Hamburgers

Aussie Mate Burger – Beef pattie, caramelized onion, grilled bacon, egg, American cheese, lettuce, tomato & beetroot on a sesame bun.

We were invited to The Golden Pod – Restaurant & Bar on International Drive (located next door to The Tilted Kilt) for a media preview with other local foodies and our experience was simply amazing.  The Golden Pod is Orlando’s best kept secret.  They have high quality food and superior service in a pleasant environment.

Here are some interesting takeaways about The Golden Pod:

  1. The owner is from Australia.
  2. They make their own chocolate in house.
  3. They serve grilled kangaroo but I wasn’t ready to try it so I ordered the Aussie Mate burger (picture above) and it was really tasty.
  4. You can print any photo on your coffee via cellphone.  Selfie lattes, anyone?
  5. They are open daily until 2am.

For our appetizer, we ordered the crispy calamari and it was fried to perfection.

A Superfood Bowl – Brazilian acai, banana, almond milk and topped with granola, seasonal fruit, and pink chocolate pearls (optional).  Easily one of the best açaí bowls I’ve ever had.

My friend Gustavo (@dafoodie) ordered the Trio of Sliders and he tore them up!
– Pulled pork with slaw and spicy dressing
– Crumbled and chickened tenderloin, avocado and arugula
– Beef with cheese and tomato chutney

My friend Anthony ordered their Cookies ‘n Cream Shake and he enjoyed it!

Gustavo’s wife, Mary, ordered their Vanilla Love Pod and she loved it! It’s a chocolate dome over vanilla ice cream, pear compote and hazelnuts.  Warm chocolate sauce is poured over the chocolate dome to melt it down before consumption.

For more information, please visit: thegoldenpod.com

The Golden Pod – International Dr.
7653 International Dr #100, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 776-9206

Duffy’s Sports Grill welcomes you to try their new features this football season as you cheer on your favorite team to win with your family and friends!

Share some loaded nachos with Nachos, Seven Ways to Sunday with housemate corn tortilla chips topped with slow simmered black beans, creamy white queso, pico de gallo, cilantro-onion relish, locally grown jalapeños, sour cream, fresh guacamole, and your choice of protein. The price varies by protein. For us, we picked the seasoned ground beef, which was slightly more salty than I’d like, but this dish is great to share with friends or a party of one.

After a plate of nachos, try the Smokey Brisket Burger Melt which is served with a side of french fries. This dish is tender and filled with flavor. It has to be my favorite of all the football features. However, I do wish it was a bit more moist.

The Lobster Roll is a taste of New England bites made with fresh lobster and it is served cold. Have a taste with some fries or coleslaw.

Maybe you’re not a brisket or lobster person. How about a beef hotdog? Duffy’s Sports Grill offers the Frito Dog, which is a chargrilled, all natural, uncured beef hotdog served with Duffy’s signature chili, cheddar jack cheese, onion, signature sauce, and Fritos. I’m a sucker for hotdogs and this is a different twist. It was definitely a mouthful.

Don’t forget to wash down the delicious bites with some cocktails! Here, we have the Pineapple Martini and Gummy Bear Martini. Both were made well.

For more information, visit a Duffy’s Sports Grill location today!

Guy’s Award-Winning Burger!  Voted “Best Burger in Las Vegas“ by Seven Magazine & Won New York City Food and Wine Festival’s Burger Bash
Bacon Mac N’ Cheese Burger – Crispy smoked bacon, six-cheese mac ’n cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, crispy onions, donkey sauce, garlic-buttered brioche bun

We were invited to Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar in The Villages to check out their revamped menu.  Some of the new menu items includes Baja Fish Tacos, Jack Daniels New York Strip Steak, Big Bite Burrito and the Old School Steak Sandwich.   Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar has also made several other improvements.  They have lowered everyday menu prices, introduced daily specials and rolled out a new Sunday brunch menu.

“On Sundays We Brunch” will be every Sunday from 10am-3pm with prices ranging from $5.95 to $12.95.   The new Sunday brunch menu includes Chicken Fried Bacon, Biscuits & Gravy, the All–American Breakfast Burger, as well as some of Guy Fieri’s signature dishes.  Guests also have the option to make their brunch bottomless with unlimited mimosas and bloody marys for only $15.  The bottomless option has a two-hour limit.

The restaurant’s owner Greg Pranzo is the same owner as the newly-opened Cinco Tacos & Tequila in Winter Park, FL which just celebrated their ribbon cutting ceremony on National Tequila Day this past Tuesday.

Pastrami Egg Rolls – House made pastrami, Swiss cheese, sweet & sour cabbage, Russian dressing

Trash Can Nachos – Warm corn tortilla chips, pulled pork, bourbon brown sugar, BBQ sauce, SMC (super melty cheese), cheddar, beans, jalapenos, crema, pickled red onion, cilantro, pico de gallo

Roasted Garlic Hummus – Scratch-made chickpea hummus, olive tapemade, fire roasted red peppers, herb grilled flatbread, fresh veggies

Guy’s Big Island Punch – Southern Comfort, Dragonberry Rum, Dark Rum, orange, pineapple, mango, lime, cherry

Tattooed Mojito – Coconut Rum, lime, blueberries, mint, ginger ale

*NEW* Baja Fish Tacos – Crunchy panko-crusted cod, cole slaw, chipotle ranch, pico de gallo on a warm tortilla

*NEW* Jack Daniel’s New York Strip Steak – 12 oz New York strip seared, mash potatoes, side of wonder fries, bacon, sour cream, cheddar, broccolini, mushrooms, scallions, Jack Daniel sauce  

Rockin’ the “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” shirt that I got from Guy Fieri himself last year during filming at Saigon Noodle & Grill!

(Source: Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar)

Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar at Lake Sumter Landing
1045 Old Camp Rd, The Villages, FL 32162
(352) 633-3018
guysvillages.com

Orlando’s new premier golf-entertainment destination has arrived!  Drive Shack – a three-story, indoor/outdoor all-weather golf-entertainment complex pairing the most advanced golf games and technology with good eats, cold drinks, and long drives is now opened in Lake Nona’s vibrant Sports and Performance District.  Drive Shack’s flagship location features 90 hitting bays with a 220-yard range, a full-service restaurant and bar, an outdoor lounge, three fully equipped meeting and event rooms for parties up to 1,000, and a complimentary game lounge with classic games like shuffleboard, skee-ball, basketball arcade and Pac-Man.

Orlando is home to the very first Drive Shack.  Additional locations are expected to open in Raleigh, N.C., Richmond, Va., West Palm Beach, Fla., Marietta, Ga., and New Orleans, La.

Below are some pictures from our media preview visit.  The brunch menu is available from 9am-11am on the weekdays, 9am-2pm on the weekends.

Deep-dish spinach quiche – spinach and Swiss cheese quiche in a rustic buttery crust

Skillet baked cinnamon buns – hot & fresh from the oven drizzled with icing

Loaded morning tots – crispy tater tots, melted cheddar cheese blend, bacon crumbles, and green onions topped with a sunny side up egg

Chocolate chip pancakes – fluffy pancakes sprinkled with chocolate chips, topped with whipped cream and strawberries, and served with maple syrup

Truffled tots

Grilled chicken breast slider – Swiss cheese, tomato, and lemon aioli

Classic all-beef slider – cheddar cheese, DS secret sauce, and a dill pickle

Complimentary game lounge

Outdoor bar

The meats flatbread – Italian-style, all-beef meatballs, chunky pork sausage, pepperoni, marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil

Maple bourbon bacon wings – delightfully sticky with a savory, sweet fin

Bavarian pretzel sticks – fresh from the oven sprinkled with crunchy salt, served with tangy honey mustard and rich pimento cheese dips

Gardender’s Cup & Bushwood Clubhouse

The veggies flatbread – red and green peppers, Kalamata olives, caramelized onions, and marinara sauce with mozzarella and ricotta cheeses

Mediterranean dips & veggies – Garlic hummus and tzatziki dips with fresh-baked pita chips, crisp cucumber, bell pepper, and grape tomatoes

Stacked nachos – freshly made tortilla chips topped with melted cheese, black beans, pico de Gallo, sour cream, jalapeños, green onions, salsa, and guacamole

Mahi tacos – three grilled flour tortillas with blackened mahi-mahi, cider slaw, and cilantro lime aioli

Hole in one – cheddar cheeseburger loaded with crisp applewood-smoked bacon, a fried egg, shredded lettuce, and tomato, topped with our housemate bacon-tomato-onion jam and avocado mayo with French fri

Bucket of balls – Italian-style, all-beef meatballs in a zesty marinara sauce, served with toasted garlic bread and grated Parmesan cheese, and topped with fresh torn basil

Rocky road parfait – chocolate pudding layered with toasted marshmallow, chocolate cookie crumbles, and salted peanuts topped with chocolate sauce 

Strawberry shortcake parfait – shortcake layered with fresh strawberries and whipped cream

Salted butterscotch parfait – salted butterscotch pudding with gingersnap cookie crumbles, layered with whipped cream and caramel sauce

Churros – hot and crispy then dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with a warm chocolate sauce

Be sure to check out the new Drive Shack – Lake Nona soon!  It’s so much fun!

(Source credit: Drive Shack)

Drive Shack – Lake Nona
7285 Corner Dr, Orlando, FL 32827
driveshack.com
(407) 553-8820

We were invited to a media event at a new lakefront restaurant named The Waterfront.  This American restaurant was bought in February and opened in April.  Everything is made in house except the bread.  It is important to support independent restaurants in Orlando, Florida so make sure you check them out!

Adult Swim Saturdays every Saturday in August at 2pm.


Outdoor patio with a roof to protect you from the sun or rain.  Or both.  Florida weather.



Food, brews, and views.

Chips & Pimento Dip – Salsa, Jalapeños, Corn Tortillas.  The pimento dip is prepared with pimento cheese, poblano peppers, garlic, and baked in the oven.

Wings – House Hot

Paired with the “Florida Crush” – Effen Blood Orange Vodka, Triple Sec, Fresh-Squeezed Florida Oranges, Lemon-Lime Soda

Crab Cake Sliders  – Arugula, Tomato, Pickled Red Onion, Avocado, Remoulade.  The blue crab is from Gulf of Mexico and they use the meat from its claws.

Tuna Poke Salad – Ahi Tuna, Seaweed Salad, Arugula, Romaine, Cucumber, Tomato, Radish, Avocado, Sesame Seeds, Sweet Onion Vinaigrette

Paired with the “Jennie Jewel” -Effen Cucumber Vodka, St. Germain, Fresh-Squeezed Lemon, Simple Syrup and Lime, Mint

The Waterfront Burger – Ground Chuck, Swiss, Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Bacon, Arugula

French Dip – Roast Sirloin, Swiss Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Au Jus, Horseradish Mayo

Paired with the “Dixie Belle” – Jim Beam Black, Muddled Mint + Cucumber, Simple Syrup, Fresh-Squeezed Lime

Pan Roasted Catfish – Sautéed Kale, Cheddar Grits, Remoulade, Pickled Red Onion
Fried Chicken Thigh – Hot Honey, Cheddar Grits, Pickled Green Beans


Steak Frites – Pan Roasted Sirloin, Cut Fries, Blue Cheese Butter

Paired with House Red Wine – 2015 Drumheller Cabernet Sauvignon

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie  – Whipped Cream
Bread Pudding – Key Lime Syrup, Whipped Cream

Paired with a sampling of the “Margaret” – Jim Beam Vanilla, Butterscotch, Cocoa, Licor 43, Irish Cream

The Waterfront
4201 South Orange Ave
Orlando, Florida, FL 32806
(407) 866-0468
@TheWaterfront

Bbq, Bacon & Cheddar burger – BBQ sauce, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar & haystack onions on an egg bun.

“Smashed fresh.  Served delicious.”  Smashburger brings its adventurous flavors to Florida and its first stop: Orlando, FL.  Although Smashburger is not a recognized brand yet in Florida, founder Tom Ryan has a vision for Smashburger and he is bringing his concept to life a burger at a time, with ten developing restaurants in Florida from Jacksonville to Kissiminee to Brevard.  First location on 3162 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL and the second location on 334 North Alafaya Trail, Orlando, FL.  I was invited (last minute – excuse the low-quality iPhone 4s photos!  Hopefully they do some justice) to attend Smashburger’s media preview at the Alafaya location, presented by founder Tom Ryan.  He goes down the entire menu and tells us a story behind each burger, reminding us that food with a story is important, and regardless of the contents in the burger the three main components: burger, cheese, and bun always has to be good.  He wants you to still be able to taste the burger in every bite.

Tasting menu

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Fried pickles

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Smashfries

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Founder Tom Ryan tells us a story

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Every bun at Smashburger is buttered.  “In the cooking process we keep so much juice (in the burger) that we keep butter (on the bun) to hold it.”  Every market has its own local burger so you can find the “Central Florida burger” in the Orlando locations.  For control freaks,  they have a create your own burger menu.

Grilled chicken sandwich – piccato style – beat out flat.  Break out a piece of chicken and find it juicy and savory.  Smashburger took it off menu and after popular demand brought it back quickly.

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Truffle Mushroom Swiss Burger

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What’s Ryan’s favorite?  The Buffalo & Blue Cheese Crispy chicken sandwich – fried to give it a crispy coating and features Frank’s Red Hot Sauce topped with blue cheese that bites through everything.  Ryan says this is the sandwich to drink an IPA with, which they also sell at all their locations.

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The handspun shakes are rich and creamy contains 14% butter fat and made with Hagaan-Daz ice cream, YUM.

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Those are sample sizes, of course.  Smashburger is now open go check it out for yourself and tell me what you think below!

Smashburger on Urbanspoon

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Fleming’s Steakhouse has one of my favorite happy hours in Orlando. With one location in Dr Phillips/Restaurant Row and the other in Winter Park, Fleming’s happy hour serves 5 items for $6.00 till 7pm in their bar area. I recently dropped by one Friday afternoon to scoop up some delicious items from their happy hour menu. One of my favorites include the Prime Sirloin Burger with bacon and cheddar served with a side of onion rings. This burger is positively divine, a succulent, juicy cut of medium cooked to perfection prime sirloin burger on a soft, tasty bun with lettuce, tomatoes, and of course bacon and cheddar. All of this makes for a great meal for a great deal at $6.00.

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Fleming’s Prime Sirloin Burger – $6.00 at happy hour

If you’re still hungry, try some of their sweet chili calamari, a battered fried rendition of the classic seafood dish with a decidedly Asian sweet and tangy chili sauce twist. Its a huge plate that will sure to fill you and your partner up while you enjoy a nice glass of white wine or beer.

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Sweet Chili Calamari – $6.00 at happy hour

Other items on their happy hour menu include: Roasted Mushroom Ravioli appetizer, Tenderloin Carpaccio, Seared Tuna and Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail.

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Roasted Mushroom Ravioli – $6.00 at happy hour

for more information, visit http://www.flemingssteakhouse.com/menu

What’s your favorite happy hour in Orlando? What do you usually get? post below!

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