K Restaurant invited us to taste a sample menu of what you can expect to receive during Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month. Here is a look at the menu we got to try.

The evening began with three appetizers. The first on the list was Deviled Eggs. It contains mustard egg yolk, tomato jam, bacon lardons and herbs. 

We then moved onto Crispy Brussels Sprouts containing hot sauce honey, bacon lardons and herbs. 

The last appetizer was Duck Liver Mousse. On it was seasonal accompaniments, grilled chiabatta bread and herbs. This item is not always served on the menu.

Just like the appetizers, we were served three entrees. We hit the ground running with Eggplant Parmesan as the first entree served. It contained panko breaded eggplant, tomato and eggplant ragu, fresh mozzarella, parmesan cheese and basil. 

Afterward, the Seasonal Fish was served. It was a fresh serving of Cobia fish. According to the restaurant, they caught it the previous day at New Smyrna Beach. The fish was plated with vegetable risotto, herb butter and micro green salad. 

The very last entree was called Pork Porterhouse. It had creamy polenta, seasonal vegetables, and cider barbecue sauce. 

Afterward, we were served three desserts – Chocolate torte, Chefs Choice Cheese Cake (seasonal)and French Toast Bread Pudding. 

Shown below is the Chocolate torte with salted caramel buttercream. It is actually flourless (gluten free)!

Next up was the Chefs Choice Cheese cake. The cake is seasonal and does vary. Our cheese cake had more of a chocolate base and was very delicious. 

We also got to taste this amazing French Toast Bread Pudding. It had pecan streusel, cinnamon maple glaze, and vanilla ice cream. 

K Restaurants Executive Chef, Chad Phelps says, “I ate here during magical dinning month several years ago and enjoyed it and came back on and off throughout the years and eventually bought it when I heard the restaurant was for sale.”

As for how the menu is put together, it depends on what’s growing locally and what’s available. Phelps’ favorite menu item is the pork chops. He also has a liking for the brussels sprouts. After being fried, they are tossed in honey and sriracha sauce. The restaurant is well known for them.

Magical Dining Month continues now through September 30! Make sure to check this place out. In addition, one dollar from each meal goes towards Best Buddies and Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida through Visit Orlando.

K Restaurant is located on 1710 Edgewater Dr, Orlando, FL 32804. You can also check them out on their website at https://www.krestaurant.net/

Go to MagicalDining.com to view more menus and restaurants.

From August 17 to October 31 on select dates, Disneys Magic Kingdom is hosting their annual Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party! The event kicks off at 7 p.m and lasts until midnight. We got a chance to check out the new entertainment, dining, attractions, merchandise and specialty foods.

There are six different dining locations in the park; Main Street U.S.A, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. Throughout these locations, you can find the new treats that Disney whipped up this year.

Here are the desserts:

  • Jack Skellington Dessert
  • Hitchhiking Ghost Dessert
  • Oogie Boogie Meringue
  • Maleficent Dessert
  • Madame Leota Dessert
  • Worms and Dirt Dessert

Here is a look at additional desserts that can be found in the park –

Just like the treats, you can find new event merchandise at select locations throughout the fun filled land. There is Emporium (Full Event Collection), Curtain Call Collectibles (Costume Pieces), Big Top Souvenirs (Full Event Collection), and Frontier Trading Post (Event Trading Pins).

Be sure to visit the Treat Locations within the park. The spots you’ll want to hit are :

  • Market Street in Main Street
  • Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise in Adventureland
  • Splash Mountain, Dock to Tom Sawyer Island and Country Bear Jamboree in Frontierland
  • Columbia Harbour House in Liberty Square
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Ariel’s Grotto, Pinocchio Village Haus, and Walt Disney World Railroad Station in Fantasyland
  • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress in Tomorrowland

The entertainment is another treat you don’t want to miss. Here is the listing:

  • Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular (Castle Forecourt Stage) at 8:30 p.m, 10:45 p.m and 12:00 a.m
  • Mickey’s “Boo-To-You” Halloween Parade at 9:15 p.m and 11:15 p.m 
  • Happy Hallowishes Fireworks (Skies above Cinderella Castle) at 10:15 p.m
  • Monstrous Scream-O-Ween Ball (Tomorrowland) at 7:00 p.m – 12:00 a.m 
  • Storybook Circus Disney Junior Jam (Fantasyland) at 7:00 p.m – 12:00 a.m 

There will also be Special Disney Character Appearances all around the park.

Some famous attractions are filled with HALLOWEEN FUN!  They are enhanced especially for the event.  I went on Space Mountain and the ride was said to be “darker than usual” inside the tunnel that the coaster goes through. Other enhanced rides are Pirates of the Caribbean and Mad Tea Party. 

Another cool aspect about Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is their Allergy-Friendly Offerings. There are special treat bags you can pick up. You can also visit Town Square Theater or Liberty Square Ticket Office which are the allergy-friendly centers.

A handy tool to pick up before entering the park is the park map. It pin points where all of the event highlights are. I recommend going more than once. There is so much to see and do. Above all, my favorite was the Happy Hallowishes Fireworks. It was one of the best firework shows I have ever seen. Take advantage of the season and have fun!

Did you know that Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida has catering?  We were invited to their amazing facility to check out their newest business, Catering For Good!

What is Catering For Good?  A full service caterer.  All menu items are prepared by an award winning culinary team lead by Chef Jill Holland using the highest quality and freshest ingredients purchased from national and local vendors.  The menu includes selections for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktail receptions including wine and beer or a full bar. Catering For Good was listed in Orlando Business Journal as “Top 20 Business Caters”.

Here’s the best part…

All proceeds benefit the Second Harvest Culinary Training Program, a 16-week program that provides qualified, at-risk and economically disadvantaged adults in Central Florida with the culinary and life skills training needed to pursue a sustainable career in food industry.  100% of the graduates of this program have been placed in higher paying jobs, helping them become self-sufficient and begin life long careers.

Catering For Good offers room rentals at their unique and beautiful venues that can accommodate 10 to 200 guests – the venues are perfect for business meetings, work shops, luncheons, networking events, get togethers, holiday parties, bar or bat mitzvah, birthdays, showers, and weddings for those who wants to give back to their community on their special day.

Thanks to you, Catering For Good is not just feeding the line… but shortening the line.

Raspberry Brie

Harvest Sparkler – Prosecco and cranberries.  Non-alcoholic version in the back row.

The amazing Chef Jill Holland

Key Lime, S’mores, and Raspberry Creme Brûlée dessert shooters

Loved hearing Chef Shaneka Jimerson’s (Culinary Training Program graduate) inspiring testimony!

Thank you to the talented Culinary Training Program students for preparing our delicious lunch!

For more information, or to make an appointment and take a tour, please contact Lanette Jarvis at (407) 514-1048, email ljarvis@feedhopenow.org, or visit their website: FeedHopeNow.org

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
411 Mercy Drive Orlando, FL

I love nothing better than going to dinner with friends. Especially, a couple that both you and your partner mutually like, meaning all four people are happy and no one has to pretend to like someone for the benefit of their relationship. I know you understand what I’m talking about, we all go through it. Finding good friends, especially at the age I am now (a much wiser age), friends that my husband also enjoys being with, can be challenging. Thankfully, on this occasion, all was right in the world. Friday night, the kids are home with our amazing sitter (she paints my daughter’s nails and bakes), meeting terrific friends (a couple we both love to be with), for a casual, but classy dinner at RusTeak Restaurant and Wine Bar in Ocoee. One of my local favorites!

Mahogany walls, dark cherry wood bar and furniture, chrome fixtures, a perfect mix of trendy and casual, rustic, as the name of the restaurant implies…this is RusTeak. A seasonal menu of American, farm-to-table favorites with an edge, and a selection of over two-hundred wines from around the world, a large variety of craft beers, and handcrafted cocktails. RusTeak has an upscale feel while creating an atmosphere in which I feel completely at ease in, wearing shorts and flip-flops, as I did on this night. Walking in, I quickly realized that RusTeak is one of the many restaurants taking part in Bite30 during the month of June. During all thirty days of the month, RusTeak is offering a special prix fixe, multi-course dinner menu for a set price of $30. We didn’t partake in the Bite30 menu on this night, but I do plan to return and try it soon. With our friends running a few minutes behind, we had no trouble finding a seat at the bar for a little pre-dinner conversation and drinks (Ponga Sauvignon Blanc for me, dirty martini for my husband). My glass of wine was icy-cold perfection for this humid night (welcome, summer weather, can’t say I’ve missed you).

Bite30 Menu Now Offered
Sauvignon Blanc and Dirty Martini – RusTeak Bar

With our friends arrival, we sat down at the high-top table, each of us merrily looking at our menus, my legs happily dangling from my bar stool (short girl problems), finally settling on a few appetizers to share: Pumpkin Seed Edamame, Tomato Jam Jar, and Soft Jumbo Pretzel Sticks with two dipping sauces (mustard and cheese).

Tender edamame sautéed with butter, garlic, parmesan, and toasted pumpkin seeds…it’s one of the best edamame appetizers I have ever tasted. Savory, salty, fresh, and rich all at the same time. The buttery parmesan coated each piece of edamame so perfectly, it took all my willpower not to suck the pod after I had already eaten the soybean. Good thing I stopped doing that after the third or fourth one.

Pumpkin Seed Edamame

The Tomato Jam Jar is one of RusTeak’s favorites (always on the menu). A jar precisely filled with layers of house-made ricotta cheese, spinach almond pesto, and cherry tomato jam, served with toasted Naan bread. The cheese is creamy, the pesto is grainy and thick with herbs, while the jam is pleasantly sweet. A trifecta of velvety, earthy, and nectarous.

Tomato Jam Jar with Naan Bread

You can’t go wrong with soft pretzels, especially dipped in mustard and cheese. Doughy, salty pretzels at RusTeak, are a surprisingly perfect pairing with super Tuscan red wine (I should know, I had plenty of both).

Soft Pretzels with Mustard and Cheese

Moving on from our appetizers, and plenty of conversation, we ordered our main entrees. RusTeak offers flatbreads, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and entrees such as Pesto Salmon and Scallop Ratatouille. My friend ordered the Shrimp Tacos, my husband went with the Fig & Rib Flatbread, while two of us settled on an entree called Stay Gold Ponyboy. The name alone, caught my eye. The Outsiders! But, the dish itself did it for me: grilled flat iron steak, spinach-maple bacon yukon gold mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, all topped with creamy gruyere mornay and two jumbo shrimp. My steak was tender, the potatoes were hearty, the asparagus crisp, and all of it nestled deliciously well with the sauce. I would order this again and again (and not just because of my childhood crush on Ponyboy).

Shrimp Tacos
Fig and Rib Flatbread
Stay Gold Ponyboy

Everyone at the table was completely stuffed…so, of course, everyone refused dessert…except me. In the name of journalism and foodies everywhere, I convinced my husband and friends that we had to try the Dulce de leche Bread Pudding served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. Wow! Spongy bread pudding made with sweetened milk and caramel, warm out of the oven plated with cold, rich ice cream. Everyone refused at first, but, they were thanking me in the end.

Dulce de leche Bread Pudding

RusTeak Restaurant and Wine Bar is a restaurant I frequent often and recommend consistently. I love that the atmosphere is comfortable, but also eye-appealing. It’s a place you can make as “dressy” as you wish. The staff is always polite and knowledgeable, and helpful when recommending a bottle of wine from the expansive list. The food is always freshly prepared and prepared with creativity. Every meal is fantastic, and even better when in good company.


RusTeak Restaurant and Wine Bar





Hey, hey!

So you want to eat cleaner, huh? Every year, millions of Americans head to the gym with the hopes of dropping the holiday pounds, but as many of you know – the secret in the weight loss sauce is really what you consume. For a moment, let’s picture a new you — a you that likes kombucha, tea instead of a frappé and sometimes maybe a salad instead of the fries (blasphemy, I know!)

If you’re reading this, you probably love to eat just as much as I do, so consider committing to make small, but impactful changes every week until they become habits.

Let’s raise a smoothie to the new you in 2017 and explore my favorite places to eat clean in and around Orlando. Because hey, a little kale salad here and there never hurt anyone.


Eats: Mixed, raw and clean options 

1. The Sanctum | Colonialtown North

Major’s Pick: Shiva Salad (Half Salad) Massaged kale, roasted butternut squash and house-seasoned tempeh with pink lady apples, celery, carrots and raisins. All tossed in curried peanut dressing and finished with candied walnuts, toasted chickpeas and flaked coconuts

2. Dandelion Communitea Cafe | Mills 50 District

Major’s Pick: The Giddyup ($6 on Mondays!): tempeh chili topped with blue corn chips and fresh diced tomatoes. Served with vegan queso or organic dairy cheddar cheese. Get in a bowl or wrap, and check out the new menu! (Tell them Major sent you.)

3. Infusion Tea | College Park

Major’s Pick: Nut & Honey wrap: local honey, organic cashew nut butter, bananas, strawberries, and granola for a sustaining wrap

4. Create Your Nature | Winter Park

Major’s Pick: Nutty By Nature bowl: blueberries, banana, organic granola, almonds, walnuts, pecasn, chia seeds, hemp seeds and local raw honey


Drinks: Cold-pressed, blended and over ice options 

1. Juice Bar | The Milk District

Major’s Pick: Hale to the Beet Down: apple, kale, orange, lemon ginger

2. Juice’d | Thornton Park

Major’s Pick: Kale Smoothie: apple, banana, ginger, kale, mango, pineapple, spinach *add coconut water

3. Grounding Roots | College Park

Major’s Pick: Sweet Potato, Pineapple & Red Apple

4. New Moon Market | College Park

Major’s Pick: Cheeky Monkey: almond milk, banana, oats, almond butter with maca powder

5. Skyebird | Audubon Park

Major’s Pick: Thai Hot: spinach, celery, cilantro, orange, apple, lime, lemongrass and jalapeño

Share your food adventures with us on Instagram! I’m so excited to see what you let your palate explore in the year!

Snack on,

Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!

Kale yeah! Salads are no longer the side piece. As consumers become more ingredient conscious, chefs and restaurateurs across the globe are being pushed to think beyond traditional proteins, and experiment with ethnic flavors and greens-based dishes to accommodate varying palates. Caesar salad, move over and make room for quinoa and farro bowls topped with spicy broccoli, roasted chickpeas and basil.

This month happens to be National Salad Month, and thankfully, here in Florida, we’ve got an abundance of fresh greens and vegetables to mix and match to whip up amazing creations. We’ll start with three places in town to get your salad fix.

Forks up. . . let’s eat our way to summer.

1. The Sanctum Cafe


Dish: Savage Salad – Organic greens, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, eggplant and corn – all roasted and tossed with bell peppers, sweet onions, carrot ribbons, celery, jicama, zucchini, peas and pepitas. Served with rosemary dressing.

Local Fare: Corn from Long & Scott Farms (Zellwood, Fla.), Deer Park Peaches (Saint Cloud, Fla.) and salad greens and microgreens from The Greenhouse (Apopka, Fla.).

Favorite Salad Ingredient: “Roasted cauliflower is one my favorite toppings!” – Chef-Owner Chelsea Savage

2. The COOP


The Skinny: The new salad bar costs $9.99 per person and includes an endless amount of offerings, such as locally-sourced greens and vegetables, proteins and house made dressings.

Local Fare: The COOP is trekking around the state and shopping with Alderman Farms (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and L&M Farms (Palatka, Fla.).

Favorite Salad Ingredients: “I like the grilled vegetables and the specialty salads that rotate daily at the end of the bar. One of my favorites is a Hoppin’ John Succotash that Whitney makes and a few more are grilled asparagus, roasted tomatoes and feta cheese.” – Chef-Owner John Rivers

3. Dixie Kharma
Photo Credit: LemonHearted.com
Photo Credit: LemonHearted.com

Dish: Hail Kale Salad – Garlicky kale, blackened corn, pickled beets and watermelon rind and smoked tempeh

Local Fare: In this salad, Dixie Kharma’s uses Florida-grown corn and watermelon. When available, they toss in baby kale grown in their pallet garden located in front of Market on South.

Favorite Salad Ingredients: “We love to mix it up. Local ingredients are our first choice. Everything from peppery greens and herbs are a must. Pickled veggies, fruits and roots, heirloom beans and grains are also great.” – Dixie Kharma crew

Greens Guide  

Here’s a handful of local shops to visit to stock up on greens, grains and vegetables. This list is in no way inclusive of our local offerings in Central Florida, so comment with your local go-to store! 

What To Buy Right Now

Bell Pepper | Blueberry | Cabbage | Cantaloupe | Carrot | Celery | Cucumber | Eggplant Grapefruit | Guava | Mango | Mushroom | Orange | Papaya | Peaches | Radish | Sweet Corn | Tangerine | Tomato | Watermelon

Seasonal Recipe – Taverna Opa Orlando’s Watermelon Feta Salad Pizza
Taverna Opa Salad


  • 1 Watermelon slice
  • 1 Oz. Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 6 Kalamata olives, sliced
  • 5 Mint leaves
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Balsamic glaze


  • On a cutting board, slice the watermelon in half
  • Place the flat side down, and cut a one-inch thick slice, then cut into five slices
  • Plate on a round dish and add feta cheese, olives, mint leaves and drizzle with balsamic glaze

Snack on,

Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!


Well, hello!

I’m Major, TastyChomps.com’s newest contributing food writer. To kicks things off, I’ve conducted a Q&A with myself (we all talk to ourselves, right?).

My stories will include everything from chef interviews, recipe features and industry news to kitchen gadgets, healthy eats, foodie fashion and even workout tips to keep the pounds off!

Check back for stories and send suggestions! And, if you catch me cruisin’ down Orlando Avenue sipping cold brew blasting NPR, holla at me!

Q: When did you fall in love with food? 

A: October 4, 2006 was the day that my love affair with food began. It all started with a sweet introduction to Blue Bird Bake Shop’s Downside Up cupcake.

Q: Where are you from and what do you do? 

A: I’m a New York native turned avid Orlandoan. By day, I’m publicist at a super cool PR/creative agency in downtown Orlando, and at night, I’m fighting the good fight against boring snacks as a foodpreneur with Project Pop, my organic kettle corn company.

Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with top chefs and restaurants throughout the country, so I know my way around the kitchen. I am also obsessed with fitness, so check out my Instagram to follow my gym chronicles!

Q: What are you currently drinking? 

A: My everyday, fail-proof drink is Dandelion Communitea Cafe’s iced coffee with plain soy milk and one pump of agave. Go in, and tell them Major sent you. You will not regret it! I also just purchased a great bag of beans from Lucky Goat Coffee Co. in Tallahassee. It’s pretty amazing.

Coffee Shop

Q: What is always in your fridge?

A: Homemade cold brew, coconut water and at least three different types of organic greens

Q: Where do you shop for groceries? 

A: You can find me on Saturday mornings at the Winter Park Farmer’s Market, or shamelessly running around Trader Joe’s, while juggling 15 items in my hands.


Q: What’s your earliest memory of food? 

A: My dad would sit me down for hours on Saturday mornings to sip water straight from fresh coconuts, while he watched karate movies. I have my dad to thank for my obsession with all things coconut.

Q: Current obsessions? 

A: Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar’s Vegan Tuna Melt,  Ashley Brooke Design tumblers, Bearded Brothers’ organic energy bars and Orlando-themed tanks from Go Big Tees.

Q: Where can we follow you on Instagram? 

A: @Majorcreates + @EatProjectPop

Snack on,
Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!


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On June 25th, Second Harvest hosts Chef Kathleen Blake from The Rusty Spoon for the Chef’s Night Series and Catering for Good program.

SH 16

Each Chef’s Night brings local top chefs into Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida to celebrate delicious food and raise money for a good cause. All proceeds benefit Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program, which provides students with the skills and inspiration they need to obtain an entry-level position in a food service establishment.

SH 1

The evening began with tasteful conversations and delightful Amuse-bouche. In my opinion, the item on the left has more texture compared to the item on the right. However, both have their own reasons for praise. Also, the left is more dessert like than the right because it reminds me of cinnamon apples (on top of potato). The right is flavored sweet barbecue, but it is a bit too sweet for my preferences.

SH 10

The first course consisted of Charred squid and octopus with Frog Song organic watermelon two ways with house pickled peppers and arugula. So many flavors danced together and made a well balanced salad from the sweet notes of the watermelon, savory squid and octopus, the tart and spicy pickled peppers to the fresh, yet bitter arugula.

SH 12

Next came sweet corn, chorizo and local oyster mushrooms with fettuccine paprikash. This was my favorite dish as I’ve always been a fan of chorizo and oyster mushrooms. Among the many flavors, the broth was almost bland, but the chorizo added the saltiness it needed.

SH 13

Lake Meadow roasted poussin with butternut squash skordalia and natural jus reminded me of a homely meal. The poussin was moist and tender, while the carrots provided a crunch. I adored the sweetness of the skordalia and fancied topping my poussin with it for almost every bite. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to go primal and use my hands to eat this course, but that isn’t lady-like, is it?

SH 14

Last, but not least, is the peach cobbler with muse butter pecan gelato. Peach cobbler is one of my favorite desserts. Although the peaches were a bit too sweet for my liking, I still enjoyed this dessert and would have had seconds if I was not so full.

This visit was one of the best as the dishes were on point with my tastebuds on the flavors and textures I loved most about food. I not only love food but I love helping the community as well, which is why Second Harvest is such a great cause to work with.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida offers more Chef’s Night and events like Dine in the Dark to connect guests with local foods and charities. If you’d like to learn more about Second Harvest, please feel free to click on the hyperlink.

SH 15

I highly recommend volunteering with Second Harvest and have your events catered by their chefs. Not only would you have a great experience and enjoy delicious food, you will also be helping a cause as the funds will benefit Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program and our local community.

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McCoy’s Bar & Grill at Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport
9300 Jeff Fuqua Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32827
Located inside the main terminal of Orlando International Airport (MCO)
on the lobby level of Hyatt Regency Hotel
Phone: (407) 825-1234
Flexible hours: M-Su 11a.m. to 1 a.m.

The airport code for the Orlando International Airport – rather than OIA as you would think – is represented by the letters  MCO. The code stands for the airport’s former name, McCoy Air Force Base, named for the late Colonel Michael Norman Wright McCoy.

McCoy’s Bar & Grill restaurant located at Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport (and also named for the late Colonel) was recently redesigned with a hip, ultra-modern look with natural bamboo flooring and day lighting, dark wood finishes and a soft earth tone color palette. I was invited recently for a media event to check out the new digs as well as the surprisingly pleasant “local” menu on board.

mccoy airport orlando

The interior renovation was handled by CCS Architecture, a firm that has gained international acclaim for its restaurant projects. Other features include open kitchen concept; high-definition, flat panel televisions; private dining areas; two high-top communal tables fitted with outlets for guests to recharge their communication devices; complimentary Wi-Fi; and a well-stocked bar featuring an extensive selection of wines by the glass that complement the menu, draft and bottled beers, and signature, popular and non-alcoholic beverage options.

mccoy airport orlando

An expanded, free-standing sushi bar  features custom-made selections prepared by a classically-trained Japanese sushi chef led by Chef Hiro Masaki. Menu features Nigiri and Maki Sushi, Traditional Rolls, a selection of appetizers and entrees including a seasonal pre fix Bento box. Much of the fresh fish served at McCoy’s and used in the sushi bar arrives at the restaurant straight off the runway after being flown in from other locations.

mccoy airport orlando

When people think of food at the airport, they hardly remember that McCoy’s and its sister restaurant Hemisphere both located in the Hyatt Regency at the Orlando International Airport, can be an elevated culinary experience while you await the next flight.

The updated menu blends Hyatt’s Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served. global food initiative with the unique needs of airport visitors. The new menu raises the bar for traveling diners while providing sustainable and responsible food and beverage choices and does so with true vigor, enough to make any “locavore” salivate for a dish.

mccoy airport orlando

Locally-sourced foods include:

  • Blueberries and Cornish hens from Ocoee, Fla. including Lake Meadow Naturals
  • Little gem romaine lettuce from Apopka, Fla.
  • Pork from Avon Park, Fla. from Palmetto Creek Farm
  • Sunray venus clams from Pine Island, Fla.
  • Wild royal red shrimp from Canaveral, Fla.

Ultra-fresh sweet and savory sorbets, sauces and mousses are made with seasonal ingredients using the revolutionary Pacojet™ culinary appliance. Examples include apple cider sorbet, pomegranate sorbet and cream cheese ice cream.


Some dish highlights here at McCoy’s include:

MCO Traveler’s Trio small plates are 3 for 17.95 | 1 for 7.00.

Selections include:

  • Spring Rolls house made, Vietnamese style with palmetto creek farm pork & nuoc mam sauce
  • Calamari fresh from Point Judith RI, lightly breaded & fried, served with ponzu aioli
  • Pork Carnitas Taco palmetto creek farm pork braised with sour orange, shredded lettuce, pico, crema, white corn tortilla
  • Baked Baby Brie, pecans, dried cranberries, lake meadow honey, served with multi-grain chips
  • Healthy options include selections from Hyatt’s StayFit Cuisine program, gluten free and vegetarian items, and a “For Kids By Kids” children’s menu created in collaboration with Alice Waters and the Partnership for a Healthier America.

Crawfish Chowder – A McCoy’s specialty for 20 years
Shrimp Mojito Salad with mixed local lettuce, Canaveral royal red shrimp, fresh orange sections, mango, spiced pecans, Mojito vinaigrette
Grilled Citrus Chicken Panini with sourdough bread, local produced Oaxaca cheese, shaved chicken breast, mango aioli, avocado, French fries
OIA Mac N Cheese with Oaxaca, smoked cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, roasted Poblano peppers, cornbread crust, mixed local green salad
Grilled Steak salad with natural flat iron steak, red onion jam, crouton, Florida grown Bordeaux spinach, roasted red peppers, smoked bacon, bleu cheese & honey balsamic vinaigrette
Lake Meadow Naturals Whole Cornish Hen grilled with sage & garlic marinade, roasted butternut squash, apple and fennel slaw, natural jus

McCoy’s – Team Profiles 


Chef David Didzunas is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. He started his career with Hyatt Hotels in 1981 in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From there, he held chef positions at properties in Dallas, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, and was executive sous chef for the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress and executive chef for the Hyatt Charlotte at Southpark in North Carolina. In 1997, he was appointed executive chef for Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. Didzunas stays in touch with the latest trends in food and wine by traveling to Spain, Itlay and various parts of the United States.


mccoy airport orlando
Housemade ice creams at McCoy’s made using the revolutionary Pacojet™ culinary appliance

mccoy winter park cheeses

Local Winter Park Dairy Cheeses

McCoy's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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This is an inspiring challenge from two local Central Florida women, Trish Strawn and Rebecca Reis-Miller. The task: eat everything for three months coming from Florida. With the increased public awareness on the importance of local sourcing in our nation’s food supply, and with the desire for more healthy, sustainable, and more humane food, this challenge accentuates the need for us as Floridians to be aware of how much we can do with the food around us.

From the Press Release:

Two Florida women are up for a challenge –for three months, everything that they eat must come from their home state, Florida, beginning on the first day of spring. The two women, Trish Strawn and Rebecca Reis-Miller have been active participants in the local food movement and agriculture for nearly a decade. Strawn is a 5th generation rancher, with expertise in grass-fed beef and lamb production and the current Chair for the Florida Food Policy Council. Reis-Miller co-founded and lead Slow Food Orlando, Central Florida’s sustainable food advocacy group for 4 years.

Last year, the duo decided to take their commitment to local food to the next level and begin their small consultation and distribution company for small farms called Growing Synergy. The company has created a niche specifically focused on proteins from small Florida farms and ranches including beef, lamb, veal, poultry, dairy, pork and even gator. Rather than focus on a single distribution channel, the company provides access to consumers, health food stores, hotels, food trucks and restaurants alike. Health Food Stores include Living Waters in Ormond Beach and DeLand Natural Bakery in DeLand, Florida. Food Truck, Big Wheel Provisions, Restaurants include The Table, K Restaurant, Ritz Carlton Orlando and Norman’s in Orlando, Graze at Harmony Golf Preserve, 3030 Ocean and Market 17 in Fort Lauderdale, Altamare in Miami Beach, and Pearl in the Grove in Dade City, Whistle Stop in Safety Harbor, Sideberns in Tampa, just to name a few.

The two believe that Florida has much to offer in the way of local food, and feel that if they lead by example more consumers and businesses will be receptive to increase their spending with small farmers. University of Florida/IFAS reports that there are approximately 47,000 small farms in Florida. Strawn’s focus with the Florida Food Policy Council is to complete an impact study that will show Florida constituents just how much of an impact their dollars will have on small farms.

Strawn and Reis-Miller already have a list of farms, restaurants and consumers lined up for support. The Table in Orlando has agreed to host a closing dinner on June 20, 2012 (to make a reservation and have dinner with Strawn and Reis-Miller please book here http://thetableorlando.com/). Other participating restaurants include Pearl in the Grove in Dade City, Ritz Carlton Orlando, Lake Nona Deli and Market and 3030 Ocean.


Heart of Christmas (http://www.hocfarms.com/) and Pure Produce https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002151604314 are creating boxes of salads and vegetables for families to get involved also.

The challenge will be taking place March 20-June 19, 2012. All of the food that the women eat will come from the State of Florida. The restrictions include that they may eat locally produced artisan foods that may or may not include locally source raw ingredients.

Follow their journey, Eating From Florida 90 Day Food Challenge on Facebook at “Growing Synergy” or on their website at www.GrowingSynergy.com


Here are some great Florida farmers & artisans that they are supporting during their 90 day journey!

Heart of Christmas Farms, Christmas, FL
Hydroponic produce grown to organic standards

Pure Produce, Micco, FL
Hydroponic produce

Olde Hearth Bread Company, Orlando, FL
Artisan Bakery offering hand-crafted breads and pastries

Florida Fresh Meats, Summerfield, FL

Cowart Ranch, Sumterville, FL
Pastured Eggs and Poultry

White Ranch, Citra, FL
Grass Fed Wagyu and Angus

Dansk Farms, Winter Park, FL

Nines Mine Ranch, St Cloud, FL
Grass Fed Beef and Veal

Lake Meadow Naturals, Ocoee, FL
Free Range Eggs and Poultry

Latitude Foods, Orlando, FL
Grass Fed Milk, Cheese, Yogurt

Farm Jerky, Orlando, FL
Grass Fed Beef & Veal Jerky

Our Biscotti & More, Maitland, FL
Biscotti, Salad Dressings

Front Porch Dogs, Sebring, FL
All-natural dog treats

Crackerman Crackers, Surfside, FL
Crackers, Breads, Vegan Cookies

For More info Contact:
Rebecca Reis-Miller, Founder/Partner Growing Synergy, 407-733-7657 rebecca@growingsynergy.com
Trish W. Strawn, Founder/Partner Growing Synergy, 407-733-7657 trishstrawn@gmail.com

Tasty Chomps Eats Local:
Grilled Shoulder of Lamb from Ocala’s Florida Fresh Meat company
at Lake Nona Deli and Market!

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American Food. European Roots. Locally Sourced. – The Rusty Spoon

How many of us can say we know where our food comes from? How it’s made and how it’s transported to us? In our increasingly globalized world, more and more of our food is being sourced farther and father away and processed in a factory somewhere with who knows what type of chemicals to the point where we don’t even recognize it anymore. The freshness, taste is all but gone for the sake of cheaper products at greater yields.

The farm-to-table movement has become something of a rallying call for chefs around the country to bring the food back to the local community in a sustainable, natural way. In the 55 West building in the heart of the Church Street district, The Rusty Spoon is trying to bring that movement to the forefront here in Orlando, using locally sourced ingredients from local area farms like Deep Creek Ranch and Waterkist Farms in Winter Park.

The Rusty Spoon’s Owner/Chef Kathleen Blake, formerly of Primo, has been one of the fore-bearers of the Local “Slow Food” movement here in Orlando, as one of the first chefs to use local Ocoee farm Lake Meadow Natural’s for their tasty, natural eggs with orange-tinted, flavorful yolks. The restaurant also likes to change the menu and ingredients depending on what’s in season.

I had trouble spotting The Rusty Spoon at first – if I hadn’t been looking for it, I may have just walked on by to the Amway Center with nary a thought that there was a restaurant at the base of the 55 West Building. Maybe they should get a sign up to replace the banner at the front.

Self-described as a gastropub, there is a sizeable bar at the front of the house, though I did not feel most comfortable sitting there to eat and drink. There is a nice drink selection with craft beer, though not as extensive as some other places downtown.

In the dining area behind the bar, a menagerie of farm animal portraits watch over you as you dine, hanging on a brick wall. The decor is modern and the ambience is more like a city art gallery than a homey pub, though it was nice and open.


Inside The Rusty Spoon

Our waitress was fairly new but I wouldn’t have guessed it. She was attentive and knew the menu and recommendations like the back of her hand. The prices here were all very reasonable with most of the dishes under $20.


Stuffed Eggs – Lake Meadow Eggs Stuffed With olive tapenade, herbs & Oven Dried Tomatoes.

These deviled eggs were quite a delicious start to the meal, creamy and slightly salty with a nice tartness in the tomatoes.

Rusty O-Rings – Buttermilk Soaked Sweet Vidalia Onion Rings with Black Water Porter Dipping Sauce

This dish was dusted with powdered sugar like at the carnival fair. Though playful, definitely something I would expect from a regular ale-house rather than a gastropub. I enjoyed them nonetheless.

“Haystack” – Shoestring Potatoes with Three Homemade Sauces including barbeque, ketchup, and an aioli sauce.

These fries were topped with some parmesan cheese, and though they were tasty, I did not find them to be memorable or distinguishable from most other fries.


Shiitinonion Soup – 5 Onions, Roasted Double Chicken Stock, Topped with croutons & Melted Gruyere. The “55” Burger – 1/2 lb of Grass-Fed Beef Stuffed with Bacon & Gruyere, Smothered with Onions, Rusty Aioli, House-made Pickles on a Soft Roll

Shiitinonion SoupThe Rusty Spoon’s version of the French Onion soup, a very enjoyable, hearty soup that I wish did not have such a foul sounding name. The “55” burger was a bit of a disappointment for me as I really enjoy burgers, but alas the patty was too soft and wet on this occasion, maybe it was undercooked but definitely too mushy of a burger for me.

Slow Braised Lamb – Jamison Farm Lamb, sweet onion & golden raisin jam with House Made Ricotta Salata on Toasted Moroccan Bread

This lamb sandwich was a favorite of the group, the lamb had almost like a pulled pork texture and the onions and ricotta all went very well together with the sandwich.


“Dirty South” – Stew Of Cape Canaveral head on Shrimp, Local Snapper, Cedar Creek Clams With Tomato & Peanuts In A Rich Shrimp Broth

The “Dirty South” was hands down the favorite dish here at The Rusty Spoon, signature local snapper from Cape Canaveral, shrimp head-on just the way I like it, delicious creamy southern grits all on top of a rich broth. I would go back to The Rusty Spoon again just for this one dish and would probably recommend it you go.

Adult S’mores
Graham cracker crust, a chocolate-mousse cake filling, and melted marshmallows with a touch of caramel.

From The Rusty Spoon – Local Farmer Partners:

Palmetto Creek Pork – Avon Park Jim Wood uses the natural method of farming where his hogs are maintained outside in the fresh air. Jim raises small herds of the Heritage breed of Herefords hogs. They are kept outside everyday of their lives. No antibiotics or animal by-products are in his feed. Palmetto Creek’s goal is to not only provide us with natural pork but to provide us with the best possible natural pork through selective breeding. Check out Jim’s website- www.bestpork.us

Waterkist Farm, Winter Park is a family owned and operated farm using hydroponic growing methods. Melani and Roger’s produce is clean and delicious and includes heirloom and beefsteak tomatoes as well as several different varieties of living lettuces. Melani also grows our sprouts, peppers, Mediterranean cucumbers and herbs. Look for Melani at the Winter Park Farmer’s Market every Saturday.

Lake Meadow Naturals is home to a variety of Heritage breed of chickens and ducks that lay brown eggs in various shades. Dale Volkert’s happy hens are cage free, free range and free roaming. The hens have access to grass, sunshine and fresh air on Lake Meadow, right outside of Orlando. The chickens eat only wholesome grains that include corn, soybeans, wheat, millet, and various multi grains, oyster shells, and all the fresh well water they want. Lake Meadows offers soy-free eggs and duck eggs as well. Check out Dale’s happy hens- www.lakemeadownaturals.net

Deep Creek Ranch is home to David Strawn and his 100% grass fed beef. Grass fed is significantly healthier beef and is more beneficial as food than confinement beef. It also tastes delicious! Their diet is what nature designed them for and they stay healthy. The Strawn family never use growth hormones or any pharmaceuticals that persist in the animal. You can learn more about grass fed beef and the Deep Creek family- www.deepcreekranch.us

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