Desserts

Today, I was humbled…inspired…by coffee. Axum Coffee in Winter Garden, to be exact. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true, one-hundred-percent of Axum’s profits are donated “to make a better world” (as clearly defined on their coffee menu above the counter).

Insert on Coffee Menu

Being the sometime skeptic I am, I needed further proof. I spoke to the charming and intelligent, young girl behind the counter who spilled the beans (get it…coffee beans…moving on). No lie, it’s a true statement. Profits go to the city of Axum, Ethiopia (hence the name of the coffee), a city void of clean water, adequate medical care, and streets over-crowded with orphans and beggars, most of which are physically-impaired in some way. For over ten years, since the coffee shop opened, Axum has been supplying the means necessary to help this community. However, their charity extends to other non-profit organizations as well (locally, nationally, and internationally). Organizations that fight human trafficking, aid women and children in need, place children in need of homes with loving families, and so on. Axum wants their coffee shop to be a place of openness in which people come together, to share ideas, in order to help those in need and our world as a whole, “We had been envisioning a gathering place for the community to do life together.  Not just a place about the coffee, tea, smoothies, pastries, panini and desserts, but rather a place about people in the community coming together around a cause.  A place about helping those in need: locally, nationally and internationally.  A place about giving instead of taking.  A place where guests are not just numbers, but people with stories to tell.  We wanted to find a way to tangibly touch the lives of people in need: orphans, human trafficking victims, the poverty-stricken, those without potable water, etc while creating a place that unites the local community.” (http://axumcoffee.com/our-story/)

Humbled by the giving attitude of Axum as I am, fantastic tasting coffee and food can’t hurt, right? First, I love the feeling of Axum in Winter Garden (Axum coffee can also be found in other locations in Clermont and Dr. Phillips), the industrial feel of the piping that covers the high ceilings, over-sized windows that gladly welcome in the Florida sun, plenty of comfy seating inside and out, with painted walls in tranquil hues of blue and mahogany.

Front Corner Seating in Axum

With so many specialty coffee combinations to choose from (plus the usual favorites), thankfully, I had a good friend with me who suggested I order the Creme Brûlée. So glad I did! Made with espresso, caramel sauce, vanilla syrup, your choice of milk, and topped with foam and sugar in the raw…this is my new favorite! I felt like I had dessert before lunch. Axum coffee is beyond smooth-tasting to begin with, but this drink takes it to a-whole-nother level. Not to mention, it’s pretty. Expertly decorated topping like a piece of art.

Creme Brûlée Espresso

Of course there are many other drink options to pick from: black, green, and herbal teas, smoothies, cold drinks like Italian soda, hot chocolate, and several types of coffee/espresso drinks (cold brew, french press, manual brew, Americano, Cappuccino, etc.) You can also take some delicious Axum coffee home with you (perfect for those days when you can’t make it out of the house because of some menial task like laundry, or your daughter is sick, you know…life…or, is that my life?).

Coffee To Go

As if my Creme Brûlée espresso wasn’t treat enough, of course, my hungry eyes had to try more. Not just pastries, muffins, and other sweet favorites, but Axum also offers savory bites (panini, quiche, bagels, etc). Now, you tell me your will-power is strong enough to resist these goodies:

After much back-and-forth with my friend (what do you want? – well, what do you want? – you pick – no, you pick…you know how that story goes, got to be polite and all), we settled on the Caprese Panini and Bacon Quiche to share. They were hard to share, but, we kept our cool. The Caprese Panini was perfectly toasted, buttery, with soft mozzarella, sweet tomatoes, and zesty pesto. Not heavy or dense, the Bacon Quiche tasted light and airy, but also had a perfect combination of savory and salty from the cheese and bacon.

Caprese Panini
Bacon Quiche

Cozy spot, heart-warming talk with an amazing friend, and delicious food, what could be better? How about something sweet to only confirm how much I love Axum?! Thankfully, my friend and I didn’t do the “what do you want” dance, and we quickly decided on what to order. We are smart women…we know our desserts. Next up – the Coconut Creme Bomb and Peanut Butter Pie. No lie, at first bite of the Coconut Creme Bomb, I rudely interrupted my friend’s story and said, “What is this? Why does it taste so good?” Simply fantastic! Imagine, if you can, your best Pina Colada flavor and favorite yellow cake, got together, and well, you get it. A perfect amount of white icing with flakes of coconut adorn the outside, and sweet, coconut cream nestled between two layers of soft, yellow cake on the inside. Heavenly. However, the Peanut Butter Pie is no slouch, and also deserves a bow. If you love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate (as I do), this pie is perfect for you. The chocolate pie crust is rich and the peanut butter is velvety.

Coconut Creme Bomb
Peanut Butter Pie

Axum also offers vegan sweets from CayCakes Bakery. If you read my last blog (of course you did), you will remember my husband is now on a vegan kick (no joke, we had vegan burgers last night for dinner), and after a brief phone conversation while I was enjoying my lunch at Axum, in which he told me he ate avocado with salt and olive oil for his lunch, I figured, I better bring something home for him. My husband was very happy with his vegan cinnamon bun and vegan cinnamon, brown sugar pop tart.

CayCakes Bakery Items Sold at Axum

I would say, after our two desserts, our lunch date was complete. It was exactly what I needed – a good cup of coffee, terrific food, and conversation with a loving friend. Also, in a comfortable and inviting spot – Axum Coffee in Winter Garden – doing “good” for the community here and far.

 

Axum Coffee

CayCakes Bakery

 

 

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

Dry aged New York strip – certified Angus beef prime, textures of sunchoke, petit vegetables, ghost block-huckleberry reduction, black summer truffles.  It was divine!

We were invited to the inaugural Wine & Dine Chef’s Table at American Kitchen Bar & Grill.  This intimate night was dedicated to showcasing the chef’s creativity and talent through an elegant four course tasting menu prepared and served by Executive Chef Venoy Rogers III.  We also had a Certified Sommelier Daniel Castillo taking us through a journey of fine wine pairings.

American Kitchen Bar & Grill is a rustic-chic eatery offering New American eats using a farm-to-table concept.  They source local and sustainable product whenever possible and grow their own greens and herbs as well.  Their menu is a melting pot of multiple influences and techniques with an artisan approach.

We really enjoyed our experience and food at the inaugural Inaugural Wine & Dine Chef’s Table.  We look forward to more Wine & Dine Chef’s Tables in the near future and we hope you give them a try soon.  They are worth checking out and I heard from many people that their Duck Fat Fries are amazing!


The living garden where they harvest all their greens and herbs used that are used to create their signature dishes.


Amuse bouche – foie gras donut.


Certified angus beef tartare – local organic quail egg, capers, Florida citrus, spent grain croutons, cured lake meadows natural egg yolk, garlic flowers, Dijon.

This dish was amazing and it blew my mind.  Tartare is usually prepared cyclindar but this one was rectangular and it was a game changer.


Heirloom beets and local goat cheese – whipped turtle creek goat cheese, beet soil, pistachio, spent grain, wild hibiscus, sunflower-poppy seed vinaigrette.

Ak s’mores – chocolate-espresso cremeux, ancho chile marshmallow, cinnamon, served with coffee.

This dessert was inspired by a camp fire.  It really did make me long for being cozied up at a real camp fire with a cup of coffee in one hand and and cooked s’mores in the other.

Michael D. Allen – manager and amazing host.


The talented Executive Chef Venoy Rogers III.


Left to right:

Tara Ifill (manager), Khabeer (our kind and gracious server), Alicia (marketing), Molly Meeker (sales maanger), Daniel Castillo (certified sommelier).


Daniel Castillo – our engaging and interactive certified sommelier.


Many thanks to the American Kitchen Bar & Grill crew for hosting us and their superior hospitality!  We felt like family!  Be sure to check them out soon next time you are in the Disney Springs area!

American Kitchen Bar & Grill
1905 Hotel Plaza Blvd, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
(407) 827-3080
http://americankitchenbarandgrill.com

We were invited to check out Sofra Mediterranian Grill located next to The Orlando Eye and we really enjoyed our visit.  The food had a lot of flavor, the staff was nice and engaging, and the restaurant was relaxing and beautiful.  I highly recommend this restaurant to everyone!

Happy Hour is from 4pm-7pm every day.  Enjoy 1/2 off hand-crafted cocktails, $4 beer, and $4 shooters.

Hummus with fresh baked pita (a must!)

Family platter (really flavorful!)


Zaatar manakish

Chocolate lava cake

Be sure to check out Sofra Mediterranian Grill next to The Orlando Eye soon for some flavorful food and a welcoming atmosphere!

Sofra Mediterranian Grill
8371 International Dr #60, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 930-8645
http://soframediterraneangrill.com

I’m worried about my husband. A couple weeks ago, he ate at a vegan restaurant…and liked it. Last week, he made a sandwich with vegan cheese and vegan mayonnaise. But, it wasn’t until he came home with vegan bacon from Publix, that I knew he had truly gone to the dark side. This may not seem suspicious to most, but this is coming from a man who rolls his eyes when I suggest humus as an appetizer, and who proudly wears a t-shirt with the phrase Part Wolf embroidered on the front. So, twenty questions later, the five stages of grief behind me, I now accept the fact that my husband isn’t a complete traitor, he just simply likes eating vegan (on occasion). Hey, I can be vegan too (on occasion), and after eating at Dixie Dharma and Valhalla Bakery, I can eat vegan AND love it!

Dixie Dharma and Valhalla Bakery are both located inside Market on South in Downtown Orlando on South Street. I had the pleasure of trying Dixie Dharma’s Beet Tartare during the Beard in Baldwin event a few weeks ago, and I immediately knew I would visit the establishment soon (don’t tell my husband). To my over-joyed surprise, upon entering Market on South, I also found Valhalla Bakery (I stalk their donuts on Instagram). My vegan dreams came true: dinner and dessert! Now, this was by far not a date night. In a moment of sheer insanity, my husband and I decided to go as a family of four. Our ten-year-old son is an adventurous eater, but our seven-year-old daughter is not. Our chances of a happy dinner is always 50/50. Thankfully, Market on South is a kid-friendly environment with inside and outside seating, and tons of local craft beer and wine to choose from. Which is exactly what we ordered first: Quantum Leap Winery Kaley’s Rescue Red and Quantum Leap Winery Garda White. Both drinks were the rescue we needed. The red and the white are smooth and easy on the palate, with no bitter aftertaste. Thank you, Market on South, for a heavy pour (see…kid-friendly).

Quantum Leap Winery Garda White, Quantum Leap Winery Kaley’s Rescue Red

While we sipped on wine and the kids drank their Martinelli’s Gold Medal Apple Juice in the old-school glass bottle (the kids loved this), we decided on dinner. Thankfully, Dixie Dharma offers vegan hotdogs. A perfect choice for my picky-eater! But, will she be fooled…stay tuned. My son, a huge lover of chili, cheese dogs, ordered the HillBilly Chili Dawgs. My husband (#1 healthy eater) ordered four Nopales Tacos, and I ordered the Florida Fried Green Tomato (the secret’s in the sauce…get it?). Our meals would not be complete without sides. Dixie Dharma offers three different versions of mac and cheese: original, garlic, and buffalo. We decided on the original and buffalo, plus a side of Crispy Brussels and Cheesy Homies. Don’t forget: everything you are about to see is 100% vegan.

HillBilly Chili Dawgs with Cheesy Homies
Nopales Tacos
Florida Fried Green Tomato with Crispy Brussels and Original Mac and Cheese
Buffalo Mac and Cheese

My son’s chili dogs (of course I had a taste), were no ordinary hotdogs. Two vegan, not-dogs in pretzel buns, covered in house-made, Indian-spiced, chili and cheese sauce, with blackened onion and scallions. The chili alone was amazing! It was spicy but also sweet, and I loved the texture of the hearty beans. After two chili dogs, my son tapped-out (a win for my husband and I), and we finished off his side of Cheesy Homies. I need a bigger plate of these. Imagine a bowl of mini baked potatoes covered in cheese…and then imagine yourself smiling.

Tacos with jackfruit and cactus…any takers? I know that sounds crazy, but, it’s truly delicious, and it completely satisfied my need for meat. My taste buds were fooled! The Nopales Tacos are made with jackfruit carnitas, smoked Nopales cactus, blackened onions and corn, chili lime aioli, and pickled radish on a grilled corn shell. I love tacos: steak, chicken, fish, and now…jackfruit and cactus! I am simply amazed by the taste of these tacos. The jackfruit and cactus is tenderly cooked and shredded, creating a perfect bed for the crunchy pickled radish and tangy aioli. These are no dainty tacos, they are filling. We mistakenly ordered more than we had room for…but guess who is having them for lunch tomorrow…me (I bet you guessed my husband).

Finally, on to my dish: the Florida Fried Green Tomato. A delicious sandwich of Texas toast, thick-sliced green tomato, breaded, and deep-fried, with smoked, eggplant remoulade, toped with garlicky kale and the house chow-chow. Crunchy and tender at the same time. The tomato is sweet and lightly breaded, giving it an airy feeling instead of the greasy, fried food effect. My husband liked this sandwich so much, he finished one of my halves (and that’s why I’m eating his leftover tacos). My side of mac and cheese, made with creamy cashew, was silky and velvety, cheesy-perfection, with a crunchy, bread crumb topping. The Buffalo Mac and Cheese was just as good as the original, but with a spicy kick from the buffalo sauce. The Crispy Brussels were also outstanding! Charred in all the right places, mush-free (is that a word), without the bitter aftertaste some brussels sprouts dishes can have. Honestly, I know brussels sprouts get a bum rap, but Dixie Dharma does them proud.  So, did we enjoy our dinner? Was my daughter fooled by her vegan hotdog? What do you think:

Dinner is Done

Obviously, we loved our dinner at Dixie Dharma, and we will return, more than just occasionally. Dinner is done, but there is always room for dessert! My son, who couldn’t eat another bite, mysteriously had room for a S’mores Bar, while the rest of us shared Coconut Cream Pie and a Sprinkled Vanilla Cupcake. All egg free, dairy free, and vegan (not gluten free…that’s a whole other conversation). Thank you, Valhalla Bakery, for these fantastic goodies! I was shocked by the amount of sweets to choose from: cookies, brownies, blondies, doughnuts, pies, cakes, cupcakes, you name it!

Valhalla Bakery – Take Your Pick!
Coconut Cream Pie
S’mores Bar and Sprinkle Vanilla Cupcake

My poor son, we all had a couple bites of his S’mores Bar, which was chocolatey, chewy goodness. The Coconut Cream Pie was luscious and rich, and refreshingly not too sweet. Our Sprinkle Vanilla Cupcake had the perfect amount of thick, vanilla frosting, to match the spongey, vanilla cake. It had the ideal frosting to cake ratio. By the way, when it comes to sweets, my daughter is adventurous (she tried all three desserts without being asked, and loved them all).

No, I’m not a true vegan (neither is my husband, don’t let him fool you), but I am a fan of creative and tasty dishes…which Dixie Dharma and Valhalla Bakery have mastered with their vegan fare. Therefore, I am a huge fan of Market on South, and I am greatly looking forward to my next meal there (sans kids).

 

Dixie Dharma

Valhalla Bakery

Quantum Leap Winery

Market On South

 

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

Pig Floyd’s – Ribs, Maduros, Slaw

Orlando Magazine hosted its 2nd annual Generocity Orlando event, where attendees connected with over 50 nonprofit groups and learned how to get involved and give back.  This “Party With a Purpose,” held at the Orlando Science Center, featured local fare from Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa, King Bao, Swine & Sons, Art of Taste Orlando, and P is for Pie Bake Shop, signature drinks from The Courtesy Bar, plus a wide variety of live entertainment and was sponsored by the Orlando Science Center, Unicorp National Developments, Inc., Masters Realty Group, and Seaside National Bank & Trust.  (Source credit: Orlando Magazine)

Art of Taste catering company

Ceviche

Smoked salmon

Pork belly

Potato and avocado

King Bao – coconut shrimp

Fried chicken

Tofu

Potato croquette

Beef

Pork belly

Mudslide cream pie 

Peach cobbler

Blueberry lavender cobbler

Chocolate chip with brown butter bourbon

P is for Pie Bake Shop

The Courtesy Bar

Orlando Magazine
801 N Magnolia Ave #201, Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 423-0618
http://orlandomagazine.com

Orlando Science Center
777 E Princeton St, Orlando, FL 32803
http://osc.org

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

At Duffy’s Sports Grill, Chef Eric Parker allowed us to have a sneak peak of his new healthy spring menu insert at Duffy’s Sports Grill and I am more than happy to share it with you all. The new menu will launch in April and it includes Orange Ginger Mahi, Tuna Poke Stack, Burrata Salad, and Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos.

Burrata Salad – Burrata cheese served with local vine-ripe tomatoes and power greens, finished with balsamic and fig dressing. The greens and tomatoes are very fresh while the balsamic and fig dressing adds a sweet note to the dish. The Burrata cheese is a nice creamy touch and ties all of the flavors together.

Tuna Poke Stack – Ahi Tuna tossed with Duffy’s signature poke sauce stacked with freshly made pineapple salsa and mashed avocados, dusted with nori and tossed sesame seeds, Sriracha smear. Although Duffy’s is known as a sports grill, they do not hide from adding new and unique dishes, such as this. I thoroughly enjoyed this fresh dish and would come back for more!

Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos – 3 mini flour tortillas loaded with marinated grilled shrimp, shredded cabbage, homemade pico de gallo and guacamole. Make sure you ask for lime as it adds a nice citrus touch to the dish and we all know I love lime.

Also, you can’t have your Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos without some tequila!

It was great having a sit down with Chef Eric Parker and a shot of tequila.

Orange Ginger Mahi – is a sweet and lean Mahi Mahi with an orange ginger glaze over stir fried Soba noodles with broccoli, red bell peppers and onion, finished with pineapple salsa. I am not too fond of the Soba noodle flavors, but the Mahi Mahi was pretty great.

Key Lime Pie – cool and creamy key lime filling in a rich graham cracker crust. Duffy’s mentioned how it is an oversized piece of tropical bliss and they were not wrong.

Red Velvet Mini Donuts – red velvet mini donuts spun in sugar and served warm with cream cheese icing for dipping.

The donuts are very fluffy and moist.

As you can tell, this dish is one of my favorite items on the menu.

Duffy’s wouldn’t be Duffy’s with some delicious drinks. They are adding Effen Cucumber Martini and St-Germaine Cooler to their drink menu. Pictured is the Effen Cucumber Martini, which is a refreshing take on a classic cocktail, Effen Cucumber Vodka, agave syrup, mint, and a splash of lime.

Visit a nearby Duffy’s Sports Grill this month to experience the new healthy dishes yourself.

What pairs well with a great conversation? Great food, that’s fresh to order, and imported from Spain. Located in Winter Park, FL is an amazing restaurant called Bulla Gastrobar.

The chef described every dish to our table, and I found myself eating food and talking about it at the same time. That’s when you know you’re at a table full of foodies!

The Lemongrass Collins has easily become one of my favorite drinks of all time. It’s the right amount of refreshing, and as you can tell the bartender does not skip out on the rosemary.

Ingredients are St. Germain, Wint & Lila gin, lemongrass syrup, cucumber.

I also ordered the Proper Gin & Tonic. The star anise was a surprising touch!

Ingredients are Wint & Lila gin, lemon peel, lime wheel, star anise, Fever Tree tonic water.

First up was a meat and cheese plate. My favorite was the Manchego cheese and the fresh olives coming in every shape and size. You can just taste how fresh each ingredient is.

Cured Meat & Cheese Plate:
Jamon Serrano
‘Fermin’ Serrano ham, aged 15 months

Chorizo de Cantimpalo
Mildly spicy pork sausage from Segovia

Manchego
Sheep’s milk, nutty, sweet, tangy flavor, aged 6 month

Murcia al Vino
Goat cheese from Murcia, wine cured rind, sweet & smooth flavor

House Marinated Olives
Thyme, orange peel, garlic

Pan de Cristal con Tomate
Toasted crispy ethereal bread brushed with fresh tomato

Huevos Bulla
Eggs, homemade potato chips, Serrano ham, potato foam, truffle oil
The eggs come unbroken, until they get to the table! The server mixes up the dish before it’s served. The homemade chips add a perfect crunch to this savory dish.
Montaditos
Brisket, tomato marmalade, guindilla, tetilla cheese
My favorite dish of them all. The bread was toasted to the right second, the meat was tender, and the tomato marmalade was amazing. Also, the pepper is not spicy, it was delicious!

Sangria Blanca
Cava, peach schnapps, triple sec, strawberries, blueberries

Grilled Octopus Salad
Roma tomatoes, cucumber, croutons, lemon
The best part about the octopus was the charcoal edges. Absolutely delicious. And it was paired with fresh to order vegetables.
Paella
Valencia style rice, calamari, prawns, clams, shrimp, red sofrito, saffron
 
The rice and seafood complimented each other so well. Every last bit of the paella was eaten.
Fun fact: Tuesday, March 27th 2018 is National Paella Day! Scroll to the end of this article for special event details*
Bullfighter
Bulleit bourbon, Aperol, Dow’s Port, lemon juice, cranberry
Churros Con Chocolate
Traditional fried dough, chocolate sauce, dulce de leche
My favorite dessert of the two that I tried. The Churros are just a cute bite size,  fried to the perfect texture, and I’m obsessed with caramel, so the caramel dip won me over.
Torrija
Caramelized brioche, turrón ice cream, honey.

I left Bulla Gastrobar full and happy!

*In celebration of “National Paella Day,” the chefs at Spanish Winter Park restaurant Bulla Gastrobar will prepare massive paellas on the restaurants patio during happy hour. You’ll have the opportunity to observe how the paellas are made and will receive complimentary samples to enjoy on the patio, which will be decked out in festive decor! Bulla Gastrobar will also be offering $5 red sangrias all day long and will raffle off a $50 gift card to a lucky guest. Happy hour is between 4pm-7pm and 9pm – close!

 

By Gina Nguyen

Happy 2018, Food Friends!

Can we all agree that glitter and unicorn desserts are so 2017? Well maybe not, but a girl can dream.

I caught up with some of Orlando’s coolest chefs to find out what they see coming to a table near you in 2018, and here’s what they had to say.

The Verdict:

  • Crazy desserts are out; smaller, savory sweets are in
  • Asian eats are here to stay
  • RIP to unnecessary gluten-free dishes
  • Say hello to veg cuisine, it’s here and it’s not playing

HAWKERS Asian Street Fare – Kaleb Harrell 

“Ethnic desserts – We are revamping our entire dessert line because we feel customers are ready. Desserts that have a savory edge, are fruit-based, or just have ingredients outside of mainstream will gain popularity as the size of desserts decreases. Today’s customer would rather have a few bites of something amazing to end their meal than a bowl of corn syrup.

Savory cocktails – This one has been on the fringe for a while, but I think 2018 is the year for savory cocktails to take hold.  Think meat stocks, dry rub ingredients, and vegetable instead of fruit juices. 

Fast and fresh – This is the mecca for market share in lunch business.  A few companies are doing well and expanding quickly, but it’s a race to see who keeps consistency. Virtually every diner is looking for a fast, and ultra fresh lunch option. How many days can you eat a Chick-fil-A salad for lunch?

Vinegars and sours – Fermented flavors are gaining more popularity and will continue in the next year. Look for pickling, fermenting, gourmet mustards, and generally bold flavors in small quantities to continue.  Cheese and charcuterie are amazing, but the accoutrements are starting to take center stage.”

Black Rooster Taqueria – John Calloway

“I think we will see a lot of cauliflower. Gluten-free has reached its peak, so we will see more artisan and/or rustic breads and people milling their own flours.

Mexican will still be everywhere, but I believe Indian food is the next big cuisine.

Food as medicine will also be a big focus. From all of the juice bars to doctors and nutritionists prescribing specific foods and diets, we’ll be getting back to our roots with the earth healing our bodies.”

K Restaurant – Michelle Hulbert

“I think there will continue to be interest smaller desserts – that are portion-control friendly. Over-the-top, gigantic desserts will be a thing of the past. The healthier sides of sweets will include more seasonal fruits.  I think in general we will see a larger focus on vegetables as the star and less starch-heavy dishes.”

K Restaurant –  Ryan McLaughlin

“I think in 2018 we will see a continued movement toward more vegetable-forward dishes, a dedicated focus on limiting food waste, and an even stronger movement within the chef community to support small, sustainable farms that are focused on the ethical treatment of animals.”

Tapa Toro – Wendy Lopez 

“I see familiar foods becoming more prominent on menus at restaurants. Think pork rinds and hot dogs. They will be reimagined with new ingredients and presentations.

I think we’ll start to see lesser-known cuts of meat appear on menus around town – like Vegas strip and Oyster steak. We’ll start to see more family-style dining options at restaurants. At Tapa Toro, we see groups of people passing plates around the table. Why commit to one entree when you could try a little bit of everything?”

Pizza Bruno – Bruno Zacchini

“I’ll start with pizza! For me, I see Neapolitan pizza still going strong but new styles and types will become the next thing from Detroit squares to Roman thin crusts and artisan slice pies with farm-to-table ingredients. Pizza has so many styles most people have never seen so it’s really wide open.

Overall fast casual is going to keep happening and moving forward with counter service places and places focusing on singular dishes done extremely well.  Flavors for me are Middle Eastern, more regional Asian (think Bangrak), and Italian, of course! I also think that in 2018 we’ll continue to see veg-centric cuisine making its way onto more menus.”

Valhalla Bakery + Valkyrie Doughnuts – Celine Duvoisin 

“I see a bubble bursting of the stuff on stuff on stuff on stuff. (Not that I’m not going to do excessive shit until it dies.)

I think that more Asian popularity will happen, I foresee a rise in proper ramen coming to town and possibly Asian desserts. We’ve hit this wall of sugar hell, with no one hitting the less sweet almost savory desserts.

Hopefully an end to the gluten-free obsession.

My fingers are crossed for more Mediterranean-type places that focus on macro-based foods as fuel instead of insanely over designed places that don’t have the food to seal the deal.”


Is this roundup missing something, or are you seeing a trend worth sharing? Comment below and cheers to new year!

Snack on,
Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!

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

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

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

Other Cake Fair features include:

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

Emily Ellyn (right)

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

Ticket Prices


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

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

(Source credit: Cake Fair)

UPDATED:

Retro Rad Chef from Food Network Star, Cupcake Wars, and Cutthroat Kitchen Winner Emily Ellyn and Celebrity Baker Mich Turner

The Chocolate Genius – Paul Joachim

Emilly Ellyn and Nancy Farmer

Food Network’s Farmhouse Rules Nancy Farmer, Elizabeth Townsend, and Emilly Ellyn

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

Hey, food friends!

You’ve seen the news, you’ve watched videos of families in need on Facebook Live, and you’ve probably heard about celebrities dropping big money.

As Orlandoans, helping Texans may feel out of arm’s reach, but there’s so much that we can do collectively.

Here is a growing list of restaurants that are doing their part to aid Texans.

Let’s explore how to eat responsibly.  

Where to Eat

  • Chuy’s | All Locations
    • With 9 locations across Houston and Corpus Christi, this brand is definitely feeling the impacts of Hurricane Harvey. To help, it is selling a limited edition T-shirt at all locations for $10. 100% of the proceeds will benefit Chuy’s Redfish Relief Fund, which supports employees experiencing financial hardships due to disasters, emergencies, and other life-changing circumstances

  • Sonny’s BBQ | All Locations
    • Nothing says Texas like barbecue… On September 6, all 113 locations will donate 10% of sales to Operation BBQ Relief, an organization that mobilizes pitmasters and barbecue enthusiasts to areas in need to help prepare and serve barbecue
  • Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park
    • $1 from each chocolate star lollipop sold until September 10 
    • 10% of chocolate covered popcorn sales during the week of September 4-10
    • The store will also be collecting cash donations, and anyone who donates at least $5 will receive their choice of a free chocolate covered Oreo or pretzel rod

Safe Bets

There’s often a little bit of confusion and trepidation about donating to large charities. Oftentimes, only a small percentage funds actually hit the homes of the people you indeed to help.

Here are some that are collecting funds and donations responsibly.

Feeding Children Everywhere

With FCE, you can donate, start a fundraiser and know that 100% of proceeds raised through this fund will be used for Harvey disaster relief! And if you purchase this shirt, 40 meal will be donated. That’s a deal! 

Second Harvest Food Bank | Orlando, Daytona Beach, West Melbourne

All locations are accepting non-perishable food donations for Texas flood relief

Undies For Everyone 

1. Purchase new underwear here

2. Collect new, packaged underwear and mail it to the address below. If you’re purchasing, they recommend Hanes or Fruit of the Loom. UFE doesn’t process or give out anything but underwear!

Undies for Everyone
1700 Bissonnet St.
Houston, TX 77005

3. Give cash and Undies for Everyone will purchase wholesale

The Emeril Lagasse Kitchen House | Orlando

Chef Kevin Fonzo is partnering with Chef Tiffany Derry to raise money via the Edible Schoolyard and Kevin Fonzo Foundation. On Sunday, September 10 from 12-3 p.m., visit The Emeril Lagasse Kitchen House and Culinary Garden as they host a kid-friendly “Lemonade Stand and Bake Sale”! They will have fresh lemonade available for sale, as well as some incredible baked goods donated by some amazing local pastry chefs!

Go Fund Me

Check out the different families and organizations that are sharing their stories in order to get help.

Volunteer

There are so many organizations in need of a hand.  Orlando Vegans is partnering with Clean The World tomorrow, Saturday, September 2. Sign up here!


 Words of Encouragement 

All too often we talk about people impacted by natural disasters as victims. We have to remind ourselves and the people impacted that they are victors. They need to be reminded that they are strong, resilient and able to overcome. I’ve started a Google Doc for everyone to share the love by writing encouraging notes. The hope is that we can share with charities and outlets in Texas to pass along to locals!

Here’s to foodlantrophy and lots of love.

Snack on,

Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!

 

“I’m going on an ice cream diet.”

Those are the words I remember most from my recent chat with Nathan Clark of Wondermade.

You see, Nathan is a very special man. Blessed with creativity, he is always positioned to proposer. He also happens to be a business role model of mine.

Back in 2013, Nathan had the bright idea to make hand-crafted marshamallows for his wife,  Jenn, for Christmas. It turns out that the Central Florida local made a really good marshmallow. Once friends got a hold of them, he and his wife found themselves with a marshmallow company. Today, Wondermade runs with the best of them. Inclusion on TheHuffingtonPost.com and a partnership with Martha Stewart are just two of the many great accomplishments under the brand’s belt.

And the beauty in it all is that it’s done in a storefront and kitchen in Sanford, Florida.

Next up is ice cream. Creamy goodness is what I like to call it. It’s currently available at the shop, and can be found in 12 flavors with one new flavor of the week called the Taste Adventure Flavor. To accompany the ice cream, a marshmallow of the same flavor rolls out simultaneously for the week.

On a side note, did you know that there’s a Museum of Ice Cream in New York? OK, back to writing.

Last week, I sat down with Nathan, whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for years, to talk about his next big move. Blueberry Cobbler was the flavor of the week. And man, it was good. What I like most about Wondermade’s handmade, no-churn ice cream is that it has a whipped-cream base, which makes it creamier and allows the scoops to melt evenly.

Nathan Clark

I found out that Nathan has a true affinity for ice cream. Turns out, he’s eaten a bowl a day since the age of 13. “I can’t think of the day that hasn’t included ice cream,” Nathan shared. “The decision to start making ice cream is phase two of the Wondermade brand.”

The Clark’s traveled up and down the East Coast, and tasted more than 100 different flavors. “We found that a lot of ice cream shops only have one good flavor. We aim to have a lot of them,” Nathan shared. Nathan went on to compare his ice cream flavor strategy to art using the word “tryptych.” Dictionary.com defines the word as a set of three panels or compartments side by side, bearing pictures, carvings, or the like.

“We have tryptych flavors like Avocado, Lavender and Maple Bacon. We also have less adventurous flavors like Triple Chocolate, Honey Cinnamon and Salted Caramel,” said Nathan. “They’re awesome together and their awesome by themselves.”


 The Cream + Crunch

Handmade Flavors: Lavender // Peanut Butter Cup // Mint Chocolate Chip // Cake Batter Confetti // S’mores // Cookies & Cream // Maple Bacon // Coffee Chocolate // Avocado // Honey Cinnamon // Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough // Salted Caramel

Handmade Cones: Brownie // Graham Cracker // Confetti


Back to this ice cream diet.

Chocolate Ice Cream

It only took a car ride with their kids for Nathan and Jenn to decide to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to ship packaged pints all over America. That was a Thursday. The video was taped on a Friday. It was live on Saturday.

To show his commitment, from July 14-21, Nathan is eating Wondermade’s ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That’s serious business. (If anyone is down to join, we can do it together.)

For locals, we’re in for a treat. You can order online and pick up order in Sanford. Nathan shared that locals will be spoiled with other goodies including marshmallows, coffee and swag.

So what’s next?

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month with me and visit the Kickstarter to get the details about the campaign, and to learn how you can help. I’m over the moon about the Cornbread ice cream that’s coming this summer!

Apple Pie Ice Cream

Store Must-Haves
  • Smoresicle: The bottom half is a pudding pop rolled in crushed graham cracker. The top half is toasted marshmallow.
  • Avocado Ice Cream: It’s smooth. It’s creamy. It’s perfection.

Address: 214 E 1st Street, Sanford, FL | Wondermade.com

Snack on,

Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!

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Something sweet has popped into the local 4Rivers location!

Chef-owner John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse, recently announced a refresh of The Sweet Shop, his celebrated in-house bakery line of house-made desserts, introducing an assortment of more than 30 new artisanal baked goods that just launched to all 4Rivers smokehouses statewide.

The Sweet Shop’s revival comes after months of recipe development alongside Amanda Eubanks, The Sweet Shop’s head baker; Andrea Zelen, Director of Bakery Operations; and Jenny Herbert, Central Bakery Manager.

“The new desserts are inspired by memories of my favorite bakeries growing up and, of course, my love for sweets,” said Rivers.  “I tried to introduce a rustic, homey experience that plays on my childhood nostalgia, while keeping it fun; because after all dessert is the favorite part of most meals!”

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My guest and I started “light” with the Mason Jar Desserts ($4.50).

S’mores rich chocolate mousse layered with graham cracker crumbs and toasted marshmallow top.
Brown Butter Strawberry Shortcake- brown butter cake cubes topped with a fresh strawberry filling and piled high with a brown sugar whipped cream and dust of powdered sugar
Lemon Meringue- tart lemon custard layered with a light meringue

The strawberry shortcake was my absolute favorite.  It had just the right amount of sweetness combined with such delicate textures between the fruit, cake, and whipped brown sugar cream. I can’t rave about this enough- This is a dessert that I crave for!

DSC02539Top view.

DSC02551Towards the middle we have the Red Velvet Cake ($4.50) a classic red velvet cake filled and frosted with cream cheese frosting.

This was the most underrated dessert in the bunch, so simple but executed so beautifully that it just so satisfying to bite into. I could see myself warming this up in the morning with a hot cup of tea to get my day started.

At the bottom left we have the Classic Whoopee Pie ($2.99) white frosting smushed between two layers of chocolate cake. A tad sweet for me since I am a savory dessert person- but it pairs perfectly with a glass of milk!

Then there’s the Strawberry Pop Tarts ($2.75) flaky house pie crust filled with gooey strawberry filling and topped with a vanilla glaze and rainbow sprinkles. Oh my goodness! what a delicious take on a nostalgic snack, making it ten times tastier and less cardboardy.

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just look at that filling!

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Mini Cinnamon Streusel Bundt Cakes ($3.75), butter cake filled with a cinnamon brown sugar center, topped with a crunchy streusel and drizzled in vanilla glaze.  A delightful condense version of a whole cake that goes so well with a nice cup of coffee.

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ABOUT THE SWEET SHOP

The Sweet Shop, is a dessert storefront featuring homemade comfort-sweets. The in-house bakery delights sweet-minded guests with creative takes on cupcakes, cookies, pies, and much more. The bakery is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is closed on Sundays.

DSC02557The staff is incredible as well! Such sweet personalities to go with the sweet shop.

I can’t thank them enough for such a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to come back…. Save me Strawberry Shortcake Mason Jar! I’m going through withdrawals.

4 Rivers Smokehouse

Address: 1600 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789

 

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My sweet tooth was satisfied at Sugar Factory’s media event last Thursday. Sugar Factory is located right next to the Orlando Eye on International Drive. One side is a candy store and the other side has a bar and seating area. I heard of Sugar Factory just this year while researching places to visit in Chicago a few months back. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to stop by during my trip so as you can imagine, I was ecstatic when I found out Sugar Factory was coming to Orlando, Florida. I got to taste popular drinks, milkshakes, food, $99 ice-cream, and took a bag full of candy home. Extra bonus for parents – these drinks featured here all come virgin for the kiddos!

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Started it off with the Ocean Blue. Hpnotiq cocktail featuring gummy sharks and dry ice!

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Next was the Mai Tai. A Tahitian style drink. Fresh orange and pineapple juices blended with coconut and light rum and then topped with a oat of Dark Myers rum, with dry ice!

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My personal favorite is the White Gummy. A fruity cocktail that was so delicious! Comes with dry ice of course!

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Lastly, the most visually stunning, Lollipop Passion. A mix of melon, coconut and pineapple. Garnished with lollipops and dry ice!

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Fried Macaroni and Cheese with Tomato Bacon Jam.

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Meatballs with Marinara, Fontina Fondue, and Polenta.

 

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Red Velvet Pancakes

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From left to right, Chocolate Milkshake, Birthday Cake Milkshake with a candle, and Berry Milkshake with candies.

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Sugar Factory’s World Famous King Kong Sundae $99. Includes 24 scoops of ice cream, topped with Chocolate and Caramel Sauce, Whipped Cream, Gummy Bears, Waffle Cones, Oreo Crumbles, Brownie Chunks, Chocolate Chips, Bananas, Toasted Marshmallows, Reese’s Pieces, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Giant Lollipops, and sparklers!

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By Gina Nguyen

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This isn’t your typical ice cream shop. It’s a modern style ice cream making process that was first made popular through a youtube video of an Ice cream street vendor making ice cream rolls in Thailand.

It’s quite popular in Asia, particularly in Korea.

Guests choose their flavors and milk / non milk base, then it is poured on top of a steel plate. Some theorize that the steel, placed atop a 10 lb block of dry ice, or a quick freeze machine, which can cool down from room temperature to -9.4 °C / 15 °F in 10 minutes.

As the cream liquid begins to solidify, you can make ice cream with personalized mix-ins such as nuts and other ingredients – all without setting up an ice-cream maker or liquid nitrogen. It literally freezes in front of your eyes.

In New York, visitors are waiting three hours in line for this ice cream.

Taiyakis are a Japanese dessert – basically a fish shaped waffle usually filled with red beans, but here you can fill it from a long list of options including fruit and chocolate.

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Five F(x) Ice Cream and Taiyaki
688 N Alafaya Trl, Ste 104
Orlando, FL 32828
Phone number (407) 930-7181

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Brigadeiro (bree-gah-day-ro) are Brazilian sweets, similar to chocolate truffles – and they are quite delicious. Rayana Neves, an Orlando local, recently started selling them here in town – and they are some of the best brigadeiros I’ve ever had.

For now people can get them by calling or sending a message on Facebook, usually asking for one day advance because she is currently working in an office also until she can go after her dream to work just with the sweets full time.

Rayana grew up in the state of Brasilia in Brazil and grew up with her family always cooking and an aunt who was making all kinds of sweets and had always loved it.

“I have never been to a school for cooking or pastry (even though I would love to). I just taught myself how to make the sweets and it just worked. I started always baking something or making Brigadeiro when friends would come over and one day my friends said I should start selling them,” she told us.

“I was back and fourth to Brazil at the time because my Husband was going through his permanent residency process, so the extra income was a plus. I started selling cupcakes at an English School there and would also sell by orders.”

She made brigadeiros for a graduation party, cupcakes as end of the year gift for a company, and so on. She has come back to Orlando for good and is now starting over with the business here.

“I make everything fresh to order and put a lot of care and love into it. I guess that’s why they’re so good. lol.”

These are the flavors she has so far:

1. Traditional = Milk Chocolate Brigadeiro
2. Dark = 53% Cocoa Brigadeiro
3. Noir = 70% Cocoa Brigadeiro
4. White = White Chocolate Brigadeiro
5. Two Lovers = Combination of Dark or Traditional Chocolate and White Chocolate
6. Prestigio = Coconut covered with Traditional or Dark Chocolate with Coconut Flakes
7. Coconut = White Chocolate with shredded Coconut
8. Peanut = Milk Chocolate Brigadeiro with crushed peanuts

9. Dulce de Leche = Dulce de Leche Brigadeiro
10. Nutella = Nutella Brigadeiro
11. Almond = Dark Chocolate Brigadeiro with shaved/sliced almond sprinkles
12. Walnut = White Brigadeiro with crushed walnuts
13. Key Lime = White Brigadeiro infused with lime
14. Passion Fruit = White Brigadeiro infused with passion fruit
15. Strawberry = White Brigadeiro with fresh made strawberry jam

and then she also does what is called “Olho de Sogra” which the translation is “Mother in Law’s Eye”

“Weird name but so good (My stepdad’s favorite). It is a Pitted Prune with Coconut Brigadeiro inside.”

Also new flavors include: Brownie Sandwich (Brownie, Brigadeiro, Brownie) and Bonbons (semi-sweet, dark or white chocolate with brigadeiro filling or passion fruit mousse filling)

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The one with the regular chocolate sprinkles was the Traditional. Tiny sprinkles was Nutella. The half white, half traditional was Two Loves. Cononut in the center, traditional on the outside coated with coconut was Prestigio. Caramel colored one was Dulce de Leche and the white one was Coconut.

Box with 6 = $7.50
Box with 8 = $10
Box with 12 = $15

Visit Simply Sweets by Ray on Facebook and Instagram.
https://www.facebook.com/SimplySweetsbyRay
@_Simply.Sweets_

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Sugarbuzz Dezert Company is a new and upcoming bakery known for their delicious desserts, especially their cookies and pies. Ron James, the founder and owner, attended the San Francisco Baking Institute before starting his business while working full-time at another job. Ron invited us into his bakery and we were more than happy to take a little tour of their bakery, hear about the history and the making as well as photograph some delicious treats. Our visit consisted of a pleasant conversation and desserts with flavors that lived up to their beautiful presentation.

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They are known for their pies and cookies, but they also sell cupcakes and slices or whole cheesecake and cakes. All of Ron’s desserts are made from scratch – including the delicious caramel for the cookies you’ll soon see below.

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The Peanut Butter Pie is absolutely creamy in every bite in contrast to its chocolate crust and dark chocolate sauce on top. Alone, this reminds you of chocolate peanut butter cup candies, but whipped cream and shaved chocolate peanut butter candy bar is actually added to amplify the heavenly taste.

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The Key Lime Pie is a classic charmer that is tasteful for a hot summer day. It’s a sweet and tart dessert due to its fresh squeezed key lime juice.

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The Chocolate Cream Pie is perfect for any chocolate lover because it has dark chocolate filling on a chocolate sandwich cookie crust (before topped with whipped cream).

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The Chocolate Cheesecake is an alternate to the Chocolate Cream Pie and it has gluten free options available. It’s also made with deliciously rich dark chocolate and a chocolate cookie crust. This is one of my favorites because I love creamy dark chocolate and have been looking for a nice chocolate cheesecake to savor.

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At Sugarbuzz Dezert Company, a variety of cookies are created including the Snickerdoodle above and the cookie below with pecans, caramel and sea salt, which contains the caramel Ron made from scratch.

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Sugarbuzz Dezert Company is found in a little nook next to a nail salon.

Address:

  • 4339 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, FL 32804

Hours:

  • Tuesday-Friday 10:30am-6pm
  • Saturday: 10:30am-5pm

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The CrepeVine is a new dainty quick eat restaurant that’s located in Altamonte Springs, but to be honest, when I heard of this new restaurant concept I thought it would be located in Thornton Park or Park Ave.

However, I’m glad that something like CrepeVine popped up in Altamonte – it’s refreshing to have more dining options than just the typical Olive Garden and Wing House. 

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetThe interior is modern, but not intimidating.

When you walk towards the back you can see an open kitchen with a glass wall – delightful because as soon as you place your order, you can watch the staff prepare it right in front of you.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetOn a recent media visit, I was able to sample “The Czar”, which was a savory crepe with chicken, fresh romaine lettuce, tomatoes, creamy caesar sauce all wrapped up in thin crispy crepe.  The chicken was definitely the highlight, neither smothered in seasoning nor overcooked.

It was as if I was eating a sub but without the heaviness of the bread, which is always a plus if you are trying to stay away from carbs…. or just don’t like bread.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetI ended the visit on a sweet note with a decadent crepe ” The Gilberto”  – a guilty pleasure with strawberries, bananas, whipped cream and Nutella all wrapped in a soft crepe that’s drizzled in chocolate syrup.

Needless to say this was a classic that could not go wrong with all the right sweetness and tartness from the syrup and the fruits. Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

The Crepe Vine definitely lived up to their slogan to be “Fast, Fresh, and Friendly.” I definitely enjoyed my visit and would definitely come back for a quick bite!

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The Crêpevine on Urbanspoon

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Led by James Beard Award nominated Chef Tim Keating, The Flying Fish Cafe on Disney’s Boardwalk features “New American” cuisine with an emphasis on uber-fresh ingredients, seafood and steak specialties such as the potato-wrapped red snapper, crispy crab cakes and char-crusted strip steak.

Chef Tim Keating of The Flying Fish Cafe
Chef Tim Keating of The Flying Fish Cafe

One of our absolute most favorite desserts is the caramelized banana napoleon, a decadent dessert made with layers of crispy phyllo dough, banana mousse, and creme brulee custard.

Chef Keating and the Disney team has graciously shared with us the recipe for the very popular caramelized banana napoleon below:

Caramelized Banana Napoleon at Flying Fish Cafe – Disney’s Boardwalk

Serves 8

Phyllo Pastry
15 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Confectioners’ sugar

Crème Brûlée Custard
1 quart heavy cream
1 cup sugar
12 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped, seeds reserved

Banana Mousse
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatin
1/4 cup banana liqueur
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup mashed ripe banana

Assembly
Banana slices
Confectioners’ sugar
Chocolate shavings

For phyllo pastry:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Brush one sheet phyllo with melted butter, top with a second sheet, bush with butter, and repeat with a third sheet. Place a fourth sheet on top, brush with butter and lightly dust with confectioners’ sugar. Repeat process with fifth sheet. Cut into 8 equal rectangles.
3. Repeat process twice more with remaining phyllo sheets, creating a stack of 5 at a time.
4. Turn a sheet pan upside down and cover with parchment paper. Place the squares on the prepared sheet. Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and top with another sheet pan to firmly press the squares while they bake.
5. Bake 10 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 180°F and bake another 10 minutes or until squares are lightly golden brown.

For crème brûlée custard:
1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. Whisk together cream, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla bean seeds in a large bowl. Pour into an 8×8-inch square baking pan. Place the pan inside a larger roasting pan. Place both pans on the middle rack of the oven. Pour water into larger pans until it reaches halfway up sides of smaller pan.
3. Bake 60 to 70 minutes, until sides of custard are set but center still jiggles slightly. Cool to room temperature. Press a layer of plastic wrap directly onto surface of custard and refrigerate overnight.
4. Cut into 8 rectangles.

For banana mousse:
1. Place white chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water, making sure bottom of bowl does not touch water. Melt chocolate, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Sprinkle gelatin over banana liqueur in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Microwave 10 seconds, stirring gelatin into liqueur.
3. Beat egg yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer until light yellow in color.
4. Add liqueur mixture to egg yolks, beating well to combine. Add white chocolate beating well to combine. Set aside until cooled to room temperature.
5. Whip heavy cream to soft peaks, then gently fold into white chocolate mixture. Fold in banana purée.
6. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

To assemble:
1. Spoon banana mousse into a piping bag or a zip-top bag with one corner cut off. Pipe a small dot of mousse on each serving plate.
2. Top with a phyllo piece, then a piece of crème brûlée custard and another phyllo piece.
3. Top with a layer of banana mousse and sliced fresh bananas.
4. Top with a third phyllo piece and more banana mousse.
5. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar and chocolate shavings

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This recipe has been converted from a larger quantity in the restaurant kitchens.
The flavor profile may vary from the restaurant’s version.

All recipes are the property of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc.,
and may not be reproduced without express permission.

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The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes’ Pastry Chef Yoshikazu Kizu was recently awarded the coveted title of Pastry Chef of the Year at the 25th annual U.S. Pastry Competition on March 2, 2014.

The Ritz Carlton's Pastry Chef Kizu is awarded Pastry Chef of the Year
The Ritz Carlton’s Pastry Chef Kizu is awarded Pastry Chef of the Year

The U.S. Pastry Competition is America’s most prestigious pastry competition, inviting only 13 leading pastry chefs to showcase their talents by creating advanced dessert and chocolate recipes with technical sugar and chocolate sculpted showpieces.

This year’s showpiece theme was “Film Animation” and Chef Kizu created a highly technical film animation-themed showpiece depicting Beauty and the Beast consisting of a chocolate bon bon dessert and a plated dessert.

"Beauty and the Beast" - 1st Place at the US Pastry Competition
“Beauty and the Beast” – 1st Place at the US Pastry Competition

Bon Bon
Bon Bon – Milk Chocolate with Praline Paste, Raspberry Ganache, Earl Grey Tea Ganache completed with Dark Chocolate.

Plated Dessert
Plated Dessert – Milk Chocolate Mousse with Mango Cream and Passion Sorbet, Yuzu Granate and Dehydrated Foam – “The Beauty” of the “Beauty and the Beast”

Chef Kizu with his Dessert Showpiece at the US Pastry Competition 2014
Chef Kizu with his Dessert Showpiece at the US Pastry Competition 2014

The U.S. Pastry Competition is hosted annually by Paris Gourmet, a specialty food importer and distributor, taking place at the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York on March 2, 2014 in New York City. Board members of the Société Culinaire Philanthropique, one of the oldest chef associations in the world, presided over the judging.

On a recent visit to the resort, I caught up with Chef Kizu, in the back of the Ritz Carlton’s kitchen, wearing the classic French toque blanche and putting the finishing touches on the evening’s plated desserts with focus and purpose.

Chef Kizu started in Orlando four years ago after transferring to Grande Lakes from the Ritz-Carlton in his home city, Tokyo. There, he gained his sensibilities and subtleties as a pastry chef.

In Japanese cuisine, sweets are very subtle with lots of fruit flavors and notes.

In America, people love their classic “cheesecakes” and “chocolate cakes”, all with a very heavy hand of sugar.

After creating his first chef’s table dessert and being told that it needed some more sugar, he decided to adapt and began adding a little more sugar to appeal to Western tastes – a decision which probably led to his win at the US Pastry Competition this year.

Today at Ritz Carlton, Grande Lakes he creates desserts with a clean modern aesthetic, incorporating specialty Japanese products to share his culture with a wider American audience from special VIP chef’s table events to every day catering for conferences.

The Ritz Carlton's Pastry Chef Kizu
The Ritz Carlton’s Pastry Chef Kizu

Preparations for the competition was arduous – two months of practicing and preparing desserts, sometimes until 4 am in the morning.

Adjusting to the changes in temperature between warm and sunny Orlando and cold New York, where the competition was held, would prove to be one of the biggest challenges in the competition.

Luckily, he was able to prepare in a very esteemed New York City kitchen before the competition: the kitchen of a living pastry-genius – the ever gracious Christina Tosi, 2012 James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year and pastry chef/owner of Momofuku Milk Bar. Milk Bar has been called “one of the most exciting bakeries in the country” by Bon Appetit magazine.

Pastry Chef Yoshikazu Kizu
A fan of oranges and citrus, ingredients found locally here in Florida, Chef Kizu used blood oranges, orange, chocolate orange, topped with caramel to make his dessert cake for the competition.

Though he is more fond of cooking at home rather than going out to eat (probably because he can make the dishes better at home), one of his favorite places to go out when eating out is, surprisingly, Sweet Tomatoes, the salad buffet restaurant.

Chef Kizu recreated parts of his award winning showpiece for us to sample and after just one bite, I could immediately sense why he was awarded the title of Pastry Chef of the Year.

Delicate textures, subtle layers of sweet and bittersweet flavors, all melting together as one in his desserts. The complexity of the techniques also showed through his dessert pastries, adding multiple components and ingredients together in harmony.

Chef Kizu presenting "Belle" the beauty of the "Beauty and the Beast" showpiece
Chef Kizu presenting “Belle” the beauty of the “Beauty and the Beast” showpiece

Pastry Chef Yoshikazu Kizu

Milk Chocolate Mousse with Mango Cream and Passion Sorbet, Yuzu Granate and Dehydrated Foam – “The Beauty” of the “Beauty and the Beast”

Chocolate bon bons with praline ganache, earl grey tea ganache, raspberry
Chocolate bon bons with praline ganache, earl grey tea ganache, raspberry

Some of the most popular desserts ordered at the resort include peanut butter chocolate cake, Key Lime Pie, and Strawberry shortcake, though the flavors and desserts change seasonally. One of the most memorable desserts for Michelle Valle, public relations director at Grande Lakes Resort, in recent memory was the “smoked” chocolate macaron at the 10th Anniversary dinner for Norman’s restaurant. The chocolate was smoked outside and had a barbecue flavor, which American palates love according to Chef Kizu.

Macarons and Citrus desserts
Macarons and Citrus desserts
Strawberry shortcakes
Strawberry shortcakes
Chocolate Cake with peanut butter crumble
Chocolate Cake with peanut butter crumble

In addition to producing creative sweets through the in-house pastry team, the Grande Lakes resort has a commitment to sustainable cuisine, baking all of its bread in house and sourcing ingredients from the resort’s on-site Whisper Creek Farm. The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes will open a new three-meal-a-day restaurant, Highball & Harvest, in late summer 2014.

The Cake - a new signature Ritz-Carlton dessert unveiled this year
The Cake – a new signature Ritz-Carlton dessert unveiled this year

Pastry Chef Yoshikazu Kizu
Pastry Chef Kizu hopes to one day compete in the International Pastry competition in France, representing Team USA, even if it potentially means facing off against the pastry team of his home country Japan.

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This recipe is inspired by the nutella fruit waffle sandwiches found at Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

Truly a hidden gem, these waffles, as well as their chicken and waffle variety, were some of the most delicious theme park food I’ve had in a while and I still remember it fondly.

My sister Christina recently received a Black and Decker flip waffle maker for Christmas and so we thought we’d try it out today. They turned out perfectly, slightly crispy yet still fluffy and a little sweet.

Directions

Preheat waffle iron. Separate egg whites and beat whites until fluffy in a small bowl. Beat egg yolks in large bowl with hand beater until fluffy. Beat in flour, milk, vegetable oil, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon, just until smooth. Beat in egg whites and sugar.

Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown. Serve hot.

Spread nutella over the waffle and add blueberries, sliced bananas, strawberries, and confectionary sugar as desired.

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Niffty Fiffty’s Diner is one of the new food trucks in town that focuses on nostalgic, home made cooking. I recently had a chance to visit them at the Crealde School of Art in Winter Park for a community fundraiser.

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They cure and smoke their own bacon, and also brine their corned beef, and pastrami in house, an impressive feat for any dining establishment these days. They also smoke their own marinated chicken breasts, BBQ pulled pork, BBQ pulled chicken, beef jerky, and beef brisket.

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The menu ranges from burgers and sandwiches to their very scrumptious, meticulously handmade desserts like cookies, brownies, and cheesecakes. The powdered milk yeast buns that they use for their burger buns are even made in house from scratch. You may remember the strawberry souffled cheesecake that was available elsewhere before can now be found here at Nffty Fiffty’s Diner, and is indeed still a great treat.

The signature sandwich is Kick’in it Pittsburgh, with crispy potato fries and apple cider vinegar cole slaw on the sandwich. I had the opportunity to try one of the Pittsburghs and must say it’s now one of my favorite sandwiches in Orlando, the rich pastrami going well together with the sweet and sour apple cider vinegar cole slaw…all together very refreshing.

 

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Kick’in It Pittsburgh Sandwich – Your choice of our own house-made corned beef, pastrami, or chopped steak, topped with cheese, crispy fried potatoes, oil & apple cider vinegar cole slaw, and vine-ripe tomatoes on thick hand sliced Italian bread $8.00

 

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Niffty Fiffty’s delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Spekulatius Cookie Crumb crust, topped with a Chantilly Cream made with Chinese Five Spice and Dark Rum – based on Marcel Desaulniers Dark Chocolate & Pumpkin Cheesecake from the 1992 James Beard Best Dessert Book Winning Death By Chocolate. Marcel now operates Mad About Chocolate in Williamsburg, VA. http://www.madaboutchocolate.us/madaboutchocolatehome.html

 

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You can find Niffty Fiffty’s Diner on Thursday, January 10th from 5 MM to 9PM at the Edgewood Farmers Market (at City Hall in Edgewood). They are also open from 10AM to 2PM every Friday at Food Truck Fridays at the RDV Sportsplex in Maitland. Check their facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NifftyFifftysDiner for up to date news on locations.

You can preview their menu (subject to change), below:

 

 

 
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Niffty Fiffty's Diner Mobile Food Truck on Urbanspoon

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As many of you know by now, the downtown location of The Dessert Lady at Church Street Station has closed. One of the last tenants of the once bustling historic Church Street Station, The Dessert Lady is in the process of moving to a new locale along Sand Lake Road (aka Restaurant Row) at the Dr. Phillips Marketplace.

I had always liked The Dessert Lady, with its deep red decor and setting a throwback to the yesteryear of Orlando.  I could imagine, maybe back to the days cowboys would walk the halls of the Church Street Station and having a drink at the Cheyenne Saloon next door, finishing up their night in the arms and sweet caress of the Dessert Lady.

The cakes here were always quite delicious, and a rather generous portion, though you do pay for it. Flavors ranged from the traditional key lime pie and lush carrot cakes to the ever popular chocolate zuccotto and coconut brulee cheesecake varieties. You could get a sampler plate of four cakes together to share if you couldn’t settle on just one.  Don’t forget to get a glass of milk goes well.

During this transition to the Dr. Phillips Marketplace location, they will still be accepting whole cake orders for pick up at our bakery at the Kirkman Rd bakery by appointment. by calling 407-999-5696. You can see their offerings here: http://www.dessertlady.com/

Below are some last photos of the Dessert Lady at Church Street Station for posterity:

A look inside The Dessert Lady at Church Street Station

Four cake sampler: coconut brule, chocolate zuccotto, key lime, and strawberry not so shortcake.


The coconut brulee cheesecake on a macadamia nut crust, topped with caramelized coconut.

 

Chocolate zuccotto, made with white and dark chocolate mousse, surrounded by chocolate cake dipped in amaretto.

 

Until we meet again, my fair Dessert Lady.

 

The Dessert Lady on Urbanspoon

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