Desserts

“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!

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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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Photos taken by Tasty Chomps! author Gina Nguyen
Photographer at GTNphoto
Book your shoot at http://www.gtnphotography.com

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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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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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Hilton Orlando’s David’s Club Bar & Grill recently introduced a new line of “screaming cupcakes”, with a twist. The tasty little cakes are creatively filled with an ice cream center, bringing together both ice cream and cupcakes into one singular dessert with explosive outcomes…for your sweet tooth. The items are part of a new line of desserts coming from the casual pub at Hilton Orlando on International Drive. The culinary team is led by Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef Mark Baize, who recently began at David’s Club after a tenure as sous chef at Roy’s on Sand Lake Road. Expect to see a few more additions and touches from the chef and his team at David’s Club in the near future.

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Current Flavors:

Chocolate Chip
Vanilla Cake filled with Vanilla Ice Cream and topped with Chocolate Whip Cream

Red Velvet
with Butter Pecan Ice Cream filling and topped with Cream Cheese Icing

Strawberry Shortcake
Angel Food Cake filled with Strawberry Sorbet and topped with Whip Cream

Baked Alaska
Chocolate Cake filled with Neapolitan Ice Cream and topped with Roasted Meringue

Carrot Cake
filled with Cheesecake Ice Cream and topped with Cream Cheese Icing

Nutty Irish Man
Chocolate Cake filled with Baileys and Guinness Sorbet topped with Whip Cream

Triple Chocolate
Chocolate Fudge and filled with Chocolate Ice Cream

Photos from David’s Club of the Screaming Ice Cream filled Cupcakes

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The assorted list of cupcakes

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Summer days are here in Central Florida. With the temperatures on the rise, people everywhere are looking for a little cool respite.

Located in the lovely Audubon Park district at the corner of Corrine Drive and Winter Park Road, Rainbow Sno-cones features delicious little dessert treats known as snowballs that will be sure to you cool down. Made popular in New Orleans, these balls of shaved ice are finer and more silky smooth like fresh “snow” than their coarser, less refined cousin the snowcone. The desserts here are made using an old fashioned shaved ice machine just like the ones they use in New Orleans to get that fine consistency.

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Bob Homer of Rainbow Sno-Cones

Owner Bob Homer and his family have owned and operated this small walk-up storefront for over 17 years and has remained a popular place for Central Floridians for their many flavors (over 35) and tasty snowballs. The syrupy flavors are made of sugar rather than fructose based corn syrups and include flavors like strawberry, mango, coconut, grape, root beer, pina colada, and more. There are flavor combinations too like the rainbow, fuzzy navel, and the White Russian, which is a combination of coffee, chocolate and sweet cream. My favorite included the Tiger’s blood (it was here first, years before Charlie Sheen popularized the term), made with strawberry and coconut flavors. I requested some condensed milk on top to make it extra sweet. Prices are very cheap, with most items under $2.00. Cash only.

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The Menu

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Tiger’s Blood – a delicious mix of coconut and strawberry.

Rainbow Sno-Cones on Urbanspoon

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Off of Park Avenue, just north of Morse Blvd, you can walk down an alleyway corridor with a beautiful koi pond and stumble upon, next to Paris Bistro restaurant, a small French confectionary shop called Le Macaron. An offshoot of the original store in Sarasota, the purveyors of this bakery shop are recent French immigrants who take pride in their assortments of chocolates, macarons, and house-made gelatos. The decor reminds me of a small boutique shop, minimalistic and modern. There is some seating available outside.

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I first tried macarons at last year’s Share our Strength’s Taste of the Nation charity event. These French confectionaries are small, crispy and airy round shells made from fresh ground almonds and soft meringue. They are like creme filled cookies like a mini whoopie pie, made with fresh ingredients and care, some crunchy some chewy, all delicious.

The macarons come at $1.80 each, a pretty price to pay for the small desserts, but I suppose that’s why the French don’t have as big of a problem with their diets as we do in America where food is often times cheap and in great quantity, while compromising their quality.

The macarons are available in the following flavors:

Belgium Chocolate, Ginger Bread, Sicilian Pistachio, Creme Brulee, Caramel Salted Butter, Candied Ginger Chocolate, Black Vanilla from Madagascar, Lemon, Fresh mint, Raspberry, Passion Fruit Black Chocolate, Basil White Chocolate, Chesnut, Walnut, Crunchy Praline, Black Currant (Cassis), and Colombian coffee.

Time will tell if this is a new trend or a quick fad, but I hope Le Macaron will stay, as macarons have been popular for so many hundreds of years. Open from Monday – Sunday 10AM – 10PM.
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Gelatos available at Le Macaron of Winter Park

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Chocolate truffles at Le Macaron

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Assorted Macarons from Le Macaron


Featured in this recent Michelle Phan youtube video for Lancome – “The Macaron Look”

Le Macaron on Urbanspoon

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Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park

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Located in downtown Winter Park on Park Avenue, Peterbrooke Chocolatierwas established here in 2001. Recently they celebrated their 10th anniversary where they threw a small public event with free chocolate fondue and demonstrations to the community and passerbys. In 2009, the store underwent a change of ownership when Jami Wray and her husband Kevin Wray realized their dream of owning a chocolate store.

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From their website:

Peterbrooke Chocolatier, Inc. was founded in 1983 in a quaint historical neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida known as San Marco. It’s visionary, Phyllis Geiger, named her business after her children Peter and Brooke.Like fine artists, Peterbrooke Chocolatier creates its mouth watering masterpieces by skillfully blending special milk, dark and white chocolate molded, enrobed and hand-dipped. Lusciously enrobed creamy fondant centers, cordial cherries, buttery toffee and hand made truffles. Fresh picked strawberries that are hand-dipped daily.

Some of the specialties that Peterbrooke Chocolatier provides include:

  • Chocolate Parties (fun for all ages!)
  • Chocolate and Wine Classes
  • Team Building Events
  • Shipping
  • Delivery (FREE delivery to Park Ave and Rollins, small fee for longer distances.)
  • Chocolate Fountain rentals
  • Wedding/Shower/Party favors
  • Strawberry trees
  • Chocolate Assortment trees
  • Corporate gifts
  • Custom gifts and baskets
  • Custom Chocolates
  • Edible Images of your family, friends, corporate/team logos, etc.

Some of their more famous items include the Jami Shoos chocolate shoes, chocolate covered bacon, and chocolate covered pretzel “cat tails”

The following are a few pictures taken from their 10th anniversary community event:

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Chocolate Covered bacon
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Chocolate covered popcorn
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Chocolate Fountain
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 Chocolate Pizza Pie
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 Kevin Wray, owner of Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park
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Chocolate Truffles
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Chocolate Jami Shoos
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OpenMonday – Thursday: 10a – 10pFriday – Saturday: 10a – 11pSunday: 12p – 9p

 Peterbrooke Chocolatier300 S. Park Ave.Winter Park, FL407-644-3200

Peterbrooke Chocolatier on Urbanspoon

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It was late Saturday afternoon downtown and the Pillowlando, the International Pillow Fight Day festivities organized by my friend Brian Feldman, just ended. In the midst of the rubble at the Dr Phillips art center on Orange Avenue stood a bright yellow and silver polished truck. It was the Yum Yum Cupcake Truck!

Founded by local couple Joey (UCF alumni and the head of the marketing, business side) and Alex (the baker man), this new bakery on wheels is sure to delight the sweet tooth in us all. Refurbished from a 1973 Chevy stepvan (a old state prison truck in its past life), it now is the mobile home to hundreds of cupcakes, running on sweetness fuel.

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Joey and Alex have lived in San Francisco and Philadelphia where the food truck scene is already thriving. It only seemed natural to start one here on their own, something where they can put their passion into. With the help of the City of Orlando, they had their paperwork and licenses done in no time (compared to some of the lengthier processes in other cities) and were ready to roam the city beautiful, particular Audobon Park Farmer Market, Sanford Farmer Market, and this coming Wednesday at the Food Truck Pod event at Firestone on Orange Ave in downtown Orlando at 6pm!

On this day, they were just about to head out when I had the good fortune to catch their ear on twitter, and so they stayed just a little longer for me and my partner to arrive on the scene to pick up some fresh cupcakes: red velvet and chocolate ($2.50 each).
The chocolate cupcake was moist and sweet, soft and tasty, definitely a favorite. The red velvet cupcake though less moist was still a great piece of cupcake, probably giving other establishments in the area a call to pause and take heed of these young men and their beautiful Yum Yum truck.

This week they unveiled their newest flavor: peanut butter cupcakes (the winning flavor of the month in a vote off against carrot cake).


Follow them on twitter at twitter.com/yumyumtruck_fl and on facebook at www.facebook.com/theyumyumtruck
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Can’t wait to open!

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The Red Velvet Cupcake and the Chocolate cupcake from Yum Yum cupcake truck!



TIP: check them out on twitter.com/yumyumtruck_fl to find out where they are at the moment
 
 
…and then go to them and get some yum yum cup cakes!

The Yum Yum Cupcake Truck on Urbanspoon


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X Factor is coming to audition in Miami this April 7! theyre looking for singers !

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Blue Bird Bake Shop is a new cupcake shop opened here in Orlando in the lovely Audubon Park Garden district.

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Specializing in cupcakes, Blue Bird Bake Shop has created more than thirty flavors. From Red Velvet to Sweet Cakes, Ch-chocolate to Peanut Butter & Jelly, rotating on a daily basis. They also offer brownies, cookies, scones, muffins and other bakery fare. Cupcakes are $2.75 each or $30 for a dozen.

They had some pretty interesting flavors and were quite delicious, although a few of the ones I had were a bit on the dry side. No matter though as a cup of milk helped wash them down 😀

My favorite was the Neapolitan cupcake, but here is a list of the ones I had that day

Downside Up
Vanilla cake – Chocolate buttercream icing sprinkled with vanilla jimmies.

Neapolitan
Layered chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla cake – Strawberry buttercream icing.

Upside Down
Chocolate cake – Vanilla buttercream icing sprinkled with chocolate jimmies.

Tuxedo
Chocolate cake – Cream cheese icing topped with mini chocolate chips.

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You can follow them on facebook at
http://www.facebook.com/bluebirdbakeshop
they sometimes announce specials on there like Halloween or holiday flavors and sales!

Blue Bird Bake Shop on Urbanspoon

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Cali Yogurt – Florida Mall in Orlando Florida

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Have you noticed the frozen yogurt craze in Orlando lately? They are on every corner, literally. Even at the Florida Mall you can get your dose of froyo if needed. “Cali Yogurt” is located right in front of Papaya near Macy’s in the Florida Mall in south Orlando, named after the state where the craze began (California).

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This new addition to the frozen yogurt landscape is not a “self serve” place like the other froyo joints nearby, but it still does offer a good portion for a cheap price with fresh fruit toppings and yogurt flavors.

p.s. you may notice I have updated my camera ! 😀

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Cali Yogurt on Urbanspoon

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