Authors Posts by Tiffany Nguyen

Tiffany Nguyen

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Tiffany is a native of Orlando, Florida. Born and raised in "The City Beautiful" she has witnessed many vast changes to the city since she was a young girl and she is excited for what's to come for her hometown. Tiffany graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.S. in General Business. One of her long-time dreams came true when her family's restaurant, Saigon Noodle & Grill - Bumby got invited to film with the Food Network for an episode of "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" with Guy Fieri and special guest Food Network Star winner Justin Warner. Be sure to keep an eye out for their episode as it does air quite frequently!

At Hawkers, the founders Kaleb Harrell, Allen Lo, Wayne Yung and Kin Ho – all traveled the world to curate a menu of handed-down family recipes and hand-picked popular street foods from all over Asia – Korea, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan to be exact.  Today, all of the original founders are active in restaurant operations ranging from chefs to brand and operations managers.

Since the brand’s inception in 2011 with the Orlando – Mills 50 location, it has opened three additional Florida locations in Jacksonville, Neptune Beach, and St. Petersburg.  New locations are under construction and slated to open in Windermere (located in the Greater Orlando area) in November 2017 and in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward in March 2018, marking its expansion outside of Florida.  Four additional locations are slated to open throughout the Southeast in 2018.

The restaurant’s name is inspired by street vendors found throughout the streets of Asia known as hawkers.  They depend on locally grown ingredients to create dishes sold from mobile carts and stands.

“We are on a mission to disrupt the restaurant industry, and essentially redefine what it means to “eat Asian” in America.  People often ask me who our competition is, and I can’t come up with one–and, for us, that’s a positive thing.”

A place where sharing is not just caring, but the way to eat, Hawkers offers a fresh take on today’s Asian street-fare experience with dishes that are always made to order using local and imported ingredients.  Hawkers is considered a “local’s favorite” and has been featured in Delta SkyMagazine, Florida Trend and Orlando Magazine, and Food & Wine as Andrew Zimmern’s number one pick on his list of “12 Places to Stay, Eat & Shop in and Around Orlando.”

The tables are communal and are inlaid with newspaper to resemble the way street food is often served wrapped in newspaper from hawker stalls.

All Hawkers locations have a weekday happy hour and a wide selection of imported and local wine, beer, and saké.

The menu changes with the seasons and features house favorites such as Roti Canai and award-winning Pad Thai and more common items such as Yi Yi’s Chicken Dumplings and Miso Pork Belly Ramen.  The diverse menu offers options for various palates with vegetarian-friendly dishes, gluten-free and a variety of pescatarian offerings.

(Source credit: Hawkers Asian Street Fare)

We had the opportunity to try some of their new menu items + some classic dishes and we are so excited to share them all with you!

* indicates a new menu item.

*#dimsumcrunchyballs – shrimp, pork, crispy spring roll batter.  This is a traditional Chinese dish using ground up shrimp thrown across the table to get air pockets out, then coated with egg wash and shredded spring rolls wrapper, and finally fried and served with a hot oil-soy sauce.  It has a bounciness to it.

*Crispy Chicken Skin – Hawkers’ version of skewers that can be found in Asia cooked over coals.   They get all of the protein fat scrapped off, season it with Szechuan style seasoning, bake it in oven, then finish it over a grill burning charcoal.   This dish is suppose to be eaten with lime sprinkled over it to accentuate its smokey flavors.

*’Nam Nem Rolls – chilled rice wrap, fried rice paper, chicken sausage, lettuce, cucumber, basil, mint.  Nem in Vietnamese means sausage.  This dish is traditionally made with pork, however, they make theirs with chicken because less people eat pork.  The chicken is baked in the oven then finished on the grill.  The sauce is a Vietnamese vinaigrette consisting of fish sauce, Coco Rico, and red chilies.

*Singapore ‘Chili’ Crab – national dish of Singapore, soft-shelled crab, house-made chili garlic sauce, and fried bao bun.

*Tiger Salad– poached octopus, cilantro, carrots, green onions, celery, cucumber, rice wine vinaigrette, and lemon juice.  A light and refreshing salad.

Roti Canai – Malaysian flat bread served with a side of their signature curry.  Chef Allen Lo describes the bread as “if a croissant and pancake made a baby”.   He ate this dish every day growing up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Wok-Fired Lettuce – shiitake mushrooms, red chilies, light hoisin soy sauce, lettuce.  This staple dish makes a great side dish with every meal.

Chicken Dumplings – hand-rolled in-house daily, wok-seared (pictured) or steamed.  Hawkers makes their dumplings at 7am every morning; it is the first thing they make.

Pad Thai – rice noodles, shrimp, chicken, eggs, scallions, bean sprouts.  Pad Thai is a staple dish in Asia.  At Hawkers, they let their sauce simmer for eight hours before serving it over the noodles.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee  – available in iced (pictured) or French drip.

Mocha Trio – Green tea, lychee colada, and Thai tea.  Made at the Mochidoki shop in New York.

Be sure to check out the launch of the new menu items this Wednesday, August 16, at a Hawkers near you!

Hawkers Asian Street Fare
1103 N Mills Ave
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 237-0606

Home


@eathawkers

We were invited to a media event at a new lakefront restaurant named The Waterfront.  This American restaurant was bought in February and opened in April.  Everything is made in house except the bread.  It is important to support independent restaurants in Orlando, Florida so make sure you check them out!

Adult Swim Saturdays every Saturday in August at 2pm.


Outdoor patio with a roof to protect you from the sun or rain.  Or both.  Florida weather.



Food, brews, and views.

Chips & Pimento Dip – Salsa, Jalapeños, Corn Tortillas.  The pimento dip is prepared with pimento cheese, poblano peppers, garlic, and baked in the oven.

Wings – House Hot

Paired with the “Florida Crush” – Effen Blood Orange Vodka, Triple Sec, Fresh-Squeezed Florida Oranges, Lemon-Lime Soda

Crab Cake Sliders  – Arugula, Tomato, Pickled Red Onion, Avocado, Remoulade.  The blue crab is from Gulf of Mexico and they use the meat from its claws.

Tuna Poke Salad – Ahi Tuna, Seaweed Salad, Arugula, Romaine, Cucumber, Tomato, Radish, Avocado, Sesame Seeds, Sweet Onion Vinaigrette

Paired with the “Jennie Jewel” -Effen Cucumber Vodka, St. Germain, Fresh-Squeezed Lemon, Simple Syrup and Lime, Mint

The Waterfront Burger – Ground Chuck, Swiss, Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Bacon, Arugula

French Dip – Roast Sirloin, Swiss Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Au Jus, Horseradish Mayo

Paired with the “Dixie Belle” – Jim Beam Black, Muddled Mint + Cucumber, Simple Syrup, Fresh-Squeezed Lime

Pan Roasted Catfish – Sautéed Kale, Cheddar Grits, Remoulade, Pickled Red Onion
Fried Chicken Thigh – Hot Honey, Cheddar Grits, Pickled Green Beans


Steak Frites – Pan Roasted Sirloin, Cut Fries, Blue Cheese Butter

Paired with House Red Wine – 2015 Drumheller Cabernet Sauvignon

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie  – Whipped Cream
Bread Pudding – Key Lime Syrup, Whipped Cream

Paired with a sampling of the “Margaret” – Jim Beam Vanilla, Butterscotch, Cocoa, Licor 43, Irish Cream

The Waterfront
4201 South Orange Ave
Orlando, Florida, FL 32806
(407) 866-0468
@TheWaterfront

This past weekend Spoleto continued the summer fun with Spoleto Fest, a complimentary, two-day culinary celebration for all.  The event began on Saturday with a unique culinary experience where guests enjoyed samplings of Spoleto’s menu items, wine and live music, followed by a family fun day featuring “kids eat free,” raffles, games, face painting and more, on Sunday.

This pasta festival was a fun yet budget-friendly way to feed and entertain the entire family as the kids are about to go back to school after summer.

We loved attending the event and enjoyed the tasty dishes that Spoleto has to offer.  We had a wonderful time and we are looking forward to coming back to Spoleto Fest next year.  Check out our pictures below!

The line for Spoleto Fest – Windermere.  Back in June, they fed 700 people at their Spoleto Fest – Winter Park event.

Free ravioli sample while waiting in line.

Won a bag from the Spoleto prize wheel while waiting in line!

Almost there!  It was worth the wait.

The ingredients are fresh and organic.  After being selected, they get sautéed then tossed in pasta.

Superior customer service – friendly and quick.

My Spoleto creation!

Pasta: Fettuccine Noodles
Sauce: Alfredo
Six ingredients: Broccoli, Truffle Roasted Mushrooms, Roasted Red Onions, Baby Spinach, Kalamata Olives, and Zucchini, Sautéed in Pesto
Garnished with: Minced Cilantro & Red Chili Peppers

Be sure to check out the new Spoleto in Windermere – or check out one near you!

Spoleto – Windermere
4750 The Grove Dr. Windermere, FL 34786
Phone: (407) 217-2756
spoletoitalian.com

This new, exclusive, and interactive bourbon pairing dinner takes fine dining to a whole new level.

The Capital Grille, a fine dining American restaurant, recently hosted an exclusive, interactive, and educational bourbon pairing dinner with Buffalo Trace at their Millenia Mall location in Orlando, Florida.  We were invited for a media preview and was highly impressed with what the culinary staff, bar team, and Buffalo Trace representative brought to the table.  Here are some scenes from our flawless five-star dinner.  The Capital Grille will be having more special dinners like this in the weeks and months to come so be sure to contact them soon about the next one happening in October!

First Course
Authentic A5 Wagyu Carpaccio
Chive Oil, Sea Salt – The highest premium cut of steak.


Eagle Rare 10 Year – This whiskey is masterfully crafted and carefully aged for no less than ten years.  This drink contains complex aromas of herbs, honey, hints of orange peel, leather, toffee, and oak with a bold and dry finish.


Assorted Breads


Second Course
Seared Scallop and Foie Gras, Sherry Vinaigrette
Wild Mushroom Sauté


Buffalo Trace Bourbon – The Capital Grille culinary & bar team’s take on the Manhattan.  This drink is strong, aromatic, and not much is added to it to keep it pure and simple.


Third Course

Berkshire Pork BBQ with Charred Vidalia Onion
And Caramelized Peach Glaze
Late Summer Succotash


E. H. Taylor Bourbon


Fourth Course

Dry Aged Sirloin, Roasted Bone Marrow
And Short Rib Ragout
Shaved Summer Truffle, Asparagus, Cabernet Reduction – 35 day aged sirloin.


Blanton’s Bourbon and Blanton’s Infusion with figs, blackberries, and thyme.

Dessert
Spiked Root Beer Float
Bourbon Cream
Taste: sweet, vanilla, bubbly soda, and then bourbon.

Be sure to check out The Capital Grille – Millenia Mall soon.  They plan on making these special dinners a regular occurrence featuring different spirits & wine in the future.  Cheers!

The Capital Grille – Millenia Mall
4200 Conroy Road, Orlando, FL 32839
Phone: (407) 351-2210
http://www.thecapitalgrille.com

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Bbq, Bacon & Cheddar burger – BBQ sauce, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar & haystack onions on an egg bun.

“Smashed fresh.  Served delicious.”  Smashburger brings its adventurous flavors to Florida and its first stop: Orlando, FL.  Although Smashburger is not a recognized brand yet in Florida, founder Tom Ryan has a vision for Smashburger and he is bringing his concept to life a burger at a time, with ten developing restaurants in Florida from Jacksonville to Kissiminee to Brevard.  First location on 3162 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL and the second location on 334 North Alafaya Trail, Orlando, FL.  I was invited (last minute – excuse the low-quality iPhone 4s photos!  Hopefully they do some justice) to attend Smashburger’s media preview at the Alafaya location, presented by founder Tom Ryan.  He goes down the entire menu and tells us a story behind each burger, reminding us that food with a story is important, and regardless of the contents in the burger the three main components: burger, cheese, and bun always has to be good.  He wants you to still be able to taste the burger in every bite.

Tasting menu

photo 3 (1)

Fried pickles

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Smashfries

photo 1

Founder Tom Ryan tells us a story

photo 2

Every bun at Smashburger is buttered.  “In the cooking process we keep so much juice (in the burger) that we keep butter (on the bun) to hold it.”  Every market has its own local burger so you can find the “Central Florida burger” in the Orlando locations.  For control freaks,  they have a create your own burger menu.

Grilled chicken sandwich – piccato style – beat out flat.  Break out a piece of chicken and find it juicy and savory.  Smashburger took it off menu and after popular demand brought it back quickly.

photo 4 (1)

Truffle Mushroom Swiss Burger

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What’s Ryan’s favorite?  The Buffalo & Blue Cheese Crispy chicken sandwich – fried to give it a crispy coating and features Frank’s Red Hot Sauce topped with blue cheese that bites through everything.  Ryan says this is the sandwich to drink an IPA with, which they also sell at all their locations.

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The handspun shakes are rich and creamy contains 14% butter fat and made with Hagaan-Daz ice cream, YUM.

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Those are sample sizes, of course.  Smashburger is now open go check it out for yourself and tell me what you think below!

Smashburger on Urbanspoon

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Located in the heart of Orlando’s Downtown Arts District, the Grand Bohemian is an artistic boutique hotel designed to inspire unforgettable experiences.  Also a member to The Kessler Collection portfolio, each hotel’s art, music, and cultural influences are personally acquired for that hotel by the Kessler family.

I had the opportunity to take a group tour to explore the hotel and view the Kessler Collection Signature Grand Bohemian Gallery celebrating the work of French artist, Jean Claude Roy.  The last stop on our tour ended at the hotel’s restaurant located on the first floor named, “The Boheme”.

DSC_9164 DSC_9171 DSC_9175

Our group received a five course meal prepared by Executive Chef Laurent Hollaender from northeastern France.  Chef Hollander’s execution in all his dishes surpassed expectations, and the group dinner was filled with good conversation and good company.

Chef Hollaender’s style of cooking consists of Italian influences finished with a touch of elegance.  Chef Hollaender’s dishes are a true work of art as they are not only visually appealing but quite satisfying on the lips.  His dishes were in fact impressive.

Be aware that the menu at The Boheme changes every month, so make sure to check out the menu regularly.

Get in my belly.

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Amuse Bouche: TATARE DE SAUMON ET SA COURONNE DE CONCOMBRE
Salmon Tarate served in a Cucumber Crown and Quail Egg
Eating directions: Pour quail over salmon and stir in blackened salt to taste.
Choice of Wine – Cremant Brut Rose, Lucien Albrecht
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Hors d’oeuvre: PINCETTE DE FOIE GRAS ET CANARD FUME
Duck Foie Gras Terrine, Smoked Duck Breast, Toasted Brioche Beets and Carrot Chutney
Choice of Wine – Gewürztraminer, Trimbach
DSC_9240
Poisson: RAVIOLE GEANTE DE FRUIT DE MER
Lobster, Sea Bass and Mussels Ravioli with Onion Compote White Wine Butter Sauce and Lobster Reduction
So smooth and creamy. It tasted like heaven on Earth. If this is what heaven tastes like, I’m ready for my afterlife.
Choice of Wine – Pouilly-Fuisse, Louis Jadot
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Viande: PETIT FILET MIGNON AU MORILLES ET CHANTERELLES
Grilled Petit Filet Mignonette with Morels and Chanterelles Sauce Pommes Anna, Fall Vegetables
Choice of Wine – CIGALUS, Gerard Bertrand
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According to the Grand Bohemian staff, this wine “can’t compete with any other wine in the world.”
Cabernet Sauvignon (50%) and Merlot (50%)
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Dessert: TARTE MOELLUSE AU CHOCOLATE ET CRIOTTES Marinated Cherries in Brandy from Sarlat, Valrhona Chocolate Hanache, French Vanilla Ice Cream. The design of this dish was inspired by French artist Jean Claude Roy, who joined our table for dessert. Choice of Wine- Banylus, Chapoutier
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Menu signed by Jean Claude Roy

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After dinner, the staff at Grand Bohemian generously gifted each of us with a portrait made of chocolate that was painted by Jean Claude Roy himself. Although it is edible, but it’s too pretty to eat. For now I will keep this chocolate portrait framed on my wall.

You are what you eat. After this dinner, I would consider myself elegant.

Photos taken by Krystle Nguyen with the Nikon D5000 DSLR

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