Authors Posts by Ricky Ly of

Ricky Ly of

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

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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, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and Florida Impact.

Central Florida’s most distinguished chefs will join forces August 27, 2016 to help fight the nation’s childhood hunger epidemic at Orlando’s Taste of the Nation® for No Kid Hungry. Forty-five of the area’s most accomplished chefs will showcase tasting portions of signature dishes, accompanied by fine wines, craft beers and specialty cocktails at the Orlando World Center Marriott to ensure children struggling with hunger in our city and across America are connected to the meals they need.

New to this year’s event are 10 of the area’s most popular and exciting restaurants including Benihana, Canvas Lake Nona, Eleven and Forte at Reunion Resort, Hemisphere Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport, Nova Scratch Kitchen, The Osprey Tavern, Restaurant ASH, STK and The Rusty Spoon.


Several popular brewers, wine purveyors and spirit vendors have also been tapped for this year’s event, including Brew Bus USA, Cigar City Brewing, Crooked Can Brewery, Orlando Brewery, Red Light, Red Light Beer Parlour, Small Town Brewery, Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant, Lakeridge Winery, Nestle Waters | S. Pell & Acqua Panna, Onli Beverage Co., Funky Monkey, Palm Ridge Reserve Whiskey and Tito’s Vodka.

In its 27th year, Orlando’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry is the region’s longest-running and most trend-forward food and beverage event raising funds and awareness for children’s nutrition programs provided by national beneficiary Share Our Strength, regional beneficiary Florida Impact, and local beneficiaries Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

In addition to appetizing food, fine wines, craft beers and premium spirits, guests also 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 Giving Tree raffle, sponsored by Edible Orlando, returns for the second year inviting guests to win a taste of Orlando’s most popular establishments. For a $50 donation, guests can select a Giving Tree envelope hanging from a towering tree containing a gift certificate ranging from $25 to $300 in value. The event’s ever-popular Instant Wine Cellar game offers 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.

Guests can also win fine bottles of wine with the all-new Ring Toss for Wine fundraiser. Rings are available for purchase to toss onto wine bottles ?$5 for two tosses or $10 for six tosses. When a ring lands around a bottle neck, the guest wins a bottle of wine to take home.

A handful of students from The Second Harvest Culinary Training Program will be at Orlando’s Taste of the Nation this year to lend the cooking skills they have mastered in Second Harvest’s 14-week program designed to provide qualified, at-risk and economically disadvantaged adults with the culinary and life skills training needed to pursue a sustainable career in the food industry.


“For our culinary students to be able to work alongside Orlando’s top chefs at Taste of the Nation is a one-of-a-kind experience and learning opportunity that we cannot teach in the classroom,” said Chef Israel Santiago, head training chef at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

For a limited time, Orlando’s Taste of the Nation is offering a special promotion on tickets to this year’s event. Buy 1 ticket, get 50% off the 2nd ticket using the code LASTCHANCE. To purchase tickets, visit

Orlando’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry is offering several fundraising experiences to sip and nibble on before the main event.

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 now through Aug. 24. For a $15 donation at the door, guests will receive free tastings of select wines. Offering fine varietals by the glass, flight and bottle, plus light fare, 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 ultrapremium extra virgin olive oils, aged balsamic vinegars, and flavor-infused olive oils sold between now and August 31. 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 Ave., North, Winter Park, will donate $1 for each gourmet spice blend grinder sold.


Proceeds from these three events 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.

For the first time, Orlando’s Taste of the Nation introduces the Golden Ticket Giveaway, offering an exciting new way to win a pair of complimentary tickets to this year’s event. Guests who dine at select, participating establishments can ask their server for a Golden Ticket to receive a concealed envelope that may contain a pair of tickets to this year’s event. Chances of winning are 1 in 10. Follow hashtags #OrlTaste and #GoldenTicket for a list of participating restaurants and updates on remaining
Golden Tickets. The Golden Ticket Giveaway runs from Aug. 1 – 22.

Orlando’s Taste of the Nation is presented nationally by Citi and Sysco and sponsored by OpenTable, San Pell/Acqua Panna and media sponsor Food Network. Special thanks to local sponsors Darden Restaurants, Regions Bank, Harris Rosen Foundation, Spotlight, Noble Marketing, Disney, FreshPoint, Hilton Grand Vacations, Bright House, Darden Federal Credit Union, Ernst & Young, Patriot National, Rosen Hotels & Resorts, Universal Orlando Resort, Quality 1 and Amerifactors.

Taste of the Nation Orlando

August 27, 2016
Event Tickets : $150
6:45pm – 10:00pm
Orlando World Center Marriott
8701 World Center Dr.
Orlando, Florida


Artist’s Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
B Resort & Spa | American Kitchen
Black Fire Brazilian Steakhouse
Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine
Café Tu Tu Tango
Canvas Lake Nona
Capa at Four Seasons Resort Orlando
The Capital Grille
CFHLA Food & Beverage Council
Cress Restaurant
Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar at Pointe Orlando
Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi
Eddie V’s
Empress Sissi Cake & Specialty Pastries
Florida Nitro
FreshPoint Central Florida
Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center | Old Hickory Steakhouse
Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center | MOOR
Hemisphere Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport
Highball and Harvest at Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
JW Marriott Grande Lakes Orlando, featuring Whisper Creek Farms: The Kitchen
K Restaurant and Wine Bar
Marlow’s Tavern
Nestle Professional
Nova Scratch Kitchen
Orlando World Center Marriott
The Osprey Tavern
RA Sushi
Red Wing Restaurant
Restaurant ASH
Rosen Shingle Creek ?A Land Remembered
Rosen Shingle Creek ?Cala Bella Restaurant
The Rusty Spoon
Seasons 52 Fresh Grill
SeaWorld Orlando
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
Tapa Toro Tapas Bar and Paella Pit
Taverna Opa Orlando
The Whiskey
Universal Orlando
Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Updated list of participating beverage vendors for the event this year:
1 Brew Bus USA
2 Cigar City Brewing
3 Coca-Cola
4 Cooper’s Hawk
5 Crooked Can Brewing Company
6 Florida Farm Distillers, Home of Palm Ridge Whiskies
7 JM Smucker Co Beverage/Folger’s Coffee
8 Lakeridge Winery
9 Nespresso
10 Nestle Waters ? S. Pell & Acqua Panna
11 Not Your Father’s
12 Onli Beverage Co.
13 Orange Blossom Brewing Co.
14 Orlando Brewing Company
15 Pernod Ricard
16 Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour
17 Small Town Brewery
18 Tito’s Vodka
19 Tsingtao
20 Uinta Brewing Company
21 Vermont Cider Co.
22 Woodchuck Cider

Leading up to the 27th Annual Orlando’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry, we will be holding a Golden Ticket raffle. If you find the Golden Ticket at any participating restaurant, you will win two tickets to this year’s Taste of the Nation.

How do I win? Visit any one of our participating restaurants or beverage partners, and ask your server if any Orlando Taste Golden Ticket envelopes are available. Open up the provided envelope – you could win the Golden Ticket – two FREE tickets to Orlando’s Taste of the Nation!

What are the rules? There is only one concrete rule: In order to participate, you must be dining at that establishment. Please note that some restaurants may limit the number of envelopes per table, per day. We just ask that you play fairly, have fun, and be sure to share on social!

I found a Golden Ticket! What now? Now is the fun part! In your envelope, you will also find two tickets to the event on the 27th. Celebrate! Inform your server. Pull out your phones/cameras, snap a shot, and share via your favorite social media channels with hashtag #OrlTaste. Be sure to tag us!

And that’s it! Have fun with it, and thank you again for participating in our first ever Golden Ticket Game! If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact Melissa Kear at

Twitter: @OrlandoTaste
Instagram: @OrlandoTaste

Red Wing Restaurant
12500 State Road 33
Groveland, FL 34736
Twitter: @RedWingRestaura
Instagram: @red_wing_restaurant

1751 Hotel Plaza Blvd.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

12690 International Drive
Orlando, FL

Twitter: @Benihana
Instagram: @benihana

Tapa Toro
8441 International Dr #260
Orlando, FL 32819
Twitter: @tapatoroorlando
Instagram: @tapatoroorlando

Taverna Opa
Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Dr #2240
Orlando, FL 32819
Twitter: @TavernaOpaOrl
Instagram: @tavernaopaorl

Dragonfly Robata
7972 Via Dellagio Way
Orlando, FL 32819
Twitter: @DflyOrlando

Canvas Restaurant & Market
13615 Sachs Avenue
Orlando, FL
Instagram: @canvaslakenona

The Whiskey
7563 Sand Lake Rd
Orlando, FL 32819
Twitter: @whiskeyorlando
Instagram: @whiskeyorlando

Yak & Yeti
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Twitter: @WaltDisneyWorld
Instagram: @WaltDisneyWorld

Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar
Pointe Orlando
9101 International Drive Suite #1004
Orlando, FL 32819
Twitter: @CubaLibreOrl
Instagram: @cubalibrerestaurant

JWMarriott, Grande Lakes: Whisper Creek Farm
4040 Central Florida Parkway,
Orlando, FL 32837

Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine – Winter Park
108 S Park Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32751

Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine – Dr. Phillips
7600 Dr Phillips Blvd, Suite 108
Orlando, FL 32819


RA Sushi
Pointe Orlando
9101 International Drive Suite 1008
Orlando, FL 32819
Twitter: @RAsushi
Instagram: @rasushi

Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour & Brewery
2810 Corrine Dr
Orlando, FL
Twitter: @redlightx2

Marlow’s Tavern – Winter Park
1008 S. Orlando Avenue (17-92)
Winter Park, FL 32789

Marlow’s Tavern – International Drive
9101 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32819

Marlow’s Tavern – Waterford Lakes
547 N. Alafaya Trail Building J1
Orlando, FL 32828

Twitter: @MarlowsTavern
Instagram: @marlowstavern

Rusty Spoon
Church Street Market
55 W Church St
Orlando, FL 32801
Twitter: @The_Rusty_Spoon

The Osprey Tavern
4899 New Broad St
Orlando, FL
Instagram: @the_osprey_tavern

Café Tu Tu Tango
8625 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32819
Twitter: @CafeTuTuTangoFL
Instagram: @cafe_tu_tu_tango

Orlando Brewing
Twitter: @orlandobrewing
Instagram: @orlando_brewing

The Capital Grille – Millenia
4200 Conroy Road STE 146A
Orlando, FL 32839

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In honor of the upcoming Orlando Magical Dining Month, we are partnering with the folks at Visit Orlando and Hyatt Regency Orlando for a special dinner event at Urban Tide – Hyatt Regency Orlando, exclusively with the Orlando Foodie Forum presented by Tasty Chomps!.

Meet Orlando Foodie Forum friends at Urban Tide for an exclusive dinner event celebrating Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month. Your experience includes a complimentary cocktail reception in our new Orlando Museum of Art onsite gallery featuring local artists, a summer cocktail demonstration with our mixologist, and a first taste of Urban Tide’s three-course Magical Dining Month menu with special presentations from Chef Jared Gross. Gratuity included. Tickets must be purchased in advance online. Limit two tickets per party.

Thursday, August 25, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EDT)

Tickets available:
Password: foodie

There are a limited number of tickets available. Hope to see you all there!

For more info on the month, visit

Urban Tide Magical Dining Menu
Choice of Appetizers
Plantain Crusted Diver Scallop
Beet root mash, pickled corn and chorizo salsa

Crispy Pork Belly
Apple mustard, Brussel sprout and hazelnut slaw

Little Gem Lettuces’
Roasted artichoke, heart of palm, piquillo peppers, charred ricotta salata,
lemon thyme vinaigrette

Choice of Entrèes
Florida Atlantic Swordfish
Olive oil and green onion crushed potatoes, Maine lobster bisque

Grilled Skirt Steak
Honey roasted butternut squash, cilantro pesto

Smoked Fettuccini Pasta
Edamame, Cipollini onions, arugula, oven dried tomato and crème
fraiche cream sauce (vegetarian)

Choice of Desserts
Grilled Bread Pudding
Blackberry “au jus”, vanilla ice cream

Intense chocolate mousse
Caramelized macadamia nuts, fudgy brownie bites


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The Hammered Lamb in the Lake Ivanhoe District, just north of downtown Orlando, is one of those places you’d think would be just a typical divey bar, but actually surprises you with decent, if not very good, bar food. The restaurant has a large outdoor patio area which looks out on Lake Ivanhoe across the street and where you can hear the nearby train go by every so often. Free shots, more like fruit juice with a touch of alcohol, are passed around every time a train goes by.

The brunch at The Hammered Lamb features one of the most epic Bloody Mary bars I’ve seen here in town – with toppings like bacon, mozzarella, olives, and artichoke, along with the various mixers to the flavored Tito vodka of your choice. It’s a meal in itself and well worth the price.

The brunch menu itself is pretty small but the entire menu is available. Classic shrimp and grits are a hit here, as are the baked wings. Overall, a pleasant dining experience for a Sunday morning in Orlando!

The Bloody Mary Bar

Mixers and Hot sauces

Bloody Mary

Baked Chicken Wings – quite delicious

The House Shrimp and Grits with bacon and andouille sausage

The Lamb Gyro

Lamb Gyro

Mary’s Little Omelette – with lamb, sausage, peppers and onions, and mozzarella

The Hammered Lamb 
Address: 1235 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804, United States
Phone: +1 407-704-3200

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Skipper Canteen

Located in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park, the newly opened Jungle Skipper Canteen features a menu full of Asian, South American and African cuisine inspired by the flavors of the rivers found on the nearby Jungle Cruise attraction.


This new 222-seat table-service restaurant is staffed by the wise-cracking crew of the Jungle Cruise and is open for lunch and dinner. The staff is full of “colorful” jokes and puns that they bring to the experience – it definitely makes dinner a bit more interesting.

The theme is based on the story of Jungle Navigation Company Ltd. owner Alberta Falls (granddaughter of the company’s founder Dr. Albert Falls – who fans will recognize from the quips about the waterfall on their Jungle Cruise journey), who opened the doors to their home base of operations to hungry explorers.

There are three different themed dining rooms: The Mess Hall, a large multipurpose space used by the skippers for decades; The Jungle Room, a parlor featuring treasures from the Falls family’s personal collection; and The S.E.A. Room, a secret space once hidden by a false bookshelf that served as the meeting place of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers (S.E.A.).

Begin your culinary cruise with the delicious house-made arepas, an Amazon-inspired appetizer made with ground maiz, slow-cooked beef, black beans, fried plantain slices and queso fresco.

Entrees include a rice noodle bowl of pho broth served with choice of chicken, duck breast or tofu and served with jalapenos and mix of fresh herbs; Trader Sam’s Head-on Shrimp with sustainable, local farm-raised shrimp tossed in a chili-garlic sauce and served with Chinese broccoli and five-grain or white rice; and house-made arepas with slow-cooked beef, black beans, tostones and queso fresco.

There’s also Dr. Falls’ Signature Grilled Steak, with strip loin marinated in sofrito and served with house-made chimichurri, avocado and yuca planks.

Menu items for children include delectable dishes such as Junior Skip’s Special Mac and Cheese, which is inspired by an Egyptian dish with ground beef, pasta, Bechamel Sauce and house-made cheese gratin, served with broccoli; and Amazon Annie’s House-made Arepas with beef, black beans and queso fresco served with yuca planks.

For dessert, there’s a special kids volcano with gooey chocolate cake overflowing with caramel lava and exploding chocolate rocks.

Guests can choose from two non-alcoholic specialties, the Punch Line Punch with tropical fruit juice and mango puree (also available with a savory spiced-rim); and the Schweitzer Slush, with frozen apple juice and passion fruit topped with bursting green apple boba balls.

Both of the special ‘mocktails’ also can be ordered in a souvenir mug.


Shiriki Noodle Salad
Shiriki Noodle Salad

Shiriki Noodle Salad
Rice Noodles, Edamame Beans, Mushrooms, Green Mango, and Cucumber tossed with a Sweet Chili Sauce. Famously served at Hotel Hightower on December 31, 1899

S.E.A. Shu Mai
S.E.A. Shu Mai

S.E.A. Shu Mai
A Legendary blend of Pork, Shrimp, Edamame Beans, and Spices wrapped in Gyoza Skin then steamed

Falls Family Falafel
Falls Family Falafel

Falls Family Falafel
A secret recipe of of Chickpeas, Garlic, Onions, Lemon Juice, and Herbs served with White Bean Dip and Tomato-Cucumber Salad

House-made Arepas
House-made Arepas

House-made Arepas
A trip down the Amazon with Slow-cooked Beef, Black Beans, Tostones, and Queso Fresco

Dr. Falls' Signature Grilled Steak
Dr. Falls’ Signature Grilled Steak

Dr. Falls’ Signature Grilled Steak
Strip Loin Asado marinated in Sofrito and served with Yuca Planks, Avocado Salsa, and House-made Chimichurri


Trader Sam's Head-on Shrimp
Trader Sam’s Head-on Shrimp

Trader Sam’s Head-on Shrimp
Sustainable Local Farm-raised Shrimp tossed in a Chili-Garlic Sauce and served with Chinese Broccoli and choice of Five-grain on White Rice

Grilled Lamb Chops
Grilled Lamb Chops

Grilled Lamb Chops
Seasoned with a North African Berber Spice Blend served with Green Lentil Stew

Sustainable Fish
Sustainable Fish

Sustainable Fish
“Not Piranha,” served over Chinese Broccoli, Carrots, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Red Bell Peppers in a fragrant Lemon Grass Broth

Skip's Beefy Baked Pasta
Skip’s Beefy Baked Pasta


Skip’s Beefy Baked Pasta
Egyptian-inspired dish of Spiced Braised Beef, Pasta, and Béchamel Sauce served with Seasonal Vegetables



Coconut Bar with Pineapple-Basil Compote and Vanilla Cream
Vanilla Chiffon Cake with Coconut and Lime-White Chocolate Ganache

An African-inspired Chocolate Cake with Caramelized Bananas served with Cashew-Caramel Ice Cream topped with Coffee Dust

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Unprecedented 90 Restaurants Participating in Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Sponsored by American Express 
 Guests Can Enjoy Three-Course Meals for $33 and Support a Local Charity
ORLANDO, Fla. – This fall, food lovers can experience deals at 90 of the most popular restaurants in Orlando – including 19 new program participants – during Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, sponsored by American Express. From Aug. 29 through Oct. 2, guests can choose from these participating restaurants to enjoy three-course dinners for $33, averaging a savings of 33% per meal. The program, developed by Visit Orlando, Central Florida’s official tourism association, includes some of the hottest new arrivals to Orlando’s culinary scene, including chef-driven establishments in the new Disney Springs area as well as local favorites across town. One dollar from each meal will also be donated to a local charity, with last year’s program contributing more than $160,000 – the largest donation to date.

A full list of all participating restaurants, menus and OpenTable reservations are available at New restaurants to the program include:

·         STK, a brand new upscale steakhouse with a high-energy atmosphere at Disney Springs.

·         Morimoto Asia, by Chef Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef America fame, offering pan-Asian flavors from across the continent.

·         Urbain 40, glinting with 1940’s glamor and a continental menu crafted from largely local, seasonal ingredients.

·         Cask & Larder, a local favorite featuring brewed-onsite beer, home-cured meats and pickled vegetables. Cask & Larder is the second restaurant created by five-time James Beard-nominated chefs James Petrakis and Julie Petrakis.

In its 11th year, Magical Dining Month gives both locals and visitors alike a chance to experience Orlando dining at its finest all over town – from options near the theme parks to hidden gems in Orlando’s local neighborhoods. Examples include:

·         Convention Area – RA Sushi*, Itta Bena*, Tapa Toro Tapas Bar & Paella Pit*, Urban Tide (Hyatt Regency Orlando), The Capital Grille, Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, A Land Remembered (Rosen Shingle Creek),

·         Disney/Lake Buena Vista – Black Fire Brazilian Steakhouse, deep blu seafood grille (Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort), NINE18 (The Villas at Grand Cypress), Todd English’s Bluezoo (Walt Disney World Dolphin)

·         Downtown – Shari Sushi Lounge*, Artisan’s Table, The Boheme, Citrus Restaurant, KASA Restaurant & Bar, Maxine’s on Shine

·       Restaurant Row – SLATE*, Big Fin Seafood Kitchen, Christini’s Ristorante Italiano, Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood Restaurant, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Ocean Prime

·       Universal/CityWalk – Amatista Cookhouse* (Loews Sapphire Falls) , Emeril’s Tchoup Chop, Island’s Dining Room (Loews Royal Pacific), The Kitchen (Hard Rock Hotel), Mama Della’s Ristorante (Loews Portofino Bay)

·        Winter Park – Blu on the Avenue*, The Ravenous Pig, Luma on Park, Mitchell’s Fish Market, Chez Vincent, Hamilton’s Kitchen, Ruth’s Chris Steak House

·        Surrounding Areas – F&D Kitchen and Bar*, Osprey Tavern*, Kabooki Sushi*, Ruth’s Chris Steak House (Orlando and Lake Mary)

*First year in Magical Dining

Each year, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, sponsored by American Express, benefits a local cause chosen the year prior. This year, The Russell Home for Atypical Children is the recipient, and will be given $1 from every Magical Dining meal. The Russell Home is the first non-profit institution in the country to provide a home atmosphere with a family structure for special needs children and ‘child-like’ adults. In continuous operation for over 60 years without any government support, the home also provides 24 hours of free respite care and free day care for the local families with special needs dependents.

Last year, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining raised a record $160,735 for ELEVATE Orlando. The funds raised by Magical Dining enabled ELEVATE to expand its mentorship programs into Jones High School, equipping thousands of urban youth in Central Florida to graduate with a plan for their future.

About Orlando Dining

From internationally renowned chefs to home-grown venues specializing in takeout charcuterie, Orlando is a destination where the culinary possibilities are both fresh and seemingly endless. Theme parks restaurants keep Central Florida on the map with award-winning dining, and independent restaurateurs bring fresh concepts to the table. Whether locally owned or part of expanding franchises, many of the destination’s newest restaurants mirror the national trends: American cuisine, farm-friendly menus and simple food with regional accents. Nationally, Orlando has emerged as a prominent dining destination, and continues to grow in both quantity and quality of flavors.

About Visit Orlando

Visit Orlando is the official tourism association for the most visited destination in the United States, with representation in more than a dozen countries around the world. Visit Orlando, together with its 1,200 member organizations, represents the area’s leading industry.

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King Bao is holding court in the former Raphsodic Bakery location at 710 N. Mills Ave, serving up tasty little Taiwanese style Gua Baos with an Asian fusion flair. Gua bao also known as steamed bao, is a Taiwanese snack food consisting of a slice of meat and other condiments sandwiched between flat steamed bread.

The menu here is pretty budget friendly, with vegan and vegetarian baos starting at $3.00 and going up to $3.75 for seafood bao. Tater tots are also a popular item here and there is even a section for dessert bao, filled with ice cream and nutella bananas.

My favorite bao here has got to be the Hogzilla, the pork belly bao served banh mi style with pickled carrots, daikon radish, honey roasted peanuts, and cilantro.

King Bao Menu
King Bao Menu
Inside King Bao
Inside King Bao
Chef Hoi Nguyen of King Bao
Chef Hoi Nguyen of King Bao
Fire Tots with Sriracha Aioli
Fire Tots with Sriracha Aioli
Inner Harbor Bao
Inner Harbor and OH MY Grouper Baos
Kickin Chicken Bao
Kickin Chicken Bao
Nutella Bao
Tarzan – Banana and Nutella Bao

King Bao
Address: 710 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803, United States
Hours: Open today · 11:30AM–10PM
Phone: +1 407-237-0013

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LakeHouse at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress (formerly known as Cascade) has undergone a much needed $2.8 million facelift and revamping. Though the food was good at Cascade, it sorely needed upgrades to bring it out of the 1980s and into the 21st century. The $2.8 million redesign for the 6,350 square-foot restaurant seats 206 guests with day-lighting, wood finishes, sleek stone surfaces and metals.


LakeHouse’s open concept design features home-inspired accents including stylish pendant lighting, three-dimensional wall coverings, communal tables, casual tablescapes and chef’s kitchen islands.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress also recently welcomed the return of Executive Chef David Didzunas to its culinary team. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Chef Didzunas started his career with Hyatt Hotels in 1981 in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was executive sous chef for the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress and executive chef for the Hyatt Charlotte at Southpark in North Carolina. In 1997, he was appointed executive chef for Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport.


Executive Chef David Didzunas

Chef Didzunas will oversee Hemingway’s restaurant, as well as, the newly re-imagined LakeHouse restauant, that debuted in December 2015.

Executive Chef David Didzunas and the culinary team at LakeHouse also recently unveiled a new, seasonal menu, specializing in fresh, regional flavors: Lake Meadow Crab Deviled Eggs, Octopus Tomato Bruschetta, Honey Chipotle Chicken Sliders, Roasted Half Chicken, Grilled Organic Wild Isles Salmon, and Eggplant Parmesan Flatbread.



Bacon Wrapped Figs
BBQ Shrimp
LakeHouse Salad
Seabass with Orzo
Shrimp and Grits
Lakehouse Steak


House made Flatbreads



Tasty Chomps Interview with Chef David Didzunas

– What were some of your favorite childhood memories around food?
Coming from a large, close family, I am the 36th out of 38 grandchildren, we always had family dinners and everyone got together during the holidays. Food was at the center and all of the family are very good cooks. Those dinners included lots of homemade sausage, goose, duck, lamb and lots of vegetables. Other memories of the spring and summer season include, picking sour cherries, pitting them and making pies, strawberry-rhubarb pies, cold beet-cucumber soup, lemon meringue pie every Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Winter memories would be of homemade Lithuanian sausage at Christmas, hot beet soup, and Christmas Eve with mushroom soup and seafood.

– What inspired you to attend the CIA and into the culinary world?
All of the things I mentioned above describe my years growing up; plus working for one of my uncle’s catering business during high school as his Chef really made the difference. I was lucky when I was in high school I knew exactly what I wanted to do — be a Chef.

– What are some obstacles you faced and overcame in your career in the restaurant industry?
Early on in trying to move up in my career, my quiet demeanor lead a lot of my Chefs to believe that I wasn’t able to get things done for big banquets. As a Banquet Chef, they saw that I did very well and learned to understand what I could do.

– How has Hyatt’s philosophy for food changed or evolved during your time with the hotel?
The quality and creativity has never changed that is for sure over the 35 years I have been with Hyatt. We have gone from using food ingredients from all over the world, with varied international menus and flavors. Today, with Hyatt’s Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served. Philosophy we are into what I grew up on and fully understand, seasonal flavors and products, produced where you live.

– What are some of your favorite items on the new LakeHouse menu?
The Shrimp Chowder, Baby Back Ribs, and the Sea Bass

– What do you do in your free time when not in the kitchen?
Working in my small garden at home, Pilates, grilling on my Big Green Egg, walking and cycling.

– Favorite meal to cook late at night after work?
Usually something very light and vegetarian, every Friday its Risotto Friday.


LakeHouse at Hyatt Grand Cypress

1 Grand Cypress Blvd, Orlando, FL 32836, United States
Phone: +1 407-239-4240

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The Petrakis Family and friends are working in full speed over drive. With the recent announcement of The Polite Pig opening in Spring 2017 to the upcoming move to the Cask and Larder location for The Ravenous Pig, new chef de cuisines, – we now have word DoveCote, led by Chef Clayton Miller, is officially open for business in downtown Orlando! Check out the press release for more information below.


PRESS RELEASE – DoveCote Now Open in Downtown Orlando

Orlando, FL. – DoveCote, the much anticipated new venture from Central Florida culinary visionaries Clayton Miller, Gene Zimmerman and James and Julie Petrakis, is now open on the ground floor of the Bank of America Center at 390 N. Orange Ave. The opening marks the completion of a yearlong renovation project, which transformed an iconic venue into a modern brasserie offering a casual, sophisticated dining experience in Downtown Orlando.

“DoveCote introduces an innovative take on the classic brassiere to Orlando, where guests can enjoy a quick bite, power lunch, after-work drink or a fine dining experience,” said Clayton Miller, DoveCote’s chef/co-owner. “We’re offering an elevated approach to all-day dining as well as culinary offerings found nowhere else in Central Florida.”

While developing DoveCote’s lunch and dinner menus, Miller, a past winner of a “Best New Chef” award from Food & Wine Magazine, drew inspiration from classic French cuisine to refine his take on dishes such as Cote De Boeuf, Steak Frites and Bouillabaisse. DoveCote also features a raw bar serving a curated assortment of oysters, shrimp, mussels, clams and other seasonal seafood selections.

Salad Nicoise: tuna tartare, potato, pole beans, egg, garlic, black olive.
Salad Nicoise: tuna tartare, potato, pole beans, egg, garlic, black olive.

Zimmerman, a wine industry veteran and owner of acclaimed Orlando cocktail bar The Courtesy, created DoveCote’s beverage program.

“We’ve compiled one of the most talented and knowledgeable bar teams in Orlando to oversee a cocktail menu that offers modern twists on drinks like the Sazerac and Vieux Carre,” said Zimmerman, who co-owns DoveCote along with Miller. “An equal emphasis was placed on our wine and coffee menus. The wine list leans toward boutique, family-owned vineyards that will be presented by a knowledgeable staff, seven of which are certified sommeliers, while expert baristas oversees the coffee operation.”

Cask & Larder head brewer Larry Foor collaborated with Zimmerman on DoveCote’s craft beer program. The rotating selection falls heavily into French and Belgian-style varieties, including the DoveCote Farmhouse Saison.

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

The redesign of the 5,000-square-foot venue was led by Drew White, whose firm, Lot 1433, also designed The Courtesy. DoveCote’s dining room can accommodate 184 guests, with street-side terrace seating for 36 guests as well as additional tables in the center’s lobby. The space is also available for private parties, special events and corporate meetings.

DoveCote's Red Snapper & Shellfish. Local red snapper, shellfish, baby fennel, potatoes, and saffron shellfish broth.
DoveCote’s Red Snapper & Shellfish. Local red snapper, shellfish, baby fennel, potatoes, and saffron shellfish broth.

In addition to the redesign efforts from Lot 1433, local artist Brigan Gresh enhanced DoveCote’s European-style aesthetic with an original wall mural.

It was while sitting outside talking over ideas for the restaurant that the partners came up with the name DoveCote, which is derived from the medieval term for a structure that provides shelter for game birds.

“Some of the building’s architectural features, like the parapets, reminded me of ancient dovecotes seen in Europe,” said Zimmerman. “We started tossing the name around and it grew on us.”

Beyond its reference to a place of shelter, the name has further significance, Zimmerman said, since it offers a nod to the French term côte, which in the viniculture world means a hillside where grapes are grown.

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





Menu Lunch
DoveCote Menu Lunch

DoveCote Menu Dinner PDF
DoveCote Menu Lunch PDF

Images Courtesy of DoveCote.

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PRESS RELEASE: The Polite Pig, sister restaurant of The Ravenous Pig in Winter Park, Florida, to open in Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort

WINTER PARK, Fla. – Husband and wife chefs James and Julie Petrakis, who have won wide acclaim for their Winter Park, Florida restaurants Cask & Larder and The Ravenous Pig, will expand their Swine Family Restaurant Group to Disney Springs with a new concept, The Polite Pig. Partnering with the James Beard Foundation-nominated chefs will be Brian Petrakis, who owns and operates popular Orlando eatery Greens & Grille. The partnership unites the Petrakis brothers on a restaurant venture for the first time.

Rendering of The Polite Pig at Disney Springs. Courtesy of The Swine Family Restaurant Group
Rendering of The Polite Pig at Disney Springs. Courtesy of The Swine Family Restaurant Group

Scheduled to open in spring 2017, The Polite Pig will feature a variety of wood-fired smoked and grilled items. The restaurant will also introduce an innovative beverage program that serves all drinks on tap, including Cask & Larder beer, wine, and cocktails.

“As a locally-based restaurant group, it’s great to bring our new concept to Disney Springs where we’ll have the opportunity to showcase genuine Florida cuisine for guests from around the world,” James Petrakis said. “With so many talented chefs opening new restaurants at Disney Springs, we’re really excited to be part of a group helping Orlando distinguish itself as a world-class culinary destination.”

Rendering of The Polite Pig at Disney Springs. Courtesy of The Swine Family Restaurant Group
Rendering of The Polite Pig at Disney Springs. Courtesy of The Swine Family Restaurant Group

The Polite Pig will be located in the Town Center neighborhood. The 5,000-square-foot venue will be open daily, with seating for about 200 guests. Construction will be led by Gomez Construction, and HHCP Architects will oversee the restaurant’s overall design. Anna Schmidt Interior Design will handle interior design and Lure Design will spearhead branding efforts. All four firms are based in Florida.

Photos of the building and construction can be found at

PP Logo

About The Swine Family Restaurant Group:
Since opening in 2007 as one of the first Florida restaurants devoted to seasonal and local food, The Ravenous Pig has won numerous regional and national awards, including multiple James Beard Foundation “Best Chef” nominations for the Petrakises. It has also served as a career launching pad for chefs who have moved onto leading roles at other restaurants. Likewise for Cask & Larder, which was named one of Esquire magazine’s Best New Restaurants in 2014 and continues to garner acclaim not only for its Southern-inspired food, but for its brewery, under the direction of brewmaster Larry Foor, Jr. Swine & Sons, located just a few steps west of Cask & Larder, opened in 2015 under the direction of chef/partners Rhys and Alexia Gawlak. It serves breakfast, eat-in or takeout sandwiches and snacks, along with house-made charcuterie.

The Petrakises are also partners/consultants in a pair of much-anticipated restaurants that will open in the near future – DoveCote, in downtown Orlando, and a Cask & Larder location at Orlando International Airport.

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Domu, a new neighborhood restaurant and bar concept, will open inside East End Market in the location that was formerly home to Txokos Basque Kitchen. The restaurant closed abruptly last month, just months after changing hands from the original owners, the James Beard award nominated Henry and Michele Salgado who still run operate New Smyrna Beach restaurant Spanish River Grill.

The restaurant is a concept by Sonny Nguyen, who in the past has worked with Bento Group and Kappo, but Domu is an explicitly different and separate venture.

“We want our space to be utilized by East End Market patrons when they visit to come hang out and have a place to enjoy their time as seated space is limited in the market. Domu, which means “dome” in Japanese, is a name I chose because I wanted this concept to represent “me”,” said Sonny Nguyen.

“It’s depicted as slang for “coming off of the dome” or in other words, “whatever comes in mind”. Working in the restaurant business for most of my life, I’ve always wanted to create my own concept where I didn’t necessarily have to follow anyone’s rules but my own. I hope that I can portray that with this one.
We plan to release more information as time permits. But until then, I hope everyone will sign up on our website for exclusive details as we get closer at”

They hope to open sometime this fall.


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First, in full disclosure, the three young men who started Viet-Nomz are old friends of mine from college. But even if I did not know these three foolish friends who decided to take on the food industry, I would wholeheartedly feel the same about Viet-Nomz.

Phillip Nguyen, Chris Chen, and Mike Cho began this journey just a few years ago when they started to brainstorm about how to bring their collective love for Vietnamese food together. Phillip, who is of Vietnamese descent, traveled around the world and America, most notably in the Vietnamese enclaves of Southern California as well as the motherland in the streets of Saigon in south Vietnam, to taste and try dishes to bring back to their project in Orlando. With this inspiration, the three friends, each with their own years of experience in the restaurant industry, opened up Viet-Nomz in late June and has hit the ground running ever since.

The space is quite hip, with natural wood ambiance. Order at the counter and your dishes will be brought to you. I visited on multiple occasions and enjoyed everything I had, from the plump, fried pork egg rolls to the grilled beef banh mi sandwiches drizzled with spicy “nom nom” sauce, to the delicately nuanced and flavorful bowls of pho, the staple of Vietnamese restaurants every where. In some ways, Viet-Nomz is the Vietnamese version of a ramen-shop, with piping hot bowls of pho beef noodle soup instead of ramen emanating from their open kitchen.

There are some updates to the Vietnamese menu here, brought on by the founder’s own upbringings. Chris Chen, who is of Taiwanese descent, brought some of the doughy, steamed white buns that make the famous gua baos in Taiwanese street foods, and married them with Vietnamese banh mi ingredients like pickled daikon and carrots and grilled pork. There are also banh mi tacos on the menu, something that was a favorite on our visits.

Photo Jun 23, 12 33 02 PM

Everything is made to order, and you can watch as they assemble and grill the dishes for the rice bowls or noodle bowls, and pour soups from the huge vats of pho beef noodle soup that have been simmering for hours and hours that day. For vegetarians, do try their vegetarian pho, one of the most flavorful renditions I’ve ever tried, made through a special combination of bok choy, mushrooms and vegetables that just speaks volumes of “umami”.

Instead of Vietnamese coffee made by the drip cannisters, the coffee here is made via an espresso machine with a unique house blend of coffee beans. Must try.

The only complaint is the heat from the grills and soup pots that emanates from the open kitchen area – it can get quite uncomfortable, but some say it does bring memories of the hot summers of Vietnam. I hear the heat issues will be remedied soon.

Located just outside of Full Sail on Goldenrod and University, they plan on opening late nights on the weekend in the future for the university crowd.

Overall, I do recommend nomming down on Viet-Nomz soon,  and bring a friend.

Viet-Nomz Vietnamese Pho & Street Fare

7581 University Blvd, Winter Park, FL 32792
Corner of University Blvd & Goldenrod Rd
(Across from Winn-Dixie/Tijuana Flats)
Phone: +1 407-636-6069

Sunday – Thursday
11:00 AM — 10:00 PM

Friday & Saturday
11:00 AM — 3:00 AM

Photo Jun 23, 12 32 27 PM Photo Jun 23, 12 32 36 PM

Grilled Pork Bao
Grilled Pork Bao
Fried egg rolls
Fried egg rolls
Grilled beef rice bowl with fried egg
Grilled beef rice bowl with fried egg
Herbs and veggie station
Herbs and veggie station – The Herb Bar
Banh mi tacos
Banh mi tacos
Banh mi topped with egg
Banh mi topped with egg
Chris Chen and Phillip Nguyen
Chris Chen and Phillip Nguyen
Pho beef noodle soup
Pho beef noodle soup
Vietnamese iced coffee
Vietnamese iced coffee

Photo Jul 01, 12 26 21 PM

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Second Harvest Hosts Chef’s Night Featuring the Chefs of LongHorn Steakhouse 

“Year of the Steak” Series to Benefit Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program

WHAT: As part of its commitment to the community, Executive Chefs Jens Dahlmann, Michael Senich and Josh Evans of Orlando-based LongHorn Steakhouse will prepare a special dinner for Second Harvest’s “Year of the Steak” Chef’s Night series.

Chef’s Night brings Central Florida’s top chefs into Second Harvest’s Community Kitchen to celebrate delicious food and raise funds for a good cause. This year’s series, named “Year of the Steak,” features local chefs and restaurants that have a “steak” in our community.

Guests will enjoy a four-course dinner beginning with a cocktail reception. The event will celebrate steak and the start of summer grilling season, and will also feature several chance drawings and prizes for winners.

All proceeds benefit Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program, which provides students with the skills and inspiration they need to obtain an entry-level position in a food service establishment.


Passed Hors d’oeuvres: Chilled Wild West Gulf Shrimp and Montamore Stuffed Ribeye Meatball

First Course: Grilled Diver Scallop with Braised Pork Belly, Sweet Onion Jam and Preserved Mango

Salad: Heirloom Watermelon with Pickled Red Onions, BW Farms Arugula, Shaved Ricotta Salata, Orange Blossom Honey and White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Entrée: Slow Roasted Wagyu Zabuton Steak finished with Pan Jus, Loaded Potato Gratin and Brown Butter Poached Carrots

Dessert: Campfire “Chocolate Stampede”

WHEN: Thursday, June 23
6 p.m.

WHERE: Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
411 Mercy Drive
Orlando, Fla. 32805

COST: $100 per person

REGISTER: Purchase tickets at or call 407-514-1048 for more information.

About Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
SHFBCF is a member of Feeding America – the largest charitable domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States. SHFBCF secures and distributes food and grocery products to approximately 550 local nonprofit feeding programs throughout Central Florida. Last year, with the help of food and financial donors, volunteers and a caring, committed community, the food bank distributed 43 million meals to partner programs such as food pantries, soup kitchens, women’s shelters, senior centers, day care centers and Kids Cafes. In addition, Second Harvest’s 14-week culinary program teaches foodservice-based technical, life and employability skills to economically hard-pressed adults. Our community turns to Second Harvest’s partner agencies more than 71,000 times per week. To learn more about SHFBCF, visit


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Food and Wine Unite Orlando

There is NOT a required price to purchase a ticket – the event planners hope the attendees will donate for this event based upon what they feel in their hearts. Please register online so they have a record of all attendees
Time:4:00 pm – 8:00 pm (Open House)
Event Location: East End Market, 3201 Corrine Drive, Orlando 32803


Chef Kevin Fonzo and Chef Jamie McFadden have teamed up to plan a benefit BBQ on Sunday, July 10th. This will be an ‘open house’ from 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM at East End Market.

The event will have no cover charge but will rely on attendees for donations. Much like the LGBT Community, it will be about inclusion not exclusion.

This Food and Wine Event will donate 100% of the proceeds to assist The Center Orlando in rebuilding their resources.





Disney Springs



Overeasy Events, Winter Park, FL

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We dropped by the new Mia Supermarket on Bumby and Colonial the other day shortly after their opening. It formerly was home to Winn Dixie for many, many decades.

A few first impressions – still coming together as a market – but there is a nice selection of fruits, vegetables, and seafood, and I think the highlight is the Formosa Bakery inside.

They are a sister bakery to the Sun Pearl Bakery located in the Chinatown plaza on Colonial and Pine Hills, specializing in Taiwanese bakery items and pastries.

I love the smell of the baked goods wafting through the store as they are baked. I had, for the first time, a taro stuffed pineapple bun – and it was glorious.

Mia Supermarket

2415 E Colonial Dr
+1 407-228-9899

Photo Jun 04, 10 17 18 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 17 34 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 17 51 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 17 56 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 18 37 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 19 19 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 19 51 AM

These are molds for little black bean stuffed taiyaki style pastries.
Photo Jun 04, 10 20 23 AM

Baking fresh.Photo Jun 04, 10 19 27 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 20 46 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 21 21 AM

Incense and rice – essentials.Photo Jun 04, 10 22 00 AM

DumplingsPhoto Jun 04, 10 22 34 AM

Ramen wall.Photo Jun 04, 10 25 25 AM

Classic red bowls
Photo Jun 04, 10 25 55 AM

There is a whole section with Goya / Latin grocery goods, too.Photo Jun 04, 10 26 49 AM

A whole aisle dedicated to dried mushrooms and Chinese herbsPhoto Jun 04, 10 28 24 AM

Soy sauces, try them all.Photo Jun 04, 10 28 45 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 29 24 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 29 31 AM Photo Jun 04, 10 29 58 AM

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To help victims and their families in the aftermath of the shooting in Orlando, Florida’s hospitality industry is offering its support by hosting a statewide community event on Thursday, June 30, 2016.

Led by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA, the fundraiser, “Dine Out for Orlando United,” will be a day for Florida restaurants, their employees and guests to make a difference in the lives of those affected by the tragedy.

All proceeds raised will be donated to the OneOrlando Fund, which is designed to provide a way to respond to the needs of the local community, now and in the time to come.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families. As an industry, we want to continue to rally around them by offering our support, time and resources. Pulse is a member of the FRLA, a part of our hospitality family and we are proud to lend support. We encourage all Floridians, visitors and those around the country to participate in this Dine Out to help the entire Orlando community,” said Carol Dover, president and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

“The Florida tourism industry stands united as a community. This is a wonderful way for restaurants and Floridians statewide to come together in solidarity with the Orlando community and make a difference,” said Will Seccombe, president and CEO at VISIT FLORIDA.

During the event, guests across the state are encouraged to dine at a participating restaurant and/or choose to make a direct donation.

Employees can work a shift, choose to volunteer their time or donate a portion of tips.

Businesses can join our list of participants and help us promote, organize and/or donate.

To participate, restaurants can:

Donate a portion of total sales
Collect donations received from guests and staff
Donate a portion of total profits
Make a donation for every sale of a specific item
Identify a set donation amount
Media is asked to contact FRLA Communications Director, Elizabeth Ray at

For restaurants interested in participating in the event, please contact Dan Murphy at

More information, along with a growing list of participating restaurants, will be available online at


The 4 Three Nine, Saint Petersburg
4 Rivers Smokehouse, All Florida locations
45 Central Wine Bar, Santa Rosa Beach
60 South Restaurant & Bar at the Doubletree By Hilton Orlando Downtown
310 Restaurants, All locations
400 Beach Seafood & Tap House, Saint Petersburg
717 South, Tampa
1500 South by Chef Art Smith, Naples
1884 Restaurant and Bar, Eustis
A Land Remembered at Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando
Abe’s Place Tap & Grill, Clearwater
Alfies Restaurant, Ormond Beach
American Kitchen Bar & Grill at B Resort & Spa, Lake Buena Vista
American Social Bar & Kitchen, Fort Lauderdale
Amigos Original Tex Mex Restaurant & Cantina, Altamonte Springs
Anna Maria Oyster Bar, All locations
Another Broken Egg, Lake Mary & Winter Park
Applebee’s, Orlando, Tampa, Panama City, Tallahassee, Gainesville area locations
Applebee’s, South Florida, Southwest Florida and Jacksonville area locations
Aqua Prime Seafood & Steaks, Indian Rocks Beach
Armani’s at Grand Hyatt Tampa
Asia Kitchen, Winter Park
The Attic Door, Winter Garden
Ava, Tampa
The Avenue Eat/Drink, Saint Petersburg
BackStreets Sports Bar, Cape Coral
Baoery Asian Gastropub, Orlando
Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana & Pastaria, Winter Springs
The Bay South Walton, Santa Rosa Beach
Beach Bar at Pier House Resort & Spa, Key West
The Beach House Restaurant, Bradenton Beach
bd’s Mongolian Grill, Lakeland
Beefy King, Orlando
Bella Bella, Tallahassee
Bella Brava, Saint Petersburg
Bella Tuscany Ristorante Italiano, Windermere
Bern’s Steak House, Tampa
Berties Good Eats, Daytona Beach
Better Than Sex Dessert Restaurant, Orlando
The Birch & Vine at The Birchwood, Saint Petersburg
The Bistro at Marriott Courtyard Cocoa Beach
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Florida locations
Black Sheep Restaurant, Jacksonville
Blaze Pizza, GainesvilleJacksonville, Orlando, Sarasota
Bikes Beans & Bordeaux Neighborhood Cafe, Orlando
blu on the avenue, Winter Park
Blue Bamboo, Jacksonville
Blue Door Farm Stand, Chicago, IL
Blue Door Kitchen & Garden, Chicago, IL
Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber, Clearwater Beach
The Boheme Restaurant at Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando
Bolay Restaurant, Royal Palm Beach
Bonefish Grill, All Florida locations
Bongos Cuban Café Orlando
Bongos Cuban Café Hollywood
Bösendorfer Lounge at Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando
Boston Lobster Feast, Orlando & Kissimmee
Bowland, All locations
Brevard Zoo, Melbourne
Brimstone Woodfire Grill, Pembroke Pines
Broadway Ristorante & Pizzeria, All locations
Brother Jimmy’s BBQ, West Palm Beach
Bud & Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant, Santa Rosa Beach
Buffalo Wild Wings, All Florida locations
Bull & Crown Public House, Saint Augustine
Burger Craft, Clermont
Burger U, UCF
Café Chardonnay, Palm Beach Gardens
Cafe Gala at the Dali Museum, Saint Petersburg
Cafe Tu Tu Tango, Orlando
Cala Bella at Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando
California Pizza Kitchen Miracle Mile, Coral Gables
Canvas Restaurant & Market, Orlando
Capa at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort
Carrabba’s Italian Grille, All Florida locations
Cask & Larder, Winter Park
Catch Grill + Bar at Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay
The Catfish Place, Apopka
Charlie Mac’s BBQ, Key West
Chick-fil-A, Orange, Osceola, Lake & Seminole county locations
Chick-fil-A, Westfield Sarasota Square, Edgewater, Port Orange Gateway Center locations
Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster, Orlando
Chuy’s Tex-Mex, Kissimmee & Orlando locations
The Cider Press Cafe, Naples & Saint Petersburg
Citrus Restaurant, Orlando
Cocina 214, Winter Park
Colorado Fondue Company, Casselberry
Compass Grill at Sirata Beach Resort, Saint Pete Beach
The Coop, Winter Park
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, All Florida locations
Cooters Restaurant & Bar, Clearwater Beach
Craig Miller’s Field House, Orlando
The Chef’s Table at the Edgewater, Winter Garden
Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster, Orlando
The Crooked Spoon Gastropub, Clermont
Charley’s Steak House, All locations
Chicago q, Chicago, IL
Chuck Wagon Home Cooking, Apopka
Cork & Fork American Grill, Orlando
Crispers, All Florida locations
Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, Orlando
Dave’s Last Resort & Raw Bar, Lake Worth
Don Juan’s Mexican Restaurant, Jacksonville
Donatello Italian Restaurant, Tampa
Duffy’s Sports Grill, All locations
Durango Steakhouse, Titusville
Earl of Sandwhich, Lake Buena Vista
EDGE at Epicurean Hotel, Tampa
The Edison, Tallahassee
Elements Bar & Grille at Crowne Plaza Orlando Universal
Ellie Lou’s Brews & BBQ, Ocoee
Emeril’s Orlando
Emeril’s Tchoup Chop at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando
Everglades Restaurant at Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando
Evo Italian Restaurant, Tequesta
Falcon’s Nest at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
The Fat Snook, Cocoa Beach
F&D Kitchen & Bar, Lake Mary
Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse at Hyatt Regency Orlando
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, Orlando
First WatchMaitlandLongwoodPlaza VeneziaWinter GardenUCFAlomaMills Park locations
Fish City Grill, Lakeland
FishBones, Orlando & Lake Mary
Fishlips Waterfront Bar & Grill, Cape Canaveral
Five Star Pizza, Central FL locations
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, All Florida locations
Flippers Pizzeria, Orlando, Clermont, Kissimmee, Lake Buena Vista & UCF
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse, Orlando
Froyo Fresh, Tampa
Funky Monkey Bistro & Bar, Orlando
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Sarasota
Gator’s DocksideCentral Florida locations
Glory Days Grill, All Florida locations
Grandaddy’s, Harmony
GrassLands Brewing Company, Tallahassee
Great Southern Cafe, Santa Rosa Beach
Green Parrot Bar, Key West
Grille 401, Fort Lauderdale
Grub Burger Bar, Tallahassee
Half Shell Raw Bar, Key West
Hamilton’s Kitchen at the Alfond Inn, Winter Park
The Hangar, Saint Petersburg
Harry’s Beach Bar at Sirata Beach Resort, Saint Pete Beach
Hash House A Go Go, Orlando
Hawkers Asian Street Fare, All locations
Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key
Haven, Tampa
HeadPinz, Cape Coral & Fort Myers
Hemingway’s  at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
High Tide Harry’s, Orlando
Highball & Harvest at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grand Lakes
Holy Hog BBQ, Tampa
House of Pizza, Orlando
House of Blues Orlando
Hubbly Bubbly Falafel Shop, Orlando
Hurricane Seafood Restaurant, St Pete Beach
ICEBAR Orlando
Icy Paradise, Daytona Beach
IHOP, Florida locations
Imperial Wine Bar & Beer Garden, Orlando
Island Dogs Bar & Restaurant, Key West
Jack’s Place at Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando
Jason’s Deli, Orlando & Southwest Florida locations
Jax 5th Ave Deli & Ale House, Lake Mary
Johnnie’s Hideaway, Orlando
Johnny Rockets The Pointe, Orlando
Jové Kitchen & Bar at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
K Restaurant, Orlando
Kahwa Coffee, Saint Petersburg
Kelly’s Landing New England Seafood, Fort Lauderdale
Kiki’s Sandbar, Little Torch Key
Kings Orlando
KING’s Street Food Counter, Saint Petersburg
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Kissimmee, Orlando, Winter Park locations
Kobe Japanese Steakhouse, All Orlando & Tampa locations
La Mar by Gaston Acurio at Mandarin Oriental, Miami
La Storia Ristorante, Chicago
Larios on the Beach, Miami Beach
Lazy Lobster of Longboat, Longboat Key
Lee Roy Selmon’s, All locations
Liam Fitzpatrick’s Restaurant & Irish Pub, Lake Mary
Lighthouse Lobster Feast, Orlando
Lofty Pursuits, Tallahassee
LuLu’s Destin
Luma on Park, Winter Park
Madison Social, Tallahassee
Mama Della’s Ristorante at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando
Magnolia Grill, Fort Walton Beach
MainStay Suites, Port Saint Joe
The Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant, Longboat Key
Margaritaville, Destin, Key West, Miami Airport, Panama City Beach
Marche Burrette Deli at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
Maria’s Italian Restaurant, Cape Coral
Marina Bar & Grill, Sandestin
Marlow’s Tavern, All Florida locations
The Meatball Stoppe, Orlando
Mediterranean BLUE, Orlando
Mellow MushroomOrlando, Winter Park & International Drive
The Melting Pot, Boca Raton
The Melting Pot, Coral Springs
The Melting Pot, Fort Myers
The Melting Pot, Longwood
The Melting Pot, Orlando
The Melting Pot, Saint Petersburg
The Melting Pot, Sarasota
The Melting Pot, Tallahassee
Melts On Main Street, Winter Garden
Metro Diner, All Florida locations
Miller’s Ale House, All locations nationwide
Mojo, Fort Lauderdale
MoonFish, Orlando
Morimoto Asia, Walt Disney World
Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails, Jacksonville
Mulligan’s Beach House, All locations
Murray Bros. Caddy Shack, Saint Augustine
Nature’s TableParticipating locations
Nine 18 at Villas of Grand Cypress, Orlando
Noble Crust, Saint Petersburg
Nolan’s Irish Pub, Cocoa Beach
Noodles & Company, Orlando locations
North Quarter Tavern, Orlando
Nothing Bundt Cakes, Orlando Sand Lake Road location
O Bistro, Saint Petersburg
Oasis Restaurant at Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport at Town Center
Ocean Prime, Orlando
Oceans 234, Deerfield Beach
Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, Columbia, SC
Oleys Kitchen & BBQ, Orlando
Olio, Jacksonville
Olive Branch Mediterranean-Italian Grille & Bar, Mount Dora
The Original Crabby Bill’s, Indian Rocks Beach
The Other End Restaurant & Beergarden, Destin
Outback Steakhouse, All Florida locations
The Outpost Neighborhood Kitchen College Park, Orlando
Oystercatchers at Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay
Paradiso 37, Lake Buena Vista
Paramount Fine Foods, All locations
Parkshore Grille, Saint Petersburg
Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, Viera
Phat Thai Cafe, Apopka
Pho 88 Noodle Restaurant, Orlando Mills Ave location 
Pho Hoa Restaurant, Orlando
Pieology Pizzeria, Ponte Vedra
Pinon Grill, Boca Raton
PizzAmore, Mount Dora
Pizza Hut, Central Florida, All Central Florida locations
Pom Pom’s Teahouse & Sandwicheria, Saint Petersburg
The Port Inn, Port Saint Joe
Portobello, Orlando
Prato, Winter Park
The Pub at Pointe Orlando
The Pub Waterfront Restaurant, Indian Shores
Raglan Road Irish Pub, Lake Buena Vista
Rainforest Cafe at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Rainforest Cafe at Disney Springs™, Lake Buena Vista
Ravello at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort
The Ravenous Pig, Winter Park
Rita’s, Orlando East & Apopka
Red Robin, All Florida locations
Residence Inn by Marriott, Amelia Island
Restaurant ASH, Orlando
Ritter’s Frozen Custard, Port Orange
Rose Villa Southern Table & Bar, Ormond Beach
Rum Barrel Bar & Grill, Key West
Rum Runners Bar & Grille at Sirata Beach Resort, Saint Pete Beach
RumFish Grill at Guy Harvey Outpost, St Pete Beach
RusTeak Restaurant & Wine Bar, Ocoee & Orlando
The Rusty Spoon, Orlando
Ruth’s Chris Steak House, All Florida locations
Sally O’Neal’s Pizza Hotline, Tampa
The Sandbar Restaurant, Anna Maria
Sandy Hook Fish & Rib House, Matlacha
Santiago’s Bodega, Altamonte Springs
Santiago’s Bodega, Orlando
Scolapasta Bistro, Fort Lauderdale
Seafood Shack, Marina, Bar & Grill, Cortez
Shake ShackWinter Park,  I-Drive
Shakers American Cafe, Orlando
Shogun at Rosen Inn, Orlando
Siesta Key Oyster Bar, Sarasota
Sinclair’s Ocean Grill at Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa, Jupiter
SLATE, Orlando
Smith & Adams Confections, Orlando
Soco Restaurant, Orlando
Sonesta, Fort Lauderale Beach
Souzou, Saint Petersburg
Spatz Deli & Billiards, Winter Park
Spoto’s Oyster Bar, Palm Beach Gardens
Square 1 Burgers & Bar, Winter Park
Stillwaters Tavern, Saint Petersburg
Something Fishy, Apopka
Sonny’s BBQCentral Florida locations
Splitsville Luxury Lanes, Orlando
Starbucks Coffee Company, Participating Orlando locations
STK Orlando
Sugar Daddy Bakery, Orlando
Suncoast Cafe, Venice
Sushi Maki, Miami area locations
Sweet Frog, Altamonte Springs & Orlando Avalon Park
Sweet Frog, Daytona Beach & Port Orange
Sweet Frog, Jupiter 
Sweet Frog, Riverside Jacksonville & Town Center Jacksonville
Swine & Sons Provisions, Winter Park
Taberna del Caballo, Saint Augustine
Taboon Bistro, Orlando
Tampa Airport Marriott, Tampa
Taproom at Dubsdread, Orlando
The Tasting Room at The Chef’s Table, Winter Garden
Teak Neighborhoord Grill, Orlando
Tee Jay Thai Sushi, Wilton Manors
Texas Cattle Company, Lakeland & Saint Petersburg
TGI Fridays, Central Florida locations
The Tennessee Truffle, Sanford
The Thirsty Goat, Port Saint Joe
Tijuana Flats, All Central Florida locations
Tommy Bahama, Jupiter, Naples, Orlando, Sandestin, Sarasota
Tony Roma’s International Drive, Orlando
T-REX at Disney Springs™, Lake Buena Vista
TR Fire Grill, Winter Park
Tryst, Saint Petersburg
Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, Miramar Beach
Turners Kitchen + Bar, Leesburg
Turtle Kraals Bar & Grill, Key West
Umi, Winter Park
Uncle Maddio’s Pizza, Ocala
Union Public House, Pensacola
University Center Club, Tallahassee
Uno Pizzeria & Grill, Florida locations
Uptown Cafe & Catering, Tallahassee
Urban Flats, Winter Garden
Verandah at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
Vito’s Chop House, Orlando
The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club
vomFASS, Winter Garden
The Wave Kitchen & Bar at Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa, Vero Beach
Which Wich? Superior Sandwiches, Orlando Doc Phillips location
Whirly Dome, Orlando
Windjammers Restaurant, Clearwater Beach
Wingstop, Hialeah-Miami Lakes
Wolfgang Puck Cafe, Orlando
WonderWorks Orlando Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show, Orlando
World of Beer, Altamonte Springs, Lake MaryUCF area
Yak & Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
The Zenith Company
Zona Fresca Fresh Mexican Grill, Winter Park

More restaurants coming soon! Check back regularly.


About OneOrlando Fund
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced the formation of the OneOrlando Fund. The purpose of the Fund is to provide a way to help respond to the needs of our community, now and in the time to come, after the effects of the Pulse tragedy. The distribution of the funds will be administered by the Central Florida Foundation. The Foundation serves as the region’s community foundation and is home to more than 400 charitable funds. For information regarding the OneOrlando Fund or to make a wire transfer, please contact

About the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Our mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s $82 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy and more than 1.1 million employees – making it the state’s number one industry. We offer regulatory compliance and food safety training needs (RCS and SafeStaff®); industry developed career-building high school programs (FRLAEF); sponsor the only event in Florida exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry (FR&L Show, September 27-29, 2016 in Orlando); and we safeguard the needs of the hospitality industry by providing legislative advocacy. We represent and serve more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and theme parks. For more information, go to and find us on Twitter @FRLAnews, Facebook and YouTube.


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International Sushi Day is coming and Bento Cafe is hosting an All You Can Eat Sushi eating contest on Saturday July 18th. The contest will be held at the Downtown Orlando location and it will begin at 1 pm. Sign up will also be at this location. In addition to the competition, Bento will be running a special all day long for Sushi, buy 2 rolls and get a classic roll free in honor of international sushi day. This special will be held at all of Bento Orlando locations.


ayce contest17x11


Bento Cafe
151 S Orange Ave · +1 407-999-8989
Open until 10:00 PM

Bento Cafe
7335 Sand Lake Rd · +1 407-352-2277
Open until 10:00 PM

Bento Café
12250 Strategy Blvd #443 · +1 407-658-8088
Open until 10:00 PM

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Updated: 5:00pm 6/15/2016

“When something bad happens you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends who have been affected by last night’s tragic and terrible violence – our community is united in solidarity with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in bringing love and compassion in the face of hatred.

In this moment where there is so much terrible loss, there has been a huge outpouring of response from the local Orlando community, trying to help and give back whether it is the thousands who lined up to donate blood or those who donated water and snacks to those waiting in line and the more who donated to help the victims and their families with medical costs.  This outpouring of love in the face of hate is what makes our City Beautiful.

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Blood Donations

Right now, OneBlood is still in urgent need for O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma blood donors – schedule calling 1.888.9.DONATE (1.888.936.6283)or visit The GLBT Center and Zebra Coalition are offering counseling services for those who need it. The community can call the Zebra Coalition hotline at 407-228-1446 or 407-822-5036, and counselors will be on site at The Center at 946 N Mills Ave. You can also sign up to volunteer with the City of Orlando, here

For more info, visit


If you would like to help but unable to donate blood, volunteer at the United Against Poverty Orlando center just a few doors down from the main One Blood center on Michigan St

City officials are asking for bilingual volunteers and mental health counsellors. Call 407-428-5870 or to help

If you want to help, please bring the following to 511 Virginia Drive, The Venue. Water, Coffee, Snacks, Hand sanitizers, Rubber gloves , Paper towels, Toilet paper, Sunscreen, Amongst other things desperately needed! The LGBT Center or The Venue #OrlandoUnited

Donate Money to Local Victims Funds

If you are looking to donate, local groups created an official Go Fund Me page to raise money for the victims. This is the official one being managed by The Center, MBA, Hope and Help, Two Spirit Health, Zebra Coalition, Rollins. –

This is the official Pulse Victims Fund page for Equality Florida, the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization. Equality Florida is collecting contributions via this GoFundMe page to support the victims of the horrific shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub. Funds raised on this page will be going directly to the victims and families affected by the horrific shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub.


Orlando’s Food Community Gather Support

Already our local culinary community has come together as well to help give back.

Orlando Weekly – Orlando’s food community bands together in face of tragedy –

Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide – Central Florida Culinary Community Comes Together in Response to Attack

Chuy’s Tex Mex, 4 Rivers, Talk of the Town Restaurans, Tijuana Flats, Quantum Leap Winery, Kona Ice, Vegan Hot Dog Cart, Old Hearth Bread Company, Swine and Sons, John and Shirley’s Catering, The Meatball Stoppe, are just some of the many many local Orlando businesses that have come together, often quietly, to donate to the YMCA, the LGBT Center, Zebra Coalition, and the blood banks.

Join Culinary Cares: In Support of Pulse Orlando – Facebook Group organized by Gary Appelsies, director of healthy eating for Central Florida YMCA to find out more on how to help.

Sus Hi Eat Station, which recently opened a second location in Altamone Springs, announced that starting today through Saturday (June 18th), 100% of profits from both stores will be donated to the GoFundMe Pulse Victims Fund created by Equality Florida. #OrlandoStrong

K Restaurant is hosting a fundraiser tonight as part of their dinner service to help with a victim’s family costs.

“Join us tonite as a portion of our sales go to Cory’s family…..#prayfororlando

Orchid in Winter Park is accepting toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer.

Pincho Factory, which opened its doors in Dr. Phillips this past March will donate 15% of all sales from this week to support victims of the tragedy. “The city of Orlando embraced us in such an amazing way, we knew we had to do something to show our support,” says Pincho Factory co-owner Otto Othman. Effective immediately (June 13) through end of business Sunday, June 19, 2016 monies will be collected from all sales and donated to, which launched shortly after news of the Pulse shootings broke. “You feel so powerless after something like this happens,” adds co-owner Nedal Ahmad. “We hope any money we raise will help those dealing with the aftermath of this terrible tragedy.”


For the first time 4 Rivers Smokehouse will open its doors on a Sunday in order to raise funds for the victims of the tragic shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub.
The 4 Rivers Winter Park location at 1600 W. Fairbanks Ave. will ?be open this Sunday, June 19, from 11 a.m. ­ 3 p.m. for dine­in and call­ahead orders.
Proceeds from the day will go toward the Pulse victims and families through the One Orlando Fund.

If you hear of any other ways to help our community, please leave a comment or send us an email at


#OrlandoStrong #OrlandoUnited

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by Emily Brainard

Chef Joseph Burnett of The Osprey Tavern in Baldwin Park was recently awarded the accolades of Best Chef and Best New Restaurant by Orlando Magazine.

“In order to create a productive kitchen that works, hammering and pounding, like a blacksmith to metal, is the wrong approach. Cooks and chefs need nurturing and discipline, but this is about the long haul. A kitchen is a garden and what it needs is gentle guidance. Each kitchen and each chef is unique, some flourish with a more hands on approach and others with a more laid back one. They don’t all grow at the same pace or with the same tenacity, but it takes a lot of careful manipulation to create something and someone that can produce.”

I didn’t expect this kind of patient, methodical, even somewhat spiritual rhetoric from such a stoic looking man. “You’re comparing managing a kitchen to tending a garden?” was my initial reaction when Joseph Burnett told me his approach to being an executive chef.

And the more time I spent watching him, the more I realized that he molds these young minds much in the way he constructs a dish. He works the kitchen the same way he works over an item, taking care that each ingredient/chef is utilized so that it tastes/works the best and each plays its own integral role in everything tasting delicious/coming together.

It’s so meticulously orchestrated that if you aren’t paying attention, you could easily miss it. The management of The Osprey Tavern’s kitchen is as artistic as the food it’s putting out.

I sat down with Chef Joseph Burnett to find out more about where this artistry and thoughtfulness comes from, the journey it took to get here, and where he hopes it will take him.

Chef Joe Burnett
Chef Joe Burnett of The Osprey Tavern

Q. Where did your initial drive for cooking come from?

A. Well, very simply, my parents never had crap around the house. There weren’t any instant snacks to indulge in. Everything I wanted to consume or share with friends, I had to prepare myself, so that’s what I did. We also had a food-centric household. My mother, grandmother, and aunt were constantly cooking so I started with them at a young age.

Q. Where did your professional culinary journey begin?

A. I started washing dishes at 15, and then I was a line cook. I did catering and coffee for a while. I moved to Boston and got a degree in graphic design. After school, I just wanted to be back in a kitchen, so I made a list of best restaurants in Miami, applied, and was hired at my top choice-Norman’s. My wife, Viviana Alestor, and I then made our way up to Norman’s Orlando. I was sous and eventually chef de cuisine there.  I tried my hand at Loews Hotels to see if I enjoyed the corporate hotel aspect of cooking. I didn’t. Shortly after, I became chef de cuisine at The Ravenous Pig where I was allowed to cut my teeth. Finally, roughly a year ago, I ventured to Osprey.


Q. How was your transition to Osprey?

A. Difficult and great. I hit the ground here running. There were some things that needed to be changed immediately, and others that took more time. It was a team effort getting Osprey to where it is now. Initially, there wasn’t anyone here I trusted. It takes a while and is difficult to get to know someone and develop the trust that comes from the long haul in an intense environment. Elek Kovacs (chef de cuisine) joining the team was a relief.  I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather have by my side. We worked together at Norman’s and later at the Pig. There wasn’t a task you could give him that he didn’t complete faster and better than what you envisioned. His attention to detail is unparalleled. We are creative in different ways. It took me years to train myself to be organized. For Elek, the organization is more engrained which makes his implementation flawless.

Q. Why Osprey?

A. I had worked under national and local celebrity chefs and I felt like it was time to be on my own. Jason allowed me that platform (Jason Chin owns The Osprey Tavern, as well as Seito Baldwin Park). I admire him. I admire his business sense and his ability to take a vision and bring it to fruition.


Q. Is this style the culmination of what you want to be doing?

A. The style is perfect. I get to mix in ethnic food and comfort foods. I have the ability to work with great ingredients.

Q. How do you continue to find the drive necessary to maintain the quality of your work?

A. The challenge drives me and it’s always challenging. If there’s not challenge, you’re playing it too safe.
There are very few art forms where the result is seen in just a few hours. And although a lot of things we do can take several months for end results, quite a few are fairly quick and the satisfaction is there.
There are also even fewer forms of art that sustain life. And as an artisan it’s incredible to create something that is visually appealing, as well as something that nourishes you.

Dish sketches and concepts by Chef Burnett
Dish sketches and concepts by Chef Burnett

Q. Do you ever feel stagnant? How do you get yourself out of that rut?

A. It’s a very intense creative process. Sometimes I think, as so many others, “I’m never going to have another great idea again.” Then something stimulates me, another chef, nature or, another art form triggers something within me. Sometimes these ideas come too quickly to act on and of course, it’s not always a reliable process, but I have a great team that I can lean on and their fresh eyes help. Our paths will intersect, like a brain trust and any block is removed by what we can create together.

Q. What words of advice could you offer to aspiring chefs?

A. Be humble. Start from the bottom. Stay out of culinary school. It’s harder at first, but ultimately an easier route. You’ll avoid a ton of debt to pay off. You will learn the technical tools required on site, as well as all the rest.

Pea Salad at The Osprey Tavern
Pea Salad at The Osprey Tavern

Q. Tell us about how you learned on site.

A. My first time in a kitchen, I had one knife to bring to the table. I didn’t know culinary terms like c-fold or hotel pan. I would write down what I didn’t understand and go home and look it up. I wasn’t going to be made fun of for a lack of knowledge. “Food Lovers Companion,” and Harold McGee books were my reference system. “Becoming a Chef,” was my spiritual and philosophical guidance.

Q. What keeps you humble?

A. I think the mentality a lot of chefs keep, myself included, is that “you’re only as good as your last dish or your last service.”

Striving to constantly make myself better is grounding.

You see egos in kitchens, people who think they’re great and they usually fall flat where it counts. I don’t want that ego. It’s the death of creativity.

Dish sketches and concepts by Chef Burnett
Dish sketches and concepts by Chef Burnett

Q. Most people don’t pair artistry with management. Is leading a team something that you ever wanted?

A. Certainly. I enjoy the human aspect of it. I count myself lucky to be part of so many journeys. You can’t ever completely know where someone is headed and sometimes an artist comes out, flourishes and goes on to do the most incredible things. It can be frustrating at times, of course.  At this level, it’s a thinking man’s game. Leading a pack of “yes men” is not something I want. I want opinions that count. I want thinkers. I want them to question recipes, question ingredients, question delivery. I do not want a team of people going through the motions. Most chefs learn early with multiplying recipes that you have to question everything. One teaspoon of cayenne can multiply to one cup in no time, so an open door is everything. The kitchen is a crash course in psychology. You find yourself running into the same personalities, culling the herd to avoid drama and ego. Eventually, you tailor your approach to different people. Some are best set free and some thrive with discipline or a gentle mix of both.

Q. Do you ever find it difficult to comingle passion with business?

A. Yes. Ingredients that I love to work with are sometimes expensive and therefore not economically viable, for example, European white asparagus.
However, it’s becoming easier with the tremendous development of Orlando’s palate in last 10 years. If we would serve squab, some guests would see the little feet and flee the dining room. Now, guests are ordering second and third plates of chicken liver mousse.

Q. If someone doesn’t enjoy a dish on your menu, what’s your reaction?

A. I know that every dish or message isn’t for every person and I keep that in mind when something isn’t well received. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t take it personally and get angry or disappointed, initially. But it quickly transforms into a learning opportunity. We look for patterns in things. If something is constantly getting a bad reception then it has to change. If we failed as a team, it has to be addressed. But if it isn’t a common occurrence and just that a particular guest doesn’t mesh with a particular item, my mindset is “to each their own.”
Often guests want what they expect rather than our interpretation of a dish. It’s the classic “dish in quotes” dilemma. The quotes are suggesting there is riff on this and it may be whimsical and fun, but that’s not always suitable to where their mind has taken them and that’s quite alright.

Q. What gets you to work every day (other than your car?)

A. Creativity, building something.
People creating together is an incredible thing and it’s interesting to see what they are going to bring to the table each day.
I feel like I’m just beginning.

Q. What brings you joy?

A. My children. It’s always good to come home. No one is more proud of me than my kids. Sebastian, 7, and Isabelle, 3, call my crew “my friends”, and they aren’t wrong.

Q. What are your hopes for The Osprey Tavern?

A. I hope it will be another jewel in the crown of Orlando’s culinary scene.

Dish sketches and concepts by Chef Burnett
Dish sketches and concepts by Chef Burnett

There is no doubt in my mind that The Osprey Tavern is quickly earning its position as “another jewel in the crown of Orlando’s culinary scene.” While in it’s first year, Osprey went through many changes and growing pains, Chef Joseph never shied away from acknowledging its flaws or making the necessary modifications. He readdressed, regrouped, and represented whether it was to endure criticism or praise. The Osprey Tavern is clearly carefully tended. It is to be concluded that if as many people took the kind of approach to their lives that Joseph Burnett takes to his kitchens, the world would in fact be a much finer, kinder, and more delectable place.

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For foodies that love a good glass of wine, TR Fire Grill is hosting a Wine Dinner that includes a chef crafted four course meal expertly paired with Hope Family Wines.

Created by TR Fire Grill’s Head Chef Bob Gallagher and Sommelier Andrew Bateman, each course will highlight elements in the wines and showcase certain flavors.

When:   May 15, 2016, 5:30 p.m.

Where: TR Fire Grill, 1035 North Orlando Avenue

What:    Four courses chef-inspired courses

  1. Charcuterie & Cheese with grilled wine infused onions, Treana Chardonay
  2. Market Salad with white wine vinaigrette, Treana White Blend
  3. Surf & Turf with red blend demi-glace and Chardonnay butter, Treana Red Blend
  4. Double Trouble Chocolate Waffle with wine infused blueberries, Troublemaker Red Blend

Price:     $60 per person, tickets can be purchased here.

WEB_Fire Grill_Wine Dinner

Charcuterie & Cheese

Grilled bread, grainy mustard, cornichon pickles,

and grilled wine infused onions

Treana Chardonnay

Second Course

Watermelon, cucumber, mango, kiwi, blueberries,

pickled red onion, Feta cheese, sunflower seeds,

Treana white wine vinaigrette

Market Salad

Treana White Blend

Third Course

Smoked flank with Treana Red Blend demi-glacé,

potato hash, cedar wood shrimp, Treana

Chardonnay butter, smoked asparagus

Surf & Turf

Treana Red Blend

Fourth Course

Double Trouble Chocolate Waffle

Chocolate waffle, tempura strawberry bananas,

wine infused blueberries, mango sauce, ice cream

Troublemaker Red Blend

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Jeff and Isabella Morgia di Vicari chatted with us about their restaurant – The Meatball Stoppe in East Orlando!

Isabella is first generation American born of Italian decent, with a large Italian family from Calabria and Trieste Italia.

“Born in Brooklyn NY and growing up in Orlando since 1970 and raised in my famiglia’s restaurant businesses which they owned and operated, has taught me many life lessons including the wonderful culture of food. I did not become a Chef through a Culinary Institute, I became a Chef the “old fashion” way. My true teacher was my Nonna Isabella, my namesake who lived with our famiglia our entire life. It was in the home, with Nonna’s influence that we lived and breathed all the wonderful Italian traditions that we embrace today. Those family traditions bring the Morgia di Vicari family back to the table where it all happens for them.

My Nonna Isabella, my namesake, lived with us our entire lives up until the end. Everything she made came from her garden. She made everything from scratch. When we came home from school the aromas’ in our home made everyone crazy. All our friends came to our home for their after snack.”

What are you most passionate about?

People always think I’m passionate about food but that’s not true. I’m passionate about people, about living, about bringing the famiglia back to the table. Food is the vehicle I use to get them there.

Jeff and I developed the Community International Culinary Program for kids. Our mission is to feed families physically, emotionally, and spiritually…a focus on healthy families as well as healthy bodies. It’s about giving kids hope, inspiration, and getting them back to the table. We teach that the tools of the kitchen are the tools for life.

Check out this video put out by City of Orlando’s and Commissioner Regina Hill.

City of Orlando’s Video of The Community International Culinary Program

Watch this 5 min Ignite talk I gave at the National Council of Behavioral Health Conference of 5k at the Gaylord.

It started with Jeffy, the Meatball Man! Jeff has been talking about a meatball shop for the past 3 years and when we acquired a small catering company that has this space, the first thing out of his mouth was….The Meatball Shoppe! The first thing out of my mouth was “do you want to stay married?”. LOL. Seriously, it is very challenging to own a restaurant and work it together 24/7. We both come from very strong restaurant backgrounds our entire lives. When Jeff and I came together it was “Mom and Pops’ marries ‘Corporate America” and a beautiful marriage it was. Jeff is brilliant and with his talents and expertise in Corporate systems he developed the systems to make The Meatball Shoppe what it is today. The system in place will make it possible to grow and open ‘many’ Meatball Shoppe’s! I’m so proud of all he’s done for the business and the famiglia. I love him very much.

What are your favorite dishes to cook and enjoy

I have two favorite dishes. Pasta Aglio Olio (Pasta with olive oil, garlic, anchovies, fresh basil and crushed red pepper….a poor man’s food but because we’re a sophisticated society today it’s a delicacy. My Nonna Isabella, my namesake, use to make this for the famiglia all the time. The second is my Mamma Adriana Vicari’s signature dish…Pasta potate e piseli (pasta potato and peas). Again a dish that my mamma was raised on because that’s all they had. This dish is my children’s favorite too because this is when we clean out the frig and throw all the vegetables we have left over in the pot and create this amazing comforting dish that leaves you craving for more.


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

I love to sing and dance, I grew up playing the accordian and am a Brown Belt in Go Gu Ru Karate. My Sensai would kick my butt if he saw how I let myself go and get out of shape. But as I tell my children for as long as I have breath, it’s not too late and I can make the changes needed to get back to good health!

It is my hearts desire to have my own show. I believe God gave me this gift to touch people at the heart-string level. To use this gift to impact people to make a move, to make a change from within.

My show will not just be a cooking show but a show of hope and inspiration, a show that will allow me to bring the famiglia, our community, our corporation and our America “Back to the table”, back to their roots and traditions. You see it’s not all about the food but when you’re wondering why your famiglia doesn’t want to have dinner together, let me encourage you to look in the mirror. After all who wants to come to the table with a puss face and a lousy meal? I know, I speak from personal experience. Change must first happen with the person we see in the mirror. Then and only then will we begin to see change in our famiglia, our community and in our America.



Nonna’s Traditional Italian
Chicken Marsala
Vegetarian – Gluten Free
Spicy Pork
Mediterranean Lamb


Roasted Tomato
Signature Pesto
Creamy Provolone Cheese
Marsala Mushroom
Spicy Pork


Creamy Polenta
Penne Pasta
Smashed with Sandwich Bread


Housemade Cannoli







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

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According to their facebook page, “Viet-Nomz is a modern take on delicious Vietnamese cuisine. We are here to satisfy your appetite with popular Vietnamese fare in a fast casual environment! Viet-Nomz is a Vietnamese QSR restaurant created with a new concept and freshness in mind. Every rice and noodle bowl is handcrafted in our kitchen with only quality ingredients. We believe in flavorful and wholesome meals with a modern, yet authentic, twist to traditional Vietnamese cuisine.”

It is founded by friends Chris Chen, Phillip Nguyen, and Mike Cho.

They are also going to be offering late night pho on Friday and Saturday nights (until 3 AM). GAME CHANGER!

They are now under construction and expect to open summer 2016.

Background Summary:

Viet-Nomz is a Vietnamese QSR restaurant created with a new concept and freshness in mind. Every rice and noodle bowl is handcrafted in our kitchen with only quality ingredients. We believe in flavorful and wholesome meals with a modern, yet authentic, twist to traditional Vietnamese cuisine.


Viet-Nomz is a modern take on delicious Vietnamese cuisine, serving noodle soups, rice and noodle bowls, and contemporary-style Asian street food.


Restaurant (fast-casual)

Drivers and Goals:

My partner Philip Nguyen and I (Chris Chen) love pho and Vietnamese food. However, we’ve noticed a lack of a modern twist to this traditional cuisine. In today’s world, QSR (quick service restaurants) are rapidly growing as the traditional sit-down dining restaurants are declining. With that being said, there’s a lack of QSR Viet restaurants in Orlando and Florida, unlike QSR Chinese and Japanese restaurants, which are already mainstream.


We are designing for foodies and pho lovers who share the same passion and excitement for the Vietnamese cuisine. Our demographics ranges from young adults to families who simply love pho and Viet food and want it in a fast-casual environment.


Asian street feel – not quite urban; industrial rustic modern atmosphere. Breaking the traditional feel of Asian cuisine. Contemporary Cali-inspired.


Quality and wholesome foods in a fast-pace way of service. We want customers to see our shop as a place to enjoy pho on-the-go or a more relax/chill place for friends and family to eat popular Vietnamese fare and kick back.




Urbain 40 American Brasserie and Lounge takes its diners on a trip back to all the nostalgic swank and sophistication of the 1940s big band era with a classic yet seasonally changing American and European continental menu. It’s become one of my favorite new restaurants in Orlando!


Mr. Rashid Choufani
Mr. Rashid Choufani

Urbain 40’s owner-operator Jaafar Choufani, an executive for parent company Boulevard Restaurants, teamed up with his father, famed restaurateur and former Bocuse d’Or judge Rashid Choufani, to run the brasserie. Mr. Rashid Choufani also leads the restaurant operations at Walt Disney World’s Morocco pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase.


A faithful devotee of the slow-food movement, Executive Chef Jean-Stephane Poinard sources the freshest ingredients locally when possible, from vegetables and herbs to meats and fish, to transform continental and American classics into original creations, bringing his interpretations of French favorites with a decidedly American, and often Southern twist.


A French classic, the luxurious Billi-Bi Soup, is an elegant saffron cream broth of Prince Edward Island mussels “beignet” given a Southern touch here at Urbain 40 with smoked paprika oil.

For dessert, there is a bit of a sweet dilemma as the bevy of goods created by pastry chef Amanda McFall all sound so enticing that it’s hard to choose just one.

Urbain 40 is both enchanting and charming in its comforting food and intimate ambiance.

Keep an eye out for the full review on Central Florida Lifestyle Magazine in the coming month.

Saffron Cream, Prince Edward Island Mussels Beignet, Smoked Paprika Oil

Cast Iron Skillet Roasted, Drawn Butter, Lemon, House-made Baguette

Chef’s selection of Cured Meat, Cheese, Pork Terrine, Onion Confit Marmalade, Cornichons

Caramelized Onion, House-Smoked Maple Bacon, Shallot Confit

Roasted Garlic Confit, Gruyere, Asiago, Fig Reduction

Brown Butter, Cauliflower Potato Purée, Fennel, Lemon Confit

Garlic and Royal Trumpet Chips, Goat Cheese Sphere

Slow-roasted Beef and Pork, House-made Pappardelle Pasta, Grana Padano

Raspberry Macaroons, Chocolate and Pistachio Pops, Chocolate Truffles

Pastry Chef Amanda McFall and Executive Chef Jean-Stephane Picard of Urbane 40
Pastry Chef Amanda McFall and Executive Chef Jean-Stephane Picard of Urbane 40





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

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We’ve had a few local Orlandoans cast on the MasterChef series, most recently Zac Kara in Masterchef Junior and Francis Biondi in the original MasterChef series in season 5. Biondi was actually found by production staff who met him while he was a server at The Rusty Spoon.

Zac Kara – no relation to Orlando Weekly’s Faiyaz Kara – from Masterchef Junior is an Orlando local

America’s first MasterChef winner, Whitney Miller, is now chef de cuisine leading recipe creation and development of John River’s The Coop here in Orlando.

Francis Biondi from Masterchef Season 5 was found by producers at The Rusty Spoon

Now, America’s most-watched cooking competition show, MASTERCHEF, is returning for its eighth season with a visit to Orlando for open casting calls on Saturday April 16, 2016.

Open casting calls will be held across the country in search of talented home cooks from all types of backgrounds and with a range of cooking styles.

Master Chef’s first winner Whitney Miller – now with The Coop!

The casting team is looking for home cooks who enjoy preparing everything from delightful desserts and hefty main courses to fine French cuisine, great tasting burgers and more! For anyone looking to follow their culinary dream – take this first step by preregistering on the casting website and heading down to one of the open casting calls below.

check out the last time Master Chef was in town with our article from Season 5 here.


Press Release


Casting Calls for FOX’s Hit Cooking Competition Series to Take Place in San Diego, New York City, Oklahoma City, Chicago, New Orleans, Dallas, Orlando, Portland, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

Visit for the Most Up-to-Date Casting Information

America’s most-watched cooking competition show, MASTERCHEF, begins casting for its eighth season Saturday, March 5. Open casting calls will be held across the country in search of talented home cooks from all types of backgrounds and with a range of cooking styles.

The casting team is looking for home cooks who enjoy preparing everything from delightful desserts and hefty main courses to fine French cuisine, great tasting burgers and more! For anyone looking to follow their culinary dream – take this first step by preregistering on the casting website and heading down to one of the open casting calls below.

Open casting calls will be held in the following cities:

San Diego – Saturday, March 5
Oklahoma City – Saturday, March 12
New York City – Saturday, March 12
Chicago – Saturday, March 19
New Orleans – Saturday, March 19
Dallas – Saturday, April 16
Orlando – Saturday, April 16
Portland – Saturday, April 23
Boston – Saturday, April 23
Los Angeles – Saturday, April 30
Washington D.C. – Saturday, April 30

Additional details, including venues and times, will be announced soon. Visit for the most up-to-date audition information including eligibility and other audition terms and conditions.

For those unable to attend an open casting call, home video may be submitted. Instructions can be found at

All applicants must be 18 years or older on or before August 1, 2016.

Season Five winner Claudia Sandoval’s cookbook “Claudia’s Cucina” featuring authentic Mexican recipes with innovative and modern flair is now available for preorder on and will be released wide this summer. Season Four winner Luca Manfe launched his cookbook, “My Italian Kitchen,” in 2013. Season Three winner Christine Ha, the series’ first blind contestant, continues to be an inspiration to millions. Her cookbook, “Recipes from My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food,” is a New York Times bestseller.

America’s first MASTERCHEF winner, Whitney Miller, is the author of “Modern Hospitality: Simple Recipes with Southern Charm.” Her recipes have been featured in various national publications, such as People and Cooking Light. Fans can also find their favorite All-Star contestants, including Luca and Claudia on the MASTERCHEF Cruise setting sail in the Caribbean Nov. 2016. For more information on the cruise visit

MASTERCHEF is produced by Endemol Shine North America and One Potato Two Potato, and is based on a format created by Franc Roddam and Endemol Shine. Elisabeth Murdoch, Eden Gaha, Robin Ashbrook, Gordon Ramsay, Adeline Ramage Rooney, Patricia Llewellyn and Ben Adler serve as executive producers. “Like” MASTERCHEF on Facebook at Follow the series on Twitter @MasterChefonFOX and follow the judges on Twitter: Gordon Ramsay – @gordonramsay; Christina Tosi – @christinatosi.

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Epcot’s Tapestry of America: Celebrating African American Heritage

Guests can celebrate Black History Month throughout the month of February with special experiences at the American Adventure Pavilion at Epcot. From historical displays and intriguing artifacts to book signings by Celebrity Chef G. Garvin and best-selling author Terry McMillan, guests can take a stroll through the pages of America’s history and learn about the influence of African-American culture.


Dorcas Williams, marketing manager at Disney Parks and Resorts, tells us that Epcot’s American Adventure Pavilion features Legacy Portraits of famous African Americans and their contributions around the rotunda as well as “Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection,” a collection of pieces displayed at the American Adventure pavilion at Epcot, which draws from an extensive assortment of rare art, documents, books and artifacts attributed to African American history. The exhibit will be available all year long.


At the Liberty Inn at the American Adventure, guests can try out a peach cobbler based on Mrs. Fischer’s recipe. Mrs. Abby Fischer was one of the first African American authors to publish a cookbook dating back to 1881. “What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Southern Cooking,” includes 160 Southern-style recipes.

Chef G. Garvin, one of many authors visiting Epcot for Black History Month this month, spoke with us about his plans from upcoming food product projects as well as a new cook book based on tastes of the South (which includes not only Georgia and the Carolinas, but also New York and Los Angeles). He currently has a list of spices, olive oils, cookies, and sea salts available at


Chef Garvin grew up cooking for his mother and grandmother as part of his daily chores – yardwork, cleaning, making dinner. It wasn’t until when he was 18 years old when he worked at the Ritz Carlton in Atlanta that he fell in love with cooking. The streets in his childhood were rough – kids were getting jailed or killed, and he did not want any part of that.

“Food didn’t save me, I saved myself through food,” Chef Garvin tells us.

Today he works with Magic Johnson as Chief Culinary Advisor for SodexoMAGIC, which serves as the catering culinary team for Walt Disney World. He also has several successful shows under his belt, including Road Trips on Cooking Channel.

The first person who told Chef Garvin that it might be a good idea to get into television was Chef Tim Keating of The Flying Fish. When Chef Garvin was 20 years old, the two actually roomed together at the opening of the Ritz Carlton in Palm Springs. Chef Keating told him he had the personality that would do well on TV and gave him opportunities to demo when he could.

His latest book, “Turn Up The Heat With G. Garvin: More Than 200 Incredible Recipes from the Chef Who Keeps it Super Simple”, is available now online.

Press Release

Black History Month Author Series
In honor of Black History Month, guests have the opportunity to meet three renowned African-American authors and cultural icons select Saturdays during the month of February. Book signings are open to all guests and hosted at the American Adventure Pavilion, where books written by each guest author are also available for purchase throughout the month.

Terry McMillan, author of “Who Asked You?”
Saturday, Feb.6, 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.: Critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Terry McMillan is known for her powerful novels and short stories about African American women. Her novel, “Waiting to Exhale,” was adapted into a film starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett in 1995. Many of McMillan’s other novels, including the award-winning “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” “Disappearing Acts,” and “A Day Late and a Dollar Short,” have also been brought to life for film and television audiences. McMillan recently published her eighth novel, “Who Asked You?,” a story about the challenges and strength of a family.

Chef G. Garvin, author of “Turn Up The Heat With G. Garvin: More Than 200 Incredible Recipes from the Chef Who Keeps it Super Simple”
Saturday, Feb.13, 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.: Acclaimed chef and television host, Chef G. Garvin has mastered the art of cooking as well as writing. His first cookbook, “Turn Up the Heat with G. Garvin: More Than 200 Incredible Recipes from the Chef Who Keeps it Super Simple,” received an American Literacy Award and nomination for an NAACP Image Award. Chef Garvin has enjoyed continued success with his subsequent cookbooks and television show “Road Trip with G. Garvin” on The Cooking Channel.

Pattie LaBelle, author of “Recipes for the Good Life”
Saturday, Feb. 20, 12:30-1:30 p.m. (one signing only): Patti LaBelle is a New York Times bestselling author, two-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist, three-time Emmy nominee, and star of the cooking television series, “Pattie LaBelle’s Place.” This beloved soulful performer is just as captivating in the kitchen as she is on stage with her hit cooking show and cookbooks filled with southern-style recipes, including her recent book, “Recipes for the Good Life.”

Terrence Roberts, author of “Lessons from Little Rock”
Saturday, Feb. 27, 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.: Terrence James Roberts, Ph.D. is one of the “Little Rock Nine,” a group of history-making African American students who, in 1957, were the first black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Roberts was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bill Clinton in 1999. His book, “Lessons from Little Rock,” is a memoir of his experience during the integration of Little Rock Central High School and the lessons learned from that historic episode.

New pieces at Epcot’s Kinsey Collection exhibit
“Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection,” a collection of pieces displayed at the American Adventure pavilion at Epcot, draws from an extensive assortment of rare art, documents, books and artifacts attributed to African American history. Philanthropists Bernard, Shirley and their son Khalil Kinsey share some of their vast personal collection of artifacts spanning 400 years of history. Touch screens and guest-activated lanterns with narration by Whoopi Goldberg, Diane Sawyer and other celebrities help bring the history to life. Three new pieces recently have been added to the exhibit which is open daily.


“Banneker’s Almanack and Ephemeras” by Benjamin Banneker, is the mathematical and mechanical work of Benjamin Banneker. Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State, read and approved of Banneker’s work. The almanac was published in 1771.

“My Bondage and My Freedom” by Frederick Douglass, is an autobiography recounting Frederick Douglass’s life as a slave and that as a freeman. Published in 1855, the book is a first edition.

“Survivor” by Elizabeth Catlett, is a beautiful Linoleum block print inspired by a photograph taken by Dorthea Lang titled “Ex-slave with a Long Memory.” The print was created in 1983.

“Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection” is included in Epcot admission. For more information about the collection, visit


Legacy Portraits Tell a New Story
As guests explore the American Pavilion Rotunda, they are greeted by images of influential men and women who contributed to the progress of America. New portraits have been added to the collection for the month of February to further illustrate the contributions of many African American notables.

The new displays feature African American figures such as Thurgood Marshall, the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice; Ronald Erwin McNair, the second African American to fly in space; and Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to stage a public airplane flight in America.

Taste of Southern Comfort
Mrs. Abby Fischer was one of the first African American authors to publish a cookbook dating back to 1881. “What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Southern Cooking,” includes 160 Southern-style recipes. One popular dessert recipe featured in the cookbook, Mrs. Fisher’s Peach Cobbler, is available for guests to purchase and enjoy at Liberty Inn at the American Adventure Pavilion.


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The Eighth Annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest is set for Saturday, February 27 and Sunday, February 28, 2016 for more than 30,000 foodies and wine lovers to experience unique local cuisine paired with wines from around the globe.

Located in the heart of downtown Orlando at Lake Eola on Robinson Street, the two-day Fest features mouth-watering dishes from 30 of Orlando’s premier restaurants, 50 domestic and international wines and live entertainment.

Downtown Food & Wine Fest Feb 27-28 2016 v12

Date / Time: Saturday, February 27 (noon to 9 p.m.) and Sunday, February 28, 2016 (noon to 7 p.m.)
Location: Located in the heart of downtown Orlando at Lake Eola along Robinson Street
The live entertainment schedule* includes:

Saturday, February 27, 2016

12:50 p.m. Adam Moreno
2:30 p.m. Orange Avenue
4 p.m. The Mud Flappers
5:30 p.m. Special acoustic performance by Mike Posner
6:30 p.m. Michael Franti Acoustic Duo
7:45 p.m. American Authors

Downtown Food & Wine Fest Feb 27-28 2016 v14

Sunday, February 28, 2016
12:45 p.m. Nicholas Marks
2:15 p.m. Sidereal
3:45 p.m. Derek & The Slammers
5:20 p.m. Best of the Fest Awards
5:45 p.m. Firefall

*Performance times and artists subject to change without notice.

Downtown Food & Wine Fest Feb 27-28 2016 v4


One-Day General Admission
Admission is $15 per person, per day with advance online purchase. Admission at the door is $20 per person, per day.

Two-Day General Admission
For all-weekend Fest fans, a two-day ticket is available for $25 per person with advance online purchase.

Wine Tasters Club
A limited number of Wine Tasters Club passes will be available for purchase for $15 per person at the Fest. Club members will enjoy up to five 2 oz. pours of their choice throughout the Fest and a souvenir lanyard.

Ultimate Fest Experience
A limited number of Ultimate Fest Experience packages are available for $100 per person, per day and includes a VIP parking pass, general admission, Wine Tasters Club, $20 value in food and beverage tickets, access to the private stage-side VIP tent, private wine/beer bar with premium wines (food and beverage tickets required) and access to private bathrooms reserved for VIP guests.

Food and beverage tickets are available at the Fest for $2 each; food and beverage offerings range from one to four tickets.

Downtown Food & Wine Fest Feb 27-28 2016 v13

The Downtown Food & Wine Fest is produced by MIX 105.1, 1059 SUNNY FM, and 101.9 AMP Radio in partnership with the Central Florida Chapter of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) Educational Foundation.

“With more than 1,000 events a year, Downtown Orlando offers residents and visitors alike with unique experiences and affordable entertainment options,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Reoccurring community events like the Downtown Food & Wine Fest help to highlight our growing dining scene and bring awareness to our local businesses, strengthening economic growth to the area.”

Food Samplings at Downtown Food & Wine Fest v4

Steve Carver, senior vice president and market manager, CBS RADIO Orlando commented, “Through the power of radio and the strength of our partnerships with the FRLA and Orlando restaurateurs, foodies and fans will come together to celebrate the sights, sounds and tastes of Orlando.”

Thirty top restaurants are scheduled to present culinary tastings including the return of the 2015 Foodie Award winners as honored by a panel of Orlando elected officials, food writers and reporters and celebrity chefs.

2015 Foodie Award: Marlow’s Tavern Shrimp & Grits
2015 Sweet Treat Award: Primo at JW Marriott Orlando Cannoli Gelato Cone
2015 Best of Show:Siro at Orlando World Center Marriott (winner 2013-2015)

Food Samplings at Downtown Food & Wine Fest v2

Stay Connected
For more information on the Downtown Food & Wine Fest:
Like Downtown Food & Wine Fest on Facebook
Follow @DTFoodWineFest
Use #DTFoodWineFest on Twitter and Instagram
Call the events hotline at 407-919-1048

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Marlow’s Tavern is bringing the tempting taste of the Big Easy to Central Florida with its annual Bayou ‘n Bourbon menu, available through March 28.

“I have always been impressed by Louisiana’s rich culinary heritage, which draws on French, German, Spanish, African and Native American influences,” said John C. Metz, executive chef and co-founder of Marlow’s Tavern. “We’ve been letting the good times roll in our kitchen creating appetizers, entrées and cocktails that show off that unique blend of flavors from New Orleans with a Marlow’s twist. Let’s just say we’re throwing our own parade for the palate.”

To kick up the local spice another notch this year, Metz’s team has added Classic Creole seasoning from Woodstock-based GG’s Fine Food to several of its recipes.

“Linda “GG” Gibson learned to cook Creole the old-fashioned way – from her grandmother,” Metz said. “Her seasonings are very traditional in the classic Louisiana style.”

When the Cajun craving strikes, the Bayou ‘n Bourbon menu is ready for lunch and dinner. New items on this year’s menu include the following:

crab dip

· Bayou Lump Crab Dip – Creole-spiced lump crab, andouille, spicy mustard, Asiago, Parmesan crust and toasty French baguette

redfish poboy

· N’awlins-Style Po’ Boy – fiery spiced red fish, apple-cabbage slaw, shredded lettuce, Roma tomato and Creole rémoulade on toasted baguette

Marlow's Muffaleta
Marlow’s Muffaleta

· “The Big Easy” Muffaletta – imported mortadella, Genoa salami, spicy capicola, GG’s secret recipe olive salad, melting provolone on pressed ciabatta bread


· Sweet Bourbon St. Rib-eye – blackened Jack Daniel’s Honey-blazed rib-eye, jumbo asparagus and a creamy crawfish pie

Plus, Marlow’s signature Bayou ‘n Bourbon menu favorites include Roasted Chicken & Shrimp Gumbo, Daily Flatbread from the Bayou, Deconstructed Jambalaya and Honey Bourbon Bread Pudding.

For guests who prefer to be spirited away New Orleans-style, Marlow’s has crafted a special menu of drinks and handcrafted cocktails including:

· “Pat’s” Marlow’s Hurricane – a New Orleans tradition stolen from Pat O’Brien’s. His secret recipe all “jazzed up” with Bacardi light rum, fresh orange juice and a floater of Bacardi. Hold onto your beads!

· Bourbon Rum Punch – Old Forester, Meyer’s Dark Rum, vanilla, cream & nutmeg

· Bourbon Street Lemonade – house-made New Orleans original, Southern Comfort, lemonade, kiss of mint, fresh lemon & lime and a dash of simple syrup

· Sokol Blosser Evolution, Oregon 16th Edition – unique blend of nine different white grapes, produced and bottled in Oregon with hand-selected Oregon, Washington & California fruit, bright straw, exotic tropical citrus, hints of spicy apple with lush, crisp, bright finish

· ABITA® Turbodog-Draught – Turbodog Dark Brown Ale brewed with pale, caramel, chocolate malts and Willamette hops, rich flavors, perfect partner for all things Cajun!

· ABITA® Wrought Iron IPA-Bottle – Abita Wrought Iron IPA is the resilient, indestructible nature of New Orleans. India Pale Ale forged with intensity of apollo, equinox and mosaic hops, bright as iron from a fiery forge, perfect for a night on the bayou

During the celebration, one lucky grand prize winner and a guest will enjoy a weekend in New Orleans listening to music legends such as Stevie Wonder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Flo Rida and many more at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Visit for contest details and registration.

Marlow’s fans can also enter on the tavern’s Facebook page for a chance to win Bayou ‘n Bourbon prizes between February 19 and March 17. A prize winner will be randomly selected to win dinner for four ($100 value), with a second drawing for dinner for two ($50 value).

Finally, Instagram users are encouraged to share their Bayou ‘n Bourbon experience and tag @marlowstavern. Lucky winners will have their image regrammed and receive a complimentary Honey Bourbon Bread Pudding.

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