Chicken

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

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

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

 

Grilled center cut filet – filet mignon, grilled and seasoned perfectly, fingerling potato, radish, sugar snap peas, charred scallion oil & roast shallot sauce. (MY FAVORITE!)

Marlow’s Tavern is a bar & grill chain offering American pub fare in a classic setting with sports playing on the televisions.  The menu at Marlow’s Tavern changes three times a year.   We were invited to check out the new spring/summer menu at Marlow’s Tavern – Waterford Lakes (near UCF) and we really enjoyed everything we ate.  The food was delicious and the service was very welcoming and accommodating.  I highly recommend checking out Marlow’s Tavern – Waterford Lakes for any occasion.

That’s Not Mai Tie – Cana brava rum, raspberry syrup, orgeat, Myers dark rum & fresh lime.

Firecracker shrimp – Szechuan tempura shrimp, red & poblano peppers, peanut, cracklin spicy sauce. It was amazing!

Pastrami egg roll – Montreal smoked pastrami, Napa cabbage, sautéed onions, carrot, smoked thousand island sauce in a crispy egg roll.

Chicken tortilla – prestige farms chicken, sliced thin, crisp field greens, avocado, tomato, carrot, cucumber, fresh cilantro, tortilla, honey lime vinaigrette. One of the best salads I’ve ever had!

Side of fried okra.

Chicken salad wrap – house-made curry chicken salad, romaine, broccoli slaw, golden raisin, fresh cilantro, grilled tortilla.

Marlow’s special of the day – Blackened mahi sandwich – served on a ciabatta bun with a jicama slaw and house made citrus aioli.  

Grilled Atlantic salmon – jumbo cous cous, broccoli, carrot, red onion, golden raisin, parsley, toasted almond & port wine reduction.

Seared jumbo scallops – simply seasoned & perfectly seared, roast jalapeño corn grits, Spanish chorizo, poblano, roma tomato, roasted tomato fondue, palsied olive oil.

N.Y. style cheesecake – classic creamy vanilla cheesecake, strawberry, powdered sugar and cinnamon crisp.

Thank you Executive Chef Matt Tolson for an amazing nine-course meal and superior hospitality!  We really enjoyed everything that we ate and thank you Laura Richeson for hosting us!

Be sure to check out Marlow’s Tavern – Waterford  Lakes soon to taste their new spring/summer menu,  it is delicious!

Marlow’s Tavern – Waterford Lakes
547 N. Alafaya Trail, Building J1, Orlando, FL 32828
(407) 757-0606
http://marlowstavern.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

Recognized as the region’s premier food and wine pairing event, the 26th Heart of Florida United Way Chef’s Gala at Walt Disney World Resort featured unlimited sampling of signature dishes prepared by 23 of Central Florida’s top chefs, along with thoughtfully paired fine wines.  The evening also included a sparking wine reception, live music and a silent auction filled with unique items and trips. 

This year they served over 460,000 individuals and raised a record-breaking $300,000+ towards the fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in Central Florida.  95 cents of every dollar raised is invested back into the community to fund critical programs.

Chef’s Gala – what a tasteful way to make a difference in the world!

All beverages were generously donated.

All silent auction items were generously donated.

Live performance by an amazing band

Flying Fish – Disney’s BoardWalk: Chef LT Majoras
Cool Water Lobster and Slow Poached Shrimp, Spring Melon, Hearts of Palm, Shaved Serrano and Cava Vinaigrette

SLATE: Chef Jacob Woolf
Smoked Brisket, Jalapeño Creamed Corn, Charred Scallion Vinaigrette and Annatto Oil

Artist Point – Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: Chef Michael Gonsalves
Sweet Maiz Soup – Dungeness Crab, Avocado, Spring Radish, Ramp Mole, Greens

Urban Tide – Hyatt Regency Orlando: Chef Chef Jared Gross
Plantain-Crusted Atlantic Cod, Roasted Red Beet and Crème Fraiche Mash, Kumquat Mostarda

Todd English’s bluezoo – Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort: Chef Jason Wiggin
Crispy Puffed Rice Shrimp, Wasabi Pommes Puree, Sweet Thai Chili

Shutters – Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort: Chef Mark Donovan
Caribbean Goat Curry with Fragrant Island Rice and Cilantro-Lime Crema

Hemisphere – Hyatt Regency Orlando: Chef Jeffrey Powell
Chilled California-Style White Fish Ceviche with House Fried Corn Chips

Ale & Compass Restaurant – Disney’s  Beach Club Resort: Chef David Hutnick
Slow Smoked Pork Tenderloin, Bacon Jam, Vermont Cheddar Grits, Barbecue Gastrique and Herb Salad

The Turf Club Bar and Grill – Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa: Chef Dan Marozzi
Pan Seared Salmon Slider – Seared Ora King Salmon, Horseradish Pickled Cucumber Slaw, on a Dill Gougère

blu on the avenue: Chef Tony Krueger
Hot Smoked Scottish Salmon, Dukkah Drop Biscuit, Bacon, Pickled Serrano, Aged Maple Syrup, Flowers

Morimoto Asia – Disney Springs: Chef Yuhi Fujinaga
Foie “PHO”, Kona Kanpachi, Shiso

Latitude and Longitude – Orlando World Center Marriott: Chef Kyle Anderson
Low-Country Perloo Carolina Gold Rice, Chicken Thighs, Andouille Sausage, Florida Rock Shrimp

The Hollywood Brown Derby – Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Chef Craig Schleider
Spicy Togarashi – Crusted Ahi Tuna, House-Made Kimchi, Bamboo Rice and Ginger-Soy Glaze

STK Orlando – Disney Springs: Chef Aaron Taylor
Goat’s Milk Ricotta with Crushed Peas, Mint and Charred Spring Onion

Jiko – The Cooking Place – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: Chef Eddie Mendoza
Mandazi

Jiko – The Cooking Place – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: Chef Eddie Mendoza
Isitambu – Zulu-Style Samp, Beans with Oxtail and Quail Egg

Tiffins – Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park: Chef Robby Sayles
Blanquette de Veau, Crispy Sweetbreads, Forest Mushroom Ragout and Charred Pearl Onion

Le Cellier Steakhouse – Epcot®: Chef Kevin Downing
Lamb Loin, Confit Marble Potatoes, Spring Vegetable Vinaigrette and Pinot Noir Syrup

Primo by Melissa Kelly – J.W. Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes: Chef Eric Santiago
House-Made Casarecche Pasta, Lake Meadows Duck Confit, Local Mushrooms, Ramp Pesto and Shaved Pecorino

Bull & Bear – Waldorf Astoria Orlando: Chef Richard Brown
Seared Shrimp Scampi with Pinot Grigio Butter, Black Venus Rice Risotto and Parmesan Cheese

Cinderella’s Royal Table – MAGIC KINGDOM Park: Chef Axel Martinez
Blood Orange Braised Beef Short Rib, Melted Leek and Kohlrabi Puree and Sweetie Drop Peppers

Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company: Roast Master Chris DeMezzo
Made-to-Order Specialty Coffees

Amorette’s Patisserie – Disney Springs: Pastry Chef Yoly Lazo Colon
Amorette’s Petite Signature Cake – Chocolate Chiffon, Raspberry Pate Fruit, Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Biscuit, Dark Chocolate and Cherry Mousse

Gideon’s Bakehouse: Owner Steve Lewis and Chef Nicole Beebe
Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie and Pistachio Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie

Epcot® Bakery Team: Pastry Chef Noah French
Meyer Lemon Tart with Mandarin Orange Jam

Beautiful and breathtaking fireworks are the perfect way to end an amazing night.  Be sure to check out this amazing event next year!

(Source credit: Chef’s Gala)

Chef’s Gala – Epcot Showplace
200 Epcot Center Dr, Orlando, FL 32821
(407) 939-5277
ChefsGala.org

Kevin Pabis, son of local food bloggers Richard and Irina Pabis (@celebritychef4u).

We were invited to Main Event Entertainment to eat, bowl, and play!  The food offerings were all delicious!  You have to try their Skillet Mac & Cheese which consists of cavatappi pasta, grilled chicken, applewood smoked bacon, creamy blend of melted cheeses, green onions topped with CHEEZ-IT crumbs.  CHEEZ-IT are one of my life-long favorite snacks.  Throw some of its crumbs on top of a loaded-baked chicken/bacon mac & cheese and you’re golden.

Tomato Caprese Skewers – served with balsamic drizzle (these were super popular at our table, a blogger’s son said that it was his favorite dish!)

Calamari – zesty marinara sauce and fresh shaved parmesan cheese

Chicken Quesadilla – grilled chicken, jack & cheddar cheese, chipotle mayo &fresh made pico de Gallo (this was my mom’s favorite dish!)

Roast Beef Dippers– shaved roast beef, horseradish mayo, lettuce, tomato, red onion served on buttery garlic knot bun

Italian Pesto Pizza – fresh basil, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, creamy basil pesto,feta, mozzarella & provolone cheese

Assorted Dessert Bars – lemon, raspberry rhapsody, pecan chocolate chip, & caramel, oatmeal

Cinnamon Sugar Donuts – with salted caramel and raspberry sauce

A variety of gelato.

Billards.

VIP bowling lanes.

Bar area with alcoholic beverage options.

Bowling alley.

A variety of arcade games.  Everyday deal:  1/2 price games 10pm to close.

Local food bloggers Ashelyn Vazquez (@orlandomag) with her guest, and Sean (@orlandofoodguys).

Samantha (@samantheah) & Mattia Joyce Castellano (@mattia_joyce) racing on the motorcycles

Carolina Grabova (@carolinagrabova) plays a racing game for her instagram story.

My favorite game at the arcade was their zombie-killing game in the first ever roam-free virtual reality room.  I don’t have a photo of it but I do have a video clip of it on my instagram (@bytiffanynguyen). Imagine a game that doesn’t feel like a game.  Where your body is the controller and your mind believes it’s real.  It was so realistic that other attendees were seriously spooked after they finished playing!  I enjoyed playing it though and I am looking forward to coming back and playing it again.  Be sure to check out Main Event Entertainment next time you are in the I-Drive area to experience the zombie-killing game for yourself!

(Source credit: Main Event Entertainment)

Main Event Entertainment – Pointe Orlando
9101 International Dr Suite 1032, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 352-3300
mainevent.com

*Secret Menu Item* The Mexican Pizza – A fried flour tortilla is topped with your choice of protein, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, tomato sauce, jalapeño and a drizzle of sour cream.  This was my favorite!

 

We were invited to Tijuana Flats near Millenia Mall to try items from their “Secret Menu” as well as some classic items.

Tijuana Flats was was founded in Winter Park, FL in 1995 by University of Central Florida graduate Brian Wheeler with $20,000 in loans.  Tijuana Flats now has 136 locations in 6 states.

The Tijuana Flats Manifesto is their Declaration of Independence, their Dead Sea Scrolls.   It’s everything they believe in expressed in a single stream of madcap consciousness.  You’ll find it displayed in every Tijuana Flats location.

Tijuana Flats’ regional manger, Joey.  He has been with the company for 19 years.  He is super nice.  To the right is our wonderful host, Sarah.

The store manager for their Millenia location, Mike.  He is a super cool guy!

The talented kitchen staff!  They did a great job with everyone’s food!

Chips & Dip – A basket of warm chips, with a side of handmade salsa, queso or guacamole.

*Secret Menu Item* The Double Stack tacos is available in chicken or steak.  Queso is spread across a soft flour tortilla then wrapped around a hard-shell taco – filled with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeño and sour cream.

*Secret Menu Item* The Bangin Chicken Tostadas – crispy fried chicken cubes tossed in a buffalo sauce with refried beans, tomatoes, cheese, and a drizzle of ranch.  Served with a side of salsa.

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

I won a free bottle of sweet chili hot sauce during trivia!

Founder Brian Wheeler created his own line of hot sauces.  The “Smack My Ass & Call Me Sally” brand includes some of the hottest sauces in the world.

Be sure to check out the Tijuana Flats location near the Mall at Millenia!  They did a wonderful job hosting us and providing great Tex-Mex food!

(Source credit: Tijuana Flats)

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

0 1606

I try not to cover national chains too much here too much, but once in a while a novel item appears in the wild and I am intrigued.

Recently, Domino’s Pizza launched its first new menu item since Handmade Pan Pizza in September 2012 – the specialty chicken, kind of a breadless pizza using chicken breast instead of bread topped with cheese and different toppings and sauces

The four unique flavors offered include Crispy Bacon & Tomato, Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple, Classic Hot Buffalo and Sweet BBQ Bacon.

I got a chance to try the Crispy Bacon and Tomato Specialty Chicken along with the Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple Specialty Chicken recently with a special delivery from the folks at Domino’s.

Overall, I was quite impressed – it offers a “low carb” option for those who are trying to avoid bread and looking for protein, and tastes just like what you’d imagine a pizza would taste if it was made with chicken breast instead of dough.

The Crispy bacon and tomato one had more of a tomato taste than the bacon, but was good. I would go for sausage or pepperoni next time if that was possible. The Spicy jalapeno pineapple was a bit too sweet for my tastes, but the spice from the jalapenos were nice.

My advice to Domino’s – maybe come up with a more catchy name as “specialty chicken” just seems a bit too vague or not memorable and…add more toppings!

What lies beneath?
What lies beneath?
  Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple
Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple
Crispy Bacon & Tomato
Crispy Bacon & Tomato

Chicken and Waffles with Bourbon Maple syrup at The Coop

Update: Saturday April 19, 2014 –

The Coop has officially opened! Here are a few shots from our recent visit on a Saturday afternoon. The line, of course, was out the door…

The hours are:

Monday – Friday
11-2 and 5-9

Saturday
11-9

Sunday – Closed

The phone number is: 1-407-THE-COOP ((407) 843-2667) – They are not taking to -go orders yet, so you’ll have to wait in line for now!

Looking at the line at the Coop
Looking at the line at the Coop
Outdoor line
Outdoor line
Interior of The Coop - mismatched chairs and tables, family settings...
Interior of The Coop – mismatched chairs and tables, family settings…
The line at The Coop, inside!
The line at The Coop, inside!
Counter service - reminded me of Boston Market a little bit...
Counter service – reminded me of Boston Market a little bit…
The menu in the back.
The menu in the back.
I think it would help to label the dishes
I think it would help to label the dishes
Assembly line / Fast Casual concept
Assembly line / Fast Casual concept
Fried Chicken with Cinnamon bread pudding and mac-n-cheese sides at The Coop - the chicken was a bit too peppery today
Fried Chicken with Cinnamon bread pudding and mac-n-cheese sides at The Coop.
Shrimp N Grits
Shrimp N Grits with Tasso Ham
The Fried Seafood Basket at The Coop
The Fried Seafood Basket at The Coop
My friend's Fried Green Tomatoes and Mac-N-Cheese
My friend’s Fried Green Tomatoes and Mac-N-Cheese
Chicken n Waffles and watermelon from The Coop
Chicken n Waffles and watermelon from The Coop

Overall impressions on first visit, definitely worth a try, despite some missteps. The assembly line nature at the counter could be improved to enhance overall experience – it all seemed a bit rushed once getting to the front. The fried chicken was a bit too dry and there seemed to be a bit of a heavy hand with the black pepper today. The mac and cheese was fabulous, though, as was the shrimp and grits with tasso ham. I am sure they will figure out all the kinks and have a lot of success in the coming days, though.

The menu

Photo Apr 19, 4 28 40 PM

Photo Apr 19, 4 28 18 PM

Photo Apr 19, 4 28 25 PM

Photo Apr 19, 4 28 32 PM

—————————————–
Original Date posted – February 13, 2014

For the past year or so, Chef John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse has been quietly tilling away at the kitchen in search of the perfect recipe for fried chicken, quietly testing his recipes and hatching ideas in creating a new refined Southern menu for The Coop (http://asouthernaffair.com/), and the results are astounding.

To say my mind was blown when tasting some of the dishes at a recent preview of the menu is an understatement. The chicken and biscuit, for example, may sound innocuous at first, but the fried chicken, made with dark thigh meat instead of white breast meat – which tends to be dry, was tender and juicy while the biscuit itself was a little sweet and fluffy and together with the bourbon maple syrup – it was divine. I do reckon that bourbon maple syrup that they’ve come up with is going to be a favorite in any Southern kitchen for years to come.

Chicken and biscuits made with juicy fried dark chicken thigh meat
Chicken and biscuits made with juicy fried dark chicken thigh meat

John Rivers wants The Coop to be a place known for its refined, not “gourmet”, Southern comfort food, something that you’d feel welcome to eating at home on your porch on a weekend Florida afternoon, with dishes like the low country shrimp and grits, made with savory, flavorful grits cooked in a chicken/shrimp broth and tender sausage and tasso ham made from a home recipe. The menu has hints of both New Orleans Cajun cuisine and Carolinas low country southern food from the shrimp po boy sandwiches to the Charleston Shrimp Perloo, a dirty rice dish that’s a cousin of the jambalaya and more distantly the Spanish paella. The Coop is much more than about just fried chicken.

No wonder Visit Orlando – the official Tourism Bureau for Central Florida – among its list of “Top 10 Reasons for Visiting Orlando in 2014” included The Coop, the only local restaurant among a sea of theme park attractions and developments. Get ready for a very delightful March when The Coop opens its doors in Winter Park for the first time – it will be a year for fried chicken all around. The phone number is 407-The-COOP and the address is 610 West Morse Boulevard, Winter Park, FL 32789 – I suggest you bookmark it in your GPS/Google Maps now. The COOP will be open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and will be closed on Sundays. For more information, visit www.asouthernaffair.com.

Chef John Rivers presenting the Coop's Chicken and Waffles
Chef John Rivers presenting the Coop’s Chicken and Waffles
Chicken and Waffles with Bourbon Maple syrup at The Coop
Chicken and Waffles with Bourbon Maple syrup at The Coop
Shrimp Po Boy, influenced by New Orleans cajun cuisine
Shrimp Po Boy, influenced by New Orleans cajun cuisine
Charleston Shrimp Perloo - a rice dish from the Carolinas
Charleston Shrimp Perloo – a rice dish from the Carolinas
The Coop's Deviled Eggs
The Coop’s Deviled Eggs
Broccoli salad with cranberries, pine nuts, red onion
Broccoli salad with cranberries, pine nuts, red onion

SONY DSC
Low Country Shrimp and Grits with house made Tasso ham and sausage

Mac and 3 Cheeses - Gruyere, Parmesan, and Cheddar cheese
Mac and 3 Cheeses – Gruyere, Parmesan, and Cheddar cheese
Creamed corn fixin'
Creamed corn fixin’
Cornbread - really good - fluffy, light, sweet, some flakes of corn detected
Cornbread – really good – fluffy, light, sweet, some flakes of corn detected
Possible Menu at the Coop
Possible Menu at the Coop

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

PImento cheese, a southern classic
PImento cheese, a southern classic
Chicken Pot pie, so cute so little, so delicious
Chicken Pot pie, so cute so little, so delicious
Fried okra, very delicate fry
Fried okra, very delicate fry
Whoopie Pies - red velvet cake, peanut butter, and more
Whoopie Pies – red velvet cake, peanut butter, and more

SONY DSC

image002

The Coop: A Southern Affair on Urbanspoon

Chef's Spotlight

0 1613
“The world of sweets is for everybody. No matter your taste, you can always find something on the dessert menu that will make you...

Featured Articles

0 402
Hawkers Asian Street Fare was founded in Orlando's Mills 50 District by four friends, Kaleb Harrell, Allen Lo, Wayne Yung and Kin Ho, who...