Orlando

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Cinco de Mayo is coming so we were wondering what are your favorite places for tacos in Orlando? Send us your answer, and you could win $100 gift card for with Qdoba  who are promoting their catering service for Cinco de Mayo!

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Qdoba Mexican Eats® makes hosting the perfect Cinco de Mayo fiesta a breeze with their catering menu!

 

· The food is delivered right to your party, and guests will love the hot, delicious and completely customizable meals, and the hosts will love how easy Qdoba makes it!

· Perfect for parties big and small, Qdoba’s catering bars are fully stocked with warmed chips and salsa, savory meats and fresh toppings, including delicious guacamole made with Avocados from Mexico, and more.

· You can order Qdoba catering for your Cinco party by visiting www.qdoba.com/catering or calling: 888-736-2224.

QDOBA $100 GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY CONTEST

One entry per person, winner will be chosen randomly on Friday April 28,2017 at 5pm!

TO ENTER:
1. Subscribe to our E-mail Newsletter -TastyChomps Newsletter here
2. E-mail us the answers to the questions below to tastychomps@gmail.com:
a. Did you subscribe to the e-mail newsletter? Yes/No
b. What’s your favorite place for tacos in Orlando? 

THANKS!

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Orlando’s Mills 50 District is known for its eclectic and diverse restaurants and businesses – from the Vietnamese markets and restaurants to fusion restaurants like Tako Cheena and Pig Floyd’s serving up creative and delightfully delicious dishes with a modern twist.

Lately there have been new restaurants popping up so here is our latest guide to the Mills 50 District – visit soon!

Black Rooster Taqueria
Image via yelp.com

Dishes to try: Achiote Pork taco made with slow roasted pork in banana leaf, achiote, pickled onion, cilantro, habanero salsa and the divine Chocolate Chipotle Flan for dessert.

Black Rooster Taqueria
1323 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 601-0994
www.blackroostertaqueria.com
Banh Mi Nha Trang
Dishes to try: Any of the 22 Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches! I like the traditional banh mi dac biet nha trang with their spicy nuoc cham sauce.
Banh Mi Nha Trang
1216 E Colonial Dr #9, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 346-4549
Lazy Moon Pizza

Dishes to try: Their ginormous pizza – top it any way you like. Eat with a knife and fork.

Lazy Moon Pizza

1011 E Colonial Dr, Ste 101
Orlando, FL 32803
Phone number (407) 412-6222
lazymoonpizza.com

Tasty Wok

Dishes to try: Cantonese bbq plate with crispy skin roast pork, honey bbq roast pork, and roast duck, and the fried salt and pepper squid.

Tasty Wok
1246 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 896-8988
King Bao

Dishes to try: Hogzilla bao, braised pork belly with pickled carrots and daikon, and the truffle tater tots.

King Bao
https://www.facebook.com/kingbaoorlando/
Address: 710 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803, United States
Phone: +1 407-237-0013

King Cajun Crawfish – Vietnamese influenced Louisiana cajun cuisine

Dishes to try: Boiled crawfish, crab, and shrimp in “sha-bang” sauce, a unique blend of buttery garlic, spices, and sweet orange peel. Also try the beignets and fried shrimp po boy sandwiches.  The owners are from Louisiana and imbued their Vietnamese heritage into some of the dishes like the gumbo. They recently moved into this larger place next door.

King Cajun Crawfish
924 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 704-8863
www.kingcajuncrawfish.com

Mamak – Malaysian street food

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Dishes to try: Wontons in hot peanut sauce, Indian mee goreng, char kwa teo, and the roti canai.

Mamak
1231 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 270-4688
www.mamakasianorlando.com

Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa

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Dishes to try:  The Oak-smoked St. Louis ribs (half-rack $14.99, full $22.99) are truly among the best, if not the best, ribs in all of Orlando – slow-cooked with a crispy surface yet tender, fall of the bone meat within and a nice sweet flavor. Try it with the crispy sweet fennel apple salad. Also,  great chicken tikka tacos and shrimp and chorizo tacos.

Pig Floyds
1326 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 203-0866
www.pigfloyds.com

Chuan Lu Garden – Sichuan Chinese cuisine


Dishes to try: La Zi Fish, fried with spicy numb Sichuan peppercorns, cumin lamb, beef and chicken clay pot, dan dan noodles, sliced tofu and fish in hot sauce, and the pan fried house made dumplings.

Chuan Lu Garden
Phone (407) 896-8966
??1101 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
http://www.chuanluorlando.com/

The Strand


Dishes to try: STRAND BURGER – bacon, blue cheese dressing,
lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, & roasted jalapeño on brioche bun served with fries

The Strand
807 N Mills Ave
Orlando, FL 32803
Phone number (407) 920-7744
strandorlando.com

Vietnam Cuisine:


Dishes to try: Banh cuon, a rice noodle crepe dish filled with mushrooms and pickled daikon radish, and the oxtail beef pho noodle soup.

Vietnam Cuisine

1224 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 228-7053

Ming Bistro: Dim Sum

Dishes to try: Dim sum! Shrimp ha gow dumplings, siu mai pork dumplings, fried taro shrimp balls, chicken feet, steamed spare ribs, a plate of beef chow fun, salt and pepper calamari, and some egg custart tart pastries for dessert.

 

Ming’s Bistro
Phone: 407-898-9672
1212 Woodward St., Suite 6
Orlando, FL 32803

 

For more on things to do when visiting Orlando, Florida, visit: http://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/things-to-do.html

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It was an honor to judge the 2017 Taste of Winter Park this year – the restaurants and chefs of Winter Park pulled out all the punches this week in presenting their best eats to benefit the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce.

Here are some of my favorite eats:

Prato – Dessert , Luke’s – Crabcake, Luma – Meatball

Swine and Sons – Pulled Pork burgers with like 30 house made accompaniments 

  • Chefs Rhys and Alexia Gawlak brought not one but TWO whole smoked pigs for Winter Park Taste, and they were moist and tender and altogether delicious!

Hunger Street Tacos – Beef brisket quesadilla and watermelon margarita 

Bulla Gastrobar – Chicken and Mushroom Paella and Seafood Salad

Four Rivers – Cochon lait tacos

Boi Brazil
Peterbrooke Chocolatier

Antonella’s Pizza Winter Park

Umi Sushi

Anthros sponsor

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Quickly Boba is “quickly” expanding across the Central Florida region with five shops open already with more to come. The original Quickly is located at Maguire and Colonial next to Del-Dio’s pizza and is popular for their boba tea, poke bowls, and many appetizers like Taiwanese popcorn chicken.

Quickly

While four of the Quickly’s are owned by the same family, the newest Quicky Cafe by UCF is owned by a UCF alumni and friend named Daniel Dang and his family.

Spam and eggs rice bowl

There are a few differences here: they serve a variety of rice bowls including Korean bulgogi beef bowl and spam musubi, in addition to the many boba teas. They do also have the Taiwanese popcorn chicken made famous in Taiwan by the original Quickly and even have giant fried Chicken breast chops that are a popular street food item in Taiwan.

Quickly Boba by UCF
Quickly Boba by UCF
Quickly Boba by UCF menu
Quickly Boba by UCF menu
Variety of topping for the tea
Sizes
Korean bulgogi beef and egg bowl
Fried tofu bowl
Quickly Boba by UCF
Quickly Chicken bowl
Quickly Boba by UCF popcorn chicekn
Spring rolls

Quickly Boba Café
Address: 11772 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32817
Phone: (407) 930-2233
http://quicklybobacafe.com/

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Dig into farm-to-fork cuisine showcasing Florida’s fresh flavors—all crafted from recipes by an award-winning celebrity chef. Homecomin’ is Walt Disney World’s fancy new restaurant paying homage to Florida’s rich agricultural heritage by highlighting local ingredients and farm-to-table cuisine. So come over, sip a handcrafted moonshine cocktail on our back porch and enjoy the bubbling springs backdrop.

A two-time James Beard Foundation award winner, Chef Art Smith is a familiar face on the national food scene, with restaurants in Naples (FL), Chicago, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Television viewers know him from the “Today” show, “BBQ Pitmasters” and “Top Chef Masters.” This sixth generation Floridian was Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef for 10 years and cooked for two Florida governors in Tallahassee.

Chef Art’s hometown of Jasper is in Hamilton County in the northern lowlands between Jacksonville and Tallahassee and south of Valdosta, GA. Local poultry, beef, sugar cane, fresh pecans, citrus and more were important ingredients in his mother Addie Mae’s recipes. Her repertoire of hearty straightforward food continues to influence the family fare in his new restaurant where guests can expect cheese-laced drop biscuits, Chef Art’s world-famous fried chicken, and exceptional fried green tomatoes topped with shaved country ham.

Homecoming at Disney Springs
Homecoming at Disney Springs
Homecoming at Disney Springs
Homecoming at Disney Springs

CHURCH LADY DEVILED EGGS HFK-style whole deviled eggs

Homecoming at Disney Springs
Homecoming at Disney Springs
Homecoming at Disney Springs
Homecoming at Disney Springs
Homecoming at Disney Springs
Homecoming at Disney Springs
Homecoming at Disney Springs
Homecoming at Disney Springs

homecomingdisneysprings-7

Homecoming at Disney Springs
Homecoming at Disney Springs

Shrimp and Grits

Homecoming at Disney Springs
Homecoming at Disney Springs
Homecoming at Disney Springs
Homecoming at Disney Springs

KC GREENS: BRAISED KALE AND COLLARDS

Homecoming at Disney Springs
Homecoming at Disney Springs

Signature fried chicken, cheddar biscuits and mac

Homecoming at Disney Springs
Homecoming at Disney Springs

Housemade BBQ Chips

Homecoming at Disney Springs
Homecoming at Disney Springs

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Ocean Prime’s Orlando and Tampa locations teamed up with The Dinner Party Project to host a sushi pop-up dinner on Sunday, April 9 at 1010 West in Orlando. A percentage of proceeds were donated to The Human Experience (THE) Orlando, a non-profit, private middle school .

Cocktail hour consists of hors d’oeuvres by Ocean Prime and drinks based off of Tito’s Vodka.

Gravlax and caviar with spring pea, cured lemon, fennel, shiso and crispy skin – delicious, smooth and flavorful.

Ocean Prime’s Ahi Tuna Tartare with wasabi avocado and ponzu – very fresh, but it would have been better if it was at a colder temperature. Room temperature tuna tartare is not my favorite. The wasabi avocado was smooth and balanced one another. The ponzu was just right with its seasoning.

Hamachi Duo with beet infused rice, red onion pickle and watermelon radish – Hamachi (Pacific Yellowtail) is my favorite when prepared well as it was done by Ocean Prime. The red onion pickle and watermelon radish gives it a nice twist in flavors.

A selection of popular Ocean Prime sushi rolls including the lobster roll, spicy tuna and prime roll – the flavors of each roll are very balanced, thanks to all the ingredients used. Many will say the prime roll is their favorite because it’s a good choice when you can’t decide whether you’d like some surf or turf for dinner, so why not both?

Ramen featuring king crab, pork belly, mushroom and black truffle – the pork belly was more fat than meat in my bowl. It was also dry without allowing it to soak up some broth. The ramen was slightly overcooked. The broth was delicious on its own.

Kobe beef with crispy rice gomae, mirin butter and unagi – the flavors of the Kobe beef were excellent, but were a bit too well done. The greens were delicious as long as they did not get soaked in the broth because it expressed overpowering flavors.

Coconut sorbet with toasted dashi flakes and shaved micronut – the sorbet was smooth with the right amount of sweetness. It was paired with a Bailey’s liquor drink that can knock you off your feet. For others, there was coffee. The sorbet tasted great with a splash of the coffee as well. It’s a little turn towards Australian coffee.

 

About The Human Experience OrlandoThe Human Experience is a non-profit, private middle school dedicated to the belief that every child deserves the dignity, respect, and honor that comes with his or her humanity.  They reflect their gratitude for life and its potential in our daily pursuit of academic excellence, community investment, and love for all people.

About Ocean PrimeOcean Prime is a modern American restaurant and lounge from renowned restaurateur Cameron Mitchell. The award-winning Ocean Prime delivers an extraordinary experience with stunning settings, an impressive menu of seafood and prime cuts of steak, signature cocktails, a Wine Spectator-honored wine list and truly genuine hospitality.  From the kitchen and bar, there is an appreciation for ingredients that comes through in every dish. The menu is classic and yet there is a modern sensibility to the preparations which range from lighter fare to indulgent seafood presentations, juicy steaks and decadent desserts.  Each Ocean Prime location is dramatically designed and inspired by the unique energy of the city where it’s located.

About The Dinner Party ProjectThe Dinner Party Project (TDPP) started simply as a gathering of friends, new and old, in Founder Dana Marie Roquemore’s home. Through word-of mouth and social media, The Dinner Party Project has quickly become a favorite way for Orlandoans to connect, in welcoming settings complete with local food and great conversation. While the TDPP brand has grown, each dinner maintains its original intimacy and character—with only eight guests who are randomly selected to attend.

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I’ve lived in Florida almost all my life but it wasn’t until recently that I explored St. Augustine. I completely missed the St. Augustine Field Trip train back in elementary school and it took me decades later to decide to give this little town a visit.

The eats in this little town are so rich in the history as St. Augustine is the “Nation’s Oldest City”

Started off with a “light” lunch with some friends at this off the road spot Cap’s On the Water features sunset views, oyster bar, and local seafood dishes

We cheered the day off with some refreshing drinks. The majority went with the Sunset Martini (12)which featured St.Augustine’s Gin with lemon, grapefruit and basil.

So far the day is off to the right note with the Oysters Rockefeller (13) 1/2 dozen oysters baked with spinach, bacon, breadcrumbs, and parmesan. Somewhat healthy.

The Peel N’ Eat Shrimp featured Mayport Shrimps were one of the freshest steamed in shell shrimp I’ve ordered anywhere. Simply served with butter, cocktail sauce, and old bay seasonings.

Our next plan was to explore George Street but before we do we needed a pick me up and decided to drop in Relampago Coffee Lab. 

Recently opened they have the regular coffee shops options but an extensive pour over loose leaf tea options.

I cooled off with an Iced Latte. 

We wandered around the little streets of St. Augustine and got lost with hidden alley ways and doors that opened to mom and shops.

If something catches your eye or spark an interest- Go and have a look! Most likely those places will have a tale or two since St. Augustine is so rich with history.

 We popped in Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum to have our mind blown with some record breaking facts and stories before heading to dinner.

We dined in The Floridian a local and seasonal cafe with a southern flare offered one of the most romantic spaces in St.Augustine.

Brisket Pasole (24.50)
Braised CartWheel Ranch beef brisket, simmered in a rich roasted tomato, blackeyed pea, and pepper stew. Served over Congaree and Penn purple rice grits and topped with a fried egg and green tomato salsa.
I believe this was one of their Seasonal Steak and Potatoes ($MP) dish featuring a tender Flank Steak on a bed of mashed potatoes and crispy Kale.
I was happy with BOTH dishes- which is a rare occasion. Usually, I favor one over the other but this was like choosing my favorite child. I couldn’t bare to do so.
We ended our evening with a Ghost Tour which had a Tour guide who led us to local pubs and bars that are supposedly “Haunted”. At each stop we would order a drink and surround the guide as he narrates the stories of how ghosts, figures, and paranormal activities had enriched some of the guests experience in St. Augustine.

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This month I was honored by the Orlando Sentinel and Food Editor Lauren Delgado by being inducted into the Orlando Sentinel’s Culinary Hall of Fame for 2017, its 10th class. I joined many other great local figures in our culinary industry and am just humbled to have been awarded. We started TastyChomps.com in 2008, almost 10 years ago, and it has been nothing but a joy and pleasure to share stories about our local food scene. Here is to another 10 years ahead!

For the article, visit: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/food/culinary-hall-of-fame/os-et-culinary-hall-fame-2017-htmlstory.html

As the child of Vietnamese refugees, Ricky Ly grew up surrounded by food, the center of almost every celebration or festival.

The civil engineer decided to flex his more creative side and promote Orlando’s burgeoning culinary scene by starting the Tasty Chomps food blog in 2008.

His first post? A review of a now-closed local, family-owned Indian restaurant near the University of Central Florida.

“I really was inspired to help spread the word about food, restaurants, cuisines and cultures that are not typically heard of,” said the 31-year-old Orlando resident.

Since then, Ly has become an expert on the Orlando restaurant scene. He has led fellow food writers on culinary adventures, written “The Food Lovers’ Guide to Orlando” and been featured on ABC’s “The Chew.” He also started the Orlando Foodie Forum, a Facebook group for food lovers to share their experiences at Central Florida restaurants.

Tasty Chomps isn’t alone in its growth — the Orlando food scene has developed, as well. Orlando’s diversity is what makes the city so different, Ly said.

“I take it with pride to be able to share a little bit of Orlando wherever I go, whatever I do.”

For the article, visit: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/food/culinary-hall-of-fame/os-et-culinary-hall-fame-2017-htmlstory.html

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In celebration of “National Paella Day,” the chefs at Spanish Winter Park restaurant Bulla (“boo-ya”) Gastrobar will prepare a massive paella on the restaurant’s patio during its Happy Hour. Guests will have the opportunity to observe how the paella is made and will receive free samples to enjoy out on the patio, which will be decked out in festive décor.

The restaurant will feature a special market menu all week long that will include a variety of paellas, including Paella Valenciana, which stems from the east coast of Spain and is believed to be the original paella recipe.

The special market menu will be featuring the following:


PAELLA VALENCIANA
Marisma rice, sofrito rojo, Granja beans, snails, chicken, rabbit, saffron, green beans, artichokes


PAELLA TRIBUTO A FLORIDA
Marisma rice, sofrito rojo, Florida fresh lobster, yellow tail, Florida clams and wild caught Florida shrimps

PAELLA DE LA HUERTA
Bomba rice, sofrito verde, green beans, rainbow carrots, artichokes, Granja beans, saffron

PAELLA IBERICA
Bomba rice, sofrito verde, Iberico pork back ribs, Spanish chick peas, heirloom carrots, aioli


PAELLA NEGRA
Marisma rice, calamari sofrito, ink, artichokes, clams, wild caught prawns, aioli

ARROZ CON LECHE
Bomba rice, fresh farm vanilla infused cream, air carrot-orange cake, caramel crusted confit, peach tartar

Bulla, which is Spanish slang for “chatter,” celebrates the beauty of tapas-style dining and handcrafted cocktails in an energetic and vibrant atmosphere. Known for its Paella, Huevos “Bulla” and Sangria, Bulla prides itself on its authentic Spanish cuisine with an artisanal twist.

WHEN:
Monday, March 27, 2017
5 – 7 p.m.

WHERE:
Bulla Gastrobar
Winter Park, Fla. 32789

For more information, please visit www.bullagastrobar.com. Follow Bulla Gastrobar on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bullagastrobar and on Instagram @BullaGastrobar.

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ENSALADA DE PULPO 19. Grilled octopus, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber

Bulla Gastrobar is a new restaurant in Winter Park inspired by the most popular tapas restaurants in Spain. Bulla (pronounced boo-ya), which is slang for chatter and what people are talking about, and is led by Bulla Gastrobar Executive Chef Miguel Rebolledo. The sleek and modern restaurant is a bustling, high energy place where friends go to meet up for a drink and to share in good company and good food.

According to his official biography, Chef Miguel Rebolledo “brings his extensive culinary experience, talents and unending love for Spain to Bulla Gastrobar. While Rebolledo’s seaside upbringing naturally leads him to fresh ingredients like seafood, vegetables, and rice, his stints with contemporary chefs have created a constant desire to experiment. After attending culinary school and learning traditional recipes, Chef Miguel Rebolledo improved his techniques at one of Spain’s most famous restaurants, El Bulli, under Chef Ferran Adria. In that position, Rebolledo cooked with some of the biggest names in the industry, for some of the most important people in the world including royalty.”

We recently spoke to Chef Rebolledo via e-mail about his experiences and inspiration who was at first inspired to cook by his family.

He told us, “I started to help my father to cook at 6 years old, I used help him with the paellas every Sunday in summer, and we would also in winter cook rosquillas, traditional dessert like donuts.”

Some of his favorite childhood memories involved Christmastime, when his home was like a tasting – “We started with cured meats and cheeses, cold seafood , and then some fried stuff, like lamb brains or croquetas, more seafood but this time in sauce, like clams in green sauce, then fish , monkfish, spanish hake…then a meat, always baby lamb, and finally an assortment of desserts”

When he worked at Bulli in Spain, “it was at first a dream, and then working in el Bulli with the Adrias brothers changed my life, my vision of the way we cook, the way we understand the food, technique, and I can say it changed the way I see my life.”

Some of the elements of El Bulli that he brings to Bulla Gastrobar include his vision of how they cook, totally respect to the products, and high standard in quality.

One of Rebolledo’s signature dishes is “Huevos Bulla,” made with eggs, homemade potato chips, Serrano ham, potato foam and truffle oil. The dish is mixed at the table.

SANGRÍA BLANCA 10./37.
Cava, peach schnapps, triple sec, strawberries, blueberries
HUEVOS ‘BULLA’ 10.
Eggs, homemade potato chips, Serrano ham, potato foam, truffle oil*
HUEVOS ‘BULLA’ 10.
Eggs, homemade potato chips, Serrano ham, potato foam, truffle oil*
JAMÓN SERRANO 8.
‘Fermín’ Serrano ham, aged 18 months , LOMO IBÉRICO 10.
Cured Iberian pork loin, LEONORA 9.
Soft goat’s milk from León, medium strong flavor
PATATAS BRAVAS 7.
Crispy potato cubes, spicy brava sauce, aioli
TARTAR DE ATÚN 15.
Ahi tuna, mango, avocado, soy sesame vinaigrette, Sriracha aioli*
ENSALADA DE PULPO 19.
Grilled octopus, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber
PINTXO MORUNO 9.
Cumin marinated grilled pork, mojo verde, Greek yogurt

CHURROS CON CHOCOLATE
Traditional fried dough, chocolate sauce, dulce de leche

Bulla Gastrobar
110 S Orlando Ave #7, Winter Park, FL 32789
Phone: (321) 214-6120

Menu:
http://bullagastrobar.com/media/menus/BullaWinterParkMenus.pdf

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On Tues., March 21The World’s Largest Wine Dinner took place simultaneously across all 244 Carrabba’s restaurants in celebration of its new wine menu. In a single evening, this four-course wine pairing dinner featured:

  • 7,000 guests
  • 4,000 uncorked bottles of wine
  • 28,000 dishes

The dinner consisted of selections from the restaurant’s new wine list, which features 42 distinctive wines curated by Carrabba’s sommelier Brittany Deloach. The list includes three new varietals, four new appellations, pairing suggestions and flavor profiles for each varietal to guide guests.

“Our guests love to explore new and exclusive dining experiences, and there’s no better way to celebrate the spectacular new selections on our wine list than by gathering together for the World’s Largest Wine Dinner,” said Carrabba’s sommelier Brittany Deloach. “We want to inspire guests to try new wines but – even better – we hope they will be inspired to try new dishes, as well.”

For $40 per person, guests of the World’s Largest Wine Dinner experienced a four-course menu featuring made-from-scratch dishes created by head chef Jay Smith with Deloach’s hand-selected wine pairings, including: Chloe Pinot Grigio (Italy), Pieropan Soave (Italy), Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) and Joel Gott Zinfandel (Calif.).

The grilled eggplant and hazelnut-crusted goat cheese added a nice touch to the common greens of the Insalata Fiorucci. This course paired well with the Chloe Pinot Grigio from Northern Italy. This wine is classically crisp and refreshing.

The pasta has a wonderful spicy touch from the Italian peppers in this Calabrian Cavatappi. The basil is a nice touch with the creamy burrata. You can never go wrong with creamy burrata present. This dish is paired with Pieropan Soave from Italy. The wine dates back to the early 1800s and balances well with the spices of the dish.

Veal Marsala is topped with mushrooms that were slightly more salty than desired. However, the veal itself is very tender and seasoned well. Paired with the Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California to emphasize finesse and balance, but it matches well with the veal and Lombardo Marsala wine sauce.

The Tuscan-grilled sirloin is topped with mushrooms and the Lombardo Marsala wine sauce similar to the veal. It is made medium, but can be adjusted according to your desires. This dish is also paired with the Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California.

Sogno Di Cioccolata “Chocolate Dream” is a rich fudge brownie with chocolate mousse, fresh whipped cream and chocolate sauce. The colder this dish is, the better it will be. The Joel Gott Zinfandel from California was smooth and matched with the dessert. This Zinfandel is not as bold as the Cabernet Sauvignon.

While the World’s Largest Wine Dinner is the official launch of the new wine menu, Carrabba’s will continue to introduce its new wine offering through a limited-time collection of Food & Wine Festival menu features, including:

  • Interesting Gems – New, seasonal selections that allow guests to experience new and notable wines, some of which are exclusive to Carrabba’s; the first edition features Pieropan Soave (Italy) and CasaSmith Barbera (Washington).
  • Festival of Wine Flights – This wine-tasting experience allows guests to explore wines from around the world paired with a small plate. Guests choose from three flights.
  • Signature Pairings – A special menu section that provides wine-pairing recommendations for Carrabba’s made-from-scratch entrées.

Although this event has passed, many wine dinner events are to come at Carrabba’s Italian Grill for your enjoyment.

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Alton Brown, the Food Network television personality of Good Eats, Iron Chef America, and Cutthroat Kitchen fame, will be returning to Orlando for his live “Eat Your Science” show at the Dr Phillips Performing Arts Center on April 22, 2017.

On his last visit to Orlando, he stopped by some local favorites such as Beefy King, Credo and Lineage Coffee, Skyebird Juice Bar, Olde Hearth Bakery, Kappo at East End Market, The Ravenous Pig, Pho 88, and Pom Pom’s Tea House and Sandwicheria.

On March 14, Alton Brown posted this on Facebook:

“Dear Orlando: The last time I was in your fine city for Alton Brown Live, you directed me to these fine establishments. Well…I’m coming back April 22 (http://bit.ly/EYSOrlando) and need your help again. Where should I go? #ABRoadEatsORL”

I humbly submit a few places for his next visit, including a few of my favorites.

Knowing he is probably on a tight schedule, I recommend visiting the Mills 50 area first, where he can hit up a few spots at once:

1. Mamak – Malaysian street food

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Dishes to try: Wontons in hot peanut sauce and the roti canai.

Mamak
1231 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 270-4688
www.mamakasianorlando.com/

2. Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa

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Dishes to try:  The Oak-smoked St. Louis ribs (half-rack $14.99, full $22.99) are truly among the best, if not the best, ribs in all of Orlando – slow-cooked with a crispy surface yet tender, fall of the bone meat within and a nice sweet flavor. Try it with the crispy sweet fennel apple salad.

Pig Floyds
1326 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 203-0866
www.pigfloyds.com

3. Chuan Lu Garden – Sichuan Chinese cuisine


Dishes to try: La Zi Fish, fried with Sichuan peppercorns and the pan fried house made dumplings.

Chuan Lu Garden
Phone (407) 896-8966
??1101 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
http://www.chuanluorlando.com/

4. Vietnam Cuisine:


Dishes to try: Banh cuon, a rice noodle crepe dish filled with mushrooms and pickled daikon radish.

Vietnam Cuisine

1224 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803

5. Seito Sushi at Baldwin Park:


Dishes to try: Pork Tonkotsu Ramen – made with a 24 hour pork broth, and topped with slices of braised pork belly, poached Lake Meadows soy pullet egg, and house made garnish

Seito Sushi
4898 New Broad St, Orlando, FL 32814
(407) 898-8801
www.seitosushi.com

6. The Osprey Tavern:


Dishes to try: Spicy Egg Pizza

The Osprey Tavern
4899 New Broad Street
Orlando, FL 32814 407-960-7700

7. The Donut King in Winter Park


Dishes to try: The Cronut or the Traditional Glazed Donut

Donut King
3716 Howell Branch Rd Winter Park, FL 32792
(321) 316-4817
http://www.thedonutking.com/

8. Viet-Nomz


Dishes to try: Vietnamese pork tacos and Vietnamese coffee

Viet-Nomz Vietnamese Pho & Street Fare

7581 University Blvd, Winter Park, FL 32792
Phone: +1 407-636-6069
http://vietnomzfl.com/

9. Shishco Mezze and Grill

Dishes to try: The Gyro bowl, a generous bowl with a large lavash flat bread base overflowing with bulgur wheat grain, sliced pickled red onion, chopped tomatoes, and slices of beef and lamb doner / gyro.

Shishco Mezze and Grill
118 Lake Ave, Maitland, FL 32751
Phone:(407) 661-1336
Menu: shishcomezzegrill.com

10. Bulla Gastrobar in Winter Park

Dishes to Try: Huevos Bulla, made with eggs, homemade potato chips, Serrano ham, potato foam and truffle oil. The dish is mixed at the table.

Bulla Gastrobar
110 S Orlando Ave #7, Winter Park, FL 32789
Phone: (321) 214-6120

Where would you send Alton Brown? Use the hashtag #ABRoadEatsORL on facebook, twitter and instagram to send him your recs.

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EPCOT’s origins may have started off as the template for the city of tomorrow but it has also become the premier host of excellent food festivals, including the International Food and Wine Festival, which runs in fall and The Festival of the Arts, a new addition for 2017, which runs prior to Flower and Garden.

The 24th EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival©, runs from March 1st to May 29th and showcases an abundance of flower displays, ranging from classic Disney characters to more intricate floral designs. Along with those displays, each country in the world pavilion also has a delicious sampling of food and complementing beverages, making for a delightful afternoon in the park. The following were but a small selection of the over 100 food and beverage items.

Urban Farm Eats: Crabless Cake with Crispy Vegatable Slaw, Lemon Vinaigrette and Old Bay Remoulade, the crabless cake with a delicious remoulade has a crisp exterior and a delicious vegetarian option.

Florida Fresh: Carne Asada with Black Bean Cake and Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream, this dish has the elements of a great southwestern style barbecue.

Smokehouse: Beef Brisket Burt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapenos, by far my most favorite dish, a balance of flavors with the heat from jalapenos and coolness of sour cream created a spoonful of delight.

La Isla Fresca: Sugar Cane Shrimp Skewer with Steamed Rice and Coconut Lime Sauce, on a bed of herb flavored rice and coconut sauce brought the flavors of the tropics.

Northern Bloom: Seared Scallops with Green Beans, Butter Potatoes, Brown Butter, Vinaigrette and Apple-wood Smoked Bacon, on a bed of green beans with potatoes and bacon was my second favorite sampling.

Everything Berry: Warm Wild Berry Buckle with Pepper Berry Ice Cream, this refreshing dessert showcased a tasty blend of seasonal berries and an even tastier ice cream.

Florida Fresh: Key Lime Tart topped with Toasted Meringue, had true zest of key lime with a natural sweetness and tart flavors.

Tea, scones and Disney’s baking prowess were on display with both a selection of sweet and savory scones accompanied by a selection of Twining’s Tea©. The savory scone filled with the Earl Grey Butter and a side of tea was my favorite. I am partial to Earl Grey though.

The wine pairings included Floriography Blooming Red 2014 and Blooming White 2015 from the Western Cape of South Africa.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Highlights for 2017 currently include:

  • Outdoor Kitchens offering delectable small plates, and flavorful non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages—along with several new food and refreshment kiosks
  • More than 70 world-renowned Disney-themed topiaries—including many totally original displays
  • Vibrant gardens, flower towers, wildlife habitats and walkways—some being presented for the very first time
  • Inspirational exhibits, seminars, how-to demonstrations and all-new farm-to-table dining experiences
  • Garden Rocks™ Outdoor Concert Series featuring throwback beats from fan-favorite bands—with an assortment of debuting acts and dining packages

Blossoming from March 1 to May 29, 2017, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival boasts fun-filled exploration for every age and interest. It is a foodie festival that is not to be missed for those who enjoy great food, beautiful flora and the Florida sunshine.

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The Raglan Road Irish Dancers perform at the Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Spring in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

This year, the 2017 Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Disney Springs is running March 16-19, featuring the most authentic St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Central Florida and a round-the-clock lineup of talented musicians, award-winning Irish dancers and authentic cuisine by Irish celebrity chef and PBS/Create TV personality Kevin Dundon.

The Irish craft beers served at the Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

If you want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day like the Irish, here’s some tips from Raglan Road (ha!):
1. Please don’t call the holiday “St. Patty’s.” It’s either “St. Patrick’s Day” or “St. Paddy’s.”
2. A shamrock has three leaves (not four – that would be a clover).
3. Americans invented the St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1737 in Boston.
4. Most Irish pubs do a full month’s business on St. Patrick’s Day.
5. Guinness sell 13 million pints on St. Patrick’s Day versus the usual 5 million daily.
6. Raglan Road is America’s #1 Irish Pub.
7. Green beer is an American invention. Raglan Road does not serve green beer.

We were able to chat with Raglan Road Master Chef Kevin Dundon in a Q & A recently:

Master Chef Kevin Dundon at Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Springs on December 13, 2017. Photo by Tom Burton

Tasty Chomps: Where did you get your inspiration to cook?

Chef Kevin Dundon: As a child, I remember watching my mother and my grandmother, busy in the kitchen. Mum instilled in me a sense of passion for the food we ate, and this is where my passion for food began. Mum always ensured we got involved in the preparation of family meals, and this trend now continues with my own children.

Favorite first memories of food?

My first memory is years back when I was a child. We were in Kilkee, County Clare for a weekend holiday. I went with my grandfather fishing. We caught mackerel, and that night my mum cooked some. Next morning, I decided I wanted to impress my grandparents with breakfast in bed. I prepared toast, tea and some lovely mackerel! The mackerel were undercooked, the tea was cold and so was the toast. They didn’t say anything, ate it all and said it was delicious. I found out years later of their kindness, the lengths they went to keep me happy!

Appetizer D’Lirrah, served at Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vist, FL.

Best Dishes to Try at the Restaurant this year?

I love the Heaven on Earth Baby Back Ribs, glazed in a Guinness reduction – they are fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-the-mouth tender, and made to share!

What is one dish you would make for yourself to eat after a long day in the kitchen?

I love a bacon buttie, made on freshly buttered toasted sourdough bread, with crisp, hot bacon straight from the grill, freshly shredded lettuce, a slice or two of beef tomato.

Favorite local Orlando places to dine?

Obviously Raglan Road is my favourite place to dine; however, The Pharmacy in Orlando is a good spot too!

Smokie city, a baked haddock and cheese dip appetizer served at Ragna Road Irish Pub at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, FL
Ger’s bread and butter pudding, a dessert served at Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, FL.
Cashel king salad, served at Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, FL
Fish and chips as served at Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

PRESS RELEASE: 2017 Raglan Road Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival Runs March 16-19
at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Disney Springs
Award-winning new acts include Young Dubliners and The Byrne Brothers

Running March 16-19, the most authentic St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Central Florida will feature a round-the-clock lineup of talented musicians, award-winning Irish dancers and authentic cuisine by Irish celebrity chef and PBS/Create TV personality Kevin Dundon.

Guests can enjoy a mighty selection of beers, spirits and craft cocktails with Dundon’s exceptional Irish fare while musicians and dancers perform on multiple stages, indoors and out, from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. daily. Guests can accent their Irish holiday attire with complimentary face painting available for the occasion from noon to 8 p.m. throughout the festival. The stellar music lineup includes:

Young Dubliners – Quite possibly Celtic rock’s hardest working band, playing hundreds of shows to thousands of fans across the United States and Europe every year. Known for their exciting live performances, the Young Dubliners bring their hearty rock and Irish-infused tunes to the Raglan Road stage.

The Byrne Brothers – An exceptionally talented traditional Irish music family from Donegal. They are Luca, 12, on button accordion; Finn, 10, on banjo, mandolin and whistle; and Dempsey, 7, on whistle and bodhran (percussion). Their show combines exciting traditional Irish tunes with modern dance beats, and they’re known for their fun interaction with their audience.

HanaLena Band – A sister duo based out of Nashville, Tenn. Hannah and Caroline grew up in the heart of Mississippi and were surrounded by bluegrass, country and the Delta blues. Their unique blend of acoustic instrumentation, moving lyrics and tight vocal harmonies make for an entertaining show.

The Raglan Roots Coalition – More than 10 years down the road, Raglan Road felt it was time to shake its boogie – Roots style, with this popular Irish house band. Think soul-rocking Celtic bluegrass with some hip-swingin’, knee-shakin’ funky roots beats.

Swingin’ On the Gate – This four-piece band of multi-instrumentalists with roots in legendary Lisdoonvarna in County Clare have serious crossover credentials and musical pedigree including traditional and classical training. They are multiple medal winners at Fleadhs music competitions and have toured in Italy, Switzerland and the United States.

Rollickin’ Rua – A fresh and exciting four-piece traditional Irish music ensemble from Ireland and Scotland. Each of the accomplished musicians brings a wealth of musical talent and experience to their vibrant live show of music and song.

The Raglan Road Irish Dancers perform at the Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Spring in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

The Raglan Road Irish Dancers – Plucked from the cast and stages of the world’s greatest Irish dance shows, the Raglan Road Irish Dancers perform throughout the Mighty Festival. You can even learn some traditional Irish dance steps – no experience necessary!

The entertainment schedule will be posted at raglanroad.com. Festivities at Raglan Road will run from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. daily throughout the Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival.

It’s not bleedin’chowder!, a seafood and potatoes dish at Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Spring in Lake Buena Vista, FL

Guests can order from Raglan Road’s popular brunch, lunch, dinner and bar menus that include new dishes recently introduced by Master Chef Dundon. The dinner menu features loin of bacon and cabbage, the authentic Irish dish of St. Patrick’s Day, plus other Irish classics created with Dundon’s modern twists. Throughout the event, the restaurant’s Cooke’s of Dublin counter-service eatery will offer Irish favorites, as well, including fish and chips.

Keen eye for the shepherd’s pie, as served at Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

On March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, guests will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis with a cover charge of $10 for each guest age 18 and older. Reservations can be booked for other festival days by calling 407/938-0300.

 

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Once known as “Downtown Disney”, the new Disney Springs has undergone a major renovation, with a strong array of new and diverse dining options.

Among new dining choices awaiting Town Center guests are restaurants developed by James Beard award-winning chefs. Frontera Cocina serves up gourmet Mexican cuisine and creative cocktails from the menu envisioned by celebrity chef Rick Bayless, a six-time James Beard Foundation winner. Chef Art Smith, two-time winner of the James Beard Award brings a unique taste of gourmet southern cuisine and Florida agriculture to the heart of Disney Springs with Homecoming Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine.

Guests can dine off a shipshape menu at The BOATHOUSE or enjoy, at Morimoto Asia, Pan-Asian cuisine from celebrity chef Matsaharu Morimoto, of Iron Chef fame. STK Orlando offers guests a fine dining experience set in chic, contemporary surroundings. Finish off the evening with a relaxing stroll to grab a signature gelato at Vivoli Gelateria or a crafted cocktail at Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar.

Some of the new specialty-dining locations are now open at Disney Springs:

Amorette’s Patisserie
B. Wolf’s Sausage Co.
D-Luxe Burger
Morimoto Asia Street Food
Sprinkles
The Daily Poutine
YeSake
STK Orlando
Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza
Coca-Cola Store and Rooftop Beverage Bar
Frontera Cocina
Homecoming – Florida Kitchen and Shine Bar

When completed, Disney Springs will have doubled the number of shops, restaurants and other venues for guests to explore, resulting in more than 150 establishments.

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Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate is currently in the midst of an extensive $40 million+ expansion project — on the heels of a contemporary redesign of their onsite Trevi’s Restaurant and the addition of a new outdoor garden terrace and bar among many other exciting enhancements.

We received a sneak peek of Trevi’s Restaurant and their menu.

Prosciutto Crostini with melon and fig – Smooth textures mixed with sweet and savory tastes wonderful for the upcoming sunny Florida days. Each bite will keep you coming back for more.

Grilled Artichoke Crostini with olive tapenade and goat cheese – Personally it would not be my first choice, but it is healthy and tasty as the flavors balance once another.

Shrimp and Tomato Crostini with parmesan and aged balsamic – Fresh shrimp with the smooth texture of parmesan and tart yet sweet flavors of the balsamic.

After being introduced to crostini bites, Trevi’s Restaurant created a demo to make the best sangria I have tasted. Sangria is not my favorite drink, but this one is dangerous because of its delicious flavors which helped mask the bitterness of alcohol.

Before a delicious family style meal, one of Trevi’s chefs demonstrated how they create hand made ravioli at Trevi’s Restaurant.


Porcini Ravioli, Lobster, Madeira Cream – Fresh lobster on top of delicious porcini ravioli. The flavors are all balanced and everything was cooked to perfection.

Enjoy some bread and whipped butter while you wait for your dishes to arrive at your table. The breadsticks are my favorite out of this bunch from taste to texture.

Beef Tartare with quail egg, capers, and white truffle mustard aioli – The beef tartare and quail egg both have a smooth texture. The white truffle mustard aioli is added to elevate the flavors of this antipasti.

Snapper Crudo with tomato, basil and citrus – This is the best snapper crudo I have had. Fresh with a citrus twist and full of lean protein. I highly recommend this dish at Trevi’s. If you were to visit Trevi’s Restaurant solely for this dish, it would be worth it.

Semolina Dusted Calamari with spicy tomato sauce – Arrives at the table right as it was placed on the dish. It is more salty than the usual calamari I have had, but it won’t negatively impact your impression unless you are on a low sodium diet. It is tasty with or without the spicy tomato sauce.

Caprese with heirloom tomato and aged balsamic topped with Burrata with extra virgin oil and smoked sea salt –  You can never go wrong with some creamy burrata balanced by the crispy heirloom tomato, crunchy salt and coarse pepper. Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside contains stracciatella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. Along with other dishes at Trevi’s, there’s a play on a number of flavors in this dish.

Pizza Napolitana with fontina, spicy sausage and caramelized onion – The crust is crusty and fontina is delightful. The sausage is not spicy as they say it is.

Chicken Diangelo with artichoke, red pepper and lemon wine sauce – The chicken is dry regardless of the sauce. The pasta is overcooked and mushy in texture.

Goat Cheese Polenta – A gourmet comfort food that is creamy and great for a windy day. I could use a bowl right now as I write this post.

Charred Broccolini – Fresh vegetables made crisp with a bit of char.

Baby Meatballs – Flavorful meatballs that fall apart upon touch or placed into the mouth. Many will love the crumbly and soft texture, yet I prefer a more dense nature to my meatballs.

Warm Zeppolis with chocolate sauce – Doughnuts topped with powdered sugar and a dense bread-like texture. Warm and sweet, but a tad dry.

Affogato with vanilla bean gelato – A scoop of vanilla bean gelato topped with a shot of hot espresso. What is better than ice cream and espresso? Nothing. It is smooth and sweet with a touch of caffeine. If only this was a large portion and on ice.

Meet the Chefs

Chef Luca Sterpetti

Chef Robert Gioia

We had a few questions for the Chefs of Trevi’s:

What is your favorite dish?

Chef Luca: My favorite dish is ICE CREAM especially hazelnut, coffee and chocolate.

Chef Gioia: My favorite dish I love to cook is my father’s Sunday gravy recipe served with pasta. It’s a simple dish, but very important to use fresh tomato and herbs. He would use pork and lamb in the sauce and that’s why, according to him, it was called gravy. To this day I hear arguments of what is “Sauce” and what is “Gravy”…

How did you get into the culinary field?

Chef Luca: By choice because I love to eat. Growing up, I was always involved with food some way. It was a means to stay close to my grandparents, parents, friends and relatives. All my life, I have tasted, breathed, felt and lived food. As a Chef, I am blessed to have been a part of so many different traditions from all regions of my own country, Italy.

Chef Gioia: I started cooking at the age of 14 in a resort in Catskill, NY. Before then, I was the dishwasher working at the age of 12, the owners were friends of the family. At a young age it taught me the importance of reliability and integrity in a work place. I believe a respect and knowledge for fundamental cooking and technique is what is truly important in creating great tasting dishes

About Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate

Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate is a part of the Omni Hotels family, which creates compelling, memorable guest experiences by tempting the senses in innovative ways, surrounding them with a balanced blend of scents, sounds, sights, textures and tastes.

Beginning a new chapter in its 13-year heritage, Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate is undergoing an extensive expansion project – its first since opening in 2004.

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Photos by Negin Alimohammadi

Chef Hari Pulapaka of Cress Restaurant in Deland recently hosted an outdoor family style meal for 300 featuring the cuisines of the 7 countries who are part of the Trump administration’s immigration ban – Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Here are a few scenes from the dinner captured by our good friend, Negin, who herself is an Iranian national who has lived here for the past 6 years as an engineer and who was personally effected by the immigration ban on her way back to Orlando from a family visit to Iran.

Chef Hari

Guests who attended could taste “deeply flavoured stews, herbaceous sauces, rustic breads, aromatic rice dishes, and complementing side dishes.”

“My goal is to present the meal with dishes from many countries during the same course to illustrate that there are few rules and most dishes complement each other and that the power of food as a great equalizer, at a communal table, is a lesson for the ages,” said Chef Hari Pulapaka in a recent interview.

The benefit dinner raised over $10,000 for International Rescue Committee (rescue.org), a global humanitarian aid, relief and development nongovernmental organization. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers emergency aid and long-term assistance to refugees and those displaced by war, persecution or natural disaster.

Menu
Couscous with carrots, beets, broccoli and cauliflower (Syria)
Lamb maraq (Somalia)
Saffron rice pudding, rose water, dates (Iran)
Polow with saffron, raisins and cashews (Iran)
Roasted corvina with spices and olive oil (Iraq)
Wagyu beef and potato kubba (Iraq)



We’ve all heard and seen Planet Hollywood as it was the iconic building at the old Downtown Disney. Well, along with Disney’s revamping to Disney Springs, Planet Hollywood is also new and improved. Planet Hollywood Observatory offers a new dining experience altogether with a fun and spunky environment to match their menu creations from Guy Fiery.

We began with this impressive ferris wheel of appetizers. The High Roller Platter (34.99)  is meant to be shareable for four people offering a varieties of bites that includes the Famous Chicken Crunch, Texas Tostadas,  Buffalo Wings, Five Cheese Dip, and Peri-Peri Shrimp. 

The entrees came rolling in soon after starting with the L.A Lasagna (19.99) which was definitely a twist to the traditional lasagna dish. A tube of pasta stuffed with ricotta and bolognese meat sauce then lightly fried to a golden brown and then topped with roasted garlic cream & tomato basil sauce.

BBQ Ribs (29.99) was next. Plated on the cutest miniature picnic table with a baby bucket of fries. The ribs are slow cooked St.Louis Style smothered in BBQ sauce.

The Turkey Pic-A-Nic (16.99) reminded me of thanksgivings in a sandwich with the roasted turkey breast and cranberry relish. The kettle chips in the middle provided a nice texture separations between the layers of flavors all inside a garlic-buttered pretzel bun.

Guy’s award wining burger Bacon Mac-N-Cheese (18.99)  also winner of NYC Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash! Was a monster of a burger containing Applewood smoked bacon, 6 cheese mac-n-cheese, onion straws, Donkey Sauce all in between buttered brioche buns.

Next would probably be the kid’s favorite items on the menu

Chocolate Comet (14)  Classic chocolate milkshake that’s overtopped with chocolate goodies like double chocolate brownies, frosting, candies, and a cookie straw. A chocolate Coma all in one.

This unicorn milkshake is The Strawberry Big Bang (14). There’s an entire slice of a birthday cake that’s hanging on top of a the classic hand spun strawberry milkshake! Then it’s doused in magical sprinkles and chocolate chips.

Planet Hollywood Observatory offers a fun and exciting way to dine with the whole family involved and both nostalgic and current.

Planet Hollywood Observatory

Address: 1506 East Buena Vista Drive, Orlando, FL 32836

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Celebrating 24 years when it kicks off March 1, 2017, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will jump-start spring with blooms aplenty and gardens of edibles including toothsome morsels from the new Northern Bloom and The Berry Basket Outdoor Kitchens.

A new, next-generation Belle topiary from “Beauty and the Beast” will debut in France, and a redesigned “Cars” play garden will introduce a colorful new character topiary sure to capture children’s imaginations.

The 90-day festival, open March 1-May 29, will feature an irresistible array of new gardens and character topiaries, popular entertainers and tasty food and drink offerings:

Fresh, farm-market food and beverage flavors will debut at the new Northern Bloom and The Berry Basket Outdoor Kitchens that will join 13 returning Outdoor Kitchens. Delectable chef-inspired bites from Northern Bloom include Seared Scallops with French Green Beans and Butter Potatoes with brown-butter vinaigrette and Applewood smoked bacon. A Maple Popcorn Shake for sipping can become an adult libation with the addition of some Crown Royal Maple Whiskey. At The Berry Basket, the Lamb Chop with Quinoa Salad and Blackberry Gastrique can pair with the new Founders Raubeaus Pure Raspberry Ale.

Chef Gregg Hannon

One of the popular Outdoor Kitchen gardens, Urban Farm Eats, will return with savory bites, sweet treats and ideas for planting produce that can inspire growing numbers of guests who want to learn to grow their own edibles.

“A lot of people, including young children, are serious foodies now, and they have lots of questions about gardening,” says Eric Darden, festival horticulture manager. “We’re getting more and more people in their 20s and 30s asking, ‘How can I grow this?’ I think we’ll be creating more gardeners because people can see what’s possible.”

The festival, including all gardening programs, exhibits, concerts, complimentary English Tea Garden tours and special appearances, is included in regular Epcot admission.

For more information about the 24th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or visit www.epcotinspring.com.

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Maraq (Somalia)

The Trump administration recently issued an immigration ban from seven Muslim majority countries (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen). This ban – the way it currently exists – was overturned by the federal judicial courts as unconstitutional. It not only banned refugees, but there were also cases of authorities detaining and deporting legal VISA holders and others, including here at the Orlando International Airport.

This story is personal to me as I am the child of refugees, my parents having escaped by fishing boat from Vietnam before finally being sponsored into the United States. The America I know and love has always been a welcoming and gracious nation, one full of opportunity and a place of safe harbor for those most persecuted and oppressed. If not for America’s open hearts, who knows if my parents would not have been one of the many thousands who died at sea or captured by pirates.

Chef Hari Pulapaka, a native of Mumbai, India, came to the U.S. for graduate studies in 1987. An Associate Professor of Mathematics, he has been at Stetson University since the fall of 2000. When not teaching or working on mathematics and related areas, he is at Cress, a restaurant in downtown DeLand that he owns with his wife, working as an active professional chef. He is also a four-time semi-finalist for the prestigious James Beard Award-Best Chef South and has been invited to cook on multiple occasions at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City.

Chef Hari Pulapaka is soon hosting a family style meal at Cress featuring the cuisines of the 7 countries who are part of the administration’s immigration ban – the 300 tickets are practically sold out at publication time of this article.

I was honored to speak to him briefly about the upcoming project.

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Tell us about how this dinner came about, what inspired you to create “7 Courses, 7 Countries”?
I was sitting in a plane on the tarmac in Atlanta, GA having just landed, coming off a Taste of Mathematics event hosted by the Mind Research Institute, when we heard that Delta Airlines was experiencing computer glitches nationwide and that it would be several hours before we could deplane.

At least I had a dedicated Wi-Fi connection. I logged into Facebook to find a number of posts related to the chaos and stress emanating from the Executive Order essentially banning US entry by citizens of the 7 countries. As a first generation immigrant, for some reason, I was struck by the callous and inhumane manner in which the Executive Order was enacted and impulsively felt the urge to resist with a message. So I posted that I was inspired to create such a dinner.

The reaction that ensued was mostly positive and encouraging. I usually do what I say, so, here we are.

What are your responses to criticisms about mixing politics and food?
That is a bunch of crap. First of all, business owners are human beings first. To expect them to not be vocal about political issues when they feel the natural urge to do so is almost an expectation of servitude.

“Shut up and cook” or “Shut up and get me my whatever”.

Secondly, the reality of the matter is that the United States Food System is as tightly woven with the political system as one can possibly imagine. Every decision made by consumers and producers have political implications and are influenced by politics.

The food industry lobby in Washington DC is quite impressive and I don’t necessarily mean that as a compliment. For example, they managed to make the health of future generations a political issue. I understand that the devil is often in the details, but the political will is both lacking and powerful, often to the detriment of progress.

So, if I’m guilty of mixing politics and food it is because I care about improving the state of food in this country and beyond. I’m ready to live with the consequences. I’ve done it my way since the inception and I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

Polow (Iran)
Polow (Iran) – Courtesy Hari Pulapaka, Cress Restaurant

Tell me about the ingredients and dishes that are going to be served, what kind of research or assistance will you be getting in crafting these dishes? What prior experiences have you had with these 7 cuisines?
It is still premature for me to give anyone a full menu, but I’ve always prided myself on supporting American farmers and farms. On some occasions, I’ve gotten ingredients produced in another country, but by and large, our ingredients are produced in the United States. So, the menu will be a series of dishes representing culinary influences from Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Iran, Libya, and Yemen (SISSILY).

Guests can expect deeply flavoured stews, herbaceous sauces, rustic breads, aromatic rice dishes, and complementing side dishes. My goal is to present the meal with dishes from many countries during the same course to illustrate that there are few rules and most dishes complement each other and that the power of food as a great equalizer, at a communal table, is a lesson for the ages. Many of the cuisines have significant intersection with flavours I am used to creating whether they are from the Indian subcontinent or the Middle-East. So, I would like to think that I am not out of my proverbial league.

But, I guess time will tell and our guests will ultimately decide. It’s $40 a person for a lot of food with all the proceeds going towards charity. Need I say more? My research has and will include a lot of reading and imagining. But in the end, my own (global) sensibility will have to lead the way.

As an immigrant, what are your thoughts about what is going on right now, what can we hope for?
On the one hand, I am hopeful that the growing resistance by both immigrants and multi-generational citizens against this climate of hate and prejudice is a sign that the America we love (as immigrants) is alive and well. On the other hand, it is disheartening to have to justify our presence to natives after having already sacrificed so much and more importantly having given so much towards the growth and betterment of this place we now call home. My hope is that ultimately, decency will prevail. But my greater hope is that bigotry and discrimination will end once and for all in my lifetime (I’m not holding my breath).

Maraq (Somalia)
Maraq (Somalia) – Courtesy Hari Pulapaka, Cress Restaurant

What do you hope that people will come away with from this dinner?
First and foremost, I hope people will come away with believing (even more) in the healing power of food amidst differences of opinion and ideology. Secondly, I am hopeful that guests will feel empowered to be messengers in favour of inclusivity across the spectrum. I hope that our generation, the next one, and beyond will forge ahead with demanding and finding better solutions to the complex problems of the world. And lastly, I hope that people begin experiencing before judging.

——–
“7 Courses – 7 Countries”

“7 Courses – 7 Countries” is a family-style meal presented by Cress Restaurant with guest collaborators featuring the amazing cuisines of IRAQ, IRAN, LIBYA, SOMALIA, SUDAN, SYRIA, and YEMEN. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to a soon to be determined non-profit organization dealing with immigrant and refugee issues. The cost to attend is $40, all-inclusive. BYOB. Sunday, February 26, 2017, 4-6 pm. For Tickets, Visit Here.

7courses7countriesflyer

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Known for their seafood dishes, Bonefish Grill in Longwood recently underwent a new renovation with an industrial, sleek look that harkens back to an estuary or mangrove idea – a place where fish love to hang out at. There’s even a large decorative art piece of a shiny metallic fish on one of the walls.

In a way Bonefish Grill is a higher end version of Red Lobster. We were recently invited to check out the new digs and were impressed with the improvement in design as well as in the dish executions.

Bonefish
Bonefish Grill
Bonefish
Bonefish’s new interior decor
Bonefish
Bonefish Grill – Inside Look
Bonefish
Bonefish’s new light fixtures
Bonefish
Crab and Corn Chowder at Bonefish – very delicious.
Bonefish
Crab-Crusted Alaskan Cod garlic and crab crumb dusted, topped with lump crab, white wine lemon butter sauce
Bonefish
Bonefish special miso glazed chilean seabass with greens
Bonefish
Bonefish’s signature Macadamia
Nut Brownie- flourless brownie, raspberry sauce, vanilla ice cream, sprinkled with macadamia nuts

Bonefish Grill
1761 W State Rd 434, Longwood, FL 32750
https://www.bonefishgrill.com/locations/fl/longwood

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Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is known for their excellent steaks and wine selection.  Guests can now celebrate Valentine’s Day at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar from Feb. 10-19 with a special three course prix fixe menu.

Guests can enjoy a three-course prix fixe menu, starting at $79.95

Menu includes:

o   Amuse-Bouche: Shrimp and Sea Scallop

o   Salad: choice of Fleming’s Salad or Modern Caesar

o   Entrée Duo: 8-ounce Filet Mignon with choice of New Zealand Ora King Salmon or Australian Lobster Tail

Menu enhancements include:

o   Dessert: Raspberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding

o   Wines from JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset

For reservations, visit www.FlemingsSteakhouse.com Follow Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar on Facebook and Instagram at @FlemingsSteakhouse.

There are two locations in Orlando:
8030 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, FL 32819
933 N Orlando Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789

CONTEST: $100 Giveaway to Fleming’s!

E-mail us at tastychomps@gmail.com by 5pm on February 25th with your answer to these two questions:

  1. What one dish would you try at Fleming’s?
  2. Where is your favorite place for Steak in Orlando? (Can be any)

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SevenSeasLogo_wBackground

SeaWorld introduces the all-new Seven Seas Food Festival.

“We have taken what our fans loved about Bands, Brew & BBQ and Viva la Musica and rolled that into this all-new event that expands all the offerings – more concerts, more food, more craft brew and more fun!”

Set sail on this taste adventure each Saturday February 11th through May 13th.

There are culinary marketplaces set up through out the park with live performances from country, Latin music, and rock artists as you sample and sip your way around.

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The dishes are inspired by many different cultures such as Korean, Brazilian, Mediterranean etc..

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Local craft beers will also be served for a fun day in the sun!

Each marketplace serves different types of food depending on the theme of the station.

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At the Gulf Coast Market – Braised Short Ribs
with Jalapeno Corn Grits, Aged Balsamic Demi and Crispy Fried Onion StringsIMG_20170128_140558Brazilian Churrasco
Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri & Garbanzo Frito

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At the North Atlantic Market- Grilled Venison Sausage Slider
with Caramelized Red Onions, Sweet Red Peppers and Whole Grain Mustard

IMG_20170128_140511At the Pacific Coast Market- Grilled Cheese Pound Cake
with Cheddar Cheese & a Raspberry Sauce

IMG_20170128_140646At the Caribbean Market- Chocolate Tres Leche
Traditional Latin Dessert with Chocolate Cake Soaked in Condensed Milk, Evaporated Milk and Milk Chocolate

There’s a lot of options to what the family will find yummy (including the picky ones) as you enjoy the park.

For more information about the festival you can click here. 

SeaWorld Orlando

Address: 7007 Sea World Dr, Orlando, FL 32821
Customer service: 1 (888) 800-5447

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Event Features Over 60 Unique Eats and More Than 55 Local and International Craft Brews

For 14 consecutive Saturdays, the Seven Seas Food Festival is coming to SeaWorld Orlando Feb. 11 – May 13, 2017.

Each week guests can sip and sample their way around the world of international coastal cuisine while enjoying craft beers, paired wines and specialty entertainment.

The fun extends beyond the food with live performances each Saturday from top country, rock and Latin music artists.

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Seven Seas Food Festival Headline Entertainment:

While new flavors will tempt guests’ taste buds throughout the park, live entertainment will have everyone dancing, singing and laughing along to some of their favorite artists. The Seven Seas Food Festival brings 14 live acts to SeaWorld Orlando’s Bayside Stadium.

  • Lynyrd Skynyrd (February 11)            
  • Lee Brice (February 18
  • Bill Engvall (Feb 25)       
  • Styx (March 4)     
  • Justin Moore (March 11)
  • ZZ Top (March 18)         
  • Phillip Phillips (March 25)     
  • Coming Soon (April 1)   
  • Village People (April 8)      
  • Commodores (April 15)      
  • Oscar D’León (April 22)    
  • Olga Tanon (April 29)        
  • Grupo Mania (May 6)
  • Coming Soon (May 13)     

 Seven Seas Food Festival Coastal Cuisine:

Complete with 11 new global markets, guests will set sail on a taste adventure as they discover more than 60 unique Asian, Latin, European, Polynesian and North Atlantic dishes throughout the park. A wide of array of wine, specialty cocktails and over 55 local and international craft brews will be featured exclusively during the Festival as well. A selection of menu highlights include:

  • Asian Market- Peking Duck Lo Mein with Fresh Oriental Vegetables
  • Korean Market- Bingsu Salted Vanilla Ice Cream topped with Caramel Popcorn
  • Mexican Market- Braised Chicken Adobo with Mole Sauce
  • Caribbean Market- Cinnamon Slow Roasted Pork Belly with Sweet Plantain Mash
  • Florida Market- Fried Kataifi Orange drizzled with Local Honey
  • Mediterranean Market- Smoked Cured Salmon topped with Sweet Dill Mustard
  • North Atlantic Market- Banana & Caramel Cheesecake topped with Whipped Cream & Caramelized Bananas
  • Brazilian Market- Brazilian Churrasco with Chimichurri & Garbanzo Frito
  • Pacific Coast Market- Braised Pork Cheeks with Savory Apple Polenta
  • Polynesian Island Market- “Loco Moco” Grilled Spam, White Rice, Scrambled Egg & Brown Gravy
  • Gulf Coast Market- Southern Creamy Cheese Grits with a Blackened Shrimp

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In addition to the market stops, the event will feature a wide array of BBQ and comfort cuisine including Slow Smoked Ribs, caramelized in a SeaWorld original BBQ sauce, Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese and a Grilled Kielbasa Sausage Sandwich. A complete menu of the Seven Seas Food Festival delights can be found online at SeaWorldOrlando.com/SevenSeas.

SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival begins at 11 a.m. every Saturday, Feb.  11 – May 13 and continues through park close. Like all special events at SeaWorld, the Seven Seas Food Festival is included with park admission.

Best Way to Play:

The best way for guests to experience the Seven Seas Food Festival is with an annual pass. SeaWorld Pass Members can purchase reserved concert seating during an exclusive presale beginning January 19.

For more information, park hours and to purchase tickets, visit www.SeaWorldOrlando.com.  Follow SeaWorld on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest Seven Seas Food Festival details and information.

 

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You may have heard of Paramount Fine Foods with their opening at I-Drive 360 and their butcher shop on Alafaya Trail. They are actually based out of Canada but recently moved into the Florida market with a full sit down restaurant at the I-Drive 360 location. Recently, the owners opened up a fast-casual concept near UCF on University Blvd in the former location of Pie Five Pizza, which was Greens and Grille before that for many years.

We were recently invited to check out the new restaurant. It’s a very simple concept – very much similar to a Mediterranean version of Chipotle where guests go up to the counter and order.

Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando

You start with a base, choosing from:

Rice Bowl
Tabbouleh Salad
Hummus Bowl
Fattoush Salad
Saj Wrap
Greek Salad
Pita Wrap

and then pick a meat or main:

Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando

Chicken Shawarma
Beef Shawarma
Chicken Kebab
Kafta
Falafel

and sides:

Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando

Lettuce
Diced Tomato
Parsley
Onion Mix
Pickled Turnips
Pickled Cucumbers

My favorite cuts are the beef and chicken shawarma with the pickled turnips and Lebanese rice. Very filling and delicious. The desserts are freshly made in house as well with a baker (except for the baklava).

Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Pita wrap at Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Pita wrap at Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Fried Falafel – for the vegetarian lovers – at Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Surprisingly very good french fries at Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando
Beef stuffed Kibbeh – kind of like Lebanese empanadas – very delicious – at Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando

Overall, I would definitely come back to try their very affordable and delicious Mediterranean style bowls and wraps again.  The meat was tender and flavorful, and the rice and pickled veggies complimented every thing quite well. Although the staff seemed to still be training at the time, this is understandable as things are still just coming together at the store.

 

Paramount Lebanese Kitchen UCF
11325 University Blvd, Suite 206, Orlando, 32817
407-203-3219
http://www.paramountfinefoodsusa.com/locations/UCF

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Hello Sweeties Candy & Confections is a sweets shop created by Desiree Kurtz in Lakeland, FL. We contacted Desiree with a initial order of English Toffee with Almonds and Pecans because of a craving after trying the Epcot Canadian Pavillion Maple Bark. Desiree added samples of other treats for us to photograph and taste.

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English Toffee with Almonds and Pecans – delicious and balanced between flavors and textures. The toffee sweetness was offset by the semisweet chocolate; however, the toffee is a bit overwhelming when the chocolate dissolved.

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Peanut Brittle – will stick to your teeth. It is a great job security for Dental professionals. Some may say it is too sweet, but I don’t believe it is. One of my favorite treats of all time! I even bring it to class to munch on during lectures and have it as a snack during study sessions.

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White Chocolate covered Peanut Butter Fudge and Peanut Butter Fudge with White Chocolate Drizzle – these are dense, sweet, and creamy. A perfect gift for your significant other, best friend, or business associates to let them know you’re by their side.

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Double and Triple Chocolate Cake Pops – tasty and dense, yet fluffy. Make sure you don’t leave it out too long if you have refrigerated it. It will become soggy. For many of those who do not know, chocolate is not meant to be refrigerated because condensation will form and alter the appearance and texture. Chocolate keeps best between 65 and 70°F, away from direct sunlight, and protected from moisture. However, if you do refrigerate chocolate, allow the chocolate to come down to room temperature before enjoying it because cold chocolate doesn’t melt or disperse flavor as nicely.

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Peppermint Bark Popcorn and S’mores Popcorn – sweet and fluffy. The texture will remain crunchy if kept in the fridge to maintain freshness. It’s a unique twist to have for movie nights or a stroll in the park.

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When we asked Desiree how she came about and decided to create her own sweets company, she replied saying, “A few years back we were pretty short on funds for Christmas so I decided to make candy as gifts for my mom and sisters. It was a hit with all of them so each year for the past few I have made their gifts. I decided to turn it into a business this past Christmas when I realized how much I actually enjoy making sweet treats.”

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