American

PIMENTO CRUNCH SANDWICH- crispy chicken, homemade pimento cheese, bibb lettuce, sea salt potato chips, bacon

PDQ, the abbreviation for “People Dedicated to Quality” opens today on the corner of Minnesota and Orlando Ave.  We got a first look of the restaurant yesterday during their media preview and we were very impressed with this new addition in the Winter Park area.  At PDQ you can expect great service and great-tasting food that is always fresh, never frozen.

This is their fourth location in Central Florida with two more locations coming soon in Waterford Lakes & Altamonte Springs.

Chef Mark’s son, Riley, working hard at the PDQ opening.

Riley’s mom told me that this was his 5th PDQ opening!

PDQ – Winter Park operator Cody Langford with his new crate!!  Every PDQ operator gets to design their own crate.

THAI PEANUT BOWL – crispy chicken, broccoli, mango salsa, peanuts, toasted coconut, rice, thai peanut sauce

YIA YIA’S GREEK SALAD – grilled chicken, mixed greens, red bell peppers, marinated cucumbers & tomatoes, kalamata olives, pepperoncini, feta, hummus, pickled onion, lemon-chile vinaigrette

CHILE-LIME CORN – sautéed corn with feta & scallions

ZUCCHINI FRIES – hand-breaded fresh zucchini with choice of homemade sauce

LOADED TOTS

HAND-BREADED TENDERS WITH FRIES

ALL THE SAUCES!

GENERAL TSO BOWL – available for a limited time only so it get it fast before it’s gone!

Be sure to check out PDQ – Winter Park the next time you are in the area!

PDQ – Winter Park
925 S Orlando Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 605-2312
eatpdq.com

Seared Grouper Papparadelle – housemade pappardelle pasta, fresh peas, asparagus, pecan bacon, parmigian cheese broth

We were invited to The Alfond Inn for an exclusive press preview featuring a Hamilton’s Kitchen new menu tasting with Chef Stephen Doyle, a happy hour art tour of newly installed art as part of the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art with new Cornell Fine Arts Museum Curator Gisela Carbonell, and a champagne toast finale in the Conservatory, in honor of The Alfond Inn’s 5th anniversary on Saturday, Aug.18.

In the last five years, The Alfond Inn has made it on:

  • Travel + Leisure Best 100 Hotels in the World
  • Travel + Leisure Top 15 Best City Hotels in the Continental U.S.
  • U.S. News & World Report Top Hotels in Orlando, Condé Nast Traveler
  • Readers’ Choice Awards Top 10 Hotels in the U.S.
  • Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards Gest Hotels in Florida
  • AAA Four Diamond Award
  • Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence

Walnut Crusted Halibut – orzo pasta, petite spinach, lemon-dill Amish butter

Lemon Sage Chicken Gnocchi – Lake Meadows Chicken, basil-ricotta gnocchi, summer vegetables, lemon-herb butter sauce

Colorado Lamb Lollipop Chops – local mushroom risotto, balsamic maple bliss glaze, caramelized Brussels sprouts

Thank you for the invite, Kathy Hernandez & thank you for hosting us, The Alfond Inn!

The Alfond Inn
300 E New England Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789
thealfondinn.com
(407) 278-8159

Pork Chop – sweet potato puree, collard greens, onion jam

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month is fast approaching!  We were invited to James Beard Award nominee, The Ravenous Pig to preview their 3-course (appetizer, entrée and dessert) Magical Dining Month menu.  The menu is available to the public Friday, August 24 through Sunday, September 30 for $35 plus tax & gratuity. This year, through Visit Orlando, one dollar from each meal will benefit Best Buddies and Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida.

Choice of Appetizer

Steak Tartare – capers, egg, shallot, toast

Shrimp & Grits – Cape Canaveral shrimp, Anson Mills grits, green tomato chutney, chorizo oil

Gatherer Salad – baby greens, avocado, pickled beets, radish, goat cheese, pistachio granola, herb vinaigrette

Choice of Entrèe

Mushroom Risotto – summer mushrooms, parmesan broth, chili oil with black truffle supplement

Black Grouper – chana masala, cucumber raita

Pork Porterhouse upgrade

Choice of Dessert

Coffee Panna Cotta – persimmon sorbet, chocolate cardamom shortbread, compressed persimmons

Spiced Citrus Cake – elderflower chantilly, bay leaf crumble, poached pears

Thank you Sweet Rockaway PR for the invite and thank you Chef James Petrakis and The Ravenous Pig for the amazing service and dinner!  Be sure to check out The Ravenous Pig this year for Magical Dining Month!

For more information, please visit: visitorlando.com/magicaldining/restaurants/The-Ravenous-Pig/44356/

The Ravenous Pig
565 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 628-2333

Did you know that Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida has catering?  We were invited to their amazing facility to check out their newest business, Catering For Good!

What is Catering For Good?  A full service caterer.  All menu items are prepared by an award winning culinary team lead by Chef Jill Holland using the highest quality and freshest ingredients purchased from national and local vendors.  The menu includes selections for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktail receptions including wine and beer or a full bar. Catering For Good was listed in Orlando Business Journal as “Top 20 Business Caters”.

Here’s the best part…

All proceeds benefit the Second Harvest Culinary Training Program, a 16-week program that provides qualified, at-risk and economically disadvantaged adults in Central Florida with the culinary and life skills training needed to pursue a sustainable career in food industry.  100% of the graduates of this program have been placed in higher paying jobs, helping them become self-sufficient and begin life long careers.

Catering For Good offers room rentals at their unique and beautiful venues that can accommodate 10 to 200 guests – the venues are perfect for business meetings, work shops, luncheons, networking events, get togethers, holiday parties, bar or bat mitzvah, birthdays, showers, and weddings for those who wants to give back to their community on their special day.

Thanks to you, Catering For Good is not just feeding the line… but shortening the line.

Raspberry Brie

Harvest Sparkler – Prosecco and cranberries.  Non-alcoholic version in the back row.

The amazing Chef Jill Holland

Key Lime, S’mores, and Raspberry Creme Brûlée dessert shooters

Loved hearing Chef Shaneka Jimerson’s (Culinary Training Program graduate) inspiring testimony!

Thank you to the talented Culinary Training Program students for preparing our delicious lunch!

For more information, or to make an appointment and take a tour, please contact Lanette Jarvis at (407) 514-1048, email ljarvis@feedhopenow.org, or visit their website: FeedHopeNow.org

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
411 Mercy Drive Orlando, FL

We were wonderfully invited to enjoy dinner at Eddie V’s to celebrate summer with some Sparking Sounds, which meant oysters and sparkling cocktails. However, let’s shed some light on the experience and menu items you can find for a longer time duration.

Of course, you can’t attend the Sparking Sounds celebration without delicious cocktails. Photographed are the Lemon Rosemary Spritz (left) and Red Dragon (right). The Lemon Rosemary Spritz is made with Aviation Gin, St-Germain Elderflower Liqeur, Roederer Brut, and fresh lemon. The Red Dragon is made with Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum and fresh muddled Strawberries, mint, and lime. Both are very refreshing, but they weren’t mixed very well.

Also, there’s no way anyone should attend a prime quality seafood restaurant and not have some oysters. Photographed here are two Capital oysters from Spencer Cove, WA. I don’t know about you, but I fancy West Coast oysters over East Coast oysters. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t mind a challenge if you bring others to my plate. These Capital oysters were fresh and you could taste the ocean.

If you’re not fond of enjoying bold oysters on their own, you could try them with some flavor like this Asian Fusion.

The Tartare of Pacific Ahi Tuna is made with curry and sesame oils, avocado, mango, and citrus. Each ingredient was fresh and delivered on a nice sesame cracker for additional texture. Yet, I would have liked the tuna to be a colder temperature than room temperature.

The Jumbo Lump Crab Cake is sautéed Maryland style with spicy chive remoulade. The crab cake is tasteful and I prefer it without the lemon. There’s a dominant sweet, but slightly spicy note to this dish. The lemon would have been nice if there were no additional flavors to the crab besides the natural sweetness from the crab itself.

Chilean Sea Bass is steamed Hong Kong style with a light soy broth. The broth adds a sweetness to the buttery sea bass. The sautéed spinach that comes along for the ride is slightly saltier than preferred, but it is balanced out when eaten with the sea bass in the same bite. Like some spice? Take a bite of the sautéed ginger provided with the dish to the left of the sea bass.

One of Chef’s Classics include a vegetarian dish – Miso Marinated Tofu served with fried rice and sautéed vegetables. The tofu is on the soft spectrum of the texture scale; I believe crispy tofu would have added more texture and make the tofu more exciting. A bite of the tofu with the fried rice will balance out the abundance flavors offered to the palate by this dish.

For some extra texture, try their Grilled Asparagus with sea salt, fresh lemon and a drizzle of butter. I was grateful to have my own professional hand model to pour our butter for us. The butter adds a nice smoothness to the crunchy asparagus I loved so much.

There isn’t a proper meal if it doesn’t include a decadent and cheesy dish, which brings the Truffled Macaroni and Cheese into play. Each bite coats your mouth with rich and earthy flavors.

To end the night, we experienced the Hope Diamond made with Grey Goose Vodka, Combier Pamplemousse Rose Liqueur, Lemon, Pea Flower Tea, and a Diamond Ice Cube. This drink notes romance, indulgence, and hopes for the best in life. It represents the elegance of the classy and upscale experience at Eddie V’s. Not only that, but it is fun and allows you to take part in making it by pouring in some ingredients yourself to see the liquid change colors!

Our nearby Eddie V’s in Orlando is located at:

  • 7488 West Sand Lake Rd
    Orlando, FL 32819

The hours at Eddie V’s include:

  • Sun – Thu 4:00PM – 11:00PM
  • Fri – Sat 4:00PM – 12:00AM

Feel free to give them a call at (407) 355-3011 for a nice dinner to celebrate an event or life in general.

For more information, visit Eddie V’s.

Guy’s Award-Winning Burger!  Voted “Best Burger in Las Vegas“ by Seven Magazine & Won New York City Food and Wine Festival’s Burger Bash
Bacon Mac N’ Cheese Burger – Crispy smoked bacon, six-cheese mac ’n cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, crispy onions, donkey sauce, garlic-buttered brioche bun

We were invited to Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar in The Villages to check out their revamped menu.  Some of the new menu items includes Baja Fish Tacos, Jack Daniels New York Strip Steak, Big Bite Burrito and the Old School Steak Sandwich.   Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar has also made several other improvements.  They have lowered everyday menu prices, introduced daily specials and rolled out a new Sunday brunch menu.

“On Sundays We Brunch” will be every Sunday from 10am-3pm with prices ranging from $5.95 to $12.95.   The new Sunday brunch menu includes Chicken Fried Bacon, Biscuits & Gravy, the All–American Breakfast Burger, as well as some of Guy Fieri’s signature dishes.  Guests also have the option to make their brunch bottomless with unlimited mimosas and bloody marys for only $15.  The bottomless option has a two-hour limit.

The restaurant’s owner Greg Pranzo is the same owner as the newly-opened Cinco Tacos & Tequila in Winter Park, FL which just celebrated their ribbon cutting ceremony on National Tequila Day this past Tuesday.

Pastrami Egg Rolls – House made pastrami, Swiss cheese, sweet & sour cabbage, Russian dressing

Trash Can Nachos – Warm corn tortilla chips, pulled pork, bourbon brown sugar, BBQ sauce, SMC (super melty cheese), cheddar, beans, jalapenos, crema, pickled red onion, cilantro, pico de gallo

Roasted Garlic Hummus – Scratch-made chickpea hummus, olive tapemade, fire roasted red peppers, herb grilled flatbread, fresh veggies

Guy’s Big Island Punch – Southern Comfort, Dragonberry Rum, Dark Rum, orange, pineapple, mango, lime, cherry

Tattooed Mojito – Coconut Rum, lime, blueberries, mint, ginger ale

*NEW* Baja Fish Tacos – Crunchy panko-crusted cod, cole slaw, chipotle ranch, pico de gallo on a warm tortilla

*NEW* Jack Daniel’s New York Strip Steak – 12 oz New York strip seared, mash potatoes, side of wonder fries, bacon, sour cream, cheddar, broccolini, mushrooms, scallions, Jack Daniel sauce  

Rockin’ the “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” shirt that I got from Guy Fieri himself last year during filming at Saigon Noodle & Grill!

(Source: Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar)

Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar at Lake Sumter Landing
1045 Old Camp Rd, The Villages, FL 32162
(352) 633-3018
guysvillages.com

We were invited to a media event at Nature’s Table – FIS (the tall building across the street from the RDV Sportsplex) to sample their delicious top-selling smoothies & açaí bowls.  As a fitness enthusiast who is currently enrolled in yoga teacher training, smoothies & açaí bowls have become my go-to fuel for something quick, healthy and easy in between yoga classes and lectures.  I highly recommend Nature’s Table anyone looking to go a healthier route for breakfast or lunch.  Nature’s Table has multiple locations throughout Central Florida so you are likely to be within a few miles away from one.

The Kale & Spinach Smoothie consists of fat free yogurt, 100% fruit juice, kale, spinach, mango and pineapple.

My favorite was the Rain Forest Rhumba Smoothie which consists of fat free yogurt, açaí, raspberries, blueberries.

Nature’s Table uses fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Lots of their fresh fruits come from Plant City, FL.  They do not use any powders.

Mango Mama Smoothie – No sugar added 100% fruit juice, mango, pineapple (low calorie smoothie)

Benefits of a Samabazon Açaí Bowl:

  • Fiber – helps keep you full, your belly healthy & may aid in maintaining blood sugar. 
  • Protein – strength & sustained nutrition. 
  • Omegas 3,6,9 – good fats for your brain & body. 
  • Powerful antioxidants – immunity, heart health, & free radical fighters.

(Source: Samabazon)

Give your day a healthy boost by eating smart at Nature’s Table!

Nature’s Table – Maitland
2001 Summit Park Dr., Orlando, FL 32810
http://naturestable.com
(321) 972-1822

Through July 29th, Eddie V’s will host Sparkling Sounds, an unparalleled combination of seasonal taste preferences and themed live music in the sophisticated vibe of the V Lounge, featuring champagne and champagne duet pairings starting at $14, plus $8 seasonal oyster duets. These special menu features are offered for a limited time only during the summer.

Guests are invited to raise a toast with Sparkling Duets such as Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs, CA & Roederer Brut, Perrier Jouet, Grand Brut & Delamotte, Brut, Le Mesnil sur Oger and A French Master & A Madame.

Complementing the champagne pairings is a special menu of culinary-forward, seasonal oyster trios including Batter-Fried Oysters, Carpetbagger and Eddie’s Rockefeller.

In the V Lounge, guests can sip creative Sparkling Cocktails such as the Melon Sparkler or Citrus Pearle, all finished tableside in a generously portioned champagne coupe glass.

Live trio performances will pay tribute to the music of various eras of jazz, such as Soulful Fusion, Future Classics and Martini Swing.

Tune in for a post reviewing Eddie V’s Sparkling Sounds at the end of this month!

Your nearby Eddie V’s…

  • Orlando
    7488 West Sand Lake Rd
    Orlando, FL 32819
    (407) 355-3011

    Sun – Thu 4:00PM – 11:00PM
    Fri – Sat 4:00PM – 12:00AM

For more information, please visit Eddie V’s.

Fried Chicken & Doughnuts – two pieces of Chef Art’s famous fried chicken served with house-made sugar doughnuts.

Home is where Chef Art is.  No matter how far his travels have taken him – from being Oprah’s personal chef to opening four incredible restaurants across the country – Celebrity Chef Art Smith calls Florida home. Now, Chef Art has returned to share his farm fresh Florida dishes with you.

A two-time James Beard Foundation award winner, was Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef for 10 years and cooked for two Florida governors in Tallahassee.

The name Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen is a nod to Chef Art’s return to Walt Disney World after his first cast role in The Magic Kingdom College Program in 1981, now known as the Walt Disney World College Program.” -Homecomin’ Kitchen

“Welcome home!”  We were invited to Homecomin’ Kitchen in Disney Springs to check out their new brunch menu that runs every Sunday from 10am – 2pm.  The manager Allen and our server Jesus gave us their full attention despite the restaurant being crazy packed along with long line.  With 13 servers running on floor and 1 bartender: our fabulous Florida Southern cuisine food came out timely and fresh.

Walk-ins accepted.  Reservations are not required but highly recommended.

Momma’s Mac and Cheese

Potato Gratin Mash

Cheddar Cheese Drop Biscuits With a Side of Hot Honey & Sawmill Gravy

Fried Catfish (from the main menu) – Accompanied by Hushpuppies, Grits & a Side of Remoulade

Florida Grouper (from the main menu) – Fresh Grilled Grouper, Braised Kale, Collard Greens with French Fries


Hummingbird Cake – The famous pineapple-banana cake with cream cheese frosting from Chef Art’s bestselling cookbook “Back To The Table”.  Served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Beautifully painted wall.

The tree that was used for this table was struck by lightning so you can see lightning scars on it.

Chef Art Smith’s James Beard Foundation Awards

Be sure to check out Homecomin’ Kitchen soon for their new Sunday brunch!

Homecomin’ Kitchen
1602 East Buena Vista Drive, Orlando, FL 32830
(407) 560-0100
homecominkitchen.com

Roque Pub is a fun and local spot where you can stop by and meet your friends for a drink or enjoy a meal throughout the day. We were invited to taste a few dishes and drinks offered. With drinks, there are over 450 different beers and 20 different wines. I was happy to see that they had one of my all time favorites – KilKenny Irish Red Nitro!

Chef Eva likes to add zest to her dishes and create beauty in her masterpieces. From time to time, she’ll create a new flavor or item for the menu. You can try any of these if you ask what the Chef’s specialty is for the day you visit.

We started with the Spinach & Artichoke Dip. It consists of spinach, artichokes and a blend of jarlsberg, asiago, mozzarella, parmesan, and cream cheese/served with tortilla chips. The dip is delightful and requested by all. It is nice and creamy from all the cream cheese added.

The Silo was suggested by Chef Eva as guests tend to order. Chef Eva also mentioned how she has a lot of fun making this dish. It consists of roast beef, jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and garlic aioli sauce on a toasted ciabatta roll. The ingredients used are very fresh and you taste it with each bite. The flavors are very subtle and I would like it to be equally spread out for each bite.

Wings are a staple at any bar that serves food. This dish is 10 savory wings tossed in your choice of one our signature hot, teriyaki or dry rub wing sauces. Served with a side of celery and your choice of ranch or bleu cheese.

The wings we tried had a special sauce Chef Eva created with apricots, chili and ginger. It has a brilliant mix of sweet and spicy. The wings are steamed as the first step of cooking these.

The Publican is a Philly Steak flatbread with jack cheese, cream cheese, green peppers, onions, and Italian seasoning. It is a great drunk food and wouldn’t mind ordering a few for myself and my friends after a few drinks. The cheeses on the flatbread are very fresh and flavorful; the cheese has to be my favorite part.

Chef Eva has a limited amount of space and supplies in the kitchen, which gives her more credit to her creations due to the steps she takes to make the dishes. For instance, her creative flavors she added to the wings for this visit.

The Roque Pub family is very small but loving towards one another as well as their guests. They host many events for you to discover on their Facebook account, which includes an upcoming beer and wings pairing. For more information, check out their Facebook or website.

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“All steaks need a certain size of thickness” – Chef Jens

We were invited to Darden Restaurants headquarters to experience Grill Master training first hand from LongHorn Steakhouse’s Executive Chef team in their test kitchen.  We met with Executive Chefs Jens Dahlmann, Michael Senich and Joshua Evans and they gave us all our own chef’s coat to wear (and keep!) and then demonstrated how to make a great tasting steak at LongHorn Steakhouse.  Afterwords we enjoyed some freshly grilled steaks and corn, deliciously bold seasoned wings and Wild West shrimp.  We also got to meet LongHorn Steakhouse President Todd Burrowes to learn more about LongHorn Steakhouse’s third annual Steak Master Series competition that was happening the next day at the same spot we were training at. The third annual Steak Master Series, which awards cash prizes totaling over $200,000, celebrates LongHorn Steakhouse’s commitment to craftsmanship on the grill.

The Steak Master Series is an epic culinary competition where their top-performing grilling experts compete for title of national champion.  More than 5,000 Grill Masters from all across the nation were invited to participate this year.  The seven finalists – including a Central Florida Grill Master from the Sanford restaurant – competed for the championship title this past Thursday in the LongHorn Steakhouse test kitchen at Darden Restaurants headquarters.

This year’s Steak Master Series winner was Michelle Cerveny.  She was the first woman to win the Steak Master Series for LongHorn Steakhouse!  Kim Markley was the second place winner, and our local guy, Juan Sacramento from the LongHorn in Sanford, received third place.  He is officially one of the top 3 Grill Masters for LongHorn from across the country!

Michelle, Juan and all of this year’s finalists will be manning the GRILL US Hotline this upcoming Wednesday, July 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST! Call 1-855-LH-GRILL (544-7455) to talk to them directly. These knowledgeable LongHorn Steakhouse Grill Masters will be happy to answer any of your recipe or grilling questions!


John from Longhorn Steakhouse marketing with Longhorn Steakhouse President Todd Burrowes

Executive Chefs Michael Senich, Joshua Evans and Jens Dahlmann listening closely to President Todd Burrowes speak

My very first chef’s coat

Chef Jens going over all the different types of steaks

The judging criteria at the Steak Masters Series

Chef Michael demonstrating how to make a great tasting steak. Tip #1: Always overseason

Tip #2: Season one way, top to bottom

Tip #3: Always cook from the back first.  That is the hottest part so it cooks the fastest

Chef Joshua manning the grill

Baked potato

Wild west shrimp – freshly breaded to order

Boldy seasoned wings

Delicious sliced steak.  LongHorn Steakhouse always applies a finishing sauce on all of their steaks for moisture

Fire-grilled corn

Thank you LongHorn Steakhouse for the awesome gift bag!!

(Source credit: LongHorn Steakhouse)

For more information, please visit https://www.longhornsteakhouse.com/events/steak-master-series

Seafood Linguine – Lobster meat, scallops, shrimp, calvados, cream

There is just something calming about dining to the smell of saltwater with the view of the ocean in front of you.  We were invited to Daytona Beach’s newest beachfront hotel and the fourth Hard Rock Hotel in Florida to check out their restaurant, Sessions, and stay overnight.  Our experience at Sessions was exceptional.  The food, service and energy was unlike any other media event that I have ever been to.  Our server named Pastor was fantastic.  I give Sessions 5-stars!

Dining at Sessions restaurant will exceed your expectations.  Luxurious rock-star style, contemporary decor and celebrity-style atmosphere coupled with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean adds to experience.  Dine on unforgettable breakfasts, savory lunch offerings and innovative suppers that will leave you wanting more.  Craft cocktails and libations are also available at Sessions indoor/outdoor bar.

Artisan Charcuterie & Cheese – Mini cornichons, pickled peppers stone mustard, sourdough

Tuna Tartare – Avocado, shallot, scallion, dash soy, wonton chips.  My favorite appetizer!

Crab Cakes – Spicy aioli, cucumber relish

New York Strip – Rainbow carrots, crispy onion, sautéed onions and bell peppers.  It was amazing!

Crème Brûlée – Strawberries, blueberries.  This dessert was perfect, so addicting!

Red Velvet Cheesecake – Philadelphia cream cheese frosting, strawberries, blueberries.  It was beautiful and delicious!


Constant Grind the total café experience, serving up hot and cold drinks, quick bites, house-made gelato, and more.

Take a plunge in the heated pool and enjoy the tunes from the underwater speakers or lounge on the oceanfront pool deck.

Wave Terrace is located on the third floor of Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach.  Wave Terrance is Daytona’s newest experience serving up local beer, craft cocktails and an inspired seafood menu featuring ceviche, gazpacho, fresh seafood towers and straight from the oven bread—in a chic casual atmosphere.  Add glowing fire pits and live music and you have a night out that can only be Hard Rock.

 

Frank Sinatra impersonator.  He sounded exactly like him!

The kiddie pool is shaped like a guitar

The Elvis impersonator got the crowd rocking the entire night!

Didn’t bring your yoga gear on tour at at Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach? #RockOm you covered. Experience peace of mind in the comfort of your hotel room with a yoga kit that includes a Manduka PROlite yoga mat and convenient Go Play carrier, all delivered to your room free of charge.  A regionally-inspired Yogitoes towel is also available for purchase. On-demand yoga videos are available on your hotel room TV, as well as on your personal device at HardRock.com.

Snap a pic of your best yoga pose around the hotel, post to instagram with the hashtag: #RockOm. If your pic is selected, you can win a custom Yogitoes Hard Rock yoga towel.

We throughly enjoyed our stay at Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach and we felt like celebrity rockstars the entire time.  The music-inspired property is only two months old as they just opened on May 1, 2018.  I highly recommend staying at this hotel during your next visit in Daytona Beach, FL!

(Source credit: Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach)

Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach
918 N Atlantic Ave, Daytona Beach, FL 32118
(386) 947-7300
http://hardrockhoteldaytonabeach.com

The 5th Annual Bite Night presented by Publix Aprons Cooking School was held at the Orchid Garden & Ballroom at Church Street this past Monday.  Bite Night is the grand finale of Bite30 and the premiere of Bite Magazine 2018.  The event featured over 20 of the city’s top local restaurants and chefs serving bite-size samples of their most creative dishes, plus an open bar, live entertainment, silent auction and benefiting Edible Education Experience.  Chef Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon was awarded with the inaugural Bite Award for her outstanding contributions to the culinary community.

Upcoming events: United We Brunch flash sale is happening now! It’s just like Bite Night, but Bloody Mary’s, Mimosas, Bacon & Eggs! Get tickets at UnitedWeBrunch.com

(Source credit: Orlando Weekly)

Duck & Drake Kitchen – Ouinoa Verde Sliders – Edamame, Garbanzo & Quinoa Patties with Avocado Aioli served with Root Vegetable Chips

Tartine Orlando –  Crab and Shrimp Stack with Avocado Mousse, Spice Crème Fraiche and Pickled Onions

El Buda – Shrimp Chicharron with Peking Style Duck

K Restaurant – Seasonal Florida Fish/Crudo with Traditional Accompaniments and Gazpacho Sauce

Urbain 40 – Yellowfun Tuna Tataki, Wakame & Pickled Vegetable Slaw, Gochujang Aioli, Cilantro Oil & Sweet Soy, Cahaba Farms Spicy Greens

Publix Apron Cooking School – Butter Poached Florida Rock Shrimp, Corn Nage, and Handmade Pasta

Hunger Street Tacos – Octopus Aquachile

Hibiscus Tomatillo Avocado Cilantro

Watermelon in Mezcal

Key Lime Mousse Chile Pequin

The Glass Knife – Spumoni Cake Bite

The Glass Knife – Mini Crème Brûlée Doughnut

The Glass Knife – Lemon Meringue Tart

The Stubborn Mule – Cauliflower Salad

The Tipsy Cookie – Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookie, Royal Caramel Apple Cookie

Andy’s Frozen Custard – Vanilla Custard with Crushed Oreos

Crudo – Huckleberry Tomato, Arugasabi, Lemon, Salmon, Grouper, Tuna

Key West Pink Shrimp on a Grit Cake with Tase Gravy

Orlando Meats – Buttermilk Glazed Doughnuts 

Orlando Meats – Port Rillettes – Fermented radish, sourdough, kewpie

Tartine – Cinnamon Sugar Pork Rinds with Cream Cheese Glaze

Escargot with Garlic Herb Butter served with House-Made Petite Danish Cup

Pizzeria Roberti – Beet and Mozzarella Salad with Hazelnut Whip

Won this cooler bag from the Topgolf prize wheel

The Sugar Sow – Bacon Mac N’ Cheese

Publix Aprons Cooking School – Mahi-Mahi Ceviche, Toasted Fennel Salted Watermelon Slices

Artisan’s Table – Kielbasa Sliders – Creamy Mustard & Onion Sauce

Devine Wine & Grill – Beet Salad with Ahi Tuna

Cuban Mojo Chicken

Violectric – an electric string quintet plus keyboards and drums performing classic and modern rock tunes.  They were amazing!

Left: Chef James Petrakis, owner of Polite Pig, The Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder
Middle: Sous Chef Takeshi
Right: Morimoto Asia Orlando’s Executive Chef Yuhi Fujinaga
These award-winning chefs presented to guests an array of Pan-Asian and Southern-inspired dishes, many of which were true fusion dishes bridging Asia and the American South.

Morimoto Asia hosted their second installment of their Guest Chef Series this past Sunday with a collaboration with The Polite Pig, both Disney Springs restaurants. The event, “Pigs N’ Pints” was truly a unique gastronomic event featuring locally and nationally celebrated chefs, Yuhi Fujinaga plus James and Julie Petrakis.  During the family friendly event there were multiple food stations and local breweries.  Tickets for the event were $55 (adults) $25 (children 12 and under) + tax and gratuity.

Salumi Cone

Blood Sausage – Tomato Jam, Grain Mustard 

Potato Salad

Watermelon

Cantaloupe With Thai Basil

Domestic Uni Prepared Nigiri Style With Creme Brûlée Wrapped In Lardo

Heirloom Tomatoes That Are Locally Resourced With Two Types of Watermelon Tossed in Okinawa Sweet Potato Vinaigrette with Thai Basil and Micro Cilantro

Raw Oyster

Maple Bacon Gelato with Pork Rind

Strawberry Basil Sorbet 

Lettuce Wrap With Pork Butt, House-Made Kimchi, Kusshi Oyster, Gochujang Aioli, Fennel Flower

Pig Face Brûlée With Radish, House Mustard

Blood Orange and Chinese Five Spice Mocktail

Watermelon Basil Mocktail

Pork Cheek Tamale, Mole, Corn Relish

Whole Roasted Pork Proceta With Tomato Watermelon Salad

Chef James Petrakis, owner of Polite Pig, The Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder

For more information, please visit patinagroup.com/morimoto-asia

Morimoto Asia
1600 East Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
(407) 939-6686
disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/disney-springs/morimoto-asia/

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

We would like to introduce you to Stop and Sip The Rosé Fridays at Ocean Prime Orlando where guests can enjoy half price glasses of Veuve Clicquot Rosé and $1 oysters from 5-7pm every Friday in the summer, in addition to their daily happy hour menu.  Stop and Sip The Rosé Fridays ends on Friday, August 31, 2018.

Ocean Prime is an award-winning modern American restaurant and lounge from renowned restauranteur Cameron Mitchell, with 14 locations across the country.  The service we received at Ocean prime Orlando was truly exceptional.  Ocean Prime is an ideal place to socialize, talk business, celebrate and indulge.


Miner Rose, Domaine Chandon Rosé, Veuve Clicquot Rosé, Notorious Pink Rose

All four Rosés are offered at a special price during their daily happy hour menu from 5-7pm.  On Fridays, the Vueve Clicquot Rosé is offered at a special discount of 50% off from 5-7pm.

Happy hour every day from 5-7pm.  Enjoy $5 off small plates and sushi offerings.

Oysters On The Half Shell


Prime Roll – Tempura Shrimp, Cream Cheese, Scallion, Beef Carpaccio

Dynamite Roll – Tempura Shrimp, Spicy Mayo, Sesame Seeds

Prime Sliders – Bacon, Bleu Cheese, Sundried Tomato

Lamb Lollipops – Teriyaki Marinated, Sweet and Spicy Glaze

Fish Tacos – Corn Tortilla, Avocado, Pickled Cabbage

General Manager Michael Kopoian, very outgoing and passionate man.

Executive Chef Jeremy Mattson.  Chef Jeremy has won several honors including Ruth’s Chris Hospitality Group’s “Executive Chef of The Year”.

Great media dine with these lovely ladies!

A talented musician playing some tunes

Be sure to check out Ocean Prime Orlando soon for Stop and Sip the Rosé Fridays!

(Source credit: Ocean Prime Orlando)

Ocean Prime
7339 W Sand Lake Rd, 400, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 781-4880
http://ocean-prime.com

Egg N’ Bacon Pizza.  This was my favorite!

We were invited to check out the new MidiCi Daytona Beach, Pink Narcissus Daytona Beach, Clair de Lune and Kasa Living during their First Day of Summer in Style Event at ONE DAYTONA.  ONE DAYTONA is a new outdoor shopping, restaurant and entertainment center located across the street from the World’s First Motorsports StadiumDaytona International Speedway.  We really enjoyed checking out this new addition in Daytona Beach aka “World’s Most Famous Beach” and we are looking forward to our visit again next week!

Special promotion:  Use code “CDLINFLUENCER” at Clair de Lune and Kasa Living for 30% off regular price items with white tags in store.  Expires July 21, 2018.

MidiCi Daytona is the restaurant’s second location in Florida.  Their first location is in Kissimmee and their third location will be in Maitland.

House Meat Board


House Cheese Board


Burrata With Melon & Prosciutto


Purple Kale & Ricotta Salad

Double Pepperoni

The Margherita

White (Blanca)

The Meats

Signature Nutella Calzone

Uplifting message in the women’s restroom mirror

I love that they have these hand prints at both MidiCi locations.

Pink Narcissus, a Lilly Pulitzer signature store

Lilly Pulitzer swimwear

Little Lilly

A Lilly Pulitzer artist painted all the walls in the fitting rooms

Erin modeling in the Lilly Pulitzer fashion show

Little Lilly Pulitzer fan Madeleine with store manager Alex

Thank you Pink Narcissus for the amazing gift bags filled with Lilly Pulitzer goodies!!

Hands down the best gift bags that I have ever received at a media event!  Thank you Hayworth PR, Pink Narcissus Daytona Beach, MidiCi’s Daytona Beach, Clair de Lune and Kasa Living, Ben & Jerry’s Daytona Beach, Plato’s Closet Daytona Beach and ONE DAYTONA!

Kasa Living – Daytona Beach is the first location in the U.S.  The company’s first location is in Hawaii.

“Cactus Fever” at Kasa Living

BEFORE.  We got to design our own tablescape!

AFTER!!! <3

Clair de Lune specializes in home decor and fragrances, including aromatic lamps and decorative candles.

That’s all, folks!

Be sure to check out the new ONE DAYTONA complex the next time you are in Daytona Beach!

MidiCi
1860 Victory Circle Daytona Beach FL 32114
(386) 492-9240
http://mymidici.com

Pink Narcissus
230 Daytona Blvd, Daytona Beach, FL 32114
(386) 256-1234
http://facebook.com/Pink-Narcissus-Daytona-Beach-161209781146667

Clair de Lune and Kasa Living
1 Daytona Blvd Daytona Beach, FL 32114
(386) 267-8851
http://kasaliving.ca

Seafood Tower – King crab, jumbo Gulf shrimp, oysters, crab ceviche, Ahi tuna poke

We were invited to Paddlefish to celebrate their most recent accomplishment of being voted “Best Seafood Restaurant” by Orlando Magazine’s 2018 Dining Awards.  We enjoyed indulging in a delicious 5-course wine pairing dinner showcasing “Best of Paddlefish” dishes amid the rooftop of their luxurious steamboat.  Tickets to the sold out event was $115 per person.  Paddlefish offers fresh and delicious seafood dishes, exceptional architecture and decor, an attentive and friendly staff, and the most gorgeous view that you will ever get from any establishment on Disney Springs property.

Executive Chef Steve Richards welcoming guest at the Best of Paddlefish dinner.

Mini Maine Lobster Roll

Lobster & Corn Chowder 

Our wonderful sommelier of the evening.

August Kessler, Riesling, Germany

Sea Scallop – cauliflower puree, crispy Brussels sprouts

Cider Braised Veal Cheeks – parsnip puree

Dessert Trio – key lime pie, flourless chocolate cake, strawberry cheesecake

June Specials:

  • Paddlefish will be hosting wine tastings the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month through September.  Their in-house Sommelier team will lead these tastings on the rooftop deck and wine flights will be served with light bites and tastings.  Guests must be 21+ to attend.  Tickets and additional details can be found here.
  • Celebrate National Vanilla Milkshake Day on Wednesday, June 20, at Paddlefish!  Paddlefish will be offering their famous vanilla brownie milkshake for just $5 all day long!
  • Now through June 30, guests can enjoy a bottle of rose and half a dozen oysters for only $40, only available on the third deck.

Be sure to check out the June specials at Paddlefish soon!  It’s a fun filled month at Paddlefish that you won’t want to miss!

(Source credit: Paddlefish)

Paddlefish at Disney Springs
1670 Buena Vista Dr.  Lake Buena Vista, FL
(407) 934-2628
paddlefishrestaurant.com

A significant number of travelers desire a unique and delicious culinary experience while on vacation. Because of this, we are incredibly excited to announce Reunion Resort’s “Taste Of Eleven” menu where guests can experience a taste of Eleven from Monday through Thursday, from 5:30pm – 7pm.  Choose an appetizer, entree and dessert for only $29 per person (plus tax and gratuity).  This special menu is the perfect way to explore the restaurant’s food and breathtaking views at an amazing value.

Eleven is located on the 11th floor of Reunion Resort.  Views of the Magic Kingdom and Epcot fireworks are available nightly from the restaurant.

My mom & I in the resort lobby.

The clean and spacious bar.

Breathtaking landscape views from the restaurant’s dining area.

Glass doors provide access to the resort’s rooftop pool.


Complimentary Bread & Butter

Crispy Calamari – Chorizo, Pickled Chiles, Broiled Lime

Sherried Onion Soup – Gruyere, Sourdough Crostini

Baseball Sirloin – Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus

Cedar Planked Salmon

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée – Fresh Seasonal Fruit Compote

Raspberry Cheesecake – Garden Berry Coulis

Eleven is a very nice restaurant with good food and a beautiful rooftop view.  The manager Kyle and our lovely server Raquel treated us like rock stars.  Be sure to check their “Taste of Eleven” menu from Monday through Thursday, from 5:30pm – 7pm!

(Source credit: Eleven)

Eleven
7593 Gathering Dr, Kissimmee, FL 34747
(407) 396-5290
reunionresort.com/dine/eleven

“East Meets West” is a special chef collaboration dinner featuring Chef Elek Kovacs of The Osprey Tavern and Chef Huy Tin of Seito Baldwin Park.

The Osprey Tavern is an upscale-casual New American restaurant that features seasonal cuisine and Seito Baldwin Park is a Japanese restaurant that serves contemporary Asian offerings using a combination of traditional and innovative cooking techniques. Although both of these restaurants have distinct styles of cuisine, the collaboration brings together a brilliant 8-course tasting menu paired with fine wines, sake and spirits.

The 8-course menu consisted of key ingredients for each dish that both chefs used in preparing their dishes. All of the dishes were great, but I’ll share some notes on what stood out to me. The first plate was the perfect introduction to the event, a savory egg dish topped with ikura and paddlefish caviar. Following that was a beautiful plate of mackerel accompanied with pineapple salad and peanut-sesame. This was very reminiscent of fresh ingredients you would find in an Asian dish. The pork and seared scallop dish was paired with Amabuki Ginno Kurenai Junmai, a Japanese sake with a beautiful rosé color. Another notable dish was the pan-roasted duck sitting on a crisp puff pastry. For the finale, Pastry Chef Kristy Carlucci created a melt-in-your-mouth toasted marshmallow meringue dessert.

Was it worth the hype? Absolutely. Both Chef Elek Kovacs and Chef Huy Tin are remarkably talented and I enjoyed everything that was presented that evening. The amount of effort and preparation that went into this event was impressive and is worth the occasional indulgence. From the cordial staff, beautifully prepared courses and even down to the hand-sewn table runners (Sue Chin has a talent for design and decorating!). I was thrilled to join Orlando restauranteurs Jason and Sue Chin at this much anticipated and sold-out event. Jason and Sue own both of the restaurant concepts and have been a driving force in elevating Orlando’s culinary scene.

The Osprey Tavern [Website]
Address: 4899 New Broad St, Orlando, FL 32814
Phone: (407) 960-7700

Seito Baldwin Park [Website]
Address: 4898 New Broad St, Orlando, FL 32814
Phone: (407) 898-8801

 

Chef’s Table at The Osprey Tavern
Egg(²)
Seito (left): Chawanmushi, bottarga, ikura / Osprey (right): White chocolate custard, champagne gelée, paddlefish caviar
Seito (left) / Osprey (right)
Mackerel + Celery
Seito (left): Shima aji, celery pineapple salad, peanut-sesame / Osprey (right): Norwegian mackerel croquette, celeriac, horseradish
Pork + Shellfish
Seito (left): Pork, romanesco, Asian pear, XO / Osprey (right): Seared scallop, giardiniere, prosciutto foam
Duck + Mushroom
Seito (left): Duck thigh roulade, shiitake and oyster mushroom stir fry, chestnuts / Osprey (right): Pan roasted duck breast, duxelles vol-au-vent, royal trumpets
Seito (left) / Osprey (right)
Melon + Tea
Melon + Tea: Pompano tartare with lemongrass, kaffir lime, ginger, honeybush tea, cantaloupe granita
Beef(²)
Beef(²): Creekstone prime bourbon ribeye, five spiced braised oxtail, broccolini, soubise
Beef(²)
Baked Alaska
Baked Alaska: Cherry, Jasmine Rice, Black Sesame, Almond

Ocean’s Bounty Sustainable Fish and Sea Salt Dusted Filet Mignon – Harvest Vegetable Melange, Leek Fondue and Cassis Red Wine Demi by Chef Tim Majoras, Flying Fish

When Disney chefs collaborate with Second Harvest Food Bank for a good cause, beautiful things happen.  It was an honor to attend this charity dinner as a media guest.

Chefs from Disney’s BoardWalk Resort Restaurants prepared a delicious dinner at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida as part of the Chef’s Night Series. The team was led by Andrew Larkin, Executive Chef, Disney’s BoardWalk Resort and will include Chef Rich Smich, Trattoria al Forno; Chef Paul Napoli, ESPN Club; Chef Tim Majoras, Flying Fish; Pastry Chef Kurtis Baguley, Disney’s BoardWalk Resort restaurants and Sommeliers Katie Hanewall, Trattoria al Forno and Ted Letsch, Flying Fish.

Chef’s Night brings Central Florida’s top chefs into Second Harvest’s Community Kitchen to celebrate delicious food and raise funds for a good cause.  All proceeds benefit Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program, which provides students with the skills and inspiration they need to obtain an entry-level position in a food service establishment.

Hor d’oeuvres

Insalata Salad – House-Pulled Mozzarella, Heirloom Tomatoes and Aged Balsamic
Chef Rich Smich, Trattoria al Forno

Spring Gnocchi  – Carrot, Celery, Onion, Pea and Corn.  Loved this dish!  I could have eaten it all night!
Chef Rich Smich, Trattoria al Forno

Ciabatta Rolls with Ricotta Cheese and Herb Oil

Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad – Baby Kale, Brussel Sprouts, Olive Oil and Sea Salt Ciabatta Bread Crisp
Chef Paul Napoli, ESPN Club


Ocean’s Bounty Sustainable Fish and Sea Salt Dusted Filet Mignon – 
Harvest Vegetable Melange, Leek Fondue and Cassis Red Wine Demi
Chef Tim Majoras, Flying Fish

Vahlrona Chocolate Semolina Torta  – Brachetto Raspberry Crema
Mascarpone Cream Mousse – 
Blueberry Lime Compote, Hibiscus Meringue and Rye Bourbon Caramel
Pastry Chef Kurtis Baguley, Disney’s Boardwalk Resort

Be sure to check out the next out the next Chef’s Night happening on August 30, 2018.  Join the Tasty Trio, three deliciously experienced food and wine experts Tonda Corrente, owner of La Femme Du Fromage, Lisa Wilk, founder of Orlando Uncorked, and Jill Ramsier, co-owner of Quantum Leap Winery for a 4-Course dinner journey where wine, cheese and chocolate confections by Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park are featured in every course.  Tickets available at https://linktr.ee/feedhopenow.

More pictures from the most recent Chef’s Night below:

(Source credit: Second Harvest Food Bank)

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
411 Mercy Drive Orlando, FL
407-514-1070

FeedHopeNow.org

I love nothing better than going to dinner with friends. Especially, a couple that both you and your partner mutually like, meaning all four people are happy and no one has to pretend to like someone for the benefit of their relationship. I know you understand what I’m talking about, we all go through it. Finding good friends, especially at the age I am now (a much wiser age), friends that my husband also enjoys being with, can be challenging. Thankfully, on this occasion, all was right in the world. Friday night, the kids are home with our amazing sitter (she paints my daughter’s nails and bakes), meeting terrific friends (a couple we both love to be with), for a casual, but classy dinner at RusTeak Restaurant and Wine Bar in Ocoee. One of my local favorites!

Mahogany walls, dark cherry wood bar and furniture, chrome fixtures, a perfect mix of trendy and casual, rustic, as the name of the restaurant implies…this is RusTeak. A seasonal menu of American, farm-to-table favorites with an edge, and a selection of over two-hundred wines from around the world, a large variety of craft beers, and handcrafted cocktails. RusTeak has an upscale feel while creating an atmosphere in which I feel completely at ease in, wearing shorts and flip-flops, as I did on this night. Walking in, I quickly realized that RusTeak is one of the many restaurants taking part in Bite30 during the month of June. During all thirty days of the month, RusTeak is offering a special prix fixe, multi-course dinner menu for a set price of $30. We didn’t partake in the Bite30 menu on this night, but I do plan to return and try it soon. With our friends running a few minutes behind, we had no trouble finding a seat at the bar for a little pre-dinner conversation and drinks (Ponga Sauvignon Blanc for me, dirty martini for my husband). My glass of wine was icy-cold perfection for this humid night (welcome, summer weather, can’t say I’ve missed you).

Bite30 Menu Now Offered
Sauvignon Blanc and Dirty Martini – RusTeak Bar

With our friends arrival, we sat down at the high-top table, each of us merrily looking at our menus, my legs happily dangling from my bar stool (short girl problems), finally settling on a few appetizers to share: Pumpkin Seed Edamame, Tomato Jam Jar, and Soft Jumbo Pretzel Sticks with two dipping sauces (mustard and cheese).

Tender edamame sautéed with butter, garlic, parmesan, and toasted pumpkin seeds…it’s one of the best edamame appetizers I have ever tasted. Savory, salty, fresh, and rich all at the same time. The buttery parmesan coated each piece of edamame so perfectly, it took all my willpower not to suck the pod after I had already eaten the soybean. Good thing I stopped doing that after the third or fourth one.

Pumpkin Seed Edamame

The Tomato Jam Jar is one of RusTeak’s favorites (always on the menu). A jar precisely filled with layers of house-made ricotta cheese, spinach almond pesto, and cherry tomato jam, served with toasted Naan bread. The cheese is creamy, the pesto is grainy and thick with herbs, while the jam is pleasantly sweet. A trifecta of velvety, earthy, and nectarous.

Tomato Jam Jar with Naan Bread

You can’t go wrong with soft pretzels, especially dipped in mustard and cheese. Doughy, salty pretzels at RusTeak, are a surprisingly perfect pairing with super Tuscan red wine (I should know, I had plenty of both).

Soft Pretzels with Mustard and Cheese

Moving on from our appetizers, and plenty of conversation, we ordered our main entrees. RusTeak offers flatbreads, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and entrees such as Pesto Salmon and Scallop Ratatouille. My friend ordered the Shrimp Tacos, my husband went with the Fig & Rib Flatbread, while two of us settled on an entree called Stay Gold Ponyboy. The name alone, caught my eye. The Outsiders! But, the dish itself did it for me: grilled flat iron steak, spinach-maple bacon yukon gold mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, all topped with creamy gruyere mornay and two jumbo shrimp. My steak was tender, the potatoes were hearty, the asparagus crisp, and all of it nestled deliciously well with the sauce. I would order this again and again (and not just because of my childhood crush on Ponyboy).

Shrimp Tacos
Fig and Rib Flatbread
Stay Gold Ponyboy

Everyone at the table was completely stuffed…so, of course, everyone refused dessert…except me. In the name of journalism and foodies everywhere, I convinced my husband and friends that we had to try the Dulce de leche Bread Pudding served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. Wow! Spongy bread pudding made with sweetened milk and caramel, warm out of the oven plated with cold, rich ice cream. Everyone refused at first, but, they were thanking me in the end.

Dulce de leche Bread Pudding

RusTeak Restaurant and Wine Bar is a restaurant I frequent often and recommend consistently. I love that the atmosphere is comfortable, but also eye-appealing. It’s a place you can make as “dressy” as you wish. The staff is always polite and knowledgeable, and helpful when recommending a bottle of wine from the expansive list. The food is always freshly prepared and prepared with creativity. Every meal is fantastic, and even better when in good company.

 

RusTeak Restaurant and Wine Bar

 

 

 

 

The Impossible Burger – Famous Impossible Burger Patty, Lettuce, Onions, Tomatoes, HK Style, Black&Bleu Style, Buffalo Style.  Omit cheese to make it 100% vegan.

We were invited to Hot Krust on Sand Lake Road (near Whole Foods) to taste their new vegan panini.  “The Impossible Burger” panini was my favorite! It tasted so much like real beef that I had to double check with the friendly owner, Khabeer, if it was really meat-free.

“The Impossible Burger” panini with baked tater tots.  No fryers are used at Hot Krust.

Behind the screens picture captured by my mom.

Roasted Beet & Chickpea Burger – Roasted Beet and Chickpea patty, Vegan Garlic Mayo, Pineapples, Homemade Mano Chutney, Onions, Spinach

The sweet potato waffle fries are always baked, never fried.

The gelato panini it not vegan but it was so cool to see one of my food pictures blown up!

Be sure to check out Hot Krust soon for some delicious vegan paninis!

Hot Krust
8015 Turkey Lake Rd #200, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 355-7768
http://hotkrust.com

Beets & Burrata – Cherry tomatoes, radish, beech mushrooms, white balsamic

We were invited to Four Seasons Resort Orlando to check out the new menu items at PB&G, short for pool bar & grill.  The restaurant has added several new healthy options, perfect for those who prefer to eat on the cleaner side and/or those who are currently working on their summer bod!

Fruit & Berries – Bourbon vanilla granola, lemon honey Greek yogurt, coconut.  The granola had bourbon vanilla in it and it tasted really great!

Watermelon & Prosciutto – Pressed watermelon, herbed goat cheese, prosciutto, marinated blueberries, arugula

BLTA – Smoked bacon, bibb lettuce, tomato, avocado, parmesan cheese vinaigrette.  This was the best salad that I’ve ever had!  The bacon was perfection. 

Herb-Citrus Shrimp – Grilled pineapple, spinach, baby kale, quinoa, red union, cucumber, feta cheese, red wine vinaigrette

Seared Ahi Tuna – Kale, cabbage, cucumber, jicama, mango, crispy wontons, wasabi ginger cream, sesame vinaigrette

Lobster Roll – Avocado, tomato, remoulade, Hawaiian roll.  The crab is 100% real, 100% delicious!  Omit ketchup and fries to make it healthier.

Chirashi Bowl – Spicy tuna poke, salmon poke, sushi rice, avocado, soy glazed mushrooms, cucumber, edamame, carrot, seaweed salad, spicy mayo

S’mores for dessert!  Because life is all about balance, right?

Kudos to our talented and wonderful chefs!  We really enjoyed our meal.

 

Upcoming Events at Four Seasons Orlando Resort:

Saturday, 06.09
Global Wellness Day
8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Enjoy special fitness classes for Global Wellness Day, plus spa treatments and a healthy cooking demo and lunch.

 

Sunday, 06.17
Father’s Day Brunch at Plancha Restaurant
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Three course brunch (appetizer buffet, choice of entree, dessert buffet), bottomless mimosas and Bloody Mary for $68 per person.  Dads will receive a choice of a complimentary bourbon or complimentary cigar.

 

Four Seasons Resort Orlando
10100 Dream Tree Boulevard
(407) 313-7777
fourseasons.com/orlando/

First Watch will open their newest location in Waterford Lakes, next to Chuy’s, on Memorial Day, May 28.  This location is different than the rest of their Central Florida locations because it is about 1,000 square feet larger and includes its own bar.

Fun facts:
– First Watch is a Florida-based company. They opened their first restaurant in Maitland in 1993.
– They now have 300 locations nationwide.
– They don’t use microwave ovens, heat lamps, or fryers.

The dining area is modern and spacious.


The Waterford Lakes location is the second location with a bar, the first is Jacksonville.

Million Dollar Bloody Mary, Cinnamon Toast Coconut Milk

Pomegranate Sunrise, Morning Glory, Vodka Kale Tonic

Lemon Ricotta Pancake with Scrambled Eggs, Bacon. Side of Seasoned Potatoes and Biscuit.

 Smoked Salmon & Roasted Vegetable Frittata with Salad and Ciabatta Toast.

Roast Beef & Havarti Sandwich

Housemade Granola


Kale Tonic (Non-Alcoholic).  I need more of this fresh juice in my life!

Be sure to check out the new First Watch – Waterford Lakes soon for delicious breakfast or brunch and amazing service!  Shout out to our wonderful server, Myles.  He is the best!

(Source credit: First Watch)

First Watch
1448 N. Alafaya Trail Suite 150. Orlando, FL 32828
(941) 907-9800
firstwatch.com

With fellow media guest Andi Perez, Yelp’s community director, in the private dining room. 

The Citrus Club is one of Orlando’s best kept, most exclusive secrets.  Citrus Club is an elite, membership-only, private business-networking club on the 18th floor of the BB&T building in Downtown Orlando, across from the Grand Bohemian Hotel..  I had the pleasure of being the first to preview and taste their new seasonal menu during an exclusive media dinner.  Our fantastic 10-course meal was made so delightful and fulfilling thanks to Executive Chef Relner Drygala and his amazing culinary team, General Manager Jeff Jump, Social Media Relations Allie Otterbacher, and the awesome staff.

Social Media Relations Allie Otterbacher preparing to host the media dinner.

The space is clean and impeccably designed.

Citrus Club offers amazing food with amazing views.

General Manager Jeff Jump welcomes media guests.

Executive Chef Relner Drygala goes over the new menu.

Avocado Crab Salad – Avocado stuffed with lump crab salad, served on balsamic field greens.  It was delicious!

Ahi Tuna Tartar – Avocado, red onion, cilantro, pickled ginger seaweed salad, yuzu emulsion, finished with sweet soy and wonton crisp.  I was very impressed with the presentation and taste of this appetizer!

Baked Chèvre – Red wine balsamic, marinara, fresh pesto and crostini.  It was delicious!

Chipotle Bourbon Glazed Salmon – Prima Donna Gouda grit cake, sautéed Swiss chard.  Great tasting salmon.  I was not a fan of grits until I had their Prima Donna Gouda grit cake, it seriously changed my life!

Pan Seared Scallops – Red pepper and spinach, parsnip potato puree, orange carrot butter sauce.  Beautifully executed and prepared scallops.

Asian Noodles Tofu Bowl (vegan) – Stir-fried vegetables, rice vermicelli, tofu, lemon ginger broth, bean sprouts and basil

Bone-in Chicken Breast – Spinach and mushrooms tossed with hand-made sweet potato gnocchi, sage sundried tomato pesto.  This was my first time having sweet potato gnocchi and I feel like I have been missing out on sweet potato gnocchi my entire life!

Rosemary Crusted Lamb Rack – Truffle potato foam, asparagus, red wine demi glace

Chocolate Cake – Dark chocolate mousse with salted Dulce de leche ganache center, rich chocolate cake and caramelized-cocoa nib toffee.  Perfect for chocolate lovers!

Baileys White Chocolate Cheesecake – Baileys cheesecake with a chocolate salted cookie crust topped with mascarpone mousse.  It was delicious!

Citrus Club
255 S Orange Ave Suite 1800, Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 843-1080
clubcorp.com/Clubs/Citrus-Club

When you combine excellent tasting beer from Orlando Brewing, with the delicious, farm-to-table food of American Kitchen Bar & Grill and Chef Venoy Rogers III, what do you get? A perfect pairing! We were invited to the American Kitchen Bar & Grill, located inside of the B Resort & Spa, for a special preview of the restaurant’s Tap Takeover. Beginning this Friday, May 25th, American Kitchen embarks on a new and exciting partnership with Orlando Brewing, “the only U.S.D.A. certified organic brewery east of Colorado”. The restaurant will now serve some of Orlando Brewing’s most popular beers on tap, while also incorporating the beer in a few new dishes. I had the fantastic, and most appreciated, opportunity to sample these dishes and beer a few nights ago, and now…I’m ready for the main event on Friday night! American Kitchen is hosting an open house with special drinks and menu items, plus, giveaways and raffle prizes. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I could sure use a spa treatment from Aveda Spa, located inside the B Resort. A spa gift certificate is only one of the terrific raffle prizes to be awarded on Friday night.

My night at the Tap Takeover Preview was only made better when I got the chance to meet and speak with Chef Venoy. Before coming to American Kitchen, Chef Venoy was the Executive Chef of Essensia restaurant, located inside the Palms Hotel & Spa in Miami. A San Diego native, Chef Venoy’s experience in the culinary world is expansive, but he always stays true to using fresh, local, farm-to-table ingredients in his menu. American Kitchen offers a variety of these dishes, including Tomato Tartare, Forest Mushroom Mac-n-Cheese, Blueberry Grilled Cheese, Grilled Fish Tacos, and Bourbon Chocolate Cake, just to name a few. When speaking with Chef Venoy, his passion, his love, for cooking, for using the best ingredients, for making food fun and creative, shines through immediately. It’s written all over his face…his dedication to creating unforgettable dishes for those who come to American Kitchen, sometimes at the sacrifice of time spent with his family for extra long hours in the kitchen. But, as he said to my husband and I, he does it all for the love of those he loves and for his love of food. How lucky for us patrons!?!

Here’s a glimpse of our night at the American Kitchen and Orlando Brewing Tap Takeover Preview:

Beers on Tap and Special Menu Items

 

Beers on Tap

Music Provided by DJD Entertainment Professionals

Specialty Drink: “Greg Norman”
Foie Gras Donuts with Fig Marsala Sauce
Short Rib Flatbread with Pickled Ramps and Manchego
Smoked Crispy Chicken Sandwich with House Aioli and Coleslaw
Crispy Fish “Chips” and Beer Battered Potato Sticks with Orlando Brewing Beer Vinegar

GM of B Resort and Spa: Michael Allen with Chef Venoy Rogers III
Chef Venoy Rogers III
Meeting Chef Venoy Rogers III

American Kitchen Bar & Grill is a must-try all on its own; but, with the addition of Orlando Brewing, it’s even better. I have to admit, my drink of choice is not usually beer. However, after tasting Orlando Brewing’s La Guera Blonde Lager and I-4 IPA, while enjoying salty and sweet Foie Gras Donuts and the tender, flavorful Smoked Crispy Chicken Sandwich, I’m hooked! But, don’t take my word for it. Enjoy the pairing yourself at American Kitchen Bar & Grill. I know I will again…and again…and again.

 

American Kitchen Bar & Grill 

Orlando Brewing 

B Resort & Spa

DJD Entertainment Professionals 

 

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