Authors Posts by Ricky Ly of

Ricky Ly of

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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The Glass Knife finally opens this Friday November 10th from 7am to 10pm at 276 S Orlando Ave, Winter Park, FL , right across the way from Hillstone Restaurant.

The café was developed by local entrepreneur Steve Brown, as a way to share his memories of baking alongside his mother, Jacque.

The culinary team is led by Executive Chef Stuart Whitfield, who has worked for Four Seasons, Le Cirque, David Burke & Donatella, and The Walt Disney Company.

The Glass Knife is named in honor of Brown’s mother, who was a fond collector of Depression-era glass cake knives.

From classic cakes to craft coffee (from Onyx Coffee Lab) to artisanal doughnuts and savory dishes like avocado egg toast, The Glass Knife is sure to please. My favorite was the red velvet cake, silky smooth and sumptuous, and definitely one of the best red velvet cakes I have ever had.

Here is a sneak peek inside The Glass Knife:


From The Glass Knife:

The Glass Knife is inspired by a loving mother and hobbyist baker whose talents transformed her culinary passion into a creative profession. Fostered through a collection of family and friends, the recipes shared during these time-honored baking sessions are the nostalgic basis for what will come to life within The Glass Knife.

The café was developed by local entrepreneur Steve Brown, as a way to share his memories of baking alongside his mother, Jacque, and his vision to establish a sophisticated, yet comfortable community gathering place that encourages togetherness and celebration. The location’s design will tell a story that brings its guests back to a specific moment in time, whether through the delicious cakes and pastries, savory faire or the artfully displayed collection of 1920s era glass cake knives which were a treasured collection of Brown’s mother and serve as the origin of its name.

Under the direction and deft hand of Executive Chef Stuart Whitfield, who has worked for some of the country’s premiere hospitality brands (Four Seasons, Le Cirque, David Burke & Donatella, The Walt Disney Company), The Glass Knife plans to make its mark on Orlando’s ever-evolving dining scene by providing its guests with world-class food and service, presented within a refined, yet approachable, environment.

The Glass Knife will offer a variety of stunningly delicious cake options including its Classics, which will embrace timeless family favorites like Red Velvet, Carrot and Coconut cakes, all with Chef Stuart’s modern twist. The Glass Knife Signatures will be created as one-of-a-kind, patisserie-style cakes, that will bring a refined selection of celebratory sweets to Winter Park. Chef Stuart will craft a lineup of artisanal donuts including melt-in-your-mouth versions of Lemon Meringue Pie and Peanut Butter Cup. A variety of additional fresh baked goods and pastries including scones, croissants, and cookies will also be featured.

Recognizing that nothing goes better with dessert than a great cup of coffee and setting the stage to become Winter Park’s premier coffee destination, The Glass Knife will use carefully sourced, fair-trade beans prepared by expert baristas within a unique and engaging serving experience that will utilize stylish and sophisticated technology.

Those looking to combine both sweet and savory will not be disappointed by the café’s offerings, which will include breakfast fare along with soup, salads and sandwiches, plus heartier choices like chicken pot pie alongside a selection of craft beer and fine wine.

“Our cuisine will focus on seasonal, responsibly and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, that will evoke familiar family recipes handed down over time, but created with our culinary team’s unique twist and presentation,” said Chef Stuart. “While we hesitate to call ourselves a bakery, as we will deliver a more complete dining experience, we do envision that our elevated line of cakes, pastries and baked goods will stand on their own.”

The nearly 3,000-square-foot café will include both indoor seating and a covered patio with surroundings inspired by an English garden. The exterior, with its black, gold and pink motif, will conjure up the image of a pastry box, just waiting to be opened. The interior will showcase the founder’s inspiration for a place where the past meets the present, with clean lines, terrazzo floors and intricate attention to detail.

“It is our vision to bring a truly unique experience to Winter Park with a standout offering that features the perfect combination of sweet and savory,” said Brown. “Whether it’s where you start your morning, close out your evening or celebrate a special moment with family and friends, our hope is for The Glass Knife to be as familiar and welcoming as mom’s own kitchen table.”

The Glass Knife, coming to Winter Park this Fall, is bringing elegant decadence to new heights with the introduction of its Signature Cakes collection.

These modern, patisserie-style desserts – hand-crafted by Chef Stuart and team – are known as “entremets.” The Glass Knife’s entremets feature layers of velvety mousse, delicate cake and luxurious fillings, forming a harmonious mix of indulgent flavors and unexpected textures.

Each Signature Cake boasts a unique flavor profile and is finished with The Glass Knife’s signature golden touch (hi-res images are available for download here):

Florida Citrus: Intricate layers of soft and airy yellow sponge cake, zesty orange marmalade, delicate orange blossom-scented pistachio dacquoise, and aromatic orange pâte de fruit enveloped in lush white chocolate mousse finished in a vibrant orange hue with a dusting of gold luster, white chocolate crisp pearls and an edible 23-karat gold-leafed orange slice.

Chocolate Truffle: Tiers of luxurious single origin dark chocolate mousse, silky dark chocolate ganache and smooth chocolate biscuit encased in a gleaming cocoa and gold luster glaçage, adorned with an opulent chocolate lotus flower and truffles.

Berry St. Honoré: Fluffy strawberry cake intertwined with bright raspberry pâte de fruit, zesty lemon curd and house-made strawberry jam veiled in a light vanilla bean white chocolate mousse topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, our signature chocolate curl and subtle golden luster.

Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Executive Chef Stuart Whitfield’s southern roots inspired his love of the culinary arts. The vibrant epicurean culture of his hometown provided a traditional backdrop for his food and family focused upbringing. His fondest childhood memories are of gathering around the dining room table with loved ones for a home-cooked meal. With 15 years of professional experience, Chef Stuart has fine-tuned his craft for creating crave-worthy breads, chocolates, cakes, pastries, decadent desserts and savory sensations. He has always been devoted to the philosophy that good food brings people together, creates everlasting bonds and memories to be shared time and time again.

A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont, Chef Stuart went on to hone his cooking skills at the Four Seasons, Le Cirque, Jovia, and David Burke & Donatella in New York City. Venturing from the Big Apple to the Sunshine State, Chef Stuart found a home at Walt Disney World Resort. He was on the gastronomic task force for the launch of the Disney Fantasy cruise ship and played a pivotal role as a member of the opening team for Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. He also lent his expertise in creating the exquisite confections offered at the famed Victoria & Albert’s and added his own creative flair to the magic of the menu for Be Our Guest Restaurant. Chef Stuart was most recently part of the team behind the sweet sensations at Amorette’s Patisserie at Disney Springs.

Chef Stuart is thrilled to showcase The Glass Knife as part of Orlando’s ever-evolving food scene. This concept will add yet another layer of sophistication to the city’s growing reputation as a premiere dining destination, right in the heart of Winter Park. Dedicated to giving guests a comfortable, yet elevated experience, The Glass Knife will feature all of the ingredients of a cosmopolitan eatery enveloped in an approachable ambiance with outstanding service.

Steve Brown’s business-savvy mind and his passion for baking are the driving forces behind his lifelong dream of opening The Glass Knife, a patisserie and café dedicated to providing its guests with an elevated, memorable experience, featuring a stunning array of decadent cakes and confections, exemplary artisanal coffee and a selection of savory fare. This vision is inspired by Brown’s childhood memories of baking alongside his beloved mother, Jacque, and the love that came from those cherished experiences.

The Glass Knife is named in honor of Brown’s mother, who was a fond collector of Depression-era glass cake knives. Handed down through the family, this treasured collection of delicate and iridescently beautiful knives will be artfully displayed throughout the café.

Brown, a Winter Park, FL resident, received his MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta and graduated with a BS in Marketing from the University of South Florida in Tampa. Throughout his illustrious career, serving in a variety of executive roles, Brown gained invaluable experience in pricing strategy, fulfillment operations, financial management and leadership. Combined with his passion and dedication to providing the very best guest experience, Brown’s vision will soon make its mark on Orlando’s ever-evolving dining scene.

Brown’s goal is to bring a one-of-a-kind gathering place to the community, providing guests with a sophisticated, yet comfortable setting, to spend time with friends and loved ones. Learn more about his vision at

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**Sponsored Post**

Moe’s Southwest Grill is a fast-casual restaurant franchise that serves high quality and fresh southwestern food at 700+ locations nationwide with an extensive variety of menu items to please the entire family – from burritos to specialty items like quesadillas, nachos and stacks!

Moe’s Southwest Grill’s Tour de Burrito traveling restaurant — housed inside a mobile dining truck — will offer guests the chance to experience how their fresh ingredients are made in-house at Moe’s.

They will be in Orlando on November 9th. Claim your spot at the Tour de Burrito pop-up kitchen – seats are available but limited and going quickly:

• Tour locations:
o November 2-3 NYC: 395 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013
o November 6-7 Atlanta: Atlantic Station, 1380 Atlantic Drive, Atlanta, GA 30363
o November 9 Orlando: Harbor Park, 4990 New Broad St, Orlando, FL 32814
o November 10 Tampa: 701 N Marion Street, Tampa, FL 33602

The pop up experience will be prepping new seasonal salsas, grilling all-natural proteins, and chopping fresh veggies Moe’s style– from slicing, dicing and spicing. Moe’s ingredients are made in house at every restaurant, every day. Seasonal salsas on their salsa bar, pico de gallo and even their tortilla chips are made in house.

Each day, Moe’s “roadies” cook all-natural proteins on the grill and chop nearly 25,000 pounds of tomatoes, 10,000 pounds of onions, and almost 3,000 pounds of jalapenos and cilantro across their 700 restaurants.

To showcase the daily preparation of these fresh ingredients, they are touring this pop up experience to allow fans to see, touch, smell and taste what goes into making their Moe’s favorites.

Claim your spot at the Tour de Burrito pop-up kitchen – seats are available but limited and going quickly:

Moe’s Southwest Grill

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Mills 50 will be home to a new bubble tea shop starting this December. Known for its cotton candy topped bubble tea and other innovative twists to the traditional Taiwanese drink, ViVi Bubble Tea will be located next to Chuan Lu Garden on East Colonial, joining other bubble tea shops such as longtime mainstay Chewy Boba Company and Bubbles and Ice in the Mills 50 District.

From Sam Lau, co-owner of ViVi Bubble Tea:

“I am proud to announce that I have partnered up with a good friend of mine from Hong Kong to bring ViVi Bubble Tea [ A very popular Taiwanese milk tea company with a twist that has been featured by Business Insider ] to Mills 50 District, Orlando. Its located right on the corner of Mills Ave and 50; next to Chuan Lu, & across the street from Little Saigon. Construction is already underway as we speak. We are looking to open up by the end of December. We hope to see you all very soon!”

ViVi Bubble Tea
1111 E Colonial Dr
Orlando, Florida 32803

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The First Lao Restaurant in Central Florida is set to open fall 2017

In a press release today,Soupa Saiyan owner and head chef, Marshall Phanthachit, is unveiling his latest venture, Sticky Rice.

The first of its kind, Sticky Rice, will be taking over the 1,500 square foot space once occupied by Pho 407 (and Bikkuri Sushi’s original location before moving upstairs) at 1915 East Colonial Drive.

The restaurant anticipates to open its doors November 2017.

Phanthachit and Sticky Rice co-chef Kevin Phanhvilay want to introduce Lao food to the culinary world.

“Growing up, I’ve always been proud of my culture and Laotian heritage,” Phanthachit says.

Laos is a landlocked Southeastern country neighboring Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

“Many people are either unfamiliar with Laos food, or confuse it with Thai or Vietnamese cuisine. Opening up Sticky Rice is a catalyst to help put Lao food on the map, while also distinguishing it as its own.”

Patrons can expect authentic Lao street food such as Lao chicken wings, papaya salad, sticky rice, and beef laab salad. Sticky Rice hopes to provide a genuine Lao dining experience in a quick, casual atmosphere with tapas-style, reasonably priced small plates under $10.

Sticky Rice will be open for lunch, dinner, and possibly late night with dine-in and takeout options.

Lao food is distinctly its own flavor with the help of staple ingredients like galangal (closely related to ginger), padaek (traditional Lao condiment made from pickled or fermented fish that has been cured), kaffir lime, and of course the Lao signature dish: sticky rice, which is uniquely Lao, present at almost every meal, and meant to be eaten with your hands.

In fact, the Lao eat more sticky rice than any other people in the world.

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On October 22nd, at 6:30pm, 7 Pastry Chefs from 11 Central Florida restaurants came together for a historic dessert tasting experience! Savory bites were provided by The Osprey Tavern, Seito Sushi, and Reyes Mezcaleria.

The participating chefs were:

Amanda McFall-Urbain 40
Gloriann Rivera-1921 by Norman Van Aken
Amy Gilbert-Canvas
Brian Cernell-Luma on Park/Prato/Luke’s
Michelle Hulbert-K Restaurant
Esther Rodriguez-The Ravenous Pig
Kristy Carlucci-The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria

Here are images from the first annual Pastry in the Park by Sue Chin of The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria

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Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Visit Orlando released a poll to vote for Orlando’s signature dish.

Honey is the key ingredient, an important choice not only due to our region’s abundance of honey flavors, particularly orange blossom, but also because of the critical role bees play in our ecosystem in pollinating our local crops.

In 2016 alone, the state produced 17 million pounds of honey and 500 new beekeepers register every year — many in Central Florida.

In recent years, bee populations have decreased as much as 45 percent due to a mysterious disease called colony collapse disorder, caused by a combination of destruction of wild habitats, disease and widespread pesticide use.

There has been some critique that most signature dishes from cities evolve over time – think Chicago – style deep dish pizza or the Philly Cheesesteak. Some say this is an inorganic and forced measure – you just know it if it is Orlando’s signature dish.

I think with time, Orlando will find its signature dish on its own, certainly. When that might happen – who knows – but in the mean time, I think it is fine to have these competitions which brings much needed attention to our local growing food scene, particularly outside of the theme parks. We know it might not be “the” signature dish, but it’s a start.

The competition is open to all Orlando restaurant chefs with a license to serve food.

Vote for your favorite local Orlando “honey” themed dish by Nov. 3 at:

The winner will be presented at the Visit Orlando luncheon on December 7th.

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Orlando Chef-proprietor Sean “Sonny” Nguyen of Domu at East End Market has been chosen as a semi-finalist to compete this month in the New York qualifying competition for the Washoku World Challenge, a cooking contest in which Japanese cuisine chefs from all over the world compete in technical expertise and passion for Japanese food.

The contest, the 5th of its kind, is organized by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for non-Japanese chefs. Chefs must be of non-Japanese nationality with experience in cooking Japanese cuisine AND over 2 years of experience as a chef (current place of residence can be any country, including Japan).

Qualifying tournaments will be held in six cities worldwide (London, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Tokyo). The six chefs who pass the qualifiers will be invited to the final tournament, to be held in Tokyo on February 13th and 14th, 2018.

The number of Japanese restaurants located overseas has drastically increased by approximately 60% from an estimated 55,000 in 2013 to 89,000 by July 2015.

However, in some of these Japanese restaurants located overseas, there are some cases wherein chefs without appropriate knowledge and skills regarding Japanese cuisine engage in preparing meals.

The Washoku organizers, backed by the Japanese government, have created guidelines to make sure Japanese cuisine created by foreign chefs is prepared with the appropriate knowledge and skill.

Chef Nguyen, who is of Vietnamese descent, has been training with the help of a Japanese masterchef in New York as well as advisement from friend and fellow chef Mark Berdin of Kadence. He has been learning how to make soba noodles by hand and Japanese cuisine in general once or twice a month in New York along with a lot of personal practice and self training.

“The application process was tough and they only select a certain amount of chefs around the world based on their recipes and skill, in which I just found out yesterday that I was chosen to move forward to the NYC competition!” said Sonny Nguyen.

For the qualifying competition, Chef Nguyen had to create a recipe for his own unique dashi soup and a kaiseki appetizer box containing 5 specific Japanese techniques of cooking.

“I think this is a big deal for us here in Orlando, especially if I advance further (not holding my breathe lol) but also because I want to represent our city and put us on the map, even if I don’t place,” Sonny said.

The competition will be judged by Michelin rated Japanese kaiseki chefs with media and live tv coverage to Japan of the cooking competition events in New York.

Kaiseki is focused on simple, clean, umami flavors and is very seasonal.”

The theme of this year’s competition is umami flavor. In Japan, the technique of extracting umami from kombu kelp and bonito flakes to create dashi broth was developed approximately 500 years ago. The basic dashi is made with kombu and bonito flakes. The combination of the glutamic acid in kombu and the inosinic acid in bonito flakes create a delicious umami taste.

For the competition, chefs had to create one suimono soup (with at least three ingredients) reflecting the UMAMI theme, made with fish or shellfish, vegetables, and citrus or sprout of an aromatic plant.

Chefs also had to create one fuchidaka mori (with at least five dishes) reflecting the UMAMI theme, including nimono (simmered foods), yakimono (grilled foods), agemono (deep-fried foods), aemono (marinated foods)/sunomono (foods dressed with vinegar), and arrange attractively in the fuchidaka. Fuchidaka is not the name of a dish or a meal, rather it is the name of the container itself (think bento box).

Contestants in the qualifying competition will compete on:

1. Test of cooking technique (basic knife skills) – 30 minutes
Basic knife skills:
One 15cm long daikon radish
Techniques tested:
– Daikon katsura muki 30cm
– Daikon ken for roughly three people
– Daikon wagiri, shikishi giri, tanzaku giri
2. Suimono (for five people) – 90 minutes
Contestants will be asked to cook the recipe they have submitted for the application screening. The soup must use dashi made from kombu kelp and bonito flakes.

Below are some photos from Chef Nguyen’s submission:

If he wins in the qualifying tournament, Chef Nguyen will:

– Be invited to the final tournament, to be held in Japan
– Be able to participate in Japanese cooking seminars in Japan
– Have the chance to apply for the Certification of Cooking Skills for Japanese Cuisine in Foreign Countries (Bronze)
– Be covered by international media

In the mean time, besides preparing for this tournament, Chef Nguyen is getting ready to open his second ramen shop, Domu in Jacksonville, and who knows what else is in the works.

Sonny Nguyen: “My end goal is to specialize in making noodles. Ramen, udon, soba, all by hand since the technique is rare nowadays and is really an art that goes beyond measurements. It’s about full body movement, feel, and smell.”

“The chef I’m training with has been making soba by hand for over 10 years and learned from his teacher in Tokyo who was 90 years old at the time, making him his last student.”

“We use high quality buckwheat flour that is stone milled by hand in Seattle to make the soba noodles. Pretty expensive stuff but smells great. Plus buckwheat is good for you.”

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On October 22nd, at 6:30pm, 7 Pastry Chefs from 11 Central Florida restaurants will come together for a dessert tasting experience!

Savory bites will be provided by The Osprey Tavern, Seito Sushi, and Reyes Mezcaleria.

The participating chefs are:

Amanda McFall-Urbain 40
Gloriann Rivera-1921 by Norman Van Aken
Amy Gilbert-Canvas
Brian Cernell-Luma on Park/Prato/Luke’s
Michelle Hulbert-K Restaurant
Esther Rodriguez-The Ravenous Pig
Kristy Carlucci-The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria

Tickets can be obtained by calling The Osprey Tavern at 407-960-7700

We spoke with Kristy Carlucci, pastry chef for The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria, to gain more insight about the upcoming event, the first event featuring and highlighting some of Orlando’s finest pastry chefs.

TastyChomps: How did Pastry in the Park come about?

Pastry Chef Kristy Carlucci: I had heard of other cities doing a “pastry-centric” tasting menu where pastry chefs get together and create an amazing experience. I knew we have some extremely talented pastry chefs in Central Florida and felt certain that a great event could come together with their help.

Amanda McFall-Urbain 40 – Tropical Sundae Deluxe – Toasted coconut gelato, rum soaked angel food cake, caramel sauce & pink peppercorn spiced pineapple.

What do you hope to accomplish with this event?

To shine a light on the restaurants that have a dedicated pastry program. There’s many places that either buy in their desserts or it gets dumped off on one of the line cooks, but Central Florida has real pastry talent. There’s so many fantastic bakeries that get a lot of (well deserved) love, but it’s time for the ones in the restaurants to get their “just desserts”–pun intended!


What is something most people don’t know about the pastry chef profession?

That it’s intense! One misconception is that we are wearing cute aprons and baking cupcakes and cookies all day. It is a lot of time management, exact calculations, early mornings, trial and errors, organization, having an artistic eye, fighting for your own space in those tiny kitchens…
Restaurant pastry chefs also save the day–think of all those free desserts that are given out!

Tell us about your background and training and experience.

I graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in 2008. Since then, I have worked as a Teaching Assistant at the CIA, spent time with boutique chocolatiers and bakers, oversaw 2 restaurants at The Greenbrier Resort in WV, and was Pastry Chef de Cuisine at Cask & Larder. I’ve worked for some of the top chefs in America, and fortunate enough to create and present desserts for many celebrities, athletes, and politicians. In addition to being the Pastry Chef at The Osprey Tavern, Seito Sushi, and Reyes Mezcaleria, I also instruct at Valencia College in the Baking & Pastry program.

What are your favorite dishes to bake right now?

I’m in full fall mode! I love the warm spices associated with the season. Right now we have a warm apple cake with spiced caramel ice cream on our Osprey menu and it’s my favorite. My dessert for Pastry in the Park is an homage to the wonderful produce that autumn brings. At home, my 5 year old loves to bake, so we have been making banana bread and will be making pumpkin muffins soon.

What are the most popular pastries right now at your restaurants?

Chocolate is always king! Our chocolate almond torte is very decadent, and that’s what the chocolate lovers are looking for. For Sunday brunch, we have our Pastry Trolley, which features not just breakfast pastries, but also macarons, cakes, and other sweet treats. It’s very popular and we sell out almost every Sunday!


Pastry in the Park
A Dessert Tasting Experience

Amanda McFall – Urbain 40
Tahini Custard, Orange Blossom Figs, Almond Granite

Amy Gilbert – Canvas Restaurant
Mulled Red Wine Pear Galette, Citrus Mascarpone Mousse, Spiced Pistachio Granola

Brian Cernell – Luma on Park/Prato/Luke’s

Kristy Carlucci – The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria
“Autumn Harvest”
Pumpkin Ganache, Sweet Potato Doughnut, Candied Squash, Dulcey Crumb, Oatmeal Semifreddo

Esther Rodriguez – The Ravenous Pig
Goat Cheese Tart, Spent Grain Sablé, Seasonal Fruit

Gloriann Rivera – 1921 by Norman Van Aken
“Banana Foster Tart”
Pecan Tart Shell, Smoked Bourbon Chocolate Custard, Banana Semifreddo, Caramel, Candied Hazelnuts

Michelle Hulbert – K Restaurant
“Chunk of Love”
Layered Chocolate Chunk Cookie, Oreo Truffle, Dark Chocolate Brownie, Peanut Butter Mousse

Gloriann Rivera-1921 by Norman Van Aken
Michelle Hulbert-K Restaurant
Amy Gilbert-Canvas
Brian Cernell-Luma on Park/Prato/Luke’s
Kristy Carlucci-The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria

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Photo Courtesy of KADENCE

by Michael Cuglietta

An Open Letter to Anyone Applying for a Job at Kadence

You are at the office, killing time on social media, when Kadence’s latest Instagram post appears on your feed. The trio behind Kappo is looking to hire a kitchen helper for their new restaurant.

This puts an image in your head. One in which you are standing in a busy kitchen, wearing a white chef’s coat and tossing a pan full of sautéed mushrooms into the air with nothing more than a flick of the wrist.

You say to yourself, life is too short to be spending forty hours a week chained to a desk. Sure, you make a good living. But there are more important things in life than money.

I, like you, had romantic notions about working in a kitchen. That’s why, when I was given the opportunity to be a part of Kadence’s opening crew, I seized it.

I’m here to tell you, despite what the Food Network might’ve lead you to believe, stepping into the kitchen is nothing like playing lead guitar in a rock band. It’s more comparable to being drafted into the armed services.

Your day will start at 7am. If you are lucky, you will be home by 1am. But, usually, it’ll be closer to 2am. You will be working six days a week, for minimal wage. But, for every hour over 40, you will earn time and a half. This means, in order to make a living, you will have to work 80 to 90 hours a week.

You will have to learn to work on an empty stomach. In the kitchen, there’s no time to stop and eat.

On the odd occasion when the chefs do find time, they will prepare a family meal. Usually, fish scraps, which, in most restaurants, would’ve gone in the trash, marinated in soy sauce and served over rice. Or the same ingredients will be fried, along with an egg.

The chefs have spent their entire professional lives in the kitchen. They are trained to eat fast. In just minutes, they will deposit their empty bowls in the sink, for you to wash. They will tell you to take your time. But the first seating is rapidly approaching. So you throw most of your meal away and get back to work. But don’t let the chefs catch you. At Kadence, wasting food is an unforgivable crime.

Think of the job as a game of Tetris. As the blocks fall, you must organize them into neat rows. If you mislay a piece, or fall behind, your tower will reach an unmanageable height. Then the blocks will start dropping at an accelerated rate as you scramble to line them up and make them disappear before you get the game over screen.

The sink will be your home. You will have other responsibilities, which will take you away from your home. But, no matter what else is on your plate, you are expected to keep your home in order.

The chefs will give you small food chores. These are tests. If you pass, you will be given more opportunities, away from the sink. But every time you fail, you are further solidifying your role as dishwasher.

Be careful what you wish for. Each time you demonstrate competency in a new task, it will become a part of your daily routine. And your routine is already so demanding, you spend 15 hours a day racing around the kitchen and, still, there isn’t enough time to get everything done.

Since the stove is directly behind the sink, you will be asked to keep an eye on the chawanmushis, a savory Japanese egg custard, served at each seating. You will be told to take them off the stove the moment they set. If you do a good job, after service, the chefs will complement you. Then, from that moment forward, you will be in charge of cooking the chawanmushis.

You do up to three seatings a night, serving ten guests at a time. It would be ideal if you could pre-cooked all the chawanmushis. Then, during service, all you would have to do is get them up to temperature. But there are only twelve chawanmushi bowls. This means, after each chawanmushi course, you will have to wash the bowls. Then cook the next round.

This might seem simple enough. But during service, you are battling an already unmanageable list of things to do.

You, for instance, are in charge of shucking the oysters. Shucking oysters is not hard. It’s the timing that makes it difficult. The oysters are served as a first course, right after the guests are seated. This is the toughest part of the evening, especially if the first seating is running late and the next set of guests are arriving.

Kadence is a small restaurant, run by a small team, each of whom fill many roles. Jennifer Banagale, in addition to being part owner, is the pastry chef and one woman wait staff. After the savory courses, she must go behind the sushi bar to serve dessert, which means you get a temporary promotion from dishwasher to headwaiter.

You must go into the dining room, pick up everyone’s dirty plates and bring them to the sink in the service station. While you are doing this, you notice the water glasses are near empty. And two guests have asked you to select a sake to pair with their dessert.

The next seating, meanwhile, is standing at the bar in the adjacent room, waiting for someone to come pour drinks. No matter how rushed you may be, you must maintain a calm front. Greet each guest warmly. As you take their drink order, introduce yourself, ask them,

“Is this your first time dining with us?”

They will want to make small talk. There is an art to cutting off a conversation without offending the person you are talking to. You must become proficient in this art. Because Jen has poked her head into the room to tell you she has finished with the first dessert and needs you to pick up the plates before she can serve the final course. She reminds you, the water glasses need refilling and those two guests are still waiting for their sake.

You pour two glasses of sake and put them on a tray. Also, on the tray, you place a pitcher of water. The couple in front of you is telling you about their trip to Japan. You need to get out of this conversation. Tell them you have to go bring drinks to the dining room. Apologize for having to leave. Smooth things over with a generous taste of sake. “Try some of this. Let me know what you think.”

After the water glasses are filled, you drop the pitcher off at the bar. Then take the tray back into the dining room to collect the first round of dessert plates. By now, the sink and every available surface in the service station is filled with dirty dishes.

The guests have just been given their final plate. This gives you ten minutes to shuck the oysters for the next seating. But first you must go to the bar and see if anyone is ready for another drink.

You are happy to see Lordfer Lalicon, one of the chefs and owners, behind the bar, pouring drinks. He tells you, “I got this. Go do the oysters.”

You head back into the kitchen, get the oysters out of the fridge. That’s when you remember, it’s been too long since you last checked the bathroom.

Through a back door, you sneak into the dining room and slip into the bathroom, undetected. The toilet paper roll is almost empty. The seat is up and there is a collection of used paper towels on the floor around the trash bin.

You sneak back out the way you came in and get a fresh roll of toilet paper from the storage closet. You return to the bathroom, careful to conceal the toilet paper behind your back. If a guest were to see you, walking through the dining room with a roll of toilet paper, the chefs would, surely, not be happy.

You put the new roll in the toilet paper dispenser and fold the tip into a perfect triangle. You pick the paper towels up off the floor and put the toilet seat down. You wipe all surfaces with a sanitizing rag, light a new stick of incense. Then race back to the kitchen.

The head chef and owner, Mark Berdin, is standing over your oysters. “How long have these been out of the fridge?”

“I was just about to get to them. Then I remembered I had to check the bathroom.” Your response pisses him off. In the kitchen, mistakes can be forgiven. But there’s zero tolerance for excuses.

These are Shigoku oysters, from Washington. He tells you they are the most expensive oysters currently on the market. He can’t afford to be having his dishwasher ruin them. He orders you out of the kitchen.

That’s when you remember the chawanmushis. If you don’t get them started soon, they will not be ready in time. You fill the bottom of the steamer with water and put it on the stove.

You line up the ceramic bowls and begin ladling in the batter. This is a delicate process. Each ceramic needs the same level of batter, so they will cook at the same pace. And you must be careful not to spill any.

You have half the ceramics done when you hear chairs moving in the dining room. The guests are leaving.

At Kadence, they practice the Japanese custom of walking their guests out. Guest service, Mark will tell you when you first start working at Kadence, is the number one priority. Even the food ranks second under guest service.

You leave the chawanmushis and go to the front door. You stand with your hands folded behind your back. As each guest walks out, you look them in the eye, thank them for coming, and bow. When I say bow, I don’t mean simply lowering your head. You must bow at the waist. Don’t stop until your body is forming a 90 degree angle.

Now that the first guests are gone, the dining room needs to be cleaned and reset. Every guest will need chopsticks, a cloth napkin, which you need to make sure is folded the proper way, and a glass for water, each of which needs to be polished until it sparkles. The bathroom will, once again, need to be cleaned.

As the new guests are being seated, you have just enough time to get the chawanmushis in the steamer. But you must be quick about it. The moment the guest’s bottoms touch those seats, you are expected in the dining room with a pitcher of water. And, after their glasses are filled, you must get each of them an oshibori, a warm hand towel which, before service, you folded according to Japanese tradition, after soaking them in water infused with lemongrass.

You will spend the first part of this seating fighting to get caught up with the dishes. Kadence serves a set menu. The same dishes are used in each seating. You better prioritize your dishwashing. Find the ones that are used for the early courses. Get those cleaned first.

It’s still early but, just to be safe, you leave the sink to check on the guests. The man in seat nine is a camel. All the water glasses are nearly full, but for his. For the next couple of hours, you are going to be chained to this guest. Every few minutes, you will have to return to his side with a pitcher of water.

This is, also, the last seating. The moment it is over, the chefs are going to want to go home. But they can’t leave until the restaurant is clean and reset for the next day. During last service, you better find the time to mop the kitchen, polish the stainless steel, put the trash out and all the cookware must be washed and returned to its proper place.


You pull into your driveway at 2:30am. All day, you have been operating on adrenalin. All of a sudden, a switch is flipped. Slowly, the adrenaline leaks out of your body. It’s replaced with hunger and fatigue.

Your feet are so sore, all you want to do is sit on the couch and prop them up on the coffee table. But you are sweaty and smell of raw fish. You need a shower.

You put a frozen pizza in the oven, crack open a beer and take it into the bathroom. You swallow two Advil. Then take a hot shower.

After your shower, you eat your pizza in front of the television. You are careful to keep the volume down. You don’t want to wake your wife. She works normal hours. Tomorrow will mark a week since you’ve last seen each other awake.

By the time you get in bed, it’s past 3:30am. Tomorrow is Sunday. On Sundays, the first seating is at 11:30am. You have to be back at the restaurant by 7am.

There is so much adrenaline in the kitchen, it lingers for hours after you leave, making it hard to fall asleep. When Mark, Jen and Lordfer worked in New York City, they’d get out at 2am and go to a bar, where they’d drink with other cooks until 4am.

When you finally doze off, it’s worthless because, in your dreams, you are back in the service station, bent over the sink, scrubbing dishes.

Photo Courtesy of KADENCE

Michael Cuglietta is the author of the forthcoming fiction collection, The Feast of Jupiter (Little Island Press, 2018), and the chapbooks Vertigo (Gertrude Press, 2012) and Clams in White Wine (Paper Nautilus, 2017). His work has appeared in NOON, Gettysburg Review, Tampa Review and elsewhere.

Editor’s Note: Kadence is currently looking to hire a fulltime kitchen helper.


1809 E. Winter Park Rd., Orlando, FL 32803

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Come JOIN THE 5th Annual Taste of Nona at Marriott Courtyard Lake Nona Town Center, an annual signature event by the Lake Nona Regional Chamber of Commerce. Enjoy an evening out with a huge assortment of delectable dining options.

This year’s Taste will feature more than two dozen fantastic local restaurants, dessert makers, and catering services! Each vendor will be bringing a sampling of some of their most celebrated offerings, and all of this is included in every ticket purchased for the Taste.


?There will be live music and a silent auction benefiting the Ronald McDonald House, Nemours.


The Taste of Nona and the Lake Nona Regional Chamber of Commerce are not affiliated with or sponsored by, Lake Nona Property Holdings, LLC or its affiliated entities. We are an independent organization made up of business leaders, charity organizations, and individuals dedicating their time to the economic prosperity of the Lake Nona region of Orlando, FL.

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The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic will celebrate its eighth year October 27 – 28, the largest event to date featuring more than 60 food and beverage stations and 11 educational seminars taught by members of the resort’s award-winning food and beverage team.

Guests will delight in numerous opportunities to sip and savor along the resort’s causeway, private lake and private beach all weekend while enjoying live entertainment.

Delectable culinary offerings headline the two-night event, featuring cuisine from the resort’s own award-winning restaurants: Il Mulino New York Trattoria, Shula’s Steak House, Todd English’s bluezoo, Kimonos and more, with wine and spirits samplings from around the globe.

“One of our favorite parts about this festival is showcasing our creativity and adding new experiences each year,” said Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort Director of Food & Beverage Tony Porcellini. “Things that won’t change are the quality of our food and beverage selections and our vibrant street party atmosphere.”

New for 2017
A new seminar, the Grand Tasting Experience, will be presented by a master sommelier, highlighting the unique Nebbiolo grape of northern Italy. Master Sommelier Matthew Citriglia, one of only 149 master sommeliers in the Americas, will showcase several rare vintages from the Piedmont region. Tickets to this intimate experience will be extremely limited.

Also new this year is Bubbles Lounge, a secluded, whimsically themed area showcasing sparkling beverages including champagne and sparkling wine, inspired by Lawrence Welk and his champagne style. Guests will receive a special entrance ticket to the lounge upon check-in and can seek out the space to enjoy a light-hearted atmosphere and sweeping views of the festival while sipping champagne.

Bubbles Lounge joins the event’s other themed areas including: Carnival Corner, offering carnival food and games; Chinatown, featuring dishes and drinks inspired by San Francisco’s famed neighborhood; and a Beer Garden, offering a variety of local and seasonal brews from around the world alongside Oktoberfest-inspired cuisine. (Access to the Beer Garden requires an upgraded ticket.)

Featured Food
Highlights of this year’s menus include: Kobe beef mini burgers with truffle aioli, Applewood smoked bacon and roma tomato chutney from The Fountain; seared Yellowfin Tuna salad from Todd English’s bluezoo; ricotta gnocchi with wild mushrooms, baby spinach and fennel sausage from Il Mulino Trattoria and oven-roasted beef ribeye with mashed potatoes and sauce bordelaise from Shula’s Steakhouse.

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Executive Chef Robert Ciborowski brings back his signature barbecue at the Cib’s Smoke House station with his hand-crafted pork belly and smoked Spanish Iberico pork collar. Popular returning dishes include the dragon sushi roll from Kimonos and fish ‘n’ chips with sea salt and vinegar potato chips from Garden Grove.

World Champion Pastry Chef Laurent Branlard sweetens the evening with decadent desserts like the crunchy chocolate passion fruit truffle and key lime vanilla cream. The returning Sundae Action Station allows guests to choose their own toppings like caramelized hazelnuts and raspberry whipped cream.

Seminars and Brunch

Favorite hands-on educational seminars, taught by members of the resort’s award-winning food and beverage team, return for foodies who want to add a little something extra to their festival experience. Seminars offered this year include: wine blending, Italian wines, Argentinian wines, champagne, beer, Riesling, craft cocktails, pasta making, sushi and sake and wine and cheese pairing. All seminars require separate tickets, and space is limited.

Guests can extend the indulgence into Sunday morning with the Sunday Bubbles Brunch with J Vineyards and Winery at Il Mulino New York Trattoria, featuring a lavish menu of traditional and unconventional dishes like various cured meats and imported cheeses along with an array of sushi and trattoria-inspired entrees. The Sunday Bubbles Brunch is a separate ticket option and does not require an evening ticket or overnight accommodation to participate.

With 18 restaurants and lounges, a distinguished culinary and beverage team and unmatched customer service, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort continually receives national recognition for its food and beverage program. The culinary team has had the honor of presenting multiple dinners at the distinguished James Beard House. The resort boasts more than 70 certified wine sommeliers and 1,400 wine selections, including organic and rare vintages. The resort’s restaurants are annual winners of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence including Shula’s Steak House, a multiple-time recipient of the exclusive Best of Award of Excellence.

Tickets to the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic are available as part of a resort package or individually. For more information or to book, please visit or call 1-800-227-1500.

Calendar Listing Information

What: Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic

Info: The Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort returns October 27 – 28, showcasing a vast array of food and beverage options and informative seminars conducted by members of the resort’s award-winning food and beverage team.

The Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic consists of 11 food and beverage seminars, live entertainment, a beer garden and more than 60 food and beverage stations, featuring appetizing selections from the resort’s signature restaurants: Shula’s Steak House, Il Mulino New York Trattoria and Todd English’s bluezoo, as well as wines, beers and cocktails from around the world.

When: Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28, 2016
5:30–9 p.m. (for seminar schedule, check

Where: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort Causeway
1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd.
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830

Information: – Overnight packages and multiple-night package options are available for the eighth annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic starting at $424 and can be booked by phone at 1-888-828-8850

– Advance purchase unlimited food and beverage samples are $115 per person; upgraded ticket including the Beer Garden is $140 per person including taxes

– Interactive seminars start at $50 per person, per class including taxes

– Sunday Bubbles Brunch with J Vineyards and Winery is $94 per person including taxes

– For more information or to book, please visit or call 1-800-227-1500

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ORLANDO (October 1?2?, 2017) – On October 26, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Highball & Harvest will be hosting Homestead Harvest, the first chef-collaborative dinner at Grande Lakes Orlando’s on-site farm, Whisper Creek Farm. The evening will benefit Fleet Farming, a local non-profit organization whose goal is to assist in fostering a movement which moves towards a more sustainable farming and food production system in the region.

Highball & Harvest’s Chef Scott Pizzo and Peter Zampaglione, Executive Chef of The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes will be joined by an all-star line-up of local chefs who are donating their time and resources to creating a once in a lifetime culinary adventure.


Scott Pizzo, Highball & Harvest

Whiskey Shooter

Argentinian Roasted Suckling Pig, charred pumpkin


Kenny Gilbert (Top Chef), Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen/Gilbert’s Social

Smoked Alligator Ribs with SC BBQ Sauce

Field Peas with okra, smoked gator broth, radish, savory herbs and spices 

Kathleen Blake, The Rusty Spoon

Deviled Eggs

Duck Mortadella

James Petrakis, The Ravenous Pig

Wood-Grilled Octopus, black garlic skordalia, roasted beets

Lamb Kofta, quince yogurt, dill pesto


Elek Kovacs, The Osprey Tavern

Pickled Shrimp, chili citrus marinade, fresh garden vegetables

Pheasant, local rice grits, corn succotash

Kevin Fonzo, Kevin Fonzo Foundation

Red Kuri Squash Soup, truffle, Brussels sprouts, pears, apple

Smoked Duck Leg Confit, wild mushroom, duck liver, mushroom broth, garlic chips

Paula DaSilva, Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits at the Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale

Palmetto Creek Farms Pork Belly, truffle grits & collards

Wahoo Crudo, pickled heirloom tomatoes and chili peppers

John Janucik, JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes
Lobster Deviled Duck Egg, house bacon, surplus mustard aioli, chili oil

Smoked Short Rib, butternut squash pierogi, local mushrooms, sour cream

Espuma, horseradish crumbs

Stanley Miller, The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami

Lamb and Chorizo Empanada, olive, raisin, pimento

Chilled Heirloom Tomato and Melon “Tea”, Popcorn, Avocado, Lemon Oil


Sebastien Thieffine, The Ritz-Carlton Naples

Daisy – Florida Keys Honey Millefeuille, candied raspberries, crunchy pistachio

Coonies: chocolate chip cookie/brownie bar, salted butter caramel ice cream, vanilla bean gel

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

Assorted Pastries


In addition to a feast from some of Florida’s star chefs, the event will also host a silent auction with a number of luxury items from local businesses. Items include a Spa Day for Two at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Omakase Dinner for Two at Seito Sushi, and A VIP Dinner for 10 Guests in Your Home with Chefs from Ritz-Carlton Properties.  Homestead Harvest will offer a beverage selection from local vendors including craft cocktails from Highball & Harvest and there will be live music from Brocato Entertainment.

About Fleet Farming: Fleet Farming strives to reduce the environmental impact of food production through a pedal-powered, hyperlocal urban farming model that creates a culture of health and vibrant ecosystems by: teaching an intergenerational fleet of volunteers how to grow their own food, activating and re-engaging the community through biweekly Swarm Rides, and creating a breathe free and biodiverse environment through emissions-free, organic farming.


Tickets are $135 per person and can be purchased online here. For more information please

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I recently was tasked by Universal Studios to do this article on the dining options during their annual Halloween Horror Nights. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time – getting scared out of my wits. It had been a long time since my last visit for Halloween Horror Nights – I was actually a scareactor for a season during college as a hillbilly zombie.

I must say, the haunted houses were superbly done this year – at times, I felt like I was walking into a horror film or some very real nightmare brought to life. My favorite was the Reaping maze, filled with creatures that put the “scare” in scarecrow.

Check out the article here and some photos from our visit:

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Rumaku is a little new Japanese restaurant in East Orlando, just north of UCF on Alafaya. Most recently, it was Hawaiian Grindz, but was briefly home to many other restaurants before that.

Though they advertise their ramen, don’t get the ramen bowl here because it’s pretty much instant ramen noodles and broth with a few added ingredients in. Don’t. Do. It. Unless you like that kind of thing then go ahead and order it.

There are some other cool things to order here like Japanese burgers, sushi donut and the Korean beef bowl.

The Japanese burger’s buns are made with panko crusted fried bao buns and are quite delish.

Spider Burger – Soft shell crab

Salmon Glaze Sushi Donut – Pretty much what it sounds like, the rice forms a ring in the shape of a donut and the salmon is placed on top and torched with some eel sauce. Fun to eat but hard to hold up so you’ll be knife and forking or chopsticking this dish.

Tuna Sushi Donut

Pork bulgogi rice bowl
Curry Katsu ramen

Roast Pork ramen

The staff are friendly and helpful.

3050 Alafaya Trail ste 1036, Oviedo, FL 32765

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Sushi burritos and poke bowls are making a big splash in Central Florida lately. It’s easy to see why it’s a trend, especially with the fast casual chipotlification of the restaurant industry these past few years.

Lemon Shark Poke has opened in the former location of Pincho Factory in the Dr Phillips Marketplace, bringing the sushi burrito and poke craze to west Orlando. The decor is rather sparse and dark inside, but the food is fresh. I enjoyed my Maui heat wave pokerrito (that’s what they call their sushi burrito). It’s hard to pick out since they feature their bowls more prominently on the menu, but it’s there.

Address: 7600 Dr Phillips Blvd suite 102, Orlando, FL 32819
Phone: (407) 730-5201

Maui Heat Wave
Spicy Tuna, Spicy Salmon, Cucumber Salad, Serrano Chili, Avocado, Green Onion, Carrots, Ginger, Crispy Garlic, Spicy Mayo, Spicy Ponzu


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On the east side of Orlando, there is a little market and food stall called Cedar’s Halal. It’s owned by a Lebanese family, serving up shawarmas, rice platters, gyros, hummus, falafel, sandwiches and more, in addition to the Middle Eastern Market they have going on.

I ordered the Cedar’s Mixed Grill which came with three types of kabab meats while my friend ordered the traditional gyro. Everything came out quite delicious, and the rice was quite good. They even have Turkish soft drinks, if you ever wanted to try. Don’t get the yogurt drink, though. It is not pleasant.

Cedar’s Halal Food and Deli
Address: 12100 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32826

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October is National Pork Month and October 12 is National Pulled Pork Day with 2017 being only the second year that the holiday will be celebrated.

The day was actually created by Sonny’s BBQ last year when they set a Guinness World Record for the “Largest Serving of Pulled Pork” in Winter Park.

Sonny’s is celebrating with specials on October 12 – National Pulled Pork Day:

• $1 Pulled Pork Sliders – October 12 ONLY
• $1 OFF Pulled Pork Menu – October 12-15


1. Redneck Egg Rolls
2. Pulled Pork Dinners
3. Pulled Pork Sandwich
4. Sweet Carolina Sandwich

• Slider Basket – (5 for $5) – October 12-15

Giving The Gift of Pork
• This year, Sonny’s BBQ is donating 2,000 lbs. of pork to local food banks, churches, and soup kitchens across its entire footprint

Online Giveaways
• Win FREE Pulled Pork for a year


Sonny’s Pulled Pork Day Recipe
Recipe courtesy of Sonny’s

Head Pitmaster Bryan’s Pork Rub
•1 C brown sugar
•1 C raw sugar
•½ C kosher salt
•½ C seasoned salt
•½ C paprika
•4 Tbsps. chili powder
•1 Tbsp. cumin
•3 tsp. black pepper
•1 tsp. white pepper
•3 tsp. garlic
•3 tsp. onion
•1 Tbsp. coriander
•1 Tbsp. lemon pepper
•1 Tbsp. mustard

Head Pitmaster Bryan’sHog Injection
•3 C apricot juice
•5 C Apple juice
•2 C brown sugar
•2 C agave
•1/2 C sea salt
•1/4 C soy sauce

1.Mix apricot juice, apple juice, and soy sauce in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once liquid is warm add the brown sugar, agave, and sea salt and keep over medium heat until all ingredients are dissolved. Cool hog injection then inject into the pork butt evenly.

2.Combine all pork rub ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk together. Evenly coat the pork butt with the pork seasoning. Let rest 30 minutes before going on the smoker.

3.Set your smoker to 225 degrees and place the pork butt on the smoker with the fat cap down.

4.After the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees (4-5 hours) wrap the pork butt in foil to help push through the stall. Return the wrapped pork butt to the smoker.

5.Once the internal temperature reaches 195-200 degree’s remove pork from the smoker and let rest for 15 minutes.

6.Remove the fat cap from the bottom of the pork butt and also remove the bone. Shred the rest of the pork butt.

7.Top with our Sonny’s Sweet BBQ Sauce for that perfect balance.

Red Neck Egg Rolls – Loaded with Pulled Pork, homemade coleslaw and Pepper Jack cheese with a side of smokey Ranch dip.
Dry Rubbed Wings
Sweet Carolina™ – Pulled Pork topped with homemade coleslaw and Sonny’s Signature Carolina Sauce on a bun.
Whole Hog
Sliced Pork, Pulled Pork and Jalapeño Cheddar Hot Links topped with Sweet BBQ Sauce on a bun.

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Photo Courtesy of KADENCE

The founders of the wildly popular Kappo at East End Market have finally opened their newest project, Kadence, just a few blocks away from their original location in the heart of the Audubon Park District of Orlando.

Kadence is a nine-seat sushi and sake bar with a menu consisting of a multi-course sushi tasting focused on the highest-quality selection of seasonal fish. Their menu is all omakase, meaning chef’s choice of the day.

Photo Courtesy of KADENCE

From their website, Kadence owners Lordfer Lalicon, Jennifer Bañagale and Mark V. Berdin are University of Florida alum, who, after graduating, moved to New York City and then London to train in Michelin-starred restaurants.

Hours are currently by reservation only, on Tuesday – Saturday for dinner (6:00pm & 8:30pm seatings) and Sunday (11:30am, 2:00pm & 4:30pm) with lunch hours coming soon. Dinner prices range from $135 to $145 per person consisting of 18 courses.

Photo Courtesy of KADENCE

Our friend, Mike Cho, co-founder of local Orlando t-shirt printing shop Impress Ink, recently went to dine at Kadence on one of their first nights and reported back to us:

“If you were to pick anywhere geographically in the world, Kadence would place among the best contenders. We are blessed to have them here in Orlando.”

“What makes it excel further is the synergy between Mark, Jennifer, and Lo that reinforces the dining and food experience. Their personalities and even the music enhance and play a large role in the ambience of Kadence.”

“It’s like having the best of traditional Japanese omakase in Japan with the delivery of a uniquely Asian-American experience.”

“There is less than a handful of restaurants in all of Florida where food is delivered as an experience at this level. As someone who has dined around the world, if Orlando had Michelin star ratings, Kadence would definitely make the list.”

Photos Courtesy of Mike Cho


1809 E. Winter Park Rd., Orlando, FL 32803

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National Taco Day is this Wednesday October 4! Check out the local deals and specials going on for this glorious day.

Americans ate more than 4.5 billion tacos last year, according to the National Taco Day website.

In honor of the foodie holiday, Rubio’s Coastal Grill will offer guests deals all day Tuesday, October 3 (in conjunction with Taco Tuesday) on the signature fish taco that helped put the company on the map, as well as a few newer selections. Special all day deals include:

  • $1.75 Original Fish Taco
  • $2 Original Fish Taco Especial
  • $2.25 Original Fish Taco with new Mango Salsa (available only on Oct. 3!)
  • $1 off all alcohol all day

Cocina 214 in Winter Park will be offering its new Rotisserie Chicken Tacos for $10 to celebrate National Taco Day. The achiote rubbed rotisserie chicken is served with veggie rice, queso fresco, roasted corn, sautéed poblano salsa on corn tortillas.

Tijuana Flats, a unique, fast-casual Tex-Mex dining experience, is celebrating National Taco Day with $2 tacos and $2 Mexican drafts at all locations on Wednesday, October 4th.

On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina® will be celebrating the delicious holiday with unlimited 50-cent tacos, all day! There’s no limit on how many specially priced tacos a guest may purchase, so go ahead and go loco with any Beef, Chicken Tinga and Veggie Mini Crispy Tacos. Hand-prepared and made-to-order with only fresh ingredients, these tacos are nothing short of authentically delicious.

From Rockaway PR:

Did you know?

· Tacos were invented between 1,000 and 500 B.C. as a kind of edible spoon*
· The first mention of a taco in the United States can be found in 1905 in a newspaper**
· Americans consume more than 4 Billion Tacos Each Year ***
· The World’s Biggest Taco was made in 2011 and was 246 feet long***

*according to Tacopedia
** according to The Latin Kitchen
***according to

Food Lover’s Guide to Orlando’s Best Seafood Tacos

1921 by Norman Van Aken

142 E 4th Ave, Mt Dora

  • Beer Battered Fish Tacos- Corn tortillas with Avocado & Zellwood Corn Relish $12


Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen

6967Lake Nona Blvd, Orlando

  • Tempura Fish Taco- Local catch, zesty slaw, soft flour tortilla, chipotle aioli $8
  • Pan-Seared Florida White Fish Taco- Jicama Slaw, Red Onion, Soft Flour Tortilla, Cilantro Chiffonade $8

F&D Cantina

1124 Townpark Ave Suite 1071, Lake Mary

  • Baja Fish Taco- Light breaded grouper topped with a drunken raisin coleslaw & pickled onion $13.50
  • Shrimp & Chorizo- Red peppers, sautéed onions, avocado, and habanero aioli $14.50

Paradiso 37

1590 E Buena Vista Dr., Orlando

  • Baja Fish Tacos- 3 crispy seasonal white fish, cabbage slaw, corn salsa, cilantro-lime crema, tortilla salad $19 

The Ravenous Pig

565 Fairbanks Ave Winter Park

  • The Tacos– Crispy shrimp, cilantro, avocado, pickled jalapeño, cabbage slaw $14

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Seafood dishes, Cantonese stir fry noodles, dim sum – these are just some of the many staples at Chan’s Chinese Cuisine in the heart of Orlando.

Partners Tony Yeung and Annie Wong opened Chan’s Chinese Cuisine in late 1996 in Orlando, and have now been open for over 20 years here in Orlando serving authentic Cantonese Chinese cuisine. On June 5, 2017, the City of Orlando proclaimed it “Chan’s Chinese Cuisine Day” in honor of their anniversary.

Black Pepper Lamb Chops

Annie Wong’s uncle Chan opened Tom’s Chinese Cuisine in Daytona Beach many years ago. Annie, who operated her uncle’s restaurant, wanted to continue the success and opened an authentic Chinese cuisine in Orlando with Tony Yeung as a partner in 1996.

Chan’s Tony Yeung and Annie Wong

With over 45 years of experience, Chef Tony Yeung first started his chef career in Hong Kong at the very young age as 14. Prior to coming to Orlando, he worked as a managing chef in New York.

Special Roast Pork, Cucumber, and Dried Squid Appetizer
Special Roast Pork, Cucumber, and Dried Squid Appetizer

20 years ago when Annie and Tony founded Chan’s, they discovered that many customers did not know what authentic Chinese Cuisine consisted of, with many more knowing just the Americanized Chinese take-out version of the cuisine.

When they first opened, Tony and Annie had to explain and educate the customers about dim sum and authentic Chinese cuisine. Other challenges they faced including sourcing.

Special Geoduck Sashimi

“We had a hard time to find the right ingredients and often needed to order from New York or even California. Now, it’s easier to have fresh and good ingredients as the Asian American population is growing together with Chinese tourists,” said Chef Tony Yeung.

Ginger Scallion Dungeness Crab

“Many customers were from out of states or tourists who looked for authentic Chinese Cuisines. But right now, there are more customers especially younger folks who know about Dim Sum and authentic Chinese cuisine,” said Annie.

Seafood Fish Maw Soup

Today, Chan’s still has many customers who are tourists and convention guests looking for a traditional style Chinese banquet meal. Chan’s is still one of the few restaurants in Orlando who can cater wedding and birthday banquet and can host around 18-22 big tables, for a total of 200 or so guests.

Pipa Tofu – shaped like Chinese pipa string instruments

Managing Chef Tony told us he can prepare pretty much anything authentic Chinese as long as he has the ingredients. Call ahead to find out and coordinate at least 24 hours. Some local favorites at Chan’s include Stir fried noodle – Hong Kong style and egg tart dim sum. Chef Tony likes his secret recipe Soy Sauce Stir Fried Lobster, made by special request many years ago on special request for VIP high rollers when he was still a chef in Hong Kong.

Steamed Fish with Chinese spinachv

Some Special Dishes found at Chan’s

  • Baked Dungeness Crab with fried rice in lotus leaf
  • Chicken & Shrimp Fried Rice in Cream & Tomato Sauce
  • Superior Soy Sauce Live Lobster – secret recipe
Superior Soy Sauce Live Lobster – secret recipe
Dessert – Osmanthus Flower Jelly with Wolfberries

Chan’s Chinese Cuisine
1901 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803

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I still remember those days in college, traveling up to visit friends at the University of Florida in Gainesville way back in 2003, with everyone excited to line up for this new restaurant called Bento Cafe. We called it Bento Blue even then because of its blue decor. We lined up to take our orders at the register and waited patiently for our bowls of Taiwanese beef noodle soup or teriyaki chicken bento boxes, with great delight.

Now based in Orlando, Bento Asian Kitchen + Sushi, a quick-casual pan-Asian restaurant, enters its 15th year of business this fall.

To honor the benchmark and its customer base fueling the restaurant’s longevity, Bento Café kicked off a “15 Days of Bento” celebration starting on September 15, 2017.

Established in Gainesville during the fall of 2002, Bento Café’s original location opened at 3832 West Newberry Road. It is known as “Bento Blue” due to its vibrant use of blue neon décor, as reported by a Gainesville Sun article covering the opening.

To meet growing demand after the Newberry location launched, the second location on Archer Road (affectionately named by locals as “Bento Red” also due to its décor, and to differentiate between the two) opened in 2007.

Locations in Orlando, Jacksonville, and more recently, Davie and Tallahassee gradually popped up throughout the 15-year run.

“Fifteen years ago when we first opened, we never dreamed of expanding out of Gainesville, and now we have plans to expand out of Florida,” comments owners, Jimmy and Johnny.


The group plans to give back to the customers and community as reaching this anniversary wouldn’t be possible without the support of its loyal following. Bento Café will recognize promotions at participating locations, daily giveaways, and rotating specials from September 15th through September 29th.

Also for every check-in and tag on social media, the group will donate $1 to benefit local charities through the Bento Foundation. The total amount donated will be announced October 1st.

The 15 Days of Bento include:

DAY 1- FRIDAY Sept 15
Spend $20 to receive a free t-shirt while supplies last
Half off boba teas
DAY 3- SUNDAY Sept 17
Free combo upgrades
DAY 4- MONDAY Sept 18
Half off any classic roll
DAY 5- TUESDAY Sept 19
10% of all proceeds to benefit local charities through the Bento foundation at
Half off Spicy Cream Chicken Rice Bowl
Gift card Giveaway
Purchase a $50 gift card, get a $10 gift card
DAY 8- FRIDAY Sept 22
Half off beer and sake
20% off call-in order – mention “bento turns 15” at checkout
DAY 10- SUNDAY Sept 24
Family Day – free kids box with purchase of any entree (roll, bowl or box)
DAY 11- MONDAY Sept 25
One free build-a-poke protein upgrade
DAY 12- TUESDAY Sept 26
BOGO appetizers
Half off catered lunch coupon
Must drop a business card to receive instant print coupon for half off catering order (limit
DAY 14- THURSDAY Sept 28
College Day
Bring your friend, get BOGO Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowls with student ID
DAY 15- FRIDAY Sept 29
Announcing winner of FREE BENTO FOR A YEAR

We spoke with the founders of Bento to get some more background about the history of the restaurant empire:

How did the story of Bento begin?

Bento began with a small Taiwanese family in Gainesville Florida that had a history of opening and operating traditional Chinese restaurants from small take out places to large Chinese buffets. While attending the University of Florida, the two brothers, Jimmy and Johnny, wanted to open something more modern and hip that could be a cool college hangout and quick place to grab a bite to eat being near the University of Florida.

Johnny Tung, Momma Tung, and Jimmy Tung of Bento

Quick service Asian restaurants then were pretty much non existent in 2002 so it would be a unique place that had more of a cool decor rather than hanging traditional Asian lanterns and golden dragons. Having been sushi trained we decided to make Bento more of a pan Asian cuisine adding some Thai Curry dishes and Korean dishes. Bento boxes were also already very common in Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, and Chinese cuisines. Lastly we had to wait for the perfect location that was small, convenient, and near UF and Bento was born at a 40 seat restaurant on Newberry Road.

The Original Bento Blue

What was it like in the first year?

The 1st year of opening started off very slow but ended with a line out the door for hours at a time. No one really knew what Bento was all about. People came in confused and looking for a hostess but soon realized the Bento can be a quick stop for good quality Asian food dine-in or takeout.

We started with a staff of 5 and quickly grew to 30 in the first year to meet the demand. We had to change our kitchen layout a few times and had to keep figuring out more ways to produce the food quickly and efficiently without sacrificing the quality.

Once the Gainesville Sun wrote about how unique Bento was, that’s when the lines started. It was challenging to double, triple, quadruple the volume out of such a small restaurant without disappointing our growing fan base.

In the past 15 years, what do you think has changed the most regarding the American palate towards Asian cuisine at Bento? Why?

In 15 years, our fan base has grown a lot and we have seen different items become popular. At first, it was more about the items that people were used to seeing at different Chinese restaurants such as shrimp fried rice and General Tso’s Chicken but have seen more of a shift to more customizable options with our Build a Poke bowls. People are starting to become more adventurous with eating and have started to appreciate more ethnic and fresh ingredients. Also, at Bento, having an open kitchen and sushi bar follows the trend of transparency and making everything in house.

What were some of your biggest challenges through the years?

In the last 15 years, the most common challenges are to continue to stay fresh and stay with the trends in our offerings and our marketing strategies as time passes. As we grow, challenges of product consistency will always be a priority. As we keep building new stores, we have to dedicate the same attention to the aging stores that have been around for 10+ years. Luckily, we have had the same passionate core management team in place for over 10 years now to keep Bento moving in the right direction.

Bento partners Jimmy Tung, Jurel Serrana, Johnny Tung, and David Yu

Where do you see Bento in the next 5, 10 years?

Our goal for the next 5 years is to continue to expand to major cities and universities throughout Florida. Tampa Bay has long been part of our expansion and we recently were pleased to announce our downtown St. Petersburg location. We are looking at some locations in Atlanta now as that is the next area we want to target in the Southeast. In 10 years, we would like to be in every major metropolitan city across the U.S

Bento Jacksonville

Bento is hugely popular in college areas, how do you think Bento can reach out to more of the mainstream American audience?

One of Bento’s biggest milestone was opening the 1st Bento outside of our Gainesville college town in downtown Orlando in 2008. It was a big test to see if Bento would do well in a non college market and it was an instant hit with the office professionals downtown. We then opened our Dr.Phillips location in 2009 which was a more residential and tourist area with no university nearby and that store was successful as well.

Once we opened Jacksonville late 2009 that was when we were confident enough that Bento was not just a college spot anymore and that this concept could be open in most markets. We have very recognizable menu items but also have many authentic items that would appeal to both a mainstream crowd and also for people that appreciate more of the hard to find authentic dishes such as Szechuan beef noodle soup and Ginger scallion chicken.

Top Five Best Selling Dishes at Bento

1. Spicy Cream Chicken
2. Teriyaki Chicken
3. Tuna Poke bowl
4. Pork Katsu Curry
5. Pad Thai

Sushi Best Sellers

Special Mexican Roll
Crunch Roll
Avocado Roll

Also, a new menu item – build-a-poke bowls – are on the rise in popularity.

Wishing Bento a happy 15 year anniversary and many more to come! Visit for menu, locations, and more.

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Hurricane Irma Information

In times of disaster, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and its network of 550 nonprofit feeding partners represent a vital emergency food supply for the community.

They are are providing extended relief service to storm victims in Brevard, Volusia, Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Lake Counties.

Emergency Food Assistance

If you find yourself in need of food assistance, please call 407-295-1066 and we will help you locate an emergency food pantry near you. You can also click on the county below and find food pantries that are open around you this week (list is updated daily).

If you need other help find a list of Community Resources here (pdf download).

How To Help

After the storm, ways for the local community to help Second Harvest help people in need are very specific:

  • Monetary Donations. Your $10 gift can help us provide 40 meals into our community during this time of need.   
  • Food and cleaning supplies donations: 
    Non-perishable food donations and cleaning supplies can be delivered to our distribution center in Orlando at 411 Mercy Drive, Orlando, Florida 32805. (see attached list of needs).
  • Volunteer opportunities:

Donation Drop-offs:

Tuesday – Friday 8am to 4pm
Second Harvest Food Bank, 411 Mercy Drive Orlando, Fla. 32805   Phone: 407-295-1066

Tuesday – Friday 7am to 3:30pm
Volusia County:  320 North Street, Daytona Beach, FL 32114         Phone: 386-257-4499
Brevard County: 6928A Vickie Circle, West Melbourne, FL 32904   Phone: 321-733-1600


Basic Categories:

  • Canned Goods
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Cooking items
  • Personal Care
  • Bottled Goods
  • Charcoal/Sterno
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Paper Goods
  • Flashlights/Batteries
  • Dry Goods
  • Water & Ice
  • Infant Care items

Level 1 Priority (in addition to basic categories)

  • Peanut Butter
  • Assorted drinks
  • Cooking items
  • Jelly
  • Cereal
  • Paper Goods
  • Canned Meats
  • Canned Fruits & Veggies
  • Bread
  • Diapers
  • Baby Formula ? Food
  • Snacks
  • Bleach
  • Cleaning supplies

Level 2 Priority (in addition to other categories)

  • Cookies & Crackers
  • Toilet Paper
  • Feminine Hygiene
  • Instant Coffee/Drinks
  • Toothpaste & Brushes
  • Non-perishable milk
  • Tea Bags
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo
  • Candy
  • Staples (sugar, salt)

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Weekends, September 15 – November 12
Complimentary transportation to Epcot® and the Disney Theme Parks.

Food & Wine Weekends at Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek is a celebration of fine wine and the culinary arts…the perfect complement to the Epcot® Food & Wine Festival, for the serious epicurean.

Food & Wine Weekends events will be held from September 15 through November 12, 2017.

Friday & Saturday, 6pm – 10pm,
Bull & Bear

Experience an exclusive tasting five-course menu comprised of exquisite food and wine pairings – prepared by the illustrious chefs of Waldorf Astoria Orlando.
Reservations recommended, please refer to, “The Taste of Bull & Bear,” when making a reservation. Call 407-597-5413. ($)

Please note: The Taste of Bull & Bear menu will not be available on the following dates: September 22, October 13, October 27 & November 11.


Friday & Saturday, 6pm – 11pm,
La Luce

From the kitchen of La Luce at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, enjoy an exclusive four-course menu with recommended wine pairing featuring the best of La Luce. Menu may be paired with wine flights for an additional fee.
Reservations recommended, please refer to, “The Taste of La Luce,” when making a reservation. Call 407-597-3600. ($)


Friday & Saturday, 5pm – 10pm,
Zeta Asia

Guests can enjoy an exciting epicurean journey at Zeta Asia, exploring perfect pairings of sake or beer with favorite Asian-inspired dishes. ($)


Saturday 4:30pm – 5:30pm,
Peacock Alley

Muddle, mix and sample! Guests partake in an interactive experience creating their very own specialty cocktails.

Friday & Saturday, 5pm – 7pm,
outside of La Luce

Before dinner, sample an array of wines which will be offered as a complement to The Taste of La Luce dinner menu.
Regardless of your wine knowledge, this is a wonderful opportunity to learn more from an experienced sommelier.

Friday & Saturday, 7pm – 10pm,
Peacock Alley

A decadent selection of à la carte chocolate treats hand-crafted by Waldorf Astoria Orlando’s world-class pastry team. A selection of champagnes are available, as well. Highlights include chocolate truffles, exotic chocolate cakes and bowls of beautiful bon-bons. ($)

Friday & Saturday, 7pm – 10pm,

Whether indulging in a pre or post-dinner treat, guest can visit the Macaron Bar to try an assortment of flavors, hand-made by the resort’s world-class pastry team. ($)

Nightly, 6pm – 10pm
Peacock Alley

Enjoy live music while taking in the fabulous vibe of Peacock Alley.

Sundays, 2pm – 4pm,
Peacock Alley

Treasure time together as you savor finely-prepared tea sandwiches and house-made pastries, while sipping premium hot tea and listening to live piano music. Add a glass of champagne for a “Grand Royal Tea.”
Reservations are required 24 hours in advance. Please see Concierge or call 407-597-5450. ($)

Friday & Saturday, 6pm – 10pm,
WA Kids Club

Adults are not the only ones to have fun. The WA Kids Club is offering a nightly children’s program including dinner and a non-stop roster of fun activities – providing parents some “adult time” in which to experience Food & Wine Weekend activities. ($)

Daily, Waldorf Astoria Spa

Experience the powerful antioxidants of red wine powder, red grape seed extract, crushed grape seeds and pure grape seed oil as you indulge in an extravagant Tuscany Wine Wrap or Pedicure.
To book an appointment at Waldorf Astoria Spa please call 407-597-5360. ($)

August 31 – November 13,

Sip, savor and stroll your way through 35 delicious destinations in a fun and flavor-filled celebration of the 35th anniversary of Epcot®.
Waldorf Astoria Orlando offers complimentary luxury transportation to and from Epcot®.

Taste Around Food & Wine Weekends Highlights:

Bull & Bear®  
– Green Pea Cappuccino with White Asparagus Foam and Lemon Meyer Dust
– Carved Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom Ash, Purée of Charred Eggplant,
Confit Potato with Juniper Berry Salt, Madeira Demi

La Luce®  

– Ravioli Al Nero Di Sephia, Crab, Tomato, Fennel Brodo

– Chimay Braised Beef Short Rib, Risotto, Porcinis, Melted Leeks, Butter Squash,
Horseradish Gremolata

Zeta Asia

– Kanji Signature Roll, Spicy Salmon, Cucumber, Avocado, Tobiko, Siracha
– Mont Fuji Roll, Crab, Avocado, Cucumber, Hamachi, Salmon, Tuna, Wasabi Aioli, Tobiko

– Tuna Poke Bowl, Avocado, Pickled Cucumber, Spinach, Mushrooms, Bean Sprout,
Sushi Rice, Furikake, Matsu Dressing

Bar du Chocolat  
– Chocolate and Raspberry Religieuse
– Oreo Cheese Cake
– Milk Chocolate Eclair
– White Chocolate Cheesecake Pop
– PB And Mascarpone Cream Dome
– Old Fashion Chocolate Brownies
– Cherry Double Fudge Cookie
– Crispy Chocolate And Caramel Bar
– Chocolate Bonbon, Caramel And Candy

Macaron Bar
– Caramel Fleur dé Sel
– Piña Colada
– Strawberry and Cream
– Peach and Raspberry
– Bananas Foster
– Lemon

Cocktail Creations
– Bull & Bear’s Spicy Margarita: Patrón Barrel Select Añejo Tequila, Green Chartreuse, St. Germaine, Organic Agave, Lime Juice, Gracias A Dios Mezcal, Avocado, Egg White

Private Labels
– Chardonnay – Hill Family Estate, Bonnet Creek Reserve “Carly’s Cu Cuvée,” Napa Valley, CA
– Pinot Noir – Leatitia, Bonnet Creek Reserve, Arroyo Grande, CA
– Tequila – Patrón Barrel Select Añejo, Hilton & Waldorf Astoria Bonnet Creek Resort, Lot # 129/336
– Bourbon – Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve, Hand selected by Bonnet Creek Resort Barrel # 4194
– Beer – “Bonnet Creek Bliss”, Belgium Strong Ale, aged for 3 months in Bonnet Creek Resort’s bourbon barrels, Crooked Can, Winter Garden, FL

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This September we’re looking for hunger heroes to help provide an additional 40,000 meals through our #ShareAMeal campaign. 

A hunger hero, just like you, has pledged to match all donations – up to $5,000! You can help unlock this matching fund and help feed more people today.

Take the #ShareAMeal Challenge

Step 1: Share your favorite meal with us using the #ShareAMeal hashtag on social media.

Step 2: Donate the cost of your meal here to help feed hungry families. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar.

Step 3: Challenge 3 friends to share their meals by tagging them in your post. Use the hashtag #ShareAMeal, so we can share it too!

Together we can make a difference for thousands of children, families, and seniors in our community. We look forward to seeing your shared meals!

Take the #shareameal challenge

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Join 10+ award winning, well known, and most popular Central Florida restaurants and chefs for an epic, battle-style burger competition unlike anything you’ve seen before at the brand new Ace Cafe in Downtown Orlando. Cast your vote for the Best Burger in Orlando alongside a distinguished panel of celebrity judges as you sample burger creations from all across the area! Experience a sensation for your taste buds as Central Florida’s top chefs present their take on Orlando’s Best Burger.

Attendees enjoy free beer, wine, spirits, and all the burgers they can eat! With live music, performers, fun zones, and of course, some of the rarest and most sought-after motorcycles in the world on display, this battle cannot be missed! Are You Ready To Crown A Champ?

Sep 23, 2017 from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm

at Ace Cafe Orlando, Orlando, FL

Tickets are on sale now  / $55 General Admission / $75 V.I.P.

General Admission Tickets include:
• All you can eat burgers from each participating restaurant
• Beer, wine, and cocktail bars
• Milkshake bar
• Concert
• Games

VIP Tickets include:
• All general admission items plus …
• Early admission to the event
• Exclusive VIP Lounge with Ace Cafe catering
• Private butler service
• V.I.P. gift bag
• Meet-N-Greet with celebrity judges

For more information, please contact or call 407-318-7264!

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The Halal Guys is a halal Middle Eastern fast casual restaurant that began as a food cart in 1990 on the south-east corner of 53rd Street and Sixth Avenue in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. We actually visited the original 53rd and 6th Ave Halal food cart way back in 2009 after a late night of walking the city.

Gyro sandwich

The place always had a long line, especially in the late hours of the evening after the night clubs would close, and people loved their signature white sauce over chicken and rice platters. In addition to rice platters, there are also pita sandwiches and salads, where you can choose beef gyro, chicken, or falafel as your main.

Chicken and Rice Platter

Today, the company has grown from one small food cart to over 200 new restaurants all over the world, including one right here in East Orlando, just south of UCF by Waterford Lakes.

Eater NY recently named the Halal Guys’ rice platter as “one of New York City’s most iconic dishes.” The platter includes meat (chicken, gyro, or both) or falafel, rice, iceberg lettuce (or, instead, extra rice), and slices of pita bread.


In addition to the signature white sauce, there is a very spicy red hot sauce, I believe it is of Egyptian or North African origin because it reminds me a lot of harissa sauce.


The Halal Guys
688 North Alafaya Trail Ste. 103
Orlando, Florida, FL 32828
Highlights info row image
(407) 271-8606

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