Authors Posts by Ricky Ly of TastyChomps.com

Ricky Ly of TastyChomps.com

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

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To celebrate their opening, after months of construction delays, Blaze Pizza will be hosting a FREE PIZZA DAY on September 4, giving away free 11-inch artisanal pizzas all day from 11am-11pm

assembly-line format

Blaze Pizza is a modern day “pizza joint,” known for its custom-built artisanal pizzas, freshly made salads, blood orange lemonade and s’more pies.

Their first Orlando location is at 4100 N. Alafaya Trail, across from the main University of Central Florida campus, near Bar Louie and Burger Fi.

The fast-casual concept, known for its chef-driven menu and casually hip restaurants, will custom-build its newest location to suit the 3200-square foot space which includes seating on an outdoor patio. The restaurant will be open from 11:00 a.m. to midnight, Sunday through Wednesday, and will stay open until 1:00 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Blaze uses an interactive assembly line format that allows guests to create their own artisanal pizzas. Customers choose an unlimited amount of toppings from a wide variety of house-made sauces, fresh vegetables and hand-selected meats and cheeses – all for under $8. The 11” personal pizzas are then sent to a blazing hot open-flame oven — the centerpiece of the restaurant — where dedicated pizzasmiths ensure that the thin-crust pies are “fast-fire’d” in under 180 seconds.

“The Orlando community expects greatness for every venture, and that’s just what we’re giving them with this unique pizza experience,” said Laurie Ruggles Managing Partner for Blaze in Florida. “Blaze Pizza is great for UCF students looking for a fast, quality pizza option that won’t break their budget. We are bringing back the classic pizza joint, but with a modern, fast-as-lightning twist.”

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A year ago, parent company Darden Restaurants cut loose the Red Lobster chain, selling it off to Golden Gate Capital. In the year since, the Red Lobster folks moved their headquarters to offices in downtown Orlando, right next to City Hall.

As an independent company, Red Lobster can now focus on long-term initiatives, is more nimble and can execute on decisions more quickly. Over the past year, Red Lobster has begun:

  • Introducing a seafood-focused menu, which was the most significant menu improvement in decades
  • Launching a new “Fresh” advertising and marketing campaign
  • Implemented key operations initiatives to improve execution
  • Opened its new Restaurant Support Center and Culinary Development Center in Downtown Orlando
  • Positive one year results include:
    • Record Guest Satisfaction Scores
    • Comparable restaurant sales growth each quarter since separation

This year, Red Lobster is focused on four key areas:

  • Quality, handcrafted seafood dishes (e.g. Signature Shrimp Cocktail, Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes and Beer-Battered Fish and Chips)
  • New types of fresh, seasonal seafood (e.g. Wild-Caught Bairdi Crab and Wild-Caught Alaska Salmon
  • Signature Events (e.g. Crabfest, which features the largest variety of crab-based dishes and new types of wild-caught Alaska seafood)
  • Contemporary beverage program (e.g. High Tide Cocktail)

Chef Dustin Hilinski is the Executive Chef and Director of Culinary for Red Lobster, where he leads the team of chefs who develop all of the menu items across Red Lobster’s more than 700 restaurants.

Chef Dustin told us, “I’ve grown up in the foodservice business, following in the footsteps of my father who worked as a chef. After deciding that culinary development and creation was my passion, I attended the Culinary Institute of America and began my professional career working in hotels and restaurants across the United States and Europe.”

“Ultimately, I got into research and development, and I began to offer my expertise to various clients as a culinary consultant before going to work at H.J. Heinz, where I led food development for foodservice and specialized in innovation. I joined the Red Lobster team a few years ago and am excited about all the opportunities to create new and exciting dishes for our guests.”

DHA

Where were you before becoming Executive Chef at Red Lobster?

Before coming to Red Lobster, I was Senior Corporate Chef at H.J. Heinz, where I led development of foodservice concepts and products. My specialty is innovation, and I got many opportunities to leverage my skills by helping to create things like a new line of breakfast condiments. I know “breakfast condiments” doesn’t seem very exciting, but it actually is. I really enjoyed playing with different flavor combinations to develop these new recipes, like strawberry jalapeno jelly or cinnamon honey mustard.

What are some of your favorite dishes on the menu now?

That’s a tough one. I would say my absolute favorite is the Wood-Grilled Lobster, Shrimp and Salmon. I love the variety of seafood in the dish, and the wood-grilling and delicious brown butter sauce really gives it a nice flavor.

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The Lobster Scampi Linguini is also fantastic. It has just as much lobster as there is pasta – 6 ounces of lobster meat and 6 ounces of pasta. There really is lobster is every bite. It’s a great way to enjoy lobster in a pasta. And, of course I love some of our classics like coconut shrimp with piña colada sauce.

What are you planning for at Red Lobster this coming season? What changes are being made to the menu since the changes in management?

We have some really cool things in the works, but it’s really too soon to talk about what’s next. What I can say is that we are focused on being not just the biggest seafood restaurant but the best by delivering great seafood options to our guests. Our new menu that we launched in November is just the first example of this.

With the new menu, we introduced new lobster-based entrees to deliver on our namesake protein. Now, there are lobster options on virtually every page of the menu at a broad range of price points.

The new dishes are:
• Wood-Grilled Lobster, Shrimp and Salmon
• Wood-Grilled Lobster Scampi Linguini
• Roasted Maine Lobster Bake
• Wood-Grilled Lobster Tacos

In addition to lobster, shrimp has always been a high-demand menu item, but guests craved more variety and bigger shrimp. We wanted to really wow our guests so this month we introduced our first-ever Big Shrimp Festival with more variety and some of the biggest shrimp we’ve ever had on the menu. Big Shrimp Festival showcases our culinary expertise with six premium shrimp preparations, which includes new flavors and old favorites like Extra Jumbo Spicy Sriracha-Grilled Shrimp and Parrot Isle Jumbo Coconut Shrimp.

Overall, one of the things I’m most proud of is that we’ve introduced new on-trend flavors and have been experimenting with emerging trends. As a result, we are already hearing from our guests that they are excited about the new menu and that they really love the new menu items. Hearing that that guests are loving seafood as much as I do is one of the greatest pleasures I get out of this job!

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Where do you dine when not at Red Lobster here in Orlando?

If I am not at Red Lobster, I am at home with my three boys experimenting with new flavors and dishes – they love to cook! I’m so fortunate that my profession is my passion and that we live in an area with great seafood. A lot of my inspirations come from my personal life. Cooking and traveling allows me to try out new flavors and innovate in ways that often translate on to the Red Lobster menu.

What are some interesting facts about yourself that most people might not know?

• My father was a chef
• I’ve served as a guest judge for the South Beach Food & Wine Festival and was featured in the Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef instructional video series
• I have over 500 cookbooks, some form the 1800s.
• When I was young, we dined at Red Lobster, and I decided to slip a few oyster shells in my pocket because I thought they were cool…until my mom found them under my bed a few weeks later.

Growing up, what were some of your favorite childhood eats?

Being the son of a chef we had a lot of variety and interesting things to eat, but I have always loved seafood and that inspires me now when working on new menu items for the Red Lobster guest.

PHOTO1MAYORDYERLOBSTER

 

 

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Noodles and Dumplings at the Florida Mall

The Florida Mall recently opened their new Dining Pavilion (aka the Food Court 2.0) – it’s sleek and modern and just very futuristic . The food court of the 21st century we deserve – though the offerings – which include 3 variations of Asian Chao and the usual suspects of chains – leave more to be desired (see here). There are some stand outs though like the new Spoleto Italian fast casual / assembly line restaurant imported from Brazil as well as some interesting new concepts such as the Dumpling and Noodle Bar.

At first glance, it looks like another variation of Asian Chao – an island outpost with a line of sweet and sour chicken, beef and broccoli, and bourbon chicken in steaming trays behind plexiglass while an older Asian lady stares at you disapprovingly for snapping photos of their shop.

Noodles and Dumplings at the Florida Mall
Noodles and Dumplings at the Florida Mall

But there’s got to be some dumplings, some noodling going on somewhere since their name is Dumpling and Noodle Bar right?

Around the corner is a tiny section dedicated to an assortment of dumplings (spicy wontons, steamed pork and veggie dumplings, fried dumplings) and a rather impressive list of authentic noodle dishes from Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup to Cha Jong noodles (black bean sauce noodles) and Hong Kong style wonton noodles.

Spicy wonton dumplings at Noodles and Dumplings at the Florida Mall
Spicy wonton dumplings at Noodles and Dumplings at the Florida Mall

Overall, very impressed with the Taiwanese beef noodle soup – the flavor was there and there was a ton of braised beef with our bowl. Not as good as some of the authentic Taiwanese restaurants around town, but still for a mall food court dish – I’d definitely go back for more.

Taiwanese beef noodle soup from Noodles and Dumplings at the Florida Mall
Taiwanese beef noodle soup from Noodles and Dumplings at the Florida Mall

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1. THE CAPITAL GRILLE CELEBRATES FEMALE WINEMAKERS WITH SEVENTH ANNUAL GENEROUS POUR WINE EVENT

The Generous Pour Offers Eight Remarkable Wines from Seven Talented Women

Orlando, Fla. – July 6, 2015 – The Capital Grille today announced that seven of California’s great female winemakers and collaborators, including award-winning actress Drew Barrymore, will come together to celebrate women and wine as part of the restaurant’s seventh annual The Generous Pour event.

Generous Pour

The Generous Pour will celebrate the unique role women play in winemaking with this year’s offerings. From July 6 through August 30, 2015, for $28 per person with dinner[1], The Capital Grille will offer eight remarkable wines crafted, designed or owned by women from some of California’s most acclaimed vineyards. Guests are invited to explore and enjoy as many of these remarkable wines and varietals as they like.

Nowhere is the rise of women in the industry more prevalent than in California. Women represent half of the graduates from the state’s top enology programs, and are employed as lead winemaker at ten percent of California vineyards.

“The Generous Pour collection is a celebration of the vital role women play in the growing wine industry,” noted George Miliotes, The Capital Grille’s Master Sommelier and one of only 229 in the world to have earned that prestigious title. “We are proud to feature eight exceptional wines created and shaped by seven extremely talented women, from highly-regarded California wineries,” he added.

Lobster Mac

Nearly one-third of U.S. adults who order wine in restaurants report that they are more likely to order a certain wine in a restaurant if they find its origins interesting. With this in mind, The Capital Grille brought together these seven distinguished women, each representing a distinct approach to winemaking.

Their wines were also selected with a storied vintage in mind including the national debut of Drew Barrymore’s Pinot Grigio, a delightful, crowd-pleasing white to share with friends and family.

Also to be featured is the first public release of the remarkable 2007 Kinton Syrah, exclusive to The Capital Grille for The Generous Pour event. “The winemakers at Kinton produced an incredible Syrah in 2007, a storybook vintage in the state,” said Miliotes. “One of the more notable wines in this year’s The Generous Pour line-up, nowhere will you taste the perfection of the 2007 vintage more than in a glass of this smooth Santa Barbara red.”

Bone-In Kona Crusted Dry Aged NY Strip

The 2015 Generous Pour Collection includes eight remarkable wines by seven talented women:

The Enthusiast. Drew Barrymore delights in a wine’s ability to bring people together. It is that passion which inspired the actress to establish Barrymore Wines in the coastal winegrowing region of Monterey, California. The debut of Barrymore Pinot Grigio can be enjoyed at this year’s Generous Pour and is the perfect way to begin your evening.

The Visionary. Julia Jackson, the youngest daughter of legendary winemaker Jess Jackson, is the visionary leading the Jackson Family Estates into the future. Having grown up in the vineyards of Santa Barbara, she has literally spent a lifetime learning about the art of wine and hand selected the wine from the Jackson family library to featuring exclusively at The Capital Grille for the Generous Pour event this year.

The Gardener. Marcia Monahan has always had a close relationship with the land. When not planting grapes at Matanzas Creek, she’s growing vegetables and herbs at home. Her respect for the land and sustainable farming practices makes her masterfully crafted Matanzas Creek Merlot one of the finest in the country.

The Spaniard. Laura Diaz Muñoz began her winemaking career in her native Spain before putting down roots in California, where her approach is influenced by her memories drinking Albariño in her native Spain and smelling the sea in every glass. Two of the wines featured in this year’s Generous Pour – Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon and the debut of her own Galerie “Naissance” Sauvignon Blanc – are sure to earn rave reviews from The Capital Grille’s guests.

The Conductor. Denise Shurtleff and her team direct every aspect of the winemaking process. From nurturing the grapes on the vine to bottling their exceptional wines, one tastes her dedication in every sip of Cambria “Julia’s Vineyard” Pinot Noir.

The Virtuoso. Lisa Valtenbergs, born with an acute sense of smell and armed with a degree in agricultural business with an emphasis in viticulture, was destined to become a winemaker. At Stonestreet, Lisa uses her skill to create remarkable wines, including the highly acclaimed “Bear Point” Chardonnay.

The Scholar. Kristina Werner has a master’s degree in viticulture and experience making wine in regions around the world. She brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to every wine she crafts and lives by the mantra, “Never stop learning and never get bored.” Her Bordeaux-style Arrowood Cabernet Reserve Speciale is one of a kind.

During The Generous Pour, The Capital Grille servers will provide tasting notes and suggest pairings for each course, based on individual preferences. This will allow guests to craft their own personalized wine dinner.

Follow George Miliotes on Twitter and Instagram @TheWineExpert and join the #GenerousPour conversation.

· Drew Barrymore Video:

https://www.youtube.com/user/CapitalGrilleChannel/videos

Coconut Cream Pie

2. The O-Town MacDown – September 12

is a creative mac-n-cheese cooking competition, held between local professional chefs and restaurants. Scheduled for Saturday, September 12 at Osceola Heritage Park’s Exhibit Hall, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., this family-oriented event will include activities for kids, continuous stage entertainment, assorted vendor booths, and, of course, delicious mac-n-cheese.

The event will include:

All-you-can-eat Mac-n-Cheese!
Live Entertainment
Celebrity Chef Cooking Demonstrations
Kids’ Fun Zone including face painting, macaroni art station and character meet-and-greets
Vendor Booths
Free Parking

Competition is open to professional chefs and local restaurants. Click on the “Competitors Registration” button for more information.

http://support.gktw.org/site/PageNavigator/macdown.html
O-Town Event Poster

O-Town Competitor Flier

3. Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Host Fifth Annual Food & Wine Weekends

Orlando Culinary Leader Complements Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival with Epicurean Events

Celebrating fine wine and culinary expertise, Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, known for premiere food, wine and spirit experiences, will host the fifth annual Food & Wine Weekends from Sept. 25, 2015 through Nov. 15, 2015, featuring an appetizing set of flavorful events.

Presenting distinctive wine and culinary programming over eight weekends, the resorts’ Food & Wine Weekends are designed to complement the wildly popular Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival, conveniently located less than one mile from the property.

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New programming ranges from chalk art creations by renowned artists Edson Campos and Kathleen Brodeur to a twelve-flavored macaroon bar. Returning favorites include Bar du Chocolate, The Art of Sushi Pairing and wine-paired dinners at the hotels’ signature, award-winning restaurants, La Luce and Bull & Bear.

“Unforgettable Orlando food and wine experiences extend beyond the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and our culinary team continually develops menu items that are ahead of the curve,” said Peter Kacheris, managing director, Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. “Food & Wine Weekends showcase our chefs’ achievements, offering guests the chance to sample exclusive culinary offerings, created to deliver a full sensory experience in each bite.”

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Led by Food and Beverage Director Francis Metais, Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek consistently receive notoriety for the refined menus offered at all twelve dining venues, featuring mouth-watering tableside preparation and an array of extraordinary pastry innovations. Metais, a classically trained pastry chef from France, employs his “food as art” philosophy to each dish, utilizing ingredients in unexpected ways and a focus on high-touch, detail-oriented service.

Between Food & Wine Weekend events, guests can enjoy hotel amenities including luxurious spa services at Waldorf Astoria Spa, 18-hole golf on the Rees Jones course and two pool complexes featuring private cabanas, a waterslide and three-acre lazy river. Guests can also take advantage of complimentary transportation to Epcot® as well as all Disney Theme Parks. For more information, visit www.WaldorfAstoriaOrlando.com/food-wine or www.HiltonBonnetCreek.com/food-wine .

Event highlights include:

• Il Cibo Della Vita – A Wine Pairing Dinner
Friday & Saturday evenings, La Luce at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
From the kitchen of La Luce at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, each weekend a new menu with exclusive offerings and recommended wine pairing will be unveiled, featuring a selection of recipes only available during Food & Wine Weekends.

• Chalk Art – NEW in 2015
Select Dates, La Luce at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
Inspirational art is the perfect complement to a sumptuous feast. New this year, watch Edson Campos and Kathleen Brodeur – renowned Chalk Artists – create a masterpiece while guests dine, celebrating a form of art as fresh and contemporary as the cuisine.

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• The Art of Sushi Pairing
Friday & Saturday evenings, Zeta Bar & Sushi Lounge at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.
Guests can enjoy an exciting epicurean journey at Zeta Bar & Sushi Lounge, exploring perfect pairings of sake and beer with favorite sushi dishes.

• Craft Beer Experience
Saturdays, MYTH Bar at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
Enjoy a selection of craft beer tastings from local breweries to include Crooked Can and Orlando Brewery. The resort has teamed up with the brew masters to bring this interactive experience to guests.

• Les Douze Macarons – NEW in 2015
Friday & Saturday evenings, MYTH Bar at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
Whether indulging in a pre or post-dinner treat, guest can visit the Macaroon Bar to try an assortment of flavors, hand-made by the resort’s world-class pastry team.

• Fantasy Flights – NEW in 2015
Friday & Saturday evenings, MYTH BAR at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
Guests will have the opportunity to take off with a choice of flights of (3) reds or (3) whites. Menu predetermined.

• Live Entertainment
Select Saturdays, MYTH Bar at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
Nightly, Peacock Alley at Waldorf Astoria Orlando

• The Taste of Bull & Bear
Friday & Saturday, Bull & Bear at Waldorf Astoria Orlando
An exclusive 5-course tasting menu comprised of exquisite food and wine pairings, prepared by the illustrious chefs of Waldorf Astoria Orlando.

• Bar du Chocolat and Champagne Tasting
Friday & Saturday, Peacock Alley at Waldorf Astoria Orlando
Decadent, yes. Sinful, perhaps. Most certainly an experience for those with a sweet tooth. Peacock Alley will be transformed into a chocolate-lover’s dream, offering a cocoa-infused evening of self-indulgence paired with a selection of fine champagnes. Guests can choose from a signature selection of chocolate treats from the Waldorf Astoria Orlando’s world-class pastry team.

• Royal Tea – A Waldorf Astoria Tradition
Sundays, Peacock Alley at Waldorf Astoria Orlando
Guests will treasure quality time with loved ones over finely-prepared tea sandwiches and house-made pastries, while sipping premium hot tea and listening to live piano music. A glass of champagne can be added for a “Grand Royal Tea.”

• Astoria After Dark
Friday and Saturday, WA Kids Club at Waldorf Astoria Orlando
Adults aren’t the only ones who can join the fun. WA Kids Club offers a nightly children’s program including dinner and non-stop roster of fun activities – providing parents some “adult time” in which to experience Food & Wine Weekend activities.

• Waldorf Astoria® Spa Tuscany Wine Special
Daily at Waldorf Astoria Orlando
Guests will experience the powerful antioxidants of red wine powder, red grape seed extract, crushed grape seeds and pure grape seed oil while indulging in an extravagant Tuscany Wine Wrap or Pedicure.

Weekend rates at Waldorf Astoria Orlando start at $229 per night, and include deluxe accommodations and complimentary scheduled transportation to Epcot® (and other Disney Theme Parks). To make a reservation, please visit www.waldorfastoriaorlando.com/food-wine or call +1 888 353 2009.

Weekend rates at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek start at $189 per night, and include deluxe accommodations and complimentary scheduled transportation to Epcot® (and other Disney Theme Parks). To make a reservation, please visit www.hiltonbonnetcreek.com/food-wine or call +1 888 353 2013.

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4. Limbitless Kids’ Community Event at UCF – August 29th

ALL GIVING AND PROCEEDS SUPPORT LIMBITLESS SOLUTIONS IN THEIR PURPOSE TO CHANGE LIVES THROUGH THE DESIGN AND DISTRIBUTION OF 3D PRINTED LIMBS

Saturday, August 29 at 11:00am – 2:00pm
CFE Arena
12777 Gemini Blvd N, Orlando, Florida 32816

Gather family and friends in support of Limbitless Solutions at the Limbitless Kids’ Community Event

Ways to get involved
•Donate online: http://igg.me/at/limbitlesskidscommunityevent/x/11479224
•Attend the Community Event
•Eat at Burger U

Partial Proceeds at Burger U support Limbitless Solutions from 11am to 2pm during the event

Event Activities:
Tony Roma’s Rib Eating Contest – Local On Air Personalities and Food Bloggers
Limbitless Solutions Sleeve Design Station
Kids’ Inflatable Zone
Community Partner Booths
Giveaways

FREE PARKING LOCATED IN GARAGE F – BEHIND THE CFE ARENA

Please share with family and friends on social media to help support a great cause

Hosted by Romacorp, Inc. brands Tony Roma’s Restaurants and TR Fire Grill Restaurants

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When Chef Kevin Dundon was in town in June, he visited Wild Ocean Seafood in Port Canaveral to check out the local product, which is wild caught, sustainable, and fresh from the ocean.

Wild Ocean has a market in Cape Canaveral, but can also be found locally in Orlando at the Monday Night Audubon Park Night Markets.

Chef Dundon liked it so much that Raglan Road introduces this menu tomorrow featuring three seasonal dishes using Wild Ocean seafood.

There’s no cut-off time set for the menu items — they’ll be on the menu as long as they are popular or when the season warrants a change, probably sometime this fall.

Chef Kevin Dundon has committed to working with multiple local producers.

Great news to hear and we look forward to hearing about more local seafood and harvest in our local Orlando restaurants!

Wild Ocean Seasonal Menu_Page_1

Wild Ocean seafood dish The Pale
Wild Ocean seafood dish The Pale -

Wild Ocean seafood dish – The Pale – Wild Ocean shrimp and clams with golden corn, baby potatoes, in a Raglan IPA lemon and herb broth served with soda bread scones

Wild Ocean seafood dish El Nino
Wild Ocean seafood dish El Nino

Wild Ocean seafood dish – El Nino – Wild Ocean Pan Roasted Shrimp over soft polenta, ina spiced bean, sweet onion, and peppers piperada

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Executive Chef Marc Kusche of the award-winning Hamilton’s Kitchen at The Alfond Inn has been invited to cook at the legendary James Beard House in New York City this fall. Florida Farmhouse Flavor will be the theme of Chef Kusche’s inspired multi-course dinner on Friday, October 23, 2015.

Chef Kusche offers 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.

Chef Kusche places his priority on freshness and he can be found most Saturday mornings at the Winter Park Farmers Market in the city’s historic old train depot, a few blocks from his restaurant, located at The Alfond Inn. He has close relationships with the family farms in the region, as well as purveyors of seafood from the nearby Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico.

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.

Each year only a select handful of chefs are invited to cook at the historic James Beard House, a narrow brownstone in New York’s Greenwich Village that served as Beard’s home for decades and until his death in 1985. The rooms, book collections and the quirky kitchen are all preserved as he left it. The preparation of Chef Kusche’s dinner will be live streamed via the Kitchencam at JBFKitchencam.org

At the Beard House, Chef Kusche and the Hamilton’s Kitchen team will prepare such dishes as Short Rib Pralines with Basil Crust and Balsamic-Onion Confit; Hamilton’s Kitchen Shrimp and Grits; Slow-Braised Lamb Neck with Pumpkin Risotto, Honey and Rosemary-Glazed Parsnips and Mustard Seed Sauce; and Olive Oil-Poached Red Snapper with Caramelized Cauliflower, Caper Berries, Tomatoes, and Shaved Fennel.

Chef Kusche has cooked in some of the finest kitchens in the world, including Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, the Adlon Hotel in Berlin and Silversea Cruises. Redefining comfort food is at the heart of his culinary passion.

Tickets to the event are $130 for James Beard members and $170 for the general public. They may be purchased at 212-627-2308, through the James Beard website or via OpenTable.

For those who want to taste Chef Kusche’s cuisine but are unable to attend the Beard House event, The Alfond Inn offers its Auberge in the Park package.

Florida Farmhouse Flavor
Chef Marc Kusche
Hamilton’s Kitchen at the Alfond Inn, Winter Park, FL
MENU

Hors d’Oeuvre
Truffle-Baked Brie with Pear Jam
Short Rib Pralines with Basil Crust and Balsamic–Onion Confit
Caviar-Stuffed Potatoes with Crème Fraîche and Chives
Hamilton’s Kitchen Shrimp and Grits
White Gazpacho with Crispy Prosciutto and Almonds

Dinner
Roasted Beet Duo with Grapefruit, Whipped Goat Cheese, Microgreens, and Caramelized Walnuts
Jamón Ibérico–Wrapped Diver Scallop with Creamy Polenta, Pickled Artichokes, and Red Wine Reduction
Slow-Braised Lamb Neck with Pumpkin Risotto, Honey and Rosemary–Glazed Parsnips, and Mustard Seed Sauce
Olive Oil–Poached Red Snapper with Caramelized Cauliflower, Caper Berries, Tomatoes, and Shaved Fennel

Dessert
Hamilton’s Kitchen Chocolate Pudding with Caramelized Brioche Croutons

http://www.jamesbeard.org/events/florida-farmhouse-flavor

An Interview with Chef Marc Kusche 

Chef Marc Kusche started cooking as a boy in Germany and followed in the footsteps of his parents who had restaurant careers. He took their sage advice and spent his early years working years experiencing different kitchens, cultures and cuisines.

After cooking in kitchens in Germany, he held positions in London, Florida, the Caribbean, California and the English countryside at restaurants that included Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis; Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire; Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay (formerly a Four Seasons resort); Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club; the Adlon Hotel, Berlin; and Silversea Cruises.

To Chef Marc, “Being back in Florida is a homecoming in many ways. It’s been great for me and for my family.

What does cooking at the James Beard House mean to you and Hamilton’s Kitchen?
It is an honor to present a dinner at the James Beard House. To cook in such a storied and legendary kitchen is a dream for every chef. My team and I are excited about it, but we’re also very proud that our hard work behind the scenes at Hamilton’s Kitchen, a restaurant that is just two years old, is earning recognition and awards. It’s what motivates us every day and what will energize us this Fall when we bring a taste of “Farmhouse Florida” to Manhattan.

How did you become selected to cook at the house?
We were selected, I believe, because of our deep commitment to presenting authentic Florida flavors and using ingredients that are sourced directly from farms in this area. Our menu is all about community support and bringing the best of Florida to the table. When you taste our dishes, you feel the tropical sunshine and richness of the soil that we are blessed with here in Central Florida. These are the things that directly influence my cooking and set us apart.

What are you looking forward to cook the most at the James Beard House dinner?
Everything but if I have to pick one dish it’s the”Olive Oil Poached Red Snapper “I love all the flavors in this dish, from the caramelized cauliflower, capers and the oven roasted tomatoes. The cauliflower adds the nice nutty touch, the light saltiness of the capers and of course the shaved fennel adds the nice anise flavor at the end. It is a very light flavorful dish, and the fish is incredibly succulent. (See Recipe for the Olive Oil Poached Snapper below)

What are some new dishes this season at Hamilton’s Kitchen? 
Some include the Squid Ink Pasta, Seared Scallop, Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil Whole Pan Seared Trout, Aged Balsamic Lentil Salad  with Pecan Bacon Vinaigrette.

When not cooking at Hamilton’s Kitchen, where can folks find you? What are some of your favorite places to eat around town?
We have many favorites – this is a vibrant restaurant town – but my personal top spots include “ Ravello , the restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel. I love what Chef Fabrizio is doing there and it’s all about the vibrant flavors that come through. We also love Kathleen Blake from “ The Rusty Spoon “ again a lot great flavors in her food and we appreciate that she also supports all the local farms. Chef Henry Salgado at TXOKOS is amazing too. His octopus is the best I’ve ever had and his restaurant is a wonderful Sunday brunch spot. I recently dinner at Kevin Fonzo’s “ K Restaurant “ it was one of the best meals I’ve had in Orlando and again, a huge supporter of the local community.

Ok I have to ask…what was it like cooking for Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Club?
He is all about quality for his members, no short cuts. At All. I had a fantastic time working for him at the Club. It was different from than anything else I did before, and probably will ever do again. But a great experience!

What inspired you to become a chef?
As a child a friend of my father’s cooked a German BBQ , and believe me our BBQ is completely different than the American version. My dad’s friend prepared a cucumber salad, and I was so amazed at what he did with just few simple ingredients. I was influenced by watching cooks in our family restaurant/bar in Germany. I was always surrounded by food from a very young age, and still am.

What was your favorite dish as a child growing up?
Half roasted Duck, braised red cabbage with potato dumplings

Recipe

Olive Oil Poached Key West Snapper, Caramelized Cauliflower, Capers, Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Recipe by Chef Marc Kusche, Hamilton’s Kitchen at The Alfond Inn

Ingredients :
4 each 7 OZ Snapper Filets
Blended Olive Oil, enough to cover fish
Garlic, Thyme, Bay Leave
Salt & Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups Small Cauliflower Florets
1 TBS Capers
2 TBS chopped Shallots
1 cup Oven Roasted Tomatoes
2 TBS Chopped Chives
1 TBS Chopped Fresh Garlic
½ cup Diced Butter
½ White Wine
1 cup fine shaved Fennel, keep in ice water
Olive Oil
Baby Arugula

Direction :
Bring blended Olive Oil with Garlic, Thyme, bay Leave to a simmer, seasons the fish with salt & pepper than seared the fish in a hot sauté pan till skin is crispy. Set the fish in Oil and poached on medium heat for around 6 – 8 minutes. In the meanwhile, heat up a little extra virgin olive oil in a pan, when oil is very hot add cauliflower, make sure the cauliflower gets nice caramelized, add white wine and reduce to half. When the wine is reduced add the tomatoes, capers, chopped garlic and shallots and let it simmer for 2 -4 minutes. Season with salt & pepper, add cold butter and cook for few minutes. Just before serving add the chopped chive, set the cauliflower ragout in a deep bowl, set the fish skin up on the top, garnish with a mix of shaved fennel and baby arugula, olive oil Salt & pepper.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes:
Cut roma tomatoes in half and lay out on a sheet tray, seasons with salt & pepper, sprinkle over the tomatoes crashed garlic, fresh thyme and rough chopped basil, drizzle good olive oil over the tomatoes and bake at 350f for around 8 – 12 minutes. After tomatoes cooked let them cool down and peel skin off and cut in quarters

Marc Kusche

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Seito Sushi in Baldwin Park has been working on perfecting their ramen game. Now on Monday nights, from 5pm to close, they are having a hospitality night with half off special pricing on all their ramen so you can enjoy the wonder that is Japanese ramen. This is for all hospitality industry workers and professionals! The ramen, typically $14 for dinner, is $7 and is made with variations such as the tonkotsu, a 24 hour pork bone broth with slices of braised pork belly, and the shoyu, a soy chicken broth base with grilled chicken thighs.

We recently dropped by to try their Tonkotsu Ramen – made with a 24 hour pork broth, and topped with slices of braised pork belly, poached Lake Meadows soy pullet egg, and house made garnish – it was absolutely delicious and I just salivate thinking about it now – really one of the best ramen bowls in town.

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The Pork Tonkotsu Ramen – so delicious.

There is also Shoyu Ramen available, made with Roasted Chicken Stock, and topped with Grilled Chicken Thigh, onsen tomago egg, sweet corn, braised carrots.

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There is an Indonesian spice paste that you can ask for – do ask for it – such wonderful complex flavors that are added to the soup and noodle base.

In addition to ramen, the kitchen at Seito Sushi Baldwin Park has been working on various “new” wave Japanese cuisine, with dishes such as oxtail yakisoba, roasted whole sea bream fish, and this little work of art – the cured salmon dish.

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House Cured Salmon
Ikura Mousse, capers, cucumber, pickled onions

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House fried panko crusted oysters

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Fresh seasonal oysters – delicious

Seito Sushi
4898 New Broad St, Orlando, FL 32814
(407) 898-8801
www.seitosushi.com

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Orlando Fire Department Engineer Emanuel “Manny” Washington will be competing on the Food Network’s hit show Cutthroat Kitchen. Washington will take on three other firefighters from fire departments across the country in the episode “Stop, Drop and Flambé.”

The show hands four chefs $25,000 and allows them to sabotage their competitors. Washington’s episode is part of Cutthroat Kitchen’s 10th season.

“What makes me a great person for this show is that I have a passion to cook,” Washington said. “I always want to be the best at what I do.” Washington, 28, has been cooking for more than a decade, and became the chef of his station the second day on the job. His skills will be put to the test as evident in the show’s narrative, with “firefighters’ dishes going up in flames.”

A watch party will be held locally at the World of Beer in Downtown Orlando, 431 E. Central Blvd. on Sunday August 16th from 8pm-10pm. The show will air at 10 p.m. eastern time.

Manny followed his Dad, a 26 year veteran of the City of Miami Fire Department, into the fire service and is the cook for the City of Orlando Fire Department’s Station 1.

MannyWashingtonCutthroatKitchen

A few months ago, a friend on Facebook tagged him to be one of the firefighters to try out on the show – he put in an application online and Food Network contacted him the next day.

“The show pushes you physically, and makes you think outside the box to handle problems. On Cutthroat Kitchen, you also have to think about the presentation of the food for the judge. You have to plate the food and make it tell a story in a sense,” Washington told us through our interview.

What are your favorite things to cook at the station?

I love to cook BBQ and Latin food at Fire Station One, especially Churrasco steak with a chimichurri sauce, with a side of cilantro lime rice and plantains.

What are some of the things you are most proud about or stories you’d like to share from your career as a firefighter?

There are so many great stories. One is actually delivering my first baby in the field. I’ll never forget it.

I walked in the bedroom, she makes eye contact with me and says ‘it’s coming now!’ and 30-seconds later you hear a screaming baby. It was a really touching moment.

The Orlando Fire Department is trained for all situations!

What inspires you to cook?

The biggest thing that inspires me to cook is knowing that all the firefighters at the station will have some good food, great conversation and be ready to go out and save lives.

We are a family, spending one-third of our lives together and we need to stay healthy.

I feel like a proud parent when I see them drive off to a call during/after dinner.

What was your favorite thing to eat as a child growing up?

Hands down a “Bila, Bila”, otherwise known as a good-ole fashion burger. “Bila, Bila” is what I called burgers growing up.

On the Orlando Food Scene

“I haven’t grown up in Orlando, but the eight years I have been here, I have seen it evolve into an even bigger city. With the addition of City Soccer and new attractions, I’ve see an explosion of restaurants and food trucks to eat at. Some of my favorites include Pig Floyds, Gringos, Graffiti Junction, Chef Eddies, Dexter’s, Cafe Tu Tu Tango, Roccos Tacos. The list can go on and on but those are my favorites.”

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We at TastyChomps.com wish Mr. Manny Washington and the City of Orlando Fire Department all the best on this Sunday’s episode of Cuttthroat Kitchen – Catch at 10pm on the Food Network – and a big thank you to all our firefighters for what they do for our community!

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Morton’s the Steakhouse is offering $1 filet sandwiches in the bar area all day on Thursday, August 13 in celebration of National Filet Mignon Day.

Patrons can enjoy various bar bites with their sandwiches, including Morton’s crowd-favorite parmesan truffle matchstick fries or crisp iceberg wedge bites.

“We look forward to commemorating this day with diners each year at any of our over seventy locations across the country,” said Tim Whitlock, Sr. Vice President of Operations for Morton’s The Steakhouse. “We hope our customers will enjoy this special discount and share the experience with family and friends.”

Morton’s The Steakhouse opened its first location in Chicago in 1978 and now boasts 73 locations worldwide.

Morton’s The Steakhouse – Orlando
The Marketplace at Dr. Phillips
7600 Dr Phillips Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
+1 407-248-3485
http://www.mortons.com

Tell em TastyChomps sent ya!

Petite Filet Mignon Sandwiches

ABOUT
Morton’s offers diners “The Best Steak… Anywhere,” serving only USDA prime-aged beef. Besides its exceptional steaks, Morton’s offers diners fresh fish and seafood, and hand-picked produce. For more information on Morton’s The Steakhouse, please visit www.mortons.com.

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Living in Orlando may seem like a dream to many a kid. And if you ask them, they’d probably wish to come here to visit Disney and all our great theme parks.

Give Kids The World Village is a nonprofit resort in Kissimmee, Florida for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

The resort’s focus is providing accommodations and access to donated theme park tickets such as nearby Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, Florida.

The non profit is highly rated by Charity Navigator for their accountability and impact for every dollar donated.

With the help of many generous individuals, corporations and partnering wish-granting organizations, Give Kids The World has welcomed more than 138,000 families from all 50 states and 75 countries since it opened in 1989.

Today the Village is a 70-acre resort complete with 144 Villa accommodations, entertainment attractions, whimsical venues, and fun specifically designed for children with special needs.

Every day countless volunteers come to Give Kids the World to donate their time and energy to help make the resort a special place for the children from serving food in the cafes to driving the cookie carts in the neighborhood and more.

We at TastyChomps.com are proud to be “Awareness Angels” in the social media world for Give Kids the World and helping to spread the word about this great cause. At the recent Blogger Bash, Pam Landwirth, GKTW’s president, and several members of her management team, numerous volunteers, corporate partners, and wish families were on hand to answer questions and make comments. Special thanks to Kelly Green (SeaWorldMommy.com) for setting this great event up.

Recently, even Kevin Bacon came by to the Village and started the 6 second ice cream challenge (#GKTWChallenge) – I will be doing this soon and suggest you do the same!

Bacon squared off against one of the resort’s young guests to see who could eat the most ice cream in six seconds. In the challenge, the loser has to donate $6 to Give Kids The World Village, a 74-acre resort where children with serious illnesses and their families are treated to dream vacations at no cost.

Bacon is founder of SixDegrees.org, which encourages celebrities to use their fame to benefit worthy causes, such as Give Kids The World Village. He visited the Village to highlight the fact that everyone is connected by six degrees or less to a child with a life-threatening illness. Challenge your friends and family to the #GKTWChallenge. To get involved, go to www.gktw.org/bacon.

Here are some scenes from our (rainy) day at Give Kids the World!

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Each of the stars were made by a child who visited the village, writing their names on them as a memory of their time here.

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To learn more about Give Kids the World Village, volunteer, or donate, visit:

Give Kids the World Village
210 S Bass Rd, Kissimmee, FL 34746
(407) 396-1114
www.gktw.org

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Steaks on Orlando’s Restaurant Row (Sand Lake Road) has partnered with Moët to offer signature sparkling cocktails, champagnes and sparkling wines to accompany weekly tributes to musical icons, as part of its Sparkling Sounds of Summer program.

We were invited recently for a media preview of the offerings and were blown away by the quality of the food and ambiance of Eddie V’s.

Live jazz lounge at Eddie Vs Orlando

From July 21 through August 30, 2015, Eddie V’s invites guests to enjoy six brand-new sparkling cocktails for $10 each, along with an array of champagnes and sparkling wines available by the glass or bottle.

Additionally, Eddie V’s will be debuting a Chef’s Teaser Menu featuring five new petite culinary creations, each for just $5, including:

Tartare of Scottish Salmon Tartare of Scottish Salmon – Red Chile, Sweet onion, Capers, Olives With Toasted Baguettes

Steak Tataki  Steak Tataki – Seared Beef Tenderloin, Soba Shiitake Mushrooms, With light soy broth

SONY DSC Gruyère Potato Fritters- Baked potato, gruyère cheese, scallions in lightly crisped pastry dough

Oysters Fondue Oysters Fondue – Broiled oysters With spinach and artichoke fondue, panko crumbs

and

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Eddie V’s musicians will dedicate a portion of their live sets to honor the music and genre of one iconic performer. Played nightly in the restaurant’s V Lounge, performances will feature songs from jazz, blues and R&B greats, including Ray Charles, Harry Connick, Jr., Stevie Wonder and Michael Bublé.

SONY DSC  The Tokyo Margarita – Casamigos Blanco, nagomi yuzu, fresh lime, agave and the Coco – Cîroc Coconut, Malbu Banana, pineapple, lime, mango

The six new sparkling cocktails include 24 Karat, Chandon Citrus Sparkler, Cuban Nights, Summer Blush Bubbly, The Coco and Tokyo Margarita. A number of champagnes and sparkling wines will also be served throughout the entire summer event.

Eddie V’s has a lot of swagger and swank – down from the sleek and modern bar and decor to the black bow tied waiters decked in all white suits. All a wonderful way to spend a summer evening with live music, reasonably priced small plates, and delicious sparkling cocktails.

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North Quarter Tavern in the North Quarter District in Downtown Orlando will start lunch service this Tuesday August 11th.

The team from Citrus Restaurant developed the concept and the kitchen is under the direction of Executive Chef Matt Wall.

Some of their new lunch menu items include:

bartlettimage-7421 Fried Chicken, beer brined chicken thighs, buttermilk dredge, Potato salad, house hot sauce, mixed pickles
bartlettimage-7456 Tavern Burger, house ground beef, American cheese, bread & butter pickles, onion
bartlettimage-7249 Charcuterie & Cheese Board house cured &smoked meats, artisanal cheese, mustard, pickled veggies
bartlettimage-7280 House Ground Meatballs fresh cheese, tomato ragout
bartlettimage-7370 Hand-Cut Wagyu Steak Tartare duck fat crostini, tarragon mayo, local egg yolk

Photos courtesy of North Quarter Tavern

The address is 861 North Orange Avenue. For more information, please visit www.northquartertavern.com or call 407-757-0930.

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Omakase – which means “trust the chef” or “chef’s choice” is a common practice at Japanese restaurants where diners leave it up to the chef to make their best, freshest dishes of the day. Often applied to sushi in the catch of the day.

Dragonfly’s chef de cuisine David Song  recently released his Summer Seasonal Omakase menu, $45 for 4 dishes and $65 for 4 dishes plus one quickfire order – 4 pieces of composed nigiri with special chef toppings.

The menu includes:

The Summer Chilled Ramen – a refreshing cool ramen with English cucumber, daikon, heirloom tomatoes, pickled shisito peppers, snow crab, and a sesame vinegar soy dressing – the vinegar soy dressing gave the dish a nice tartness / acidity, but the noodles could use some work overall.

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Robata Bronzino – grilled on their robata grill, the bronzino fish fillet is dressed with a ginger scallion pesto and dancing bonito flakes with a citrus soy drizzle

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Natsu Sushi Roll – a festive Katsu shrimp roll stuffed with goat cheese, cucumber, fresh jalapeños, avocado, snow crab, and topped with a salsa of red onions, mango, tomato, and pepper relish

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The Quickfire plate – 4 nigiri with special chef toppings including salmon roe, pickled cucumbers, and guacamole and bacon…the nigiri were all quite delicious, though I would ease back on the guacamole and bacon topping as the fish is overpowered by the guac.

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Dessert – Matcha Cake – a green tea cake with Azuki bean mousse, blueberry sake preserve, and fresh blueberries

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I really enjoyed the robata grilled bronzino, but thought the sushi rolls had a bit too much going on – so much so that the flavors were hard to distinguish from each other. I hope the kitchen can improve on these points, but overall – quite enjoyable.

Other new sushi rolls now available to order at Dragonfly include:

Shogun Roll – Snow Crab, cucumber, cabbage, jalapeño, avocado, topped with torched tuna, fried enoki mushrooms, and a tangy, wet mornay sauce.

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Satori Roll – Snow crab delight, scallion, green and red bell pepper, cilantro, avocado, yellowtail, garlic chips, and a jalapeño garlic sauce.

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Here is the menu:

061215 MCO Omakase Summer-page-001

The dishes are paired with light and refreshing Asian inspired summer special cocktails such as the Shochu Wanna Pomegranate?, A Shade of Blackberry, Hot Kagoshima Daze, and the Sake Sangria.

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Summer reprint 6-6-15-page-001 MCO Extra Food Menu 072215-page-001

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Founded by siblings Bob and Gail Givoglu, Mediterranean Blue’s menu is inspired by the simple, yet delicious recipes from their mother.

Located on Michigan Ave, in the heart of the Conway district of Orlando, it is a popular neighborhood Greek / Mediterranean restaurant known most for their delectable gyros.

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The interior is sparse, but well kept – with some nice new menus and a large display case showing off the day’s tabouli, Greek salads, marinated Kalamata olives, pepperoncini peppers, and other sides.

Mediterranean Blue Orlando

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Their gyro ($6.70) is their most popular item – a grilled pita full of sliced beef and lamb seasoned and roasted, stuffed with onion, tomato, and a slathering of house made tzatziki.

The folks at the counter recommended the Gyro King ($7.45) which is like the Gyro, but added with feta cheese, and so that is what I ordered.

It was overall, very satisfying and fresh tasting – I didn’t feel one bit guilty finishing the whole wrap. Would definitely order again.

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Kali orexi!

Mediterranean Blu
435 E Michigan St, Orlando, FL 32806
(407) 422-2583
http://www.mediterraneanblue.net

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Our local favorite Philly Cheesesteak shop, Brianto’s — located deep within Avalon Park – will be opening their second location in the Waterford Lakes area very soon some time this month in August!

Very excited because their philly cheesesteaks are among the best in the city!

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You could also order the pizza steak, which comes with Steak, Marinara, Mozzarella, and Parmesan Cheese, or cheesesteak supreme with Steak, Onions, Green Peppers, Mushrooms, and Cheese, the Chicken Philly, Italian Hoagies, salads, and more.

The cheesesteaks and hoagies are served on authentically Philly-made Amoroso bread. The crispy, rich, golden brown Amoroso bread is specially shipped by air in to Brianto’s daily to ensure Brianto’s has the authentic taste of true Philly cheesesteaks and hoagies .

Official statement from Brianto’s Facebook page:

“Brianto’s Nation – We would like to announce that we will open a second location in Waterford Lakes sometime in August. Our new location will be in Waterford Commons Suite 3. We thank you as always, so come and see us when you are in Waterford Lakes”

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Recently visited White Wolf Cafe in Ivanhoe Village. It’s a lovely little restaurant in the “Antique District” on Orlando Avenue, just north of Downtown Orlando.

It was featured on Rachel Ray’s $40 a day show when she came to Orlando for the Food Network.

They are quite popular for their weekend brunch as well as for their dinner right before the different theatre shows go on in the evening time.

The White Wolf is named after their white German Shepherd, Casper.

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The decor is quite fun – lots of antique furniture (also for sale!) – kind of transports you to a different time and place – quirky, charming.

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I ordered the French toast this morning – topped with blueberries and powdered sugar. I enjoyed the flavor of the French toast, but the outsides were a slightly burnt which gave it a bitter taste. I would definitely return to try other dishes as I enjoyed the atmosphere.  SONY DSC SONY DSC

White Wolf Cafe

1829 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804
+1 407-895-9911

http://www.whitewolfcafe.com/

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by Kim Daorerk

Located in the historic Himmarshee Village in Ft Lauderdale, Himmarshee Public House has also launched a new indoor/outdoor bar as well as a new menu including 16 new dishes that reveal the old American comfort food tradition and new American Classic Cocktails. The new menu will be offered at both the new bar (Thursday through Saturday) and the restaurant’s main dining area daily.

Catering to the foodie, the 16 new dishes on Himmarshee Public House’s updated menu includes additions to Snacks & Bites section such as Sweet & Sour Pork Belly, Salads including the Kale Salad with mandarin oranges, toasted almonds, golden raisins and honey-almond vinaigrette; Quality Burgers & Sandwiches such as a Fried Chicken Caesar Sandwich with smoked bacon, creamy Caesar dressing and parmesan on toasted ciabatta; and American Classics like Maple Bourbon Salmon served with mashed potatoes and market greens. Guests can nosh on All-American fare such as Slow Cooked Meatballs with whipped ricotta and local basil, or the American comfort food classic, Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Nueske bacon, mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy.

“The new menu truly represents the identity of Himmarshee Public House, bringing out the heart of comfort food” added Falsetto. “We’ve added something for everyone with a variety of dishes that speaks to even the most discerning palate.”

We were recently invited to a media preview to check out the new bar area and menu, leaving quite impressed.

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The new indoor/outdoor bar at Himmarshee Public House.

Himmarshee Public House debuts a new menu of old American comfort food and new American classic cocktails to celebrate the completion of its new indoor/outdoor bar.

Located in Fort Lauderdale, Himmarshee Public House has elevated the downtown area from a pub crawl street to a foodie paradise. It caters to visitors from day to night: featuring outdoor seating, indoor high top seating, a center bar with beautiful brick pillars, and an intimate indoor full-service dining area.

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There are multiple large screen televisions around the inside, so you’ll never miss a sports game or special event while enjoying a night out at the bar.

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Public House offers 40 beers on tap, ranging from South Florida locals Funky Buddha Brewery, to other in-state brewery, Cigar City. On weekdays, you can relax after work and enjoy their half-off happy hour from 4-7 pm.

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The view of the indoor dining area, which is also available for private events and parties.

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Motto of JEY Hospitality Group: Just Enjoy Yourself.

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I started off my meal with a Smoking Old Fashioned. The craft cocktail is presented in a tumbler filled with hickory smoke, which a single ice sphere and Makers 46 is poured into. Garnished with an Amarena cherry and an orange peel, the hickory smoke adds new dimensions of smell and taste to this American classic.

Sixteen new dishes are featured on Himmarshee’s menu, including an appetizer menu available at the new bar during Happy Hour. These new Bar Bites include Warm Pretzels, Crispy Calamari, and Smoked Fish Dip. One absolute must-try is the Sweet and Sour Pork Belly. A refreshing watermelon salad is paired with a braised Duroc pork belly that is as equally tender and juicy to bite into. My favorite is the Slow Cooked Meatball, which is dressed with San Marzano tomato sauce, whipped ricotta cheese, and local basil. The meatball is hearty and flavorful. I soaked up the every drop of the ricotta cheese; you can taste the care made into that bar bite. The Bacon Wrapped Shrimp combines two popular meats from land and sea. The local caught shrimp is glazed in honey-sriracha sauce, which packs a spicy punch. It is served on a cooling cole slaw, but the bold taste is not for the faint of taste buds.

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Left to right: Sweet and Sour Pork Belly, Slow Cooked Meatball, and Bacon Wrapped Shrimp.

Public House also offers four refreshing salads. I sampled the shaved Kale salad, which is topped with Mandarin oranges, toasted almonds, golden raisins, and a honey-almond vinegaratte. The kale is not bitter at all, which is what I was most afraid of, and the sweetness doesn’t over power the greens. It’s like Florida sunshine on a plate!

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Kale Salad.

Entrée meals at Himmarshee Public House give you big flavors and generous helpings. My favorite is the Maple Bourbon Salmon. The fish is grilled and moist, while the sauce is light and flavorful. I also tried the Bell & Evans Chicken, which includes a pan roasted chicken thigh. The skin is crispy, but the chicken meat is juicy. Another must-try entrée is the Porter Braised Short Rib. The short rib is incredibly tender and bursting with flavor, thanks to its marinade in the “Pops” Wynwood Porter craft beer. The Wynwood Brewing Company is located in North Miami, in the Wynwood Art District, and it’s great to see Himmarshee use local artisan ingredients in their foods.

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Left to right: Maple Burbon Salmon, Bell & Evans Chicken, Wynwood “Pops” Porter Braised Short Rib

The meal ended with the chef’s choice of dessert. I received a gorgeous chocolate tart with chocolate gnash filling, topped with powdered sugar. In line with the rest of the meal, the dessert had big flavor and a wonderful ending to a bold meal.

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Chocolate cake dessert.

Whether you’d like a sit down meal or you’re looking for drinks at a fun spot, Himmarshee Public House caters to you. It’s energized by the liveliness of downtown Fort Lauderdale, or you can find an intimate table in the back of the restaurant.

For a special insider’s discount, ask the manager at any of the JEY Hospitality Group restaurants (Himmarshee Public House, ROK:BRGR, or Tacocraft) for the “Locals Only Card”. You will get a special card that gets you 25% off your entire bill at their Fort Lauderdale restaurants all summer long!?

For updates on menu changes, parties and special events, follow Himmarshee Public House on social media: facebook.com/publichouseFTL, twitter.com/publichouseFTL, Instagram/publichouseFTL.

Kim Daorerk

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Swine & Sons Provisions, from the owners of the The Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder, will expand offerings to include breakfast beginning Monday, July 27, at its 595 West Fairbanks Avenue shop in Winter Park.

The morning menu will feature hot egg sandwiches, quiches, pastries, house cold brewed coffee, espresso drinks and rotating seasonal specials.

Chefs Rhys and Alexia Gawlak of Swine and Sons
Chefs Rhys and Alexia Gawlak of Swine and Sons

Breakfast hours will be Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Swine & Sons will continue to serve lunch weekdays between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., and will offer a limited menu consisting of grab-and-go options, charcuterie, beer and wine between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

The breakfast menu will not be available on weekends, for now, but the full lunch menu will be served from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday, and from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday.

To celebrate the launch of the new breakfast menu, Swine & Sons will offer hot breakfast sandwiches all day (7 a.m. until 5 p.m.) on Monday, July 27.

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Here are a few of the new items:

Breakfast @ Swine & Sons

Sandwiches

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Biscuit Sandwich – Egg, House-Made Canadian Bacon, Tomato Jam

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Fried Chicken and Waffle-wich – Smoked Honey, Pickled Gypsy Peppers, Cornbread Waffle

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Breakfast Focaccia Panini – Egg whites, tomato-basil goat cheese spread, marinated sweet peppers

Plates

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Baked Egg – Grits, Smoked Tomato, Potatoes, Onion, Sausage, Kale

Baked Egg en Croute – Caramelized Onion, house-cured Bacon

Baked Egg en Croute – Spinach, Fontina

Sweets

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Cinnamon Bun

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Chai Spiced Coffee Cake

Bento Boxes

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Smoked Salmon Spread with Bagel Chips

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Salumi and Cheese

Swine & Sons’ breakfast is a collaboration by James Beard-nominated chefs/co-owners James and Julie Petrakis and their Swine & Sons partners, Rhys and Alexia Gawlak.

“Neither The Ravenous Pig nor Cask & Larder are open during breakfast time, so this was the perfect chance to add an option for people to enjoy Swine Family restaurants at all hours,” said James Petrakis.

“Swine & Sons breakfast offers quick takeout for people on the run, as well as a neighborhood hub where guests can read the newspaper while enjoying a cup of coffee.”

Swine & Sons will also offer breakfast catering services for local businesses and private gatherings.

For more information on Swine & Sons, visit www.SwineandSons.com or follow on social media at:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/swineandsons
Twitter – @SwineandSons
Instagram – @SwineandSons

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Click to add a blog post for Swine & Sons on Zomato

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Wild Hare Presents: A Farm Supper Series, a series of 7 incredible suppers at your favorite local farms.

“Enjoy beautiful and seasonal 4 course meals planned, prepared and served to you under the stars by Jeff Kutner, Valencia College Culinary School graduate, and Wild Hare Owner, Cheryl Bryant. The delightful and fresh menus will be determined by crop availability. Join us as we raise our glass of wine or beer to our hardworking farmers, to the Central Florida growing sustainable food movement and to YOU for choosing delicious sustainability. Plant-based suppers are available, if requested at time of purchase. Save $35 dollars by buying complete series. Reservations are transferable.”

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Suppers begin at 6PM. Seating is limited.
Full Series of Suppers is $420.00
Individual Suppers are $65.00

Celebrate the Fall Harvest with The Barefoot Farmer, Samsula, Florida
October 16th, 2015

The Bounty of Fall with The Farm at Rockledge Gardens, Rockledge,
Florida November 13th, 2015

Christmas at the Farm with The Barefoot Farmer, Samsula, Florida
December 11th, 2015

A New Year Begins with Rest Haven Farms, Geneva, Florida
January 23rd, 2016

Valentine’s Day with The Farm at Rockledge Garden,
February 14th, 2016

The Joy of Spring Vegetables with The Barefoot Farmer, Samsula Florida,
March 11th, 2016

Blueberry Season with A Natural Farm and Educational Center, Howey-in-the-Hills,
April 30th, 2016

To reserve your seat: Squareup.com/Market Wild Hare Kitchen and Garden Emporium

For more information:

Find up on Facebook and check our Events tab:
Wild Hare Kitchen and Garden Emporium
or www.WildHareKitchen.com or
Call the shop: 321.203.4535 or stop by
335 North Ronald Reagan Blvd, Longwood, Florida, 32750

Wild Hare Kitchen and Garden Emporium
335 North Ronald Reagan Blvd
(North East Corner of Church Ave)
Longwood, Florida
32750

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Nathan Hardin was recently appointed Chef de Cuisine of Highball & Harvest at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, a restaurant praised for its Low Country-style cuisine featuring ingredients from local purveyors and the resort’s 18,000-sqaure-foot Whisper Creek Farm.

A Tampa-native and graduate of the Culinary Arts from the Art Institute of Tampa, Chef Hardin will bring his experience and expertise in Southern inspired cooking to Highball & Harvest. Most recently, he was Executive Sous Chef at the award-winning restaurant Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in Miami Beach, where he worked with two-Michelin-starred Chef Danny Grant, and prior to that at Copperfish Grill and Oyster Bar in Tampa. At both restaurants he successfully led teams of more than 30 staff in the production of high-quality, exceptional local and seasonal specialty dishes. His earlier experience includes four years as Sous Chef and Head Line Cook at J Alexanders in Tampa.

Here is our recent interview with Chef Nathan Hardin as he assumes the position of Chef De Cuisine for Highball & Harvest.

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Photo by Michelle Valle, Grande Lakes Orlando Resort

 

What are some changes that may come to Highball and Harvest under your leadership?

As a chef you always want to show respect to those who precede you, I don’t want to walk into a new establishment and tear the menu apart, instead I will continue to enhance the flavors and concepts of the current dishes. Yes of course, I will add a few of my own dishes, but that will come in due time. As of right now, I want to really utilize the amazing ingredients that we have growing in our farm. I have yet to have this sort of opportunity to truly be self-sustainable.

Please say you are keeping the Parker Rolls?

I figured this question was going to be of concern. Of course the parker rolls will stay on the menu. To me they are a reason in and of itself to come back to the restaurant. I would love to play with the accoutrements that come with the rolls, though. Switch them up with the seasons and what we can grow, and/or source locally.

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Any favorite dishes on the menu now?

I must say, there is one dish that stands out, it would have to be the beet and goat cheese salad. Such a classic dish, that I think Mark Jeffers really did justice to. Roasted beets, with pickled candy cane beets, and a puree of golden beets. Is it necessary to put three variations of beets on one plate, no, but that’s what makes it. To top it off, spiced pecans, marinated hearts of palm, and goat cheese. Magic!

What are some popular dishes at the restaurant now?

The most popular dish is our Booker’s Skirt Steak. The steak is marinated for 24 hours, grilled, and then accompanied with a potato puree, grilled corn + arugula salad, and a charred onion vinaigrette. Right before the dish goes out, we shave a small amount of Winter Park Tomme cheese. This cheese is the perfect garnish for the dish, slightly acidic, and it just melts over the dish.

Booker's Skirt Steak
Booker’s Skirt Steak

How is Orlando so far compared to Miami and Tampa?

I wasn’t exactly sold on the city prior to actually visiting, and getting to know the people here. Now that I’m getting a little more familiar with the areas, I’m infatuated. So many great nooks and crannies to search out and enjoy. I definitely look forward to immersing myself in the food scene in the Winter Park and Mills 50 district. Feel free to send me any recommendations, I’m always hungry.

What do you do when you are not at the restaurant ?

I love to golf. It’s exactly the opposite of being in the kitchen, the other end of the spectrum. I am lucky to have a few friends from back home in Tampa, that are always willing to make the drive across the state to come play the immaculate courses in the Orlando area. I think it’s the peace and quiet that surrounds you on the course. The fact that before every shot, you know there won’t be a ticket ringing in. Just silence.

What are some great lessons that you have learned in the kitchen before coming to Highball and Harvest?

How long do you have?

If there was only enough time in the day. I guess I’ll just share one. Possibly the most important one. Short and concise conversations. Too many words, people get confused and lose interest, too few and you’re unclear with your intentions. Communication is what makes or breaks a team. If there’s a lack of communication in any facet of the kitchen we have issues. Whether it be someone walking behind you with a hot pan, or an item that has to be 86’d from the menu, or an allergy from a guest, these are all things that come back to communication. These conversations are what really allow us to thrive and give our guests the best possible experience.

Highball & Harvest

4012 Central Florida Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32837, United States
+1 407-393-4422

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I was born and raised in West Palm Beach – graduated high school there before heading to Orlando for UCF – so it has always had a special place in my heart and memories. The downtown Clematis Street district was always one of my favorite places to explore – from little kitschy shops like the Clematis Street News Stand to rowdy night clubs like Roxy’s.

West Palm Beach’s Clematis Street Dining District today is home to a vibrant collection of restaurants and shops near the waterfront and has evolved into an international cuisine capital.

Located within walking distance of one another, this area offers an extensive variety of authentic culinary menus including Cuban, Middle Eastern, French, Latin, Italian, Asian, Mediterranean and more.

Here are 5 Must Try Dishes from West Palm Beach’s Growing International Food Scene

Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar Signature Dish (Seafood Molcajete)
1. Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar Signature Dish – Seafood Molcajete

Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar opened in 2007 and serves fresh Mexican cuisine. Clematis Street was the original location and launching pad for this popular restaurant which now has multiple locations in South Florida. They are known for their made-to-order guacamole, prepared tableside.

Pistache Restaurant Signature Dish (SteakFrites)
2. Pistache Restaurant Signature Dish – Steak Frites

Pistache Restaurant opened in 2008 and is a classic Parisian eatery with a sophisticated French bistro ambiance.

LeilaRestaurantLamb
3. Leila’s Restaurant Signature Dish – Rack of Lamb

Leila’s Restaurant opened in 2008 and serves an extensive Middle Eastern menu and is known for their authentic belly dancers

Kabuki Restaurant Signature Dish (Seared Ahi Tuna Roll)
4. Kabuki Restaurant Signature Dish – Seared Ahi Tuna Roll

Kabuki Restaurant serving sushi and Thai food which opened in 2011.

The Chick Pea & Hummus Bar Signature Dish (Falafel Salad Bowl)
5. The Chick Pea & Hummus Bar Signature Dish – Falafel Salad Bowl

The Chick Pea Grill & Hummus Bar opened in 2014 and is a favored lunch spot in downtown. They offer fresh, made-to-order Mediterranean cuisine and are known for their falafels.

 

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The Pastry team at Marriott World Center resort

ORLANDO’S TASTE OF THE NATION FOR NO KID HUNGRY TURNS THE TABLE ON CHILDHOOD HUNGER WITH ANNUAL EVENT FEATURING AREA’S TOP CHEFS

Central Florida’s most celebrated chefs will gather on August 8, 2015 at the Orlando World Center Marriott to cook up support for the 26th installment of Orlando’s Taste of the Nation® for No Kid Hungry.

This is my favorite foodie event of the year – so many wonderful local chefs all cooking for a great cause.

Forty-four of the area’s most accomplished chefs will showcase tasting portions of signature dishes, accompanied by fine wines, craft beers and specialty cocktails, to ensure that no child grows up hungry in our city and across America.


Video from 2014’s Taste of the Nation Orlando

Newcomers include Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, Black Fire Bull, MOOR and Old Hickory Steakhouse at Gaylord Palms Resort, Highball and Harvest at Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, Itta Bena, Lafayette’s Music Room, Tapa Toro Tapas Bar, TR Fire Grill, The Whiskey, Urban Tide Hyatt Regency, and Yak & Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Along with appetizers, entrees, desserts and spirits, guests will enjoy a fully automated mobile silent auction featuring signed memorabilia, stays at upscale hotels, dining experiences, rounds of golf on area courses, and exotic adventures and getaways.

The event’s popular Instant Wine Cellar game returns offering participants a chance to win more than 150 bottles of wine valued at more than $2,500. There are only 250 chances to win this exquisite wine cellar. Each key is a $25 donation.

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New to this year’s event is The Giving Tree, a towering tree that will give participants an opportunity to win a taste of Orlando’s most popular restaurants. For a $50 donation, participants are invited to choose a hanging envelope from the tree; each hanging envelope contains a restaurant gift card ranging from $50 to $200 in value.

Orlando’s Taste of the Nation is also serving up four tasty starter events to whet the community’s appetite for the main event while raising funds for national beneficiary Share Our Strength and local beneficiaries Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

World of Beer invites guests to toast to Taste of the Nation with select craft brews. One dollar for each pint sold at its Dr. Phillips location (7800 Dr. Phillips Blvd., Orlando) on July 23 from 4:00 p.m. to close and its downtown Orlando location (431 E. Central Blvd.) July 30 from 4:00 p.m. to close will directly benefit Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

Eola Wine Company welcomes guests to raise a glass to end childhood hunger with a series of weekly wine tasting events on Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. from July 1 to Aug. 5 for a $15 donation at the door.

Childhood Hunger is a solvable problem

All proceeds will benefit Share our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger, which includes local beneficiaries Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Eola Wine Company is located in downtown Orlando at 430 E. Central Blvd., Orlando.

The Ancient Olive is fighting childhood hunger with olive oil by donating $1 for each bottle of ultra-premium extra virgin olive oils, aged balsamic vinegars, and flavor-infused olive oils sold between July 7 and August 8. The tasting bar for premium extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars is located at 324 N. Park Ave., Winter Park. The Spice & Tea Exchange, located at 309 Park Avenue North, Winter Park, will also donate $1 for each gourmet grinder blend sold. Proceeds from both events will support Share our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger, which includes local beneficiaries Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

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Orlando-based Hawkers Asian Street Fare is committed to helping end childhood hunger locally and across the country with their Roti for a Cause campaign. Throughout the month of July, guests can enjoy a free round of Hawkers’ signature Malaysian-style flatbread Roti Canai for donating a minimum of $2 to Share Our Strength’s childhood hunger relief programs. Those who donate will be entered into a drawing to win a pair of tickets to Orlando’s Taste of the Nation. Hawkers Asian Street Fare has two locations: 1103 N Mills Ave., Orlando and 1001 Park St., Jacksonville.

With a 26-year legacy of combating childhood hunger locally and across the nation, Orlando’s Taste of the Nation has raised millions in critical funds to support children’s nutrition programs provided by local beneficiaries Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, regional beneficiary Florida Impact, and national beneficiary Share Our Strength.

“Last year, the Coalition served more than 300,000 meals, and Taste of the Nation’s fundraising efforts helped make that possible,” said Brent A. Trotter, president and CEO of Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. “Childhood hunger ends one meal at a time, and that responsibility must be a community effort. Taste of the Nation is a perfect example of our community coming together to help those in need, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

Orlando’s Taste of the Nation is presented nationally by Citi and Sysco and sponsored nationally by media sponsor Food Network, and in select markets by Emmi Roth USA, OpenTable, and Kikkoman Sales USA, Inc. Special thanks to local sponsors AmeriFactors, Regions Bank, Darden Restaurants, Quality One Wireless, Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and Heron Lawn and Pest Control.

ORLANDO’S TASTE OF THE NATION FOR NO KID HUNGRY

WHEN:

Saturday, August 8, 2015 6:45 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

WHERE:

Orlando World Center Marriott 8701 World Center Dr., Orlando

TICKETS:

$150 each

ATTIRE:

Cocktail / Semi-Formal

Participating Restaurants

Cala Bella Restaurant at Rosen Shingle Creek
Capa at Four Seasons Resort Orlando
The Capital Grille Orlando & Millenia
Cress Restaurant
Cuba Libre
Dragonfly Robata Sushi & Grill
Emeril’s Tchoup Chop
Empress Sissi Cake & Pastry Specialties
Fresh Point
Fulton’s Crab House, Downtown Disney
Highball and Harvest at Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
Itta Bena
JJ’s Grille
JW Marriott
K Restaurant and Wine Bar
Lafayette’s Music Room
Marlow’s Tavern
MOOR at Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
Old Hickory Steakhouse at Gaylord Palms Resort
Opa Orlando
Orlando Airport Marriott Lakeside
Orlando World Center Marriott
Red Wing Restaurant
Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld
Seasons 52 Fresh Grill
SeaWorld Orlando
Second Harvest Food Bank – Culinary Training Program
Soco Thornton Park
Symphony Pastries
Tapa Toro Tapas Bar
Three2OH Ice Cream
TR Fire Grill
Universal Orlando Resort 42. Urban Tide Hyatt Regency 43. The Whiskey
Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

ABOUT ORLANDO’S TASTE OF THE NATION® FOR NO KID HUNGRY

Orlando’s Taste of the Nation® for No Kid Hungry brings together the area’s top chefs who donate their time, talent and passion to end childhood hunger in Central Florida. Along with culinary delights, guests have the opportunity to sample select wines, cocktails and premium beers and enjoy silent and live auctions and entertainment. Every dollar raised fights hunger and homelessness in the Central Florida. Local beneficiaries include Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

Here is a discount code for our readers – READER10 will provide 10% discount. Please note that it is case sensitive.

Visit http://ce.strength.org/orlando for more info and tickets!

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NATHAN HARDIN APPOINTED CHEF DE CUISINE OF HIGHBALL & HARVEST AT THE RITZ-CARLTON ORLANDO, GRANDE LAKES

In a press release today, Nathan Hardin, formerly of Miami’s Yardbird Southern Table and Bar – has been appointed chef de cuisine of Highball and Harvest. He takes over for Chef Mark Jeffers who opened Highball and Harvest – Chef Jeffers was recently promoted to The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay in California.

Press Release –

Orlando, Fla. – July 15, 2015 – Nathan Hardin has been appointed Chef de Cuisine of Highball & Harvest at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. In this position, he will oversee all culinary operations of this new casual dining restaurant. Since opening in Fall 2014, Highball & Harvest has received high praise for its Low Country-style cuisine featuring ingredients from local purveyors and the resort’s 18,000-sqaure-foot Whisper Creek Farm.

A Tampa-native, Chef Hardin will bring his experience and expertise in Southern inspired cooking to Highball & Harvest. Most recently, he was Executive Sous Chef at the award-winning restaurant Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in Miami Beach, where he worked with two-Michelin-starred Chef Danny Grant, and prior to that at Copperfish Grill and Oyster Bar in Tampa. At both restaurants he successfully led teams of more than 30 staff in the production of high-quality, exceptional local and seasonal specialty dishes. His earlier experience includes four years as Sous Chef and Head Line Cook at J Alexanders in Tampa.

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Chef Hardin received his Associate of Arts in Culinary Arts from the Art Institute of Tampa where he completed courses in pastry art, confectionary, kitchen management and restaurant and facility operations.

This is breaking news. Check back for more info soon.

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Special Upcoming Event
Fun and Dine Weekend at Ritz Carlton

Friday, July 31 – Sunday, August 2, 2015
The Ritz-Carlton is hosting a Fun and Dine Weekend, showcasing Grande Lakes Orlando’s innovative and diverse dining venues. Attend just one or two events, or go for gastro-gold and attend all three!

Pub Crawl
Friday, July 31, 6:30 – 10 p.m.

This guided tour will visit various restaurants, where guests will enjoy a specialty beverage paired with a signature food item. From fine wine and fresh pasta in Primo, to Southern inspired cuisine and cask wines in Highball & Harvest, guests will experience cuisine as diverse as the resort.

$125 per person

Southern BBQ Class at Highball & Harvest
Saturday, August 1, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Our southern trained BBQ chefs will show you how to cook great, southern BBQ at home. Beer Can Chicken, Cedar Plank Salmon, and mouth-watering ribs will be the focus of the morning. After lunch, learn how to make specialty cocktails that will pair nicely with BBQ.

$100 per person (includes lunch)

White Apron Culinary Competition at Highball & Harvest
Sunday, August 2, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Join us for a fun, hands-on cooking experience – where YOU do all the cooking! Attendees will be split into teams, each led by a Ritz-Carlton Chef. Teams will then have 2 hours to create an appetizer, entree and dessert to share with the entire group and judges. Judges will vote based on presentation and flavor; prizes will be awarded to the winning team.

$100 per person (includes lunch)

Reservations required (407) 393-4648

Ask about special rate for overnight accommodations when booking your reservation for any of these “Fun and Dine Weekend” events. Space is limited; subject to change without notice. Prices do not include tax or gratuities.

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There are tons of great sushi restaurants, okay sushi restaurants, and not so great sushi restaurants here in Central Florida.

So, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite sushi restaurants that I personally recommend based on quality and experience.

In good sushi, I look for fresh fish, flavored quality rice, and overall just tastiness of the dish. Some are traditional Japanese sushi restaurants with minimal rolls, while others have lots of sushi rolls, but done well.

Here is TastyChomps.com’s List of the Top 15 Best Sushi Restaurants in Orlando:

1. Sushi Pop
310 W Mitchell Hammock Rd, Oviedo, FL 32765, (407) 542-5975, www.sushipoprestaurant.com/

2. Kabooki Sushi – 3122 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803, (407) 228-3839, www.kabookisushi.com/


3. Kappo at East End Market – 3201 Corrine Dr, Florida 32789, www.kappoeastend.com/

4. Sushi Tomi - 8463 S John Young Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32819, (407) 352-8635, Facebook Page

5. Seito Baldwin Park - 4898 New Broad St, Orlando, FL 32814, (407) 898-8801, www.seitosushi.com/

6. Shin Sushi – 803 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801, (407) 648-8000, www.shinsushi.com/

7. Yuki Hana Sushi - 3635 Aloma Ave, Oviedo, FL 32765, (407) 695-8808, sushioviedo.com/

8. Sushi Kichi – 5386 Central Florida Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32821, (407) 778-1953, www.sushikichi.com/

9. Mikado’s – 6417 Raleigh St, Orlando, FL, (407) 822-1080, and 13586 Village Park Dr #306, Orlando, FL, (407) 851-9933, www.mikadosushiorlando.com

Image via Yelp.com
Image via Yelp.com

10. Umi Sushi - 525 S Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789, (407) 960-3993, www.umiwinterpark.com/

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11. Sushi House – 8204 Crystal Clear Ln #1300, Orlando, FL 32809, (407) 610-5921, www.sushihouseint.com/

Image courtesy of Sushi House

12. Hanamizuki - 8255 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819, (407) 363-7200, www.hanamizuki.us/

13. Sushi Lola’s – 2902 Corrine Dr, Orlando, FL 32803, (407) 898-5652, www.sushilolas.com/

Image via Yelp.com
Image via Yelp.com

14. Shari Sushi Lounge – 621 E Central Blvd, Orlando, FL 32801, (407) 420-9420, www.sharisushilounge.com/

Image via Shari Sushi Lounge
Image via Shari Sushi Lounge

15. Shakai Sushi Lounge – 43 E Pine St, Orlando, FL 32801, (407) 423-2688, www.shakaiorlando.com

Image via Yelp.com
Image via Yelp.com

Did we miss any of your favorites? Comment and let us know below!

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Fresh Dabba Indian Cuisine’ Founder Asif Fazal wanted to bring an Indian Meal Delivery Service to Central Florida. He called “Fresh Dabba”. Dabba is the term used for an Indian lunch box.

“Our service runs on a daily rotating menu so each day is different. We have a wide range of dishes but some of the most popular are Chicken Tikka Masala, Biryani, Palak Paneer, Daal, Mixed Vegetable Curry, Goat Korma, various tandoori BBQ items in chicken, beef, lamb, and fish. We also feature many popular Indian appetizers such as Samosas, Pakoras, and Kababs. In addition, we have a range of dessert including Gulab Jamun, Jalabi, and Ras Malai,” Asif Fazal, founder of Fresh Dabba told us.

A “dabba” is a tradition tiered Indian Lunch box with each tier containing a separate portion of the meal. There is an appetizer, a starter, the main, and rice/naan.

“We are a caterer so we don’t have dine-in or pick-up. The Fresh Dabba service is a delivery only service. Customers can see a weekly posted menu with each day featuring a non-vegetarian dish and a vegetarian dish. They select which day or days they would like the meals delivered and it arrives during our delivery time-frame between 12:30pm-3pm. The order is placed by at least the day before and delivery is free. Our price points are $10 for a non-vegetarian dabba and $9 for a vegetarian dabba.”

“We found that amongst the Indian Restaurants around, none of them deliver and to get a full meal which contains as much as one of our Dabbas would be quite expensive. We offer a great price point and free delivery. We are looking to roll out our service to the public within 1-2 weeks as we finish up the online ordering platform.”

Visit them:
www.freshdabba.com
www.facebook.com/FreshDabba

We had some UCF students from the Gaming Knights club try some of the foods as well! Watch their reactions in the Youtube Video below!

1. Kuku Paka
A coconut chicken curry made with puréed onions and bell peppers, Appetizer was a meat somosa.
2. Mixed vegetable spinach curry
Appetizer was pakora (Battered and fried vegtables)
3. Afghani rice with BBQ chicken tikka and lamb mushkaki, served with mayonnaise mint sauce

Mr. Asif Fazal of Fresh Dabba

DSC_9186

Kuku Paka
A coconut chicken curry made with puréed onions and bell peppers, Appetizer was a meat somosa. DSC_9188

Kuku Paka
A coconut chicken curry made with puréed onions and bell peppers, Appetizer was a meat somosa. DSC_9189 DSC_9190

BBQ chicken tikka and lamb mushkaki DSC_9195

Afghani rice with BBQ chicken tikka and lamb mushkaki, served with mayonnaise mint sauce DSC_9196

Mixed vegetable spinach curry
Appetizer was pakora (Battered and fried vegtables) DSC_9198 DSC_9199

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Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer Takes the “First Bite” at the Downtown Orlando Food Tour Kick-Off Event

Downtown Orlando Partnership (DOP) and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer will commence Downtown Orlando Food Tours on Wednesday, July 8 at the Downtown Orlando Information Center. Mayor Dyer, along with DOP President Scott Pamplin, will take the “first bite” at this kick-off event.

Downtown Food Tours will be open to the public beginning Saturday, July 11 and will take place from 2 – 4 p.m. Tours will run every Saturday thereafter. Guests will walk the Central Business District, visiting some of Downtown’s local favorites and sampling everything from oysters to tequila coffee. The tours will showcase the diversity of cuisines as well as rich history that Downtown Orlando has to offer. Founding restaurant partners include Artisan’s Table, Avenue Gastrobar, Ferg’s Depot, the Golden Knife, Le Gourmet Break and Waitiki.

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The Downtown Orlando Food Tour showcases some of Downtown Orlando’s finest establishments and hidden gems in the Central Business District! Guests will visit several restaurant locations in Downtown and sample a variety of eclectic tastings hand selected by local chefs.

Date: Every Saturday
Time: 2 – 4 p.m.
Cost: $35/person
Location: Central Business District

Le Gourmet Break_7.8.15

Participating Restaurants include:

LE GOURMET BREAK

ADDRESS:
150 S Magnolia Avenue
Suite 102 E
Orlando, FL 32801

TASTING:
Mixed Fruit Mini Tart
Chocolate Ganache Mini Tart
Macaroons

WEBSITE:
le-gourmet-break.com

WAITIKI BAR

ADDRESS:
26 Wall Street
Orlando, FL 32801

TASTING:
Crab Cake Sliders
Braised Short Rib Sliders

WEBSITE:
wallstplaza.net/venues/waitiki/

AVENUE GASTROBAR

ADDRESS:
13 S Orange Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801

TASTING:
Truffle Fries
Five Cheese Mac
Loaded Tater Tots
Brussel Sprouts

WEBSITE:
avenuegastrobar.com

FERG’S DEPOT

ADDRESS:
78 W Church Street
Orlando, FL 32801

TASTING:
Oysters
Craft Beer

WEBSITE:
fergsdepot.com

ARTISAN’S TABLE

ADDRESS:
22 E. Pine Street
Orlando, FL 32801

TASTING:
Tequila Coffee
Pecan Wood Smoked Bacon and Gorgonzola Crostini

WEBSITE:
artisanstableorlando.com

THE GOLDEN KNIFE

ADDRESS:
63 E Pine Street
Orlando, FL 32801

TASTING:
Pao de Queijo
Crunchy Lamb Sticks
Passion Fruit Spoon

WEBSITE:
thegoldenknife.com

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ABOUT DOWNTOWN ORLANDO FOOD TOURS
Downtown Orlando Tours is a collaborative initiative created in 2015 by community organizers and advocates. The food, gallery, history and other tours offered were created to provide residents and visitors insights into Downtown’s vibrant food, art and cultural scene. Each tour is hosted by a local organization and inaugural partners include the Downtown Orlando Partnership, Downtown Arts District and Downtown Development Board/City of Orlando.
Tour tickets are available now for purchase at www.downtownorlandotours.com.

Chef's Spotlight

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Shake Shack opened it's second location in Orlando last week, located on International Drive in the I-360 plaza. Shake Shack - if you might not...