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

0 8

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


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


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

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

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


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

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


0 130

Orlando’s Mills 50 District is known for its eclectic and diverse restaurants and businesses – from the Vietnamese markets and restaurants to fusion restaurants like Tako Cheena and Pig Floyd’s serving up creative and delightfully delicious dishes with a modern twist. Lately there have been new restaurants popping up so here is our latest guide to the Mills 50 District – visit soon!

Black Rooster Taqueria
Image via

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

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

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

Lazy Moon Pizza

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

Tasty Wok

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

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

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

King Bao
Address: 710 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803, United States
Phone: +1 407-237-0013

King Cajun Crawfish – Vietnamese influenced Louisiana cajun cuisine

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

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

Mamak – Malaysian street food


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

1231 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 270-4688

Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa

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

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

Chuan Lu Garden – Sichuan Chinese cuisine

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

Chuan Lu Garden
Phone (407) 896-8966
??1101 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803

The Strand

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

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

Vietnam Cuisine:

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

Vietnam Cuisine

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

For more on where to eat when visiting Orlando, Florida, visit:

0 79

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

Here are some of my favorite eats:

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

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

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

Hunger Street Tacos – Beef brisket quesadilla and watermelon margarita 

Bulla Gastrobar – Chicken and Mushroom Paella and Seafood Salad

Four Rivers – Cochon lait tacos

Boi Brazil
Peterbrooke Chocolatier

Antonella’s Pizza Winter Park

Umi Sushi

Anthros sponsor

0 305

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


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

Spam and eggs rice bowl

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

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

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

0 194

Kate McDermott, who learned to bake pie from her own Iowa grandmother, has taught the time-honored craft to thousands through her Pie Camps and workshops. In her first book, she offers a lifetime of secrets, pie wisdom, and good advice. (Step one: keep everything chilled, including yourself.)

ART OF THE PIE: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO HOMEMADE CRUSTS, FILLINGS, AND LIFE by Kate McDermott is now a nominee for the 2017 James Beard Awards in Baking & Desserts.
ART OF THE PIE has been receiving accolades since its publication—it was named one of 2016’s best cookbooks, “a new baking bible” (Wall Street Journal) and “one of the best books ever written on the subject.” (Publisher’s Weekly). It was nominated for two IACP awards, including one for the extraordinary photos from the New York Times’ Andrew Scrivani.

We had a chance to interview her recently via e-mail!

Tell us about yourself and background.
I’ve always been fortunate to do things I love to make a living and support my family. For decades I worked in the field of professional music, first as an accompanist and then as a teacher and coach. All the while I baked and cooked. When I’m not in my kitchen baking a pie to give away or teaching piemaking, I love to garden, sew, knit, read, and take walks with my sweet dog Gretapie.

· What inspired you to start baking and cooking?
As a little girl I was very fortunate to have baking mentors, including my grandmother and neighbors, all of whom inspired and encouraged me. There was never any right way or wrong way to do things and we celebrated my successes as well as my more creative experiments…a/k/a “failures.” Of course I really enjoyed the edible results! As years went by I found great joy in baking for others. I was usually the one who would bring cakes and cookies to school for birthdays or just because.

· What are your first childhood food memories?
I’m a little embarrassed to say that my first food memories were not all that great. I was not fond of over cooked vegetables when I was a little girl and remember sitting at the table pushing green mush around on my plate until I had taken the required number of bites so I could run outside to play.

· What were some of your favorite dishes to cook growing up and now?
I still love baking chocolate chip cookies, scones, muffins, and of course homemade bread. Growing up in Southern California I was introduced to excellent Mexican food and I make some pretty darn good enchiladas!

· What are some pro-tips for aspiring bakers that you’d like to give?

  • Recipes are starting places but be sure to try it once as written before changing it.
  • Use the freshest and most flavorful ingredients you can find especially for seasonal fruit pies.
  • In pie making it is important to keep everything chilled, including the fats, your hands, and your environment.
  • Make enough to give away to friends and neighbors and enjoy your time in the kitchen.

· What are some of your favorite recipes that can be found in the book?
Chicken pot pie, shepherds pie, apple pie, sour cherry pie, chai pie, and my very favorite peach pie.

· Favorite dish to bake ever?
Besides pie? Home-baked bread!

” on Amazon here.

0 242
Brandon McGlamery Prato Luma Winter Park

Winter Park’s Ultimate Foodie Festival

The 32nd Annual Taste of Winter Park takes place on Wednesday, April 19, 2017!
Taste of Winter Park showcases more than 40 of Central Florida’s top chefs, bakers, caterers and confectioners for a fun evening at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market. All-inclusive tickets feature unlimited samples of signature dishes, refreshing beverages and decadent desserts.
Top off the evening with live entertainment from saxophonist Johnny Mag Sax, raffle drawing and more!

Event Date

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
5 – 8 p.m.
Winter Park Farmers’ Market, 200 E. New England Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789

Event Details

Taste of Winter Park features popular eateries and new destinations sure to become your new favorite. Vendors must be members of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce in order to participate.


32nd Annual Taste of Winter Park Participants

ABC Fine Wine & Spirits
Another Broken Egg Café
Antonella’s Pizza
Bailey’s Coffee Service
Barnie’s Coffee & Tea
Ben & Jerry’s
Blaze Pizza
Boi Brazil Churrascaria
Brewstillery/ The Bear and Peacock Brewery
Bulla Gastrobar
Costco Wholesale
Create Your Nature
Florida Distributing
Gator’s Dockside Baldwin Park
Heathrow Country Club + Legacy Club
Hunger Street Tacos
Jeremiah’s Italian Ice
John and Shirley’s Catering
Kona Grill
Luke’s Kitchen and Bar
Luma on Park
Maestro Cucina Napoletana
Mellow Mushroom
New Moon Market
Olde Hearth Bread Company
Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park
Publix Supermarkets Inc.
Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen & Bar
Rubio’s Coastal Grill
Scotchie’s “Delivering Celebrations”
Square 1
Sweet Tomatoes
Swine Family Restaurant Group
T.R. Fire Grill
The Gourmet Cuisine at Rollins College
Tijuana Flats Tex-Mex
Umi Japanese Restaurant
Wayne Densch
Whole Foods Market
Zona Fresca
4 Rivers Smokehouse

Raffle Prizes
This year our raffle prizes include 2 Dine Around Winter Park packages, featuring discounts and gift cards for our participating vendor restaurants. More information and additional prizes coming soon!


The admission fee is $40 for Winter Park Chamber members and $50 for general admission.
Option to purchase a group of 10 tickets at a discounted rate for $350.
Tickets ordered in advance will be available at Will Call beginning at 5 p.m. on the day of the event. Prices are all-inclusive and tickets cannot be returned, refunded or exchanged. Event held rain or shine. Must be 21 and up to attend.
Buy tickets here:

0 256

PRESS RELEASE: Ocean Prime chefs pair up to create culinary experience for The Dinner Party Project
Tickets now available for pop-up sushi dinner on April 9 benefiting The Human Experience Orlando

ORLANDO AND TAMPA, FL (March 20, 2017) – Ocean Prime’s Orlando and Tampa locations are teaming up with The Dinner Party Project to host a sushi pop-up dinner on Sunday, April 9 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at 1010 West in Orlando. Tickets are $100 per person and a percentage of proceeds will benefit The Human Experience (THE) Orlando.

During the dinner, Ocean Prime Orlando Executive Chef Jeremy Mattson and Ocean Prime Tampa Executive Chef Adam Polisei will walk guests through an Asian-inspired, seven-course meal featuring:

Gravlax and caviar with spring pea, cured lemon, fennel, shiso and crispy skin
Ocean Prime’s Ahi Tuna Tartare with wasabi avocado and ponzu
Hamachi Duo with beet infused rice, red onion pickle and watermelon radish
A selection of popular Ocean Prime sushi rolls including the lobster roll, spicy tuna and prime roll
Ramen featuring king crab, pork belly, mushroom and black truffle
Kobe beef with crispy rice gomae, mirin butter and unagi
For dessert, a coconut sorbet with toasted dashi flakes and shaved micronut

Beverages will include cocktails mixed with Tito’s Homemade Vodka, wine pairings, sake pairings and Credo Coffee. The evening promises to be entertaining as well as appetizing with Opera Orlando providing the soundtrack. Cocktail attire is requested. The dinner is limited to 80 guests who can purchase tickets online here.

ABOUT OCEAN PRIME: Ocean Prime is a modern American restaurant and lounge from renowned restaurateur Cameron Mitchell. The award-winning Ocean Prime delivers an extraordinary experience with stunning settings, an impressive menu of seafood and prime cuts of steak, signature cocktails, a Wine Spectator-honored wine list and truly genuine hospitality.  From the kitchen and bar, there is an appreciation for ingredients that comes through in every dish. The menu is classic and yet there is a modern sensibility to the preparations which range from lighter fare to indulgent seafood presentations, juicy steaks and decadent desserts.  Each Ocean Prime location is dramatically designed and inspired by the unique energy of the city where it’s located.  With stunning spaces, luxe details and truly exceptional service, Ocean Prime is an ideal place to socialize, talk business, celebrate and indulge. For more information, please visit

ABOUT THE DINNER PARTY PROJECT: With humble beginnings, The Dinner Party Project (TDPP) started simply as a gathering of friends, new and old, in Founder Dana Marie Roquemore’s home. Through word-of mouth and social media, The Dinner Party Project has quickly become a favorite way for Orlandoans to connect, in welcoming settings complete with local food and great conversation. While the TDPP brand has grown, each dinner maintains its original intimacy and character—with only eight guests who are randomly selected to attend. TDPP also engages the community at large dinners that gather the masses. They are a way to enjoy the incredible food & arts scene we have in Orlando, and a great way to meet new people. For more information or to take part in a future dinner party, visit TDPP here.


0 280

This month I was honored by the Orlando Sentinel and Food Editor Lauren Delgado by being inducted into the Orlando Sentinel’s Culinary Hall of Fame for 2017, its 10th class. I joined many other great local figures in our culinary industry and am just humbled to have been awarded. We started in 2008, almost 10 years ago, and it has been nothing but a joy and pleasure to share stories about our local food scene. Here is to another 10 years ahead!

For the article, visit:

As the child of Vietnamese refugees, Ricky Ly grew up surrounded by food, the center of almost every celebration or festival.

The civil engineer decided to flex his more creative side and promote Orlando’s burgeoning culinary scene by starting the Tasty Chomps food blog in 2008.

His first post? A review of a now-closed local, family-owned Indian restaurant near the University of Central Florida.

“I really was inspired to help spread the word about food, restaurants, cuisines and cultures that are not typically heard of,” said the 31-year-old Orlando resident.

Since then, Ly has become an expert on the Orlando restaurant scene. He has led fellow food writers on culinary adventures, written “The Food Lovers’ Guide to Orlando” and been featured on ABC’s “The Chew.” He also started the Orlando Foodie Forum, a Facebook group for food lovers to share their experiences at Central Florida restaurants.

Tasty Chomps isn’t alone in its growth — the Orlando food scene has developed, as well. Orlando’s diversity is what makes the city so different, Ly said.

“I take it with pride to be able to share a little bit of Orlando wherever I go, whatever I do.”

For the article, visit:

0 423

Inspired by the culture and tradition of authentic Spanish cuisine, husband-and-wife duo Vassilis and Katerina Coumbaros, Tapa Toro at I-Drive 360 features tapas-style dining, a full-service bar and Flamenco dancing.

The restaurant leads with a 12-seat paella pit serving up family-style paella, a traditional Spanish dish made of rice, vegetables, and meat or seafood.

We recently chatted with Chef Wendy Lopez of Tapa Toro about her inspiration and her favorite eats.

Tell us about yourself!

Chef Wendy Lopez: I’m from Michoacan, Mexico, and I have been cooking since I was little. I received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu here in Orlando. I began my career at the Isleworth Golf and Country Club in Windermere, then later I became a sous chef under Certified Master Chef Russell Scott.

I’ve been with Tapa Toro since we first open. I’ve had the chance to create a really unique menu that combines traditional Spanish dishes with contemporary flavors and presentations that are unexpected, but still accessible, for Orlando foodies.

Where did you get your inspiration to cook?

My family. Both of my parents were restaurateurs, so I have been playing around in professional kitchens since I was three years old. I also think my Mexican culture has something to do with my passion for cooking. In my culture, we wake up thinking about what we are going to eat that day and plan our whole day around it.

Favorite first memories of food?

My first memory of food is eating rabbit for the first time — and loving it!

Every afternoon, me and my brother would come home from school, wash our hands and eat what Mom cooked us. One day when I was about eight, we were eating something our Mom told us was chicken, but it did not taste like chicken. Me and my brother looked at each other thinking, “What’s going on here? This isn’t chicken!” Finally (after some begging and pleading) she told us what we were eating was actually rabbit. She didn’t want to scare us. But it was quite the opposite, we both loved it. After that we requested rabbit all the time. Recently, when I hosted a Chef’s Table at Tapa Toro, I prepared a duck à l’orange — which was a tribute to my mom’s rabbit à l’orange recipe.

Another favorite food memory is trying oysters for the first time in St. Augustine. I was a little older — about 12 years old. My brother and I wanted to try oysters. My mom insisted that we weren’t going to like them, but we tried them and ended up eating 30 oysters each. I thought they were so refreshing and tasty.

We were always curious about food and wanted to try everything.

Best Dishes to Try at the Restaurant?

When you come to Tapa Toro, you have to try the paella. I’ve worked very hard to perfect it and it’s what we are best-known for. (Don’t ask me for the secret recipe!)

My favorite dish on the menu (besides the paella) is the stuffed piquillo peppers.

It’s the one tapa where you take a single bite and taste so many different, incredible flavors. Spanish cuisine has many influences, including Morocco and the Mediterranean.

The Moroccan spices and the Greek Yogurt sauce in the piquillos best describes my eclectic style of cooking and Tapa Toro’s contemporary take on traditional Spanish.

What is one dish you would make for yourself to eat after a long day in the kitchen?

Every day I go home and I make tacos. (You can really tell I’m from Mexico!) I probably eat tacos at least six days a week. Tacos with queso fresco and refried beans are such a comfort food for me. Growing up, beans were always cooking in a room, somewhere.

That comfort that comes from the smell and that taste of tacos has stuck with me since I was little.

Favorite local Orlando places to dine?

When I go out, I love to eat Asian food because it’s so different from my day-to-day. Shin Jung Korean BBQ on Colonial Drive is one of my favorites because the meat is so full of flavor. If I’m in the mood for pho, House of Pho on John Young & Sand Lake is my go-to spot. I love the people at Thai Thani on International Drive because I joke that no spice is too hot for me, so they try to make me cry with how spicy they prepare my food… But it’s still never too hot for me to handle!

DINING NEWS: Tapa Toro and the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye are teaming for Tapas Before Take-Off, a new dining package. Now Orlando residents and visitors can enjoy a three course prix fixe meal and complimentary drink at Tapa Toro, plus a ticket to ride the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye for the low, all-inclusive price of $49.95, including tax and gratuity. (Tickets to ride retail for $25.) For more info, visit


Tapa Toro (I-Drive 360, 8441 International Dr) Enjoy an Easter brunch buffet with Spanish flair, flamenco dancers & DJ from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Buffet is $35 per adult and $15 per child. Add bottomless mimosas and sangria for $15. Reservations required.

Taverna Opa (Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Dr) Free glass of house wine with purchase of any lamb entrée. Traditional Greek entertainment all day.

Mother’s Day

Tapa Toro (I-Drive 360, 8441 International Dr) Mom drinks free during a special Spanish-style brunch buffet with live entertainment from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Complimentary bottomless mimosas and sangria available with purchase of adult buffet. $35 per adult and $15 per child.

Taverna Opa (Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Dr) Mom eats free on Mother’s Day with family-style menu for four. One offer per party. Traditional Greek entertainment all day.

Father’s Day

Tapa Toro (I-Drive 360, 8441 International Dr) Enjoy an all-you-can-eat steak & chorizo paella special. Meal includes chicharrones and flan. Plus dad drinks a free 20oz beer with purchase. Paella special is $30 per person.

Taverna Opa (Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Dr) Dad eats free on Father’s Day with family-style menu for four. One offer per party. Traditional Greek entertainment all day.

TAPA TORO AT I-Drive 360
8441 International Dr #260, Orlando, FL 32819

0 771

“Women in the Kitchen: A Celebration at Lake Meadow” will celebrate and support the James Beard Foundation’s work in advancing women in the culinary industry. This seated four-course dinner takes place on the beautiful grounds of Lake Meadow Naturals farm and will feature food from James Beard Foundation Award-winning women chefs and restaurateurs from across the country.

The Women in Culinary Leadership is an accelerated, learning-by-doing mentorship program. Offered under the auspices of the James Beard Foundation, WCL gives women with a background in hospitality or the culinary arts and at least two years of relevant work experience a chance to work with top industry leaders and build in-depth skills in the kitchen or in restaurant management and hospitality. The James Beard Foundation is committed to correcting the gender imbalance in the restaurant/culinary industry by cultivating, training, and supporting women throughout their professional careers.

This event proudly supports the James Beard Foundation’s Women Entrepreneur Leadership Program, an annual fellowship for a class of women to attend an entrepreneurship and leadership training program developed with and hosted at Babson College. Curriculum will address basic business and finance concerns, provide gender-specific training and skill development, provide access to top mentors in the field, and provide ongoing support to participants.

Host Chef:
JBF Award Nominee Kathleen Blake (The Rusty Spoon, Orlando)

Participating Chefs:
Paula DaSilva (Artisan Beach House, Miami)
Katharine Elder (Elderslie Farm, Bramble Café, Valley Center)
Adrienne Grenier (3030 Ocean, Fort Lauderdale)
JBF Award Winner Melissa Kelly (Primo, Rockland)
JBF Award Winner and Board Chair Emily Luchetti (The Cavalier, Leo’s Oyster Bar, Marlowe, and The Park Tavern, San Francisco)
2012 Atlanta Rising Star Whitney Otawka (Cumberland Island), JBF Award Nominee
JBF Award Nominee Jennifer Puccio (Marlowe, Park Tavern, The Cavalier, San Francisco)
JBF Award Winner Anne Quatrano (Bacchanalia, Star Provisions, Floataway Cafe, Little Bacch, W.H. Stiles Fish Camp, SUMMERLAND, Atlanta)
Gloriann Rivera (1921 by Norman Van Aken, Mount Dora)
Music by Beth McKee.

Sun, April 23, 2017
3:00 PM – 6:30 PM EDT

Lake Meadow Naturals
10000 Mark Adam Road
Ocoee, FL 34761

TICKETS – $150

We spoke to Chef Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon (who was recently nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Chef of the South) about the upcoming benefit dinner.

1. How did this team of amazing wonderful chefs come together for this dinner?

I invited them! I spent 36 hours in San Francisco cooking for the first fundraiser for this program. The program is the first of its kind geared to those of us that are seasoned in our careers. I wanted to keep the momentum going. Some are chefs I met along the way, some I have worked for or with and all INSPIRE me!

2. What are some challenges you have faced in the culinary world as a woman and how did you overcome them?

Being taken seriously, I still get, “Can I speak to a Manager or the Owner”, and raising a family. I just did it, as far as the family part! I chose my bosses carefully and worked in the type of restaurants where I knew I would learn the most. As far as being taken seriously, I just smile and say, “That’s ME!”!

3. What advice do you have to young women who wish to go into the culinary field?

Do the research! Don’t job hop, look for chefs that provide you with great ingredients, a structured atmosphere, and challenge you to taste and try!! Be fearless about starting at the bottom! It takes TALENT to multitask and an educated palette to get seasoning on point.

4. What are some dishes that might be featured at the dinner (I know it is a little early!)

Melissa Kelly, PRIMO, will be doing pasta. Anne Quatrano, Bacchanalia, StarProvisions, FloatAway, WH Stiles Fish Camp, Little Bacch, SUMMERLAND, will be doing a delish fish crudo. Paula DaSilva and Adrienne Greiner are teaming up for the Hor d’oeuvres and Emily Luchetti, on dessert. Of course there will be lots of eggs from Lake Meadow!

5. Chef Kathleen, you recently were nominated for the James Beard Award – how do you feel about this and what do you think makes your food stand out?

YAHOOOOOOOOOOO!!! It just affirms my philosophy of cooking within the seasons and buying as much local, thoughtfully grown and responsibly sourced ingredients as possible. They require minimal manipulation and that flavor stands out! Also, Central Florida deserves recognition for all the great dining options – so many talented chefs and so many ingredients right here!

6. What are your most popular dishes right now at The Rusty Spoon?

Always the stuffed deviled eggs, the crudité’s, the “55” and the fresh pastas. We have a Chef’s Whim that changes daily – Today, Lake Meadow Pork Hocks, tomorrow, Florida Softshell crabs arrive!

7. What do you cook for yourself when you are looking for “comfort food”, say after a long day at work?

EGGS! I’m also obsessed with an Indian comfort food, kitchari (a dish made with rice and lentils_ right now.

Lake Meadows Naturals Deviled Eggs

0 577

In celebration of “National Paella Day,” the chefs at Spanish Winter Park restaurant Bulla (“boo-ya”) Gastrobar will prepare a massive paella on the restaurant’s patio during its Happy Hour. Guests will have the opportunity to observe how the paella is made and will receive free samples to enjoy out on the patio, which will be decked out in festive décor.

The restaurant will feature a special market menu all week long that will include a variety of paellas, including Paella Valenciana, which stems from the east coast of Spain and is believed to be the original paella recipe.

The special market menu will be featuring the following:

Marisma rice, sofrito rojo, Granja beans, snails, chicken, rabbit, saffron, green beans, artichokes

Marisma rice, sofrito rojo, Florida fresh lobster, yellow tail, Florida clams and wild caught Florida shrimps

Bomba rice, sofrito verde, green beans, rainbow carrots, artichokes, Granja beans, saffron

Bomba rice, sofrito verde, Iberico pork back ribs, Spanish chick peas, heirloom carrots, aioli

Marisma rice, calamari sofrito, ink, artichokes, clams, wild caught prawns, aioli

Bomba rice, fresh farm vanilla infused cream, air carrot-orange cake, caramel crusted confit, peach tartar

Bulla, which is Spanish slang for “chatter,” celebrates the beauty of tapas-style dining and handcrafted cocktails in an energetic and vibrant atmosphere. Known for its Paella, Huevos “Bulla” and Sangria, Bulla prides itself on its authentic Spanish cuisine with an artisanal twist.

Monday, March 27, 2017
5 – 7 p.m.

Bulla Gastrobar
Winter Park, Fla. 32789

For more information, please visit Follow Bulla Gastrobar on Facebook at and on Instagram @BullaGastrobar.

0 457
ENSALADA DE PULPO 19. Grilled octopus, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber

Bulla Gastrobar is a new restaurant in Winter Park inspired by the most popular tapas restaurants in Spain. Bulla (pronounced boo-ya), which is slang for chatter and what people are talking about, and is led by Bulla Gastrobar Executive Chef Miguel Rebolledo. The sleek and modern restaurant is a bustling, high energy place where friends go to meet up for a drink and to share in good company and good food.

According to his official biography, Chef Miguel Rebolledo “brings his extensive culinary experience, talents and unending love for Spain to Bulla Gastrobar. While Rebolledo’s seaside upbringing naturally leads him to fresh ingredients like seafood, vegetables, and rice, his stints with contemporary chefs have created a constant desire to experiment. After attending culinary school and learning traditional recipes, Chef Miguel Rebolledo improved his techniques at one of Spain’s most famous restaurants, El Bulli, under Chef Ferran Adria. In that position, Rebolledo cooked with some of the biggest names in the industry, for some of the most important people in the world including royalty.”

We recently spoke to Chef Rebolledo via e-mail about his experiences and inspiration who was at first inspired to cook by his family.

He told us, “I started to help my father to cook at 6 years old, I used help him with the paellas every Sunday in summer, and we would also in winter cook rosquillas, traditional dessert like donuts.”

Some of his favorite childhood memories involved Christmastime, when his home was like a tasting – “We started with cured meats and cheeses, cold seafood , and then some fried stuff, like lamb brains or croquetas, more seafood but this time in sauce, like clams in green sauce, then fish , monkfish, spanish hake…then a meat, always baby lamb, and finally an assortment of desserts”

When he worked at Bulli in Spain, “it was at first a dream, and then working in el Bulli with the Adrias brothers changed my life, my vision of the way we cook, the way we understand the food, technique, and I can say it changed the way I see my life.”

Some of the elements of El Bulli that he brings to Bulla Gastrobar include his vision of how they cook, totally respect to the products, and high standard in quality.

One of Rebolledo’s signature dishes is “Huevos Bulla,” made with eggs, homemade potato chips, Serrano ham, potato foam and truffle oil. The dish is mixed at the table.

Cava, peach schnapps, triple sec, strawberries, blueberries
Eggs, homemade potato chips, Serrano ham, potato foam, truffle oil*
Eggs, homemade potato chips, Serrano ham, potato foam, truffle oil*
‘Fermín’ Serrano ham, aged 18 months , LOMO IBÉRICO 10.
Cured Iberian pork loin, LEONORA 9.
Soft goat’s milk from León, medium strong flavor
Crispy potato cubes, spicy brava sauce, aioli
Ahi tuna, mango, avocado, soy sesame vinaigrette, Sriracha aioli*
Grilled octopus, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber
Cumin marinated grilled pork, mojo verde, Greek yogurt

Traditional fried dough, chocolate sauce, dulce de leche

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


0 1223

Alton Brown, the Food Network television personality of Good Eats, Iron Chef America, and Cutthroat Kitchen fame, will be returning to Orlando for his live “Eat Your Science” show at the Dr Phillips Performing Arts Center on April 22, 2017.

On his last visit to Orlando, he stopped by some local favorites such as Beefy King, Credo and Lineage Coffee, Skyebird Juice Bar, Olde Hearth Bakery, Kappo at East End Market, The Ravenous Pig, Pho 88, and Pom Pom’s Tea House and Sandwicheria.

On March 14, Alton Brown posted this on Facebook:

“Dear Orlando: The last time I was in your fine city for Alton Brown Live, you directed me to these fine establishments. Well…I’m coming back April 22 ( and need your help again. Where should I go? #ABRoadEatsORL”

I humbly submit a few places for his next visit, including a few of my favorites.

Knowing he is probably on a tight schedule, I recommend visiting the Mills 50 area first, where he can hit up a few spots at once:

1. Mamak – Malaysian street food


Dishes to try: Wontons in hot peanut sauce and the roti canai.

1231 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 270-4688

2. Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa

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

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

3. Chuan Lu Garden – Sichuan Chinese cuisine

Dishes to try: La Zi Fish, fried with Sichuan peppercorns and the pan fried house made dumplings.

Chuan Lu Garden
Phone (407) 896-8966
??1101 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803

4. Vietnam Cuisine:

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

Vietnam Cuisine

1224 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803

5. Seito Sushi at Baldwin Park:

Dishes to try: Pork Tonkotsu Ramen – made with a 24 hour pork broth, and topped with slices of braised pork belly, poached Lake Meadows soy pullet egg, and house made garnish

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

6. The Osprey Tavern:

Dishes to try: Spicy Egg Pizza

The Osprey Tavern
4899 New Broad Street
Orlando, FL 32814 407-960-7700

7. The Donut King in Winter Park

Dishes to try: The Cronut or the Traditional Glazed Donut

Donut King
3716 Howell Branch Rd Winter Park, FL 32792
(321) 316-4817

8. Viet-Nomz

Dishes to try: Vietnamese pork tacos and Vietnamese coffee

Viet-Nomz Vietnamese Pho & Street Fare

7581 University Blvd, Winter Park, FL 32792
Phone: +1 407-636-6069

9. Shishco Mezze and Grill

Dishes to try: The Gyro bowl, a generous bowl with a large lavash flat bread base overflowing with bulgur wheat grain, sliced pickled red onion, chopped tomatoes, and slices of beef and lamb doner / gyro.

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

10. Bulla Gastrobar in Winter Park

Dishes to Try: Huevos Bulla, made with eggs, homemade potato chips, Serrano ham, potato foam and truffle oil. The dish is mixed at the table.

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

Where would you send Alton Brown? Use the hashtag #ABRoadEatsORL on facebook, twitter and instagram to send him your recs.

0 522
The Raglan Road Irish Dancers perform at the Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Spring in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

This year, the 2017 Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Disney Springs is running March 16-19, featuring the most authentic St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Central Florida and a round-the-clock lineup of talented musicians, award-winning Irish dancers and authentic cuisine by Irish celebrity chef and PBS/Create TV personality Kevin Dundon.

The Irish craft beers served at the Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

If you want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day like the Irish, here’s some tips from Raglan Road (ha!):
1. Please don’t call the holiday “St. Patty’s.” It’s either “St. Patrick’s Day” or “St. Paddy’s.”
2. A shamrock has three leaves (not four – that would be a clover).
3. Americans invented the St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1737 in Boston.
4. Most Irish pubs do a full month’s business on St. Patrick’s Day.
5. Guinness sell 13 million pints on St. Patrick’s Day versus the usual 5 million daily.
6. Raglan Road is America’s #1 Irish Pub.
7. Green beer is an American invention. Raglan Road does not serve green beer.

We were able to chat with Raglan Road Master Chef Kevin Dundon in a Q & A recently:

Master Chef Kevin Dundon at Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Springs on December 13, 2017. Photo by Tom Burton

Tasty Chomps: Where did you get your inspiration to cook?

Chef Kevin Dundon: As a child, I remember watching my mother and my grandmother, busy in the kitchen. Mum instilled in me a sense of passion for the food we ate, and this is where my passion for food began. Mum always ensured we got involved in the preparation of family meals, and this trend now continues with my own children.

Favorite first memories of food?

My first memory is years back when I was a child. We were in Kilkee, County Clare for a weekend holiday. I went with my grandfather fishing. We caught mackerel, and that night my mum cooked some. Next morning, I decided I wanted to impress my grandparents with breakfast in bed. I prepared toast, tea and some lovely mackerel! The mackerel were undercooked, the tea was cold and so was the toast. They didn’t say anything, ate it all and said it was delicious. I found out years later of their kindness, the lengths they went to keep me happy!

Appetizer D’Lirrah, served at Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vist, FL.

Best Dishes to Try at the Restaurant this year?

I love the Heaven on Earth Baby Back Ribs, glazed in a Guinness reduction – they are fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-the-mouth tender, and made to share!

What is one dish you would make for yourself to eat after a long day in the kitchen?

I love a bacon buttie, made on freshly buttered toasted sourdough bread, with crisp, hot bacon straight from the grill, freshly shredded lettuce, a slice or two of beef tomato.

Favorite local Orlando places to dine?

Obviously Raglan Road is my favourite place to dine; however, The Pharmacy in Orlando is a good spot too!

Smokie city, a baked haddock and cheese dip appetizer served at Ragna Road Irish Pub at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, FL
Ger’s bread and butter pudding, a dessert served at Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, FL.
Cashel king salad, served at Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, FL
Fish and chips as served at Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

PRESS RELEASE: 2017 Raglan Road Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival Runs March 16-19
at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Disney Springs
Award-winning new acts include Young Dubliners and The Byrne Brothers

Running March 16-19, the most authentic St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Central Florida will feature a round-the-clock lineup of talented musicians, award-winning Irish dancers and authentic cuisine by Irish celebrity chef and PBS/Create TV personality Kevin Dundon.

Guests can enjoy a mighty selection of beers, spirits and craft cocktails with Dundon’s exceptional Irish fare while musicians and dancers perform on multiple stages, indoors and out, from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. daily. Guests can accent their Irish holiday attire with complimentary face painting available for the occasion from noon to 8 p.m. throughout the festival. The stellar music lineup includes:

Young Dubliners – Quite possibly Celtic rock’s hardest working band, playing hundreds of shows to thousands of fans across the United States and Europe every year. Known for their exciting live performances, the Young Dubliners bring their hearty rock and Irish-infused tunes to the Raglan Road stage.

The Byrne Brothers – An exceptionally talented traditional Irish music family from Donegal. They are Luca, 12, on button accordion; Finn, 10, on banjo, mandolin and whistle; and Dempsey, 7, on whistle and bodhran (percussion). Their show combines exciting traditional Irish tunes with modern dance beats, and they’re known for their fun interaction with their audience.

HanaLena Band – A sister duo based out of Nashville, Tenn. Hannah and Caroline grew up in the heart of Mississippi and were surrounded by bluegrass, country and the Delta blues. Their unique blend of acoustic instrumentation, moving lyrics and tight vocal harmonies make for an entertaining show.

The Raglan Roots Coalition – More than 10 years down the road, Raglan Road felt it was time to shake its boogie – Roots style, with this popular Irish house band. Think soul-rocking Celtic bluegrass with some hip-swingin’, knee-shakin’ funky roots beats.

Swingin’ On the Gate – This four-piece band of multi-instrumentalists with roots in legendary Lisdoonvarna in County Clare have serious crossover credentials and musical pedigree including traditional and classical training. They are multiple medal winners at Fleadhs music competitions and have toured in Italy, Switzerland and the United States.

Rollickin’ Rua – A fresh and exciting four-piece traditional Irish music ensemble from Ireland and Scotland. Each of the accomplished musicians brings a wealth of musical talent and experience to their vibrant live show of music and song.

The Raglan Road Irish Dancers perform at the Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Spring in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

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

The entertainment schedule will be posted at Festivities at Raglan Road will run from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. daily throughout the Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival.

It’s not bleedin’chowder!, a seafood and potatoes dish at Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Spring in Lake Buena Vista, FL

Guests can order from Raglan Road’s popular brunch, lunch, dinner and bar menus that include new dishes recently introduced by Master Chef Dundon. The dinner menu features loin of bacon and cabbage, the authentic Irish dish of St. Patrick’s Day, plus other Irish classics created with Dundon’s modern twists. Throughout the event, the restaurant’s Cooke’s of Dublin counter-service eatery will offer Irish favorites, as well, including fish and chips.

Keen eye for the shepherd’s pie, as served at Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

On March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, guests will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis with a cover charge of $10 for each guest age 18 and older. Reservations can be booked for other festival days by calling 407/938-0300.


0 655

My first experience with Yummy House was during college when my friends and I would travel to Tampa to visit friends at USF. The main draw: a 3 dishes for $20 menu at the time for very decent Cantonese style Chinese cuisine – a great deal for some delicious food for a bunch of starving, poor college students.

They have since expanded to many other cities outside Tampa, including right here in the Orlando area in Altamonte Springs. There is a special 3 for $22.99 menu still, which is great for family style dinners, but do mind you have to ask for it.

The regular menu is still a good bargain for what you get. I would count Yummy House in the top 3 Chinese restaurants in the Orlando area. Some may argue that their sauces are a bit on the sweet side, but their Hong Kong style roast duck and their perfectly cooked sweet and sour Mandarin Pork Chop (known as Peking pork chops in other restaurants) push Yummy House to the top for my list, especially in a city which surprisingly lacks many good Chinese establishments for the time being.

Here is the 3 for $22.99 menu!

Below are some of my choices for a dinner at Yummy House, enjoy:

Crab Meat Fish Maw Soup $14.00
Fresh crab meat and fish maw in broth.
Salt and Pepper Calamari $7.99
Beef Chow Fun $9.50
Cantonese style rice noodles stir-fried with beef, bean sprouts and green onion.
Salted Fish with Chicken Tofu Clay Pot $12.00 (try any of the hot clay pots)
Stir-fried white meat chicken, salted fish and tofu in brown sauce.
Hong Kong Style Roasted Duck $12.00 half / 22.00 whole
Traditional HK style roasted duck marinated with our house special five spice sauce.
Mandarin Pork Chop $9.50
Stir-fried pork chops and onions in sweet and sour Mandarin sauce.
Snow Pea Tips with Roasted Garlic $12.00
stir-fried snow pea tips with roasted garlic

For the full menu, visit:
Yummy House Orlando
(407) 339-8877
478 E. Altamonte Dr. #102
Altamonte Springs, FL

Hours: Sunday & Monday lunch: 11am – 2:45pm, dinner: 4:30pm-9pm
Tuesday – closed
Wednesday & Thursday lunch: 11am – 2:45pm, dinner: 4:30pm-9pm
Friday and Saturday lunch: 11am – 2:45pm, dinner: 4:30pm – 9:30pm

0 424

Once known as “Downtown Disney”, the new Disney Springs has undergone a major renovation, with a strong array of new and diverse dining options.

Among new dining choices awaiting Town Center guests are restaurants developed by James Beard award-winning chefs. Frontera Cocina serves up gourmet Mexican cuisine and creative cocktails from the menu envisioned by celebrity chef Rick Bayless, a six-time James Beard Foundation winner. Chef Art Smith, two-time winner of the James Beard Award brings a unique taste of gourmet southern cuisine and Florida agriculture to the heart of Disney Springs with Homecoming Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine.

Guests can dine off a shipshape menu at The BOATHOUSE or enjoy, at Morimoto Asia, Pan-Asian cuisine from celebrity chef Matsaharu Morimoto, of Iron Chef fame. STK Orlando offers guests a fine dining experience set in chic, contemporary surroundings. Finish off the evening with a relaxing stroll to grab a signature gelato at Vivoli Gelateria or a crafted cocktail at Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar.

Some of the new specialty-dining locations are now open at Disney Springs:

Amorette’s Patisserie
B. Wolf’s Sausage Co.
D-Luxe Burger
Morimoto Asia Street Food
The Daily Poutine
STK Orlando
Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza
Coca-Cola Store and Rooftop Beverage Bar
Frontera Cocina
Homecoming – Florida Kitchen and Shine Bar

When completed, Disney Springs will have doubled the number of shops, restaurants and other venues for guests to explore, resulting in more than 150 establishments.



0 636


Eat, Sip, Meet James Beard Award-Winning Cookbook Authors/Chefs
Art Smith and Norman Van Aken at
10th Annual ‘Reading between the Wines’ Event April 12
Adult Literacy League Fundraiser at Orlando Science Center Serves Community

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 13, 2017) – James Beard Foundation award-winning cookbook authors and celebrity chefs Art Smith and Norman Van Aken headline the 10th annual “Reading between the Wines” Adult Literacy League of Central Florida fundraiser April 12, 2017 from 6-9 p.m. The event at Orlando Science Center is presented by Bank of America.

Two of the country’s most renowned culinary artists and celebrity cookbook authors, Smith and Van Aken will engage in a lively discussion moderated by local author Bob Morris. Central Florida News 13 feature reporter and anchor Allison Walker-Torres will emcee the evening.

Smith and Van Aken will share their take on Florida’s distinctive larder and harvests. Covering topics ranging from pecans and mangoes to beef to seafood, these masters of Florida fare will dish with the audience and sign books at the event celebrated for its generous food and wine offerings by some of Orlando’s top restaurants.

During the festive three-hour event, guests can mix and mingle while enjoying savory and sweet tapas-sized noshes by Swine & Sons, 4Rivers Smokehouse and The Coop, Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant of Disney Springs, Carmel Café, Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse at Hyatt Regency Orlando, The Palm and Olde Hearth Bread Co. Art Smith’s new Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen at Disney Springs and the new 1921 by Norman Van Aken in Mount Dora, also will feature signature bites. Darden Restaurants and its suppliers and PRP Wine International will provide wines to pair with the food. Guest also can bid on silent auction items that include everything from theme park tickets to resort spa and restaurant packages.

All event proceeds will support Adult Literacy League (ALL) programs and services designed to build a literate community. ALL provides one-to-one tutoring and classes to more than 1,000 adults on a weekly basis, plus books and learning materials to 600 preschoolers in low-income families each year.
Tickets for the event are on sale now. Individual tickets are $90; a $600 Connoisseur’s Table includes four event tickets, a reserved cocktail table, two gift bottles of wine and recognition as a sponsor in the event program.

When the sipping, noshing and bidding wind down, guests can grab a seat to hear from event headliners Smith and Van Aken.

Norman Van Aken is “the founding father of New World Cuisine,” a celebration of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavors. He also is known internationally for introducing the concept of “fusion” to the culinary world. He is on the James Beard list of “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage,” and his Orlando restaurant “NORMAN’S” was nominated as a finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Restaurant in America.” He was even named a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for “Best Chef in America.”

Van Aken has published five cookbooks and one memoir: Feast of Sunlight 1988, The Exotic Fruit Book 1995, Norman’s New World Cuisine 1997, New World Kitchen 2003 and My Key West Kitchen 2012 (with Justin Van Aken), No Experience Necessary, The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken, 2013 and My Florida Kitchen (with Janet Van Aken) 2016. His radio show, “A Word on Food,” appears twice a week on NPR station WLRN 91.3 FM. He has appeared on television, including on CNN, Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations,” and Jimmy Kimmel Live. He is the Chef-Owner of “NORMAN’S at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, Orlando.” His new venture is a Cooking School, “In the Kitchen with Norman Van Aken,” in partnership with Candace Walsh, being built on Biscayne in Miami. 1921 by Norman Van Aken is located in Mount Dora, Fla.

Art Smith has received the culinary profession’s highest awards and has cooked for some of the world’s most famous celebrities. In 1997, Smith became the personal, day-to-day chef to Oprah Winfrey, a position he kept for 10 years. Now, he coordinates and cooks for events all around the world. Smith was honored by Chicago magazine as a Chicagoan of the Year in 2007 and is a two-time James Beard Foundation award winner. In 2008 Chef Art Smith received an Honorary MBA Degree, awarded by the Dedman School of Hospitality at Florida State University and was inducted into the Chicago Culinary Museum’s Hall of Fame in 2010. He has made numerous television appearances including on Iron Chef America, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, Fox News, Extra, Entertainment Tonight, BBQ Pitmasters, The Dr. Oz Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
He is also the author of award-winning cookbooks: Back to the Table, Kitchen Life: Real Food for Real Families, Back to the Family, and Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort, which focuses on healthy cooking and healthy living.

Chefs Art and Norman will sign books following their question-and-answer period.
Visit for more information. To purchase tickets to Reading between the Wines call 407/422-1540, ext. 111 or click on .

The Adult Literacy League (ALL) was created by a group of dedicated volunteers in 1968 and, since then, has helped thousands of adults 18 and older gain employment and economic self-sufficiency through one-on-one tutoring and classes in reading, writing, math, computer skills and other key studies. ALL holds classes in Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and its Family Literacy program teaches parents to become the first and most effective teacher in their children’s lives. When an adult cannot read, it is a detriment not only to the individual, but also to our community. ALL’s Reading between the Wines event was designed to raise awareness, funds and friends so we can continue to change people’s lives through literacy. For more information and to purchase tickets to the event, please call Gina Solomon at 407-422-1540 ext. 111.

0 787

Photos by Negin Alimohammadi

Chef Hari Pulapaka of Cress Restaurant in Deland recently hosted an outdoor family style meal for 300 featuring the cuisines of the 7 countries who are part of the Trump administration’s immigration ban – Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Here are a few scenes from the dinner captured by our good friend, Negin, who herself is an Iranian national who has lived here for the past 6 years as an engineer and who was personally effected by the immigration ban on her way back to Orlando from a family visit to Iran.

Chef Hari

Guests who attended could taste “deeply flavoured stews, herbaceous sauces, rustic breads, aromatic rice dishes, and complementing side dishes.”

“My goal is to present the meal with dishes from many countries during the same course to illustrate that there are few rules and most dishes complement each other and that the power of food as a great equalizer, at a communal table, is a lesson for the ages,” said Chef Hari Pulapaka in a recent interview.

The benefit dinner raised over $10,000 for International Rescue Committee (, a global humanitarian aid, relief and development nongovernmental organization. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers emergency aid and long-term assistance to refugees and those displaced by war, persecution or natural disaster.

Couscous with carrots, beets, broccoli and cauliflower (Syria)
Lamb maraq (Somalia)
Saffron rice pudding, rose water, dates (Iran)
Polow with saffron, raisins and cashews (Iran)
Roasted corvina with spices and olive oil (Iraq)
Wagyu beef and potato kubba (Iraq)

0 511

Celebrating 24 years when it kicks off March 1, 2017, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will jump-start spring with blooms aplenty and gardens of edibles including toothsome morsels from the new Northern Bloom and The Berry Basket Outdoor Kitchens.

A new, next-generation Belle topiary from “Beauty and the Beast” will debut in France, and a redesigned “Cars” play garden will introduce a colorful new character topiary sure to capture children’s imaginations.

The 90-day festival, open March 1-May 29, will feature an irresistible array of new gardens and character topiaries, popular entertainers and tasty food and drink offerings:

Fresh, farm-market food and beverage flavors will debut at the new Northern Bloom and The Berry Basket Outdoor Kitchens that will join 13 returning Outdoor Kitchens. Delectable chef-inspired bites from Northern Bloom include Seared Scallops with French Green Beans and Butter Potatoes with brown-butter vinaigrette and Applewood smoked bacon. A Maple Popcorn Shake for sipping can become an adult libation with the addition of some Crown Royal Maple Whiskey. At The Berry Basket, the Lamb Chop with Quinoa Salad and Blackberry Gastrique can pair with the new Founders Raubeaus Pure Raspberry Ale.

Chef Gregg Hannon

One of the popular Outdoor Kitchen gardens, Urban Farm Eats, will return with savory bites, sweet treats and ideas for planting produce that can inspire growing numbers of guests who want to learn to grow their own edibles.

“A lot of people, including young children, are serious foodies now, and they have lots of questions about gardening,” says Eric Darden, festival horticulture manager. “We’re getting more and more people in their 20s and 30s asking, ‘How can I grow this?’ I think we’ll be creating more gardeners because people can see what’s possible.”

The festival, including all gardening programs, exhibits, concerts, complimentary English Tea Garden tours and special appearances, is included in regular Epcot admission.

For more information about the 24th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or visit

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

0 740
Dim sum

There’s no English signs to let you know you’re at Mr Wong’s Family Taste Chinese Cuisine until you’re inside. It just says “Chinese Cuisine” outside.

This place is in the so called “Chinatown” plaza here in Orlando – on Colonial Drive just west of Pine Hills Road where 1st Oriental Supermarket is located. It’s right next to Sapporo Ramen.

With that said, good dim sum is hard to find in Orlando. I think Ming Bistro and Golden Lotus are a few of the better ones in Orlando, but it’s not saying much. Mr. Wong’s would be up there in the top 5, but their service knocks it down a few notches. The decor is a bit Spartan and the waitresses here are a bit more rude than usual. But the har gow shrimp dumpling and beef chow fun are quite good.

Good dim sum is hard to find in Orlando.
Dim Sum menu
Dim Sum menu
Fried shrimp ball
Fried stuffed taro dumpling
Turnip Pudding
The push cart – dim sum served daily 10am – 3pm
some fried stuffed tofu
Shrimp Rice paste
Stuffed eggplant

Fox 35’s Valerie Boey and the members of AAJA Florida
Dim sum
Siu Mai and Ha gow

Mr Wong’s Family Taste Chinese Cuisine
5076 W Colonial Dr
Orlando, FL 32808

0 589

Ninth Annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest at Lake Eola Set for February 25 and 26, 2017

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 20, 2017) – The Ninth Annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest is set for Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26, 2017 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 ofOrlando’s premier restaurants, 50 domestic and international wines and live entertainment.  A portion of the proceeds benefit UCF Foundation, Inc. and Valencia Foundation.

Headline entertainers include Gavin DeGraw and KC and The Sunshine Band. Additional live music artists to be announced

Date / Time: Saturday, February 25 (noon to 9 p.m.) and Sunday, February 26, 2017 (noon to 7 p.m.)

Location: Located in the heart of downtown Orlando at Lake Eola along Robinson Street


Fest Admission: 

 One-Day General Admission

Admission is $20 per person, per day with advance online purchase. Admission at the door is $25 per person, per day.

Two-Day General Admission

For all-weekend Fest fans, a two-day ticket is available for $35 per person with advance online purchase.

Wine Tasters Club

A limited number of Wine Tasters Club passes will be available for purchase for $20 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 $115 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 & Beverage Tickets:

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

“One of my favorite things about Downtown Orlando is the variety of restaurants and event options,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “The Downtown Food & Wine Fest combines both by adding to the array of event options residents and visitors can attend, as well as, helping to enhance the vibrancy of the area all the while increasing awareness of our local businesses and strengthening economic growth in the area.”

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 Orlando Downtown Development Board (DDB), restaurateurs, foodies and fans will come together to celebrate the sights, sounds and tastes of Orlando.”

Top restaurants are scheduled to present culinary tastings to complete in the Golden Fork Awards as honored by a panel of Orlando elected officials, food writers and reporters and celebrity chefs.

2016 Foodie Award:Baoery’s Asian Tacos

2016 Sweet Treat Award:Siro Urban Kitchen’s Black Cherry Liquid Nitro Gelato with Balsamic Drizzle

2016 Best of Show:Primo by Chef Melissa Kelly


Stay Connected

For more information on the Downtown Food & Wine Fest:

0 1045

Holler & Dash Biscuit House opened its third restaurant, and first location in Florida, at 6268 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway in Celebration on Thursday, Nov. 3.

Serving a menu of Southern comfort food with a modern twist and an emphasis on signature biscuits, the Tennessee-based eatery was established by parent company Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.

Culinary director Brandon Frohne brings Southern-inspired fare as well as a beverage selection featuring craft beer and wine, coffee from Orlando’s Lineage Roasting and innovative flavors of handcrafted sodas such as pineapple basil and mango-jalapeño mash.

To support Florida’s local farms, Holler & Dash is serving fresh juices from the local groves of Lambeth Grove and Seminole Pride Noble to your glass. The Celebration restaurant also created a seasonal strawberry lemongrass soda as a nod to Plant City’s strawberry harvest.

We spoke with Chef Brandon Frohne recently about his background and his work at Holler and Dash.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m somewhat of a Nomad. I was born in St. Pete, Florida and grew up between Florida and Tennessee. I was raised in a family that loves to cook, and owned restaurants in Switzerland, Germany, and US. I grew up watching my mom, grandmother, and aunt cook. I was so inspired by them. I found myself in the kitchen asking them questions and being intrigued by what they were cooking whether it was Mom’s famous cheeseburger pie, Oma’s chocolate mousse, or my aunt’s schnitzel holstein. At 17, I found my way into the kitchen as an apprentice and never left. Soon after I discovered that cooking was my passion. It helped me transition from being a mischievous adolescent to really feeling like as though I had a purpose.

From there I continued to apprentice, self study, and take culinary coursework while working in fine dining restaurants in Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia. I tried to absorb everything I could. By the time I was in my mid-20’s I had developed a good palate and was able to creatively and skillfully express myself through food. I was able to draw on the technique I had acquired, and pair it with European influence from my family and American-Southern influence from being raised here and coming up in the industry here. The Southeast is where I gained an appreciation for working with local farms, artisans and seasonal ingredients.

I began entering culinary competitions and, to my surprise, found a lot of success. I won the 2011 & 2012 People’s Choice Award at the Savor Nashville Chef Challenge, 2nd place at the International Biscuit Festival for my sweet biscuits, and I was a semi-finalist in the World Food Championships’ World Chef Challenge in Las Vegas.

Guac, fried green tomato – and bacon, bacon, bacon – the Holler Back Club biscuit.

Riding on the coat tails of these competitions, I launched Forage South, a pop-up restaurant that later developed into the Forage South food brand that makes artisanal pantry essentials for the everyday home cook and includes all natural mixes that really capture my long-time-love for biscuits.

At age 27 I opened Mason’s Southern Provisions in Nashville and that’s really where my career took off. While working there I had the opportunity to be featured on national TV shows like Food Network’s Chopped, Chopped Redemption, Travel Channel’s Secret Eats and Chow Masters. I was awarded Chef of the Year by the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association in 2015. My team and I also received the prestigious invitation to cook at the James Beard House in 2013 and 2015. The opportunity with Holler & Dash presented itself toward the end of 2015 and, hungry for my next project, I jumped right on board. Biscuits are a Southern staple and the most nostalgic food item for me because they remind me of family, friends and my childhood. Joining the team at Holler & Dash is my proudest accomplishment so far because it represents everything that came before it. I feel incredibly grateful.

 Favorite first memories of food?

I have several from my childhood: my father teaching me how to make a béchamel sauce, watching my mom make her famous cheeseburger pie (and inviting all the kids in the neighborhood to try it), my sweet grandmother butchering veal into paillards for veiner schnitzel, the oh-so-delicious richness of my aunt’s demi glace, my childhood neighbor Edna Parrot’s biscuits and gravy, and working with my brothers in my grandmother’s restaurant when we were kids. They’re all favorites and I draw inspiration from all of them everyday.

– Best Dishes to Try at the Restaurant?

The Kickback Chicken Biscuit: this one is standout for me. Free range chicken, creamy goat cheese, sweet and spicy pepper jelly, and scallions. So good!

My brunch go-to, the Grit Bowl: creamy cheddar grits, fried eggs, smoky bacon, hot sauce, and scallions.

The Strawberry & Dash: a fun play on a classic strawberry shortcake with creole cream cheese, house made whipped cream, and tasty marinated strawberries – all piled on a buttery, flaky biscuit!

– What is one dish you would make for yourself to eat after a long day in the kitchen?

I love cooking one-pot meals after a long day mainly because I don’t have the energy to clean my kitchen after I wreck it! I love anything vegetable driven, so Shakshuka is always a go-to. It’s this spicy Tunisian tomato stew with kale, spices, feta cheese, and whatever vegetables are in season. I normally coddle eggs right in the broth, so it’s sort of my spin on a classic tomato gravy. Typically I eat that with a crusty baguette and it makes my soul happy!

– Favorite local Orlando places to dine?

I’ve been incredibly busy with the launch of Holler & Dash, but my friend Emily Ellen is a local, rad, kitchen star who made me a bucket list of restaurants and bars to visit. I’m slowly working my way through the list. It’s really important that Chefs and restaurants support each other and their communities. I’ve been to Cask & Larder, Bauhaus and the Rusty Spoon recently. They all have super tasty menus. Go check ‘em out!

For more information, visit

0 1007
Maraq (Somalia)

The Trump administration recently issued an immigration ban from seven Muslim majority countries (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen). This ban – the way it currently exists – was overturned by the federal judicial courts as unconstitutional. It not only banned refugees, but there were also cases of authorities detaining and deporting legal VISA holders and others, including here at the Orlando International Airport.

This story is personal to me as I am the child of refugees, my parents having escaped by fishing boat from Vietnam before finally being sponsored into the United States. The America I know and love has always been a welcoming and gracious nation, one full of opportunity and a place of safe harbor for those most persecuted and oppressed. If not for America’s open hearts, who knows if my parents would not have been one of the many thousands who died at sea or captured by pirates.

Chef Hari Pulapaka, a native of Mumbai, India, came to the U.S. for graduate studies in 1987. An Associate Professor of Mathematics, he has been at Stetson University since the fall of 2000. When not teaching or working on mathematics and related areas, he is at Cress, a restaurant in downtown DeLand that he owns with his wife, working as an active professional chef. He is also a four-time semi-finalist for the prestigious James Beard Award-Best Chef South and has been invited to cook on multiple occasions at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City.

Chef Hari Pulapaka is soon hosting a family style meal at Cress featuring the cuisines of the 7 countries who are part of the administration’s immigration ban – the 300 tickets are practically sold out at publication time of this article.

I was honored to speak to him briefly about the upcoming project.


Tell us about how this dinner came about, what inspired you to create “7 Courses, 7 Countries”?
I was sitting in a plane on the tarmac in Atlanta, GA having just landed, coming off a Taste of Mathematics event hosted by the Mind Research Institute, when we heard that Delta Airlines was experiencing computer glitches nationwide and that it would be several hours before we could deplane.

At least I had a dedicated Wi-Fi connection. I logged into Facebook to find a number of posts related to the chaos and stress emanating from the Executive Order essentially banning US entry by citizens of the 7 countries. As a first generation immigrant, for some reason, I was struck by the callous and inhumane manner in which the Executive Order was enacted and impulsively felt the urge to resist with a message. So I posted that I was inspired to create such a dinner.

The reaction that ensued was mostly positive and encouraging. I usually do what I say, so, here we are.

What are your responses to criticisms about mixing politics and food?
That is a bunch of crap. First of all, business owners are human beings first. To expect them to not be vocal about political issues when they feel the natural urge to do so is almost an expectation of servitude.

“Shut up and cook” or “Shut up and get me my whatever”.

Secondly, the reality of the matter is that the United States Food System is as tightly woven with the political system as one can possibly imagine. Every decision made by consumers and producers have political implications and are influenced by politics.

The food industry lobby in Washington DC is quite impressive and I don’t necessarily mean that as a compliment. For example, they managed to make the health of future generations a political issue. I understand that the devil is often in the details, but the political will is both lacking and powerful, often to the detriment of progress.

So, if I’m guilty of mixing politics and food it is because I care about improving the state of food in this country and beyond. I’m ready to live with the consequences. I’ve done it my way since the inception and I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

Polow (Iran)
Polow (Iran) – Courtesy Hari Pulapaka, Cress Restaurant

Tell me about the ingredients and dishes that are going to be served, what kind of research or assistance will you be getting in crafting these dishes? What prior experiences have you had with these 7 cuisines?
It is still premature for me to give anyone a full menu, but I’ve always prided myself on supporting American farmers and farms. On some occasions, I’ve gotten ingredients produced in another country, but by and large, our ingredients are produced in the United States. So, the menu will be a series of dishes representing culinary influences from Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Iran, Libya, and Yemen (SISSILY).

Guests can expect deeply flavoured stews, herbaceous sauces, rustic breads, aromatic rice dishes, and complementing side dishes. My goal is to present the meal with dishes from many countries during the same course to illustrate that there are few rules and most dishes complement each other and that the power of food as a great equalizer, at a communal table, is a lesson for the ages. Many of the cuisines have significant intersection with flavours I am used to creating whether they are from the Indian subcontinent or the Middle-East. So, I would like to think that I am not out of my proverbial league.

But, I guess time will tell and our guests will ultimately decide. It’s $40 a person for a lot of food with all the proceeds going towards charity. Need I say more? My research has and will include a lot of reading and imagining. But in the end, my own (global) sensibility will have to lead the way.

As an immigrant, what are your thoughts about what is going on right now, what can we hope for?
On the one hand, I am hopeful that the growing resistance by both immigrants and multi-generational citizens against this climate of hate and prejudice is a sign that the America we love (as immigrants) is alive and well. On the other hand, it is disheartening to have to justify our presence to natives after having already sacrificed so much and more importantly having given so much towards the growth and betterment of this place we now call home. My hope is that ultimately, decency will prevail. But my greater hope is that bigotry and discrimination will end once and for all in my lifetime (I’m not holding my breath).

Maraq (Somalia)
Maraq (Somalia) – Courtesy Hari Pulapaka, Cress Restaurant

What do you hope that people will come away with from this dinner?
First and foremost, I hope people will come away with believing (even more) in the healing power of food amidst differences of opinion and ideology. Secondly, I am hopeful that guests will feel empowered to be messengers in favour of inclusivity across the spectrum. I hope that our generation, the next one, and beyond will forge ahead with demanding and finding better solutions to the complex problems of the world. And lastly, I hope that people begin experiencing before judging.

“7 Courses – 7 Countries”

“7 Courses – 7 Countries” is a family-style meal presented by Cress Restaurant with guest collaborators featuring the amazing cuisines of IRAQ, IRAN, LIBYA, SOMALIA, SUDAN, SYRIA, and YEMEN. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to a soon to be determined non-profit organization dealing with immigrant and refugee issues. The cost to attend is $40, all-inclusive. BYOB. Sunday, February 26, 2017, 4-6 pm. For Tickets, Visit Here.


0 585

Known for their seafood dishes, Bonefish Grill in Longwood recently underwent a new renovation with an industrial, sleek look that harkens back to an estuary or mangrove idea – a place where fish love to hang out at. There’s even a large decorative art piece of a shiny metallic fish on one of the walls.

In a way Bonefish Grill is a higher end version of Red Lobster. We were recently invited to check out the new digs and were impressed with the improvement in design as well as in the dish executions.

Bonefish Grill
Bonefish’s new interior decor
Bonefish Grill – Inside Look
Bonefish’s new light fixtures
Crab and Corn Chowder at Bonefish – very delicious.
Crab-Crusted Alaskan Cod garlic and crab crumb dusted, topped with lump crab, white wine lemon butter sauce
Bonefish special miso glazed chilean seabass with greens
Bonefish’s signature Macadamia
Nut Brownie- flourless brownie, raspberry sauce, vanilla ice cream, sprinkled with macadamia nuts

Bonefish Grill
1761 W State Rd 434, Longwood, FL 32750

0 466

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is known for their excellent steaks and wine selection.  Guests can now celebrate Valentine’s Day at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar from Feb. 10-19 with a special three course prix fixe menu.

Guests can enjoy a three-course prix fixe menu, starting at $79.95

Menu includes:

o   Amuse-Bouche: Shrimp and Sea Scallop

o   Salad: choice of Fleming’s Salad or Modern Caesar

o   Entrée Duo: 8-ounce Filet Mignon with choice of New Zealand Ora King Salmon or Australian Lobster Tail

Menu enhancements include:

o   Dessert: Raspberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding

o   Wines from JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset

For reservations, visit Follow Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar on Facebook and Instagram at @FlemingsSteakhouse.

There are two locations in Orlando:
8030 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, FL 32819
933 N Orlando Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789

CONTEST: $100 Giveaway to Fleming’s!

E-mail us at by 5pm on February 25th with your answer to these two questions:

  1. What one dish would you try at Fleming’s?
  2. Where is your favorite place for Steak in Orlando? (Can be any)

0 615

Event Features Over 60 Unique Eats and More Than 55 Local and International Craft Brews

For 14 consecutive Saturdays, the Seven Seas Food Festival is coming to SeaWorld Orlando Feb. 11 – May 13, 2017.

Each week guests can sip and sample their way around the world of international coastal cuisine while enjoying craft beers, paired wines and specialty entertainment.

The fun extends beyond the food with live performances each Saturday from top country, rock and Latin music artists.


Seven Seas Food Festival Headline Entertainment:

While new flavors will tempt guests’ taste buds throughout the park, live entertainment will have everyone dancing, singing and laughing along to some of their favorite artists. The Seven Seas Food Festival brings 14 live acts to SeaWorld Orlando’s Bayside Stadium.

  • Lynyrd Skynyrd (February 11)            
  • Lee Brice (February 18
  • Bill Engvall (Feb 25)       
  • Styx (March 4)     
  • Justin Moore (March 11)
  • ZZ Top (March 18)         
  • Phillip Phillips (March 25)     
  • Coming Soon (April 1)   
  • Village People (April 8)      
  • Commodores (April 15)      
  • Oscar D’León (April 22)    
  • Olga Tanon (April 29)        
  • Grupo Mania (May 6)
  • Coming Soon (May 13)     

 Seven Seas Food Festival Coastal Cuisine:

Complete with 11 new global markets, guests will set sail on a taste adventure as they discover more than 60 unique Asian, Latin, European, Polynesian and North Atlantic dishes throughout the park. A wide of array of wine, specialty cocktails and over 55 local and international craft brews will be featured exclusively during the Festival as well. A selection of menu highlights include:

  • Asian Market- Peking Duck Lo Mein with Fresh Oriental Vegetables
  • Korean Market- Bingsu Salted Vanilla Ice Cream topped with Caramel Popcorn
  • Mexican Market- Braised Chicken Adobo with Mole Sauce
  • Caribbean Market- Cinnamon Slow Roasted Pork Belly with Sweet Plantain Mash
  • Florida Market- Fried Kataifi Orange drizzled with Local Honey
  • Mediterranean Market- Smoked Cured Salmon topped with Sweet Dill Mustard
  • North Atlantic Market- Banana & Caramel Cheesecake topped with Whipped Cream & Caramelized Bananas
  • Brazilian Market- Brazilian Churrasco with Chimichurri & Garbanzo Frito
  • Pacific Coast Market- Braised Pork Cheeks with Savory Apple Polenta
  • Polynesian Island Market- “Loco Moco” Grilled Spam, White Rice, Scrambled Egg & Brown Gravy
  • Gulf Coast Market- Southern Creamy Cheese Grits with a Blackened Shrimp


In addition to the market stops, the event will feature a wide array of BBQ and comfort cuisine including Slow Smoked Ribs, caramelized in a SeaWorld original BBQ sauce, Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese and a Grilled Kielbasa Sausage Sandwich. A complete menu of the Seven Seas Food Festival delights can be found online at

SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival begins at 11 a.m. every Saturday, Feb.  11 – May 13 and continues through park close. Like all special events at SeaWorld, the Seven Seas Food Festival is included with park admission.

Best Way to Play:

The best way for guests to experience the Seven Seas Food Festival is with an annual pass. SeaWorld Pass Members can purchase reserved concert seating during an exclusive presale beginning January 19.

For more information, park hours and to purchase tickets, visit  Follow SeaWorld on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest Seven Seas Food Festival details and information.


Chef's Spotlight

0 194
Kate McDermott, who learned to bake pie from her own Iowa grandmother, has taught the time-honored craft to thousands through her Pie Camps and...

Featured Articles

0 130
Orlando's Mills 50 District is known for its eclectic and diverse restaurants and businesses - from the Vietnamese markets and restaurants to fusion restaurants...