French

Urbain 40 American Brasserie and Lounge takes its diners on a trip back to all the nostalgic swank and sophistication of the 1940s big band era with a classic yet seasonally changing American and European continental menu. It’s become one of my favorite new restaurants in Orlando!

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Mr. Rashid Choufani
Mr. Rashid Choufani

Urbain 40’s owner-operator Jaafar Choufani, an executive for parent company Boulevard Restaurants, teamed up with his father, famed restaurateur and former Bocuse d’Or judge Rashid Choufani, to run the brasserie. Mr. Rashid Choufani also leads the restaurant operations at Walt Disney World’s Morocco pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase.

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A faithful devotee of the slow-food movement, Executive Chef Jean-Stephane Poinard sources the freshest ingredients locally when possible, from vegetables and herbs to meats and fish, to transform continental and American classics into original creations, bringing his interpretations of French favorites with a decidedly American, and often Southern twist.

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A French classic, the luxurious Billi-Bi Soup, is an elegant saffron cream broth of Prince Edward Island mussels “beignet” given a Southern touch here at Urbain 40 with smoked paprika oil.

For dessert, there is a bit of a sweet dilemma as the bevy of goods created by pastry chef Amanda McFall all sound so enticing that it’s hard to choose just one.

Urbain 40 is both enchanting and charming in its comforting food and intimate ambiance.

Keep an eye out for the full review on Central Florida Lifestyle Magazine http://www.centralfloridalifestyle.com/ in the coming month.

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BILLI-BI SOUP 10
Saffron Cream, Prince Edward Island Mussels Beignet, Smoked Paprika Oil

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PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND MUSSELS 12
Cast Iron Skillet Roasted, Drawn Butter, Lemon, House-made Baguette

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CHARCUTERIE BOARD 20
Chef’s selection of Cured Meat, Cheese, Pork Terrine, Onion Confit Marmalade, Cornichons

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FLAMMEKUECHE 10
Caramelized Onion, House-Smoked Maple Bacon, Shallot Confit

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TRUFFLED MUSHROOM 10
Roasted Garlic Confit, Gruyere, Asiago, Fig Reduction

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STRIPED BASS MEUNIERE 25
Brown Butter, Cauliflower Potato Purée, Fennel, Lemon Confit

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WILD MUSHROOM RISOTTO 24
Garlic and Royal Trumpet Chips, Goat Cheese Sphere

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BOLOGNESE 19
Slow-roasted Beef and Pork, House-made Pappardelle Pasta, Grana Padano

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URBAIN 40 TRIO FOR SHARING 12
Raspberry Macaroons, Chocolate and Pistachio Pops, Chocolate Truffles

Pastry Chef Amanda McFall and Executive Chef Jean-Stephane Picard of Urbane 40
Pastry Chef Amanda McFall and Executive Chef Jean-Stephane Picard of Urbane 40

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Urbain 40 American Brasserie and Lounge
8000 Via Dellagio Way
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 872-2640
http://urbain40.com/

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by Kim Tran – Photos by Trung Nguyen of TheBokehStudio.com

Mimi’s Café has recently underwent some menu changes, experiencing a sort of French inspired renaissance from their new leadership.

Currently there are two great locations in the Greater Orlando area – one in Altamonte Springs and the other just across the street from the Mall at Millenia.

Mimi’s Café has taken their food and service to a new level to satisfy your French cravings. Recently acquired by Le Duff America, Inc. (a subsidiary of the Rennes, France-based Groupe Le Duff) – the team revamped their menu to awaken all your taste buds.

Mimi’s Cafe Executive Chef Katie Sutton is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and was previously an Executive Chef at Hess Collection Winery in Napa and takes her food very seriously.

Taking a cue from their new French- inspired leadership, all-butter croissants baked in-house daily, BouillabaisseBrioche Croque Madame and Mussels a la Mimi’s are just some of the menu items at the all new Mimi’s Cafe.

Experience authentic French cuisine in your backyard without having to sacrifice your wallet.

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Fresh baked Carrot Raisin Nut and Sour Dough bread

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Champagne Cocktail made with St. Germain Liquer

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Petite Seafood Crepe with sautéed shrimp, scallops and spinach in a savory, creamy lobster sauce.

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Mussels a la Mimi steamed in white wine, garlic and fresh herbs, served with garlic French baguette croutons.

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Mussels a la Mimi steamed in white wine, garlic and fresh herbs, served with garlic French baguette croutons.

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French Baguette Crouton, Baked Brie, tart apple slices with apricot chutney.

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Pumpkin Bisque

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Mimi’s Original Corn Chowder

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Roasted Tomato & Basil Bique

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Le Burger de Madame with onion strings. Served on a toasted brioche bun, hickory-smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, crisp lettuce, fresh tomatoes, red onions, pickles, Mimi’s original Thousand Island dressing and a fried egg.

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Coq au Vin. Chicken braised in red wine, mushrooms and pearl onions, served on creamy mashed potatoes with petite peas.

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Tournedos de Boeuf. Medallions of beef tenderloin served with creamy mashed potatoes. Served with bordelaise or béarnaise sauce and seasonal vegetables.

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Bordelaise and Béarnaise sauce

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Bistro Bavette Steak. French-style grilled steak served with mushroom-infused au gratin potatoes. Served with bordelaise or béarnaise sauce and seasonal vegetables.

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Grilled Salmon Salade Nicoise served on top of mixed greens with Kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, red onions, haricots verts, provençal potatoes and hard-boiled egg, tossed in Mimi’s red wine shallot vinaigrette.

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Pasta Carbonara a la Mimi’s. Fresh linguine tossed with diced prosciutto, aged Parmesan, petite peas and a light chardonnay sauce, topped with a fried egg.

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Pasta Carbonara a la Mimi’s. Fresh linguine tossed with diced prosciutto, aged Parmesan, petite peas and a light chardonnay sauce, topped with a fried egg.

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Bacon Apple Waffle topped with apples, hickory-smoked bacon, syrup and a hint of orange zest.

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Strawberry Waffle Perdu filled with cream cheese and orange marmalade.

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Executive Chef Katie Sutton and her team did a phenomenal job with the new menu. Each plate was generously portioned and you can taste the quality of their well-prepared dishes.

We give them a standing ovation for overall creativity, taste, and presentation!

 

About the Author

Kim Tran enjoys good eats of all sorts. Growing up her parents taught her the importance of eating a variety of different foods and now that she’s older she enjoys all types of cuisine. She has traveled across the nation, parts of Europe, and Vietnam and hopes to incorporate their flavors into her everyday cooking. Kim is an alumna of the University of Central Florida and currently has two companies in the event industry. SNAP! Studio Booth – a photo booth company and Pearl White Events – an event and wedding planning company. In her free time she loves doing DIY projects, cooking or trying new food, and voluntary work for the community.

 

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Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie re-opened this past winter at Disney’s Epcot – France Pavilion at the World Showcase after being closed for quite some time for construction.

The original Boulangerie Patisserie was a small, a teensy bit cramp, but still a very popular spot for French pastries at Epcot.

The new digs are much larger, with an underground market type feeling, and bright, beautiful menus on widescreen TV’s, as well as mesmerizing display cases of pastries and sandwiches.

Upon entering, you are corralled through a hectic line to the front where you place your order with one of the young French exchange students staffing the bakery. The pastries shine from their display cases alongside pre-made sandwiches and quiches. Behind the counters you can see the young staff running about, prepping and toasting sandwiches, or caramelizing sugar on creme brûlées with blow torches.

The menu contains a plethora of classic French pastries, hot and cold sandwiches, quiches, soups, salads, and coffee.

I chose the Croque Monsieur sandwich – Toasted Ham and Cheese, but found to be a bit of a disappointment. The cheese on top was too burnt and overdone, the sandwich bread was a bit flavorless, and the ham within was a bit too salty. Maybe I should have chose from the list of croissant sandwiches instead, or just stick to the pastries.

For dessert pastries, you can choose from a list that includes Chaussons Aux Pommes – Apple Turnover, Creme Brulee – Caramelized Vanilla Custard, Eclair – filled with Vanilla or Chocolate Cream, Mango and Coconut Mousse cake, Raspberry Mousse cake, Chocolate Mousse, Napoleon – Puff Pastry with Cream, and for the healthy minded, Yogurt Mousse with Berries.

I chose the multilayered Napoleon, truly a delectable, flaky and delicious treat and probably my most favorite rendition of the pastry.

Overall, next time I would probably try some more pastries, definitely the napoleon, and maybe some other sandwiches, definitely not the croque monsieur.

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Entering the boulangerie Patissierie

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Beautiful display of croissants, eclairs, and mousses

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The napoleon – one of the best I have ever had

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Cold sandwiches are available on baguettes

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Caramelizing the creme brulee

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Chicken and ham sandwiches

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Chocolate Mousse dessert and tarts

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Croque Monsieur – The cheese on top was overburnt, the sandwich bread was a bit flavorless, and the ham within was a bit too salty.

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Outside the bakery is the seating area

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The exquisite Napoleon puff pastry dessert with cream

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The crowds can get a bit crazy here in France

Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie on Urbanspoon

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Ooh la la! This French bakery in the heart of Orlando’s College Park district helmed by husband and wife team Stephanie and Philippe Cahagne is truly a little delight. You might recognize the Cahagne family name – Philippe is brother of Francois Cahagne who runs the fabulous French bakery Croissant Gourmet in Winter Park.

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Philippe Cahagne, who owns Les Petits Pleasures with his wife Stephanie. They recently won best dessert at the Taste of College Park hosted by the Rotary Club of College Park

On College Park’s main thoroughfare Edgewater Drive, this little patisserie, with light lavender-colored walls, features many sweet pastry pleasures. The goods run the gamut: from buttery, flaky chocolate almond croissants, to fruit tarts topped with strawberries and blackberries, little morsels of sweet, slightly crunchy macarons, decadent slices of vanilla flan, coco rochers, moist moelleux apple sponge cakes, chocolate eclairs, Napoleons, and ever more.

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The bakery, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, also serves up some scrumptious hot sandwiches, quiches, and crepes for those wanting something more savory to go with the sweets. In the mornings, you can see the Cahagne family and staff at Les Petits Pleasures running about the kitchen area in their black aprons and head wraps, baking up their next creations.

When available, try their vol-au-vent, which means “windblown” in French, a flaky, delectable puff pastry stuffed with chicken, mushroom, Swiss cheese, and a creamy, rich béchamel sauce.

The Hawaii croque monsieur is a playful twist on the traditional grilled ham, Swiss cheese, and béchamel sandwich, topped with pineapple. You will fall in love with everything here, mon amis. It’s all about the little things in life.

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Moist moelleux apple sponge cakes and coco rocher

 

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Vol – au – vent – puff pastry with mushrooms and chicken

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Les Petits Pleasures on Urbanspoon

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Off of Park Avenue on Morse Blvd, Croissant Gourmet is one of the many joys that I think of when wandering around Winter Park’s popular shopping and restaurant area. In addition to some of the most gorgeous pastries in town this little French bakery, founded by brothers Francois and Phillipe Cahange, also serves up some very delectable sandwiches, quiche, crepes, and salads for lunch. Brother Francois is a patissier, a classically trained pastry chef, from France with a resume that includes several restaurants along the famous Champs-Elysees in Paris. Brother Phillipe along his wife Stephanie have recently started their own bakery shop in nearby College Park called Les Petits Pleasures.

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Two display cases hold the wonders of Croissant Gourmet: fruit tarts topped with raspberries and blueberries, éclairs, Napoleons, assorted croissants, apple turnovers, macarons, and many more all made fresh and locally.

Try the almond croissant, a flaky, buttery croissant with a nice sweet, creamy filling of almond paste and topped with almonds and dusted with confectionary sugar. Also good is the rectangular jalousie pastry, similar to a strudel and a play on jalousie-style windows, it’s filled with almond cream and raspberries.

The croque madame sandwich, a variation of the croque monsieur, is deftly made with ham and Gruyere cheese, hand-dipped in egg, then pan-fried in butter to a nice crisp. Finally, the croque is topped with a luscious golden-yellow yolk, sunny-side up egg. The egg yolk oozes down the sandwich when you cut into it, preferably with fork and knife, and eaten together the Croissant Gourmet’s croque madame makes for a truly transcendent experience.

The shop is a bit small and narrow, with only a few tables inside and a bar stool area near the glass case for the bakery items. It can get a bit awkward for patrons who want to sit and enjoy their meal along the bar area with out getting bumped into by others browsing the pastries or lined up to order by the register. Sit outside and enjoy the nice Florida weather with your pastries and people watch those people walking by on the Avenue.

C’est si bon.

Pass me another croissant, s’il vous plaît

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Video from ChatChow TV interview with Chef and Owner Francois Cahange

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Display of pastries at Croissant Gourmet

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Fruit Tart pastry

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Napoleon pastry

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Almond Croissant and Jalousie

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Chocolate Croissant

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Chicken salad croissant sandwich

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Croque Madame topped with fried egg

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Croissant Gourmet on Urbanspoon

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