golden, communications manager of the St Augustine, Ponte Vedra, & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau for her invaluable insight and sharing with us her love for her city during our stay and to Kathy Catron, director of communications for the St Augustine, Ponte Vedra, & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau for inviting us to visit!

Photography by So May Ly Photography of 

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We were recently invited to check out the new renovation at Bonefish in Winter Garden as well as sample the delicious Florida Stone crabs that are in season.

Florida stone crabs, sold cold, are very meaty and juicy with a rich, sweet flavor and what’s more – they can be quite a sustainable seafood dish.

Fishermen remove one of their claws and return the crab to the ocean where it can re-grow its lost limb. Though stone crab claws are tender inside, on the outside, they’re strong enough to break an oyster’s shell.


Orlando Bonefish Grill restaurants are now offering stone crab claws in all Florida locations, where they are locally sourced.

Sold by the pound, Bonefish Grill’s stone crabs come fresh off the Florida docks and served the way they were meant to be served, chilled, cracked, and ready for dipping.


In Winter Garden, the interior recently underwent a new renovation with an industrial, sleek look that harkens back to an estuary or mangrove idea – a place where fish love to hang out at. There’s even a large decorative art piece of a shiny metallic fish on one of the walls.



The bang bang shrimp is a favorite here and for good reason – crunchy, sweet, crispy and spicy tangy, creamy – it’s quite good and a highlight of the menu.


I really enjoyed my fish and chips as well, three cod fillets, tempura-battered in a special blend of seasoning, served with French fries and tartar sauce.


The corn and crab chowder was disappointing as it was served at a tepid lukewarm temperature and was rather bland in flavor. The corn and crab were fresh, but the chowder soup itself was lacking.


The teriyaki chicken rice bowl also disappointed – the chicken was bland and the rice was undercooked. The teriyaki sauce was too salty and the presentation overall was unappetizing.


Definitely needs some work in the kitchen to bring the standard up to make up for the misses.

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In this edition of “As the Orlando Restaurant and Dining Scene Turns”, we explore 16 new restaurants who have sprung up in Central Florida worth taking a look at. They are new and ready for folks to come out and see what their food is about. Have you been to any of them already? Let us know! In the meantime, Go forth and support our local Orlando businesses and restaurants!

Here are 16 New Restaurants to Try Out Right Now in Orlando This Spring 2016


1. Urbain 40 American Brasserie and Lounge

Take a trip back to the big band era of the 1940s at Urbain 40 on Sand Lake Road’s Restaurant Row. They take over the former location for Cantina Laredo replacing the Mexican restaurant with a French and American influenced aesthetic – fantastic pan roasted mussels, French onion soup, house made pasta bolognese, and perfectly cooked steak chops.

Urbain 40 American Brasserie and Lounge
8000 Via Dellagio Way
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 872-2640

2. Saigon Noodle Grill

– The second location for the Goldenrod and Lake Underhill Vietnamese restaurant, Saigon Noodle and Grill has taken over the location previously held by Pho K5 on Bumby Avenue, where Medina’s Spanish Grocery once stood for many years. Their specialties include Vietnamese Pho beef noodle soup and thit bo xao xa ot, stir fried beef in lemongrass and chili sauce.

Saigon Noodle Grill
101 N Bumby Ave
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 532-7373

Image via
Image via

3. Baoery Asian Gastropub

They may have opened for a few months now, so it is high time you came down to visit The Baoery in Thornton Park, helmed by venerable Chef Greg Richie. Specialties include their signature korean fried chicken bao buns, crispy shrimp toast, kung pao peanut calamari, and short rib tacos.

Baoery Asian Gastropub
617 E Central Blvd
Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 849-9779

Image via
Image via

4. Better than Sex Desserts

Yes, the name is a bit PG-13, but it is the second location for the popular Key West dessert shop so look past the name and look forward to their sultry cakes and desserts like the cookie nookie or The Morning After, made with Danish brie cheese & dark Belgian chocolate grilled on homestyle buttered bread kissed with cinnamon sugar.

1905 N Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32804
(407) 761-8949

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5. Chimiking

The fourth location of this Dominican restaurant that started as a food truck. They specialize in chimichurri burgers, Dominican sandwiches made from a ground pork or beef, which is sliced, grilled and served on a pan de agua (literally “water bread”) and garnished with chopped cabbage and tomatoes as well as mashed plaintain mofongos with garlic shrimp (seen above).

6700 Conroy Windermere Rd
Ste 105
Orlando, FL 32835
(321) 732-3933

o (16)  6. Kabsah Yemeni Cuisine

Yemeni cuisine has arrived in Orlando with the new Kasbah – the small country on the south side of the Arabian peninsula currently undergoing civil war. The restaurants features specialties including chicken rice kabsah, a family of mixed rice dishes that originates in Yemen, where it is commonly regarded as a national dish made with spices and meat, and heneeth biryani rice. Haneeth is usually made from basmati rice, meat (lamb), and also a mixture of spices.

Kabsah Yemeni Cuisine
4153 W Vine St
Kissimmee, FL 3474
(407) 978-6501

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7. IShanghai

Shanghainese cuisine with dishes such as steamed pork buns, braised pork belly, and stir fried crab.

8216 World Center Dr
Ste A
Orlando, FL 32821
(321) 430-1220


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8. El Inka Grill

The Second location for the Hunter’s Creek based Peruvian restaurant – their menu features Peruvian classics such as ceviche, lomo saltado, fried seafood platters, and very delicious chaufa – Peruvian style fried rice influenced by Chinese immigrants.

El Inka Grill
7600 Dr Phillips Blvd
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 930-2810

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9. Antica Pizza and Mozzarella Bar

A new Italian pizza style restaurant in the Altamonte Springs area with chefs right from Rome who worked with the Michelin starred chef Adriano Baldassarre. They also have a Mozzarella bar which helps guests try out new and different Italian cheeses that makes Italy famous throughout the world.

Antica Pizza and Mozzarella Bar
249 W-SR 436, Suite 1105
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714
(407) 834-7770

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10. Sinha Brazilian Steakhouse

Sinhá (Seen-yah’) which means “lady of the house,” is a new Brazilian steakhouse in Hunter’s Creek features the rodizio style all you can eat dining experience with affordable prices and a buffet bar – Rodizio Lunch: $19.95 and Rodizio Dinner: $24.95.

Sinha Brazilian Steakhouse
13586 Village Park Dr
Orlando, FL 32837
(407) 203-0726

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11. TR Fire Grill Winter Park

This newish concept by Tony Roma’s restaurant group (the original TR Fire Grill on Semoran near the Airport has closed and relocated to Winter Park) strives to have locally sourced and chef driven menus with dishes like cherry wood smoked duck tacos, bacon wrapped smoked meatloaf, and chicken and waffles.

TR Fire Grill Winter Park
1035 North Orlando Ave.
Suite 101
Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 708-3600


12. Provisions & Buzz Co.

A rebranding of the location formerly known as Jack’s Steakhouse in Baldwin Park, now with an eclectic list of dishes like pork belly kimchi rice bowls, honey miso marinated black grouper, and sage gnocchi.

Provisions & Buzz Co.
4868 New Broad St
Orlando, FL 32814
(407) 896-2688

Image via Lisa W. at
Image via Lisa W. at

13. Saint Anejo Mexican Kitchen + Tequileria

New Mexican restaurant in Oviedo featuring a diverse list of tequilas, house made guacamole, ceviches, and street tacos.

Saint Anejo Mexican Kitchen + Tequileria
5248 Red Bug Lake Rd
Winter Springs, FL 32708
(407) 636-3600

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14. Metro Diner

From Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives fame, this is a new location for the Jacksonville based Metro Diner in Altamonte Springs – a winner of many Best Breakfast awards from Jacksonville – they are known for huevos rancheros, chicken and waffles, and other traditional diner fare.

Metro Diner
985 N State Road 434
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714
(407) 917-8997

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15. The Ganachery Chocolate Shop at Disney Springs

Fashioned after an old apothecary, The Ganachery features Gourmet Chocolate Ganaches in Disney Springs made with milk chocolate and cream.

Image via Mike P. at
Image via Mike P. at

16. Antonella’s Pizzeria

Excited for this pizza restaurant with fabulous pedigree – from the family of Stefano’s Trattoria in Winter Springs and Goodfellas by UCF lead by husband and wife team Francesco Paradiso and Antonella Paradiso-LaCommare. We look forward to trying their pizzas in Winter Park – very, very soon! Read more about the family on Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide here.

Antonella’s Pizzeria
360 W. Fairbanks Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 636-5333

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It’s that time of year again! Seems like only yesterday.

The local Asian American community here in Orlando will be celebrating the Lunar New Year once again – one of my favorite times of the year, not just for the festivities but also for the great food that goes along with the holiday celebrations.

I remember gathering around at home growing up with my uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandma around the family dinner table having a huge feast, praying to our ancestors and the gods of fortune for a lucky and healthy new year. My favorite dishes were the fried egg rolls and roasted duck, Hakka style, filled with Chinese spices, herbs and wild mushrooms.

This year the Chinese/Vietnamese Lunar New Year’s Official Date (which changes each year because – surprise – it follows the cycles of the moon) is Monday February 8th, 2016 – but the celebrations begin much earlier and last almost all month.

This is the year of the Monkey and those people born in the year of the Monkey are said to be “smart, clever and intelligent, especially in their career and wealth. They are lively, flexible, quick-witted and versatile. In addition, their gentleness and honesty bring them an everlasting love life. Although they were born with enviable skills, they still have several shortcomings, such as an impetuous temper and a tendency to look down upon others.”

Luckily for us here in the Central Florida community, we are home to the largest ethnic enclaves of Asian Americans in the entire state, particularly around the Mills 50 district with shops, restaurants, and markets all getting ready to celebrate the Lunar New Year.


Lunar New Year Traditions
  • Eating dinner together as a family – people journey from wherever they are, to come home and have dinner. Every year this time marks the largest mass migration of people when workers in the cities travel home to their home villages to visit their families again.
  • Giving/Recieving Red Envelopes - filled with lucky money from elders to the young. Asian culture is big on karma so want to start off the year doing good things for others and hope for good things to happen to you in return later in the year. Universal balance.
  • Clean the house before the new year start the year new, and pay off all your debts
  • Big parades with lots of firecrackers. The loud noise “scares” away any evil spirits so you can start off the new year fresh.
  • On that Monday, February 8th if you have lunch in the Mills 50 area, you will see the Wah Lum Kung Fu Lion Dance team “blessing” each business with their lion dance and fire works. Last year we had lunch at Chuan Lu and they came with fireworks and a dancing Buddha and two lions – quite the festive sight!


What to Order – Traditional Chinese Dishes for New Years


  • Noodles – The longer, the better – the noodles represent longevity and long life
  • Dumplings - They are shaped like little gold nuggets, symbols for good fortune and wealth
  • Fish – The word “yu” sounds like “abundance” in Chinese, so your new year will be abundant with good luck – eat whole fish so that your whole year is full of good luck
  • Fried Spring Rolls – The name also sounds like “good fortune” in Chinese, eat it for a lucky new year
  • Oranges are also plentiful during new years because the name and look of the orange is similar to gold. So giving oranges as a gift is also quite common, as it the giver is seen as wishing prosperity on the receivers.
  • Vietnamese Banh Tet – Bánh tét is a Vietnamese savoury but sometimes sweetened cake made primarily from glutinous rice, which is rolled in a banana leaf into a thick, log-like cylindrical shape, with mung bean or mung bean and pork fillings, then boiled. It is a must have traditional food in Vietnamese Lunar New Year. It demonstrates the importance of rice in the Vietnamese culture as well as historical value. During Vietnamese Tét, family members would gather together and enjoy feasting on bánh tét, the central food of this festive Vietnamese holiday to celebrate the coming of spring.


  • Wash it all down with a glass of Baijiu
  • Baijiu – traditional clear grain spirit made from sorghum and wheat
    • The number one drink in the world at about 40-60% alcohol
    • Like Vodka to the Russians, Rum to Puerto Rico, Baijiu is to the Chinese
    • It’s drank at almost all meal gatherings in China.

Chinese baijiu - Credit-PassportsandCocktails-com

Say Happy New Year!
  • Vietnamese – Chuc Mung Nam Moi
  • Cantonese – Sun Lien Fai Lok
    or Gung Hay Fat Choi (Literally : Congratulations on your Prosperity – have a prosperous new year)
  • Mandarin – Xin Nian Kuai Le
Places to Celebrate:
Local Orlando Restaurants:
    • Ming Bistro – Chinese Dim Sum – Great for Families/Friends/Groups
      1212 Woodward Street #6, Orlando, FL (407) 898-9672
    • Chuan Lu Garden – Authentic Sichuan cuisine – for spicy food lovers
      1101 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL – (407) 896-8966
    • Tasty Wok – Chinese street food / barbecue and noodles
      1246 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL  (407) 896-8988
    • Chan’s Chinese Cuisine – Dim sum and traditional Chinese cuisine 
      1901 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL (407) 896-0093
    • Golden Lotus Chinese – Dim sum and traditional Chinese cuisine
      8365 South John Young Parkway, Orlando, FL (407) 352-3832


Local Markets – Pick up New Year goodies
  • Saigon Market
    1232 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, United States
    (407) 898-6899
  • Tien Hung Market
    1112 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, United States
    (407) 849-0205
  • 1st Oriental SuperMarket
    5132 West Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32808, United States
    (407) 292-3668
  • Phuoc Loc Tho Super Market
    2100 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803, United States
    (407) 898-6858


Street Food Festivals/Events


Vietnamese New Year Festival by the Vietnamese Catholic Church
Saturday January 30 and Sunday January 31 at the Central Florida Fairgrounds
Orlando Foodie Forum facebook group meet up on that Sunday January 31 at 10:30AM
– Try the pork meatballs, sugarcane juice, Vietnamese banh mi, other street foods


Vietnamese New Year Festival by the Vietnamese Community of Central Florida
Saturday February 6th – Sunday February 7th at the Central Florida Fairgrounds
– Street food and also Miss Vietnam of Florida Pageant on Sunday

See below for last year’s schedule for an idea of what will go on –



Vietnamese Vegetarian Food Festival at Bao An Temple

Sunday October 31st –   8am – 2pm (local cultural acts, lots of vegetarian Vietnamese food for sale)
and the new years eve celebration is the night of February 7th (they have singers, performers, food for sale)
Bao An Buddhist Temple – 5788 North Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32818, United States

Last year’s flyer below for now –


Other temples such as Chua Phap Vu Temple on Dean Road will also have a Vietnamese new year celebration / ceremony on the eve of Lunar New Year – Sunday February 7th, usually around 8pm.


Dragon Parade and Lunar New Year Festival
at the Orlando Fashion Square Mall – Sunday February 14 at 11am

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2015 proved to be another great year for the continuing growth of the Orlando restaurant and dining scene, especially with new openings focusing more and more on locally sourced and produced food.


Here are some of our favorite Orlando restaurants and dining moments from 2015:

1. The Osprey Tavern -

A breath of fresh air to Baldwin Park, this project by Jason and Sue Chin, owners of the very successful Seito Sushi Baldwin Park across the street brings together a dream team featuring Executive Chef Joseph Burnett (formerly of Norman’s and The Ravenous Pig), Executive Sous Chef Elek Kovacs, and Kristy Carlucci, Pastry Chef. Restaurant of the Year for 2015.

Photo by Isha Shah
Photo by Isha Shah

2. Tabla Indian Thai Chinese -

Recently undergoing a beautiful multimillion dollar renovation, the traditionally Indian restaurant has brought on Chef Ian Piamonte who spearheads their new Thai and Chinese offerings. My favorite dishes here are the gobi manchurian – little sweet and sour red cauliflower fritters and the lamb biryani rice dish.


Pork Tonkotsu ramen @seitobp #perfection #ramen via @krystlenguyen

A photo posted by Ricky @TastyChomps (@tastychomps) on

3. Pork Tonkatsu Ramen at Seito Sushi Baldwin Park -

Chef Austin Boyd has really upped his game with the pork tonkotsu ramen – silky, slurpy umami goodness. Quite possibly the best ramen bowl in Orlando.

4. The North Quarter Tavern -

Chef Matthew Wall brings the realness to this new north Orlando hot spot – great prices, great food – and especially great fried chicken.

5. King Cajun Crawfish in Mills 50 District -

They recently moved into bigger digs next door where Bananas Modern Diner was on Mills, but they still serve up great renditions of Louisiana cajun cuisine. Check out their story in the fabulous WMFE 90.7 FM series on What is Orlando’s Little Vietnam?



Garlicky buttery rock shrimp from #pharmacyorlando w @kirbiecravings @chowzter @chowzter7 #fbforl after conference eats

A photo posted by Ricky @TastyChomps (@tastychomps) on

6. The Pharmacy on Sand Lake Road

continues to impress – their garlic rock shrimp is one of the best things to eat in Orlando and their menu is always changing. They expanded to where the Table was earlier this year for a little more dining space.


7. Primo by Chef Melissa Kelly

At the JW Marriott Orlando, along with Chef de Cuisine Mariano Vegel continued a long standing tradition of excellence in farm to table cuisine. One of the highlights of my dining experiences for the year was the simple, yet so delicious Farmer’s Salad topped with a farm egg and house cured bacon.


8. Chef’s Night at Second Harvest Food Bank -

Each Chef’s Night brings local top chefs into Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida to celebrate delicious food and raise money 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.


Love the @kappoeastend chirashi bowl so muchhh #sushi #nofilter #foodie #orlando @eastendmkt

A photo posted by Ricky @TastyChomps (@tastychomps) on

9. Kappo at East End Market -

Sadly Kappo closed this year at East End Market, with a small market to take its place. Do not be forlorn too long – the chef/owners are currently seeking a new space to continue Kappo’s legacy. We wish the owners Mark, Lo, and Jen a happy new year as they look to the future. Also, we wish Lo and his fiance Julie a very happy wedding and honeymoon this 2016!

10. Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa -

founded by The Treehouse Truck’s Thomas Ward, their baby back ribs are revelatory, but don’t sleep on their shrimp and chorizo tacos either – fantastic flavors.


11. Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana & Pastaria in Winter Springs -

The Napoletana style pizza is thin & soft with a slight crisp to the crust; with a nice smokey char to the pizza crust from the wood burning ovens and topped with ingredients imported from Italy or locally grown and organic. Dan Bavaro, the founder was taught by 3rd generation, Neapolitan families and bases their entire menu around a stunning Italian imported wood-fired brick oven.


12. Peking roast duck at Morimoto’s Asia at Disney Springs -

Featuring a crispy Peking duck, a carved house-roasted whole duck sliced thin with crackling skin and tender meat, served with steamed flour pancakes, and a side of apricot sweet chili and hoisin miso sauces. It is the Japanese master chef’s first pan-Asian dining experience and showcases flavors from across the Asian continent with an emphasis on China, Korea, Japan and Thailand.

Chef Morimoto and team hanging out with Mickey Mouse at the grand opening of Morimoto’s Asia.

13. Doner Kebab bowl with bulgar wheat and tomatoes at Shishco Mezze and Grill in Maitland -

Fresh grilled lamb and beef doner gyro meat slices on top of fresh bulgar wheat or rice and pickled red onions and tomatoes…just divine.

Definitely looking forward to what 2016 will bring to us here in Orlando! What are you looking forward to this year?

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Did you know there is a “hidden” lounge area in the upstairs section of Morimoto’s Asia at Disney Springs open till 2am? Complete with a late night dining menu and a diverse list of sakes as well as light bites and sushi, it’s worth taking a look. Check out the press release below.

Press Release:

With a “hidden” VIP entrance along the side of the building, the Forbidden Lounge is a great place to hang, late-night, at Disney Springs.

An exclusive menu is featured upstairs from 10pm to 2am and features a variety of late-night dining options for those looking to eat a little lighter (sushi, raw bar, hamachi tacos, toro tartare) or for those looking to splurge on pan-Asian riffs of bar food (pork belly bao, five-spice wings, dim sum).


Those not in the mood to nosh have no fear, as Morimoto Asia is also doing its part to showcase one of the truly misunderstood spirits in the world, sake.

Morimoto Asia not only features a variety of Chef Morimoto’s signature label sake, but also a vast offering of other sake that represent the different classes (gingo, junmai, daigingo, honjozo, junmai gingo and junmai daigingo) plus tokubetzo junmai and a variety of speciality sakes (including cedar aged, a sparkling and a sparkling rose) – something not commonly found in US restaurants.

For those not ready to drink the rice wine straight, just yet, the Forbidden Lounge cocktail menu offers several sake-cocktails including the Morimotini (Grey Goose vodka, junmai Morimoto), White Lily (sudachi shochu, calpico, yuzu), Ishikawa 75 (ginjo sake, plum wine and sparkling wine) and sake sangria (asian pears, apple plum, tangerine juice, sake, light white wine, plum wine) which is great for a group as it serves 3-4 people.

To add just a little more flair to the party, the Forbidden Lounge also features some unique entertainment in the form of an up-close magician and a palm reader, for those looking to be a little more adventurous. In the coming weeks they will also offer table-top shuffleboard, perfect for the guests looking to enjoy the cooler temps on the second-level outdoor patio.

Gift Card Special to Morimoto Asia

Morimoto Asia currently has a program in place where anyone that spends $100 or more on a Morimoto Asia gift card will receive an opening day and limited edition Morimoto Asia menu hand-signed by Iron Chef Morimoto.

As a part of this promotion, Morimoto Asia has partnered with us to do a giveaway of one of these limited edition Morimoto Asia menu hand signed by Chef Morimoto himself.

Morimoto Asia signed menu


GIVEAWAY – Morimoto Asia Menu signed by Chef Morimoto

Enter by responding in the comments below. One winner will be chosen randomly from the answers. Contest Ends December 23rd, 2015 at 12pm. We will contact the winner via e-mail! Good luck.

Questions – answer all to enter to win.

1. What is in a Morimotini?

2. Where is Forbidden Lounge located?

3. What would you most want to eat at Morimoto Asia?

In 2007, David Song, a University of Florida student earning a degree in business administration and philosophy, found his way into the kitchen of an emerging Japanese restaurant called Dragonfly Sushi, working as an entry-level sushi chef at Dragonfly Gainesville.

In 2010, he relocated to Orlando to work at Dragonfly Robata, the brand’s second concept.

Chef David Song
Chef David Song

As an advocate of sustainable practices, Song focuses on imported fish flown in daily from Japan, along with locally-sourced produce when developing new menu items and ideas for the seasonal Omakase menu.

The Omakase–meaning to trust–menu creates meaningful connections with food and beverage choices: It starts with guests trusting in the chefs and bartenders to create selections inspired by their moods.

Today, Song lives up to Dragonfly’s mission of bringing joy and fulfillment to patrons through a full-service dining experience that encompasses the kitchen and bar. When Song isn’t behind the counter, he is traveling to gain inspiration, while eating at local favorites throughout the state of Florida.

What are your favorite dishes at Dragonfly to cook and eat?
Chef David Song: My favorite dish to prepare is our sashimi passion. Sushi was always my first love in the restaurant and this dish gives me the freedom to be creative with my plate up. I spent many years honing my knife skills so when I get an opportunity to display them, I really try to go all out. My favorite dish to eat is our shio saba off the robata grill. The grill is amazing at locking in great flavor and cooks the mackerel to perfection. With a light brush of yuzu butter and daikon oroshi, it’s easily my favorite dish to eat.

Favorite place to eat outside of Dragonfly?
Chef David Song: Does my mother’s house count? Honestly, I enjoy casual dining places because for me, food has always been a reason to gather with friends and family. My favorite place to eat at the moment would probably be Lee and Ricks Oyster Bar.

Upcoming plans include:
New Year’s Eve event
Sushi Classes – December 19, January 23
Valentine’s Day at Dragonfly – Feb 14

Dragonfly is opening up in Doral with a brand new fish market concept inspired by authentic Tsukiji market in Japan.

I’ve been a part of the research and development project –helping where I can with menu items and restaurant build out–but the bulk of the work has really been done by our Culinary Director Chef Ray Leung and our President Hirofumi Leung.

I will be part of the opening team to help train and ensure we develop a great culture so we can provide the most memorable dining experience for our guests.

Interesting Facts?

Chef David Song: I have a hidden passion for motorcycles. I figure everyone has a place to go, so you might as well have a little excitement getting there. I’m also big into do-it-yourself projects. I always try and fix it myself before I call the professionals. I don’t always succeed but I learn a ton.

Lastly, if I could golf everyday, I would. Nothing beats a relaxing day on the golf course with your buddies.


Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi (7972 Via Dellagio Way) will be hosting their second Behind the Knife: Sushi Class on Saturday, December 19.

Priced at $60 per person, guests can expect to learn to roll four different types of sushi rolls with Chef de Cuisine David Song.

During the course, guests will learn about the tools of the trade, both ancient and new.

Chef Song will provide his students with the tips, tricks and techniques it takes to make perfect sushi rice, and how to recognize sushi-grade fish based on color, texture and smell.

Designed to be an experience, a champagne aperitif and floating hors d’oeuvres are included.

The bar will also be available with rare Japanese whiskeys, sake, shochu and any of your favorite cocktails a la carte. Check-in will be at 11:30 a.m. with the class starting at 12 p.m.

Dragonfly Sushi Class

Dragonfly Sushi Class 2

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After finally reaching some agreements with the City of Orlando, Uber is partnering with some of the hottest restaurants in Orlando to provide their riders with access to secret Uber exclusive menus for their first “Uber Restaurant Week”. Restaurants involved include The Osprey Tavern, The Ravenous Pig, Swine and Sons, and more.

See below for more information from Uber on this week’s special event:


It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . Uber Restaurant Week in Orlando.

This week, Uber is partnering with some of the hottest restaurants in Orlando to provide our riders with access to secret, Uber-exclusive menus in a first-of-its-kind Restaurant Week promotion.


  • Ride with Uber to one of the participating restaurants (listed below) between now and Friday (12/11).
  • Show your Uber ride receipt to your server to receive the special, Uber-exclusive menu
  • Enjoy your sure-to-be incredible dinner, tweet a photo of your meal to@Uber_Florida using #UberFoodie, and then start planning which restaurant you’ll visit tomorrow

Participating Restaurants:

If your mouth isn’t watering already, take a look at the all-star lineup of participating restaurants—and the actual menus—we’re rolling out for you this week:


Monday, December 7 – Friday, December 11. Restaurant hours vary daily and by participating restaurant.


“Orlando has so many excellent dining options these days, so it’s great to partner with Uber to connect tourists and  locals with all the best restaurants. We’re looking forward to Orlando Restaurant Week  and have  delicious menus planned for Uber  riders at all three Swine Family venues.”  -Julie Petrakis, Chef/owner at  The Ravenous Pig, Cask & Larder  and  Swine & Sons

“Our  commitment  to  the   Central  Florida  economy goes  beyond providing  safe,  reliable transportation options  and  extends to  finding  new,  innovative  ways to  engage both  riders and   local  business.   Restaurant  week   is  an   opportunity  to  partner with  local  Orlando businesses while also providing an additional value to riders for a new opportunity to explore the great restaurants that  their city has to offer.” -Christine Mitchell, General Manager for Uber in Orlando



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World of Beer in Downtown Orlando on Lake Eola has had their tavern food menu debut months ago.

Since opening its first tavern in Tampa, Florida, in 2007, WOB has grown to more than 70 locations in 20 states.

Now, it’s time for UCF’s own World of Beer, one of the first World of Beer locations outside of Tampa to begin food service as well.


Currently, World of Beer offers over 500 craft beers and 40 rotating taps daily, but soon the “tavern” menu will roll out to all their locations.

Priced between $5 and $15, it’s not your typical pub bar food as you may surmise, but rather, a form of elevated bar food.

“The ‘Tavern Fare’ menu is part of an extensive renovation to the WOB-UCF Area tavern,” said Jeff Schilling general manager. “We now boast a 400-square foot kitchen and are looking forward to serving flavorsome food and beer pairings to all our guests.”

Here are some of the menu highlights, which changes seasonally:

o Black and Blue Flatbread— Blackened steak comes topped with caramelized onions, mushrooms, mozzarella and blue cheeses, fresh arugula and a sweet balsamic glaze.

o Chimay Burger — This half-pound, all-beef patty is made with Chimay classic cheese imported from Belgium. The cheese is made by the Trappist Monks of the Chimay Creamery, where Chimay Beer is also brewed. The burger is topped with sauce that is infused with Chimay White Triple Beer, sautéed onions and mushrooms.

o Guinness Brat Sliders — Guinness-infused bratwursts served on a warm pretzel rolls with caramelized onions and peppers with tangy Dijon.

o Chicken Pesto Sandwich — Beer-brined grilled chicken breasts topped with mozzarella cheese, basil and pine nut pesto and arugula, come served on a lightly toasted basil focaccia.

Here is our list of the top 5 items to try at World of Beer UCF:

SONY DSC o German Pretzel— The pretzel’s original Bavarian recipe was created by Germany’s most sought-after artisan pretzel baker, Ossi Piller, and dates back more than 100 years. A giant Bavarian pretzel baked soft on the inside, crispy on the outside & salted. Served with house-made stone ground mustard and local beer cheese.

SONY DSC o SPRING GREENS & KALE SALAD – Fresh spring greens & kale with goat cheese, apples, sweet pickled red onions & candied pecans tossed in a house-made Framboise vinaigrette

o Sriracha Lime Shrimp Tacos — Beer battered shrimp tossed in WOB’s homemade Sriracha lime aioli, served on tortillas with roasted corn, tomato salsa, shredded lettuce, and fresh cilantro.

SONY DSC o ARTISAN SAUSAGE BOARD – Trio of jalapeño cheddar, cracked black pepper & hickory smoked
sausages. Served with spicy pickled green beans, peppadew peppers & our house-made stone ground mustard.

SONY DSC o Belgian Waffle S’Mores— Fresh-baked, beer-infused Belgian waffles served with toasted marshmallows, Kahlúa fudge sauce, graham cracker crumbles and powdered sugar.

WOB- UCF will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. daily. Major credit cards are accepted. For more information, visit .

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The original RanGetsu was founded in Tokyo, Japan by Masanori Konaka in 1947 in the very posh district of Ginza. It still exists there today, specializing in shabu shabu (Japnese hot pot or fondue) and sukiyaki made with Kobe beef.


The restaurant was then passed down to his son, Masayasu Konaka, opening an International Drive branch here in Orlando. A few years ago, the location moved to Maitland’s Lake Lily and is currently managed by Masayasu’s son Mr. Masaaki Konaka today.

Mr. Takashi Kikuchi, General Manager of Rangetsu, can be seen at the restaurant today, and may just come by to your table to see how things are going or help prepare your sukiyaki dish.


With an increase in incidences of gluten allergies and celiac disease, Rangetsu recently began a gluten free menu option for guests. On a recent visit to the restaurant, we were invited to check out the items on the menu.


The biggest issue with gluten free items at an Asian restaurant often is the use of soy sauces which often contain gluten. At Rangetsu, the dishes that are gluten free on request are made with gluten free soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, and flour. Fried items, though, are used in a common fryer so is at risk of gluten exposure and is not recommend for those with celiac disease.

Mr. Masaaki Konaka
Mr. Takashi Kikuchi of Rangetsu

The gluten free menu has quite a list of options found here. From sushi rolls to robata teriyaki grill skewers, those looking for gluten free options will find plenty of choices.

Hamachi Kama

As an appetizer, we recommend the grilled Hamachi Kama. Hamachi Kama is the collar of yellowtail fish (Hamachi) and is often the juiciest part of the fish, kind of like the dark meat of the fish. It’s a delicacy found at most Japanese restaurant but the version found here at Rangetsu is with out a doubt the best hamachi kama in all of Orlando. The collar meat is juicy and cooked perfectly, fresh and flaky white fish.


The Tempura Appetizer is quite delicious as well, arranged vegetables and jumbo shrimp dipped and fried in a light tempura batter.


Grilled Teriyaki skewers are popular in Japan, eaten usually as an accompaniment of beer and alcohol at pubs across the nation. At Rangetsu, the robata grill menu are all able to made gluten free, though it is not as marinated due to the lack of soy sauce, and instead seasoned lightly with Hawaiian sea salt. The momo chicken thigh and the enoki mushroom with bacon are popular options.

For something that is both gluten free and rice free, try the naruto roll, made by a cucumber wrap rather than traditional rice and seaweed.


NARUTO (RAW) 16 – Crab, tuna, yellowtail, salmon and avocado wrapped in cucumber and soy dressing (no sushi rice)

Not many in Orlando have had true sukiyaki beef before. Only a few restaurants serve the dish in the city, with Rangetsu having the definitive version.


Sukiyaki, not to be confused with the popular Japanese pop ballad from the 1960s, consists of meat (usually thinly sliced beef) which is slowly cooked or simmered in a shallow iron pot, alongside vegetables.

At Rangetsu, the dish is prepared by our server table side who first takes a piece of lard to lather and grease up the iron pot. The beef slices – you can choose black angus New York strip ($30) or Wagyu “Kobe” beef ($46) are added to the pot as it heats up along with vegetables, such as cabbage, tofu, mushrooms, and noodles. Our server then pours over the dish a sweet mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin.

Our server then cracks an egg and beats it in a small bowl, dipping our meat in the eggs raw, giving the meat a nice creamy egg flavor. The sukiyaki dish is exquisite – especially when eating with noodles which soaks up all the sweet and savory flavors from the special soy mirin sauce.





See our quick video of the Beef Sukiyaki being prepared here:

901 South Orlando Avenue (17-92), Maitland FL 32751
(407) 345-0044

RanGetsu Restaurant & Orchid Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Executive Chef Marc Kusche of the award-winning Hamilton’s Kitchen at The Alfond Inn was invited to cook at the legendary James Beard House in New York City with the theme Florida Farmhouse Flavor this past Friday, October 23, 2015.


Chef Kusche offered a fresh take on Southern comfort food and has a strong commitment to locally sourced ingredients from the lush and fertile farms of Central Florida. It is an honor to present a dinner at The James Beard House. Beard, a cookbook author and teacher, was a champion of American cuisine. The mission of the James Beard Foundation is to celebrate, nurture, and preserve America’s culinary heritage and future.

Chef Kusche recently talked to us about the experience and how everything went down at The James Beard House dinner.

“The James Beard event was huge hit, I think we really present Orlando and Florida very well. Our event was sold out, form what I heard normally they do around 65 covers and did almost 80 covers.”

“The kitchen is very small but if you good organized you are ok, so we did well. We shipped a lot local ingredients via UPS overnight , we used gulf snapper and key west shrimps, local greens, olive oil from ” The Ancient Olive ” in Winter Park, root vegetable from the farmers market in Winter Park,” Chef Marc told us via e-mail.


“We prepped as much we could here in Orlando, I spoke to Kevin Fonzo from K Restaurant and gave me few good tips. A day before the event we spend few hours in the kitchen form “International Culinary Center ” in NY to just to do a little more prep. The whole event starts with a little reception for 45 min after that we start to serve the menu, we did a 5 course dinner ( see menu below )”

“We had a few little special request from vegan or shell fish allergies. After the dinner I went to the guest and told him that most of the ingredients from Florida and how we prepare them, like mention before I think we did a good job…I hope :):)”

FullSizeRender (1)

New York was great, it’s such a great city with so many different restaurant and chef’s, it is really hard to pick the right place if you want to go for a meal. I ate at Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Babbo Ristorante, Eataly and Gramercy Tavern, all of them are amazing. If I have pick one I would go for Gramercy Tavern, now I even understand more why Danny Meyer is such big guy in the hospitality industry in the US – the food, service, ambiance – everything is perfect. I read all his books and when you eat in his restaurant it is even better.”

Local Florida Farms :

Lake Meadows Farm
Frog Song Farm ( we bought it direct from the market )
We use also few different farmers from Winter Park Farmers market


Truffle Baked Brie Cheese, Heaven to Besty Pear Jam
Short Rib Praline, Basil Crust, Balsamic Onion Confit
Caviar Stuffed Potatoes, Crème Fraiche, Chives
Hamilton’s Kitchen Shrimps Grits
White Gazpacho, Crispy Prosciutto, Almonds

Roasted Beets Duo, Grapefruit, Whipped Goat Cheese, Micro Greens,
Caramelized Walnuts

Iberico Ham Wrapped Diver Scallop, Creamy Polenta, Pickled Artichokes, Red
Wine Reduction

Slow Braised Lamb Neck, Pumpkin Risotto, Honey – Rosemary Glazed Parsnip,
Mustard Seed Sauce

Olive Oil Poached Red Snapper, Caramelized Cauliflower, Caper Berries,
Tomatoes, Shaved Fennel

Hamilton’s Kitchen Chocolate Pudding, Sweet Brioche Croutons

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Last night, some of the best chefs in Central Florida came together to celebrate the one year anniversary of Soco in Thornton Park.

What resulted was a chef’s equivalent of a culinary jam session – led by Chef Greg Richie of Soco with visiting guest performers Chef Henry Salgado of Spanish River Grill and Chef Andres Mendoza of Norman’s Restaurant at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, with Soco’s pastry chef Kellie Walsh rounding out the playlist.  Chef Camilo Velasco, recently named chef de cuisine at chef Norman Van Aken’s upcoming Mount Dora restaurant also made a special appearance.


We were invited to celebrate with Soco as they commemorated one successful year of Southern Contemporary Cuisine. The meal began with a light shrimp appetizer on top of creamy corn risotto with a lovely olive oil crunch by Chef Henry Salgado, followed by a sous vide then grilled Florida cobia dish by Chef Andres Mendoza. Chef Greg Richie’s dishes were main attraction of course and they did not disappoint – a celebration of Soco and the new Baoery as well with the KFC Korean Fried Chicken steamed bao bun and then slow roasted pork belly over grits with carmelized fig. The meal ended with a sweet parting – Meyer Lemon “Moon Pies” with Soco’s pastry chef Kellie Walsh.

Here are 5 Delicious Courses from Soco’s 1 Year Anniversary Dinner


Shrimp Cremoso – Cape Canaveral White Shrimp, Smoked Sweet Corn Risotto, Piquillos, Blackened Queso Blanco, Olive Oil Crunch by Chef Henry Salgado of Spanish River Grill


Florida Cobia with Zellwood Corn Crema, Preserved White Asparagus, Huitlacoche Sponge Cake by Chef Andres Mendoza of Norman’s Restaurant of Orlando.

Huitlacoche, or corn smut, is a type of corn fungus originating from Mexico that is grown in only two states legally – Louisiana and Florida. This Huitlacoche was sourced from a farm in North Florida, chef Andres tells us.


KFC Bao – Korean Fried Chicken between a steamed bun with Fermented Radish and a sweet chili sauce by Chef Greg Richie of Soco and Baoery Restaurants


Slow Roasted Pork Belly on Goat Cheese Grits with carmelized fig and molasses gastrique by Chef Greg Richie


Meyer Lemon “Moon Pies” with marshmallow cheesecake filling and berry cola reduction by Chef Greg Richie and Kellie Walsh of Soco and Baoery


A happy one year anniversary to the Soco team and may they have many more to come!

Soco Thornton Park
629 E Central Blvd, Orlando, FL 32801, United States
+1 407-849-1800



Soco Thornton Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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We spoke with Jami Wray, one half of the dynamic couple along with her husband Kevin Wray who own and operate Peterbrook Chocolatier of Winter Park, a lovely fixture on charming Park Avenue. They are actively involved in our local and global communities and also believe it’s our responsibility and honor to do so.

The pair recently went on a tour of Madagascar with a Melagasy entrepreneur friend named Manitra Rakotoarivelo they met last August here in Orlando at a biblical entrepreneurship competition.


The new friend Manitra – who won the entrepreneurship competition – has a vanilla manufacturing business in Madagascar and his mission in life is to bring vanilla farmers out of poverty and educate impoverished children.

To date, he’s helped to open 30 schools and educated over 5000 Malagasy children.

Jami tells us, “We were inspired by his altruism and made the journey partly to see if there was an opportunity to do the same kind of work with cacao.”

“We also wanted to see first hand the process of growing and processing cacao from the seed to the finished cocoa nib. And, of course, we also wanted to see the beauty of the country and its people.”

Before the trip, they did not know much about Madagascar, besides the fact that Madagascar was one of the poorest countries in the world where 91% of the country lives on less than US $2/day.

“We knew of the struggle to make a living while preserving natural resources. We knew it was a biologically segregated region of the world home to many species found only in Madagascar, including the famous lemurs.”

“When I first did a Google search for Madagascar one of the images that came up on the screen was a Baobab tree. I love nature and giant trees (we visited the Redwoods in California last year) so I knew I had to see those when we went there.”

TastyChomps: What were your favorite moments from your trip to Madagascar?

Jami: Visiting the cacao plantations/farms was magical to me! I got to lie down on a bed of cacao pods and I felt like I was in a dream.


While we were at the cocoa plantations we were able to see cocoa trees being planted, raised, harvested and the multiple steps needed to produce cocoa. It was really amazing to learn, first hand, how much work goes into growing cacao and to meet some of the people who make it happen.


We also loved hiking through the nature preserves, seeing several species of lemur, hiking through/climbing the Tsingy (natural limestone formations, also referred to as rock forests) and interacting with the local people.

We made some great new friends and got to visit the friends we met last August. The people of Madagascar are extremely warm and friendly.

Any favorite foods / dishes that you tried in Madagascar?

We enjoyed coconut rice with Zebu filets, as well as traditional meals served by a family we stayed with. Chicken in a ginger and chili broth, mixed meats in green peppercorn sauce and fish (mostly tilapia) in a broth flavored with local spices were all amazing.

Ironically, one of our favorite meals was some exceptional pizza we enjoyed on our way through the highlands…Sometimes a taste from home just hits the spot.


What did you learn while you were in Madagascar?

In addition to the cocoa production, we learned how the poorest people, mostly farmers (of all crops), work so hard every day just to survive. We learned about the competing pressures of growing food and the need to preserve the natural beauty of the region. How do you admonish people who are just trying to feed their family for converting forest to farmland? There are many programs now in place working to give the farmers better practices and offering incentives to protect the land.


We learned a lot about the Malagasy culture, a ton about growing cacao, many facts about Madagascar and even some new words, but I think the most important thing we came home with was a renewed sense of gratitude for our livelihood here and a deep desire to want to do something to help over there. We’ve traveled to a lot of developing (third world) countries but have never seen the type of widespread poverty as we did in Madagascar. It touched our hearts very deeply.

What are some interesting facts about chocolate and the cacao plants that most folks might not know?

Cacao is only grown 15-20 degrees north or south of the equator. It takes a cacao tree about 4-5 years to produce fruit. Most everything in the early stages of cacao farming is done by hand rather than by machines. There is an unbelievable amount of work that goes into getting cacao from the pod to the beans before they’re sold to be processed into chocolate.


Each cacao pod is hand cut off the trees one-by-one using long, stick-like poles with blades on the ends and then the workers carry them in pouches strapped to their bodies to a central location.


From there, they are put into a wagon where a Zebu, a species of cattle, pulls them to another location for workers to split open. Workers use machetes to split open the pods to remove the membranes and place them on banana leaves. From there they take them to the plantation to be fermented. The beans are fermented in large wooden boxes covered with banana leaves and burlap material for six days.


The beans have to be stirred and rotated daily, and they are rotated to different boxes every two days during the fermentation process. During the fermentation process the complex flavors of the beans are matured and the membrane is removed. Once fermented, the beans are placed onto large drying racks to dry naturally in the sun.

Again, they are rotated every several hours so they are evenly dried or the taste of the beans will be “off” or bitter/sour. The beans take about five to seven days to fully dry in the sun. Once the beans are dry they are ready to be shipped off to Europe or the U.S. to be roasted and processed into chocolate.

Now – think about all that work that goes into chocolate…this is before it is ever made into a chocolate bar or mixed with other ingredients, or poured over a strawberry.

Seriously, it’s a ton of work, and that’s one of the reasons quality chocolate is so expensive.


6 Chocolate Fun Facts:

· Each cacao pod produces approximately 40 beans; it takes about 3.5 pods to produce one pound of chocolate. Think of a Hershey bar – it takes almost a full year for a cacao tree to produce enough pods to make ten standard sized Hershey bars.
· There are three types of cacao beans – Criollo (the rarest and finest of all beans), Forestero, and a hybrid between the two called Trinitario.
· Cacao pods vary in overall color from yellow, red, purple, orange, maroon to green which has nothing to do with how ripe it is. A yellow color forms in the creases of the pod when ready to harvest.
· Eating chocolate increases the levels of endorphins released into the brain, giving credence to the claim that chocolate is a comfort food. The endorphins work to lessen pain and decrease stress. Another common neurotransmitter affected by chocolate is serotonin. Serotonin is known as an anti-depressant. One of the chemicals which causes the release of serotonin is tryptophan found in chocolate.
· One of the more unique neurotransmitters released by chocolate is phenylethylamine. This so called “chocolate amphetamine” causes changes in blood pressure and blood-sugar levels leading to feelings of excitement and alertness. It works like amphetamines to increase mood and decrease depression, but it does not result in the same tolerance or addiction. Phenylethylamine is also called the “love drug” because it causes your pulse rate to quicken, resulting in a similar feeling to when someone is in love.
· Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants (the darker the better).


Will you be bringing any Malagasy cacao back to Winter Park for Peterbrooke?

We are exploring ways to bring our own cocoa into the country. The sheer distance and remoteness of the farms creates significant challenges for us to overcome, but we’ll see where this takes us.

Did you learn any new recipes or dishes for chocolates in Madagascar?

We were lucky enough to taste some Malagasy chocolate produced in Madagascar. The quality, as with most chocolate, varies quite a bit. We were impressed with the quality of the beans and enjoyed some fabulous chocolate cake made with local cocoa, made by the owner of one of the plantations we visited (she’s the one pictured laughing with us in many of our pics).

Sadly, many Malagasy farmers have never tasted the finished product from their efforts because it is still a luxury item that is too expensive for them to afford and most beans are exported to be processed in other countries.



IMG_0078 Kevin and Jami Wray of Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park – thank you for sharing your story with us!

Photos Courtesy of Jami Wray
Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park
300 S Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 644-3200

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Best Street Food Dishes in Taipei, Taiwan

Taiwan has a long tradition of great food – from the native Taiwanese dishes to the influences of neighboring Fujian, and eventually, Japanese, and the huge influx of Mainland Chinese who came to Taiwan after 1949.

These people all brought with them their own regional specialties, making Taiwan the perfect melting pot for Chinese street food.

The country is beautiful, the people are kind, and the food is some of the best in the world. No wonder it often ranks high on the lists as a foodie destination, known for its many night markets and vibrant, dynamic food culture.


Here are some of our favorite top 10 must eat street food dishes to get while in Taipei, Taiwan:

stinky-tofu-Credit- Flickr user JLim02
Photo Credit- Flickr user JLim02

10. Stinky Tofu

Stinky tofu, or chòu dòufu, is a form of fermented tofu that has a strong odor – some say it is reminiscent of strong body odor – popular in Taiwan as a street food dish. The traditional method of producing stinky tofu is brining in a mixture of fermented milk, vegetables, and meat. You can tell right away when you walk by a stinky tofu stall whether in a subway station or at a night market. Despite its pungent smell – giving it the nickname as the “blue cheese” of tofu – it is quite delicious. For the best stinky tofu, visit the old Shenkeng tofu street on Shenkeng Street in Taipei, Taiwan.

Photo credit:

9. Oyster vermicelli noodle soup

Oamisoir is a popular noodle soup dish containing oysters and misua (Taiwanese vermicelli) and some times pork intestines. The unique tan brown color comes from the caramelization of the wheat noodles used in the dish and it can be found at street food stalls through out Taipei from Shilin Night Market to Ningxia night market.


8. Oyster Omelettes

Oyster Omelette is often sold in night markets, consists of an egg omelette with a filling primarily composed of small oysters. Starch (typically potato starch) is mixed into egg batter, giving the dish its thick consistency. A savory sauce is often poured on top of the omelette for added taste.

Yuan Huan Bian Oyster Omelet
No. 46, Ningxia Rd., Datong Dist, Taipei, Taiwan

Lai Ji Oyster Omelet With Eggs
No. 198-22 Minsheng W. Rd., Datong Dist, Taipei Taiwan

Photo Credit -opensourcefood-com
Photo Credit -opensourcefood-com

7. Gua Bao pork buns

Gua bao (literally: “cut bread”), is a Taiwanese street food consisting of a slice of stewed meat, usually pork belly, and other condiments sandwiched between flat steamed bread. Also known as “Taiwanese hamburgers”, the traditional filling for gua bao is a slice of tender braised pork belly, dressed with pickled mustard greens, fresh cilantro, and ground powdered peanuts in between a fluffy steamed bun.

Lan Jia Steamed Sandwich Shop | No. 3, Aly. 8, Ln. 316, Sec. 3, Roosevelt Rd., Daan Dist, Taipei Taiwan

Beef Scallion Breakfast Crepes - Niu Rou Jian Bing

6. Beef Scallion Breakfast Crepes – Niu Rou Jian Bing

Jian bing, a traditional snack that’s often eaten for breakfast, is a fried crepe made from a batter of wheat and grain flour that is fried on a griddle with an egg and beef, and can be topped with scallions, and cilantro. It’s like a delicious Chinese morning breakfast burrito.

Beef Scallion Breakfast Crepes - Niu Rou Jian Bing2

Mango Shaved Ice

5. Mango Shaved Ice at Ice Monster

The perfect way to fight off the summer heat – try the mango shaved ice dessert – made with heavenly, delicate shaved slivers of creamy ice (known as bao bing in Chinese) and topped with chunks of mango fruit and condensed milk or syrup. Other toppings include mung beans, strawberries, sweet potato, taro, and more.

Ice Monster
No. 297, Section 4, Zhongxiao E Rd, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106


4. Giant Fried Chicken chop (Ji Pai) at Hot-star large fried chicken

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken serves their deep fried chicken breast in form of a large cutlet, spiced with garlic powder, Chinese five spice, sugar, and other chili spices. The chicken is as large as your face and is a fun street food to snack on as you explore the night markets, particularly in Shilin night market.

Shilin Night Market
+886 2 2881 5557


3. Taiwanese Sausage Wrapped in Sticky Rice bun

Small sausage in large sausage (literally: “small intestine wrapped in large intestine”) is a made of sweet and savory Taiwanese pork sausage wrapped in a sticky glutinous rice “sausage” bun and chargrilled and served with garlic and sauces, similar to a Chinese hot dog.

Shilin Night Market
+886 2 2881 5557



2. Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup (Niu Rou Mian) at Lin Dong Fang

Beef noodle soup is a the national soup of the Taiwanese made of stewed or red braised beef, beef broth, vegetables and Chinese noodles – often stewed and simmered for hours. Beef noodles is served with suan cai (Chinese sauerkraut) on top along with scallions. In Taiwan, at beef noodle soup shops you can also find cold side dishes, such as braised dried tofu, seaweed, or pork intestine.

Lin Dong Fang, 274 Bade Road, Section 2, Jhongshan District, Taipei City; +886 2 2752 2556



1. Xiaolongbao Soup Dumplings at Din Tai Fung

Originally from Shanghai, xiaolongbao soup dumplings at the renown, Michelin starred Din Tai Fung are silky smooth and are a must try for those visitors to Taipei. Xiaolongbao are filled usually with either pork or a combination of pork with minced crab meat and roe. The soup inside the dumpling is created by steaming the gelatinous meat aspic soup that melts during the steaming process.

Din Tai Fung Dumpling House, 192 Xinyi Road, Section 2, Taipei City; +886 2 2321 8929

DinTaiFungSoupDumpling3 DinTaiFungSoupDumpling1

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I love Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen’s Sunday brunch menu created by Chef Camilo Velasco.

Known mostly for their coffee, the flavors here pop and the menu items are refreshing yet familiar.


The brunch menu, which is available only at their Winter Park flagship location, features dishes like the Israeli inspired Shakshuka, made with saucy tomato ragout topped with poached eggs, thyme, feta, served with buttered toast.

My favorite item from the menu? The simply named – Burrito, with not so simple flavors. This lovely dish is filled with fluffy eggs, spiced chorizo, sweet peppers,  herb roasted potatoes, and cilantro all wrapped up together – Delish.


Burrito. Eggs, chorizo, sweet peppers,
herb roasted potatoes, cilantro. 10


Breakfast Panino. Fried eggs, bacon,
spinach, 2-year cheddar, tomato jam. 9.5


Fried. v Two eggs, heirloom tomato,
buttered toast, herb roasted potatoes. 9.5


Avocado Toast. v Cilantro, lime, lemon
oil, sprouts. 7


Baker’s Basket v Pastry assortment,
Amish butter, house preserves. Featuring
Blue Bird Bake Shop™ and Olde Hearth
baked goods. 7.5



Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen
118 S. Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 407.629.0042

Store Hours
Monday – Thursday
7:00am – 5:00pm

Friday – Saturday
7:00am – 6:00pm

7:30am – 6:00pm

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After undergoing a facelift, the new Hilton Orlando eforea spa offers guests a truly global experience with bursts of local flair.

Hilton Orlando is the newest eforea spa added domestically at the end of August 2015; there are 22 eforea spa’s and this is currently the only one in Florida.

This is a rebranding and refresh for the spa with a focus on express services for the convention traveler and special services that fit into the Florida weather and lifestyle.

Hilton Orlando’s eforea spa also completely remodeled their salon adding 2 additional pedicure chairs.

Hilton Orlando - Spa treatment room

eforea spa now treat clients to such indigenous treatments as the Orange Blossom Hydra-Lift Facial and Beach Body Contouring Wrap as part of its Escape Journeys experience.

Florida based products, such as the Pevonia skincare line will be used along with hints of citrus, coconut, papaya and mango, transporting guests to a tropical oasis in the middle of Florida.

See the full menu eforea menu.

Hilton Orlando - Cabana Spa Treatment

Sheila Bracewell, Director of Spa & Fitness at eforea spa at HILTON ORLANDO spoke with us recently during our visit about the new spa improvements. This is Ms. Sheila Bracewell’s 5th year with Hilton Orlando, having worked in the spa industry for 20 years. She started as a sports massage therapist with a background in travel industry management, marketing and a bachelor’s in holistic science.

“I have done everything from revamping struggling properties to opening new spas to consulting from blueprints to opening and operations. Since this hotel caters a good majority to the convention goer as well as transient guests we have developed a comprehensive wellness program for groups which includes group fitness of all varieties. We are a full service spa offering something for everyone with an amazing staff. The vibe starts when you enter and our goal is to transform, restore and rejuvenate!”

“The new spa menu includes three unique, carefully crafted Journey Enhancements that integrate ancient healing methods from across the globe.”

“The treatments, which focus on feet, head and face and shoulder, neck and scalp are short (25 minutes), impactful, therapeutic and available at all eforea spas worldwide. To develop the Journey Enhancements, Hilton’s wellness team collaborated with Massage Educator Sean Jordan to combine their industry expertise with his knowledge of global healing techniques.”


“In addition to the Journey Enhancements, every eforea spa will feature the same menu offerings – the Essentials Journey and an Escape Journey treatment, ensuring that guests can partake in their favorites at any eforea spa, regardless of the location. Each eforea spa will offer their unique take on the Escape Journey, incorporating local ingredients, products and therapies to inspire a truly indigenous spa experience.”

“Our menu’s escape journey uses scents that make you feel as though you’ve been transported to a tropical oasis in the middle of Florida. With hints of citrus in many of our products, some from a local Florida based company Pevonia, you’ll love soaking up the luxurious aromas of Orange, Lemon, Lime, Coconut, Papaya and Mango during a spectacular service at Hilton Orlando”

Here are a couple options to choose from for Florida Specific Services:

Orange Blossom Hydra-Lift Facial
Soothing the senses with Orange blossom mist, delivering a powerful hydration boost using plant derived naturals rich in Dilo Oil and Ngi Grass. Rejuvenate the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines.

Beach Body Contouring Wrap
Get Ready! This wrap is designed to get you ready for the beach. Lemon and lime team up with Seaweed and micronized green coffee to slim, tone and breakdown fat.

After-sun Soothing Wrap
Great for after a day at the parks or at the pool this wrap helps you recover from the Florida sun as well as fully rehydrate the skin.


Hilton Orlando eforea spa Highlights
· Book a spa service and enjoy access to our 24-hour fitness center and recreation area featuring two pools, a lazy river, waterslide, whirlpools and so much more!
· 15,000 sq. ft. spa & salon
· 13 spa treatment rooms, including a couples suite and lounge area

· Separate men’s and women’s locker facilities featuring:
o Steam room
o Cool rainfall shower

· Paul Mitchell full-service salon featuring:
o 5 pedicure stations (added 3 chairs to our salon)
o 5 manicure stations
o 2 hair stations/blow out bar

· Retail boutique featuring Kerstin Florian, Pevonia, Pure Fiji along with many other products and gifts

· 24-hour Fitness Center featuring:
o 4,000 sq. ft.
o 31 pieces of cardio including treadmills, elliptical’s and bicycles
o Full Precor machine circuit for legs, back, arms, abs, chest
o Free weights
o Core training area with mats, bosu ball and stability ball
eforea spa at HILTON ORLANDO
t: +1 407 313 8475 I m: +1 407 313 8600I f: +1 407 313 8601
6001 Destination Parkway I Orlando FL 32819 I USA I I

I’m a huge fan of Turkish food, particularly the delicious version of gyro / doner kebab / lamb cuts that they make. It’s a little bit different from the typical Greek gyro meat you get around town – less processed, more grilled, and very delicious. The meaning of doner kebab literally means “rotating roast” as the stack of meats is cooked via a rotating spit roasted over a fire.


Shishco Mezze and Grill is located in a strange building in the middle of a parking lot in Maitland. It used to be Fast Eddie’s Famous Burgers, then a smoothie joint, and a hot dog joint, among others. You order up at the window, kind of like at Checkers without a drive-thru. The spot only has a few picnic tables for seating outside, so most folks might want to take it to go.

Mehmet Tanriver and Mehmet Gurkaynak, owner partners of Shishco Mezze and Grill in Maitland started their first restaurant in 2003 in Turkey. Shishco means chubby, mezze means Mediterranean appetizers – put it together you have chubby Turkish appetizers.


The partners moved to Orlando from Adana, a southern part of Turkey near the Mediterranean coast, cooking everything fresh with free range beef and chicken. One loves cooking falafel and zucchini pancakes while the other enjoys cooking chicken wings and kofte – grilled ground beef patties blended with garlic, onion, and spices.

On a recent visit for lunch, I ordered the gyro bowl, a generous bowl with a large lavash flat bread base overflowing with bulgur wheat grain, sliced pickled red onion, chopped tomatoes, and slices of beef and lamb doner / gyro. It was one of the best lunches I’ve had in a long time and would go back again just for this.

Go and try them out as soon as possible!

Shishco Mezze and Grill
118 Lake Ave, Maitland, FL 32751
Phone:(407) 661-1336

Shish.Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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See Press Release below!

Calendar of Events released

The British are coming! BritWeek Orlando is celebrating its annual week of collaboration between British and American culture, innovation and politics with exciting, educational and original activities from November 8 to the 14th in Orlando’s best venues. In its second year, the spectrum of interesting and entertaining events will include a never before seen collection of ‘British Invasion’ photographs of the Beatles, new perspectives on gaming, exciting culinary and art competitions and even discussions on globalization issues.

The first day starts at the Orlando Museum of Art with a VIP, red carpet reception featuring the premiere of a curated selection of Beatles photos from the ‘Bob Bonis Archive’ that will be on display at the museum through the end of the year (open to the public Nov 10 to Jan 3). “We are pleased to host the opening reception of BritWeek Orlando and present a select group of photographs from the ‘Bob Bonis Archive,’ featuring images of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones on their first tours of the United States,” said Glen Gentele, director and CEO of the Orlando Museum of Art. “Any music lover in Central Florida — and I include myself in that statement, as well — should not want to miss this special exhibition at the Orlando Museum of Art.”

Bob Bonis was the U.S. Tour Manager for both The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, two of the most influential bands in rock history, and this exhibit is certain to be a draw for music fans, the press and families alike. Additionally, limited-edition fine art prints will be available for purchase accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity from the GRAMMY Museum®.

On Monday, it’s all about British Influence on Central Florida Sports – A panel discussion with Orlando City Soccer, Orlando Magic, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Invictus Games – a interesting perspective that might not have occurred to many but is profoundly present.

BritWeek Orlando continues on Tuesday at the Citrus Club with a ticketed luncheon and presentation from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors on ‘Our Changing World – The Globalization of Commercial Development.’

In the evening there will be a ‘British Sip, Shop & Stroll’ down Park Avenue with shops decorating their front windows for the week and offering select British food at several restaurants that will be judged by a BritWeek Orlando Food Competition Panel of local food critics. And that means more than just fish & chips!
On Wednesday, BritWeek Orlando will head to the National Entrepreneur Center to join the Central Florida International Trade Office where Her Majesty’s Consul General Dave Prodger will host a discussion about ‘Entrepreneurship is GREAT Britain and UK’s tradition of Innovation’ as it relates to business with our local community.

On Thursday, an exciting and educational panel discussion at the Orlando Science Center on the creation, application and benefits of virtual reality and simulation from leading techno-creative companies such as EA Sports, Appshaker and Bohemia. The event is hosted by the commercial section of the British Consulate known as United Kingdom Trade & Investment and highlights the British-American contribution and collaboration in the augmented reality space.

Throughout the week, Orange & Osceola County Middle and High Schools will be participating in an art competition that encourages students to bring to life their vision of British-American cooperation. BritWeek Orlando wants local children to get involved to allow for lessons in diversity and to cultivate as well as accelerate new perspectives on our future collaborations. Judging for the BritWeek Children’s Art Competition will be held at Merlin’s I-Drive 360 terminal building under the Orlando Eye outside Madame Tussaud’s on Friday at 4pm.

Calendar of Events:
Monday Nov 8 to Monday Nov 30
I-Drive 360 Hours BritWeek Children’s Art Competition – Displayed at I-Drive 360 – artwork by middle/high school students from Orange County Public Schools / Osceola County Public Schools that represents “British-American” collaboration.
Sunday Nov 8
4:00p – 7:00p Red carpet VIP Reception at The Orlando Museum of Art, Opening of the British Invasion Exhibition ‘Bob Bonis Archives’ – Invitation only
Monday Nov 9
4:30p – 6:30p British Influence on Central Florida Sports – A panel discussion with Orlando City Soccer, Orlando Magic, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Invictus Games – open to the public
Tuesday Nov 10
10:00a – 4:00p World Premier – British Invasion Exhibition ‘Bob Bonis Archives’ open to the public through January 3, 2016 – Orlando Museum of Art – standard museum admission
11:30a – 1:00p ‘Our Changing World – The globalization of Commercial Development’ at The Citrus Club – open to the public $35 including lunch
5:00p – 8:00p Park Ave, Winter Park British Sip & Stroll – public event $25 per person
Wednesday Nov 11
12:30p – 2:00p National Entrepreneur Center – ‘Entrepreneurship is GREAT Britain: the UK’s Tradition of Innovation’ Keynote – HM Consul General Dave Prodger – open to the public $10 including lunch
Thursday Nov 12
6:00p – 8:30p UKTI Gaming & Simulation round table & reception – private event at Orlando Science Center
Friday Nov 13
4:00p – 5:30p Judging for BritWeek Children’s art competition at I-Drive 360 – open to the public – no cost
5:30p – 7:00p VIP Happy Hour reception with Merlin International at I-Drive 360 – Invitation only

About BritWeek Orlando
Brit Week Orlando is part of the California based 501C-3 established almost 10 years ago with cofounder Nigel Lithgoe and has a local volunteer committee working to put events together that will spotlight Central Florida and its strong British connection. The week of events are also designed to raise funds to benefit two children’s charities: Dreamflight and Cannonball Kids Cancer. Donations collected and raffles/auctions held during BritWeek Orlando 2015 will help support these charities that are working to end children’s cancer and grant wishes to terminally ill children.

In a statement from event organizers, “BritWeek Orlando is in its second year celebrating the British influence on Central Florida with an ambitious schedule of 10 events over 7 days that spotlight simulation, music, entrepreneurs, sports, real estate, and art. We are incredibly excited to be bringing the never before seen photo exhibition of British Invasion era images of the Beatles and Rolling Stones that will be on display at the Orlando Museum of Art. We are also involving both Orange and Osceola County middle & high school students to have their artwork displayed during the month of November by Merlin Entertainment at I-Drive 360. We hope that the community joins in the fun and comes to some of the exciting events we have planned.”

There will be many opportunities to celebrate fashion, innovation, creativity, and commerce during BritWeek Orlando 2015. So dust off your Union Jack attire and visit to plan how you will be spending your BritWeek Orlando 2015.

More information:
Media Contact: Justine Assal MBE – Britweek Orlando Director

Minto Communities
Bob Bonis Archives
Orlando Museum of Art
Orb International
Merlin Entertainment
I-Drive 360
Madame Tussauds
Sea Life Aquarium
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
United Kingdom Trade & Investment
City of Orlando Mayors Office
Orange County Mayors Office
Greater Orlando International Airport Authority
Central Florida International Trade Office
Full Sail University
Winter Park Photography
Bangz Park Avenue
Formosa Gardens
Florida Leisure
Winter Park Merchants Association

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We had the chance to have a very candid chat with Chef Matthew Wall of North Quarter Tavern recently, one of our new favorite restaurants in town featuring a chef driven menu.

They recently opened their Bar Room next door with happy hour specials and started Sunday Brunch service with bottomless mimosas.

“I like to let the dish be the dish, I don’t need to do “a play” on something, I’ll just make it right.”


On Beginnings

Chef Matthew Wall started cooking late in college while at UCF in 2004 where he studied English and anthropology.

“I needed a job, and was a pretty accomplished home cook. I always cooked dinner for my friends in college, we would all throw our $5 bucks in and head to Publix and I would cook dinner instead of us eating ramen and fast food like most kids.” he told us via e-mail.

He then got a job at Waitiki and the Monkey bar on Wall Street in downtown Orlando just as it was first opening. He had never worked on the line before, but quickly passed all the culinary school grads who were already there.

“I am a self taught chef. I would see something on Food network or Great Chefs of the World (this was back when Food Network had actual chefs and not all this Suzie Home maker Rachael Rae crap they have now), and I would replicate the dish at home. it was great practice to learn the fundamentals of cooking,” Chef Matt told us, reminiscing on his beginnings.

Chef Matthew Wall of North Quarter Tavern
Chef Matthew Wall of North Quarter Tavern

On Inspirations

His inspiration is drawn from all things – watching his dad cook dinner every night as a kid, dishes he may have tried at a restaurant, or a memory of a dish from childhood. He could see something on TV or read about a dish and be inspired.

“I really just love to eat, that’s what drove me to cook in the first place. I knew that if I learned how to cook, I would never be too far away from a good meal.”

“I’m inspired by all things pork – nose to tail. They are the greatest animal.”

Chef Matt’s father, Rich, was a chef before he was born, and then opened a restaurant when he was in high school.

“[My father] is a great cook – he would make bad ass home dinners for the family, throw dinner parties for friends, and I would sit in the kitchen and watch, absorbing all I could, help peal the garlic or other little chores. I remember loving coq au vin when he made it.”


On North Quarter Tavern

“Overall, I’m just looking to make great food in a casual setting. I set out to have the best $15 in the city. And I feel pretty confident about achieving that. I think too many chefs put their ego first, always playing around with the classics too much.”

“I like to let the dish be the dish, I don’t need to do “a play” on something, I’ll just make it right.”

“Right now my favorite menu items are probably the charcuterie board, the steak tartare, and the Rueben. We take a lot of pride in taking cheap cuts of meat and applying old school techniques to make great food. There are only a handful of places in town that make their own charcuterie, salami, capicola, etc.”

“We love to dry cure and age the meat in our home made chamber – it’s a huge source of pride. I couldn’t do with out the help of my sous chef Jason O and chef de cuisine Ian Hollman; they head up our charcuterie department and do a great job.”

Courtesy North Quarter Tavern

On the Future

“I’d love to add more sausages to the menu in the future – right now we make a great beer bratwurst. And run sausages as features: sausage and peppers. We made real hot dogs, smoked polish kilbasa, plus all the salumi items in our curing chamber for charcuterie. I’d love to get more rare cuts of meat on the menu, beef and pork cheeks, tongues, shanks, etc.”

North Quarter Tavern

861 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 757-0930

North Quarter Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Fried La Zi Tofu

We’ve posted extensively about our favorite Chinese (Sichuan and otherwise) restaurant in Orlando – Chuan Lu Garden – and continue to be surprised and delighted about the depth and diversity of the menu at Chuan Lu.

They recently published an easier to read menu including a new hot pot menu so I thought it would be good to share here.

See below, as well as some photos of our favorite dishes to order.


Beef, tendon in chili sauce – CA1


Eggplant with garlic sauce in clay pot – CH1 SONY DSC

Pan Fried Green Beans with Ground Pork – CV9 SONY DSC

La Zi Fish Fillets – CZ8 IMG_0797 IMG_0798 IMG_0799 IMG_0802 IMG_0800 IMG_0801

Cucumber with red pepper
Cucumber with red pepper
Szechuan wontons
Szechuan wontons
Beef and chicken dry hotpot
Beef and chicken dry hotpot
Fried La Zi Tofu
Fried La Zi Tofu

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The 20th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is going on now from Sept. 25-Nov. 16, 2015. It’s the first time in the festival’s 20-year-history that global marketplace experiences, now numbering more than 30, have expanded from the park’s World Showcase into Future World.

Here are our Top 10 Must Eats of the 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival


10. Australia – Grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies – $6.00
9. Sustainable Chew – Pork Spareribs with red wine, fennel, and cheesy mascarpone grits – $5.50


8. Dominican Republic – Soufflé de yuca: Yuca soufflé topped with griddled cheese – $4.75


7. Brazil – Crispy pork belly with black beans and tomato – $5.50


6. China – Beijing roasted duck in steamed bun with hoisin sauce – $6.50


5. Chew Lab – New York Strip with Parsnip Silk, Balsamic Glaze and Arugula Foam, $6.25


4. Korean Barbecue Short Rib with Steamed Rice and Cucumber Kimchi – $5.00


3. Farm Fresh – Loaded mac n’ cheese with Nueske’s® pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, peppers and green onions – $4.25


2. Hops & Barley – New England Lobster Roll – $7.50
1. Croissant aux escargots with garlic and parsley – $5.50

See the Press Release below including the list of eats for each marketplace!


At the new Next Eats area near the Epcot Character Spot, Sustainable Chew and Chew Lab marketplaces will be inspired by ABC’s Emmy-Award® winning lifestyle series “The Chew,” starring co-hosts Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly and Daphne Oz. “The Chew” announced July 2 that the show will broadcast from Epcot during the festival.


At Sustainable Chew Marketplace, guests can taste delicious dishes inspired by “The Chew” co-hosts. At Chew Lab, food science meets the hottest culinary tech trends to present innovative dishes like the Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel.


“The Future World festival marketplace expansion gives our guests more reasons than ever to help us celebrate 20 delicious festival years,” says Jens Dahlmann, general manager of Epcot Food & Beverage. “Adding even more sizzle, our collaboration with ABC’s ‘The Chew’ brings the cachet of a major daytime network television series and its celebrity hosts.”

Epcot’s Food and Beverage General Manager Jens Dahlmann with Epcot Executive Chef Gregg Hannon

One of a series of popular Party for the Senses premium events will be the first-time Yelloween Masquerade Party for the Senses Oct. 31, an elegant, dance-the-night-away, gourmet tasting party with Champagne, wine, craft beers and specialty cocktails paired with food. Guests will be encouraged to masquerade in chic yellow and black.


The Dominican Republic Marketplace will return with fresh flair, serving new dishes including Pescado con Coco – seared grouper, pigeon peas with rice and coconut sauce. And at the Festival Center, the new Monday-through-Thursday “Spotlight on Dominican Republic” will showcase the country’s culture, crafts and culinary delights with artists and chefs at the Festival Center.


Two 20th-year celebratory wines were created just for this fall’s festival: a Napa Valley Festival Chardonnay and a Paso Robles Festival Cabernet Sauvignon. Guests will be able to purchase tastes of both wines at the Sustainable Chew marketplace, and the Festival Center Wine Shop will carry bottles.


At the new Artistry of Wine & Cheese, each keg of premium wine on tap will hold the equivalent of 26 wine bottles, eliminating bottle, cork, cardboard and paper waste from labels. Recycling and repurposing of glass bottles and corks from other marketplace locations will be part of the 20th-year festival story.


The Party for the Senses grand tasting events, and other special beverage and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission. Reservations will open July 30, 2015, for all premium events including the new Rockin’ Burger Block Party. Guests can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) and get details at beginning July 15.

2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booths and Menus

To eat:
–Berbere-style beef tenderloin tips with onions, jalapeños, tomato and pap – $5.00, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–Buttered chicken with micro cilantro and naan bread – $5.00, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Indaba Chenin Blanc – $5.25
–DeMorgenzon DMZ Cabernet Róse – $3.50
–Fairview Pinotage – $3.50
–Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz – $3.50

American Adventure Coffee Cart
To Drink:
–Frozen Strawberry-Lemon Sunset: Frozen Strawberry and lemon, topped with Grey Goose Vodka® – $8.49

To eat:
–Grilled sweet and spicy bush berry shrimp with pineapple, peppers, onions, and snap peas – $4.75, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–Grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies – $6.00, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–Lamington: Yellow cake dipped in chocolate and shredded coconut – $3.00, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Coopers Brewery Extra Strong Vintage Ale – $3.75
–Château Tanunda Grand Barossa Dry Riesling – $3.50
–Bulletin Place Unoaked Chardonnay – $3.50
–Yangarra Estate Vineyard Shiraz – $3.50


To eat:
–Potato and leek waffle with beer-braised beef and smoked gouda cream – $4.25, DDP Snack Eligible
–Belgium waffle with warm chocolate ganache and whipped cream – $3.75, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible
–Belgium waffle with berry compote and whipped cream – $3.75, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Hoegaarden® – $3.75
–Leffe® Blonde – $3.75
–Palm Spéciale Belge Ale – $3.75
–Stella Artois® Cidre – $3.75
–Chilled coffee featuring Godiva Chocolate Liqueur – $9.00
–Beer flight: Hoegaarden®, Palm Amber Ale, Leffe® Blonde and Stella Artois® Cidre – $10.25

Block & Hans
–Champagne Enchantée Brut, Champagne – $9.00
–Festival Chardonnay, Napa Valley – $3.50
–GoGi Goldie Chardonnay, Sta Rita Hills – $9.00
–Lasseter Family Winery Enjoué Rosé, Sonoma Valley – $9.00
–Fess Parker Frontier Red, Santa Barbara County – $3.50
–Festival Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles – $3.50
–Silverado Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley – $9.00

To eat:
–Escondidinho de carne, “Little Hidden One”: layered meat pie with mashed yucca – $5.00, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–Crispy pork belly with black beans and tomato – $5.50, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–Pão de queijo: Brazilian cheese bread – $3.50, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–Cocada: Brazilian coconut candy – $2.00, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Kaiser Brewery Xingu Black Beer – $3.50
–Carnaval Moscato Sparkling White Wine – $6.00
–Frozen Caipirinha featuring LeBlon Cachaça – $10.00

Brewers Collection
–Radeberger Zwickel Pilsner (Unfiltered) – $3.75
–Norbertus Special Hefeweizen – $3.75
–BraufactuM Progusta IPA – $3.75
–Shöfferhofer Zitrone Weizen-Mix – $3.75

Bier Flight: $10.25
–Radeberger Zwickel Pilsner (Unfiltered)
–Norbertus Special Hefeweizen
–BraufactuM Progusta IPA
–Shöfferhofer Zitrone Weizen-Mix

To eat:
–Canadian cheddar cheese soup – $4.25, DDP Snack Eligible
–Chicken sausage with creamy polenta and Minus 8 onion jam – $4.50, DDP Snack Eligible
–“Le Cellier” wild mushroom beef filet mignon with truffle butter sauce – $7.50, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Moosehead® Lager – $3.75
–Neige Premiere Apple Ice Wine – $6.00
–Inniskillin Vidal Icewine – $6.00
–Tawse Vineyard Cabernet Franc – $6.00

Cheese Studio — NEW!
To eat:
–Trio of artisan cheese – $5.00, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible

Karst cave-aged cheese served with honey
La Bonne Vie goat cheese served with Craisin® bread
Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue Cheese with berry port compote
–Sweet goat cheese panna cotta with guava gellé – $2.50, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–Cheese fondue with sourdough bread – $3.50, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Robert Mondavi FuméBlanc – $4.25
–Still River Winery Apfel Eis (apple ice wine) – $6.00
–Sterling Vintner’s Collection Cabernet Sauvignon- $3.50

Chew Lab — NEW!
To eat:
–Olive Oil-Poached Salmon with Fresh Corn, Bacon, and Pepper Jam, $5.75, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–New York Strip with Parsnip Silk, Balsamic Glaze and Arugula Foam, $6.25, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel, $4.00, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Festival Chardonnay, Napa Valley, $3.50
–Festival Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, $3.50
–The Smoking Hibiscus featuring Montelobos Mezcal Joven, $8.75


To eat:
–Beijing roasted duck in steamed bun with hoisin sauce – $6.50, DDP Snack Eligible
–Gaoli beef slider – $5.75, DDP Snack Eligible
–Black pepper shrimp with Sichuan noodles – $5.50, DDP Snack Eligible
–Chicken pot stickers – $4.00, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–TSINGTAO Beer – $3.50
–Francis Ford Coppola Su Yuen Riesling – $3.50
–Ritzy Lychee with cognac and vodka – $10.50
–Happy Peach with peach liqueur and dark rum – $8.50
–Kung Fu Punch with vodka and triple sec – $8.50
–Mango jasmine tea with popping bubbles – $6.50

Craft Beers
To drink:
–Brew Hub Keybilly Island Ale, Lakeland, FL – $3.75
–Two Henrys Blueberry Vanilla American Wheat Ale, Plant City, FL – $3.75
–Orlando Brewing Grateful Pumpkin, Orlando, FL – $3.75
–Swamp Head Wild Night® Honey Cream Ale, Gainsville, FL – $3.75
–3 Daughters St. Pete Beach Blonde Ale, St. Petersburg, FL – $3.75
–Florida Beer Company Passport 20 Belgian-Style Tripel Ale, Cape Canaveral, FL – $3.75
–Funky Buddha Vanilla Espresso Porter, Oakland Park, FL – $3.75
–Shipyard Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, Clearwater, FL – $3.75

Flight #1: Florida Harvest – $10.25
–Brew Hub Keybilly Island Ale, Lakeland, FL
–Two Henrys Blueberry Vanilla American Wheat Ale, Plant City, FL
–Orlando Brewing Grateful Pumpkin, Orlando, FL
–Swamp Head Wild Night® Honey Cream Ale, Gainsville, FL

Flight #2: Craft Beer Lovers – $10.25
–3 Daughters St. Pete Beach Blonde Ale, St. Petersburg, FL
–Florida Beer Company Passport 20 Belgian-Style Tripel Ale, Cape Canaveral, FL
–Funky Buddha Vanilla Espresso Porter, Oakland Park, FL
–Shipyard Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, Clearwater, FL

To eat:
–Craft beer snack mix: sweet and savory blend of nuts, fruits, and crackers – $1.00, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible
–Charcuterie plate: Country pâté, cured meats, and crostini – $5.00
–Pimento cheese dip with pretzel crisps – $3.50, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible
–Bloody Mary shrimp cocktail – $4.00

Desserts & Champagne
To eat:
–Chocolate cherry explosion – $3.75, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–Strawberry-basil champagne “toast” – $5.25
–Guylian® Belgian chocolate seashell truffles- $1.75, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Nicholas Feuillatte Blanc de Blancs – $13.00
–Möet & Chandon Impérial – $11.00
–Veuve Clicquot® Ponsardin “Yellow Label” – $12.00
–Dom Pérignon – $32.00
–Möet & Chandon Nectar Impérial – $12.50
–Nicholas Feuillatte Rose – $12.50
–Orange Blossom Brewery Toasted Coconut Porter float with caramel ice cream – $5.50
–Cream soda float with caramel ice cream – $4.50, DDP Snack Eligible
–Frozen S’mores featuring Monin® Toasted Marshmallow Syrup – $3.25, DDP Snack Eligible

Dominican Republic — On Hiatus Since 2007!

To eat:
–Lechón asado: Roasted pork with mangú, pickled red onion and avocado – $4.50, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–Soufflé de yuca: Yuca soufflé topped with griddled cheese – $4.75, vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible
–Pescado con coco: Seared grouper, pigeon peas and rice with coconut sauce – $4.75, DDP Snack Eligible
–Caramel flan with rum-roasted pineapple – $3.25, DDP Snack Eligible, vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Presidente Pilsner Beer, $3.50
–Frozen Dominican piña colada featuring Ron Barceló Blanco Rum, $11.00
–Frozen sugar cane cocktail featuring Ron Barceló Blanco Rum, $9.00

Farm Fresh
To eat:
–Loaded mac n’ cheese with Nueske’s® pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, peppers and green onions – $4.25, DDP Snack Eligible
–Griddled “yard bird” with braised greens – $4.50, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Woodchuck Raspberry Hard Cider – $3.75
–Wyder’s® Dry Pear Hard Cider – $3.75
–Two Henrys Elderberry Hard Cider – $3.75
–ACE Hard Pumpkin Cider – $3.75
–Florida Orange Groves, Key Limen Wine – $3.50
–Tom Gore Chardonnay – $3.50
–Tom Gore Cabernet Sauvignon – $3.50

Hard cider flight: $10.25
–Woodchuck Raspberry Hard Cider
–Wyder’s® Dry Pear Hard Cider
–Two Henrys Elderberry Hard Cider
–ACE Hard Pumpkin Cider

Fife & Drum Tavern
–Ghirardelli Ice Cream Sundae – $5.00
–Mmmmhops Pale Ale – $3.75


To eat:
–Croissant aux escargots with garlic and parsley – $5.50, DDP Snack Eligible
–Boeuf bourguignon: Braised short ribs in cabernet with mashed potatoes – $5.95, DDP Snack Eligible
–Crème brûlée vanille chocolat: Vanilla & chocolate crème brûlée topped with caramelized sugar – $4.25, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Beer, Kronenbourg Blanc 1664 – $3.95
–Chardonnay, Macon-Villages, Vielles Vignes Mommessin – $5.75
–Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Château Bonnet – $5.95
–Sparkling Pomegranate Kir – $7.75
–Ice Pop Pomme: Apple juice, vodka, and St. Germain liqueur – $6.75
–La Passion Martini Slush: vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron, cranberry and passion fruit juice – $9.95

To eat:
–Schinkennudeln: Pasta gratin with ham and cheese – $3.50, DDP Snack Eligible
–Roast bratwurst in a pretzel roll – $5.00, DDP Snack Eligible
–Apple strudel with vanilla sauce – $3.50, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling Kabinett – $3.50
–Radeberger Zwickel Pilsner – $3.75
–Selbach-Oster Mosel Riesling Spätlese – $5.25
–J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling Auslese – $4.25
–Kallstadter Kobnert Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) Spätlese Dry – $3.50

German Riesling flight: $5.00
–J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling Kabinett
–Selbach-Oster Mosel Riesling Spätlese
–J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling Auslese

To eat:
–Vegetarian moussaka with Gardein™ sausage crumbles – $4.75, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible
–Greek salad in a cone – $3.25, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–Chicken gyro with tzatziki sauce – $4.25, DDP Snack Eligible
–Spanakopita – $4.25, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Domaine Skouras Moscofilero – $3.50
–Domaine Siglas Assyrtiko/Athiri – $3.50
–Alpha Estate Axia Syrah Xinomavro – $4.25
–Tzatziki martini featuring Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka and BOLS® Natural Yoghurt Liqueur – $8.00

To eat:
–K?lua pork slider with sweet and sour Dole® Pineapple chutney and spicy mayonnaise* – $4.00, DDP Snack Eligible
–Tuna poke with seaweed salad and lotus root chips – $4.75, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Kona Brewing Company, Big Wave® Golden Ale – $3.50
–Kona Brewing Company, Pipeline Porter – $3.50
–Maui Splash Sweet Pineapple Wine – $3.50
–Mai Tai featuring Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum – $8.00

Hops & Barley
To eat:
–New England Lobster Roll – $7.50, DDP Snack Eligible
–Florida grass fed beef slider with pimento cheese – $4.25, DDP Snack Eligible
–Fresh baked carrot cake with Craisins® and cream cheese icing – $3.75, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–SweetWater Take Two Pils – $3.75
–Goose Island® Honkers Ale – $3.75
–Samuel Adams® Rebel IPA – $3.50
–Dogfish Head Sixty-One IPA – $3.75
–La Crema® Chardonnay – $4.25
–Cambria Estate Winery Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir – $4.50
–Beer Flight (Includes 4, 4 oz. servings) – $10.25

Intermissions Cafe
To eat:
–Asian Tuna Salad with Noodles – $11.49
–Southwest Chicken Wrap – $7.49
–Tuna Salad with Pita – $7.49
–Cucumber and Tomato Salad – $3.39, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible
–Crudité of Carrots, Celery and Broccoli with Creamy Pepper Relish – $8.99, Vegetarian
–Fruit & Cheese Plate – $6.69, Vegetarian
–Side Salad – $4.49, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible
–Grapes – $2.59, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible
–Key Lime Pie – $4.19, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible
–Brownie – $2.99, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Festival Chardonnay, Napa Valley – $3.25
–Festival Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles – $3.25
–MARTINI® Prosecco – $5.00
–Caposaldo Peach Moscato Sweet Sparkling Wine – $4.00
–Iron Horse Vineyards “Fairy Tale Cuvée” Sparkling Wine – $8.50
–Presidente Pilsner Beer – $3.25
–Two Henrys Elderberry Hard Cider – $3.50
–Assorted soft drinks
–Dasani Water

To eat:
–Lobster and seafood fisherman’s pie – $6.50, DDP Snack Eligible
–Kerrygold® cheese selection: Reserve cheddar, Dubliner with Irish Stout and Skellig – $4.25, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible
–Warm chocolate pudding with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur Custard – $3.50, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale – $3.75
–Bunratty Meade Honey Wine – $5.25
–Chilled Irish Coffee featuring Bunratty Potcheen – $7.25
–Kerrygold® Irish Cream Liqueur – $8.00


To eat:
–Ravioli alla caprese: Cheese ravioli, tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and basil – $6.00, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible
–Filetto di pollo, con funghi al marsala: Chicken tenderloin, cremini mushrooms, marsala sauce and ciabatta bread – $6.00, DDP Snack Eligible
–Cannoli al cioccolato: Chocolate-covered cannoli filled with sweet ricotta, chocolate and candied fruit – $4.00, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Moretti Lager Beer – $5.50
–Moretti La Rossa Beer – $5.50
–Pinot Grigio, Placido – $6.75
–Corbinello, Montegrande – $8.00
–Chianti Classico, Placido – $6.75
–Moscato Fior d’Arancio, Montegrande – $8.00
–Prosecco, Bosco del Merlo – $9.00
–Frozen margarita with limoncello and tequila – $10.00


To eat:
–Spicy hand roll: Tuna and salmon with Kazan Volcano sauce – $5.50, DDP Snack Eligible
–Teriyaki gyoza bun: Steamed bun filled with chicken, vegetables and sweet teriyaki sauce – $5.50, DDP Snack Eligible
–Tempura Shrimp Roll: cut inside our roll, with cucumber finished with Teriyaki sauce – $5.95, DDP Snack Eligible
–Miso Udon: steamed shrimp, vegetables, and noodles in a spicy broth – $5.25, DDP Snack Eligible



To drink:
–Kirin Draft Beer, $4.00
–Pineapple Fuzed Sake, $8.00
–Sake – Komatsu Tateaki Samurai, $7.50
–Sake – Suigei Drunken Whale, $7.25

To eat:
–Tacos de camarón: Battered shrimp, pico de gallo, pickled onions, and chipotle mayonnaise – $5.50, DDP Snack Eligible
–Chilaquiles de pollo: Corn chips layered with seasoned chicken, queso fresco, sour cream and cilantro – $5.00, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–Pastel de elote con queso: sweet corn cheesecake – $3.75, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Dos Equis Lager Beer with Floater – $4.75
–Mexican sangria – $8.50
–Tequila Flight – $14.00
–Guava margarita – $8.75


To eat:
–Kefta pocket: Ground seasoned beef in a pita pocket – $5.00, DDP Snack Eligible
–Harissa chicken roll – $5.00, DDP Snack Eligible
–Baklava – $3.00, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Casa Beer – $4.00
–Guerouane White – $4.00
–Sangria – $5.00
–Mimosa Royale – $7.00

New Zealand
To eat:
–Steamed green lip mussels with garlic butter and toasted bread crumbs – $3.75, DDP Snack Eligible
–Seared venison loin with wild mushroom marsala sauce and kumara dumpling – $6.00, DDP Snack Eligible
–Lamb meatball with spicy tomato chutney – $5.25, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Kim Crawford Pinot Gris – $5.25
–Brancott Estate® Flight Song™ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – $3.50
–Kim Crawford Chardonnay – $3.50
–Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir – $4.25

Odyssey Coffee Cart
To drink:
–Tropical Delight Mango Smoothie with Coconut Syrup and Grey Goose Vodka – $8.49

To eat:
–Beef empanada – $4.75, DDP Snack Eligible
–Grilled beef skewer with chimichurri sauce and boniato purée – $5.50, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–Roasted Verlasso salmon with quinoa salad and arugula chimichurri – $5.00, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Undurraga Sparkling Wine Brut – $5.00
–Calle Ocho Chardonnay – $3.50
–Kaiken Torrontés – $3.50
–Terrazas Reserva Malbec – $4.25

To eat:
–Kielbasa and potato pierogi with caramelized onions and sour cream – $5.50, DDP Snack Eligible
–Sauerkraut pierogi with pork goulash – $5.50, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Okocim Brewery, Okocim O.K. Beer – $3.75
–Donausonne® Blaufränkisch Hungarian Wine – $3.50
–Frozen Szarlotka Apple Pie featuring Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka – $9.00

Refreshment Port
To eat:
–Croissant doughnut with cinnamon and sugar – $4.99, DDP Snack Eligible
–Dole fruit bowl: choice of pineapple tidbits or mandarin slices – $2.25, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible
–Fried chicken chunks with Dole pineapple sweet and sour sauce – $9.29
–Pineapple Dole® Whip soft-serve ice cream – $4.19, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible
–Pineapple Dole Whip soft-serve ice cream with Bacardí® Coconut Rum – $7.50, Vegetarian

To drink:
–Dragon Berry Refresher featuring Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum – $7.50

Refreshment Cool Post
To eat:
–spicy hot dogs with kimchi slaw and korean mustard – $6.50,

To drink:
–Mango Star featuring African Starr Rum – $10.00
–frozen “Brown Elephant.” – $8.50

To eat:
–Haggis with neeps and tatties: Traditional Haggis with rutabaga and mashed potatoes – $4.75, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–Fresh potato pancake with Scottish smoked salmon and herb sour cream – $4.25, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–Seared sea scallop with spinach-cheddar gratin and crispy bacon – $4.75, Gluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–The Tipsy Laird: Whiskey-soaked cake with lemon cream and toasted oats – $3.25, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Innis & Gunn® CASK OAK Aged Beer* – $3.75
–Brew Dog Punk Ale – $3.75
–Citrus Thistle featuring Hendrick’s Gin – $9.00
–Glenfiddich® Single Malt 12-Year Scotch – $6.75
–Glenfiddich® Single Malt 15-Year Scotch – $8.75
–Glenfiddich® Single Malt 18-Year Scotch – $10.50
–Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch flight (12-, 15- and 18-year) – $12.00

Showcase Coffee Cart
–Hot, Iced, or Frozen Chai Latte with Grey Goose Vodka or Bailey’s topped with cinnamon and whipped cream – $8.49

South Korea
To eat:
–Korean Barbecue Short Rib with Steamed Rice and Cucumber Kimchi – $5.00, DDP Snack Eligible
–Roasted pork lettuce wrap with kimchi slaw – $3.75, DDP Snack Eligible
–Vegan Korean Barbecue with Steamed Rice and Cucumber Kimchi – $4.75, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–iCing Grapefruit Sparkling Rice Brew – $3.75
–Myungjak Bokbunja Raspberry Wine – $3.50
–Soju Banana Milkshake featuring The Ginger People® Ginger Soother® – $7.75

Sustainable Chew — NEW!

To eat:
–Pork Spareribs with red wine, fennel, and cheesy mascarpone grits – $5.50, Glluten-Free, DDP Snack Eligible
–Ricotta & zucchini ravioli with tomato sauce – $4.75, Vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible
–Vanilla panna cotta with fresh figs and pistachio brittle – $4.25, Gluten-free, DDP Snack Eligible

To drink:
–Founders Spectra Trifecta (Chamomile Kolsch) – $3.75
–Frozen Chew-tini – $7.50
–Beso Del Sol White Sangria – $3.50

Test Track Coffee Cart
–Iced Coffee Dream: bold roast coffee, chilled and iced, with light cream, topped with Bailey’s Irish Crème® and whipped cream. Also available hot. – $8.49

Wine Studio — NEW!
To eat:
–Trio of artisan cheese – $5.00, vegetarian, DDP Snack Eligible
–Karst cave-aged cheese served with honey
–La Bonne Vie goat cheese served with Craisin® bread
–Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue Cheese with berry port compote

To drink:
–Avviato Pinot Grigio, Oregon, $3.50
–14 Hands Chardonnay, Washington, $3.50
–Franciscan Equilibrium White Wine, California, $3.50
–Acacia Pinot Noir, California, $3.50
–Dry Creek Zinfandel, California, $3.50
–Spellbound Petite Sirah, California, $3.50
–Clayhouse Malbec, California, $3.50
–Line 39 Cabernet Sauvignon, California, $3.50


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