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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.


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.


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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 Grill
Bonefish’s new interior decor
Bonefish Grill – Inside Look
Bonefish’s new light fixtures
Crab and Corn Chowder at Bonefish – very delicious.
Crab-Crusted Alaskan Cod garlic and crab crumb dusted, topped with lump crab, white wine lemon butter sauce
Bonefish special miso glazed chilean seabass with greens
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

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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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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.


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


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.



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


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.


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


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

and sides:

Paramount Lebanese Kitchen at UCF Orlando

Diced Tomato
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

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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This past weekend was The Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown BBQ competition, bringing attention to Central Florida as a BBQ enthusiast destination as Top-Nations Pit-masters (by invitation only) come and put their skills to the test.

Showdown Crowd

The event’s General Admission is 5$ and free for kids 10 and under. Parking was also free with an extended lot away from the Zoo that had shuttles running back and forth every 15 minutes.

Behind the Scenes Food 4

Here was the full day’s Event Schedule for Sonny’s Smokin Showdown:
7:30 AM
Judges Check-In
8:30 AM
Judges Meeting (Mandatory)
12:00 PM
Kid’s Donut Eating Contest
12:30 PM
Cooking Demo
1:00 PM
Rib Eating Contest
1:30 PM
Cooking Demo
2:30 PM
Meet the Masters
3:00 PM
Live Music: Hayfire
5:00 PM
Live Music: Rockit Fly
6:00 PM
Awards Ceremony
7:15 PM
Live Music: Jill’s Cashbox
8:30 PM
Live Music: Frankie Ballard


As you can see the entire day is filled with family-fun activities as well as entrees to be purchased a la carte from local vendors.


There was a designated kid’s area so you won’t have to worry about the young ones getting bored while you chomp away!


The lines will get pretty long so I’d get there early so you would beat the rush.

DSC03604 There are a lot of different price points but pretty much everything is affordable so you’re not breaking the bank to get full.

Behind the Scenes Food 2

Behind the Scenes Food 6

Behind the Scenes Food 5

All the Pit-Masters were hard at work keeping up with the crowd’s appetite & making sure everything is fresh and tasty! Here’s a list of the 2017 competitors:

Mcadoo Heights BBQ
Accutech BBQ
Lo’ -N- Slo’ BBQ
Panther Creek COOKers
High i Que
The Smoking Hills
Big Show Cookin’ Team
Wolf’s Revenge BBQ
Lucky’s Q
Road Crew BBQ
Lang BBQ smokers
Honky Tonk Smokers
Sauced! BBQ
Sweet Smoke Q
Smoke This
The Pit Crew, Ga
Big Ugly’s BBQ
Czech Cherokee
Top choice BBQ
Team Unknown BBQ
Holy Smokes
Swamp Boys
Budmeisters bbq team
Uncle Kenny”s BBQ
Smokin’ Hoggz BBQ
Buckshot BBQ
Victory Lane BBQ
Serial Griller
Checkered Pig
Hot Wachula’s
Real South BBQ
All In Que
Smoking Butt Heads
Helping U BBQ
Hot Mess BBQ
Iowa’s Smokey D’s BBQ
big daddy Q
Balch’s Blazin bbq
Smokin’ Lonestar
Oklahoma Joe’s Serious Que
One Man Pits

The invitations-only competitors battled it out in different meat categories such as ribs, chicken, brisket etc.. as well as a bonus mystery meat category ( which did not count in overall scores).

Among the competitiors, Cajun Blaze Competition BBQ took home the Grand Championship as well as $20,000 out of $68,000.

A huge congratulations to the team!


There are tons of other vendors for you to peruse around and check out the merchandise booths.



Overall it was definitely a fun-filled day that was meant to bring every BBQ lovers to central Florida. Make sure to catch the event next year!

Catch more scenes from the event on Sonny’s Smoking Showdown Invitational.

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Disney is collaborating with Heart of Florida United Way 25th annual Chef’s Gala which will take place on Saturday Feb. 4th, 2017.  A night full of exquisite cuisine from more than 20 of Central Florida’s Top chefs, along with thoughtfully paired fine wines, live music, and silent auction.  United Way’s largest fundraiser, Chef’s Gala will benefit local programs that provide food, shelter and other services to thousands of central Floridians in need.

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This year’s Gala will feature one of Disney’s newest and experimental restaurant- Tiffin’s. Laying in Animal Kingdom Tiffin’s tells the stories of the travels and expeditions of the imagineers, especially Joe Rohde’s.

There are three main dining rooms, one holding it’s own unique story and experience, we were seated in the Harambe, Africa room as we prepare to chomp the global inspired menu.

We started with a trio of appetizers.

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  1. Lobster-Popcorn Thai Curry Soup
  2. Roasted Baby Beets
  3. Marinated

The star of the Trio was definitely the Lobster-Popcorn Thai Curry Soup with Basil Emulsion. It definitely packs a flavorful punch and slight hint of lemon grass.

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Tamarind-Glazed Short-Rib had a cauliflower puree and vegetable variations to accompany it. Incredibly tender. Smokey and slightly sweetened by the glaze.  This dish will be featured at the 2017 United Way’s Chef’s Gala.


Hosin-Glazed Grouper with forbidden rice hidden inside swiss chard with a turmeric sauce. Every bite into this dish was so delightful! There were great textures and arrays of notes definitely one of my favorite dishes by Tiffins.


We ended with some dessert sample (From Top left to Bottom Right)

  1. Passion Fruit Tapioca
  2. Calamansi Mousse
  3. Lime Cheesecake
  4. South American Chocolate Ganache

The variations in the dessert really shows how versatile Tiffin’s menu really is. Along with the great menu options the restaurants also holds many exciting adventures that will entice the guests.



Theme park exploration-inspired restaurant/lounge serving African, Indian & South American cuisine.
Address: 2901 Osceola Pkwy, Discovery Island, Orlando, FL 32830

Heart of Florida United Way Chef’s Gala

Recognized as the region’s premier food and wine pairing event, Heart of Florida United Way Chef’s Gala features exquisite cuisine from more than 20 of Central Florida’s top chefs, along with thoughtfully paired fine wines, live music and a silent auction. Hosted by Walt Disney World Resort and raising nearly $300,000 each year, Chef’s Gala is historically United Way’s largest fundraiser for education, income, health and basic needs programs that serve thousands of Central Floridians in need.

2017 Participating Restaurants

Artist Point – Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
blu on the avenue
California Grill – Disney’s Contemporary Resort
deep blu Seafood Grille – Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek
Jiko – The Cooking Place – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Jungle Skipper Canteen – Magic Kingdom® Park
La Luce
Le Cellier Steakehouse – Epcot®
Narcoossee’s – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Primo by Melissa Kelly – J.W. Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes
Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant
Soco Restaurant
STK Orlando – Disney Springs
Tiffins – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Todd English’s bluezoo – Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort
Disney’s Boardwalk
Urban Tide – Hyatt Regency Orlando
Yachtsman Steakhouse – Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts

Desserts & Coffee:

Amorette’s Patisserie – Disney Springs
Bake Me A Cake
Disney’s Yacht & Beach Bakery – Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Co.

  • Heart of Florida United Way

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Midici, a Neopolitan Pizza Company just recently opened their doors to guests on December 30th, 2016 in Kissimmee, FL.

I will go ahead and address the question- Another Pizza Place? I understand this shoulder shrugging when it comes to a new franchise in town. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how tasty everything I ordered was. I actually fell in love with the restaurant a little more when I began talking to the staff and understand the concepts behind the restaurant.

Sticking to the Neopolitan brand they have their ingredients shipped from Naples and their flour is strictly just flour, double zero, natural salt, yeast, and water.

I started off with the House Meat and Cheese (16) which included black truffle cheese (sottocenere al tartufo), goat cheese, parmigiano-reggiano, black truffle salami (tartufo), prosciutto di Parma, spicy Italian salami (calabrese). served with gourmet pickles, 2 mustards, fresh pears, king walnuts, organic honey, and wood fire-toasted ciabatta bread.


As well as the Burrata with Beets & Balsamic (6) fresh soft burrata cheese, all natural red beets, lemon vinaigrette. Amazing textures for a simple dish.


My guest had the  House Made Italian Peeled Tomato Soup (6) Traditional thick Italian soup made with crushed peeled tomatoes imported from Italy, parmigiano-reggiano, housemade pesto, wood fire-toasted ciabatta bread croutons, fresh organic sweet basil. (can be requested gluten-free)


We choose 3 different pizzas from the menu

Truffle and Vegetables Pizza (14) truffle cream, fresh ricotta cheese, all natural fresh mushrooms, all natural Fresno chilis, fresh whole mozzarella, fresh organic sweet basil, organic non-gmo extra virgin olive oil, parmigiano-reggiano, topped with baby arugula and fresh grape tomatoes after bake for a refreshing crunch. This one was hands down my favorite. The touch of truffle was just enough to elevate all the components in the pizza.


Double Pepperoni (9.5) crushed Italian peeled tomatoes (sauce), fresh whole mozzarella, gourmet pepperoni, spicy Italian salami (calabrese), parmigiano-reggiano, organic non-gmo extra virgin olive oil, fresh organic sweet basil. We added mushrooms to complete Jonathan’s (my guest) usual pizza order and it was said that He can’t go back to Dominoes’ again.


We split the Bacon N’ Egg (10) fresh whole mozzarella, all natural applewood smoked bacon, freshly cracked free-range egg, wood fire-roasted fingerling potatoes, oregano, parmigiano-reggiano, fresh organic sweet basil, organic non-gmo extra virgin olive oil (no tomato sauce). My recommendation is to take the crust and scoop up all the delicious yolk on the plate!


The dinner ended on a rich sweet note with Signature Nutella Calzone & Fresh Berries (6) House Neapolitan dough, light, thin, soft and chewy, baked fresh with Nutella©, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries, hidden inside, topped with a hint of balsamic reduction, and shaved coconut. What a decadent treat.


Side story- The CEO actually convinced the developer of Nutella to create their product with Non-GMO ingredients so that Midici will stay true to their claim of being a Non-GMO restaurant.

I was able to catch a moment with the CEO of Midici and I had to ask him how is the restaurant able to make any profit since the ingredients are promised to be fresh, imported, and affordable.  He told me it was in the volume that the orders are made. The restaurant encourages the guest to stay and chat to enjoy the ambience and the company of their guests. The enivironment is made to be like a european cafe to get people to stay, sip, and get comfortable.

“People is the best thing to happen to people” is what was relayed to me by the staff. So each franchise location is based on the franchisee versus convenient locations.

Midici is “Fast Fine” is bringing my new year in with a yummy start!

MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company
Address: 720 Centerview Blvd, Kissimmee, FL 34741



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!

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Crown Maple’s singular, certified-organic maple products are featured at the Canadian Pavilion in Epcot® of Orlando, FL in the form of Maple Bark for Holidays Around the World Epcot®.


This version Maple Bark contains pecans; it is absolutely delicious as it is not overwhelmingly sweet.

Although we only bought one bag, we wish we bought more.

A bite of the bark with a piece of the pecan on top is well balanced for the palate.

If you missed the Maple Bark from Epcot®, have no fear as you can make your own Maple Bark with this recipe from Epcot® that makes 24 pieces.


3/4 cup pecans
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided 1 1/2 tablespoons maple sugar


  1. Combine pecans and sea salt in a medium pan. Toast over medium heat, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes, until brown and fragrant. Chop into small pieces and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Once butter is melted, add sugar and water, stirring continuously until temperature reaches 295°F. Immediately pour onto baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat and spread into a 9×13-inch rectangle. Cool for at least 3 hours.
  3. Melt 3/4 cup chocolate chips in a small bowl and spread over one side of the cooled bark. Immediately sprinkle half of the chopped pecans and maple sugar over the chocolate. Cool for 2 hours, until chocolate is set.
  4. Melt remaining 3/4 cup of chocolate chips. Turn bark over and spread chocolate on the other half of the bark. Sprinkle with remaining chopped pecans and maple sugar. Cool for 2 hours, until chocolate is set.
  5. Break into 24 pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

This recipe has been converted from a larger quantity in the restaurant kitchens. The flavor profile may vary from the restaurant’s version. All recipes are the property of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc., and may not be reproduced without express permission.

About Crown Maple

From bark to bottle, Crown Maple is a defining ingredient, delivering a gourmet maple experience like no other. Crown Maple is estateproduced from forests comprising the Taconic Hardwood Forest, a unique terroir which extends from the New York Eastern Mid-Hudson Valley to Central Western Vermont. Since the brand’s launch, the distinctive taste and versatility has won over discerning professionals and connoisseurs alike, elevating Crown Maple beyond a sweetener and into a defining ingredient.

All products are certified-organic, pairing the best nature has to offer with artisan craftsmanship and state-of-the-art production technology. From bark to bottle, Crown Maple is sustainably made on 800 acres of pristine land at Madava Farms in Dutchess County, New York, and truly sets the standard of excellence in maple production and flavor.

For more information about Crown Maple and their products, please visit Crown Maple.

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Five Star New Year’s Eve marks its fourth year with the launch of its signature all-white-and-gold-themed celebration in Orlando’s I-Drive 360. The Miami acclaimed fête has been hosted and attended in Miami by actor Ryan PhillippeDJ Robin Schulz, Brazilian actor Macos Mion, soccer star Ronaldo “The Phenomenon” Nazario de Lima and renowned Brazilian actress Isabeli Fontana, to name a few.


Mirroring its Miami counterpart, Orlando’s party features an opulent celebration including exclusive access to full-service bar with premium libations, food all night long including dishes like Poached Lobster with Gruyere Cheese FondueBraised Pork with Lentils and KaleChimichurri Rubbed Beef TenderloinCrème Brûlée, and Chocolate Covered Strawberries, to name a very few, a boutique and styling suite, a private cigar room, sounds by live on-site DJs, recreational activities, and service from on-site concierge.


Admission packages to the event will start with General Admission ranging between $290 and $390, which features a full-service open bar with beverages, beer, vodka, whisky and prosecco. The Table Top package is priced at $4,000 granting guests a reserved bar space for six guests and access to the full-service open bar through the night. The VIP Table experience priced at $9,900 offers an exclusive VIP entrance, full-service open bar with beverages, beer, vodka, whisky and champagne, as well as dinner and breakfast for 10 people. The Gold Lounge package, which accommodates 16 people, is priced at $20,000 and features a VIP separate entrance, full-service open bar with beverages, beer, vodka, whisky and champagne, exclusive dinner and breakfast, a dedicated butler service, and private transportation for the entire party.

Valet parking is available, but Ubering is recommended.

Tickets available at: http://fivestarnye.com/

We can’t wait to see you at the event!

Photos are provided by Five Star New Year’s Eve.

About Concept ID:

Concept ID is a marketing and communications agency with clients like 1 Hotel & Homes, In List, Casa Cor, Hooch App and experience in events like Kevin Hart’s Heartbeat Weekend, Oculto, and Five Stars New Year’s Eve. Their unique solutions in the Miami/US market have made them successful in their creation, production and project management of accounts in entertainment and sports. For more information on Concept ID, visit www.conceptid.us or call 786-768 -2447. For additional details on Five Star New Year’s Eve, visit www.fivestarnye.com  or call 786.768.2447.

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The first Capital Grille was founded in Providence, Rhode Island in 1990 and quickly became a staple in the city’s up and coming downtown section. Businessmen were the driving force behind the restaurant’s original popularity, but it has since grown into a celebratory destination for all occasions – from holidays and birthdays to anniversaries and more.

That is true here too in Orlando, with the first Capital Grille opening in the Orange County Convention Area on International Drive and now with a second more modern and updated location at the Mall at Millenia. I’ve always been a big fan – from their great service to excellent quality steaks and ambiance – it’s great for any special occasion, and with the new bar menu, good even for those just stopping by on the way home from work or while shopping at the mall.

The Stoli Doli is the Capital Grille’s signature cocktail, and it is so popular that they pour enough each year to serve the country of Iceland for an entire evening. It’s made with made with Stolichnaya Vodka infused with fresh pineapple, chilled and served straight up.

This holiday season, the Capital Grille is offering several special items to go along with purchases of gift cards. In celebration of this announcement, we have partnered up with The Capital Grille to do a gift card giveaway worth $150. To enter read below:

For the holidays this year, The Capital Grille is helping guests give the gift of a true fine dining experience with a limited edition, stainless steel $1,000 gift card.

In addition, customers purchasing gift cards at The Capital Grille valued at $500 or above will receive an additional 10% added to the gift card’s value, as well as custom steak knives. The gift cards can be personalized with a voice memo or photo.

Other interesting facts:

· They hand make their mozzarella every 90 minutes.
· Their Sam’s Mashed Potatoes are named after The Capital Grille’s founder’s son.
· Skilled Pastry Chefs arrive when the sun rises to make fresh desserts daily.

The Capital Grille at Pointe Orlando
Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Dr · (407) 370-4392
The Capital Grille at The Mall at Millenia
The Mall at Millenia, 4200 Conroy Rd · (407) 351-2210


One entry per person, winner will be chosen randomly on Friday December 23,2016 at 5pm!

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 dishes would you like to try the most?
c. How often do they make their mozzarella at The Capital Grille?
d. Where was The Capital Grille founded?

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The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes invites you to join the Pastry Team to build your own gingerbread house.


Gingerbread School price includes a $10 donation to The Children’s Miracle Network and a personalized brick on Santa’s Workshop.


Guests can use the life-sized gingerbread house in the Lobby for inspiration as they build and assemble their own creation at Santa’s Workshop, while enjoying some complementary drinks (i.e. hot chocolate, water, soda, etc).


The fun-filled activity begins with guests building the house with pre-baked gingerbread panels on a wooden foundation, then choose from dozens of different types of candy and other edible details to decorate and personalize their house!


Feel free to invite your significant other, your family, and your friends for a fun time. You will have so much fun that you will lose track of time like I did.

Treats and to-go kits available. Below are photos of containers of candy and bags of other treats to decorate your gingerbread house.




Below are photos of the house we built with a Florida twist in the back!




Make sure you don’t leave your house laying around in easy to reach places or your house might have some problems. Our pup couldn’t resist the temptation of how delicious the gingerbread house is from The Ritz-Carlton.


Event dates are: December 10-11 and December 17-23

  • 9 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. (6 p.m. classes on select dates)
  • $195 per family (4 guests per group maximum)

Space is limited for each Gingerbread School event and reservations are required. For more information and reservations, please call (407) 393-4648.

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Kona Grill joins Central Florida at its first location in Winter Park. It is one of the fastest growing restaurants in the US that offers Asian and American dining. It is one of the few restaurants that require all of their employees to try every dish on the menu when they begin working at Kona Grill.


The Kona Calamari is slightly flavored with a nice and creamy spicy aioli on the side.


The Yamada Roll is made up of tempera sea bass, crab mix, avocado, cucumber, soy paper, sweet * spicy sauce, and fried wonton silvers. It has a lot of the sauce on it, which can be a tad overwhelming. However, the sweet & spicy sauce is definitely balanced. The roll itself is big and falls apart if you are not careful.


The Pan-Seared Tuna is made to your liking with rice, baby boo chop, and sweet-chili sauce. The tuna is very tender and can be dipped into the sauce for sweet touch. The baby bak chop is cleaned well and is not soggy. The tuna is fresh and flown in from Hawaii roughly 4 times a week; it can be ordered the night before for the next day.


The Macadamia Nut Chicken is served with house mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, shoyu cream, and pineapple-papaya marmalade. The shoyu cream is unique and buttery. The chicken is very moist and the macadamia nut crust adds a nice contrast to the texture of the chicken. The mashed potatoes has unique notes at the end and the seasoned vegetables are made well as they are not overcooked.


The Spiced Apple Bread Pudding is topped with candied walnuts, vanilla bean ice cream, and caramel sauce. There are wonderful scents and taste notes of cinnamon. You can taste the freshness of the ingredients in every bite. Every bit of this dessert is well balanced when combined in each bite. The candied walnuts are delicious on their own with a slight sweetness that is not overwhelming.


The Passion Fruit Crème Brûlée is a passion fruit infused custard. There are hints of passion fruit. It is tasty and the texture is not too thick.


The Moscow Mule consists of Tito’s Vodka, ginger beer, and lime. It is made strong at Kona so be prepared.


The Strawberry Basil Lemonade is made with Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum, lemonade, basil, strawberry, and sprite. It is sweet and smooth.

Kona Grill Address: 110 S Orlando Ave #12, Winter Park, FL 32789

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With a swarm of the undead ambling around, Boardwalk Bowl is calling all would-be zombie hunters to help us defeat the zombies with a new, one-of-a-kind attraction, Zombie Boardwalk. The shooting-gallery style attraction fills 4,000-square-feet of Boardwalk Bowl, and it incorporates lifelike zombie figures that make perfect target practice.

While you’re there, taste some items on their menu. Below are photos of dishes we tried during our visit.










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Known for its epic sunrise to sunset views of the airport runway, the new Hemisphere at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport features a $3 million re-design of the 3,000 square-foot restaurant.






The stylish new environment is a huge upgrade from the 1990s era setting it once had.

Led by Executive Chef Jeffery Powell, Hemisphere’s culinary team has designed a menu that infuses robust international flavors and seasonal local ingredients.


Dinner highlights include Moroccan-inspired, dukka-crusted Lamb Chops, Grilled Gulf Prawns and a Wagyu Grass-Fed Beef Burger. The Hemisphere beverage menu complements the world kitchen concept with a carefully curated collection of wines and cocktails from each hemisphere. The wine cuvees are filled with 16 wine varietals from different regions around the globe.


“My culinary philosophy is to work with local farmers to acquire the freshest ingredients available. Using complementary ingredients and showcasing each component through simple preparation and proper technique creates integrity and depth of flavor,” said Powell.

Powell’s culinary point of view mirrors Hyatt’s global philosophy –Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served. –and is reflected in the global offerings at McCoy’s Bar and Grill and the re-imagined Hemisphere restaurant, slated to make its debut in November2016.

At home, Powell enjoys cooking braised meats, practices slow cooking methods and explores new ingredients such as Moringa, an African green very high in vitamin C with other added health benefits.

tomato jam, tangy queso fresco, radish,pea tendrils

blood orange, pickled mustard seeds, micro greens, fire roasted bread

whipped mascarpone, shaved fennel, pistachios, citrus zest, organic olive oil

nduja, red onions,organic sunny side up cage free egg

fried green tomato, boursin, grits, arugula salad, smoked tomato vinaigrette, trinity relish

slow pickled blueberries, candied jalapenos, sun choke puree

heirloom tomatoes, red onions, frisee, arugula,chimichurri

with torched meringue

cardamom fudge, pistachio mousse, pistachio tuile

fresh strawberries, lychee, orchid petals, toasted ground almonds

licorice gelato, ginger snap sable

amarina cherry, chocolate cake, whipped cream quenelle



Complimentary valet parking is available for all Hemisphere guests.Monthly wine dinners and seasonal brunches will be announced soon.

Hemisphere at Orlando International Airport
9300 Jeff Fuqua Boulevard
Orlando, FL 32827
OpenTable Reservations: http://www.opentable.com/r/hemisphere-orlando

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360 American Bistro and Bar joins Meliá Orlando Suite Hotel in Celebration, FL. Visit 360 whether or not you are staying at Meliá Orlando Suite Hotel as all guests are welcome.


360 hosts a unique combination of Classic French Bistro foods and American favorites, plus signature desserts and a wide variety of fine wines, craft beers, and creative cocktails.



From appetizers to desserts, 360 uses their open flame wood stone pizza oven to cook their dishes to perfection.


Seared 360 Scallops are seared jumbo U-10 scallops served with a warm mushroom salad. The scallops and mushrooms were fresh and full of flavor. You can taste the sea with each bite of the scallops. The mushrooms have an earthy note, which draws the scallops to the shore.


360 Flame Roasted Wings are premium chicken wings tossed with fresh herbs and caramelized onions roasted in their open flame wood stone pizza oven.


Sweet Thai Shrimp are lightly fried shrimp tossed in a sweet Thai chili mayo served on a bed of arugula and sweet soy glaze. A tad spicy, but it doesn’t overpower the sweetness of the mayo. Thankfully the shrimp were not overcooked one bit as it could be a hard thing to do. Kudos to Chef Victor.


Pan Seared Mozzarella is sliced and topped with tomato provencal.


Kale and Quinoa Salad consists of fresh baby kale, red quinoa with toasted pecans, goat cheese, red radish and tossed in a dijon dressing.



360 Gorgonzola Pear and Balsamic Pizza is made up of caramelized pears, dolce gorgonzola cheese and soppressata with a white sauce and a balsamic reduction drizzled and fresh rosemary. If you were handed a slice of this pizza without knowing the ingredients, you would not believe it includes pears. The pear joins the cheese in adding a mild sweet and soft touch to the salty soppressata.



Margherita Pizza consists of locally sourced fresh mozzarella and basil with red sauce great for meat eaters and vegetarians. One slice of this pizza won’t be enough as your mind, palate, and stomach will beg for more.


Southern Chicken Sandwich is a crispy chicken breast served on a brioche bun with house-made bread and butter pickle and arugula topped with a sweet Thai chili aioli.


Idaho Potato Gnocchi is house-made with fresh peas, served with a caramelized onion cream sauce, garnished with pea shoots. The gnocchi is nice and smooth with a touch of flavor from the caramelized onion cream sauce.


Short Rib Cannelloni consists of braised shredded short rib, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses stuffed inside rolled pasta topped with house-made red sauce then baked in their open flame wood stone pizza oven.


Roasted Florida Top Sirloin (Picanha) is seared and roasted before served with fingerling potatoes and pea shoots on a bed of sauce soubise. The sirloin is nicely seasoned and tender as can be. This is one of the best sirloin dishes I have been served in Central Florida.


Char Sui Chicken is an Asian marinated and seared airline chicken breast served with classic lo mean noodles with fresh ginger, oyster mushrooms and green onion topped with a honey-soy reduction.


Seasonal Fruit Cobbler is a seasonal locally sourced, fruit-topped sweet cobbler crust then baked in our open wood flame wood stone pizza oven.



360’s Signature Smores Profiteroles are pate a’ choux filled with marshmallow crime and topped with hot house-made chocolate sauce and a chocolate-cinnamon crumble. Messy, fun, sweet, and tasty, this dessert is best when served warm.

In addition to the tasteful menu, 360 offers a variety of cocktails from classics to original twists as well as a number of craft beers in bottles and on tap.


Meliá Mule consists of Knob Creek, Blackberry Brandy, ginger beer, and lavender simple syrup.


Cucumber Collins consists of Hendricks, simple syrup, lime, celery bitters on top of muddled cucumber.


Watermelon Martini consists of Grey Goose le Citron, Watermelon Pucker and watermelon.


Uinta Hop Nosh IPA combines an abundance of hops with a smooth malt profile to provide bold and refreshing notes.


For more information, visit Meliá Orlando Suite Hotel.

360 American Bistro and Bar
at Melia Orlando Suite Hotel in Celebration, FL
225 Celebration Pl
(407) 964-7176

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Fall is in full swing here in Orlando! With the new weather and seasonal offerings, STK in Disney Springs has come up with some new and exciting fall items to embrace the change.

Starting with the first drink of the night The Poisoned Apple – Malibu rum, Procsecco, Grand Marnier Liquor, and cinnamon. Very crisp, light, and sweetened with the caramel rim.

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This one’s The Fall Harvest- Maker’s Mark, apple cider, pumpkin cinnamon syrup, lemon juice, and egg white Boozy and frothy definitely something to sip on.
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We began the dinner with a beautiful Buratta salad on a spread of arugula puree, olive croutons and chopped heirloom tomatoes.
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Next stop is the Baby Beets salad with orange, toasted pistachio, and goat cheese.
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We moved onto appetizers plates with Seared Scallops with a Short Rib & barley risotto in a red wine sauce.
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The main entrees then took the stage with Florida Grouper with black mussels, chorizo, and aged sherry vinegar.
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The Seared Tuna had thumbelina carrots, black sesame tahini, and preserved lemon.
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A very indulgent dish Grilled Maine Lobster with shiitake mushrooms, red chiles, and ginger coconut broth.

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Thanksgiving is also approaching very quickly (next week!) thankfully STK is offering a Thanksgiving special.

Duck Fat poached Turkey Tenderloin with Sweet Potato-Brown Butter Puree, Caramelized Apple-Cranberry Chutney and Bourbon-Black Pepper Gravy (33)

And you can bring your kids along because they have a Kid’s Special.
Grilled Turkey Tenderloin with Sweet Potato fries and cranberry ketchup (13)

With the amazing weather lately I would definitely check out STK’s Rooftop dining area.


Address: Disney Springs, 1580 Buena Vista Dr, Orlando, FL 32830

(407) 917-7440

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This year if you are in Orlando looking for a good Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving Day, check out The Capital Grille for their offerings. The turkey is very tender and succulent, not sure what black magic they used to make it so moist and tasty – but it was very good.


In addition to serving its signature dishes, The Capital Grille will also offer a Slow-Roasted Turkey with Brioche Stuffing, French Green Beans with Marcona Almonds and Cranberry Pear Chutney for $38 per adult and $15 per child.

These dishes will also be accompanied by Mashed Potatoes to share. However, no meal is complete without dessert. Therefore, The Capital Grille will also offer the Pumpkin Cheesecake for an additional $10.


Slow-Roasted Turkey
with Brioche Stuffing
French Green Beans
with Marcona Almonds
and Cranberry Pear Chutney
Accompanied by
Sam’s Mashed Potatoes to share



Pumpkin Cheesecake


The Capital Grille at The Mall at Millenia
4200 Conroy Rd.
Orlando, FL 32839
(407) 351-2210

The Capital Grille at Pointe Orlando
9101 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 370-4392

Available Thanksgiving Day from 11am – 9pm
Full A La Carte Dinner Menu Available

capital-grille-8999 capital-grille-9001

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Tin Roof is a shotgun shack bar and music venue with creative takes on American pub food originating in Texas.


Dixie Biscuits are fried biscuit sliders with house smoked brisket, bacon, peach jam, and cheddar cheese. These biscuits are sweet, salty, and savory. I especially like the peach jam that sneaks in the sweetness at the end of each bite.


Poppers are bacon wrapped peppadew and pimento cheese croquettes. These are great for someone who likes cheese! Pimento is one of my favorite cheese so I will definitely be back for more.


Chicken N Waffles cone of buttermilk fried chicken nuggets, waffle pieces, bacon-maple glaze, and ancho chili chocolate. This appetizer is too sweet for my liking. The nuggets and waffle pieces seemed to be drenched in the bacon-maple glaze and it was too overwhelming.


House Smoked Brisket is a gluten free pub board with thick cut slices of their slow and low, pickled red onion and hot sauce. The sides are mac & cheese as well as ranch potato salad. The brisket is not very tender, a bit dry and fatty. The mac and cheese is delicious and had a hint of spiciness to it.


Candy Pig Mac & Cheese consists of elbow pasta, brown sugar bacon, jalapeño queso, aged cheddar, herb bread crumbs, and scallions. This is one of the most wonderful mac & cheese, unlike other mac & cheeses that are boring. This has a number of flavors dancing on your palate. If you plan on visiting Tin Roof, make sure you order this dish. You could also order the street corn as a side; it was nice without the toppings. The squash casserole was unique, but not my thing.

For more information, please visit http://www.tinrooforlando.com.

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Food & Wine Weekends at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria Orlando is a celebration of fine wine and the culinary arts on weekends Sept. 16 through Nov. 13, 2016, complementing the Epcot® Food & Wine Festival.


At Zeta Bar, the Asian cuisine restaurant at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, there is an “Art of Sushi Pairing” menu on Friday & Saturday nights, 5pm – 10pm.


Here is a quick look at the dishes served during the meal:

Zeta Bar + Sushi Lounge: The Art of Sushi Pairing

Course 1

Zeta Greens
Field Greens Salad with Ginger Dressing


Wakame Salad
Classic Japanese Seaweed Salad

Course 2

Spicy Tuna Nachos*
Seared Ahi Tuna Sashimi, Avocado, Spicy Mayo, Masago, Cilantro, Wasabi Scented Nori Chips


Chicken Katsu
Panko Breaded Chicken Breast, Lemon Plum Sauce, Wasabi Mayo

Course 3

Coconut Chicken Green Curry
Coconut Curry Chicken, Lemongrass, Ginger, Thai Chili, Cilantro, Thai Basil, Toasted Pine Nuts,
Steamed White Rice


Tsunami Roll*
Crab Salad, Tempura Crunch, Hirame, Sliced Limes, Micro Cilantro, Shiso Pesto, Masago


Alaskan Roll*
Salmon, Avocado, Sliced Lemon, Crab Salad, Wasabi Caviar

Course 4

Red Bean Mochi or Green Tea Mochi or Mango Mochi

$45/person plus tax and gratuity
Price Includes Sake or Beer Pairing

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I was honored to attend Chef’s Night hosted by Second Harvest Food Bank featuring Chef Michael LaDuke of The Capital Grille on Wednesday, October 26.


Chef Michael LaDuke, vice president and corporate executive  for The Capital Grille, prepared dinner as part of the “Year of the Steak” Chef’s Night Series.


At this event, guests were greeted with wonderful music as they enjoyed cocktails and amuse bouche.


Gorgonzola Topped Figs with Ruby Port Syrup – very buttery with a slight salty taste and crumbly texture.


Pan Seared Filet “Carpaccio” with Charred Shallot Aioli – tasteful with a garlic and mayonnaise undertone.


Tower of Jumbo Shrimp and King Crab with Stone Ground Mustard Mayo and a House-Made Cocktail – every bit is fresh and delicious, especially the King Crab that has a sweetness to it that makes it great.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Spinach Salad with Toasted Pecans and Warm Honey Bacon Vinaigrette – the vinaigrette is light and sweet that goes well with the salad. However, the croutons were slightly soggy.


30-Day Dry-Aged Sirloin with Rosti Potatoes, Asparagus Sauté and Mushroom Glace – the best sirloin I have ever had; it was the most tender piece of sirloin. The rosti potatoes were a tad dense and not my favorite. The asparagus sauté and mushroom glace was nice and added a little flavor to the sirloin if desired. I liked the sirloin with or without the asparagus sauté and mushroom place.


The Capital Grille Signature Cheesecake with Spiked Cranberry Compote – heavenly delicious! I loved the cheesecake and I wish I had more. The spiked cranberry compote is nice and tart that adds a fruity touch to the cheesecake.

Purchase tickets for future events at www.FeedHopeNow.org or call 407-514-1070 for more information.

About Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
SHFBCF is a member of Feeding America – the largest charitable domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States. SHFBCF secures and distributes food and grocery products to approximately 550 local nonprofit feeding programs throughout Central Florida. Last year, with the help of food and financial donors, volunteers and a caring, committed community, the food bank distributed 43 million meals to partner programs such as food pantries, soup kitchens, women’s shelters, senior centers, day care centers and Kids Cafes. In addition, Second Harvest’s 14-week culinary program teaches foodservice-based technical, life and employability skills to economically hard-pressed adults. Our community turns to Second Harvest’s partner agencies more than 71,000 times per week. To learn more about SHFBCF, visit www.FeedHopeNow.org.


About Chef’s Night
Chef’s Night brings Central Florida’s top chefs into Second Harvest’s Community Kitchen to celebrate delicious food and raise funds for a good cause. This year’s series, named “Year of the Steak,” features local chefs and restaurants that have a “steak” in our community.

All proceeds from the Chef’s Night Series 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. The special “Year of the Steak” series runs through May 2017 with additional events featuring the chefs from Sonny’s BBQ, Season’s 52, Hard Rock Café and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, to name a few.

Churro Bread Pudding by Tapa Toro

Hi, food friends! Did you know that in August 2016, 7.1 trillion gallons of water fell during the Louisiana floods? Lives were lost, and more 140,000 homes were destroyed. I was deeply impacted and decided to create Good Through Food, a new Orlando-based organization that strives to make lives better through food-related efforts. This past Monday, we launched the first initiative to help called Project 001. Louisiana, which includes local restaurants creating and selling Louisiana-inspired dishes and desserts to help raise funds for those in need.

From October 24  through October 31, local restaurants are selling a Louisiana-inspired dish to help raise funds for the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, a Louisiana-based charity that seeks to assist South Louisiana residents, which make up the majority of the 30,000 people that were displaced from their homes because of the floods, only to return to neighborhoods they couldn’t recognize. Chefs and restaurants will donate 25, 50 or 100 percent of proceeds to the charity.

5 Participating Restaurants: (Eat one dish or eat them all to give back):


1. Tapa Toro: Churro Bread Pudding

2. Taverna Opa: Loukomades (Greek Beignets) — check out how to make them here!

Audubon District

3. P is for Pie: P is for Pecan Caramel Hand Pie + Coffee

Historic Longwood 

4. Collette’s Clean Eats: Shrimp, Blue Crab & Turkey Sausage Gumbo with Organic Brown Rice

Mills 50 District 

5. Black Rooster Taqueria: NOLA Pork Belly Taco

Please share your dishes on Instagram using the hashtag #GoodThroughFood. For more information, visit GoodThroughFood.com. Restaurants can still sign up, so spread the word.

Connect on social media on Facebook and Instagram. Check out the video below to learn more.

Thank you so very much for your support, it means everything!

Let’s do good together…

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

Shareable Images for Social:do-good eat-and-give join-us lets-do-good


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C & W Barbeque in Oviedo

It’s a tiny little old, one room shack in downtown Oviedo, blink and you might miss it. But C & W BBQ serves up some very good que despite its small size – with huge portions – enough for dinner and lunch the next day. There’s a little wood burning oven in the kitchen – and you can see everything is home cooked.

Order inside the house – barbecue pulled pork, chicken, or ribs with sides of collard greens and mac and cheese and more. Save room for their amazing home made sweet potato pie – it’s one of the best slices of pie I’ve had in Central Florida. Sit outside and enjoy the outdoor Florida fall weather.  The C in C & W is for Ms. Cora Mae who runs the restaurant.

C & W Barbecue
298 Geneva Dr, Oviedo, FL 32765
Phone: (407) 285-5097
Open Mon – Saturday

C & W Barbeque in Oviedo
C & W Barbeque in Oviedo
C & W Barbeque in Oviedo
C & W Barbeque in Oviedo
C & W Barbeque in Oviedo
C & W Barbeque in Oviedo
C & W Barbeque in Oviedo
C & W Barbeque in Oviedo
C & W Barbeque in Oviedo
C & W Barbeque in Oviedo
C & W Barbeque in Oviedo
C & W Barbeque in Oviedo
C & W Barbeque in Oviedo
C & W Barbeque in Oviedo
C & W Barbeque in Oviedo
Collard greens, mac and cheese, pulled pork, and chicken at C & W Barbeque in Oviedo
C & W Barbeque in Oviedo
Sweet Potatoe Pie at C & W Barbeque in Oviedo

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