Hotels
Visits to some of the wonderful area hotels, their amenities, and foodie offerings!

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A Land Remembered, a classic “Florida” style steakhouse in Rosen Shingle Creek resort,
 is named after Patrick Smith’s rich novel featuring Florida’s historical moments and landscapes. I actually had no idea that the name for the restaurant was based on a book about the early days of Florida, but in my mind the name conjured up images of Florida’s wilderness, its ranching and cattle heritage, and of course, with cows come, delicious steaks. I had visited A Land Remembered once before during Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month and was thoroughly impressed with the slightly hidden steakhouse – found through a covered walkway off to the left side of the grand Rosen Shingle Creek resort. I was recently invited to visit again to sample their cuisine and left solidifying my earlier good impressions with much to remember and linger on after.

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The Rosen Shingle Creek Resort is located on Universal Blvd just north of SR 528 and just a few blocks away from the Orange County Convention Center. A Land Remembered is not known much outside of the convention area as its location is inside (really, off to the side) of the hotel. Decked in dark woods and old Florida themes, A Land Remembered can be seen as a throwback to the old days of Central Florida’s cattle-raising history. The steaks here truly are superb.

Before we get to that, I must note that the restaurant is rated as an AAA Four Diamond restaurant, and the quality and service shows. The servers here on both occasions were attentive without being intrusive, and gracious without being too uptight. The recommendations for dinner were spot on and they made sure to check on us throughout the meal.

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Interestingly enough, the restaurant tries its best to feature classic “Florida” in many of its dishes such as the Gator Creek Stew, a hearty, though a bit too mild, chili dish made with “Gator Drool” beer, white beans, tomatos, cabbage, a touch of tabasco, tomato, and farm raised gator. The gator in this dish reminded me alot of ground turkey or ground beef, very mild tasting, I imagine so not to scare off any of the visiting tourists. The “Gator Drool” beer used in this dish and a few others on the menu is produced by a local Florida microbrewery from Melbourne exclusively for Rosen Hotels. The beer was inspired by Central Florida Hotelier  Mr. Harris Rosen upon encountering the “Moose Drool” beer during a trip to Vermont. I find it touching to see the level of detail that Mr. Rosen put into not only his Rosen hotel empire, but also into the intricacies of decor and even the ingredients served in his restaurants.

For appetizers, they served a pair of delicious crab cakes made with real lump crab from Maryland with a side of lemon as well as big and plump scallops from Prince Edward Island, bought, I was told, locally from Lombardi’s Seafood market in Winter Park.

A Land Remembered features Harris Ranch Black Angus Five Diamond Prime Beef, the same beef that’s served at the famed Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa, Florida. The taste is exquisite. I had the bone-in ribeye steak, a juicy, slightly-charred cut served perfectly at the desired medium rare. The meat was tender, flavorful, and altogether one of the best steaks I have had in Orlando.

For dessert, you are treated with the creations of Executive Pastry Chef David Ramirez, trained at Johnson and Wales University, winner of American Culinary Foundation competitions and who competed in the Coupe Du Monde de la Patisserie, the World Pastry Cup, in Lyon, France as captain of Team USA. He and his wife Nicole also operate David Ramirez Chocolates (http://davidramirezchocolates.com/) off of Orange Blossom Trail in South Orlando. Choices range from chocolate flourless cake to “Warm Pioneer Bread Pudding” to “A Land Remembered Key Lime Pie”.

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Keylime, creme brulee, banana pudding, chocolate mousse, NY cheesecake shooters in a horse-shoe

A Land Remembered is truly a hidden gem here in Orlando and is a classic “Florida” steakhouse with not only great service but also great, delicious flavors. It’s a great special occasion type of place for dinner, whether you are visiting Rosen Shingle Creek as part of a convention or golf outting, or out for a special night. Prices are pretty high as they are in the tourist district, but you can get a good deal by visiting Restaurant.com and getting one of their discounts there for A Land Remembered.

Valet parking is complimentary when dining at A Land Remembered. The restaurant offers a private dining room (up to 24 people) and relaxing lounge. Seating capacity: 110.

 

 

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Florida Alligator-shaped Butter! how cute and tasty.

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“Gator Creek Stew” – probably the least memorable dish on the menu, I think I would’ve liked more gator or sausage in it.

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Ahi Tuna
Served Rare, Lemon Myrtle Crust
Nappa & Swamp Cabbage Slaw
Chili Pepper Citrus Vinaigrette

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Boca Grande Crab Cake
Scallion Aioli & Red Chili Pepper Glaze

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A shot of the menu prices

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Bone-In Ribeye Steak, 20 oz of delicious, tender, slightly charred steak

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Slow Roasted Prime Rib
Fresh Horseradish & Au Jus
12 oz

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Baked Sweet Potato with Honey Butter, almost like a dessert side

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Chocolate Mousse Cake
12 oz. Portion of Chocolate Mousse Cake
Layered with Pecan Nougatine
Flourless Chocolate Cake and a
Milk Chocolate Cream Filling,
Topped with Raspberry Ganache & Fresh Fruit

A Land Remembered on Urbanspoon

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The Boheme restaurant inside the Grand Bohemian Hotel is celebrating Valentine’s Day with a special menu available a la carte February 10-13 and per person at $79 on February 14th.

I had a chance to preview items on the menu and must give the compliments to Chef Rene and the staff at the Boheme restaurant. There were more hits than misses on their creative new menu. It is funny that they use first, second, third dates to refer to appetizers to entrees respectively.

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Out of the first date (appetizers) dishes, I would recommend the fresh oysters, oriental mussels in a wonderful curry coconut broth, or the wagyu beef carpaccio. The second date recommendations include the aphrodite salad and the roasted pear salad, both very fresh and delightful. I would forgo the love poisson elixir, made with absinthe, as the anise in the liquor appears to overpower the dish. Out of the third date (entrees) try the flaky, delicious chilean sea bass or the perfectly cooked new zealand rack of lamb, but skip the filet mignon as the almond and brie crust did the luxurious tender cut a disservice.

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The Valentine’s Day menu for The Boheme is provided below.

À la carte from February 10th – February 13th

$79 per person only on February 14th

-First Date-

OYSTERS AND CHAMPAGNE 14

Freshly shucked oysters with a tasting of champagne

VENUS CRAB CAKES 15

arugula, basil oil, rémoulade, grilled lemon

ORIENTAL MUSSELS 12

Curry coconut broth, cilantro and kaffir lime leaves

SMOKED DEVILED EGGS 10

Smoked salmon, jalapeño, mustard, cumin and cilantro mayo

TEMPTING SHRIMP TEMPURA ROLL 13

avocado, fruit salsa, sriracha, honey and ginger aioli

WAGYU BEEF CARPACCIO 14

arugula, crispy capers, mustard aioli, shaved parmesan and crostini

GIANT ASPARAGUS SPEARS 15

Prosciutto ham, pecorino and spicy hollandaise


-Second Date-


APHRODITE SALAD 8

Organic mix greens with almonds, feta, grape tomatoes and almond extract vinagrette

ROASTED PEAR SALAD 9

Half roasted pear, candied walnuts, goat cheese and berry orange vinagrette

LOBSTER BISQUE 10

Remy martin, cilantro and cumin

LOVE POSSION ELESIR 8

Clear tomato broth soup with provence liquor made from botanicals and shaved fennel


-Third Date-

COFFEE RUBBED BONE-IN RIBEYE 38

Mushroom and truffle butter and sour cream chive mash

PAN-SEARED CHILEAN SEA BASS 36

Beet reduction and sweet yam and Yukon mash

KISS ME TENDER FILET MIGNON 34

Brie blue cheese crusted, almond, carrot and potato mash, zinfandel reduction demi

SEAFOOD STRUDLE 28

shrimp, scallops and salmon baked in philo served with lobster sauce

NEW ZEALAND RACK OF LAMB 42

Goat cheese crusted, asparagus risotto, port wine reduction

OPEN FACE RAVIOLI 22

Mushrooms and vegetable lasagna with ricotta and tomato béchamel


-Dessert for Two-


TOBLERONE CHOCOLATE FONDUET 18

Melted swiss chocolate accompanied with biscotti, cookies and fruits

STRAWBERRY DIP & ROLL 24

Fresh strawberries served with melted chocolate, white and brown sugar

CARAMELIZED BANANAS 16

Bananas with brandy, orange and lemon juice sauce and vanilla bean ice cream

PASSIONATE PUFFS 14

Cream puffs filled with white, dark and milk chocolate mouse

About the Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando – Orlando, FL

Celebrated as an experience in art and music, the AAA Four Diamond Grand Bohemian Hotel, a signature Kessler Collection property, takes center stage as downtown Orlando’s landmark luxury hotel. From the moment of arrival, a dazzling blend of art, music and memorable hospitality greats guests with a fanciful flavor. Italian mosaic tiled, barrel-vaulted ceilings and harlequin inspired sculptures invite guests into an oasis of sheer beauty, housing an unprecedented collection of more than 150 rare works of art. Located moments away from downtown’s cultural gems as well as Orlando’s magical theme parks, Grand Bohemian Hotel fosters a setting that celebrates creativity and inspires the soul.

For more information or to make a reservation at Grand Bohemian Hotel
Orlando, please visit grandbohemianhotel.com or call 407.313.9000.

About The Boheme Restaurant

Guests enjoy luxurious fare in a casual setting at the AAA Four-Diamond Boheme Restaurant. The delectable cuisines, including favorites and new menu items, range from the Kessler signature calamari, cognac lobster bisque and cashew crusted salmon to mascarpone cream cheese cake and Florida mixed berries in French vanilla sauce. Fine wines from the restaurant’s extensive wine cellar, including Kessler signature vintages created exclusively by Napa Valley winemakers, provide offerings from all over the world to pair with a memorable meal. The Boheme also introduced the Kessler Chophouse Menu, featuring the highest quality premium Black Angus select cuts.

The Boheme – 325 South Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801, Phone: 407-313-9000 – www.grandbohemianhotel.com

 

Photos from The Boheme

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Wagyu Beef Carpaccio

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Fresh oysters – Bluepoint oyster with a vinaigrette, pickled cucumbers and jalapenos

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Crab cakes

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Oriental mussels

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Asparagus spears with prosciutto ham

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Roasted pear salad

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Aphrodite salad

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Chilean sea bass

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New Zealand rack of Lamb, goat cheese crusted, asparagus risotto, port wine reduction

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Filet mignon

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White, dark, milk chocolate puff pastries

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 Toblerone Chocolate Fondue

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Do you ever want to get away from town for a while and take a short vacation away from home? It’s nice to have the beautiful beaches of the east and west coasts of Florida just an hour or so away from us here in Orlando (though we often forget). I grew up in West Palm Beach my whole life, with the beach only a few minutes drive away but it wasn’t until after moving away to Orlando for college did I understand how much I took the beaches for granted.

I was recently invited to visit The Shorts Resort and Spa in Daytona Beach, Florida (a winner of Orlando Sentinel’s Best Bets Awards for Best Hotel) to try out the menu at their on-site restaurant Azure as well as take in the ocean views at their hotel. Home to the Daytona 500 and the Daytona International Speedway, Bike Week, and Biketoberfest, Daytona Beach is only about an hour away after zipping along I-4 and getting off at I-95. The beaches in Daytona are famed for their wide stretches of smooth, compacted sand, attracting automobile and motorcycle races beginning in 1902 and eventually leading to the founding of NASCAR.

The Shores was originally built as the Hilton hotel in 1971. In 2004 when the hurricanes came and took down pretty much most of Central Florida, the Hilton building suffered as well. Soon the Hilton hotel moved down the street to another location and The Shores was founded at the location after a total renovation.

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Inside The Shores Resort and Spa

With the distinction of being the only AAA Four-Diamond luxury beachfront hotel in Daytona Beach, The Shores Resort and Spa definitely brings great service and luxury to every aspect of its operations, including their restaurant Azure tucked inconspicuously on the first floor near the back of the building with extra seating on the Atlantic beach front.

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Inside Azure

At dinner at the Azure, our waiter Todd was knowledgable, attentive, courteous and genuine, pretty much everything you could hope for in a waiter. He gave us several recommendations which all were spot on this night. We began with the Sweet Corn and Crab Chowder, made with blue crab, sweet potato crisps, slices of tortillas, and some of the crispiest, sweet corn in a bowl. The Steamed Middle Neck Clams dish came in a sweet, rich pinot grio white wine and butter sauce, topped with fresh tarragon, and fresh tomato and provided a wonderful sauce to dip the house bread into.

For a salad, I chose the Fried Green Tomato & Feta Cheese salad made with breaded, buttermilk marinated fried green tomatoes, feta cheese, organic field greens, olives, cracked pepper and topped with a bourbon molasses vinaigrette. The fried green tomatoes were tart and delicious. My partner chose the Baby Arugula & Sliced Crisp Pear salad with sweet pecans and a white balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

For the main course, Todd recommended to me the Caribbean Grilled Cobia, a white fish served with coconut rice, lemon garlic spinach, and a carrot citrus butter sauce. The dish was fantastic and immediately brought me back to the time I spent on the island of St Maarten in the Caribbean with its very fresh fish. The cobia was light and flavorful and the coconut rice, butter sauce, and lemon garlic spinach all melded beautifully together in my palate.

My partner chose the Atlantic Seafood Etouffee a cajun dish made with shrimp, scallops, fresh catch, and crawfish tail with steamed jasmine rice. Having visited New Orleans on multiple occasions and having etouffee as one of my favorite dishes from that region, I tend to have a prejudice when I meet other etouffee creations, judging it against the freshness and rich flavors of the roux in the etouffees found in the Big Easy. The Atlantic Seafood Etouffee, I found, was a spot on Cajun creation, filled with all the tastes and authentic textures and ingredients I had remembered before, and yet also adding its own touch on the classic with the fresh seafood from the Atlantic.

For dessert, we chose the always popular Brownie Mudslide, a delicious warm chocolate brownie, with kahlúa and bailey’s ice cream, topped with toasted pecans and a caramel sauce.

After dinner, you can take a stroll down to one of the many oceanside firepits set up and enjoy the sweet simple pleasure of seaside S’mores, made with your traditional graham crackers, toasty marshmallows and warm gooey chocolate. The s’mores, the fire pit, and the crashing waves near by all made for a very beautiful night.

After some rest in the hotel, when the sunrises, you can really see why the Shores is a popular place for weddings and meeting events. The view of the Atlantic is just breathtaking.

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Sunrise at Daytona Beach from The Shores

In the morning, the Azure restaurant serves up breakfast daily. I ordered the Stone Roasted Eggs made with two eggs cooked on a stone pan (supposedly it gives it some added grill flavor), roasted tomatoes, garlic spinach,parmesan cheese, and toast. My partner ordered the Crab Cake Benedict, a dish made with two poached eggs on blue crab cakes with hollandaise sauce and hash browns.

All in all, it really surprised me that Azure was so unknown before, tucked away like any good hidden secret, on the beautiful shores of the Atlantic beach and away from visitors’ knowledge. I hope more people find out about this place soon here at Azure, inside The Shores Resort and Spa, as it has some of the best dishes you can find here in Central Florida and I would definitely go back just to try these dishes again alone, not to mention the fantastic seaside views and amenities at The Shores. Check it out soon !

Azure on Urbanspoon

For more information, visit The Shores Resort and Spa –  2637 South Atlantic Avenue Daytona Beach Shores, FL 32118 (Tel) 386.767.7350 – http://www.shoresresort.com/



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Sweet Corn and Crab Chowder


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Steamed Middle Neck Clams in pinot grio white wine and butter sauce


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Baby Arugula and Sliced Crisp Pear salad


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Fried Green Tomato and Feta Cheese salad


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Caribbean Grilled Cobia with coconut rice and lemon garlic spinach


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Atlantic Seafood Etouffee




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Brownie Mudslide




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The firepits for S’mores at The Shores




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Banquet room at The Shores






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Stone Roasted Eggs with spinach and roasted tomatoes






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Crab Cake Benedict


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A mysterious e-mail arrives in my inbox one autumn day. An invitation to visit the illustrious Omni Resort Hotel at Championsgate, just outside of Orlando a few exits south of Disney World on Interstate-4. The reason? To try out some new drink menu items on their bar menu and be whisked away for a mini-staycation at the hotel. Hmm…I thought…this sounds enticing…

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On that pre-arranged date, ten strangers assembled on the steps of the lobby of the Omni Hotel, greeted by Ms. Jackie of the Zimmerman Agency, the ever smiling Mrs. Kelly Burnett (Follow her official Omni Resorts twitter here @kdburnett), Director of Leisure Sales for the Omni Orlando resort, and Mr. Mel, head of food and beverage at the hotel. Some of the guests this evening come from Orlando Style magazine, Orange Appeal, and local blogs like ourselves and our friends at MEGAYUMMO.

All of it seemed too much like out of a summer mystery novel to me: strangers meeting at a hotel, invited by a unknown mysterious host, having a delightful time, a lovely overnight stay…only to awaken in the morning to find out one of the guests has mysteriously disappeared overnight and the whole hotel is locked down while an old detective with a checkered past is brought in to figure out the crime and solve the mystery.

Luckily for us, things did not require a detective in the morning. Things actually went quite smoothly and relaxing.

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A beautiful view of the family pool and the golf course at Omni Resort at Championsgate

First off, the drinks. Omni Hotel has a nice little bar area on the left of the lobby near Zen restaurant where a piano player is set up for light enjoyable piano music. Here, the bartenders have assembled a presentation area where they whip out the latest “organic” and “local” creations from Omni resorts including the Sweet Honey Dew Foam made of Monin pure can syrup, Highland pepper, Berry ron-dezvous, Southern Basil Smash, and New Age Juleps. My favorite of the evening was the Berry Ron-dezvous, a very sweet yet also very potent mixed drink that packs a punch right after the unassuming sweetness settles in.

Below are the recipes for the new drinks at Omni Resort at Championsgate.

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Sweet Honeydew Foam
(topping for the New Age Julep Recipe)
Ingredients:
8oz Orange Juice
4oz Monin Pure Cane Syrup
2oz Organic Pasteurized Egg Whites
Method: 
1. Pour ingredients directly into iSi Gourmet Whip Plus Canister* 2. Place the lid on and screw tightly 3. Screw on the CO2 cartridge, you should hear a hissing noise during this
step 4. Shake the canister well 5. Completely invert the canister upside down 6. Last, pour the foam at the side of the glass and top your cocktail
*an iSi canister is also known as a whipping cream bottle/canister
Highland Pepper
Glass: Highball Method: Muddle/Shake & Fine Strain
Ingredients: 1 each Jalapeno Slice
Muddle above ingredients
1each Dash of Celery Bitters
1.5 oz Patrón Silver
.75 oz Fresh Squeezed Florida Grapefruit Juice
.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
.75 oz Monin Agave Nectar
Shake above ingredients with ice
Garnish: Fine Strain over Ice
Jalapeno Slice Grapefruit Wheel
Southern Basil Smash
Glass: Rocks Method: Muddle/Shake & Fine Strain
Ingredients:
2 each Fresh Strawberries (hulled & sliced)
3 each Basil Leaves
Muddle above ingredients
1.5 oz Woodford Reserve
.5 oz Cointreau
.5 oz Dry Sack Sherry
.5 oz Monin Pure Cane Syrup
.75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Garnish: Fine strain over ice
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Berry Ron-dezvous
Glass: Martini Method: Shake with ice & fine strain
Ingredients: 
2 each Fresh Blackberries
4 each Fresh Raspberries
Muddle above ingredients
1.5 oz Bacardi Superior
.5 oz Grand Marnier
.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
.5 oz Monin Pure Cane Syrup
Garnish: Fresh Blackberries
Glass: Rocks Method: Muddle/Shake
New Age Juleps
Ingredients: 8 each Mint Leaves
Muddle above ingredients
1.5 oz Absolut Vodka
.75 oz Plymouth Gin
.75 oz Monin Honey Sweetener
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Shake above ingredients with ice Strain without ice
Garnish: Top with Mint Sprig
Sweet Orange Foam

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After the presentation, we were treated to a very amazing dinner at David’s Club, a kind of relaxed pub type restaurant inside Omni hotel, best known for their steaks. Right next door is Zen, a fusion Chinese pan-Asian restaurant, whose dishes were also presented that evening. My favorites included the Chinese style barbeque spare ribs, the Zen roll, and the Florida sushi roll from Zen as well as the short rib ossobucco from David’s Club. All in all, the food was magnificent and the company was great.
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Zen Restaurant  – Pan Asian cuisine


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Seafood Bird nest

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The Chinese style bbq spareribs – must try!

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Lobster Tempura

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Amazing, fresh sushi rolls


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Short rib ossobucco

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The Lamb chops 

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Swordfish steak


In the morning, we ventured out into the Trevi restaurant, traditionally a Italian restaurant, but also a breakfast spot in the morning where they have a full blown breakfast buffet as well as select specialty menu items such as the french toast, eggs benedict, etc.

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Trevi’s 

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French toast

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Bacon, bacon, bacooonnn

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Salami cuts and charcuterie


Omni Resort at Championsgate is pretty much all you could ask for in a staycation trip: great food, a nice little lazy river to lounge in, a huge pool for the family, and a giant golf course, all within 30-45 minute drive from downtown Orlando. You definitely feel at peace at this place and away from all the noise and traffic of the City Beautiful. Check it out some time if you can!

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Luxury and relaxation.
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Lazy river at the Omni
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For more information visit:
Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate
1500 Masters Blvd
ChampionsGate, Florida 33896
Phone: (407) 390-6664, Fax: (407) 390-6600
http://www.omnihotels.com/findahotel/orlandochampionsgate.aspx
Special thanks to the good people at Omni Resorts, Kelly and Mel, and Jackie of the Zimmerman Agency for setting up this beautiful event! And to the great staff at Omni resorts for doing such a fine job in hospitality and guest services.

Zen Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Trevi's on Urbanspoon

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I recently took my significant other out for her birthday and treated her to a nice day out at the spa at the Ritz Carlton Orlando Grand Lakes. The Ritz Carlton Hotel is located off of John Young Parkway just south of SR 528. This spa actually placed in the top ten best resort spas as part of a recent Conde Naste Traveller magazine survey. Inside the Ritz Carlton just downstairs from the spa is the Vitale Spa Cafe, where one can enjoy some very delicious offerings while sipping tea with a beautiful view of the pool side.

The Vitale Spa Cafe offers some very healthy dishes ranging from salads to wraps and sandwiches, and also surprisingly, bento boxes. If you choose the bento box, you can have your pick of one protein from the list:

Citrus Marinated Grilled Chicken
Grilled Shrimp
Teriyaki Glazed Salmon
Grilled Snapper
Grilled Marinated Tofu
Filet Mignon Brochette
and also a Choice of 3 Sides:
Soy Glazed Mushrooms
Indian 3 Bean Salad
Soba Noodles
Mixed Greens
Tomato & Avocado
Fresh Fruit
Citrus & Hearts of Palm
Farro Salad

My partner chose the bento box with the Grilled Snapper with Fresh fruit, soy glazed mushrooms and mixed greens. The snapper was grilled to perfection, tasty and not too dry or too flaky. It reminded me of the way my dad used to grill fish in the backyard on summer afternoons when I was a child.

I chose to get the Seared Ahi Tuna with Heirloom Tomato and Baby Arugula, Soba Noodles, with Wasabi-Sherry Vinaigrette. The tuna was seared just right and was extremely fresh and red, just the way I like it. The tomato, arugula, and soba noodles all went well together with the wasabi sherry vinaigrette.

What I enjoyed most about my experience at Vitale Spa Cafe was its emphasis on fresh, healthy ingredients while also making the full flavors of the ingredients jump out in their dishes. The ingredients all went very well together and I was very pleased to find this unexpected gem of a cafe inside the Ritz Carlton hotel.

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A look inside the Vitale Spa Cafe
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Bento Box with Grilled Salmon and soy glazed mushrooms, fresh fruit, mixed greens.
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The Seared Ahi Tuna with Heirloom Tomato, and baby arugula, soba noodles, with a Wasabi Sherry Vinaigrette 
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Bon Apetit

The Vitale Spa Cafe is open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. from Sunday – Thursday and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Friday & Saturday. Located inside of the Ritz Carlton Hotel at Orlando Grande Lakes at 4012 Central Florida Parkway, Orlando, Florida 32837 USA.

Vitale Spa Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Harrington House Beachfront Bed & Breakfast Inn

This past weekend, I decided to surprise my partner with a little weekend romantic getaway to Anna Maria Island located just south of St Petersburg and north of Bradenton facing the Gulf of Mexico. We had always wanted to go to a bed and breakfast and I thought this would be the perfect time to try it out. I had heard of this place first from one of my co-workers who had recently been a guest at the place and had a great time. I decided to take up her recommendation and visit Harrington House Beachfront Bed and Breakfast and enjoy the warm Florida sun by the beachside.

It took about 2.5 hours to get to the island after getting a little lost (thanks googlemaps!), but when we arrived we could immediately feel the island’s laid-back relaxed small-town spirit that is quintessential of “Old Florida”. The island had narrow, curvy streets scattered with quaint shops and rustic seaside cottages and restaurants. One could really get a sense of getting away from it all and becoming used to living here on the beach side with its southern comforts and casual tranquility.

Checking into the inn, I discover that there are free kayaks and bicycles that we could use to explore the island, I definitely wanted to try the kayaking out later on. The staff were welcoming and warm, suggesting places to eat and things to do during our stay. The owners are a couple who treat the place like home living out their motto “come as a guest, leave as a friend”

The main living room had large comfy couches, book shelves of magazines and menus of places to eat at, the walls adorned with clippings of articles featuring the inn and a photo of the owners on their wedding day.

There is an intimate charm about the Harrington House Bed and Breakfast, the gas-lit fireplaces in the room, huge king sized bed, double-headed showers, a small flashlight for night time excursions onto the beach for a moonlit stroll, are all fine details that they thought about for our stay here.The view at our room was marvelous, the grand and expansive Gulf of Mexico literally footsteps away. The white powdery sands and beautiful ocean view took my breath away. The room is also equipped with TV and cable and thankfully I was able to watch the Magic defeat the Cavs later that evening to advance to the NBA finals against the Lakers. GO MAGIC!

The weather was perfect this past weekend, sunny and warm with a touch of clouds, a drastic change from the past week of downpours. We laid out on the beach to watch a spectaular sun set, kissing the horizon as it descended and tucking itself to sleep beneath the ocean’s waves.

We return to the main house for breakfast the next morning– beautifully presented and featuring a variety of fresh fruit and juices, homemade toast made from a sweet oatmeal, eggs Benedict with country sausage and gravy, slices of muffin, plus fresh coffee and tea. It was a heartfelt breakfast from a heartwarming inn.

I would love to live here forever, a sleepy village where time had forgot, living in a time when life was much simpler.

Voted Best Bed and Breakfast on Anna Maria Island from bedandbreakfast.com for 2008-2009

TASTY CHOMPS!! RATING!!
4.5 out of 5 TASTY ROMANTIC CHOMPS!!!!!

Harrington House Beachfront Bed and Breakfast
5626 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island, FL 34217-1666
Phone (888) 828-5566 • (941) 778-5444
http://www.harringtonhouse.com/

Harrington House Beachfront Bed & Breakfast Inn on Urbanspoon

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