Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

I had the honor of tasting nine different sakes from distilleries all over Japan. The tasting was hosted by the Consulate-General of Japan in Miami and UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.  

Douglas Mueller, owner of a Japanese cafe and grocery store in Jacksonville, led the tasting. Mueller claims to have gained his experience from traveling through Asia. He has picked up a lot of knowledge from the locals who live there. Sake will differ in taste depending on what region of Japan you are in. The beverage usually has an alcoholic content of 14-17 percent. Since sake is made out of rice, the grains are milled to a certain degree.

He began by saying sake was served from a whole range of temperatures. You cold drink it either hot or cold. The temperature will affect the taste. Drinking it hot will give a rounder taste. However for premium sake, it is normally served slightly chilled. There were two grades of premium sake; Ginjo and Daiginjo. The grains for Ginjo sake are 40 percent milled away and it is considered to be “super premium sake”. Daiginjo is at least 50 percent milled away and is classified as “ultra premium sake”.

 

Mueller describes these as the “Nine great sakes of Japan”.

 

 

 

 

  1. ) Junamai Daiginjyo

milled to 23 percent, alcohol content is 16 percent by volume, serving temp is 50-50 degrees fahrenheit.

 

2.) Junmai Daiginjyo

milled to 35 percent, alcohol content is 16 percent by volume, serving temp is 41 degrees fahrenheit.

3.) Junmai Daishinsyu

Milled to 38 percent, alcohol content is seven percent by volume, serving temp is 50 degrees fahrenheit.

4.) Episode

Milled to 40/50 percent, alcohol content is 16 percent by volume, serving temp is 50-59 degrees fahrenheit.

5.) Aizu Homare

Milled to 40/50 percent, alcohol content is 16 percent by volume, serving temp is 41-50 degrees fahrenheit.

6.) Kiddo

Milled to 45 percent, alcohol content is 15 percent by volume, serving temp is 41 degrees fahrenheit.

7.) Karaku

Milled to 50 percent, alcohol content is 15 percent by volume, serving temp is 50-59 degrees fahrenheit

8.) Mizubasho Pure

Millled (n/a), alcoholic content is 13 percent by volume, serving temp is 41-46 fahrenheit.

9.) Kishu Umeshu

Milled (n/a), alcoholic content is 20 percent by volume, The brewing begins the day the plums are picked, that’s why there is no milling.

According to Lexi Grant from Pierson Grant “the ultimate goal is for sake to become a staple of Orlando’s restaurant, catering and hospitality industry, allowing both residents and visitors to experience sake and Japanese culture in Orlando”.  

 

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

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

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

Beers on Tap and Special Menu Items

 

Beers on Tap

Music Provided by DJD Entertainment Professionals

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

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

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

 

American Kitchen Bar & Grill 

Orlando Brewing 

B Resort & Spa

DJD Entertainment Professionals 

 

Martini Pop Band – Lindsey, Jeremy, Rachel

We were invited to indulge in some of the best flavors that Central Florida has to offer during the inaugural Orlando Sentinel Foodie Awards Celebration at Celine Orlando, located in downtown Orlando.  The Orlando Sentinel’s Foodie Awards program has been recognizing the best food and dining experiences in Central Florida since 1998, but this was their first-time kick off event, inspired by Orlando Sentinel food reporter Lauren Delgado and their passionate readers.  General admission tickets included access to the party, live entertainment, and food and drink tastings from over 20 Foodie Awards winners and finalists.

Palm Ridge Reserve owners Dick and Marti Waters.  I always enjoy seeing them!

Create Your Nature (Best Vegetarian/Vegan) – Blackberry crumble oatmeal

Create Your Nature (Best Vegetarian/Vegan) – Holy frijole salad

Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream

Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream

Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream

K Restaurant – Duck breast, white beans, favs beans, English peas, rainbow chard, crispy pork, pea tendrils for a garnish.  (My favorite dish of the night!)

Dajen Eats – “Honey” Ginger Chipotle Cauliflower Bites.  She’s amazing!

1921 By Norman Van Aken – Florida fish & passion fruit ceviche with torched sweet potato and puffed sourghum

1921 By Norman Van Aken – Stone fruit gazpacho with peaches, pickled plums, buttermilk & basil

Maxine Earhart from Maxine’s on Shine

Maxine’s on Shine – “Chicken Maxine’s” – Diced chicken bread pan seared, roasted shallots, mushrooms, cherry tomato, marsala wine cream sauce, penne

Maxine’s on Shine – Rum balls – Classic cake with rum soaked raisins, covered in dark chocolate

Thai Island (Best Thai) – Pad Thai, Panang CK (Thai Curry), Tom Kona (Coconut Soup), Thai Custard (Dessert)

Tamarind Indian Cuisine (Best Indian) – Vegetable Samosa

Tamarind Indian Cuisine (Best Indian) – Tandoori Chicken Tikka

Tamarind Indian Cuisine (Best Indian) – Chicken Biryani

Border Grill Fresh-Mex (Best Mexican) – Carnitas tacos, grilled chicken tacos, shredded beef tacos, chips & house-made queso dip

Tapa Toro – Shrimp Causa – Peruvian style shrimp salad, potato salad, Aji Amarillo, cilantro, micro herb

Dunkin’ Donuts (Best Coffee)

Big Fin Seafood Kitchen – “Signature New Orleans-Style Shrimp” – Blackened shrimp on a bed of crawfish grits and New Orleans vegetables (sun-dried tomatoes, cremini mushrooms and spinach) topped with Cajun cream sauce.

Orlando Meats – Pork Rillettes – Olive oil, bread, Dijonnaise, hot almond

Orlando Meats – Gateux Matilda – blueberry cheese custard

Jeremiah’s Italian Ice (Best Frozen Treats)

Chef Eddie’s (Best Soul)

Grills Lakeside Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar – Tahitian Tuna Poke Cups, Grilled Filefish

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood – Pacific Ahi Tuna Tartar

Mynt Fine Indian Cuisine – Basil Malai Kabab, Chilly Baby Corn, Vegetable Pekora, Chicken Marsala (Nan & Rice)

Francesco’s Ristorante Pizzeria – Beef Tenderloin, Vegetarian Tortellini

Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café (Best German) – Nurnburger Sausage, Heaven and Earth Potatoes, Sauerkraut

Jenn from DaJen Eats being interviewed by Orlando Sentinel reporters Sarah Espedido and Lauren Delgado.

For more information, visit: www.orlandosentinel.com/foodiecelebration

We were invited to the Pre-Opening Party for Wine Bar George at Disney Springs; and it was certainly a “magical night”. The rain stopped just in time for the party to begin, and a rainbow appeared. How perfect is that?

Wine Bar George officially opens Saturday, May 19th, and from my experience during the event, I only see a very busy future ahead for George and his amazing crew (I’m booking my babysitter in advance to return soon). George Miliotes, Master Sommelier (one of only 249 in the world), has personally hand-picked every available ounce of wine in the wine bar. Paired perfectly with small bites (such as house-made meatballs, jicama salad, grilled octopus), family-style platters (such as skirt steak and wine braised chicken), charcuterie and artisanal cheese boards, and desserts (olive oil cake and key lime pie).  One dessert is an event in itself: The Chocolate Experience (pairings of wines and chocolates). Plus, other amazing offerings of beer and cider, and specialty cocktails. Presently, Wine Bar George is the only Master Sommelier-led wine bar in Florida. George brings a lifetime of wine knowledge and education to his new venture. Practically growing up with a glass of wine in his hand (I like this family), working alongside his father (Chris Miliotes) at a young age in his father’s former restaurant off of John Young Parkway, Chris’ House of Beef, success with California Grill, Seasons 52, and Capital Grille, George Miliotes and Wine Bar George are truly special. George also has an amazing crew working by his side, and from what I saw, working extremely hard. All of them passionate about being an intricate part of Wine Bar George, and it shows with their every gesture and word, so quick to recommend the perfect pairing, and share what they know and love with guests. As if the fantastic staff, wine, and food isn’t enough to love this place, there is also the amazingly beautiful atmosphere of Wine Bar George. Soft lighting, large paneled windows overlooking great views of Disney Springs, oak floors, elements of stone and metal, brick walls, and hints of George’s personal wine collections and treasures, make up the two-story (a bar on both levels) wine bar with plenty of comfy seating. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I don’t think my pictures (taken on my iPhone) adequately do the beauty of this place justice. Until you can see for yourself, here’s a sampling of our night at Wine Bar George:

Meeting Chris Miliotes
Meeting George Miliotes

I want Wine Bar George to be my Cheers, where the staff knows my name, I have my very own bar stool in both the upstairs and downstairs bar, and my favorite glass (or glasses) of wine awaits when I enter. This was an event I will never forget and I loved the experience of trying new wines hand-picked by George, eating delicious bites, talking with the amazing staff and fellow foodies, and having the honor of meeting George Miliotes and his father, Chris (both completely modest and easy to talk to). I know you will enjoy Wine Bar George as much as I did…so, plan a visit soon…but, if I find you sitting in my stool at the bar…game on (who am I kidding…I’ll just smile at you and find another spot).

 

Wine Bar George

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/disney-springs/wine-bar-george/

 

If you’re in downtown Tampa for Cinco de Mayo/The Kentucky Derby and don’t know what to do, definitely consider visiting the Westin Hotel’s Blue Harbor for their first event since their grand opening, Cinco de Derby, happening from 3PM-12AM! I previewed a few of the specialty drinks that they’re going to be featuring this Saturday. Nonetheless, they have their Happy Hour from 4PM-7PM with some amazing full-sized appetizers for you to much on while you sip away!

First we started off with their calamari and cheese sample platter. The fried calamari sat on top a bed of veggies and then topped off with what reminded me of shrimp chips! The seasoning and sauces of this dish was amazing and probably one of the favorite calamari dishes I’ve had so far. The cheese platter was great, as well! The fruits were so fresh and sweet, and there was a nice assortment of cheeses that paired very nicely with the salami and pepperoni. I really liked how they had a couple of jams on the side with honey too.

Tropical Fire Water (shown above.) This was probably one of my favorite drinks. Though it’s not a featured specialty drink for the event, you should still give it a try! Beware there’s a bit of added spice to it, so if you’re not really into spicy, you may not be a fan.

Passion Fruit Mojito with a Pea Flower Infusion

Featured below are their three specialty drinks that they will be having at the event for just $10 each! Each were so good, my favorite was the Spicy Mia-Rita! All of their featured drinks use fresh ingredients with some Don Julio, yummm!

Cucumber Agave Lime Margarita (shown above)

Hightailing Jalisco Julep (shown above)

Spicy Mia-Rita (shown above)

Meet Will! The man behind the geniusness of these creative drinks. Definitely stop by and say hi and try his creations and tag him on Instagram @cocktailsbyfrost, ask him from a Scorpion Sting (those are good, but beware they have a little kick to them!)

All in all, I had a really great time at Blue Harbor Bar & Eatery! Their drinks are definitely one of a kind with such creativity and thought put into them. Definitely something to check out! Happy eatings though everyone (or maybe in this case drinking), until next time!

We were invited to Taste of Haiti Orlando’s pre-event “Foodies Night Out” sponsored by Bistro Paradise Restaurant and Tele Anacaona DGTV to try a variety of delicious traditional Haitian dishes.  We had such a blast with media guests and the beautiful Mrs. Haiti International who joined us for a wonderful evening of laughter, chatting, getting to know about Haitian cuisine and of course EATING & EATING some more!  

The vibrant cultural event Taste of Haiti Orlando, a culinary, music and arts festival is taking place this Saturday, May 5th from 2pm-8pm at the picturesque Gaston Edwards Park on Lake Ivanhoe – 1236 North Orange Avenue, Orlando, Florida.  Joining this year’s cultural extravaganza is the award winning “Twoubadou” (“too – baa- doo”) artist Beethova Obas.  Beethova has successfully blended traditional Haitian Music with conscious lyrics and harmonies reminiscent of Creole Jazz mixed in with Afro beat rhythm.

The food was incredible and only a glimpse of what will come at Taste of Haiti Orlando.  Tickets are $10 and is guaranteed to be a ton of fun.

Kudos to our talented chef, Chef Widline Pamphile.  It was my first time eating Haitian food and it certainly won’t be my last!

(Source credit: Taste of Haiti Orlando)

Taste of Haiti Orlando
Saturday, May 5th from 2pm-8pm
Gaston Edwards Park – Lake Ivanhoe
1236 North Orange Avenue, Orlando, Florida

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The weather is beautiful in one of those two or three brief moments of the year where Florida is not yet doused in sweltering afternoon showers and heat. That means it’s food festival season!

Here are two “Tastes” from two cities going on right here in Central Florida this week:


TASTE OF WINTER PARK 2018

April 18, 2018 | 5 PM – 8 PM | Winter Park Farmer’s Market
Winter Park’s Ultimate Foodie Festival

Taste of Winter Park showcases more than 40 of Central Florida’s top chefs, bakers, caterers and confectioners for a fun evening at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market. All-inclusive tickets feature unlimited samples of signature dishes, refreshing beverages and decadent desserts.

Beverages include a selection from the Terlato Wines portfolio, including pairings with select vendors, and signature cocktails featuring Hendrick’s Gin.

Taste of Winter Park features popular eateries and new destinations sure to become your new favorite. Vendors must be members of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce in order to participate.

Keep up with Taste of Winter Park and participating restaurants year-round, plus receive advanced notice for ticket sales on our social media channels.
#WinterParkTaste

For additional information on this event, contact Ally Stricker at astricker@winterpark.org or 407-644-8281.

Early Bird Tickets: *Only available until March 16, 2018

$45 Chamber members (in advance)
$60 Non-members
$400 Pack of Ten Tickets
Taste of Winter Park Tickets

$50 Chamber members (in advance)
$65 Non-members & everyone at the door
$450 Pack of Ten Tickets
For the ultimate experience, be a VIP Guest:

$100
Private Tent
Seated Tables
?Corkcicle Stemless keepsake cup
Unique Food and Drinks with no line
45 VIP parking spots (New England Ave. lot across from Central Park – first to arrive, first served – pre purchased tickets only)
Premium bottles of wine for sale

https://winterpark.org/events/details/taste-of-winter-park-5034975


TASTE OF COLLEGE PARK 2018

Admission includes food, beer and wine from some of the areas best restaurants and bars!

Every spring, the Rotary Club of College Park hosts the Taste of College Park Food & Wine Festival. The festival takes place at the Historic Dubsdread ballroom. This year’s event is scheduled for Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 6:00pm.

The Taste of College Park combines food, wine, music, silent & live auctions for an extraordinary evening in College Park. Nearly a dozen local restaurants and distributors provide the food and wine; local retailers supply items for the silent and live auction. College Park businesses and Rotary Club members sell nearly 500 tickets.

Whether you are a local foodie looking to sample the latest fare from College Park’s best restaurants or a resident looking to enjoy an evening sampling great wines and listening to music, the Taste of College Park Food & Wine Festival is a casual and fun evening for everyone.

The Taste of College Park Food & Wine Festival is the Rotary Club of College Park’s premier fundraising event and one of the largest events in the College Park Community. In previous years, the club raised more than $30,000 for local charities including Ronald McDonald House of Orlando, Princeton Elementary, Lake Silver Elementary, and scholarships & awards for College Park students.

http://tasteofcollegepark.org/

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Typically, I’m not a VIP kind of girl.  Just ask my husband about our very first date at Wendy’s when I couldn’t have been happier with my chocolate frosty (yes, I was only fifteen years old, but my love of Frosty’s remains the same).  However, on a beautiful night in Orlando, date night with one of our best couple friends, attending Beard In Baldwin Food & Wine Festival in Baldwin Park, you have to go VIP all the way!  After all, purchased tickets benefit The James Beard Foundation National Scholars Program, and grant you admission to a private cocktail event inside The Osprey Tavern (one of my favorite restaurants).  VIP or not, this festival on Saturday night, April 14th, was worth every penny, considering the insanely delicious food and drinks we tried from some of the best restaurants in the Orlando area.  My bucket list (restaurants I plan to visit – I’m not into bungee jumping) has grown tremendously!

I could go on and on about every dish, every drink, from every restaurant we tried (seriously, there wasn’t one thing I didn’t like).  But, in consideration of your time and my rambling, here is a glimpse of a few fantastic eats:

Tamale Co.
Mole Tamale – Mexican Sauce Cooked with Chocolate Abuelita Banana, Mexican Spices and Seeds
Bites & Bubbles
Salmon Cake with Lump Crab, Champagne Citrus Sauce and Micro Greens
Orlando Meats
Reuben Tartine with Pastrami, Sauerkraut, Thousand Island Dressing, Rye Bread
Dixie Dharma (Vegan)
Beet Tartare – Beet with Macadamia, Spring Onion, Nettle Oil
Black Rooster Taqueria
Fish Taco – Beer Battered Fish, Organic Corn Tortilla, Red Cabbage, Mayo, Avocado, Cilantro, Radish, Lime
Highball & Harvest
Duck Pot Pie & Stuffed Squid – Wild Onion Bisque, Duck Rillette, Corn Smut Cracker
Terralina Crafted Italian (Opening Soon at Disney Springs)
Nonna’s Pork Ragu – Over Polenta Topped with Pecorino Romano Cheese
SOCO (Southern Contemporary Cuisine)
Duck Confit on Foie Gras Buttermilk Biscuit
Partner/Executive Chef Greg Richie of SOCO

The VIP event inside The Osprey Tavern not only included specialty hors d’oevres and cocktails, but a close-up view of several prominent chefs preparing the dishes: Jeremiah Langhorne (The Dabney in Washington, D.C.), Frank Anderson (The Rez Grill, Seminole Hard Rock Tampa), Soraya Caraccioli-Kilgore (MadLab Creamery in Miami), and Jeremy Ford (Stubborn Seed in Miami).  These terrific chefs worked alongside Chef de Cuisine, Elek Kovacs and Pastry Chef, Kristy Carlucci of The Osprey Tavern.  I can’t forget to mention Master of Ceremonies, Chef Norman Van Aken of NORMAN’S at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, 1921 in Mount Dora, and Three Restaurant and No. 3 Social Rooftop Bar & Lounge in Miami. I was among culinary celebrities!  Thanks to the open kitchen inside the beautiful Osprey Tavern, I had an up-close view of the chefs hard at work on their signature plates, before they were magically whisked out to attendees by the professional and polite waitstaff (shout out to Frankie of The Osprey Tavern).  As we dined on these freshly-made hors d’oevres, we also enjoyed an array of cocktails, wines, and champagnes, while mingling around the beautiful bar that takes center stage in the restaurant.  The Osprey Tavern is cozy and inviting, but also elegant.  Imagine a visit to grandma’s house, after grandma won the lottery, and completely renovated her home to look like a classy cottage in The Hamptons. Here’s a “taste” of the VIP event:

The Osprey Tavern Bar
The Osprey Tavern Open Kitchen
Chefs In The Osprey Kitchen
Dessert Table by Chef Kristy Carlucci
Banana Nutella Tartlets by Chef Kristy Carlucci (My Favorite Dessert)
Orange Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Chocolate Topping by Chef Kristy Carlucci
Woodford Manhattan – Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Vermouth Mata, Angostura
‘In A Garten” – Basil Infused St. Augustine Gin, Raspberry Chamomile Syrup, Lemon Oleo, Lime
Bearded Redhead – Pineapple Infused St. Augustine Vodka, Cappelletti, Lemon
Autumn Olive Farms Pork Belly by Chef Jeremiah Langhorne – Grilled Ramps, Pickled Spring Onions, Black Garlic, Mustard and Dill
Warm Celery Root by Chef Jeremy Ford – Crackling Maitake, Mustard, Herbs and Blossoms
Smoked Trout Dip by Chef Frank Anderson – Poblano-corn Vinaigrette, Tortilla
Roasted Pheasant Roulade by Chef Elek Kovacs – Charred Corn Relish, Spring Ramps, Foie Gras

I will never forget my night attending Beard in Baldwin; especially, the fabulous food and drinks.  The VIP experience gifted my husband and me with a personal look at several outstanding chefs bustling in the kitchen, and the chance to mingle with other foodies like ourselves (one couple shared a memorable story of their wedding reception inside The Osprey Tavern – “I think it’s time for a vow renewal” – I said to my husband).  Being a VIP has grown on me, and to my family’s dismay, I may not be such a low-maintenance date after all.

 

Source:

Beard In Baldwin

Restaurants Mentioned:

Tamale Co.

Bites & Bubbles

Orlando Meats

Dixie Dharma

Black Rooster Taqueria

Highball & Harvest

Terralina Crafted Italian

SOCO-Southern Contemporary Cuisine

The Osprey Tavern

 

 

 

 

I’ve heard about Tampa’s Busch Garden’s Food and Wine Festival over the years, but never had the chance to go until now! With it being my very first foodie festival, I was not disappointed. This year being their 4th annual event, Busch Gardens had an array of cuisines, wines, craft beers, and cocktails to choose from with vegetarian and gluten free options available, as well. Guests have the option of sampling a number of foods and drinks throughout the park, while enjoying the animals and rides too; a plus for parents and their kids.

To start off our evening, our eyes were caught by the Char Siu Duck on a Steamed Bun and the Grilled Lamb Chops with Tabouleh & Tzatziki at Field House Eatery. The grilled lamb was my favorite! The meat was cooked and seasoned nicely and wasn’t gamey at all, when paired with the tabbouleh and tzatziki sauce it balanced the dish perfectly.

Next, we visited Artisan Eats, there we sampled the Duck Fat Truffle Fries with Parmesan Truffle Aioli and the Fleur de Mer Rosé.

Coast to Coast Cookery’s Pan-Seared Steak with Chimichurri & Roasted Poblano Hash, Flourless Chocolate Torte with Raspberry Sauce, and Swamp Head Brewery, Wheat Night Honey Cream Ale.

Garden Gate Café’s Truffle Seafood Mac & Cheese with Shrimp, Scallops, and Cod in a Creamy Gruyere Bechamel with White Truffle, Hawaiian-Seasoned Tuna Poke, You’re My Boy Blue Blueberry Brew, and Graffiti Orange American Wheat Beers. I’m a huge fan of tuna, so that was definitely one of my top dishes.

Now by this point, we were already getting full but we decided to end our night with Chef’s Plantation’s Salmon Cake with Lemon Aioli, Comfort Kitchen’s Fried Plantain Cups filled with Stewed Chicken, and Tasty Taqueria’s Frozen Mojito! The salmon cake and lemon aioli was such a light and refreshing dish that regardless of how full I was, I couldn’t stop eating it.

There were so many other cabins and vendors we missed out on, but the ones we visited definitely didn’t disappoint. From food to entertainment, Busch Garden’s Food and Wine Festival has something for everyone! You can visit Busch Gardens and experience this all yourselves, every weekend from March 3rd – April 29th. Happy eatings, everyone! Until next time.

Author: Melissa Dam
Photo Creds: Cindy Nguyen

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Scenes from this month’s fabulous wine dinner presented by Chef Huy Tin at Seito Sushi Baldwin Park featuring Talley Vineyards wines! Delicious from start to finish!

Menu
Seafood Chawanmushi steamed egg custard with key west pink shrimp, pacific oyster, ikura, white tosa
Wines from Talley Vineyard
Sunomono salad – kyurizuke, salted european cucumbers, sea beans uni marinated scallop, octopus, white ponzu
Seafood Pasta – Homemade noodles, uni, mentaiko, ossetra aviar

Moriawase nigiri
Mushroom Gyoza with foie gras, shiitake and oyster mushroom and porcini dashi
Duck – Tokyo Turnips, chicken liver mousse, rillete of confit leg with asian pear compote
Hanger steak – rainbow carrots, purple osaka mustard greens, miso parsnip puree, five spice chocolate demi glace
Rice Pudding – mochi, dragon fruit, coconut ice cream, sesame cookie

Three things that I love:
1.  4 Rivers Smokehouse – I used to work for 4 Rivers Smokehouse Catering back in 2015.
2.  Winter Park – I went to elementary school, middle school and high school in Winter Park.
3.  Supporting charity events – who doesn’t?!

Combine all those three things that I love and what do you get? COWS ‘N CABS.

Central Florida’s annual Cows ‘n Cabs returned for its seventh year on Saturday, November 11 from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.  Hosted by 4 Rivers Smokehouse founder John Rivers and ABC Fine Wine & Spirits’ David Larue, the event benefited the After-School All-Stars and Elevate Orlando.  This 21+ up charity event returned to 150 North New York Avenue in Winter Park’s Central Park West Meadow and featured more than 30 of Central Florida’s top restaurants including 4 Rivers Smokehouse, The Ravenous Pig, Hunger Street Tacos, Holler & Dash, and Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen.

This is a must attend event for all food enthusiasts.  Cows ‘n Cabs does it right year after year and they are always getting better!

Cow ‘N Cab – Beef Over Creamy Polenta & Cabernet Reduction

The COOP “Fiesty chicken” – Fried Chicken Topped With Lettuce, Pickle, & Fiesty Sauce On A Slider

4 Rivers Smokehouse Sweet Shop – Chocolate Wine Cupcake, Red Velvet Hot Chocolate with House-Made Cream Cheese Marshmallows

ABC Fine Wine & Spirits – Dominick, Wine and Spirit Specialist

Soco Restaurant in Thornton Park – Confit of Pork Rilette with Pickled Apples, Mustard, and Pumpernickle Crostini

Tamale Co. – Cochinita Pibil Tamale and Carne Asada Tamale

The Sanctum – Buffalo Chickun Slider and Bleu Cheez Wedge Salad

Luke’s Kitchen and Bar – Luke’s Crab Cake with Celery Lemon Tartar

STK (Disney Springs) – Dry aged Sirloin of Beef with Smoked Poblano Pepper-Pumpkin Seed Puree and Pickled Butternut Squash

Foxtail Coffee – Cold Brew

Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen – Pork Tenderloin “Pastrami” Banh Mi Sandwich, Truffle Aioli and Pickled Vegetable

Drew Estate

Dove Tale

Tapa Toro – Sliced Corned Beef, Braised Red Cabbage, German Potatoes

Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park – Mini French Macarons, Chocolate Covered Bacon, Chocolate Covered Popcorn

Holler & Dash – The Four O Seven

Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen & Bar – House Ceviche and Shrimp with a Grit Cake

Grey Goose

Fantasy Fare Food Truck (Disney Springs) – Achiote-Orange Rubbed Salmon Taco

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar (Disney Springs) – Smoked Duck Carnitas Bao

The Daily Poutine (Disney Springs) – French Fries, Beef Poutine Gravy, Mushrooms and Cheese Curds

D-Luxe Burger (Disney Springs) – Curried Lamb Burger

F&D Kitchen / F&D Cantina – Guanjillo Chili and Black Bean Quinoa Chili

1921 by Norman Van Aken – Five Spice Crispy Chicken Wings, Fish Sauce Caramel & Thai Herb Salad

Norman’s – Guava-Pasilla Barbecued Pulled Pork Tostada with Black Bean Puree

Morimoto Asia (Disney Springs) – US Wagyu Beef Nigiri, smoked soy, fresh wasabi

Hunger Street Tacos – Fried Avocado Taco, Panko breaded and fried avocado, shredded cabbage, red onion, serrano-lime crema, cilantro, queso cotija

Urbain 40 – Umami-laced Angus Brisket & Short Rib Burger Slider, Caramelized Sweet Onion Compote & Pimento Cheese

The Ravenous Pig – Green Eggs and Ham

The Polite Pig (Disney Springs) – BBQ Cheddar Sausage on Mini-Bun

K Restaurant – Cider Braised Pork Jowl, spiced apple sauce, brussels sprouts salad

Pizza Bruno owner – Bruno Zacchini III

Taverna Opa Orlando – Mini Souvlaki

Hawkers Asian Street Fare – Pork Belly Dumplings and Singapore “Chili” Crab

Sus-Hi Eatstation – Sushi bowl

Amorette’s Pastisserie/ The Ganachery (Disney Springs) – Assortment of Sweet Delights

P is for Pie – Christmas Story Hand Pie with Roast Duck, Caramelized Onions, Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Cranberry Goat Cheese
Salted Honey Bourbon Hand Pie and Caramel Maple Pumpkin Pie

Pop Parlour

For more information, please visit www.cowsncabs.com.
(Source credit: Cows ‘n Cabs)

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Launched nearly 30 years ago in Paris, Le Dîner en Blanc promotes friendship, elegance, gallantry and a sense of community.  Now held in over 70 cities in more than 30 countries around the world, this annual secret affair brings an unforgettable evening of beauty and magic for the all dressed in white foodies and cultural enthusiasts.
Photos taken on Friday, November 10, 2017.
(Source credit: Le Dîner en Blanc)

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It was my 29th birthday so I had to take a picture with Mayor Buddy Dyer to kick off my birthday!

Sonny’s BBQ, one of the nation’s largest and most popular barbecue chains has announced a new location for its highly anticipated “Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown” which has been hosted at the Central Florida Zoo for the past two years.  On Saturday, March 3, 2018, Sonny’s BBQ will host its third annual event at Tinker and McCracken Fields, part of Camping World Stadium.  The all-day event will feature live music with top country artists, food vendors, a kid zone area, and cooking demonstrations for all BBQ enthusiasts.

“We’re looking forward to hosting ‘Sonny’s Smokin’ Barbecue’ in Orlando for the first time and welcoming some of the best pitmasters from around the world to share their tips and techniques,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.  “Barbecue is a big deal in the South so the competition should be fierce and fun.”

This great event also hosts one of the nation’s biggest bbq competitions.  This invitation-only competition brings together the nation’s top pitmasters in one arena for an epic barbecue battle.  Teams are judged on five different meat categories: chicken, ribs, pork, brisket and a mystery meat, which will be announced at the event.  The grand champion team will receive $20,000. The total prize pool totals $68,000.

Bryan Mrockzka (Award-winning Head Pitmaster), Montana Coleman (Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown co-organizer), Bob Yarmuth (CEO), Mayor Buddy Dyer, Barbara (Sonny’s BBQ director)

The Sonny’s BBQ catering team were amazing and friendly!

Chicken, pulled pork, baked beans, mac and cheese.  It was such a classic bbq meal that tasted DELICIOUS!!

News 13 interviewing Mayor Buddy Dyer

Rib demonstration

Gifts for everyone that was in attendance.

Be sure to check out the annual Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown at their new location Camping World Stadium (1 Citrus Bowl Pl, Orlando, FL 32805) on Saturday, March 3, 2018!

Tickets are available here for pre-sale for $12 through November 12, and $15 through March 2.
Kid’s 12 and under are free.
VIP tickets can also be purchased for $40.
 
(Source credit: Sonny’s BBQ)

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Join 10+ award winning, well known, and most popular Central Florida restaurants and chefs for an epic, battle-style burger competition unlike anything you’ve seen before at the brand new Ace Cafe in Downtown Orlando. Cast your vote for the Best Burger in Orlando alongside a distinguished panel of celebrity judges as you sample burger creations from all across the area! Experience a sensation for your taste buds as Central Florida’s top chefs present their take on Orlando’s Best Burger.

Attendees enjoy free beer, wine, spirits, and all the burgers they can eat! With live music, performers, fun zones, and of course, some of the rarest and most sought-after motorcycles in the world on display, this battle cannot be missed! Are You Ready To Crown A Champ?

Sep 23, 2017 from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm

at Ace Cafe Orlando, Orlando, FL

Tickets are on sale now  / $55 General Admission / $75 V.I.P.

General Admission Tickets include:
• All you can eat burgers from each participating restaurant
• Beer, wine, and cocktail bars
• Milkshake bar
• Concert
• Games

VIP Tickets include:
• All general admission items plus …
• Early admission to the event
• Exclusive VIP Lounge with Ace Cafe catering
• Private butler service
• V.I.P. gift bag
• Meet-N-Greet with celebrity judges

For more information, please contact catherine.walters@morris.com or call 407-318-7264!

http://www.orlandomagazine.com/Burger-Battle/

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By Hoang Nguyen

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando has unveiled a new weekly themed dinner show, Caribbean Carnaval, featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet and high-energy, live entertainment for the entire family.

Accompanied by stilt walkers and acrobatic dancers, the evening’s lively hosts whisk the audience away on a flavorful, musical tour through the Caribbean with plenty of dancing, singing, limbo and even a conga line.

 

Guests enjoy authentic Caribbean dishes and drinks, including Planter’s Punch, mojo roasted suckling pig, ropa vieja, jerk chicken, grilled snapper, Caribbean rum cake and guava flan.

A colorful cast of characters provides exciting live entertainment as they take guests on a musical voyage from Florida through the Bahamas with stops in Cuba, Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad.

We were recently invited to attend the new Caribbean experience at the Loews Sapphire Falls resort.

 First and foremost, the hotel was gorgeous with wooden beams and gave the guest a very beach resort sensation.  The staff was very friendly.  We were greeted in the lobby and lead down to the Cayman Court pavilion where the show would take place.  We were greeted by cast members representing different areas of the Caribbean along the way. 

 

Once we reached the outside dining area, the cast welcomed us with beads and provided island music for us to enjoy during dinner.  A buffet consisting of different dishes from all the different nations were available to us including Jerk Chicken, Coconut rice with mahi mahi and ropa vieja.  

However, the crown jewel of the night was undoubtedly the whole roasted pig.  It was extremely moist.  The meat was flavorful, fatty and fall of the bone tender.  It’s not everyday that patrons get to see a whole pig, head included, served in front of them. The pork paired very well with the planter’s punch and coconut rice.  The sweetness of the punch, saltiness of the pork combined with the creamy flavor of the rice really worked well together.   

Even with the plentiful spread available on the buffet table, we definitely made room for dessert.  The rum cake was definitely heavy on the rum.  It was a little dry for my taste and could have benefited with some extra glaze.  Our favorite was definitely the guava flan.  The texture was creamy, smooth and was not overly sweet with a hint of guava flavor.  

 

As the night went on, we were whisked away on a musical voyage from Florida through the Bahamas with stops in Cuba, Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad.  The show was very engaging and entertaining.  The energy level started off high and dramatically increased as the night went on as the audience loosened up a bit.  The acrobatics were awesome.      

The dances were well coordinated and enhanced with colorful and lively costumes.   The music was upbeat but also made us feel like we were relaxing in the tropical islands.  All of a sudden a conga line started and we were surrounded by dancing audience and performers.  

To sum it up, if you were in the mood for a great show and wanting to sample a variety of dishes from the different Caribbean nations, then this event should be marked on your calendar.  The show was fun and engaging.  The food was plentiful and provided a plethora of food for every palate.

 Caribbean Carnaval takes place every Wednesday night in the resort’s outdoor pavilion, Cayman Court.

Seating begins at 6 pm and the show starts at 7 pm.   

Tickets are $69 for adults and $35 for children ages 3-9. Children under 3 are complimentary. Price includes gratuity, non-alcoholic beverages, wine, beer and Planter’s Punch. Tax and ticketing fees apply.

For reservations, call 407-503-DINE (3463) or visit caribbeancarnaval.eventbrite.com.

 

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The Dinner Party Project and Orlando Artist LeAnn Siefferman present
“Making Conversations,” a unique series of dining and dialogue events.

ORLANDO – (June 9, 2017) Orlando ceramics artist LeAnn Siefferman, in partnership with The Dinner Party Project, will present Making Conversations, a new series of dining events where people will share a meal and share ideas on topics not often discussed around the dinner table.

Making Conversations, which will hold its first event on Thursday, June 29, is a unique opportunity for guests to talk about critical community issues while eating off handmade dinnerware with topical illustrations.

This six-month series will address six topics, with each dinner representing a different conversation:

-Mental Health
-Homelessness
-A Changing Climate
-Race and Privilege
-Aging and Staying Engaged
-and Gender & Identity.

Professional facilitators from the Peace and Justice Institute at Valencia College and select community leaders will moderate each Making Conversations dinner.

Siefferman, a longtime artist who works out of the City of Orlando Pottery Studio in Parramore, will create unique dinnerware for each dining event, featuring illustrations and designs meant to challenge people’s thinking and get guests talking about difficult topics.

Having started the Making Conversations project in January, Siefferman’s partnership with The Dinner Party Project creates a public space for her work to inspire story sharing, active listening and community building over fine food and drink.

“Social media has led many of us to surround ourselves with like-minded individuals,” Siefferman said. “Our aim in presenting Making Conversations is to create an environment for people to have a meaningful exchange of ideas.”

“It is our hope that these small, intimate events can contribute to the larger conversations going on in the Central Florida community,” said Dana Marie Roquemore, Founder of The Dinner Party Project, a weekly invitation-only dinner party that brings together strangers for a night of fine foods, incredible drinks and great conversation.

Making Conversations will be held at 6:30p at 1010 West Church Street in downtown Orlando. The monthly event will be held on the evenings of June 29, July 27, August 31, September 28, October 26 and November 16.

Tickets are $75 per person and includes Tito’s cocktails, a 4-course meal paired with wine, and Credo coffee. A portion of the proceeds collected from ticket sales will be donated to a local charity.

For more information, please contact LeAnn Siefferman at LeAnn.Siefferman@Gmail.com or 256-665-5726

What: Making Conversations, presented by The Dinner Party Project and LeAnn Siefferman
When: 6:30 p.m. on June 29, July 27, August 31, September 28, October 26 and November 16
Where: 1010 West at 1010 West Church Street in downtown Orlando
Tickets: $75 per person, includes a Cocktail, 4-Courses, Wine and Credo coffee
Information: www.thedinnerpartyproject.co

Photos courtesy of LeAnna Siefferman and The Dinner Party Project

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Last year, after the Pulse Tragedy, restaurants throughout Florida came together to fundraise to support the families and survivors of the tragedy through Dine Out For Orlando (https://www.frla.org/dine-out-orlando/).

This year, to honor the memory of the 49 innocent victims who lost their lives at Pulse and to support the survivors, the City of Orlando and Orange County, in collaboration with Pulse, have designated Monday, June 12, 2017, as Orlando United Day – A Day of Love and Kindness.

On this day, a number of community events and activities will take place, including Acts of Love and Kindness – a homegrown movement led by the One Orlando Alliance and influenced by victims’ families.

Local restaurants are also commemorating June 12th with fundraising with specials.

Here are a few (to be updated as we hear more):

Brooklyn Water Bagel

In support of Orlando United Day on Monday, June 12, Brooklyn Water Bagel’s Winter Park and Lake Mary store locations will serve special limited-time only rainbow bagels – with 100% of the proceeds from rainbow bagel sales to benefit the Better Together Fund at Central Florida Foundation. The bagels will be available in-store Saturday, June 10 through Monday, June 12.

Brooklyn Water Bagel hopes to sell thousands of bagels over the course of the weekend, and you can help do your part! Customers who wish to support the effort may purchase the rainbow bagels individually or even take home a baker’s dozen to share the Brooklyn love.

Brooklyn Water Bagel Lake Mary: 3801 Lake Mary Blvd Unit 139, Lake Mary, FL 32746.
(407) 878-7863

Brooklyn Water Bagel Winter Park: 4026 N Goldenrod Rd, Winter Park, FL 32792.
(407) 681-4011

Umi Restaurant

On Monday, June 12 for #OrlandoUnitedDay, 10% from the day’s sales will be donated to Equality Florida, to support all they do for our community.

Umi Japanese Restaurant
525 S Park Ave, Winter Park, Florida 32789
www.umiwinterpark.com.


Sweet By Holly

On June 12, please join Sweet as they #ActLoveGive together as a united community! On #OrlandoUnitedDay, 50% of all Classic sized Rainbow cupcake sales will be donated to Equality Florida. They anticipate on selling out, so call ahead to book yours! Waterford Lakes – 407.277.7746 or Jacksonville – 904.564.2711. #HonorThemWithAction

Waterford Lakes Town Center
711 North Alafaya Trail
Orlando, FL 32828

St. John’s Town Center
4624 Town Crossing Dr., Suite 137
Jacksonville, FL 32246

Sus Hi Eatstation

As a dedication to “Orlando United Day” and in loving memory of the Pulse victims, they will be donating $5 for every t-shirt sold to the onePULSE Foundation. Pre-order at www.makemeninja.com!

– 4498 N Alafaya Trail #324 Orlando, FL 32826 (UCF/East Orlando area)
– 380 S State Rd 434 #1004 Altamonte Springs, FL 32714 (Altamonte Springs area)

The Osprey Tavern

Proceeds from cookie sales to benefit the Central Florida Foundation
4899 New Broad St, Orlando, FL 32814

Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park

Proceeds from marshmallows to benefit Zebra Coalition
300 S Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
—–

There are a number of ways for you to show the power of love, acceptance and inclusiveness by participating in one of the events and activities on June 12, 2017.

On that day, Orlando After-School All-Stars is also partnering with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s Central Florida Chapter to host “Round Up For Kids” to help fund the Summer of Dreams program. This free 10-week program provides homeless youth with meals, academic enrichment and mentoring.

“Engaging in Acts of Love and Kindness on June 12 is a respectful, meaningful and deeply loving way to remember and honor the lives of those who were lost too soon,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “One year later, I still believe the Pulse tragedy will not define us, but will bring us together.”

Some of Orlando’s best restaurants are making it easy for you to contribute on June 12, 2017. When you dine at any of the restaurants listed here, http://orlandoasas.org/round-up-for-kids/ round up your check to the nearest dollar amount and let your server know you want to Round Up For Kids. The change you donate will help change lives.

“Florida’s hospitality industry is proud to lend its unequivocal support to assist homeless youth in Central Florida. FRLA encourages patrons to dine at participating restaurants and to round up their tabs for children in need,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of FRLA.

Last summer, Summer of Dreams served 1,137 homeless students from 36 different sites in Orange, Seminole and Osceola Counties. Each of those students received academic enrichment, tutoring, mentoring, financial literacy training, a back pack filled with school supplies and two meals a day thanks to support from Summer of Dreams Founding Sponsor, Fifth Third Bank. Those students also worked with staff to provide nearly 8,000 hours of community service.

Barb Scherer, Sr. Vice President/Communications from Fifth Third Bank added, “We are pleased to be sponsoring our seventh year of Summer of Dreams. This program is so critical to provide support for homeless children during the summer gap when there is little access to meals. To partner with the City of Orlando, After School All-Stars, FRLA and area restaurants to honor the Pulse tragedy on Orlando United Day by helping these kids is the ultimate act of love, kindness and generosity. Fifth Third Bank is proud to be a part of the Orlando community.”

http://orlandoasas.org/round-up-for-kids/

Event Site: https://www.frla.org/event/orlando-united-day/

For more information about how you can engage in Orlando United Day—A Day of Love and Kindness, go to orlandounitedday.com and actlovegive.com.

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Brandon McGlamery Prato Luma Winter Park

Winter Park’s Ultimate Foodie Festival

The 32nd Annual Taste of Winter Park takes place on Wednesday, April 19, 2017!
Taste of Winter Park showcases more than 40 of Central Florida’s top chefs, bakers, caterers and confectioners for a fun evening at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market. All-inclusive tickets feature unlimited samples of signature dishes, refreshing beverages and decadent desserts.
Top off the evening with live entertainment from saxophonist Johnny Mag Sax, raffle drawing and more!

Event Date

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
5 – 8 p.m.
Winter Park Farmers’ Market, 200 E. New England Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789

Event Details

Taste of Winter Park features popular eateries and new destinations sure to become your new favorite. Vendors must be members of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce in order to participate.

 

32nd Annual Taste of Winter Park Participants

ABC Fine Wine & Spirits
Another Broken Egg Café
Antonella’s Pizza
Bailey’s Coffee Service
Barnie’s Coffee & Tea
Ben & Jerry’s
Blaze Pizza
Boi Brazil Churrascaria
Brewstillery/ The Bear and Peacock Brewery
Bulla Gastrobar
Cocina214
Costco Wholesale
Create Your Nature
Florida Distributing
Gator’s Dockside Baldwin Park
Heathrow Country Club + Legacy Club
Hunger Street Tacos
Jeremiah’s Italian Ice
John and Shirley’s Catering
Kona Grill
Luke’s Kitchen and Bar
Luma on Park
Maestro Cucina Napoletana
Mellow Mushroom
New Moon Market
Olde Hearth Bread Company
Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park
Prato
Publix Supermarkets Inc.
Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen & Bar
Rubio’s Coastal Grill
Scotchie’s “Delivering Celebrations”
Square 1
Sweet Tomatoes
Swine Family Restaurant Group
T.R. Fire Grill
The Gourmet Cuisine at Rollins College
Tijuana Flats Tex-Mex
Umi Japanese Restaurant
Wayne Densch
Whole Foods Market
Zona Fresca
4 Rivers Smokehouse

Raffle Prizes
This year our raffle prizes include 2 Dine Around Winter Park packages, featuring discounts and gift cards for our participating vendor restaurants. More information and additional prizes coming soon!

Tickets

The admission fee is $40 for Winter Park Chamber members and $50 for general admission.
Option to purchase a group of 10 tickets at a discounted rate for $350.
Tickets ordered in advance will be available at Will Call beginning at 5 p.m. on the day of the event. Prices are all-inclusive and tickets cannot be returned, refunded or exchanged. Event held rain or shine. Must be 21 and up to attend.
Buy tickets here:

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PRESS RELEASE: Ocean Prime chefs pair up to create culinary experience for The Dinner Party Project
Tickets now available for pop-up sushi dinner on April 9 benefiting The Human Experience Orlando

ORLANDO AND TAMPA, FL (March 20, 2017) – Ocean Prime’s Orlando and Tampa locations are teaming up with The Dinner Party Project to host a sushi pop-up dinner on Sunday, April 9 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at 1010 West in Orlando. Tickets are $100 per person and a percentage of proceeds will benefit The Human Experience (THE) Orlando.

During the dinner, Ocean Prime Orlando Executive Chef Jeremy Mattson and Ocean Prime Tampa Executive Chef Adam Polisei will walk guests through an Asian-inspired, seven-course meal featuring:

Gravlax and caviar with spring pea, cured lemon, fennel, shiso and crispy skin
Ocean Prime’s Ahi Tuna Tartare with wasabi avocado and ponzu
Hamachi Duo with beet infused rice, red onion pickle and watermelon radish
A selection of popular Ocean Prime sushi rolls including the lobster roll, spicy tuna and prime roll
Ramen featuring king crab, pork belly, mushroom and black truffle
Kobe beef with crispy rice gomae, mirin butter and unagi
For dessert, a coconut sorbet with toasted dashi flakes and shaved micronut

Beverages will include cocktails mixed with Tito’s Homemade Vodka, wine pairings, sake pairings and Credo Coffee. The evening promises to be entertaining as well as appetizing with Opera Orlando providing the soundtrack. Cocktail attire is requested. The dinner is limited to 80 guests who can purchase tickets online here.

ABOUT OCEAN PRIME: Ocean Prime is a modern American restaurant and lounge from renowned restaurateur Cameron Mitchell. The award-winning Ocean Prime delivers an extraordinary experience with stunning settings, an impressive menu of seafood and prime cuts of steak, signature cocktails, a Wine Spectator-honored wine list and truly genuine hospitality.  From the kitchen and bar, there is an appreciation for ingredients that comes through in every dish. The menu is classic and yet there is a modern sensibility to the preparations which range from lighter fare to indulgent seafood presentations, juicy steaks and decadent desserts.  Each Ocean Prime location is dramatically designed and inspired by the unique energy of the city where it’s located.  With stunning spaces, luxe details and truly exceptional service, Ocean Prime is an ideal place to socialize, talk business, celebrate and indulge. For more information, please visit www.ocean-prime.com.

ABOUT THE DINNER PARTY PROJECT: With humble beginnings, The Dinner Party Project (TDPP) started simply as a gathering of friends, new and old, in Founder Dana Marie Roquemore’s home. Through word-of mouth and social media, The Dinner Party Project has quickly become a favorite way for Orlandoans to connect, in welcoming settings complete with local food and great conversation. While the TDPP brand has grown, each dinner maintains its original intimacy and character—with only eight guests who are randomly selected to attend. TDPP also engages the community at large dinners that gather the masses. They are a way to enjoy the incredible food & arts scene we have in Orlando, and a great way to meet new people. For more information or to take part in a future dinner party, visit TDPP here.

 

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“Women in the Kitchen: A Celebration at Lake Meadow” will celebrate and support the James Beard Foundation’s work in advancing women in the culinary industry. This seated four-course dinner takes place on the beautiful grounds of Lake Meadow Naturals farm and will feature food from James Beard Foundation Award-winning women chefs and restaurateurs from across the country.

The Women in Culinary Leadership is an accelerated, learning-by-doing mentorship program. Offered under the auspices of the James Beard Foundation, WCL gives women with a background in hospitality or the culinary arts and at least two years of relevant work experience a chance to work with top industry leaders and build in-depth skills in the kitchen or in restaurant management and hospitality. The James Beard Foundation is committed to correcting the gender imbalance in the restaurant/culinary industry by cultivating, training, and supporting women throughout their professional careers.

This event proudly supports the James Beard Foundation’s Women Entrepreneur Leadership Program, an annual fellowship for a class of women to attend an entrepreneurship and leadership training program developed with and hosted at Babson College. Curriculum will address basic business and finance concerns, provide gender-specific training and skill development, provide access to top mentors in the field, and provide ongoing support to participants.

Host Chef:
JBF Award Nominee Kathleen Blake (The Rusty Spoon, Orlando)

Participating Chefs:
Paula DaSilva (Artisan Beach House, Miami)
Katharine Elder (Elderslie Farm, Bramble Café, Valley Center)
Adrienne Grenier (3030 Ocean, Fort Lauderdale)
JBF Award Winner Melissa Kelly (Primo, Rockland)
JBF Award Winner and Board Chair Emily Luchetti (The Cavalier, Leo’s Oyster Bar, Marlowe, and The Park Tavern, San Francisco)
2012 Atlanta Rising Star Whitney Otawka (Cumberland Island), JBF Award Nominee
JBF Award Nominee Jennifer Puccio (Marlowe, Park Tavern, The Cavalier, San Francisco)
JBF Award Winner Anne Quatrano (Bacchanalia, Star Provisions, Floataway Cafe, Little Bacch, W.H. Stiles Fish Camp, SUMMERLAND, Atlanta)
Gloriann Rivera (1921 by Norman Van Aken, Mount Dora)
Music by Beth McKee.

DATE AND TIME
Sun, April 23, 2017
3:00 PM – 6:30 PM EDT

LOCATION
Lake Meadow Naturals
10000 Mark Adam Road
Ocoee, FL 34761

TICKETS – $150
www.womeninthekitchen.eventbrite.com

We spoke to Chef Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon (who was recently nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Chef of the South) about the upcoming benefit dinner.

1. How did this team of amazing wonderful chefs come together for this dinner?

I invited them! I spent 36 hours in San Francisco cooking for the first fundraiser for this program. The program is the first of its kind geared to those of us that are seasoned in our careers. I wanted to keep the momentum going. Some are chefs I met along the way, some I have worked for or with and all INSPIRE me!

2. What are some challenges you have faced in the culinary world as a woman and how did you overcome them?

Being taken seriously, I still get, “Can I speak to a Manager or the Owner”, and raising a family. I just did it, as far as the family part! I chose my bosses carefully and worked in the type of restaurants where I knew I would learn the most. As far as being taken seriously, I just smile and say, “That’s ME!”!

3. What advice do you have to young women who wish to go into the culinary field?

Do the research! Don’t job hop, look for chefs that provide you with great ingredients, a structured atmosphere, and challenge you to taste and try!! Be fearless about starting at the bottom! It takes TALENT to multitask and an educated palette to get seasoning on point.

4. What are some dishes that might be featured at the dinner (I know it is a little early!)

Melissa Kelly, PRIMO, will be doing pasta. Anne Quatrano, Bacchanalia, StarProvisions, FloatAway, WH Stiles Fish Camp, Little Bacch, SUMMERLAND, will be doing a delish fish crudo. Paula DaSilva and Adrienne Greiner are teaming up for the Hor d’oeuvres and Emily Luchetti, on dessert. Of course there will be lots of eggs from Lake Meadow!

5. Chef Kathleen, you recently were nominated for the James Beard Award – how do you feel about this and what do you think makes your food stand out?

YAHOOOOOOOOOOO!!! It just affirms my philosophy of cooking within the seasons and buying as much local, thoughtfully grown and responsibly sourced ingredients as possible. They require minimal manipulation and that flavor stands out! Also, Central Florida deserves recognition for all the great dining options – so many talented chefs and so many ingredients right here!

6. What are your most popular dishes right now at The Rusty Spoon?

Always the stuffed deviled eggs, the crudité’s, the “55” and the fresh pastas. We have a Chef’s Whim that changes daily – Today, Lake Meadow Pork Hocks, tomorrow, Florida Softshell crabs arrive!

7. What do you cook for yourself when you are looking for “comfort food”, say after a long day at work?

EGGS! I’m also obsessed with an Indian comfort food, kitchari (a dish made with rice and lentils_ right now.

Lake Meadows Naturals Deviled Eggs

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PRESS RELEASE:

Eat, Sip, Meet James Beard Award-Winning Cookbook Authors/Chefs
Art Smith and Norman Van Aken at
10th Annual ‘Reading between the Wines’ Event April 12
Adult Literacy League Fundraiser at Orlando Science Center Serves Community

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 13, 2017) – James Beard Foundation award-winning cookbook authors and celebrity chefs Art Smith and Norman Van Aken headline the 10th annual “Reading between the Wines” Adult Literacy League of Central Florida fundraiser April 12, 2017 from 6-9 p.m. The event at Orlando Science Center is presented by Bank of America.

Two of the country’s most renowned culinary artists and celebrity cookbook authors, Smith and Van Aken will engage in a lively discussion moderated by local author Bob Morris. Central Florida News 13 feature reporter and anchor Allison Walker-Torres will emcee the evening.


Smith and Van Aken will share their take on Florida’s distinctive larder and harvests. Covering topics ranging from pecans and mangoes to beef to seafood, these masters of Florida fare will dish with the audience and sign books at the event celebrated for its generous food and wine offerings by some of Orlando’s top restaurants.

During the festive three-hour event, guests can mix and mingle while enjoying savory and sweet tapas-sized noshes by Swine & Sons, 4Rivers Smokehouse and The Coop, Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant of Disney Springs, Carmel Café, Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse at Hyatt Regency Orlando, The Palm and Olde Hearth Bread Co. Art Smith’s new Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen at Disney Springs and the new 1921 by Norman Van Aken in Mount Dora, also will feature signature bites. Darden Restaurants and its suppliers and PRP Wine International will provide wines to pair with the food. Guest also can bid on silent auction items that include everything from theme park tickets to resort spa and restaurant packages.

All event proceeds will support Adult Literacy League (ALL) programs and services designed to build a literate community. ALL provides one-to-one tutoring and classes to more than 1,000 adults on a weekly basis, plus books and learning materials to 600 preschoolers in low-income families each year.
Tickets for the event are on sale now. Individual tickets are $90; a $600 Connoisseur’s Table includes four event tickets, a reserved cocktail table, two gift bottles of wine and recognition as a sponsor in the event program.

When the sipping, noshing and bidding wind down, guests can grab a seat to hear from event headliners Smith and Van Aken.

Norman Van Aken is “the founding father of New World Cuisine,” a celebration of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavors. He also is known internationally for introducing the concept of “fusion” to the culinary world. He is on the James Beard list of “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage,” and his Orlando restaurant “NORMAN’S” was nominated as a finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Restaurant in America.” He was even named a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for “Best Chef in America.”

Van Aken has published five cookbooks and one memoir: Feast of Sunlight 1988, The Exotic Fruit Book 1995, Norman’s New World Cuisine 1997, New World Kitchen 2003 and My Key West Kitchen 2012 (with Justin Van Aken), No Experience Necessary, The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken, 2013 and My Florida Kitchen (with Janet Van Aken) 2016. His radio show, “A Word on Food,” appears twice a week on NPR station WLRN 91.3 FM. He has appeared on television, including on CNN, Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations,” and Jimmy Kimmel Live. He is the Chef-Owner of “NORMAN’S at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, Orlando.” His new venture is a Cooking School, “In the Kitchen with Norman Van Aken,” in partnership with Candace Walsh, being built on Biscayne in Miami. 1921 by Norman Van Aken is located in Mount Dora, Fla.

Art Smith has received the culinary profession’s highest awards and has cooked for some of the world’s most famous celebrities. In 1997, Smith became the personal, day-to-day chef to Oprah Winfrey, a position he kept for 10 years. Now, he coordinates and cooks for events all around the world. Smith was honored by Chicago magazine as a Chicagoan of the Year in 2007 and is a two-time James Beard Foundation award winner. In 2008 Chef Art Smith received an Honorary MBA Degree, awarded by the Dedman School of Hospitality at Florida State University and was inducted into the Chicago Culinary Museum’s Hall of Fame in 2010. He has made numerous television appearances including on Iron Chef America, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, Fox News, Extra, Entertainment Tonight, BBQ Pitmasters, The Dr. Oz Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
He is also the author of award-winning cookbooks: Back to the Table, Kitchen Life: Real Food for Real Families, Back to the Family, and Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort, which focuses on healthy cooking and healthy living.

Chefs Art and Norman will sign books following their question-and-answer period.
Visit www.adultliteracyleague.org for more information. To purchase tickets to Reading between the Wines call 407/422-1540, ext. 111 or click on http://www.adultliteracyleague.org/buy-tickets/ .

The Adult Literacy League (ALL) was created by a group of dedicated volunteers in 1968 and, since then, has helped thousands of adults 18 and older gain employment and economic self-sufficiency through one-on-one tutoring and classes in reading, writing, math, computer skills and other key studies. ALL holds classes in Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and its Family Literacy program teaches parents to become the first and most effective teacher in their children’s lives. When an adult cannot read, it is a detriment not only to the individual, but also to our community. ALL’s Reading between the Wines event was designed to raise awareness, funds and friends so we can continue to change people’s lives through literacy. For more information and to purchase tickets to the event, please call Gina Solomon at 407-422-1540 ext. 111.

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Photos by Negin Alimohammadi

Chef Hari Pulapaka of Cress Restaurant in Deland recently hosted an outdoor family style meal for 300 featuring the cuisines of the 7 countries who are part of the Trump administration’s immigration ban – Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Here are a few scenes from the dinner captured by our good friend, Negin, who herself is an Iranian national who has lived here for the past 6 years as an engineer and who was personally effected by the immigration ban on her way back to Orlando from a family visit to Iran.

Chef Hari

Guests who attended could taste “deeply flavoured stews, herbaceous sauces, rustic breads, aromatic rice dishes, and complementing side dishes.”

“My goal is to present the meal with dishes from many countries during the same course to illustrate that there are few rules and most dishes complement each other and that the power of food as a great equalizer, at a communal table, is a lesson for the ages,” said Chef Hari Pulapaka in a recent interview.

The benefit dinner raised over $10,000 for International Rescue Committee (rescue.org), a global humanitarian aid, relief and development nongovernmental organization. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers emergency aid and long-term assistance to refugees and those displaced by war, persecution or natural disaster.

Menu
Couscous with carrots, beets, broccoli and cauliflower (Syria)
Lamb maraq (Somalia)
Saffron rice pudding, rose water, dates (Iran)
Polow with saffron, raisins and cashews (Iran)
Roasted corvina with spices and olive oil (Iraq)
Wagyu beef and potato kubba (Iraq)



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Ninth Annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest at Lake Eola Set for February 25 and 26, 2017

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 20, 2017) – The Ninth Annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest is set for Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26, 2017 for more than 30,000 foodies and wine lovers to experience unique local cuisine paired with wines from around the globe.

Located in the heart of downtown Orlando at Lake Eola on Robinson Street, the two-day Fest features mouth-watering dishes from 30 ofOrlando’s premier restaurants, 50 domestic and international wines and live entertainment.  A portion of the proceeds benefit UCF Foundation, Inc. and Valencia Foundation.

Headline entertainers include Gavin DeGraw and KC and The Sunshine Band. Additional live music artists to be announced onwww.downtownfoodandwinefest.com.

Date / Time: Saturday, February 25 (noon to 9 p.m.) and Sunday, February 26, 2017 (noon to 7 p.m.)

Location: Located in the heart of downtown Orlando at Lake Eola along Robinson Street

 

Fest Admission: 

 One-Day General Admission

Admission is $20 per person, per day with advance online purchase. Admission at the door is $25 per person, per day.

Two-Day General Admission

For all-weekend Fest fans, a two-day ticket is available for $35 per person with advance online purchase.

Wine Tasters Club

A limited number of Wine Tasters Club passes will be available for purchase for $20 per person at the Fest.  Club members will enjoy up to five 2 oz. pours of their choice throughout the Fest and a souvenir lanyard.

Ultimate Fest Experience

A limited number of Ultimate Fest Experience packages are available for $115 per person, per day and includes a VIP parking pass, general admission, Wine Tasters Club, $20 value in food and beverage tickets, access to the private stage-side VIP tent, private wine/beer bar with premium wines (food and beverage tickets required) and access to private bathrooms reserved for VIP guests.

Food & Beverage Tickets:

Food and beverage tickets are available at the Fest for $2 each; food and beverage offerings range from one to four tickets.

“One of my favorite things about Downtown Orlando is the variety of restaurants and event options,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “The Downtown Food & Wine Fest combines both by adding to the array of event options residents and visitors can attend, as well as, helping to enhance the vibrancy of the area all the while increasing awareness of our local businesses and strengthening economic growth in the area.”

Steve Carver, senior vice president and market manager, CBS RADIO Orlando commented, “Through the power of radio and the strength of our partnerships with the Orlando Downtown Development Board (DDB), restaurateurs, foodies and fans will come together to celebrate the sights, sounds and tastes of Orlando.”

Top restaurants are scheduled to present culinary tastings to complete in the Golden Fork Awards as honored by a panel of Orlando elected officials, food writers and reporters and celebrity chefs.

2016 Foodie Award:Baoery’s Asian Tacos

2016 Sweet Treat Award:Siro Urban Kitchen’s Black Cherry Liquid Nitro Gelato with Balsamic Drizzle

2016 Best of Show:Primo by Chef Melissa Kelly

 

Stay Connected

For more information on the Downtown Food & Wine Fest:

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Sonny’s BBQ to Host National BBQ Competition and Festival in Central Florida
Winter Park-based BBQ chain to host second annual Sonny’ s Smokin’ Showdown

The third largest BBQ chain in the country is back with its highly anticipated Smokin’ Showdown Invitational BBQ competition and festival, inviting visitors from across the country to for a full day of BBQ amongst the nation’s top Pitmasters.

On January 14, Sonny’s BBQ is hosting its second annual Smokin’ Showdown Invitational at the Central Florida Zoo (3755 US-17, SANFORD, FL 32771).

The Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown BBQ competition and large-scale festival is designed to make Florida a BBQ destination by bringing BBQ enthusiasts from across the country to Central Florida for a full day of live music, family fun and delicious BBQ. While attendees watch more than 50 professional BBQ competition teams and taste their award-winning recipes, Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown attendees may also participate in rib and donut eating contests and enjoy live music, featuring Frankie Ballard at the family friendly festival.

The invitation-only competition brings together the nation’s top Pitmasters in one arena for an epic BBQ battle.

Teams are judged on five different meat categories: chicken, ribs, pork, brisket and a mystery meat, which will be announced at the event.

The grand champion team will receive $20,000. The total prize pool totals $68,000.

“The Smokin’ Showdown celebrates what we’re all about; good BBQ and great company,” said Montana Coleman, Co-Organizer of Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown. “We look forward to seeing these talented Pitmasters showcase their skills in our home state of Florida.”

Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown will host local vendors, family-fun activities and musical performances by top country artists, including Hayfire, Rockit Fly and Jill’s Cashbox. The headliner will be Frankie Ballard. The event is $5, kids 10 and under are free.

For more information about Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown, please visit sonnysshowdown.com. For more information about Sonny’s BBQ, visit sonnysbbq.com.

Event Schedule
7:30 AM
Judges Check-In
8:30 AM
Judges Meeting (Mandatory)
12:00 PM
Kid’s Donut Eating Contest
12:30 PM
Cooking Demo
1:00 PM
Rib Eating Contest
1:30 PM
Cooking Demo
2:30 PM
Meet the Masters
3:00 PM
Live Music: Hayfire
5:00 PM
Live Music: Rockit Fly
6:00 PM
Awards Ceremony
7:15 PM
Live Music: Jill’s Cashbox
8:30 PM
Live Music: Frankie Ballard

“In 1968, we were just a local BBQ joint in Gainesville, Florida. Today, we’re still a local BBQ joint. We just happen to be in a few more locations. But we still do things the same way Floyd “Sonny” Tillman and his wife, Lucille, did back then. We still slow-smoke over oak for up to 12 hours at a time. We still serve generous portions. And we still believe people should be able to go out to eat and feel right at home.” – Sonny’s BBQ Team

About Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown
Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown Invitational is a national BBQ competition hosted by Sonny’s BBQ and sanctioned by the Florida Barbecue Association. Taking place at the Central Florida Zoo on January 14, this competition and large-scale festival is designed to bring BBQ enthusiasts from all over the country to the heart of Florida for a full day of live music, family fun and delicious BBQ.

First of its kind in the area, Sonny’s BBQ created the Smokin’ Showdown to share its passion and expertise with the BBQ community, as well as provide a platform for Pitmasters to showcase their talents alongside some of the best in the business. Last year, Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown had about 10,000 attendees and close to 50 competing teams.

About Sonny’s BBQ®
With 113 locations throughout the southeast, Sonny’s BBQ® is one of the largest and most popular barbecue restaurant companies in the country. The Daily Meal has named Sonny’s BBQ the Best Barbecue Chain in America for the last two years. Floyd “Sonny” Tillman and his wife, Lucille founded Sonny’s BBQ in 1968 in Gainesville, Fla. in hopes of creating a local BBQ joint for their community to enjoy. Forty-eight years later, Sonny’s BBQ continues to be just that – a passionate BBQ brand constantly perfecting the craft of BBQ. For more information and to find the Sonny’s BBQ location closest to you, please visit: www.sonnysbbq.com.

 

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Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram

Every year, Wat Florida Dhammaram, a Thai Theravada Buddhist monastery and temple in Kissimmee, Florida, hosts the Taste of Thailend festival. I’m embarrassed to admit this is the first time I’ve attended though it is the 15th year of celebration. Thai restaurants and local families from all over Florida come to this temple to sell food and fundraise for the temple. Entrance is $12 and it’s all you can eat. From pad thai noodles to pork and sticky rice, to chicken satay and Thai tea and more – you can pretty much try a wide range of tasty Thai food while you are here.

Two menacing Buddhist protector guardian dieties stand guard over the main meditation hall where a gold plated Buddha sits. Various statues and scenes from Buddhist literature can be found around the sprawling temple grounds, like a statue of Buddha’s mother Maya standing over a baby Buddha.

Performances and dances take place on the main stage while visitors line up to nosh at the many booths set up around the temple.

One of my favorite items that I tried was the Thai rice crepes with sweet coconut and this coconut rice dessert. Everything was quite tasty, though. Check out photos below:

Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram

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