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!

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More than 10,000 baking professionals, industry buyers, pastry chefs, cake artists, retail bakers, hobbyists and everyday foodies from around the world are expected to attend the Cake Fair at the Orange County Convention Center from October 13-15, 2017.  This delicious show is a feast for the eyes (not to mention nose and stomach)!

The Americas Cake Fair will have something for everyone: live theater main stage demonstrations by renowned cake designers and sweets-centric television personalities, including “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro; more than 100 hands-on classes, demonstrations and business seminars taught by the world’s most skilled cake decorators and industry professionals; a live global cake challenges; traditional cake competitions; and an exhibit hall overflowing with new products and services, including some items for cash and carry.

From the art of airbrushing to mastering chocolate modeling, all classes and demonstrations will provide instruction on the latest techniques. All classes are three hours in duration and must be booked in advance online.

Other Cake Fair features include:

  • The Sugar Art Fashion Show on Friday evening, October 13, with models strutting the runway adorned by cake costumes and edible ensembles, co-hosted by Celebrity Chef Emily Ellyn, best known as the Retro Rad Chef from Food Network & Fashion Stylist / On-Air Style Expert Melanie Pace, and benefitting Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

Emily Ellyn (right)

  • An exclusive VIP Meet & Greet on Saturday, October 14, where guests can meet and mingle with their favorite television personalities, headliners and cake artists
  • Live Global Cake and Chocolate Challenges, where international teams and individuals will battle for top honors
  • Traditional cake competitions offering cash prizes for contestants across all skill levels
  • Themed “zones” sprinkled around the show floor, including a Kids Zone for a yummy interactive experience for budding cake artists; and The ACD Magazine Cake Zone sponsored by American Cake Decorating Magazine for a delectable introduction to fondant and other skills

Ticket Prices


Attendees can enjoy sweet savings by purchasing tickets online, and can save even more when attending the show on multiple, consecutive days. Prices start from $30 for regular, single-day adult admission with advance online purchase.

Stay up to date on Cake Fair event updates, special offers, and exclusive contests by following the show on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@cakefair).  For more information, visit www.cakefair.com.

(Source credit: Cake Fair)

I am a Digital Ambassador for The Americas Cake Fair, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending the show and reporting my opinion within this blog, The Americas Cake Fair has provided me with complimentary tickets and other exclusive opportunities.

James and Julie Petrakis are really committed to bourbon & barbecue.   They own the popular gastropub Ravenous Pig and James Petrakis was voted Best Chef in Orlando ’17.   On April 10,  James & Julie Petrakis along with James’ brother Brian opened the doors to their newest project The Polite Pig, a fast-casual barbecue & bar joint located at Disney Springs.

James & Julie Petrakis cook book sold at The Polite Pig

James & Julie Petrakis believe that the best thing to go with barbecue is beer and bourbon so they built a bourbon bar.

Hop Salt Pretzel – with Beer Cheese Fondue and IPA Mustard

Clockwise:
The Southern Pig Sandwich – with Fennel-apple Slaw, Tangy Mustard BBQ, Duke’s Mayo, and Smoked Pork. Served with a Pickle Spear
Brisket Sandwich– with Pimento Cheese, Lil’ John’s BBQ, Picked Jalapeños and Crispy Onions. Served with a Pickle Spear
Sweet Potato Tots – with Parmesan Cheese
– Crispy Brussel Sprouts– with Whiskey-Caramel
– BBQ Cauliflower – Paprika Sour Cream
BBQ Sausage Hoagie – with IPA Mustard, Peppers and Onions, Cheddar Sauce, and Pickle Relish. Served with a Pickle Spear

This was the best meal that I have ever had at Disney Springs and I cannot wait to go back to The Polite Pig for more.  The barbecue had the perfect balance of flavors, the brussel sprouts were the best brussel sprouts I’ve ever had in my entire life, the bbq cauliflower was surprisingly good, and the sweet potato tots were crisp and seasoned just right.

Double Layer Chocolate Cake

We got to chat it up with Dick & Marti Waters, owners of Palm Ridge Reserve.  They are the suppliers of the whiskey for The Polite Pig and their distillery is an hour away north from the Polite Pig, near the Ocala National Forrest.  What makes their business so special is that they have no employees, it basically just a husband and wife team giving it their all every single day since 2009.  They produce a premium, handmade, micro-batch whiskey.  From fermentation to distillation and barreling to bottling, it’s all done by them, by hand, on their farm.

Farm to table whiskey.  They use small barrels because the sloshing in smaller barrel breaks down the whiskey faster.  Dick Marti told us that the best place in the world to make whiskey is in Florida because the humidity helps the barrel sweat from condensation.

The four grains they use to make bourbon: Florida corn, barley malt, flake dry, & rye malt


Be sure to check out The Polite Pig for some delicious bourbon & bbq soon!

The Polite Pig
1536 Buena Vista Dr, Orlando, FL 32830
(407) 938-7444
politepig.com

Fast-casual chain Cafe Rio Mexican Grill will give a free meal and drink to the first 300 people that are at the ribbon cutting ceremony promptly at 10:30AM on Wednesday, October 4.  Cafe Rio Mexican Grill will be opening its first Florida location at 1050 N. Orlando Ave. Winter Park, FL 32789, located in the same plaza as the new Whole Foods.  The new Winter Park restaurant will mark the company’s 111th national location.

Cafe Rio and the Winter Park chamber welcomes the public and the media to join them for their grand opening.  The restaurant will host their signature “giant burrito” and ribbon cutting.  In keeping with their tradition of giving back to the community, Cafe Rio will give a $2,500 donation to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida during the grand opening festivities of events.  “This demonstration of social responsibility on the part of Cafe Rio is a great indicator of their approach to service and to community-building,” said Greg Higgerson, Vice President of Development at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. “Because they care, more than ten thousand meals will reach the plates of low-income families, children, seniors, veterans, and others who are struggling,” he added.

Cafe Rio Mexican Grill, Inc., headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been serving its loyal customers fresh Mexican food since 1997.  Their menu is inspired by the traditional Mexican cooking found in the Rio Grande region of Northern Mexico, Southern Texas, and New Mexico.  Cafe Rio specializes in serving its customers the highest-quality, made from scratch Mexican meals, using only the freshest ingredients.

They are a scratch kitchen with a strict “no freezer and no microwaves” policy in all of their locations.

Each Cafe Rio restaurant features a wide-open kitchen.

Guests can clearly view sauces simmering, team members hand scooping avocados, chopping tomatoes, grilling meats and squeezing over 1000 fresh limes each and every day.

Fresh tortillas are made in house and are available in flour, corn, or wheat.

Nachos – Crispy handmade tortilla chips piled high with a blend of Mexican cheeses or chile con queso, your choice of beef, chicken, or pork, black or pinto beans, Pico de Gallo, sour cream, and fresh guacamole.

Tostada – A corn tortilla topped with your choice of meat, cilantro lime rice, black or pinto beans, fresh cut romaine lettuce, Pico de Gallo, crispy tortilla strips, cilantro, sour cream, and cotija cheese. Choose your dressing, but they recommend the house dressing.

Salad – A large freshmade flour tortilla, baked with cheese and filled with black or pinto beans, cilantro lime rice, your choice of chicken, pork, beef and romaine lettuce. Topped with Pico de Gallo, fresh guacamole, tortilla strips, cilantro, cotija cheese and your choice of insanely delicious dressing.

Enchilada – Fresh corn tortillas stuffed with cheese, sauce, and your choice of beef, chicken, or pork. Baked in an oven, served with black or pinto beans, and topped with additional cheese and sauce.

Tacos – Fresh flour tortillas, stuffed and overflowing with your choice of mouth-watering beef, chicken or pork, a blend of Mexican cheeses, crisp romaine lettuce, and Pico de Gallo. Homemade, handmade and handheld.

Burrito A delicious, hand-made tortilla stuffed full with cilantro-lime rice, black or pinto beans, cheese and your choice of meat, then baked in an oven. Optional side of pico de gallo and shredded romaine lettuce.  Get it Enchilada Style – baked with Cheese & Sauce.

Fresh Lime Pie – Fresh Squeezed Lime Mixed into a Creamy Blend, Baked in a Crumb Crust.  Made fresh every morning with hand-squeezed limes and a graham cracker crust, this one’s a fan favorite.

Famous Tres Leches – A light, creamy, fluffy cake baked fresh every morning and soaked in three types of milk

 The Horchata beverage is a must try!

Children six and under eat FREE!

Download the free CAFE RIO app and get a free $5 food credit.

Promo codes for $5 more food credit: wpflcp, wpfljb, wpflid.  One code only.  Expires October 22.

Be sure to make it out to the grand opening of Cafe Rio Mexican Grill in Winter Park on October 4 at 10:30am to snag your free meal and drink!

Cafe Rio Mexican Grill – Winter Park
1050 N. Orlando Ave.
Winter Park, FL 32789
(321) 422-2099
www.caferio.com

 

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MAKE YOUR EVENT UNFORGETTABLE
CUSTOM MENUS – STAFFING – EVENT RENTALS – BAR AND BEVERAGE

We were excited to be the first food blogger to be invited to check out the Cocktail Catering facility to learn more about what their catering company is all about and also enjoy a nice lunch prepared by the talented Chef Sharon.  I enjoyed everything that she prepared for us!  Really wish I had more of Chef Sharon’s steak in my life!

Appetizer – Strawberry and walnut salad
Entrée – Sirloin, Cilantro Lime Rice, Corn

Dessert – Brownie, chocolate chip cookie, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, strawberries

Food tastings are available to clients.  If you are not satisfied with your initial food tasting, you just tell them what you want to change, they will tweak it, and you come back for a second tasting.  Tastings are free.

Cocktails Catering is a “Best of Orlando” catering company for 2017 and many previous years.  They are a scratch kitchen that prepares countless dishes from Caribbean food to Indian food and everything in between.   They also take pride in their delicious signature cocktails and appetizers.  They service in Orlando, Tampa, & St. Augustine area.  From their award winning catering to their event rentals, they can help you with every detail for any event.

Linen appointments are available to help you paint a picture of your event and get your ideas flowing.  You are more than welcome to bring your own decor to your linen appointment to help visualize your table setup.  Rosetta fabrics and table runners are also available.

From galas, corporate events, quinceañeras – they do all types of events so they have a variety of plates to choose from.

Decorated television panels that play a slideshow during your event


Glamorous cake by Sprinkles Custom Cakes

They are currently running an offer of $20 off any service if you leave an initial review on Google, Wedding Wire, or The Knot and $5 off for any review after that.  They also have a booking incentive of a FREE sangaria station for your next event.

Be sure to check out Cocktails Catering soon for any of your upcoming events!

Cocktails Catering
9640 Boggy Creek Rd. #5
Orlando, FL 32824
(407) 446-2878
www.cocktailscatering.com

We are so happy to announce that Miami’s very popular Bocas Grill has finally arrived to Orlando bringing its fusion of vibrant Latin contemporary food, with an addition of a full bar.

The Venezuelan restaurant features all the classic favorites like arepas, wagyu burgers, and the crazy shakes they are known for like the churro shake.

Bocas Grill & Bar is a classy establishment with unforgettable high quality flavors, it is exactly what Orlando needed.  All meats are USDA prime.

Strawberry Juice

Appetizer Sampler – 8 mini Arepas, 5 Cheese Fingers, White Guayanés Cheese, Cream, Cilantro Aioli

Arepa Llanera – Beef, Chopped Avocado,  Tomato, Red Onions, and Soft White Cheese


La Levin Truffle Burger – 10 ounces of hand-cut Picanha 100% Wagyu with Lettuce, Tomato, Truffle Oil, Ketchup, Bacon, and Truffle Mayonnaise on a homemade black Bun

Churros with Nutella, Condensed Milk, Dulce De Leche

Bocas Grill Milkshake – Chocolate Flips Milkshake with Nutella and Flips all around the rim, crowned with Galleta María, a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream, a Nutella Brownie Donut, Brigadeiro de Toddy and a homemade Nutella popsicle on top

Follow @bocasgrill on instagram and be sure to visit them soon and meet all of their delicious flavors!  Reservations are recommended.

 

Bocas Grill & Bar
7600 Dr Phillips Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 723-8351
bocasgrill.com

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We were invited to attend a media preview of this year’s Great Irish Hooley boutique music festival at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant at Disney Springs.  The Great Irish Hooley runs throughout the long Labor Day weekend, from Friday, Sept. 1 through late Monday, Sept. 4.

This year’s Hooley will feature a top-notch lineup of Irish bands, the Raglan Road Irish Dancers and the 90-minute Rhythms of Raglan show produced in Ireland, exported to Raglan Road and directed by David Hayes (Riverdance and “The Voice” Ireland edition).

The most diverse and talented lineup in the history of Central Florida’s only boutique Irish festival takes the stage Sept. 1-4 during the 6th Great Irish Hooley at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Disney Springs.

Celebrating Irish song, dance, food and drink over the long Labor Day weekend, the Great Irish Hooley kicks off performances beginning at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1, and continues each day and night through late Monday and into the wee hours.

Served with Orlando’s finest contemporary Irish cuisine, local and national craft beers, hand-crafted cocktails and day-into-night entertainment, the Great Irish Hooley promises a high-voltage music festival for families and revelers alike.  A traditional Irish social celebration, the “Hooley” combines music ranging from traditional to rock tunes with entertainment and fun for the whole family (no cover charge).

(Source credit: Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant)

Sláinte!

Menu Offerings

PJ’s Poison (named after PJ Rigney, Founder of Gunpowder Irish Gin) – Gunpowder Irish gin, muddled orange, rhubarb bitters, lemon juice, orange whiskey marmalade, and Fever Tree tonic with an orange twist.

Mini Fish & Chips – A miniature version of our famous fish & chips, served with fresh tartar sauce.

Dub Spuds – Herb roasted potato wedges with a Smithwick’s and Dubliner cheese dip.

Blagger – Handcrafted organic blonde lagger brewed with Orlando Brewing.  Blagger is light in color and low in bitterness at only 6 IBU.  Made with organic malts, organic Hallertau hops and organic yeasts, this brew has a crispy finish reminiscent of a dry sparkling wine.  ABV: 4.7%, IBU: 6

Wild Boar Burger – Grilled wild boar burger with port & pear chutney, crispy onions, garlic & herb aioli, Cashel blue cheese, and arugula on a potato bun.

Lisa Canny Band from Dublin will be playing for 3 weeks.  The complete entertainment schedule is posted at www.raglanroad.com and www.greatirishhooley.com.

Mini Smoky City – Creamy baked haddock & Dubliner cheddar cheese dip with potatoes, tomatoes, and crostini.

Mini Braised Beef – Braised beef with colcannon mashed potatoes and roasted veggies.

Gnocchi Sea Gnocchi Do – Handmade potato gnocchi, seared George Bank scallops, crispy pork belly, tomatoes, and kale in a white wine butter sauce.

Mini Desserts – Lemon Tart, Trifle Sinful, Jaffa cake, Bread & Butter Pudding.

Topping off Raglan Road’s award-winning Bread & Butter pudding with condensed milk.

The Raglan Road Irish Dancers, casted from stages of the world’s greatest Irish dance shows, will perform throughout the Great Irish Hooley.

The Hooley also offers complimentary Celtic face-painting.

Official The Great Irish Hooley merchandise available for purchase.

Let’s Hooley!

Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant – Disney Springs
1640 Buena Vista Dr.
Orlando, FL 32830
(407) 938-0300
raglanroad.com
@RaglanRoadPub

We were invited to the media preview of the Sunday Brunch Buffet at Mesa21 and it was an amazing “brunch with a view” experience consisting of delicious food, beautiful authentic interior and exterior design, extraordinary service, and a breathtaking view of Lake Ivanhoe with the occasional bird sightings.  I cannot wait to come back and introduce my friends to this new Sunday brunch experience.

Sunday Brunch Menu
$25 Adults – $20 bottomless mimosas & Bloody Maria’s or $40 for both
$10 for 6 – 12 years old
Children under 6 years old eat FREE
11am to 3pm

Patio bar

Salad bar

Mexican Bolillo (a traditional Mexican bread) with your choice of protein and garnishes.

Taco Station – house made corn or flour tortillas with your choice of protein.

Carvery Station: Roast beef

Fresh mixed vegetables

Mexican rice

Tortilla strips, shredded mozzarella cheese, and Mexican soup.

Fresh house made crispy corn tortilla chips

Salsa verde

Chips & Pico de Gallo – Corn tortillas served with fresh pico de Gallo, salsa verde, and salsa rancheros.

Mexican Pancakes – Fluffy pancakes & French Toast – Thick sliced brioche bread topped with powdered sugar.

Eggs a la carte – scrambled over medium, over hard, poached.

Quesadilla – Crispy corn, cheese filled quesadilla with choice of salsa verde or salsa roja.  Topped with crema & quest fresco.

Egg Burrito – Egg & cheese.  Egg, Pico & Guacamole.  Egg & Chorizo.

Dessert Bar

Fruit Platter

Assorted Cheesecakes & Yogurt Parfait

Citrus cake

Chocolate cake

For the complete Sunday brunch menu, go to https://m.opentable.com/restaurants/mesa-21/menu/444037/brunch-menu/1

Mesa21
1414 N Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32804
Call to make a reservation: (407) 930-8000

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Local entrepreneurs and mother/daughter team, Jane
Livelsberger & Cate O’Brien (pictured above) have opened the doors to their steampunk 1920’s inspired Celebration Tea Room near Disney.

We were invited to their soft opening this past Saturday and it was a truly beautiful and breathtaking establishment with great food, amazing teas, and a delightful staff.  Celebration Tea Room has become one of my new favorite family businesses and I cannot wait to go back there with more friends.   I live near the University of Central Florida, almost an hour away from Celebration Tea Room, but since I am a frequent Disney Springs junkie, I am excited to add more Celebration Tea Room experiences to my upcoming trips.  This spectacular Victorian tea room is located in The Shoppes at Celebration Place located next to Holler and Dash and in the same building as the new Buca Di Beppo.

Celebration’s locals and visitors will enjoy a tea bar area that is decorated in reclaimed wood, brick, and very cool copper steam punk elements.  Jeremy, Cate’s husband leads the bar crafting, serving specialty tea smoothies along with hand-shaken iced teas and their trademark tea snow.

Any tea can be turned into a tea snow, so I choose a  tea that was more on the sweeter side.

Bingo Blueberry Tea Snow
A full-flavored tea with superb and well-defined blueberry highlights
Luxury ingredients: Elderberry, raisin, & apple pieces, hibiscus & cornflower petals, natural flavors

Guest will enjoy a beautiful décor in the main fine dining room where they can certainly order the traditional English tea service with a pot of their favorite type and flavor of tea, traditional tea sandwiches, scones, and of course a sweet dessert.

I got to try a few dishes and they were all delicious!  I love that it is a scratch kitchen so everything is made when you order.  My favorite was the “The Mad Hatter” special which consists of:
• A pot of tea
• Cup of soup
• Assortment of shaved imported and domestic cheeses with fresh fruit and honey
• Four assorted tea sandwiches
• Scone and pastry with whipped butter, honey, jam
• Premium dessert

Goji Berry oolong tea

Assortment of shaved imported and domestic cheeses with fresh strawberry and honey + broccoli cheddar soup (vegetarian)

I also got to try the following soups below:

Potato leek soup (vegan) + Butternut squash soup (vegetarian)

For dessert, I got this:

Mini acorn cake

The menu is diversified and will have daily house specialty soups along with special offerings with an emphasis on wholesome seasonal ingredients. Great salads with entrees include cottage pie, quiche, and strawberry stuffed French toast, Cuban sliders, cheeseburger wraps with a special house sauce and salmon Wellington among others.  The diverse and wholesome menu was developed with Jane’s traditional family recipes and Chef Yamira Lee “Mira” Johnson’s whole-hearted take on traditional staples.


As part of Cate’s vision, Celebration Tea Room’s over the top décor includes a special private room that transports you into the woods with the Cheshire cat for a special Whimsical Wonderland tea party. The banquet/party room will be available for birthday parties, bridal showers, baby showers, and any other special occasion when a small group might like a special venue to meet in.

The family owned Celebration Tea Room, invites the community to visit and enjoy the laid-back vibe and tea room offerings, doors opened on Monday, August 28, 2017.  A scrumptious Brunch Menu is available Monday to Saturday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.

(Source credit: Celebration Tea Room)

Celebration Tea Room
6266 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway
Kissimmee, FL 34747
407-507-8304

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At Yuki Hana they provide guests with a beautiful, modern dining experience and the freshest, most flavorful Japanese dishes around.  From innovative sushi featuring fresh fish from the world’s finest markets to flavorful fusion dishes prepared with locally sourced veggies and herbs, every plate on their menu is fun, flavorful, and a new adventure.  No matter the occasion, they are always more than happy to welcome you in and treat you to an unforgettable evening of bites and sips.  Visit them and experience the finest in Japanese cuisine all under one roof.

We were invited to try their new seasonal menu consisting of a five course meal showcasing their chef’s creativity and talent.  The restaurant was beautiful, the food was delicious, and the staff was amazing!  Everyone was so talented and worked hard to deliver BEAUTIFUL dishes.

Specialty cocktail – Ginger, cucumber, fresh mint

Chef Shane’s First Course
Cobia Bruschetta – House cured cobia, toasted brioche, yuzu shiso relish, roasted tomato espuma, balsamic gel

Edamame granola bar with basil tea


Chef Steven’s Second Course
Shiromi Tartare – Pickled strawberry, cauliflower, apple, dashi gelee, basil oil.  The crisp was made from an apple that was pickled, pureed, dehydrated, and crispy fried.

Chef Shane’s Third Course
Nigiri Tasting – Hand-selected freshest fish and chef’s special toppings
Bottom to top:
Hiramasa scallop tartare
Blue fin otoro black tobiko gold flake
Kanpachi fresh grated wasabi house tare
Seared wagyu with shaved black truffle
House made sweet egg omelet

Dragon fruit sorbet with honey, mint, and citrus

Chef Albert’s Fourth Course
Stripped Bass – Stripped bass roasted in corn husk, miso butter sauce, Asian mung bean, corn salsa, sweet corn emulsion.  This dish had incredibly delicious earthly flavors.

Ping’s Surprise Dessert
Green tea matcha custard with passion fruit boba, mango jelly, cactus pear gel, cactus pear foam, matcha sponge cake, and rice puff

Be sure to check out Yuki Hana Fusion Sushi soon before they transition to their seasonal Fall menu!  They are also participating in Magical Dining Month until October 11!

Yuki Hana Fusion Sushi
3635 Aloma Ave
Oviedo, Florida 32765
(407) 695-8808
@YukiHanaFusion

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We were invited to be the first to preview Ravello’s 3-course Magical Dining Month menu and it was by far one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had since I started writing for Tasty Chomps.  I will find any and every reason to visit the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World because I love everything about their property and all of the staff is super friendly and hospitable.  The valet staff are always on point and super welcoming as well.  You can expect a flawless 5-star experience at this resort every time.  I enjoyed trying the Magical Dining menu at Ravello and you can too at a deliciously affordable price.

What is Magical Dining Month?
3-course dinner from a special prix fixe menu
Price: $35 per person
Over 100 + participating restaurants
Beginning August 25 through October 1
This year, $1 of each meal from Magical Dining Month will benefit two charities – Freedom Ride & BASE Camp Children’s Cancer Foundation.
Last year, Magical Dining Month raised over $195,125 for the Russell Home for Atypical Children charity!

Our dinner was scheduled on the same day as the solar eclipse so we got to try a special cocktail called “Eclipse of the Tart”.

At Ravello’s live-action “show kitchen,” savour Modern Italian meals are cooked right before your eyes.
Appetizers

Insalata Mista- trevisana, arugula, lola rossa, moscato vinaigrette

Polpettine – meatballs, mortadella, prosciutto, pomodoro sauce, mascarpone, grilled pan pugliese.  I’m not a fan of meatballs but their meatballs were sooo delicious and I loved them!

Gelato Di Parmigiano – radish, artisan lettuce, cucumber, tomato vinaigrette Parmigiano cheese gelato, taralli crumble

House Made Charcuterie and Cheese Board

Entrèes

House Made Bucatini Amatriciana – guanciale, onion, pomodoro sauce.  This dish was amazing because you can taste how fresh the pasta was.  It was the best pasta I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Chicken Putanessca with Polenta – taggiasca olive, capers

Pesce Spada – swordfish, sale speziato, salmoriglio, roasted potatoes, spinach, pomodorini, laggiasca olives

Desserts

Affogato – vanilla housemade gelato, café Umbrian espresso

Sicillian Cannolis – pistachio, candied orange

 

The following dishes are from the regular menu and they are definitely worth ordering!

Tomato E Mozzarella Focaccia – EVOO, herbs, muffalta. $5

Pizza – buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto cotto, mascarpone, arugula.  Hot and fresh, made in a oven-burning oven.  $16

Umbria Coffee Tiramisu. $5

To book Magical Dining at Ravello, please visit the website below or call (407) 313-6161

Ravello
10100 Dream Tree Blvd
Orlando, FL 32836
http://www.visitorlando.com/magicaldining/restaurants/Ravello/42231/

Last night we got to preview the Magical Dining Month menu at Jiko- The Cooking Place and we were super stoked to be the first ones to experience a Walt Disney World restaurant participating in Magical Dining Month for the first time since Magical Dining Month started 12 years ago.  The additional five participating Walt Disney World restaurants this year are: The Wave, Grand Floridian
Café, Boatwright’s Dining Hall, The Turf Club Bar and Grill, and Olivia’s.

Magical Dining Month
3 courses – Appetizer, Entrèe, and Dessert
Price: $35 per person
Over 100 + participating restaurants
Beginning August 25 through October 1
This year, $1 of each meal from Magical Dining Month will benefit two charities – Freedom Ride & BASE Camp Children’s Cancer Foundation.
Last year, Magical Dining Month raised almost $200,000 for charity!
Click here to view menus and make reservations

During our dinner at Jiko- The Cooking Place, we learned that modern African contemporary cuisine stretches throughout Africa from all over the entire continent.  A lot of African recipes are passed down through word of mouth with no written recipe through generation by generation and even then it has it’s own twist. Over time the dishes has morphed into its own creation.  As always, I love their creativity at Jiko – The Cooking Place and respect their storytelling of the African culture through food, drinks, and decor.

Magical Dining Month items at Jiko- The Cooking Place

Appetizers


Jiko Salads
– Epcot land pavilion greens, stone fruit, pistachio halva, grilled halloumi cheese, apricot ginger dressing

Inguday Tibs in Brik – Mushroom, spinach, cheese in crispy Tunisian filo, apples, curry vinaigrette

Entrèes

Bo Kaap Malay Seafood Curry – calamari, red shrimp, mussels, coconut curry sauce, saffron rice

Botswana-style Seswaa Beef Short Rib – Cassava-potato purée, sambal, baby carrots, and mushrooms

West African Koki Corn – Mushrooms, poblano-tomatillo purée, roasted red pepper sauce

Desserts


Malva Pudding
– Melktart ice cream, kataifi, kanu tuile, Cabernet gelée

Safari Sunset – Carrot cake, cornbread calamansi, and lemon cremeux, Kenyan coffee streusel, citrus gel, valrhona dulcey mousse, candied carrots

At Jiko- The Cooking Place you will discover the culinary magic produced when creative chefs take traditional African dishes and add hints of European, Indian and Asian flavor and flair. The resulting cultural communion is a delectable cuisine we call New African.

To book Magical Dining at Jiko- The Cooking Place, please visit the restaurant website below or call 407-WDW-DINE.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge 2901
Osceola Parkway Orlando, FL 32830
Phone: (407) 939-3463
https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/animal-kingdom-lodge/jiko-the-cooking-place/

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

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Fried pickles

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Smashfries

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Founder Tom Ryan tells us a story

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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.

DSC_9213
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
DSC_9232
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
DSC_9280
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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