fine dining

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Absolutely outstanding experience last night at Tapa Toro. Chef Frank Galeano, who is set to take on the executive chef position at Tapa Toro on the month of October, 2018  and I had been talking about doing something like this for a small group of people for a while until we finally pulled the trigger and finalized the details about 2 weeks ago. The goal was to have a fun tasting menu in a casual setting and let the creativity and talent run free but most important of all to have a great time. Chef Frank was truly thrilled and enthusiastic about doing this dinner and it showed all throughout the night. I think I speak for all us who attended the dinner that every single dish was just Fantastic. The play of different flavors profiles and cultural influences on the dishes were super well balanced and beautifully harmonized.

The first Dish was the perfect one to awaken the palate followed by the incredibly delicious Veggie dish which was of my personal favorites, those two dishes were key to set the rest of the fantastic dinner going forward. The Marinated Foie, Lobster, Octopus, Uni, Duck, Aged Ribeye with Cured Jamón Ibérico Lard and last but not least the excellent dessert made by Chef @Lucy Champeaux was the perfect ending.

It is evident that our local talent is scattered all over the city and International Drive and possibly other areas that carry the same touristy stigma are not always talent-deprived

The meal I had last night was EASILY one of the best meals I’ve ever had in Orlando. You just never know where you gonna find your next great meal, ironically, I found it in one of the areas I avoid the most.

If any of you fellow foodies ever want to do something like this, please do not hesitate to contact Frank or Wendy and they will be happy to set something up for you that will suit your taste and budget, in fact they were encouraging us to request special dinners as they love to do it and it gives them the opportunity to be creative and do what Chefs love to do.

I’m looking forward to do this again at Tapa Toro and also with Different Chefs around town that are willing to do this kind of stuff. Already in the talks with a few of our favorites restaurants in town to possibly do another tasting.

Special thanks to all my guests for Joining me basically blindfolded as none of us knew what we were in for and  of course Tapa Toro for the Hospitality and incredible dinner.

Crudo Nórdico
Pastrami cured salmon / Horseradish & meyer lemon panna cotta / Pickled beet / tarragon aioli / tarragon oil / Fennel

 

Texturas de Zanahorias
Ember roasted carrot, golden carrot gel, orange-coriander glazed white carrot, raw carrot salad, warm labneh, turmeric oil, carrot powder and sumac.

 

 

Mar y Campo
Butter poached lobster, saffron Peruvian potato, baby zucchini, Brown butter popcorn, Marea’s octopus-pomodoro ‘bouillabaisse’, soft herbs

 

 

 

 

 

Duck n Waffles.
Vegetable ash & spice marinated Hudson Valley foie gras, Belgian waffle, pink peppercorn honey, currants.

 

 

 

 

 

Pulpo del sur de España
Pulpo ‘adobado’, gazpacho blanco, charred eggplant purée, preserved lemon gel, smoked marcona almonds, cous-cous en tinta de sepia

 

 

 

 

 

Uni Po’ Boy
Santa Barbara fresh uni, romaine wrapped and steamed uni, caper aioli, tomato jam, lettuce creme, avocado and Meyer lemon oil

 

 

 

 

 

Mole de Pato, 
Molasses lacquered Maple Leaf Farms duck breast, coriander crust, mole Nuevo, pickled Florida strawberries, Spiced meringue

 

 

 

 

 

Ribeye & Iberico
Aged angus ribeye, smoked garbanzo velvet, caramelized onion and jerez agrodolce, jamón ibérico ‘lardo’, chive, sauce bordelaise

 

 

Sleepy Hollow
Dark chocolate Bavarian cream, Black cherry jam and German chocolate cake filling, chantilly, kirsch cherries, luxardo cherries, blueberry sorbet.

 

 

 

https://tapatoro.restaurant/

8441 International Dr #260, Orlando, FL 32819

Bull & Bear’s Petite Filet of Beef and Stuffed Lobster Tail – chasseur sauce, potato pave, fresh arugula salad

We were invited to Waldorf Astoria Orlando for a media preview of their 8th Annual Food & Wine Weekends happening every weekend starting September 14, 2018 through November 11, 2018 at Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.

The sister hotels are hosting Food & Wine Weekends, a complement to Epcot Food & Wine Festival, to celebrate fine wine & culinary arts designed for those who truly savor the artistry of fine culinary preparations.

Food & Wine Weekends features innovative dishes from their renowned restaurants, unique food and wine pairings, intimate chef talks, and interactive demonstrations.

The Taste of Zeta Asia

Mount Fuji Signature Roll – Crab salad, cucumber, tuna, yellowtail salmon, wasabi mayo, tobiko, micro cilantro

Kanji Signature Roll – Spicy salmon, cucumber, avocado, tobiko, sriracha, micro cilantro

Short Rib Bibimbap – Short rib, fried egg, blanched spinach, namul, Japanese rice, gochujang sauce

The Taste of La Luce

Lasagna Napolinata – Mozzarella di Bufala, tomato, basil

Risotto Duo Di Mare – Shrimp, scallops, saffron, English peas, oven roasted tomato, reggiano gremolata

The Taste of Bull & Bear

Petite Filet of Beef and Stuffed Lobster Tail – chasseur sauce, potato pave, fresh arugula salad

Raspberry mint mocktail

Bar du Chocolat at Peacock Alley, Saturdays 6:30pm-10:30pm – A decadent selection of à la carte chocolate treats hand-crafted by Waldorf Astoria Orlando’s world-class pastry team.  Highlights include chocolate truffles, exotic chocolate cakes and bowls of beautiful bon-bons.

La Pâtisserie: Master Pastry Class at Sir Harry’s, Fridays 4:30-5:30pm – Learn the secrets of the Waldorf Astoria Orlando world-class pastry team as they host a complimentary gourmet baking demonstration. From delicate pastries to the perfect cookie, you’ll learn tips on how to make, bake and decorate the perfect dessert.

Pop Culture at MYTH Bar, Saturdays 8pm-10pm

Home-made, fresh fruit popsicles, creamy organic ice pops and adult poptails!  Choose from a variety of gourmet toppings, including hand-dipped chocolate, caramelized almonds, sweet coconut and chocolate vermicelli.

For more information, please visit WaldorfAstoriaOrlando.com/food-wine and HiltonBonnetCreek.com/food-wine.

(Source: Waldorf Astoria Orlando)

Waldorf Astoria Orlando
14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Ln, Orlando, FL 32821
(407) 597-5500

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Ln, Orlando, FL 32821
(407) 597-3600

Seafood Tower – King crab, jumbo Gulf shrimp, oysters, crab ceviche, Ahi tuna poke

We were invited to Paddlefish to celebrate their most recent accomplishment of being voted “Best Seafood Restaurant” by Orlando Magazine’s 2018 Dining Awards.  We enjoyed indulging in a delicious 5-course wine pairing dinner showcasing “Best of Paddlefish” dishes amid the rooftop of their luxurious steamboat.  Tickets to the sold out event was $115 per person.  Paddlefish offers fresh and delicious seafood dishes, exceptional architecture and decor, an attentive and friendly staff, and the most gorgeous view that you will ever get from any establishment on Disney Springs property.

Executive Chef Steve Richards welcoming guest at the Best of Paddlefish dinner.

Mini Maine Lobster Roll

Lobster & Corn Chowder 

Our wonderful sommelier of the evening.

August Kessler, Riesling, Germany

Sea Scallop – cauliflower puree, crispy Brussels sprouts

Cider Braised Veal Cheeks – parsnip puree

Dessert Trio – key lime pie, flourless chocolate cake, strawberry cheesecake

June Specials:

  • Paddlefish will be hosting wine tastings the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month through September.  Their in-house Sommelier team will lead these tastings on the rooftop deck and wine flights will be served with light bites and tastings.  Guests must be 21+ to attend.  Tickets and additional details can be found here.
  • Celebrate National Vanilla Milkshake Day on Wednesday, June 20, at Paddlefish!  Paddlefish will be offering their famous vanilla brownie milkshake for just $5 all day long!
  • Now through June 30, guests can enjoy a bottle of rose and half a dozen oysters for only $40, only available on the third deck.

Be sure to check out the June specials at Paddlefish soon!  It’s a fun filled month at Paddlefish that you won’t want to miss!

(Source credit: Paddlefish)

Paddlefish at Disney Springs
1670 Buena Vista Dr.  Lake Buena Vista, FL
(407) 934-2628
paddlefishrestaurant.com

With fellow media guest Andi Perez, Yelp’s community director, in the private dining room. 

The Citrus Club is one of Orlando’s best kept, most exclusive secrets.  Citrus Club is an elite, membership-only, private business-networking club on the 18th floor of the BB&T building in Downtown Orlando, across from the Grand Bohemian Hotel..  I had the pleasure of being the first to preview and taste their new seasonal menu during an exclusive media dinner.  Our fantastic 10-course meal was made so delightful and fulfilling thanks to Executive Chef Relner Drygala and his amazing culinary team, General Manager Jeff Jump, Social Media Relations Allie Otterbacher, and the awesome staff.

Social Media Relations Allie Otterbacher preparing to host the media dinner.

The space is clean and impeccably designed.

Citrus Club offers amazing food with amazing views.

General Manager Jeff Jump welcomes media guests.

Executive Chef Relner Drygala goes over the new menu.

Avocado Crab Salad – Avocado stuffed with lump crab salad, served on balsamic field greens.  It was delicious!

Ahi Tuna Tartar – Avocado, red onion, cilantro, pickled ginger seaweed salad, yuzu emulsion, finished with sweet soy and wonton crisp.  I was very impressed with the presentation and taste of this appetizer!

Baked Chèvre – Red wine balsamic, marinara, fresh pesto and crostini.  It was delicious!

Chipotle Bourbon Glazed Salmon – Prima Donna Gouda grit cake, sautéed Swiss chard.  Great tasting salmon.  I was not a fan of grits until I had their Prima Donna Gouda grit cake, it seriously changed my life!

Pan Seared Scallops – Red pepper and spinach, parsnip potato puree, orange carrot butter sauce.  Beautifully executed and prepared scallops.

Asian Noodles Tofu Bowl (vegan) – Stir-fried vegetables, rice vermicelli, tofu, lemon ginger broth, bean sprouts and basil

Bone-in Chicken Breast – Spinach and mushrooms tossed with hand-made sweet potato gnocchi, sage sundried tomato pesto.  This was my first time having sweet potato gnocchi and I feel like I have been missing out on sweet potato gnocchi my entire life!

Rosemary Crusted Lamb Rack – Truffle potato foam, asparagus, red wine demi glace

Chocolate Cake – Dark chocolate mousse with salted Dulce de leche ganache center, rich chocolate cake and caramelized-cocoa nib toffee.  Perfect for chocolate lovers!

Baileys White Chocolate Cheesecake – Baileys cheesecake with a chocolate salted cookie crust topped with mascarpone mousse.  It was delicious!

Citrus Club
255 S Orange Ave Suite 1800, Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 843-1080
clubcorp.com/Clubs/Citrus-Club

Loaded Lobster – 1/2 maine lobster, seafood stuffing, parmesan, breadcrumbs béarnaise sauce

Thank you Orlando magazine for hosting us at deep blu seafood grille at Wyndham Grand Bonnet Creek for a delicious 7-course seafood culinary adventure.  We enjoyed diving deep into their new menu and meeting their new head chef, Chef Wade McLamb.

Gazpacho soup

Grilled Florida Peach & Burrata Salad – pickled blueberries, fennel, crispy country ham, honey truffle vinaigrette

Black & blu Linguine – vita squid ink pasta, jumbo lump blu crab, arugula, cherry tomatoes, marcona almonds, parmigiana


Loaded Lobster – 1/2 maine lobster, seafood stuffing, parmesan, breadcrumbs béarnaise sauce

Scalloped potato


George’s Banks Scallops – corn risotto, smoked tomato jam, crispy black eye peas

Red Snapper – local sweet corn succotash, baby herb salad, basil vinaigrette


Ora King Salmon – red quinoa, black eyed pea fritter, cucumber mint crème fraiche

Banana Pudding – Key Lime Pie Pana Cotta, graham shortbread, toasted meringue

Two hardworking chefs, Chef Ryan Cole and Chef Wade McLamb.

deep blu seafood grille at Wyndham Grand Bonnet Creek 
14651 Chelonia Pkwy Orlando, FL 32821
(407) 390-2420
deepbluorlando.com

Use promo code “Grand Experience” when making reservations for a free dessert or appetizer with the purchase of two dinner entrees (Limit 1 coupon per 2 adults |Valid 5/1/2018-5/31/2018).

Last night we got to preview the Magical Dining Month menu at Jiko- The Cooking Place and we were super stoked to be the first ones to experience a Walt Disney World restaurant participating in Magical Dining Month for the first time since Magical Dining Month started 12 years ago.  The additional five participating Walt Disney World restaurants this year are: The Wave, Grand Floridian
Café, Boatwright’s Dining Hall, The Turf Club Bar and Grill, and Olivia’s.

Magical Dining Month
3 courses – Appetizer, Entrèe, and Dessert
Price: $35 per person
Over 100 + participating restaurants
Beginning August 25 through October 1
This year, $1 of each meal from Magical Dining Month will benefit two charities – Freedom Ride & BASE Camp Children’s Cancer Foundation.
Last year, Magical Dining Month raised almost $200,000 for charity!
Click here to view menus and make reservations

During our dinner at Jiko- The Cooking Place, we learned that modern African contemporary cuisine stretches throughout Africa from all over the entire continent.  A lot of African recipes are passed down through word of mouth with no written recipe through generation by generation and even then it has it’s own twist. Over time the dishes has morphed into its own creation.  As always, I love their creativity at Jiko – The Cooking Place and respect their storytelling of the African culture through food, drinks, and decor.

Magical Dining Month items at Jiko- The Cooking Place

Appetizers


Jiko Salads
– Epcot land pavilion greens, stone fruit, pistachio halva, grilled halloumi cheese, apricot ginger dressing

Inguday Tibs in Brik – Mushroom, spinach, cheese in crispy Tunisian filo, apples, curry vinaigrette

Entrèes

Bo Kaap Malay Seafood Curry – calamari, red shrimp, mussels, coconut curry sauce, saffron rice

Botswana-style Seswaa Beef Short Rib – Cassava-potato purée, sambal, baby carrots, and mushrooms

West African Koki Corn – Mushrooms, poblano-tomatillo purée, roasted red pepper sauce

Desserts


Malva Pudding
– Melktart ice cream, kataifi, kanu tuile, Cabernet gelée

Safari Sunset – Carrot cake, cornbread calamansi, and lemon cremeux, Kenyan coffee streusel, citrus gel, valrhona dulcey mousse, candied carrots

At Jiko- The Cooking Place you will discover the culinary magic produced when creative chefs take traditional African dishes and add hints of European, Indian and Asian flavor and flair. The resulting cultural communion is a delectable cuisine we call New African.

To book Magical Dining at Jiko- The Cooking Place, please visit the restaurant website below or call 407-WDW-DINE.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge 2901
Osceola Parkway Orlando, FL 32830
Phone: (407) 939-3463
https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/animal-kingdom-lodge/jiko-the-cooking-place/

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