Burgers

Tijuana Flats is bringing together the best of both tacos and burgers for one epic mashup of deliciousness – a tortilla filled with ground beef, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, ketchup and mustard.

For a limited time try two Cheeseburger Tacos with seasoned fries for just $7.89.

The Cheeseburger Taco will be available at all Tijuana Flats locations now through September 9.

Add Fries & Queso
Side – $2.99
Appetizer – $5.29

Or try the Cheeseburger Tacos with these popular menu items:

Tijuana Trio – A basket of warm chips, with a side of handmade salsa, queso or guacamole.

Cookie Dough Flautas – Chocolate chip cookie dough loaded into a flour tortilla, lightly fried & topped with powdered sugar. Served with a side of chocolate syrup.

(Source: Tijuana Flats)

Tijuana Flats
94693 Gardens Park Blvd., Orlando, FL 32839
(407) 965-5090
https://tijuanaflats.com

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Drive Shack hosted their Caddyshack 28th Anniversary where guests from all over Orlando came out to golf, indulge in food and simply have a good time.

We also got a chance to ride in their ball collector out on the course while answering “Ballzoni Trivia”. I was asked questions based on the movie Caddyshack. While taking some laps on the course, our cart was at the mercy of golfers hitting their balls at us! If I answered a question wrong, Matt Franca , (my driver who is also the Drive Shack bar manager), would stop the cart and honk the horn for players to hit their balls at us. Luckily, our cart barely got hit.

The menu was kept simple and there was something for everyone. It consisted of soft pretzels, beef sliders, parmesan truffle tots, cheese quesadillas and chicken tenders.

I asked Franca why Caddyshack was chosen as their theme an what the inspiration behind the menu was.

He answered, “It’s such a fun crazy environment to work at, just like in the movie, everyone is really high energy and upbeat and it’s something we’ve just embraced since we opened…part of our core values at Drive Shack is to have fun. It’s bright and open; that’s what Caddyshack was about. If you go to the making of Caddyshack, there’s some really cool documentaries on there and it was just partying and a ton of fun. That’s just what we do here at Drive Shack. That’s why we really love Caddyshack and ran with it. A lot of the foods are just really easy to eat.”

They had their beer specials as well, so they wanted something that went well with that. They wanted the menu to cater to everyone.

His closing remarks on Drive Shack were, “Drive Shacks been opened for about 3 months now. We’re opening a bunch more locations soon. Theres a ton to be learned here. The gaming we created here really is revolutionizing this market in this industry. It’s getting a ton of people involved in golf that may not have gone out to a golf course and played 18 holes. It’s bringing a lot of family and just friends together. It’s a social aspect that’s extremely exciting. The games are incredible. There’s just so many different specials that we’re offering. We’re doing a draft party on August 16th.”

Overall, Drive Shack is the place to be to have a great time and kick back with a group. It is a family friendly environment and you won’t be disappointed with their good eats.

Drive Shack Orlando
7285 Corner Dr, Orlando, FL 32827
https://www.driveshack.com/

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

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.

Guacamole – Roasted corn relish, naan chips, Parmesan cheese

Dine in Plancha today through Saturday, July 14 and enjoy a complimentary guacamole appetizer & mojito (can be made virgin as well) with a purchase of an entrée in honor of National Mojito Day!  What an awesome deal!  The food and drinks there are really good!

Plancha is a Cuban-American restaurant located in the stylish Tranquil Golf Clubhouse at Four Seasons Orlando, just a few minutes away from Disney Springs.  They are open daily from 11am-6pm.  You do not need a hotel reservation to dine there. They have ample parking spots in their lot.

Loco Coconut Mojito – Rumhaven, Brugal 1988, lime, mint

Plancha Mojito – Barcardi, Prosecco, lime, mint

Virgin Orange Blossom Mojito

Churrasco – Skirt steak, chimichurri, mixed greens, yucca fries

Tuna Tartare – Avocado, ginger coconut vinaigrette, tostones, jalapeño, red onions, micro greens

Plancha Burger – Chorizo & beef patty, maduros, white cheddar, tomato, lettuce, cumin aioli 

Espresso

Traditional Flan – Caña sugar caramel, strawberry, kiwi, blueberries, and mini chocolate disk

Be sure to stop by Plancha soon for FREE guacamole & mojito before the deal ends this Saturday, July 14!

Plancha Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort
10100 Dream Tree Boulevard Orlando, FL 32836
(407) 313-7777
fourseasons.com/content/dam/fourseasons/images/web/ORL/PDF/ORL-Plancha-Lunch-Menu.pdf

Not only is May National BBQ Month, it is also the kick-off month of Sonny’s BBQ 50th Anniversary.  Join Pitmaster Bryan Mroczka and his team for a month packed of Wayback Wednesday deals and special offers for Mother’s Day and Memorial Day Weekend.

Wayback Wednesday deals – available for dine-in only.

•  Wednesday, May 2 – $0.50 salad bar or $0.50 draft beer (limit three per guest) with entree purchase*
•  Wednesday, May 9 – $5.99 All-You-Can-Eat Chicken*
•  Wednesday, May 16 – 50% off Signature Pork favorites (Pulled or Sliced Pork Dinners, Baskets, and St. Louis Rib Dinners)
•  Wednesday, May 23 – $6.99 St. Louis Rib Dinners
•  Wednesday, May 30 – $5 Original Sliced Pork Big Deal, no substitutions

Mother’s Day and Memorial Day – available at selection locations.  Check with your local Sonny’s BBQ for the specials they will be offering for Mother’s Day and Memorial Day Weekend.

•  Mother’s Day, May 13 – All moms who dine at Sonny’s on Mother’s Day will receive a free meal voucher for their next visit between May 14-June 3, 2018**
•  Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-28 – $29.99 Meal Deal for four with a whole chicken, pound of Pulled or Sliced Pork, three pint-sized Sidekicks and choice of bread; add up to four drinks for just $1 each

**Voucher includes (1) free entrée with the purchase of another entrée that is of equal or greater value up to $15. Excludes All-You-Can-Eat. Valid at participating locations only.

Pictures below from our most recent media dine:

Fried Okra – A deep-fried Southern favorite. Fresh okra, chopped, breaded and fried to a crisp.

Redneck Egg Rolls – Loaded with Pulled Pork, homemade coleslaw and Pepper Jack cheese with a side of smokey Ranch dip.

Sonny’s Sampler – Pulled Pork, Sliced Brisket, 1/4 BBQ Chicken and Sweet & Smokey St. Louis Ribs, Potato Salad.

Sonny’s Steakburger – original Steakburger, topped with Cheddar, Swiss or American Cheese and served on a fresh toasted bun with a side of fries.

Be sure to check out a Sonny’s BBQ near you this month for some delicious classic barbecue, unbelievable Wayback Wednesday deals, and Mother’s Day and Memorial Day Weekend specials!

(Source credit: Sonny’s BBQ)

Sonny’s BBQ – Winter Park
3390 University Blvd, Winter Park, FL 32792
(407) 671-2002
http://sonnysbbq.com

 

Orlando’s new premier golf-entertainment destination has arrived!  Drive Shack – a three-story, indoor/outdoor all-weather golf-entertainment complex pairing the most advanced golf games and technology with good eats, cold drinks, and long drives is now opened in Lake Nona’s vibrant Sports and Performance District.  Drive Shack’s flagship location features 90 hitting bays with a 220-yard range, a full-service restaurant and bar, an outdoor lounge, three fully equipped meeting and event rooms for parties up to 1,000, and a complimentary game lounge with classic games like shuffleboard, skee-ball, basketball arcade and Pac-Man.

Orlando is home to the very first Drive Shack.  Additional locations are expected to open in Raleigh, N.C., Richmond, Va., West Palm Beach, Fla., Marietta, Ga., and New Orleans, La.

Below are some pictures from our media preview visit.  The brunch menu is available from 9am-11am on the weekdays, 9am-2pm on the weekends.

Deep-dish spinach quiche – spinach and Swiss cheese quiche in a rustic buttery crust

Skillet baked cinnamon buns – hot & fresh from the oven drizzled with icing

Loaded morning tots – crispy tater tots, melted cheddar cheese blend, bacon crumbles, and green onions topped with a sunny side up egg

Chocolate chip pancakes – fluffy pancakes sprinkled with chocolate chips, topped with whipped cream and strawberries, and served with maple syrup

Truffled tots

Grilled chicken breast slider – Swiss cheese, tomato, and lemon aioli

Classic all-beef slider – cheddar cheese, DS secret sauce, and a dill pickle

Complimentary game lounge

Outdoor bar

The meats flatbread – Italian-style, all-beef meatballs, chunky pork sausage, pepperoni, marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil

Maple bourbon bacon wings – delightfully sticky with a savory, sweet fin

Bavarian pretzel sticks – fresh from the oven sprinkled with crunchy salt, served with tangy honey mustard and rich pimento cheese dips

Gardender’s Cup & Bushwood Clubhouse

The veggies flatbread – red and green peppers, Kalamata olives, caramelized onions, and marinara sauce with mozzarella and ricotta cheeses

Mediterranean dips & veggies – Garlic hummus and tzatziki dips with fresh-baked pita chips, crisp cucumber, bell pepper, and grape tomatoes

Stacked nachos – freshly made tortilla chips topped with melted cheese, black beans, pico de Gallo, sour cream, jalapeños, green onions, salsa, and guacamole

Mahi tacos – three grilled flour tortillas with blackened mahi-mahi, cider slaw, and cilantro lime aioli

Hole in one – cheddar cheeseburger loaded with crisp applewood-smoked bacon, a fried egg, shredded lettuce, and tomato, topped with our housemate bacon-tomato-onion jam and avocado mayo with French fri

Bucket of balls – Italian-style, all-beef meatballs in a zesty marinara sauce, served with toasted garlic bread and grated Parmesan cheese, and topped with fresh torn basil

Rocky road parfait – chocolate pudding layered with toasted marshmallow, chocolate cookie crumbles, and salted peanuts topped with chocolate sauce 

Strawberry shortcake parfait – shortcake layered with fresh strawberries and whipped cream

Salted butterscotch parfait – salted butterscotch pudding with gingersnap cookie crumbles, layered with whipped cream and caramel sauce

Churros – hot and crispy then dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with a warm chocolate sauce

Be sure to check out the new Drive Shack – Lake Nona soon!  It’s so much fun!

(Source credit: Drive Shack)

Drive Shack – Lake Nona
7285 Corner Dr, Orlando, FL 32827
driveshack.com
(407) 553-8820

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The most popular and most requested burger, Drunken Monk – Angry Orchard onion jam, roasted cherry tomatoes, smoked bacon, herb mayo, provolone cheese & Teak chips topped with melted white cheddar cheese served on a pretzel bun.  It was fresh and savory.  Whenever I order burgers I never eat the entire bun but I ate both pretzel buns on the Drunken Monk and I was craving for more.

We were invited to check out the new Teak Neighborhood Grill – Maitland in the Village at Lake Lily and as soon as we arrived we were immediately impressed with how gorgeous the restaurant was, it is a certainly a great addition to the Maitland area. We chose to sit in the outdoor patio which was clean, crisp and overlooks the breathtaking Lake Lily nearby. The quality and presentation of our food was top notch. The service was friendly and attentive and management was knowledgeable and flawless. We highly recommend this new restaurant and we will be coming back to try the other dishes.

We ordered some of their popular menu items such as the Drunken Monk, Garlic Bistro Side Winders, Cedar Plank Scottish Salmon and The Ultimate Cronie for dessert and they did not disappoint.  Other popular dishes include: loaded peirogies, veggie burgers, flatbreads, and mussels.

They also have a secret burger menu called the “Underground Menu” which you need a password to obtain.  You can get the password (it changes every month) on their facebook page here.  Both menus has a combined total of 40 creative and delicious burgers.

Food & drink specials are available from open to close on Teak-uila Tuesdays and every Saturday and Sunday they offer a brunch menu.

The pet-friendly outdoor patio that overlooks Lake Lily.

Garlic Bistro Side Winders – with a side of marinara-based ketchup (Very tasty and addicting!  We could have eaten this all day!)

Caesar Salad

Cedar Plank Scottish Salmon – roasted garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus, lemon dill Buerre Blanc sauce. (Gluten-free and healthy!)

Scalloped Potatoes

The Ultimate Cronie – French doughnut deep fried then tossed with cinnamon-sugar topped with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce & powdered sugar. (Cronie burger also available!)

Be sure to check out the new Teak Neighborhood Grill – Maitland at the Village in Lake Lily soon!  You will love it!

Teak Neighborhood Grill
901 S Orlando Ave, Maitland, FL 32751
(407) 335-4835
http://teakorlando.com

We were invited to a media preview at the award-winning nightlife and entertainment destination on International Drive “Mango’s Tropical Café” to try the new à la carte menu prepared by Executive Chef Angel Ramirez and to watch their sensational live entertainment.  It was my first time at Mango’s Tropical Café and I cannot wait to go back.  Their venue is spacious, the food was great, and the performers were all amazingly talented.  It was the best dinner show that I have ever witness in my entire life!

One of the many private rooms at Mango’s Tropical Café.  The Voodoo Room was where our media preview event was hosted.

Mango’s Cuban Sandwich – Slow roasted pork, tender ham and Swiss cheese, served with fries and/or gourmet onion rings

Rosa Vieja Tacos – Three large soft tacos with their homemade all beef “Rosa Vieja”, shredded cabbage, tomato, red onion, sharp cheddar cheese and drizzled with a cilantro aioli.  Served with yellow rice, sour cream, salsa and guacamole

Pico de Gallo, guacamole and sour cream

Lobster Ravioli – Ravioli filled with lobster meat topped with Mango’s homemade creamy pink sauce, served with a fresh baked garlic roll

Prime rib sliders – Three Prime Rib sliders topped with caramelized onions and horseradish cream sauce, served with au jus for dipping

Chicken Parmigiana Sliders – Three sliders served on homemade garlic bread with marinara sauce for dipping

Mango’s Tropical Ceviche – Tender fish ceviche in fresh lime juice, served with chips

Wild Mushroom Pizza – Sautéed portobello and button mushrooms in garlic, olive oil and rosemary, topped with caramelized onions and mozzarella cheese

Mango’s Chicken “al Ajillo” – Tender chicken strips sautéed in a garlic, white wine and lemon sauce, served with white rice, black beans and maduros

Tradional New York Style Pizza – Classic thin crust pizza with mozzarella cheese and our homemade marinara sauce

Caribbean Creole Chicken – Tender chicken breast sautéed in a garlic, onions, peppers, tomato, cilantro, white wine, paprika and lemon, served with white rice, black beans and maduros

Brett’s Southwestern BBQ Burgers – Topped with sharp cheddar cheese, Applewood smoked bacon and gourmet onion rings, topped with Mango’s homemade BBQ sauce and your choice of French fries of gourmet onion rings

Passion Fruit Mojito

Coconut Mojito

Mango Mojito

The upstairs bar

Celia Cruz experience

Michael Jackson Tribute performance

Be sure to check out Mango’s Tropical Café soon for the new à la carte menu and amazing live entertainment!

Mango’s Tropical Café
8126 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819
http://mangos.com/orlando
(407) 673-4422

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

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

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Pinch Factory, Miami’s own born and bred fast casual success story, announces the opening of its first franchise store in Dr. Phillips on Friday, March 31st. This marks the first in the Orlando, FL area.

Co-owner Nedal Ahmad launched the original Pincho Factory in 2010 with his partners/cousins Otto Othman and Nizam Ahmad with only $6.27 in their bank account.

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With the balance of $6.27, they decided to have their own brew of 627 Ale locally brewed by Lynwood Brewery in Miami and is offered on tap in Orlando, FL as well as the other locations of Pincho Factory.

This craft has notes of citrus thanks to the key lime and coriander used during its brewing. This beer can be paired easily with many dishes at Pincho Orlando.

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Pincho entrees are cooked to order with all natural ingredients that are antibiotic and hormone free. You will start with a base: pita wrap, sandwich, rice bowl, or salad. Top it with a pincho: chicken, steak or shrimp. Then pick a style of how it is made.

The chicken was a tad dry, so make sure you have a bit of citrus to make it juicy for every bite.

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If you are not in the mood for big meal and would like an appetizer made up of only a protein item, try some single pinchos. Single pinchos can either be chicken, steak or shrimp served on a skewer with a dipping sauce on the side.

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The Chicken Pincho was very tender and juicy.

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The Steak Pincho was a tad dry and gamey due to being overly well done. It may give an impression of being lamb to some; however, don’t be fooled because it is beef.

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The Pincho Burger consist of beef that is certified humanely raised and handled from a select 250 US family farms. It is topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, potato sticks, and a secret pink sauce.

Make sure to mention that you would like it medium or medium rare for the best flavors. If not, it may come out too dry for your liking.

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The Toston Burger is very dense because it uses 2 fried plantains as the “buns” before topped with jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and homemade cilantro sauce. The cilantro sauce is delicious on its own and pulls this burger together.

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The Egg’in Burger is topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro sauce, and a fried egg. It is delicious as the juices of the burger joins with the yolk of the egg to create a dance of flavors and textures on your tongue.

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The Cartel Dog, like other dogs at Pincho Factory, is made with 100% kosher beef. It consists of chopped bacon, cheddar cheese, mango sauce, potato sticks and a secret pink sauce.

This was one of my favorite dishes at Pincho Factory besides the Toston Burger and Egg’in Burger. The beef had wonderful flavors and the texture was just how I like it.

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The classic fries and sweet potato tots are some from Pincho Factory voted as #1 fries in South Florida by Channel 10 viewers. The sweet potato tots at Pincho Factory are some of the best I have had in Florida. They are sweet, creamy and delicious for a cheat day for those who don’t fancy fried foods.

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Cajun Fries consists of fries that are the same as the classic fries, but topped with grilled onions, cajun seasoning, and a secret pink sauce. Cajun fries are my favorite fries, but I am not sure if these are my favorite. Sometimes, simplicity truly goes far. However, this is a great item to share with friends after a few drinks.

This opening week will consist of Pincho Moments on Instagram. Diners will be asked to post their favorite Pincho moment eating any signature item with the hashtag #PinchoOrlando.

Each day, one winner will be selected and have their post featured on the company’s digital billboard located at 7600 Dr. Phillips Boulevard. Winners will also receive a Pincho swag bag complete with an owner’s card (aka black card) which offers 50% off each visit at any Pincho Factory location for one year.

Pincho Factory is located at

7600 Dr. Phillips Boulevard, Suite 102, Orlando, FL.

Telephone: (407) 745-4462.

Complimentary parking available.

http://pinchofactory.com/

 

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McDonald’s is in the midst of a great reinvention and change. It recently reported its worst same-store sales decline in more than a decade. For the first time since the 1970s, McDonald’s may be closing some of its stores.

Changing tastes, greater emphasis on local, natural, foods, and the encroachment of new competitors such as Shake Shack and Chipotle have all slowly chipped away McDonald’s marketshare. The fast casual segment has slowly become more prominent as customers shy away from “fast food.”

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Folks want to eat healthier, delicious tasting food – pretty much the opposite of the traditional thought of greasy, so called mystery meat fast food.

Nonetheless, McDonald’s is still the worldwide leader in sales and will continue to dominate despite slowing sales.

Locally in Central Florida, the restaurant recently unveiled their new “Create Your Taste” program – a build your own burger concept within existing McDonald’s that allow customers to customize their own burgers with custom toppings, artisan bread buns, and meat from a giant electronic touchscreen kiosk. A giant touch screen? all the options I’d want to get? custom to me? It’s a millenial’s dream.

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It’s available now at the UCF location as well as another store in Lake Mary with more on the way. We were recently invited to test out the new system – here is a run down of how things went.

You walk up and put in your order at the giant ipad-like kiosk screen. So many choices – death by choices? It can get confusing at times with all the different options if you don’t have someone to help guide you through the first time.

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After choosing your ingredients, toppings, meat type, and bun style (butter toasted ciabatta or artisanal bun), the order is sent back to a special area of the restaurant where the burgers are made to order.

After it’s ready, the order is sent to your table by an employee in quite a nice presentation – burger wrapped in special paper, fries in a fancy, little mini fryer basket. Note, you can only order it inside the restaurant and not in the drive thru, where many McDonald’s do 70% of their business.

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The burger is actually quite good – the bun is soft, but not too spongy, and quite tasty – as are the meats and ingredients. It may be the best burger I’ve had at McDonald’s in a long time. But it does come at a price, around $2.50 more than your regular burgers, more or less depending on what your toppings and ingredients are. My sirloin burger with bacon meal with medium fries and dasani water came out to $8.50 – comparable to pricing to some of the craft burger places out there, but actually on par to taste as well. For comparison, a Big Mac meal comes out to $6.00.

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Customization is a new and possibly daunting task for such a large corporation accustomed to value meals and preset menu items. Though the price is much higher than their value menu items, it may help draw in that coveted youth demographic that have slowly begun to explore new restaurants using their new apps like yelp and posting photos of their meal on instagram and other social media. Will they be posting custom McDonald’s Create Your Taste burgers soon?

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There are so many burger places in the area now by UCF, each with pricing about the same as McDonald’s – some do it better, some do it worse. If McDonald’s can keep up the quality, keep prices in check, I’d definitely come by again for a custom burger.

The future of McDonald’s is here.

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Photo courtesy of Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs
Photo courtesy of Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs

Shake Shack opened it’s second location in Orlando last week, located on International Drive in the I-360 plaza.

Shake Shack – if you might not have known – is a New York based food chain started in 2004 who prides themselves in serving the highest quality burger, brews, and shakes in a great atmosphere and with the busy individual in mind.

As part of their grand opening we were invited to their special Friends and Family practice which allowed us to try numerous of their menu item combinations.

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First on the menu was the SmokeShack burger, a succulent and hearty burger topped with lettuce, tomatoes, all natural apple-wood smoked bacon and cherry pepper. This burger was delicious, most noted however is the crispiness of  the bacon which complimented the 100% Angus beef that Shake Shack prides itself with.

To wash that down we had some of their delicious peanut butter shake. Now, personally, I do not enjoy shakes due to my lactose intolerance and personal taste, however it is to note that I particularly enjoyed this shake as it wasn’t comparable to drinking a tub of peanut butter commonly found in items whose main ingredient consist of peanut butter and didn’t leave me regretting ever drinking any milk product later that night.

Selection of House Drafts and Wine
Selection of House Drafts and Wine

Shake Shack also offers Beer brewed by Brooklyn Brewing Co. created specifically for Shake Shack, and wine made by Frog’s Loop in Napa Valley made especially for them as well.

This day we tried their Shackmeister Ale – an American Pale Ale with a nice body and bold flavors.

Typically when a restaurant offers their own line of beer I get skeptical as I find them on the same quality of typical “tailgate beers” such as Natural or Bud Light, however, I was surprised to find how great the Shackmeister Ale complimented the burger well. And nothing is more American in my opinion than a burger with a brew…but then again everything is good with good beer.

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Our experience at Shake Shack was great, their staff was very friendly and explained to us everything, as well as the service being superbly fast given the sheer number of people overwhelming the store on opening day.

With an excellent selection of amazing food I would recommend stopping by this location if you happen to be there whether it be at the convention center or seeing the Orlando Eye.

Fun fact, Shake Shack allows dogs and offers dog biscuits your dog would love, so the next time you stop by at one of your locations remember you can bring your favorite furry friend as well!

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Shuffleboard Table

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Photo courtesy of Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs
Photo courtesy of Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs
Photo courtesy of Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs
Photo courtesy of Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs

Shake Shack – I- Drive 360

8359 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819

(407) 205-0362

https://www.shakeshack.com/tag/i-drive/

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Spice Burgr recently took over for the space at the downtown Orlando Plaza that once belonged to grilled cheese sandwich shop Meltz. If the name “Spice” rings a bell, it’s because the owners of Spice Burgr are the same as the owners of nearby Spice Modern Steakhouse at Lake Eola.

It’s a counter service restaurant – order at the counter and the order is delivered to you when ready. I guess it’s the next evolution of the fast food restaurant with better ingredients. The decor is anonymous – minimal and white – and rather forgetful. The staff was friendly enough, but at times they appeared a bit lost and unsure about who ordered what when the orders became ready.

I ordered the Traditional – always a good base to start off with, I supposed. It was all right, juicy and slightly flavorful but nothing to denote any memorable “spice” moment. The fries came out hot, but needed a little salt. It was $5.95. I’d have to go back to try their other burger varieties and choices like the California Spice burger – topped with lettuce, tomatoes, sliced avocado, pico, cheese, “Burgr sauce” on a buttered bun and a side of fries. There is also a Burger of the Month, or BOM, that changes monthly.

Overall, Spice Burgr just did not leave much of an impression – spicy or otherwise – on me.

Spice Burgr - One of Many, Many new burger joints in Orlando
Spice Burgr – One of Many, Many new burger joints in Orlando
The decor - modern, sleek, boring
The decor – modern, sleek, boring
The Traditional Burgr
The Traditional Burgr

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Spice Burgr on Urbanspoon

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Teak Neighborhood Grill looks like your average every day American neighborhood pub or bar with a nice list of beers and cocktails, sticky wooden floors, bright neon liquor signs and flat screen TVs, and probably not much else when it comes to food.

But you’d be overlooking one special thing about Teak if you thought that – their surprisingly good list of special, jaw-droppingly delicious half pound Angus beef burgers.

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Burgers featured on the list include the mountainous Drunken Monk ($12), a burger topped with Angry Orchard onion jam, roasted cherry tomatoes, smoked bacon, herb mayo, provolone cheese & Teak chips topped with melted white cheddar cheese served on pretzel bun.

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Truly adventurous (read: masochistic) eaters can go for THE CHALLENGE ($40) – 2 full pounds of Angus beef, 9 slices American cheese, 9 slices Swiss cheese, 9 slices provolone cheese, 24 slices smoked bacon, 2 fresh fried mozzarella rounds, 4 beer battered onion rings, tomatoes, lettuce, Danny’s beanless chili, cheddar cheese sauce & sliced jalapenos…enough to possibly make even Man Vs. Food’s Adam Richman wary.

I had the PB&J burger on this particular visit, a burger topped with almond butter, peanut butter, orange marmalade, crispy potato strings, and provolone cheese on toasted pretzel bun. The burger was ooey-gooey and fun to eat, with just the right amount of sweetness from the orange marmalade, though the peanut butter could have been smoother.

One area of improvement recommended – service, which was rather brusque and inattentive, with long periods of waiting for both our food and our drink refills, but this could easily be remedied with some training or oversight.

The food makes it worth visiting, though, and everyone in our party enjoyed their hearty, delicious burgers.

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PB&J 11 – almond butter & peanut butter, orange marmalade, crispy potato strings & provolone cheese on toasted pretzel bun

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Engine Oil 11 – sautéed peppers & onions, imperial stout glaze, over easy egg, Swiss cheese & crispy potato strings served on pretzel bun

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Children of the Corn 11 – smoked Gouda, tomato & smoked bacon mayo topped with creamed corn & crispy potato strings on pretzel bun

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Teak Neighborhood Grill on Urbanspoon

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.

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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

I had the honor of attending the opening of one of the newest and most innovative restaurants here in Central Florida, Cowfish at Universal City Walk. Cowfish offers both burgers AND sushi, two very different ends of the food spectrum. However, they managed to harmoniously fuse these two foods together and form a very inventive food concept- Burgushi.

DSC00029_Fotor           The night began when the elevator doors opened and we were immediately greeted with friendly faces and even friendlier cocktails. I made my first choice with the Ruby Panther (9.5): it is as dangerous as it sounds. It did not possess any hints of alcohol, only the sweetness and slight tang of raspberries and lemonade. Another drink that stood out to me was the Bees Knees (9.5), the gin was mellow and citrusy but then you get a sweet note from the honey sitting at the bottom. It was also topped with a charming honeycomb stick.DSC00085_FotorAlthough, I believe the crowd favorite would be Buffalos and Bacon (11). The bourbon drink featured a specialty ice that melts slower than regular ice cubes due to its design and composition, allowing you time to savor the drink while snacking on the candied bacon that comes with it. Soon after, I was introduced to the Thundering Herd Bison Burger (15), which had sharp cheddar and a light kick from the chipotle aioli but calmed with a fresh avocado salsa. The burger was not over seasoned which let the true flavors of the beef come through. In a brief moment, I was caught in a whirlwind of flavors from all the dishes that were offered on the table.

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The Blackened Tuna Nachos (13) appetizer was probably my favorite. A rare seared blackened yellow fin tuna sat on top of a smooth avocado salsa and held together on a crispy wonton chip, garnished with microgreens. The “Prime Time” Filet & Lobster Roll (23) had fresh lobster, crisp cucumbers, pan-fried mushrooms that was accompanied by an incredibly tender rare seared filet mignon.

I also had samples of the salmon nigiri; the taste was clean and refreshing and not at all gritty like how some sushi would get from being kept in the freezer. The Taste Explosion roll (15) had juicy Angus beef topped with Roma tomato and pepper jack cheese and baked to a creamy sensation.

Aside from the scrumptious foods, the staffs at Cowfish were exceptionally helpful and welcoming. I’ve been a server at multiple restaurants for a couple of years now and it had opened me up to appreciate great service. Everyone was available to answer questions, take requests, and check up on you, which made the night all very comfortable for my friend and I.

I also had the opportunity to converse with the founders of Cowfish, Marcus Hall and Alan Springate. I saw how passionate and caring they are towards the guests who visit their restaurants. Not only were they open to discuss their creations, they were super fun and engaging- much like Cowfish. On a side note, be on the lookout for a new roll! Thanksgiving dinner will have a new whole meaning.DSC00094

Before I had a chance to taste any of this, I have to admit I was skeptical of the whole “Burgushi” idea, but after eating and enjoying every bite, I’ve come to understand that it is its own thing.

Overall, my night at Cowfish was unbelievable! The entire ambience of the opening was lively and well fitted into the theatrics of Universal City Walk. You can definitely enjoy a night of casual dinning while being offered exceptional quality and service.

6000 Universal Boulevard
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 224-2275

 

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  • Cowfish Tank
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  • Salmon Nigiri salmon

The Cowfish on Urbanspoon

From Atlanta, Georgia to Orlando, Florida comes a classic American tavern fare called Marlow’s Tavern. At Marlow’s Tavern, there are a large number of dishes and cocktails updated each season. On that note, the neighborhood Taverns, in Winter Park and Pointe Orlando, are bringing back popular seasonal specials that we were lucky enough to have a few plates. Every ingredient comes in fresh 6 days a week and bread comes in 7 days a week because Marlow’s Tavern does not consist of a freezer besides a small one for ice cream and chocolate chips as well as to keep the food fresh for that day.

As executive chef and co-founder of Marlow’s Tavern John C. Metz said, “there is something about these hearty dishes that we all start craving in the fall.” With that, Marlow’s Tavern brings us a Ribs & Whiskey menu that offers an assortment of sweet and tangy dishes. The Ribs & Whiskey menu is available at the Winter Park and Pointe Orlando locations Tuesday, September 23 through Monday, October 27. From the starters to entrees and sides to desserts, Marlow’s Tavern aims to please and each guest craves each item after experiencing it for the first time.

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To begin with, we shared a few starters that included J.T.’s Kettle Chips, which were crispy potato chips crowned with Gorgonzola cheese, bacon, Roma tomato and scallions. Eating this was like eating nachos where parts of the chips would be crunchy, while other parts in the cheese are a bit softer, but nonetheless packed with flavor. In my opinion, I like the softer chips, but I don’t fancy getting my fingers dirty…yet, that’ll give me an excuse to lick my fingers after eating J.T.’s Kettle Chips. Remind me to thank J.T. for his contribution of this delicious snack to the Marlow’s Tavern menu.

I recommend having a plate of J.T.’s Kettle Chips with your friends and having a glass of SweetWater Whiplash GA BAV 6.2%, which is also on this special Ribs & Whiskey menu. SweetWater Whiplash GA ABV 6.2% is an American style Belgian IPA, with a subtle flavor in combination with citrusy, piney hops, well balanced with tart, dry finish. Sweetwater originates in Atlanta, Georgia and is considered to be a neighborhood tap. At all times, Marlow’s Tavern will have at least two neighborhood taps on hand.

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Besides the SweetWater Whiplash, A Kick From Ginger can also be a nice drink to have with the chips…or anything on the menu, for that matter. A Kick From Ginger contains the original Kentucky bourbon, Old Forrester, along the original Atlanta ginger ale, Red Rock. This is a nice drink to sip on after a long day while kicking your feet up…as long as your feet are not on the bar counter.

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For instance, order yourself a Shrimp & Crab “Nacho” Plate along with A Kick From Ginger and you’ll know what I’m talking about. This starter consists of rock shrimp, crab, Pepper Jack cheese, and fresh jalapeño. Each bite will make the rainy days a little bit brighter. Please note that because the jalapeños used are fresh, it will have a spicy note to every bite.

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The Daily Smoke-House Flatbread offers slow-roasted pulled pork, basted with our secret sauces and the best ingredients the farm has to offer, served on brioche. This flatbread brought a welcomed surprise taste of sweetness that is refreshing and light to eat. Packed with ingredients fresh and delicious that’ll keep you wanting more and more.

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With the flatbread, I indulged in a Georgia Peach Lemonade that consists of Minute Maid Lemonade, peach nectar, Jack Daniel’s Honey whiskey, and a frozen peach. This drink is cute, tasty and refreshing as long as you remember to mix thoroughly as the alcohol may settle at the bottom.

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When lemonade isn’t on the mind, R&W S’weet Tea is another possibility. It is made up of Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka, fresh lemon, agave nectar, topped with a shot of Shock Top beer, and a kick of orange.

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After the starters, the entrees were now making their way to the table. A Pig With Buns is a slow-roasted pulled pork with Jack Daniel’s® Honey Glaze, House-Made Pimento cheese, dill pickles, and crispy tobacco onions on a buttery onion roll with a side of Granny Smith Apple Cabbage Slaw. Eat with caution, as an experience of explosive flavors will take place with plenty of textures in each bite from the crispy tobacco onions to the tender pulled pork.

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Marlow’s Ribs & Whiskey Hookup is a feast with: slow-cooked Smithfield James River ribs and drunken chicken with Granny Smith apple-cabbage slaw, Southern fried mac and pimento cheese and house-made sweet corn and jalapeño muffins. This plate consists of a bit of everything from the Ribs & Whiskey menu and is made to share. The Drunken Chicken is very lean and isn’t overpowered by too much flavor. This can be eaten on it’s own if ordered that way, but it can also go well with a salad.

The Granny Smith apple-cabbage slaw is very unique to the taste and will grow on you like the House-made Sweet Corn and Jalapeño muffins. Although it may be assumed that the muffins will be sweet according to its name, but it also has a hint of cinnamon to it. At Marlow’s Tavern, these muffins are very moist and delectable.

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The slow-cooked Smithfield James River ribs are made St. Louis style and are “finger lickin’ good”. They come with a choice of favorite barbecue sauce, including Jack Daniel’s glaze, Hoisin barbecue and Marlow’s chipotle barbecue. Each was great, but the Jack Daniel’s glaze came out on top in my book along with Marlow’s chipotle barbecue! These ribs are served with each side listed in the hookup. You’ll want to try the Southern fried mac and Pimento cheese. Along with the other sides, this is a blast to the South in every bite.

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Last, but not least is the Bourbon Bread Pudding, which is a Crème-brulee-soaked Cuban, vanilla bean and a splash of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee honey whiskey for sippin’. Unlike other bread puddings you may have tried, Marlow’s Tavern Bourbon Bread Pudding isn’t soggy! It comes out warm with a scoop of cold, delicious vanilla bean ice cream on top. To fully experience this dish, a little of the bread pudding and the ice cream should be on each spoon. If the bread pudding is eaten without the cold ice cream, it may be too sweet to the palate.

For casual to formal special occasions, social gatherings, and corporate events, just say “Meet Me at Marlow’s” to enjoy great food and beverage with world-class hospitality in a relaxed and welcoming environment. To book your group dining experience, contact Annette Medina at 407.741.3215 or amedina@marlowstavern.com.

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Orlando finally has a Shake Shack to call its own – the New York based burger joint created by legendary restauranteur Danny Meyer will open this Wednesday July 30th 2014 at 119 North Orlando Avenue at the intersection of West Morse Boulevard in the Orlando suburb of Winter Park. Locals may know it as the “Trader Joe’s Plaza,” familiar with the parking issues that already exacerbate the trip to the area.

But despite the parking issues, the trip is so worth it, and here is why:

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1. The Original Shackburger – Ok, maybe this might not be so surprising, but this juicy, flavorful burger is one of the best in town in a very crowded field, and despite its small stature, the burger packs a lot of satisfying punch. As a burger traditionalist, nothing beats a good quality burger patty topped with cheese, tomato, and lettuce. The bun is a bit soft for me, but altogether the burger is definitely a heavy hitter among the many burger contenders in Central Florida. Note, the fries here are the crinkle cut, rather than hand cut fries available else where. They tasted fresh and crispy.

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ShackBurger – Cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce

 2. The SmokeStack Burger – Spicy bacon? yes please – The SmokeShack is a Cheeseburger topped with all-natural applewood smoked bacon, slightly sweet and surprisingly spicy chopped cherry pepper and ShackSauce.

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SmokeShack – Cheeseburger topped with all-natural applewood smoked bacon, chopped cherry pepper and ShackSauce

3. Something really delicious for our vegetarian friends – the ‘Shroom Burger – no, Shake Shack isn’t serving up those frozen soy tofu burgers you see at all the other burger joints. This ‘Shroom burger is house fried battered portobello mushroom filled with oozing, melted muenster and cheddar cheeses, topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce – it pleasantly holds its own on the menu and is definitely a highlight amid the meatier burger menu.

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‘Shroom burger is house fried battered portobello mushroom filled with oozing, melted muenster and cheddar cheeses, topped with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce

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4. A Local Flair with Audubon Park’s P is for Pie Bake Shop in their “Concretes” – Little known fact about this Winter Park location of Shake Shack – they are using local Audubon Park bake shop P is for Pie’s Key Lime Pie for their Key Lime Pie Oh My Concrete vanilla custard dessert – a very nice local touch. See the full menu here

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Another sweet local touch – Shake Shack in Winter Park will also donate 5% of sales from the Winter’s Wonderland concrete to the local non-profit BASE Camp Children’s Cancer Foundation, a local non-profit that provides year-round support for children and families in Orlando and Central Florida who are facing cancer and other hematological illnesses.

5. Stunning Hidden Lake Views at Shake Shack in Winter Park – It’s not just for the particularly good burgers – juicy, flavorful, tender on a soft bread bun – but also a great reason to visit is to see the stunning sunset views over Lake Killarney. Really lovely, beautiful place to have a burger and a shake or a “concrete” frozen custard ice cream, and kick back and relax in Central Florida.

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Bonus: you can even play ping pong back here on the Shake Shack branded table tennis area while you enjoy your burgers and shakes in the patio on Lake Killarney.
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PRESS RELEASE: SHAKE SHACK TO OPEN FIRST-EVER ORLANDO, FLORIDA, LOCATION ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 30TH

Beloved Burger, Hot Dog and Frozen Custard Stand Parks it in Winter Park

NEW YORK, NY – July 29, 2014 – It’s a Shack world after all! Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) is proud to announce it will open its fourth Shake Shack® in Florida on Wednesday, July 30th, at 11:00AM.

The newest addition to the Shack family is located at 119 North Orlando Avenue at the intersection of West Morse Boulevard in the Orlando suburb of Winter Park.

Established in 2004 in New York City’s Madison Square Park, Shake Shack is a critically acclaimed, modern day “roadside” burger stand known for its 100% all-natural Angus beef burgers, griddled-crisp flat-top dogs, fresh-made frozen custard, craft beer and wine, and much more. A fun and lively community gathering spot with widespread appeal, over the past decade Shake Shack has earned a cult-like following in Florida and around the world.

“We opened our first Florida Shake Shack in Miami Beach four years ago. We’ve had our eye on Central Florida for some time, and we’re thrilled to finally be a part of this community and further our commitment to the state,” said Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti. “Being located alongside Lake Killarney is ideal, and we look forward to having locals and visitors alike join us for a ShackBurger on our outdoor patio space complete with fire pit, lounge chairs, and even a ping-pong table.”

Like its Sunshine State predecessors in Miami Beach, Coral Gables and Boca Raton, Winter Park’s menu will feature all the Shake Shack classics, plus a selection of delectable frozen custard concretes to satisfy those sweet tooth cravings.

Exclusive to the Winter Park Shack is Winter’s Wonderland (vanilla frozen custard, marshmallow sauce and crispy crunchies). A long-time fan favorite that originated at Shake Shack’s flagship location in NYC will also be offered, the Shack Attack® (chocolate frozen custard, fudge sauce, chocolate truffle cookie dough and Mast Brothers Shake Shack dark chocolate chunks, topped with chocolate sprinkles). Last but certainly not least, is a beloved classic from the Miami Beach Shack that will now be served in Winter Park as well, the Key Lime Pie Oh My (vanilla frozen custard blended with a slice of key lime pie from Orlando’s own P is for Pie Bake Shop).

As part of its community outreach efforts and mission to Stand for Something Good®, the Winter Park Shake Shack will donate 5% of sales from the Winter’s Wonderland concrete to BASE Camp Children’s Cancer Foundation, a local non-profit that provides year-round support for children and families in Orlando and Central Florida who are facing cancer and other hematological illnesses. Learn more at www.basecamp.org.

In keeping with Shake Shack’s eco-friendly mindset and commitment to green architecture, the interior walls of the Winter Park Shack are clad in once lost century-old lumber that was recently salvaged from Northern Florida’s Suwannee River. The Shack also features energy-efficient kitchen equipment and lighting. Chairs and booths are made from lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, and tabletops are made from reclaimed bowling alley lanes. To keep guests virtually connected, free Wi-Fi is available.

For more information, including a list of all current Shake Shack locations, please visit www.shakeshack.com.

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Chicken Dog – Shake Shack chicken, apple and sage sausage

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Chocolate Shake

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Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

Photos by Krystle Nguyen

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May marks the beginning of ‘cue season and it is also National Hamburger Month! Margaritaville is celebrating with three limited-time-only specialty burgers inspired by the different regions of the Americas.

One of the most celebrated holidays at Margaritaville®, National Hamburger Month returns to honor a true American icon—the hamburger. Starting May 1 through May 31, Margaritaville Orlando, along with locations across the country from the Bayou to Baja, will celebrate with specialty burgers that pay homage to regions of the Americas. Margaritaville will also pay tribute to its signature burger “Cheeseburger in Paradise” that has been served with a side of fun for almost 30 years.

To prepare for the month-long celebration, Margaritaville® connected with thousands of fans spanning the country, encouraging them to share their version of the perfect hamburger. The burger components surveyed ranged from the preferred type of patty to toppings, condiments, buns and sides. Out of more than 17,000 respondents, almost 82 percent of those surveyed preferred beef to turkey or vegetarian patties. An astounding 93 percent voted cheese as the number one topping, with cheddar as the favorite. Lettuce, tomato, bacon and pickles also got top votes. Ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard were the most popular condiments with barbecue sauce and Heinz 57 coming in fourth and fifth place. Naturally, the favorite side item was French fried potatoes with 77 percent of the respondents opting for a big kosher pickle and 53 percent choosing a cold draft beer as their beverage of choice to enjoy with their burger.

All burgers can be substituted with veggie or turkey patties and are available with gluten-free buns. Burgers are served with a choice of French fries, sweet potato fries or mixed green salad.

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MARGARITA FLIGHT: Who’s to Blame, Blueberry Pomegranate, Last Mango In Paris, and Fins to the Left
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VOLCANO NACHOS: House-made tortilla chips topped with chili, cheese, fresh guacamole, sour cream, jalapeños, tomatoes and scallions
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“DRUNKEN” SHRIMP SKILLET: Sautéed with tequila key lime butter, roasted garlic and peppers, with a mini baguette for dipping
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GRILLED SHRIMP SKEWER: Jerk-glazed shrimp dusted with sugared coconut served with pineapple
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BAYOU BURGER: Seasoned with Cajun spices, topped with caramelized onions, grilled andouille bacon, lettuce, tomato and Cajun remoulade sauce on a toasted brioche bun
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BAJA BURGER: Topped with carne asada, Oaxaca & Monterey jack cheese, avocado, pico de gallo, key lime crema and shredded lettuce on a toasted brioche bun
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LANDSHARK LAGER FISH & CHIPS: Hand dipped in our Landshark batter, fried and served with jalapeño tartar sauce, French fries and cilantro lime coleslaw
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CHOCOLATE HURRICANE: Vanilla bean ice cream served with brownies, Kit Kat and Heath bars, pirouette and mini shortbread cookies, sliced banana, whipped cream and chopped macadamia nuts. Swirled tableside with chocolate and caramel sauces.

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Wagyu Cheeseburger with Fried Egg and Crisp Onions

The Capital Grille, known for dry-aged steaks and award-winning wine list announces the introduction of new burger offerings for lunch.

The Capital Grille will be adding three new burgers to the lunch menu.

The new burgers, all wonderfully juicy and made with premium Wagyu beef, will be featured on the lunch menu along with The Grille’s Signature Cheeseburger, the Wagyu Cheeseburger with Fried Egg and Crisp Onions and Lobster and Crab Burger with House Tartar Sauce.

The new burger options, include:
-Kona Crusted Wagyu Burger with Shallot Mayo ($17)
-Wild Mushroom Wagyu Cheeseburger with 15-year Aged Balsamic ($18)
-Oscar-style Wagyu Burger with Jumbo Lump Crab and Bearnaise ($19)

All of the burgers will be served with a side of Parmesan Truffle Fries.

The menu is only available at the Millenia mall location for now, the newest Capital Grille in our area. The interior design here is much more modern and casual, rather than the usual club feel from other Capital Grilles, owing to the casual nature of mall shoppers and appealing to the younger crowd – hence the very prominent bar area and open air seating.

Happy National Burger Month, yall!

New burger menu
New burger menu
Wild Mushroom Wagyu Cheeseburger with 15-year Aged Balsamic ($18)
Wild Mushroom Wagyu Cheeseburger with 15-year Aged Balsamic ($18)
Wagyu Cheeseburger with Fried Egg and Crisp Onions
Wagyu Cheeseburger with Fried Egg and Crisp Onions
Oscar-style Wagyu Burger with Jumbo Lump Crab and Bearnaise ($19)
Oscar-style Wagyu Burger with Jumbo Lump Crab and Bearnaise ($19)
Kona Crusted Wagyu Burger with Shallot Mayo
Kona Crusted Wagyu Burger with Shallot Mayo

The Capital Grille at Mall at Millenia
4200 Conroy Rd, Orlando, FL 32839, United States
Phone:(407) 351-2210

The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon

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The restaurant has a soft opening starting this Thursday May 15, 2014 starting at 6 pm, and then regular hours with lunch every day after, and plans for a grand opening later in June. I dropped by with some friends on their friends and family run-through today and checked out the new digs. I left feeling quite impressed with the quality of burger being served here at Burger and Beer Joint and hope to return soon.

Quite the renovations have been made for the opening of the new Burger and Beer Joint, a Miami based restaurant with plans to expand to International Drive and other locations in Orlando.

Brick is layered inside the entrance ceiling creating the feeling of a tunnel, and an urban design is added to the bar area making it very inviting. You would never realize just a few years ago this place was the home to a Perkins, then a Chinese/Japanese buffet, and finally Culpepper’s before it.

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Burger and Beer Joint has a sports and rock ’n’ roll theme and of course lots of burgers and beers on the menu.

Their restaurant specializes in “massive burgers with a gourmet twist – You pick a beer, then pick a burger.”

Though the drink menu is a bit limited in terms of beer, they have some very nice options ranging from IPAs to lagers. I had a nice, smooth, lemony Shandy to go along with my burger on my visit.

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My friends had the HOTEL CALIFORNIA ($13.99) – a very filling, cooked to ordered medium 1/2 lb. Premium Black Angus beef burger topped with guacamole, grilled Vidalia onion, jalapeno relish, cilantro sour cream, sharp cheddar, and a sunny side up fried egg between two brioche buns, and served with skinny fries.

Hotel California burger
Hotel California burger

I ordered the THUNDER ROAD ($13.99), a more standard burger (think of it as a very good, bacon cheeseburger) made with 1/2 lb. Premium Black Angus beef, smoked Duroc pork belly bacon, American cheese, sesame bun, a side of BBQ sauce, and served with skinny fries. Overall, one of the best burgers in town, and reminiscent I think of the burgers found at Metrowest’s Teak Neighborhood Grill – huge, juicy, delicious burgers.

Thunder Road Burger
Thunder Road Burger
Scaffolding work still being done
Scaffolding work still being done

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For more info, visit: http://www.bnbjoint.com/menus/burgers

Burger and Beer Joint
11662 University Blvd
Orlando, FL 32817
(407) 381-1999
http://www.bnbjoint.com/

Burger & Beer Joint on Urbanspoon

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The 10 lb Monster Burger at Burger and Beer Joint

I ran by the new Burger and Beer Joint restaurant today, and it looks poised to open any day now, with a soft opening on May 15 and grand opening in June, according to the OBJ.

With thousands of UCF students nearby and Four Rivers Smokehouse recently open a few doors down and lines out the door almost every day, will University Boulevard become Orlando’s “Fast Casual” Restaurant Row?

Photo of Burger and Beer Joint on University taken May 5, 2014
Photo of Burger and Beer Joint on University taken May 5, 2014

The restaurant based out of Miami will open its doors this May 2014 after some finishing touches this month. It replaces Culpepper’s, a restaurant founded by nearby UCF alumni Daunte Culpepper, most famous for his time as the quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. That restaurant closed after just a few short months, and never really getting the footing needed in the very competitive and tight UCF market. The location previously was the home to Ichiban buffet for about a year before that, as well as Perkins for many years.

Burger and Beer Joint has a sports and rock ’n’ roll theme and of course lots of burgers and beers on the menu.

Their restaurant specializes in “massive burgers with a gourmet twist – You pick a beer, then pick a burger.”

This location will be the fourth in the company, and the first outside of South Florida.

Some highlights on the menu include the $125 ten-pound Mother Burger , the fried Twinkie with ice cream, fried zucchini sticks and adult milkshakes.

The Mother Burger consists of 10 lbs of Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime, served with lettuce, tomato, onion, and a pickle, the size of a manhole cover and sandwiched in a bun that resembles a couch cushion. If you finish it yourself within 2 hours, it’s free! Otherwise, share with your table.

They also offer light fare options including seafood, chicken and salads.

Looking at the menu, with many of their specialty burgers ranging in the $13.99 and up levels, it will be facing some stiff competition especially with that price point in an area where the dining crowds are mostly UCF students or nearby corporate industry employees.

Burger 21, Super Burger, Graffiti Junktion, and Junior’s Colombian Burger (taking over the spot for the briefly opened Pioneer Kitchen burger joint) are all open now in the area with BurgerFi opening soon as well with the new Plaza student apartment complex on University and Alafaya.

Photos below via Burger and Beer Joint Orlando

The 10 lb Monster Burger at Burger and Beer Joint
The 10 lb Monster Burger at Burger and Beer Joint
Burger and Beer Joint in Orlando
Burger and Beer Joint in Orlando
Burger and Beer Joint set to open May 2014
Burger and Beer Joint set to open May 2014
Burger and Beer Joint renovations - formerly Culpepper's
Burger and Beer Joint renovations – formerly Culpepper’s
Burger and Beer Joint renovations
Burger and Beer Joint renovations

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The Smiling Bison’s Chef / Owner Joshua Oakley has quite the resume – formerly a chef at The Ravenous Pig and the Enzian theater, he has brought his skills for making house made charcuterie, sausages, and meats to the menu here at The Smiling Bison.

Locals may remember this location on Bennett Road across from Roxy Nightclub as the former home of the wildly popular Redlight, Redlight Beer Parlour (which recently moved to larger digs on Corrine Dr in Audubon Park).

There have been some very nice upgrades to the interior, with the place appearing more like a nice home in suburbia rather than a hipster watering hole. Dark browns and woody colors give it a nice warm, autumn vibe – perfect for drinking some ale and enjoying the wonderful food coming out of The Smiling Bison’s kitchen.

One thing though I do wish was upgraded was the parking situation, which remains a bit limited and difficult to maneuver due to the odd location and sparse parking spots.

Nonetheless, it’s worth the trip and parking issues to travel to the Smiling Bison.

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The bar area at The Smiling Bison

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The menu at The Smiling Bison, which changes, of course, seasonally

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My dining companions and I start off with the Smoked Fish Dip – house smoked flounder caught along Cocoa Beach, pumpernickel toast from local Olde Hearth Bread Company. I enjoyed the subtle spices layered within the dip, but ultimately, I think it needs a little more of a kick.

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 Our second appetizer was much more of a crowd pleaser – the Crispy Pork Belly, cooked sous-vide style till buttery softness, and layered on top of creamed zellwood corn, smoked tomato, and onion jam. The pork belly  was tender, soft, and had the slight slippery texture that is often the result of the sous vide process – very delicious.

Sous-vide (French for “under vacuum”) is a method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath for longer than normal cooking times—72 hours in some cases—at an accurately regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 55 °C (131 °F) to 60 °C (140 °F) for meats and higher for vegetables. The intention is to cook the item evenly, and not to overcook the outside while still keeping the inside at the same “doneness”, keeping the food juicier.

Cooking meats sous-vide also breaks down the muscles and tissues into a gelatinous like texture and the pork belly could have used some finishing “crispy” texture to give the dish name its due.

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I ordered the WITBEER GLAZED HAM STEAK ($14) – house cured kurobota pork served with sweet potato fries and a house made dijonaisse. The hamsteak was fantastic, prepared sous-vide  as well, with such a tender, wonderful texture and sweet and savory flavors from the witbeer glaze. It’s interesting to note that the witbeer used tonight was provided by the local brewery at Cask and Larder. The house made sweet potato fries really shined as well – such an interesting crispy texture on the outside yet light and airy on the inside – totally unlike any other sweet potato fries I have ever tried before.

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WITBEER GLAZED HAM STEAK

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ROAST BEEF…$13
wagyu eye round, cheddar, horseradish,
pretzel kaiser, caraway

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DUCK LOVERS PIZZA…$16
Garlic puree, duck confit, duck ham, duck egg,
monterey cheese, pea tendrils

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SMILING BISON BURGER…$12
6 oz. natural bison, garlic aioli, mushroom ketchup,
smoked provolone, house bacon, texas toast

I sampled one of my dining companion’s Smiling Bison Burgers and thought it to be truly delicious – very flavorful, savory, juicy, cheesy, and all in all one of the best burgers I have tried in recent memory. Compliments to the crew at Smiling Bison!

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Overall, I came away very impressed by both the great service and the quality food at The Smiling Bison. I hope they continue to improve on their dishes and become one of the best restaurants in Orlando. They are well on their way.

The Smiling Bison Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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Photos by TastyChomps.com’s Krystle Nguyen

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Waltzing Matilda” is Australia’s most widely known bush ballad, a folk song that has been referred to as “the unofficial national anthem of Australia”. The title is Australian slang for traveling by foot with one’s goods (waltzing) with a “Matilda” (bag) slung over one’s back.

Matilda is a romantic term for a swagman’s bundle and I suppose Matilda’s on Park can be called a mixed bag of sorts.

The restaurant took over the spot on the north end of Park Avenue, across from Panera Bread, that has been a bit “cursed” as of late, with quite a few closings in the past few years. Maybe it’s the foot traffic in that area, or maybe it is the restaurant management – either way it’s a tough deck of cards that are dealt.

The decor is rather modern and swanky, though the flat screen TVs flanking the walls give the restaurant a decidedly more pub-like feel. I think that angle shows potential especially given the menu choices of so called “gourmet” mac and cheeses (they have over 7 types here including lobster mac) and burgers. If only the prices reflected those that you would expect at a pub-like establishment.  At $14 for Buffalo Mac and Cheese, I would expect more than a small bowl full, maybe a platter of mac and cheese for that price.

On a recent visit for brunch, my friends ordered the typical brunch items from breakfast croissant sandwiches to California eggs benedicts.

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As a nod to their “Aussie” theme, one of the burgers on the menu is the Roo burger ($14) made with real kangaroo meat, topped with cheese sauce, onion straws, on a toasted brioche bun. The kangaroo meat tasted slightly gamey, a little greasy for some reason, but savory and was cooked to the right temperature. Overall, not sure if I am a fan, but didn’t hate it – maybe I’ll have to give it another try. The fries that came with the burgers were also quite nice.

On this visit, it seemed oddly quiet for a Sunday morning at the restaurant, with nary another group dining during our time there. Maybe it’s time to do some promoting, as just a few doors down at another restaurant, the crowds were fully flowing. I thought the food at Matilda’s was better than that other place, but maybe it was the concept that throws people off. The theme and menu seem to need some clarity.

The food overall was good, but for some reason it just seemed like something was missing.

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Wasabi bloody mary – tomato juice with wasabi, montreal steak seasoned rim

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 Buffalo Mac and Cheese – pieces of chicken (a rather large piece that looked like fried tofu at first), cheddar, swiss, parmesan, with secret sauce $14

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California eggs benedict with avocado, egg, bacon, tomato

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 Shrimp and crab omelet – cheddar and gruyere cheese, crab, shrimp, with potatoes and wheat toast ($12)

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Breakfast croissant sandwich with ham, egg, cheese and side of home fries
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Roo burger ($14) – kangaroo meat, cheese sauce, onion straws, brioche bun

Matilda's on Park on Urbanspoon

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