Orlando

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Housed in a former Checker’s drivethru stall on South Orange Blossom Trail, just north of the Florida Mall – I may have just found it. Some of THE best tacos in Orlando are at Tortas El Rey.

At first, it might look sketch with the neighborhood and setting, but look closer and you will find some of the best eats in all of Orlando. Even Edible Orlando magazine recently featured the tiny taco shop for their torta – a type of Mexican sandwich – for their Carnitas Torta – a huge sandwich of fried pork, a slather of refried beans, mayo, tomato, and lettuce on a cemita roll.

The tacos are not to be missed – for about $1.25, they are some of the best valued tacos in town. I ordered 4 – the cabeza (tender pulled beef head),  al pastor marinated pork, chicharron (Mexican sausage),  and the carne asada steak. The tacos here are served in fresh, hot corn tortillas and  topped with some cilantro and onion. They also came with these two special salsas, slices of lime, and pickled peppers.

Truly a well deserved name – they are the kings of not only tortas but tacos as well. Make your way over there asap.

Overview of the Carnitas Torta

Cross section view of the carnita torta – magnificent

These tacos are full of meat and flavors. Chorizo, cabeza, al pastor, y carne asada.

TORTAS EL REY
6151 S Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32809
https://www.facebook.com/TortasElRey/

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“What drives me as a chef is learning what’s new in the ever-changing culinary world, and having unique experiences with people I’ve met throughout my career who motivate me to be innovative in my craft.” – Chef Gabriel Massip of Capa Spanish Steakhouse

Born in Paris, France, Chef Gabriel Massip recently took over as the Chef at Capa, the 17th floor Spanish-influenced steakhouse at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.

Massip brings more than 11 years of experience to Capa, with a career spent cooking in award-winning restaurants across the globe, from Australia to New York and Bora Bora.

He began his culinary training in his hometown at the young age of 15.

“From the beginning, I was taught by my mother that the best dishes are cooked well, with simple ingredients.”

Continuing his growth after culinary school, Massip began his career in France as chef de partie at multiple award-winning restaurants and two 1-Michelin star restaurants. He then relocated to a resort in tropical Bora Bora, where he spent the next four years working as a sous chef.

After relocating from Bora Bora to Australia, he made his way from Down Under to board the Disney Cruise Line in Orlando working at the ship’s signature restaurant venue, adding to his diverse resume of culinary genres.

“Despite my French background, my travels have influenced the evolution of my dishes to be more on the bright side, lighter on the butter.”

More recently, Massip took his talents to New York City, where he worked at the renowned Daniel Boulud eatery DB Bistro, eventually moving on to re-open the downtown New York City restaurant Acme as chef de cuisine.

Now back in the Sunshine State, Massip is excited to bring his talents to elevate the dining experience at Capa.

“My recipe for success is simple: I know flavours and I know cooking. I love working with the team to continue to provide the high quality dining experience that makes Capa one of the best restaurants in Central Florida.”

We recently spoke to Chef Massip via e-mail to dive deeper into his background and inspiration.

 

What inspired you to start cooking?

Very young, I was already eating a lot of different things and was more curious than my brothers on that matter. I have two brothers, one who is three years older and one who is two years younger. I was the only one who tried everything my mom was cooking, while my brothers stayed away from trying new things. I enjoyed eating sautéed veal brain with parsley and garlic, and helping my mother with cooking and baking.

What are some of your favorite dishes at your restaurant?

The Cerdo (beer brined pork belly with apple butter and pistachio jazz) has a great balance of flavours, Zanahoria (thumbelinas carrots with za’atar spices, turmeric vinaigrette and puffed quinoa) is a great way to eat vegetables and is packed of flavors too.

Tell us about the new CAPA menu!

It is consistent with what has been done before; the tapas are inspired by the many different trips during my career. Some of them are dishes that I have created in the past, but I have tweaked and worked differently. For instance, the carrots dish I created in NYC. I took the main idea of roasting the carrots with the za’atar spices and made homemade vinegar with fresh turmeric. The celltuce dish comes from a restaurant in France, although it was completely different in France. I like the vegetable and worked the dish differently for Capa. As always, Capa is the place to go for incredible steaks and seafood.

What are your first childhood food memories?

My mom’s cooking with some staples of French cuisine: stews, fresh vegetables, foraging mushrooms in the forest and the fresh aromatics in the backyard.

What do you like to cook for “comfort food” at home with your family?

Anything, it can go from bread to roasted chicken to a fresh piece of fish. I like to randomly open the fridge and make up a recipe with whatever is available. It can be a simple roast chicken with mashed potatoes, black sausage with apples and plums, braised lamb shoulder with garlic olives and tomatoes. I also love light and acidic dishes such as ceviche and fresh tomato salad. The simpler, the better.

Where are some of your favorite local places in Orlando to dine in (outside of CAPA)?

A local Korean restaurant next to where I live, called Beewon Korean Cuisine, and Luma on the Park was a great experience along with SoCo.

Photos Courtesy of Four Seasons

Capa at Four Seasons Orlando
10100 Dream Tree Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32836
http://www.fourseasons.com/orlando/dining/restaurants/capa/

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Starting June 20, Bulla Gastrobar will celebrate summer with “Paella Tuesdays.” Every Tuesday night (“Noche de Paellas”), Bulla will offer a special menu for dinner that will include 3 original paellas plus 2 new ones each week. The first Tuesday will feature the Paella de Vejetales (vegetable paella) and Paella de Cordero (lamb paella).

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

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Seasons 52 – as its name aptly suggests – is a restaurant concept that changes its menu along with the seasons. It’s owned by the Darden Restaurant group and so with the headquarters here in Orlando, the Sand Lake location (they are located on Restaurant Row – though it might be more accurate to call it Darden Row nowadays?) gets to have first dibs when it comes to being the test kitchen for new dishes.

The summer menu is full of fresh corn and watermelon flavors.

Here are our Favorite Bites from Seasons 52’s New Summer 2017 menu:

 

 

SUMMER CORN SOUP
bacon, leeks (230 cal)

LUMP CRAB, ROASTED SHRIMP & SPINACH STUFFED MUSHROOMS
panko crust (230 cal)

WATERMELON & HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD
shaved red onion, feta, lemon vinaigrette (190 cal)

ROASTED SUMMER CORN SKILLET
crispy bacon, caramelized onion, Parmesan (410 cal)

TRUFFLE MAC ‘N’ CHEESE EN BRODO
cave-aged Gruyère, cheddar, trio of roasted mushrooms, truffle zest, panko crust (350 cal)

*WOOD-GRILLED HANDLINE TUNA
black rice, kohlrabi slaw, sesame-peanut vinaigrette (530 cal)

*WOOD-GRILLED NEW YORK STRIP
sauté of vegetables, Yukon mash, roasted garlic butter (670 cal)


SIGNATURE MINI INDULGENCES INCLUDING:
KEY LIME PIE
pecan crust, toasted meringue (290 cal)
PECAN PIE
vanilla bean mousse, whipped cream, honey-glazed pecan (370 cal)

Other new dishes for the summer at Seasons 52:

· Roasted Prosciutto Wrapped Figs: Fresh seasonal figs have a distinctly smooth skin and sweet, chewy texture that pairs beautifully with rich gorgonzola, topped with a 15-year aged balsamic.

· Heirloom Tomato & Burrata Board: Sweet, Vine-ripe heirloom tomatoes pair perfectly with creamy burrata and prosciutto and topped with 15-year aged balsamic.

· Heirloom & Watermelon Salad: This color-rich dish combines the best summer produce flavors and textures: Sweet watermelon cubes resting on bright heirloom tomatoes, paired with shaved red onion, creamy feta and a pop of lemon vinaigrette.

· Chilean Sea Bass: This guest favorite entrée is roasted and drizzled in an Asian glaze, the Chilean Sea Bass is served with organic black rice, snow peas, shiitake mushrooms, and micro wasabi. Fun fact: Black Rice packs more antioxidants than blueberries.

· Copper River Salmon: Coming Soon! Sourced from the glacial rivers of Alaska’s famous Copper River, these fresh salmon are considered among the most flavorful and sought after fish in the world. Copper River Salmon will only be available for a short time, and every year our guests count down to the start of wild Alaska season when this rich, distinctly bright red salmon hits the menu paired with seasonal sweet corn risotto, toybox tomatoes and snap peas.

· Michigan Cherry Crème Brulee Mini Indulgence: Known as the Cherry Capital, Traverse City, MI, is considered the heartland of sweet cherries in the United States, and every summer visitors flock to taste the distinctly dark, sweet fruit. For a seasonal twist on a classic dessert, try our Michigan Cherry Crème Brulee Mini Indulgence, with classic vanilla bean infused custard over an intense compote of some of the best cherries from Traverse City and throughout Michigan.

 

There are two locations in Orlando:

Seasons 52 www.seasons52.com

7700 W Sand Lake Rd, Orlando, FL 32819

463 E Altamonte Dr, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

 

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Cooper’s Hawk in Orlando, FL of Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants hosted an event with Top Chef Winner Jeremy Ford. The collaboration represents the Cooper’s Hawk brand philosophy centering the creation of exciting and memorable experiences for those who love food and wine.

Cooper’s Hawk has the largest wine club in the country and 28 restaurants – and by 2018, will have 5 in Florida. This is the most in any state.

The dinner included four courses with wine pairings and Jeremy had a live cooking demo on site.

Truffle Fritter with Wagyu Beef & Basil has to be my all-time favorite appetizer. From the crunch of the fritter to the smooth and savory Wagyu beef, any texture craving you may have are satisfied. Have a taste paired with Cooper’s Hawk Lux Sparkling, which was not too sweet or brut.

Char-Grilled Octopus, Crispy Potatoes, Smoked Paprika & Herbs is not too shabby. I wouldn’t mind a second bite if a friend orders it. Having it passed around was nice, but it would be better if you order it and enjoy it warm.

Tomato Gazpacho, Summer Flavors & Olive Oil is not my favorite dish. From each sip, you will experience an abundance of flavors from herbs.

Fresh Mozzarella, Homemade Togarashi, Ponzu & Warm Melted Butter paired with Cooper’s Hawk Lux Chardonnay. The mozzarella was delightful with all the sauces and chilled butter. The Chardonnay was very smooth in itself.

Roasted Halibut, Spring Onion Vinaigrette with Asparagus, Morels & Pistachio can be enjoyed by everyone if a light dish is desired. I brought a guest who did not like fish whatsoever; however, she discovered that she liked this dish. The fish is paired with Clone 27 Sauvignon Blanc Musqué.

Crispy Beef Short Rib, Red Wine Smoked Chili Glaze & Polenta Fries. This dish took a bit longer to come out than we expected and desired. It was unique and savory. The red wine smoked chili glaze was not overpowering and allowed the flavors of the short rib to express itself. Even our pups at home love the bone we brought home! The polenta fries are very smooth and dense. This dish is suggested to be paired with Cooper’s Hawk Lux Meritage.

Strawberry Sundae & Kaffir Lime Meringue is paired with Ice Wine. The strawberry sundae included dairy and sorbet versions for a refreshing or smooth fancy. The sorbet is tart and balanced by the sweetness of the dairy strawberry scoop. The kaffir lime meringue added a nice citrus flavor to the fish. Kaffir lime is believed to be good for the blood and promotes gum health.

For more information of Cooper’s Hawk, please check out their website or pay a visit in Waterford Lakes of Orlando, FL. See you at Cooper’s Hawk with a glass of their wine!

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This year, Father’s Day is especially poignant for me because it will be my first Father’s Day as a new dad. Wishing all the fathers out there – a very Happy Father’s Day! If you know of any specials going on that should be included, email us at tastychomps at gmail.com  – thanks!

Texas de Brazil Churrascaria in Orlando
5259 International Drive
texasdebrazil.com
On Father’s Day (June 18), Texas de Brazil offers a $20 return-visit gift certificate for every Dad dining on “his” holiday.

Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen – Lake Nona

6967 Lake Nona Blvd, Orlando; 407-955-4340; chromalakenona.com

Opening early at 12 p.m. on June 18, this Lake Nona favorite is offering a $5 Spectrum Beer Flight for dads around Central Florida, featuring a choice of (4) four, 5 oz. pours of beer. In addition, Chroma is offering two specials: Charcoal Grilled Prime Hanger Steak($25) with hand cut fries, cress salad and burnt orange chimichurri and Grilled Mexican Street Corn ($8) with cotija cheese, ancho crema and cilantro.

Urbain 40 – Orlando

8000 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando; 407-872-2640; urbain40.com

Urbain 40’s 2017 Father’s Day celebration will feature the restaurant’s new dinner menu all day, plus festive holiday specials including Aged Sherry-Laced She Crab Bisque, “Steak & Eggs” with Char-Crusted 6 oz. Angus Beef Filet and Poached Lake Meadow Naturals Eggs, “Surf & Turf” with Grilled Gulf Swordfish and Herb-Laced Maine Lobster, and a dessert trio with Dark Chocolate & Candied Bacon, Milk Chocolate and Salted Caramel, and White Chocolate and Single Barrel Bourbon.

4 Rivers Smokehouse – Multiple Locations

Multiple Locations; 844-474-8377; 4rsmokehouse.com

4 Rivers Smokehouse is celebrating Dad with Jack Daniel’s Cake Balls ($1.99) double chocolate cake mixed with house frosting and splash of Jack Daniel’s, then dipped in milk or white chocolate; German Chocolate Brownies ($2.99) topped with coconut and pecan frosting; and Sugar Cookie Grills ($1.99) decorated just for Dad. Available June 9 – June 17.

Dragonfly Robata ? 7972 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, FL 32819 ? 407.370.3359

In addition to their regular a la carte menu, Dragonfly Robata will offer the below special menu item for Father’s Day, in addition to two drink specials just for Dad:

– Robata Grilled Bison ($24) – Japanese eggplant, sweet shoyu broth, togarashi, ryu oil, scallion, daikon oroshi

-$6 Smoked Old Fashioned

– Japanese Whisky Flight ($29)

·       Hibiki

·       Nikka

·       Hakushu

The Ravenous Pig  – 565 West Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park – 407.628.2333

Father’s Day Specials Include:

  • Complimentary Cask & Larder Draught Pint for all dads
  • Confit Prime Rib ($33) with grilled asparagus and crab hollandaise
  • Photo HERE

1921 by Norman Van Aken  –  142 East 4th Street, Mount Dora –  352.385.1921

Sunday Brunch Special

  • Smoked Beef Tenderloin Benedict – fried farm egg, Béarnaise Sauce

Sunday Supper Special

  • Grilled Lamb Merguez ­– Italian pork, veal sausage with country grits, mustard and grilled pepper agrodolc
 Located in Pointe Orlando on International Drive, will celebrate Father‘s Day with a complimentary Cuba Libre, made with Don Q Añejo Rum, Coca-Cola and lime, for Dad during dinner on Sunday, June 18 with purchase of an entree. Dinner reservations begin at 5 p.m., with Cuba Libre’s brand new menu featuring the Crispy Pork Pata For Two, 48-hour slow-cooked Berkshire pork shank. Grilled seasonal vegetables and Moros y Cristianos. Citrus pan reduction, or the Puerco Cha Cha Chathree pork favorites in one jumbo cut: bone-in loin chop with meaty rib and crisp pork belly. “Boniato Bravas” and charred herb salsa. Chipotle allioli.
BOGO offer for Fathers Day
Buy one Panini get one free for dad/grandad, Dine in only, excludes combos

Sonny’s BBQ is encouraging fathers to take trade their chef hat in for a dad hat, enjoy all-you-can-eat sweet and smokey St. Louis ribs generously slathered in Sonny’s famous Sweet BBQ Sauce for a one-day-only price of $13.99.
All Central Florida Locations
Paddlefish at Disney Springs
Paddlefish will be offering a 20-ounce Porterhouse, jumbo Gulf shrimp and a double stuffed potato paired with a glass of Turnball Cabernet Sauvignon. And for dessert, a rich red velvet cake.  $85
Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs
Celebrate dad this Father’s Day at Morimoto Asia with a complimentary pint of Crooked Can Brewing Company’s finest Barrel Breaker Lager, free with the purchase of an entrée. Featuring a dry, clean, and crisp aroma with low bittering hops, the light bodied Barrel Breaker is as refreshing as it is flavorful. With a conservative ABV of 5.34% and only 11 IBU’s, this golden colored, cold-conditioned seasonal offering is easy and approachable to drink due to the Pilsner malt used in the brewing process.  Start off with a heaping bowl of Morimoto’s crispy rock shrimp tempura bathed in a spicy gochujang aioli or the garlic soy sauce soaked chicken wings, and make sure to leave room for an entrée like the hoisin sweet chili glazed sticky spare ribs to pair with dad’s new favorite lager.
Highball and Harvest at the Ritz Carlton Orlando
4012 Central Florida Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32837
Celebrate dad on Sunday, June 18 ?with our Father‘s Day Feast at Highball & Harvest from 12 to 3 p.m. The menu will include Sunday morning libations, charcuterie, raw oysters, Jack and Coke marinated skirt steak, roasted suckling pig, and whole smoked red snapper. Indulge in the special feast of Southern-inspired food and craft beer for $99 for adults and $45 for children. Reservations can be made by calling 407.393.4333
Ruth’s Chris Steak House’s specials for Father‘s Day 

Fathers who dine in on Saturday, June 17 and Sunday, June 18 will receive a complimentary, $25 dining card to use towards a future purchase. Select locations open early at noon on Sunday, June 18 and will offer the following Surf & Turf Specials:

  • 6-ounce Filet with Twin Cold Water Lobster Tails ($49.95)

  • 8-ounce Filet with Twin Cold Water Lobster Tails ($56.95)

  • 12-ounce Ribeye with Twin Cold Water Lobster Tails ($59.95)

  • 16-ounce Ribeye with Twin Cold Water Lobster Tails ($68.95)

 
Additionally, select locations will open early on Sunday at noon.

CELEBRATE FATHER’S DAY AT FOUR SEASONS RESORT ORLANDO
Dad can enjoy complimentary golf, brunch, special pop-up shops and more

Celebrate Dad on Father’s Day, Sunday June 16, 2017 with a delicious brunch at Plancha at Four Seasons Resort Orlando – plus, dads dine free and golf free.*

Dad’s round of golf at Tranquilo Golf Club is complimentary on June 16, 2017 as is his meal, however, reservations are required. Plancha’s brunch is USD 68 per person and includes a three-course with appetiser and dessert buffet and choice of entrée, plus bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Marys. For this special day, in addition to all the regular brunch stations, Plancha will also offer a hot dog station with a variety of gourmet hot dog fixings.

Also, guests dining for Father’s Day brunch will be able to experience a pop-up shop by Bobby Jones Golf, and each dad who dines with the family at Plancha will also receive a special gift from Bobby Jones Golf.* In addition, OMEGA will have a display set up for Dad to peruse the latest timepieces and accessories from the iconic line.

Brunch is available from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Reservations: 407 313 6161.

Sips & Cigars
If celebrating with Dad on a weekday, come try “Sips & Cigars,” now offered at Plancha at Four Seasons Orlando. Available Monday through Friday from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, the restaurant is featuring half price cigars and half price signature cocktails for happy hour. Guests can enjoy a cigar outside on the spacious Plancha terrace, with picturesque views of the lake. Signature cocktails, such as the refreshing Hemingway Daiquiri, Lemon Basil Punch, Plancha Mojito and more are priced USD 12-16 and are half-price during Sips & Cigars.

* Tee times are required for golf, and space is limited; reservations are required for brunch. One complimentary brunch per dad, per table. Gift courtesy Bobby Jones Golf is for brunch patrons only, while supplies last.

Se7en Bites Bakery

617 Primrose Dr, Orlando, FL 32803

Se7enbites will be having a Dad inspired Brunch menu both days complete with Beermosas
Two special is Chicken fried steak Farmers Breakfast Sandwich and The Beverly Hillbilly

Hawkers Asian Street Fare.
Address: 1103 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803

They are toasting and cheering on dads by offering a complimentary glass of beer! It’s the perfect way to wash down pad thai, lettuce wraps and roti!

Tijuana Flats

Tijuana Flats will be giving out a free taco and beverage to all dads on Father’s Day. I’ve included more information in the media alert below for any Father’s Day round-up features you may be working on.

What: All Tijuana Flats locations will participate in a Father’s Day special that includes the following deal for dads:

  • One Free Taco
  • One Free Drink

When: Father’s Day, Sunday, June 18.

Where: All Tijuana Flats locations. Store locator: https://tijuanaflats.com/locations/

Adobe Gila’s

Adobe Gila’s located at Pointe Orlando on 9101 International Drive is offering all Dads something sweet in celebration of Father’s Day. Mini dessert selection choices include Chocolate Chip Blonde, Apple Carmel Crisp, Strawberry Cheesecake and Chocolate Decadence.  Offer is valid all day on June 18, 2017.  Dad must order an entrée to get the free mini dessert.

Bulla Gastrobar in Winter Park

Bulla Gastrobar will be offering a special Father’s Day market menu at its Winter Park location. For $35, guests can select an appetizer, main course and dessert from the menu.

They’ll also be serving a special cocktail called “Llego Papa!” (which means “Dad has arrived!”)

LLEGO PAPA!    $12 –  Monkey Shoulder, vanilla, pineapple, Angostura bitters

Happy Father’s Day yall!

 

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One of the best restaurants in the Lake Nona area, Canvas, has recently done a menu revamp, adding more options while still keeping some of the popular items on the menu. The reason behind the menu overhaul was that the neighborhood wanted them (Canvas) to be less upscale and more casual. That said, the executive chef, Bryan Thomas, goal was to maintain quality and keep a lot of cool stuff about the menu but add more approachable offerings for the Neighborhood’s less- adventurous diners. According to the chef, this was no easy task but I can say they have done a great Job at balancing and maintaining the quality on the menu. 

 

Sherry Braised Octopus – Chorizo – Crispy Fingerling potatoes – caper vinaigrette. 

A classic combination that will never get old. Octopus was cooked perfectly, one of my favorites of the night.

 

Brisket & Short Ribs Meatballs – Roasted Almond Romesco – House Ricotta.

 

Fresh Ricotta with Apricot and Cherries.

 

 

Sauteed Shrimp Mofongo – Roasted Roma Tomatoes – Citrus-Saffron Broth. 

 

 

Slow Roasted Pork Belly – Charred Celery – Pickled Fennel – Mango-Jalapeño sauce. 

 

 

Nashville Hot Chicken.

The chicken is cooked via Sous vide for 3 hours, the results is an amazingly tender and Juicy chicken, unlike anything I’ve had before.

 

House-Made Tagliatelle – Mussels – Roasted Fennel – Pancetta – Grilled Corn.

 

Canvas Restaurant & Market
13615 Sachs Ave
Orlando, FL 32827
(407) 313-7800
 
http://canvaslakenona.com/

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By Hoang Nguyen

If you want simply strong drinks that strips away all of the unnecessary added garnishes, then The Pharmacy is definitely the place you need to be at.  Did I mention that there is also top notch food available? But first you would have to find it.  There are no signs that lead you to the facility.  There is simply an elevator door.  Once you find the place, the atmosphere kind of transports you back to prohibition era yet still gives off a very hip vibe.

We were recently invited to visit for a media preview of their new menu – An assortment of appetizers were laid out in front of us.  The two that stood out to me were the Tanged fried chicken with lime, scallions and sesame and the Butter, garlic rock shrimps.  The chicken was bursting with flavors.  It was sweet, savory and that crunch just made the dish more fun to eat by adding a new texture to the dish.  The rock shrimps were sweet, fresh and rich.  Such a simple dish but made with fresh local ingredients really brought out the desired flavors that made the dish memorable.  

Tanged Fried Chicken with lime, scallions and sesame

Butter, Garlic Cape Canaveral Rock Shrimp 

As an entree I ordered the double cut brined pork chop with Tallahassee double corn grits, pork belly collards and friend super sweet onions.  

My wife had the braised oxtail, grilled short rib “paillard” au ju.  

The pork chop was cooked perfectly which was amazing to see because the chop was about 2 and half inches thick.  It was moist and very tender.  The flavors blended together very well.  It had a hint of five spice, a mixture of spices typically used in Chinese cooking.  The  grits were creamy, sweet but a little on the heavy side.  

My wife’s dish was fantastic.  The dish also had a very Asian fusion feel to it.  It brought back memories of my childhood when my mother would stew oxtail for Pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup dish.  The meat on the oxtail was a little hard to get off the bones but definitely did not lack in the flavor department.  The mash potatoes that came with the dish was creamy but did not have an overpowering butter flavor like many of the other versions of mash potatoes I had in the past.

Brined Pork chops

Braised Oxtails


My favorite dessert of the night was definitely the hot maple pecan sticky bun with southern butter pecan ice cream.  The bun was extremely moist and rich.  The pecan ice cream really offset the rich butter taste of the bun.  I typically would not choose anything resembling a cinnamon bun as my choice of dessert but i would order this again without hesitation.  

Hot Maple Pecan Sticky Bun


The Pharmacy has a little something for any palate.  Every dish is well executed.  The drinks were strong and simple. The pharmacy is definitely a place worth visiting. I had the pleasure of meeting with chef Lauren, head chef at the Pharmacy.  After meeting her, I could definitely see that her menu reflected her personality: warm and friendly.  The dishes was like a good home cooked meal both hearty and satisfying.  The dishes were simple yet phenomenal because of the fresh local ingredients that had a fresh and clean profile.  There are so many things to try and I cannot wait to return.

 

PHARMACY

http://thepharmacyorlando.com

8060 VIA DELLAGIO WAY
ORLANDO, FL 32819
407-985-2972

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In our most recent visit to one the best Sushi restaurants in Orlando, Seito Sushi Baldwin Park, we got to try some of their newest items on their Izakaya menu as well as some items from the ever-changing  “Opportunities” section of the menu.  The team at Seito Sushi is constantly developing exciting and creative dishes so always keep an eye on what’s new on the menu.

 

Bone Marrow topped with Uni (Sea urchin) and onion marmalade.
Great dish, if you love Uni, it’s a must.


Lobster Claw Nigiri with Basil Butter – Absolutely delicious.
Get it while it’s on the menu.


Spinalis Nigiri, Jalapeño.


Modern Chirashi topped with a beautiful array of fresh fish and a fried egg.

It was my first time having this and found the ration was very generous,
Definitely enough for 2 people.


Karaage (Fried Chicken) Okonomiyaki.
I was pleasantly surprised to find this on the menu. If you have never tried Okonomiyaki, this is the place to try it.


This was their version of Hiyashi Chuka, a dish consisting of chilled ramen noodles with various toppings served in the summer. Toppings are usually colorful cold ingredients with a tare sauce.

 

BALDWIN PARK

4898 NEW BROAD STREET ORLANDO, FL 32814

http://seitosushi.com/contact-us-baldwin-park/

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This media event started off with a bit of rain but soon after the beautiful sun made its way out again and we were able to indulge ourselves with food & beverages while enjoying the beautiful views the top deck had to offer.

The picture about was a perfectly cooked scallop with cauliflower puree, Brussels sprouts & pancetta.

 

 

Lobster Roll, lemon infused mayo on a buttered split top bun.

 

 

Lobster Guacamole, Taijin seasoned tortillas.

 

 

Pimento cheez sliders.

 

 

Two of the drinks featured. Both delicious and made of very good quality liqueurs.

 

 

Strawberry Shortcake.

 


This menu, the “Sunset Rooftop” it’s exclusive to the Rooftop deck and I must say that it looks very fun and I’m looking forward to trying a few things.

 

DISNEY SPRINGS®

WALT DISNEY WORLD® RESORT
1670 BUENA VISTA DRIVE
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL
407 . 934 . 2628 

http://paddlefishrestaurant.com/

 

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Meet and Mingle with Fellow Business Owners, Professionals and Entrepreneurs

RedCarpetMonday Celebrates Over 10 Years as Central Florida’s Leading Social Business Network

WHAT:  Exclusive RedCarpetMonday® Orlando Business Networking Event.

WHEN:  Monday, June 19, 2017 from 6pm-9pm.

WHO:  Brought to you by RedCarpetMonday, a social business network.

WHERE:  Ace Cafe Orlando, 100 W Livingston St, Orlando, FL 32801.

HOW:  Meet and mingle with fellow business owners, professionals and entrepreneurs from 6pm-9pm hosted at the all new Ace Cafe in Downtown Orlando on Monday, June 19, 2017.  Enjoy complimentary appetizers, (two) drinks, networking and raffle prizes.  Tickets are $20 online or $25 at the door.  For tickets and more information, visit www.redcarpetmonday.com.

WHY:  For over 10 years, RCM’s stylish, live events provide attendees a place to unwind while socializing, information networking and sharing business ideas with other members.  Past events featured talented entrepreneurs and business owners, senior level executives, local politicians, keynote speakers, fashion shows, fine cigars, entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, media coverage, sponsor giveaways, silent auctions and more.

For more news and information about RedCarpetMonday, visit www.redcarpetmonday.com.

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One of the most impressive new hot pot restaurants opened recently here in Orlando called Nine Spices Hot Pot. This one utilizes a conveyor belt that is continually on, rotating through dishes of veggies, meats, fish, and more for diners. Though we may be more familiar with it through videos of sushi restaurants using this conveyor belt system, it is truly an impressive sight to see.

A popular dish in the winter time, hot pot is a type of Asian fondue method of cooking, usually with a steaming, simmering pot of hot broth.

While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. Typical hot pot dishes include thinly sliced meat, leaf vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, tofu, and seafood. The cooked food is usually eaten with a dipping sauce.

Located on Kirkman Road, just north of Universal Studios, Nine Spices Hot Pot has a plethora of sauces to mix and match for dipping and with which to accentuate your broth. Our broth choices needed a little extra kick for flavor, but was enjoyable once the spices were added.

I especially enjoyed the option of having all you can eat buffet style for $23.95 per person, so you can just choose what you like as much as you like from the conveyor belt in the convenience of your food both. There is a two hour time limit though, so you can’t be sitting there eating all day.

Menu at Nine Spices Hot Pot

Rotating in and out of your life

Sauces Galore
Beef bone broth
The spicy broth

Quality beef

Our server was also very friendly and accommodating as well, coming by to check on us often.

Overall, I would definitely recommend folks to visit and try out hot pot at Nine Spices, especially for newbies just for the experience alone!

Nine Spices Hot Pot
5320 S Kirkman Rd, Orlando, FL 32819
Phone: (407) 704-1033
https://www.facebook.com/9SpicesHotPot/

Nine Spices Hotpot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Bangrak Thai Street Kitchen has been holding pop up sessions at Swine and Sons the past few months, specializing in authentic Thai cuisine not usually found anywhere else in Central Florida.

We at Tasty Chomps chatted with Dylan Eitharong, one of the founders of Bangrak along with Jordan Neumann recently to find out more about the project and where it’s all headed.

Dylan on Why Bangrak…

When it comes down to it, we’re just two dudes who cook Thai food. Our mission is to bring the Thai street food that my (Dylan) family grew up with to Orlando, where finding these types of dishes is either what we feel misrepresented or totally unavailable.

We try to make all of our dishes 1) from scratch, down to our curry pastes and spice mixes and 2) identical to how you’d find it on the streets of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, etc. We don’t get too fancy or anything. We even get the plates and bowls we use from a little shop in Bangrak (where our name comes from) district, Bangkok. With our events, we really want to evoke a feeling of actually “being there” – minus the 100 degree heat and humidity, haha.

When it comes down to it, we’re just two dudes who cook Thai food.

From the Apartment to Swine and Sons…

As for how we started, well – originally, it was just me, serving thai noodle dishes out of my apartment. I’d constantly be posting Instagram photos of things I’d make at home, and friends would always be like “ohhhh I’ll pay you to cook for me”, so I was like “prove it.”

That was a regular thing for a while, until it got to be too much for just me, but around that time, Jordan had just moved back from Portland, so I approached him about 1) going to Thailand with me to eat “real Thai food”, as I called it, 2) learning to cook the food with me, and 3) starting to make it in a bigger venue (legally, haha).

We did all those things, but not without doing several more guerilla-apartment-dinners first, until we finally partnered with Swine & Sons, which is where we’re based out of now.

Chef Lexi (Alexia Gawlak of Swin and Sons) had actually asked me if I’d be interested in doing the pop ups there a while back, but I hadn’t felt ready, but once Jordan joined me we were able to get our shit together enough to actually do it.

The rest is kind of history I guess – we had our first pop up there October 26th, 2016, and we sold out in 2 hours.

We’ve done several since then, including one at redlight redlight, and as of a month ago, after a month long stint back in Thailand, we’re at Swine every other Wednesday. We love it. We could not be more grateful for the opportunity they’ve given us (if this goes in writing, I want them to know that, hah – I’m sure we drive them crazy sometimes).

We also have some other events in the works around town, with some different sorts of menu items and stuff. We’re really excited. A brick and mortar is inevitable, we just wanna make sure we do it right. Until then, we really like doing the pop-up thing. It feels different than anything we’ve been to here and it’s a lot of fun for us.

Dylan and Jordan

On Acceptance…

On top of that, the Thai community seems to Approve – thankfully, haha. They always seem a little apprehensive that one half-Thai guy and one non-Thai guy is making their food, but the response has been great.

Khanom jeen Nam ngiaw, a northern thai curry of ground pork, pork ribs, steamed blood, tomatoes and dried cotton flowers served over spaghetti noodles with a side of pickled mustard greens.

On previous training in the kitchen…

Neither Jordan or I had any kitchen experience. We just cooked a lot, haha.

On meeting the Gawlaks and how did they get involved…

Lexi and I actually used to work together at Whole Foods. We bonded over loving Asian food and Lucky Peach Magazine (RIP). We were Facebook friends after she left Whole Foods, and I guess she saw what we were doing through that.

I was cashiering and she came through my line and was like “Hey, wanna do one of those things you do in a real restaurant?”

It was a long time before we actually did it though…we were nervous. Now me and Jordan work there (at Swine) outside of Bangrak, too, ha. The Gawlaks are the best – I wonder what Bangrak would be doing without them.

I was cashiering and she came through my line and was like “Hey, wanna do one of those things you do in a real restaurant?”

On future plans for Bangrak…

We’re going to stay a pop-up for a little bit – but not tooooo long. We wanna keep it exciting. While we just started going biweekly at Swine, we have some plans to pop up elsewhere too.

The idea is to keep a full, more sit-down-and-share, type menu there, more variety, and when we go elsewhere, have some sorta themed thing going on – we really wanna do a Thai noodle shop type thing, with the plastic stools and tables and everything.

We brought some cool stuff back from Bangkok with us for that sole purpose. Think you’ll be seeing that soon. We are planning on a brick and mortar when we’re ready too – but we want it to be just right.

We want it to feel like a shophouse you’d eat at in Thailand. When we find the space, we’ll take it.

On some of their favorite dishes on the menu…

So, our Swine menu changes every time except for 3 things – Khao Soi, a curry noodle soup, and two versions of Som Tam, or green papaya salad.

Otherwise, we try to showcase foods from the 4 regions of Thailand – Northern, Northeastern, Central, and Southern.

We pretty much always have some kind of Laab – a salad of minced meat, on the menu, and it’s all but once been a Northeastern (called Isaan) variation. That’s my favorite food of all time – especially the catfish version, which we did recently. It’s delicious.

Jordan really likes the Panang Neua, which is a Southern Thai style curry of beef. It’s super rich, and we do it the old-fashioned way – very dry, thick, not soupy, and oil. It’s goooood.

My tip to anyone who comes to our events – order what sounds the least familiar to you.

On some things most people in Central Florida don’t know about Thai food …

Number 1 – put down your chopsticks. In Thailand, chopsticks are ONLY used for noodles. That’s it. And not even every noodle dish. We send out forks and spoons with all the dishes and we still see people eating Laab (minced meat) with chopsticks. No need! It’s only making your own life more difficult, haha. But in Thailand, it’s mostly either a fork and spoon or your hands. Even then, you use your fork just to push your food onto your spoon. But no chopsticks. It drives me craaaaazy – probably more than it should.

Other than that, it’s really just that Thai food is more varied than just Phad Thai and red, green and yellow curries. In fact there are literally HUNDREDS of types of Thai curries that aren’t eaten over here, and they aren’t even referred to by their color – and they don’t even contain coconut milk!

Thai food is SUPER diverse and regional, and chances are, that dishes that you’re used to eating are entirely different in so many ways than what’s available in Thailand.

A BIG thing we’ve had people ask us is why there’s a lack of vegan or vegetarian dishes on our menu – and our honest answer is that that’s generally how it is in Thailand, especially once you leave the tourist trap areas.

PS – Khao San road and Pai are popular tourist destinations with lots of vegan restaurants and pizza shops, but are far from representative of Thai culture. Steer far, far away. Just a heads up for traveling foodies.

In fact there are literally HUNDREDS of types of Thai curries that aren’t eaten over here, and they aren’t even referred to by their color – and they don’t even contain coconut milk!


On this week’s menu – Nam Tok Muu Yang – “Waterfall Pork”! Grilled pork salad with lime and fish sauce dressing, fresh herbs, chili and toasted rice powder! Spicy, smoky, and also refreshing, this is an Isaan classic! Available this Wednesday, 6/7, from 5-8 PM!

Bangrak Thai Street Kitchen

Popup at Swine & Sons, 595 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park
http://bangrakthaistreetkitchen.com/

Photos courtesy of Bangrak Thai Street Kitchen via David Burns https://www.instagram.com/daveyxburns/

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Spoleto kicked off the summer with its inaugural Pasta Fest, a complimentary, two-day culinary celebration for all, at its Winter Park location. The event was on Saturday with a unique culinary experience where guests can enjoy samplings of Spoleto’s menu items, wine and live music, and be followed by a family fun day featuring “kids eat free,” raffles, games, face painting and more, on Sunday.

This comes at a time where your readers are looking for fun, budget-friendly ways to feed and entertain the entire family as the kids are home from school for the summer.

Spotleto’s promise is to provide fresh, authentic, and affordability.

the line works just like how a “Chipotle” would – you line up and pick out your options. Did you want pasta? A salad? or perhaps a flatbread? You start off with that selection then onto the 6 main ingredients that makes your dish- yours!

And you can watch as your meal is being prepped right in front of you and under 5 minutes you have your beautifully crafted entree.

Here my finish production! and below is what I put in my dish:

Started off with: Potatoes gnocchi as my “base”
6 ingredients included: Dried roasted tomatoes, prosciutto, roasted garlic, zuchini, Italian cheese blend, and artichoke hearts. 
As for my sauce I mixed the Alfredo & the Marinara to create a “Rose”. Then I topped everything off with some truffle oil, parmesan shavings, and some herbs. 

Kinda fancy for a fast pace pasta huh? But hey! the options are there and you have the option of being as creative and wild as your culinary imagination takes you.

Be sure to check out the new Spotleto in Winter Park – or check out one near you!

 
Spoleto
349 N Orlando Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
Phone: (321) 972-1425
spoletoitalian.com

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Summer is heating up in Central Florida as International Drive’s hottest destination in nightlife and entertainment, Mango’s Tropical Café, welcomes the biggest names in Latin music to their stage with the 2017 Mango’s Summer Concert Series.  With a state-of-the-art sound system and viewing areas from everywhere inside Mango’s breathtaking two-story 55,000 square-foot venue, concert goers will be up on their feet all night long while the hottest artists in Latin music entertain them.  Doors open at 9:30pm.  Shows starts at 11pm, with the fun continuing until 2am.  Pre-sale tickets start at $25 and can be purchased thru www.mangos.com or at http://ticketera.us/.  VIP options are also available.  The exciting lineup includes:

  • Friday, June 16 – Andy Montañez
  • Friday, June 23 – Osmani Garcia
  • Friday, June 30 – Justin Quiles
  • Friday, July 7 – Coming Soon
  • Friday, July 14 – Jose Alberto “El Canario”
  • Friday, July 21 – Ismael Miranda and Jose Alberto El Canario
  • Friday, July 28 – Tony Dice
  • Friday, August 4 – Pirulo
  • Friday, August 11 – Tony Vega
  • Friday, August 18 – Tito Nieves
  • Friday, August 25 – Noriel

We were recently invited to a media preview for Mango’s and check out their food offerings down in the International Drive area.

An a la carte menu is available at certain locations throughout the restaurant at certain times and days, but the Dinner & Show “Deluxe” is a 3 course meal primarily offered during shows.

The Gran Picada Deluxe Platter is a little of everything. The Mambo wings are delicious, cooked well, and seasoned just right. Yuca bites are unique on their own. Ham Croquetas were nice and crisp, but did not have much ham; it is a bit dense for my preference.

Mango’s Guacamole Bowl & Chips is delicious, yet on the salty side. The avocado was also chunkier than your usual guac.

The Crispy Fried Calamari had a nice texture and the flavors are mellow. It is served with dipping sauces and lemon, but I prefer to only season it with the lemon.

The Prime Rib is cooked to your preference. It was the best thing we had from the menu. The flavors are to die for.

The Fresh Grilled Salmon Filet was slightly overcooked and dry. The rice served with it was nicely textured and flavored.

Mango’s Famous “Churrasco” Steak was a nice twist from the usual steak. The herbs and spices are very unique and tasteful. The side of sweet plantains were delicious and not overly sweet. However, the sweet plantains are a bit dense.

Masitas de Puerco consists of marinated Cuban-style pork chunks that are fried. The pork is usually marinated for 12 hours or overnight before deep fried at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. This is not my favorite as it was very dry and hard in texture.

The New York Cheesecake is your usual cheesecake. Nonetheless, it is delightful.

The Chocolate Ecstasy will be loved by anyone who enjoys chocolate. The torte is more semi-sweet than sweet, which is preferred when you have it with ice cream and maybe a few other desserts.

Mango’s Mango Flan is a flan with a light mango taste. It is a delicious custard that is thick and creamy. Like other flans, I do like this one.

This large slice of chocolate cake may not be on the menu. It has a cherry sauce drizzle all over along with a icing frosting. This is a tad too sweet for our liking, but our eyes sure like it.

Have a few drinks while you enjoy the show. The Miami Vice Cocktail is my favorite drink here. It was fresh and great for summer. You cannot taste the alcohol at all, which makes it very dangerous!

On the other hand, you could order a fish bowl to share with a few friends or your significant other…or drink all on your own.

Mango’s Tropical Cafe
Address: 8126 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819
Phone: (407) 673-4422
For more information, please visit Mango’s Tropical Café.

Bad As’s Sandwiches was originally founded as a food truck but now includes a brick and mortar restaurant, taking over the space once occupied by Se7en Bites Bakery in the Milk District of Orlando.

Founded by Chef John Collazo, whose resume includes KASA and Raga restaurants, Bad As’s Sandwich was his first operation run by himself. He wanted to ‘wow’ food truck lovers in Central Florida with their wild and frankly, badass sandwiches.

Some of their sandwiches include the Big Boy, a huge sandwich sure to please the inner fat boy in each of us, made with Adobo roasted pork, bacon, pepperoni, tater tots, and more.

I ordered the special of the day: El Anormal, with adobo roasted pork, chorizo, chipotle jack cheese, pickled fried onions, topped with savory aioli and drizzled with a sweet guava glaze. It was a spectacle behold, oozing with meat and cheese and sauce, but was so, so satisfying of a sandwich. Make sure to ask for wet naps to go with this though.

Bad As’s Sandwiches
207 Primrose Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 757-7191
http://badasssandwiches.com/

Bad As's Sandwich Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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I had the honour of attending a wine tasting led by Tuscan Producer, Andrea Cecchi, from the Cecchi Family Estates. The tasting was held at the beautiful DoveCote Brasserie near downtown Orlando.

A little about the brand:

· Cecchi are pioneers of providing beloved wines from the Maremma region of Tuscany, Italy

· They are one of the first producers to establish vineyards in Maremma which is commonly referred to by locals as the wild, wild, west.

· Andrea Cecchi was invited to present a special bottle of Chianti to the Italian (U.S.) Ambassador in Washington, D.C. last year in commemoration of Chianti’s 300th Anniversary.

· Their estate at Villa Cerna is home to award-wining restaurant, Foresteria Villa Cerna.

We started off with Cecchi La Mora  Maremma (DOC 2016).
A Trendy wine with sweet and light fruit notes that’s smooth and easy enjoy. It was recommended that this would pair nicely with calamari pasta or a spaghetti.

I would even enjoy the wine with the Atlantic Salmon that’s beautifully prepared with quinoa, kale, preserved lemon, almonds, black olive.

The Cecchi Storia Di Famiglia Chianti Classico (DOCG 2014).
I would say it’s a medium bodied wine from the Sienna/Florence region with nice viscosity.

As we begin to experience the red wines I went with a Steak & Frites. Charred 8oz Hanger Steak in bordelaise sauce.

Next is the Cecchi Riserva di Famiglia Chianti Classico Riserva (DOCG 2013) 
Andrea explained to us that this is a prestigious wine that would be mainly presented when there’s a special occasion to be celebrated amongst friends and families. The wine presented with elegance, spicy, and full bodied that definitely lingers after your initial sip.

We then moved onto the COEVO (DOC 2011)
A contemporary wine that tells the story of their family. Made from their father’s favorites regions- a super Tuscan blend full of smokiness and deep fruits that almost resembles a Pinot Noir.

I could definitely see how passionate the Cecchi Family is in their wine production and I’m quite excited to see more of their selections being served throughout central florida.

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Spanish Winter Park restaurant Bulla Gastrobar has its fair share of Spanish wines, but its mixologist Joel Mesa is suggesting two favorites this National Wine Day (May 25): Serras del Priorat (red) and Avancia Godello (white).

Mesa says:

The red wine most exclusive to Bulla is Serras del Priorat. It is from Priorat – a very unique and prestigious region of Spain. It is a “red wine for red wine drinkers,” as they say.

Avancia Godello, which comes from another amazing region of Spain called Valdeorras, is an exclusive white wine we offer at Bulla. It is top-of-the-line when it comes to white grape wines.


Serras del Priorat

What dishes would you suggest to pair with it?
Any braised red meat dishes such as Costillas de Res or Montado de Costillas.

Can you describe the flavors of the wine?
Delicious dried fruit such as figs, raisins and dates on the aroma and palate with great concentration and just enough acidity to pair excellently with food.

What are you looking for when you pair certain dishes with certain wines?
In this case, I’m looking for similar intensities between the wine and the food. A bold red wine begs for very flavorful food.

Avancia Godello

What dishes would you suggest to pair with it?
Salmon Organico, Paella

Can you describe the flavors of the wine?
The ultimate expression of the Godello grape. A full bodied white with citrus and melon aromas but still loaded with lots of minerality to remind one of how serious it really is.

What are you looking for when you pair certain dishes with certain wines?
In the case of the Salmon, I’m pairing the wine with that silky lemon cream sauce and looking for the parallel there. It also must be remembered that this wine, being fresh but full-bodied, will resonate very well with rice dishes, particularly those featuring seafood.

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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“We are thrilled to open another restaurant in Orlando,” says Huey Magoo’s President and CEO Andy Howard. “Huey Magoo’s is debuting a fresh new design and introducing wonderful new programs like our ‘Random Acts of Kindness’. Restaurant Row in Dr. Phillips in one of the most bustling dining destinations in the area. We are proud to be the latest edition to Plaza Venezia and look forward to building lasting relationships with our amazing customers in Central Florida.”

Buffalo sandwich: hand-breaded buffalo tenders, Iceberg lettuce, tomato, pepper jack cheese, and jalapeño ranch dressing. Served on warm Texas toast or a toasted bun and crinkle-cut fries. I suggest trying this sandwich with Texas toast as the crispy toast adds a new texture to the sandwich. Eating toast instead of the bun will not overwhelm you with the feeling of having it stuck in your mouth while trying to enjoy your chicken.

Magoo’s favorite: hand-breaded or grilled chicken with mixed greens, cranberries, walnuts, grape tomatoes, and raspberry walnut vinaigrette dressing. Very light and fresh for Spring or Summer seasons, especially with grilled chicken. It is a nice meal for lunch and very filling with the amount in each bowl.

Garden Salad: hand-breaded or grilled chicken with mixed greens, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, and mozzarella and cheddar cheese. I prefer this salad with ranch dressing and a smaller portion as a side. If ordered, I suggest ordering another dish so you can eat half of this salad with another dish, while saving the other half of the salad for a later time. This works because of the large amount they give you and it will be fresh to have later that day or the next day. More Magoo’s for later!

Garlic Parmesan: self-explanatory. Uniquely delicious. It tastes even better as leftovers.

5 Tenders meal: marinated chicken tenders served with crinkle-cut fries, Texas toast and your choice of a dipping sauce. You can choose from hand-breaded, grilled or buffalo; no matter what you choose, it will be delicious. My favorite sauces for the tenders include Magoo sauce and ranch. Not only will the sauces are great with the tenders, but they are delicious with the fries. Forget ketchup!

If you are not in the mood for fries, you may substitute it for Huey Magoo’s freshly made chips. Share them with friends! I know I have and they think the chips are some of the best. Eat them fast because they will get stale the next day.

Desserts include fabulous cookies. Each cookie is soft and chewy, just how I like it. The chocolate chunk may be my favorite. Huey Magoo’s cookies are freshly baked in-house every day. If you’re not interested in cookies, there are also apple slices. The apples are fresh and sweet.

Background information

Huey Magoo’s was founded in 2004 by Matt Armstrong and Thad Hudgens, two southern boys with a passion for quality chicken and a penchant for serving others. Huey Magoo’s prides itself on providing great tasting chicken tenders in a clean, friendly environment, while showing their love for people. Huey Magoo’s delivers delicious, fresh, cooked-to-order chicken tenders, and they do it to perfection. Huey Magoo’s also gives back a portion of profits to not-for-profit organizations and community groups. Committed to building a culture of excellence in service and food quality by serving only premium hand-breaded or grilled chicken tenders dipped or “sauced” in uniquely flavorful signature sauces, Huey Magoo’s attracts a cult-like following of Millennials, families and neighboring businesses desiring quality, delicious food at reasonable prices.

 

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by Hoang Nguyen

We were invited to try out one of Ruth’s Chris Tastemaker Dinners featuring an assortment of Johnnie Walker. The atmosphere was very casual, but I felt that was what really made the night memorable.

I have to be honest, my first time visiting Ruth’s Chris was not great, and the main reason for it was the atmosphere. This experience completely changed my perspective.

The dinner was quite informative, with the history of Johnnie Walker and their whisky. Two characteristics of Johnnie Walker bottles is that it has the iconic square bottle, which was established by Johnnie Walker’s grandson, Alexander Walker, in 1860. With this shape, it meant more bottles fit the same space and resulted in fewer broken bottles. The other characteristic is the label, which is placed at an angle of 24 degrees. This allows the text to be more visible and allows text to be made larger.

We were escorted to our table and immediately served our first drink of the night.

The Scottish Standard, which comprised of Johnnie Walker Black, Cointreau, Cardamom, Prosecco. This drink was paired with Stuffed Shrimp Scampi, Lasagna Roulade Spinach Ricotta, and Tomato Basil Sauce. The dish was a refreshing way to start off the night. The Prosecco did well to mask the sometimes intense flavor of the Johnnie Walker Black. The shrimp was made well with a zesty lemon flavor and garlic, which was not overpowering. The lasagna was not packed with as much flavor as I was hoping for, and the pasta was also on the dry side, even with the marinara sauce.

The second course was a balsamic roasted pear salad with caramelized pecans and blue cheese, paired with Johnnie Walker Black, served neat. The salad was refreshing, where the sweetness of the pear and pecans helped ease the strong bite of the Johnnie Walker Black. The pear had just the right amount of sweetness, without tasting like it was soaked in syrup.

The third course was a red lentil and cauliflower soup with cilantro and tomato chutney. The drink that accompanied the entree was called the Tiki Scotsman, which was made with Johnnie Walker Black, Fassionola Syrup, Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice, Mint, and Nutmeg. The soup had a strong curry flavor, which I enjoyed. The drink was a little too sweet for my taste. However, this drink would be great for a person who does not regularly drink scotch/whisky.

The fourth course was the Petite Filet Mignon Oscar with Lyonnaise Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms. This entree was paired with Johnnie Walker Platinum, served neat. The platinum had a very smooth flavor, which complemented the heaviness of the filet and crab meat. The steak was cooked to perfection and just melted in your mouth.

The night ended with tiramisu and a glass of Johnnie Walker Blue served neat. The tiramisu was very light, not overly sweet. The tiramisu lacked more of the espresso flavor. Other than that, the creaminess of the dessert enhanced the flavor of the exceptional blend of the Johnnie Walker Blue. I highly recommend this experience for anyone. Not only was it a very fun night, but you might learn a few interesting tidbits. If you would like more information on upcoming tastemade events, such as their Chateau Montelena wine dinner next month, please check out the following link:

https://www.ruthschris.com/promotions/taste-maker-dinners?utm_source=WDPR&utm_medium=Various&utm_campaign=WDPR

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National Brisket Day (Sunday, May 28) is quickly approaching and 4 Rivers Smokehouse is celebrating with a week of delicious specials available Monday, May 22 – Saturday, May 27.

Specials Include:

· John’s Big Dog Loaded Chili Cheese Brisket Burger ($7.99) Chargrilled ground brisket smothered with John’s Big Dog Chili, nacho cheese, crispy French fries, onions and jalapenos. Add 2 sides for $2.50.

· John’s Big Dog Chili Cheese Fries ($4.99) Crinkle cut French fries topped with John’s Big Dog Chili, nacho cheese and fresh Pico de Gallo

· Cornbread Salad ($2.29) Romaine lettuce tossed with pickles, peppers and onions in a sweet creamy dressing topped with crumbled Texas cornbread and chopped bacon.

visit https://4rsmokehouse.com/ for more info

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The Taste of Yucatan is a new Mexican taco restaurant specializing in food from the Yucatan – with a heavy emphasis on Mayan influences. We owe much to the ancient Mayan culture which has given us gems such as guacamole, tamales, and chocolate.

Taste of Yucatan sells empanadas and also a limited daily supply of vaporsito, a banana leaf wrapped ground beef tamale.

Cochinita pibil (also known as puerco pibil or cochinita con achiote) is another traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish originating from the Yucatán Península. Cochinita stands for pork and a pibil is the Mayan oven that it is roasted in.

Preparation of traditional cochinita involves marinating the meat in strongly acidic citrus juice, seasoning it with annatto seed which imparts a vivid burnt orange color, and roasting the meat while it is wrapped in banana leaf. At Taste of Yucatan, the pork is marinated in sour orange and slow roasted for 8 hours wrapped in banana leaf.

When ordering, guests can first choose preparation – whether with hand made corn tortilla tacos, or salbute – deep fried handmade Mayan corn tortilla, panucho – similar to the salbute but with fried beans inside of the tortilla, quesadilla style, or burrito style.

Then, choose your meat – from cochinita pibil, to al pastor (layered pork steak marinated in a combination of dried chilies, spices and pineapple), carnitas (seasoned pork braised until tender with lard and herbs), barbacoa (spicy shredded beef slowly braised for hours in a blend of chipotle adobo and herbs), rajas Poblanas (sliced poblano pepper with onion, mushrooms, corn and cream), carne asada (marinated Grilled Beef), Pollo Adobado (Chicken marinated with mixture of dried red chiles, garlic, spices, and vinegar), Carne Molida (Ground Beef Mexican Style), Papa con Chorizo (Smash potatoes + Mexican Chorizo), Champiñon (Sauteed mushrooms), or Queso (Mozzarella Cheese).

It’s a small place, but the tacos pack a lot of flavor. It did bring me memories of my trip to the Yucatan a few years ago, especially the influence of the Mayan dishes.

My favorites included the barbacoa and the cochinita pibil. I really enjoyed the salbute style of fried corn tortilla in the tacos – unique and delicious.

Taste of Yucatan
1375 S. Semoran Blvd.
Orlando, FL, 32807
(407) 704-2248
thetasteofyucatan.com

The Taste of Yucatan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Tasty Chomps was invited for an interview with Chef Jeremy at Ocean Prime Orlando located on Sand Lake Road.

Chef Jeremy grew up and learned how to cook as his father was learning how to cook. During that time, Campbell’s SpaghettiOs Pasta and Totino’s Pizza Rolls were all the rage when his father decided to learn how to cook to sustain himself and his family.

Chef Jeremy traveled a lot due to his father being a professor. Chef Jeremy became independent and a self starter at an early age, which was partially because he is the youngest of 5 children in the family.

With learning how to cook at home, Chef Jeremy also started from the bottom at a young age and worked his way up in restaurants in a small town. He continues to feed, not only our community, but his humanity with his passion to work with local charities.

At Ocean Prime, Chef Jeremy and his team plan on adding a new item every year or so after doing extensive research and testing to perfect the item before adding it to the menu.

A sushi section was added a little over a year ago and Ocean Prime Orlando achieved their goal of being more than a steakhouse. Their selection is not just a random list of sushi, they researched and taste tested many ingredients to perfect each item. Plan your next visit with sushi on your mind. I recommend the Prime Roll, Lobster Roll and Hamachi Crudo.

It was a pleasure learning more about Chef Jeremy and try some of his favorite dishes as well as popular items on the menu. Many, include myself, always wonder about the chefs and restaurants I dine at. I believe that knowing a little more about the lives of our chefs and the history of the restaurants will make us feel as if we are on a whole new level with the restaurant and we are more likely to come back.

The Tuna Tartar is a bit too salty from the soy sauce. Aside from that, the tuna is fresh and go well with the wasabi avocado underneath.

The Chilled Crab Meat Cocktail is delicious with a very slight sweetness to it. The sauce will add a dense layer as it is mayonnaise based. In my opinion, I prefer the crab with the slice of lemon that comes with it.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts are soft in texture and earthy in flavors. It has many health benefits, but it still does not sway my liking due to its bitterness.

The Chilean Sea Bass is so buttery smooth it melts ineyour mouth. There’s a light sweetness that dances on your taste buds. The sea bass is seasoned lightly and plated with a few pieces of truffle and carrots over whipped potatoes, peas and a champagne truffle sauce made with clam juice. This is one of the most popular dishes at Ocean Prime Orlando, besides the steaks, and I now understand why! I highly recommend this dish.

Bone-in fillet steak is cooked to your liking. It is lightly seasoned with some salt, pepper and butter before it is broiled at 1200 degrees. The steak is tender and moist. It has a unique and robust flavor that is quite earthy.

The Warm Butter Cake has a crisp coating and a warm, melt-in-your-mouth center. It is overpoweringly sweet on its own, which is why it is topped with vanilla ice cream to mellow out the sweetness. A raspberry sauce can be found beneath the cake…this dish is healthy because it has fruit, right?

The Crème Brulée is a must at Ocean Prime. Flavors are subtle and blend well with one another. It is a personal favorite of mine and I continue to have this dish each time I visit no matter how full I am.

Stop by Ocean Prime Orlando for an intimate setting for a date, family gathering or business meeting.

Location:

  • RIALTO AT SAND LAKE
    7339 West Sand Lake Road
    Orlando, FL 32819

Contact:

Hours:

  • Monday – Thursday 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM
  • Friday – Saturday 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Lounge 5:00 PM – Close

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Bodegas Salentein Argentinian Wine Tasting Event Benefits
American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces

Texas de Brazil partners with Bodegas Salentein, one of Argentina’s most in?uential and successful wine producers, to present a wine tasting event benefiting the American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces. Featured at select locations across the nation on April 26 -28, the event costs $35. From every ticket sale $30 will be donated to support military, veterans and their families as they prepare for, cope with, and respond to the challenges of military service.   Over the past six years, Texas de Brazil restaurant events have raised nearly $145,000 for the nonprofit organization.

Bodegas Salentein representatives will introduce a notable collection of wines from Mendoza’s Uco Valley including KILLKA super-premium wines and Salentein Numina Gran Corte 2013.  Texas de Brazil complements the evening with appetizers served during the reception-style event including Brazilian sausage, chicken wrapped in bacon, garlic picanha (sirloin), a specialty crositini plus Braziliancheese bread.

Every day, the American Red Cross provides 24/7 global emergency communication services and support in military and veteran health care facilities across the country and around the world. Representatives will be present to share their efforts and impact.

overall it was a fun event great for fun date nights but you’re also helping out with the community. The wine pours were generous as well as the appetizers servings.

Texas De Brazil does multiple benefitting events through out the year and they’re usually listed on the site – you can find them here. 

 

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I recently had lunch at DoveCote, coined as a modern brasserie,  now open on the ground floor of the Bank of America Center at 390 N. Orange Ave.

Led by Chef Clayton Miller, a past winner of a “Best New Chef” award from Food & Wine Magazine, the restaurant draws inspiration from classic French cuisine to refine his take on dishes such as Cote De Boeuf, Steak Frites and Bouillabaisse. DoveCote also features a raw bar serving a curated assortment of oysters, shrimp, mussels, clams and other seasonal seafood selections.

In addition to daily lunch and dinner service, DoveCote offers a coffee and pastry breakfast Monday to Friday beginning at 7 a.m. until supplies last. A craft coffee menu and barista service is available all day.

I recently went to visit with some friends for a lovely lunch there. Inside,  the restaurant is furnished with a rustic French look, kind of like something out of the department store, Anthropologie. The seating was a bit uncomfortable as I recalled being a little bit too close to other diners. It may be a turnoff for those who prefer their lunch conversations private.

We began with an order of the pain maison, the house bread rolls accompanied with black olive butter and roasted garlic.

I ordered the Croque Monsieur, $15, a wonderful French style ham and gruyere cheese sandwich topped with more cheese and mornay sauce. The bread was flavorful and soft, and overall the sandwich was a delight.

My dining companions had the chicken salad croissant sandwich and the shaved roast beef sandwich. Both were well received.

DoveCote is open Monday to Friday 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Saturday 5:00 p.m. to 10:00PM and closed Sunday.

DoveCote Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The Florida Hospital Foundation

presents

Rosen Shingle Creek 9939 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL 32819

 

Sunday, May 21, 2017 5pm – 9pm

 

Roll up your sleeves and join over 60 of Central Florida’s talented chefs for Florida Hospital’sGourmet Soiree Chef Show on Sunday, May 21, 2017 at Rosen Shingle Creek.

 

At this exciting event, hosted by top culinary professionals, teams will prepare a delicious and healthy meal while competing against other tables for best dish.

Join us for a hands-on dining experience where all proceeds benefit vital programs at Florida Hospital — focusing on children’s health and wellness initiatives that teach good eating habits and healthy life choices.

 

HOW TO DESCRIBE THIS EVENT:

INTERACTIVE COOKING ? TEAM BUILDING ? COOK WITH YOUR CHEF ? LIKE “IRON CHEF” ? CASUAL EVENING ?

BEST DATE NIGHT EVER ? FUN WAY TO RECOGNIZE AND ENTERTAIN CLIENTS ? HEALTHY ? FARM TO TABLE ?

HIGH ENERGY ? FRIENDLY COMPETITION ? SOUS CHEF ? ENTERTAINING WAY TO LEARN HOW TO COOK ?COOKING FOR A CAUSE

 

Will you accept this healthy challenge?

 

For questions and additional event and sponsorship information, please contact Tamara Dempster at Tamara.Dempster@FlHosp.org or (407) 303-9574.

 

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