Seafood

We were recently invited to visit Clearwater Beach by the lovely folks at Wyndham Rewards to check out their Ocean Hai restaurant at Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach, recently awarded Four Diamonds by AAA.

The restaurant has a strong emphasis on seafood and pan-Asian cuisine featuring sumptuous sushi and sashimi platters to succulently pan-seared sea bass, all prepared under the culinary eye of Executive Chef Sean Ragan. Dishes are prepared with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, including seafood and farm-raised meats and poultry.

Chef Sean Ragan has over 25 years of professional experience in the hospitality and restaurant industries, previously working at Caretta on the Gulf at the Sandpearl Resort.

Throughout his career, he had been handpicked to train with highly regarded chefs such as Julia Child, Paul Prudhomme and Martin Yan, and cooked for other top restaurants including Oystercatchers under Chef Hans Hickel and Innisbrook Golf Resort and Spa as Executive Sous Chef. Most recently, Chef Ragan was named the 2015 Best Chef of Clearwater Beach – and the fine dishes at Ocean Hai live up to his curriculum vitae.

Born in New York, Chef Ragan was exposed to a melting pot of flavors and cultures, developing a passion for cooking and global cuisine. He received his degree with honors in Culinary Arts and Hotel Restaurant Management in 1994 from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. He is also ACF Certified, a recipient of the honored Le Cordon Bleu Medallion and belongs to the historic and distinguished Chaine des Rotisseurs and Societe Mondiale du Vin.

On our visit, we experienced the Omakase – “Chef’s Choice” – multi course tasting menu designed to allow guests to experience a sample of all of Ocean Hai’s cuisine. The cost is usually $75 per person with an optional $25 add on for wine pairings to go along with the dishes.

The first dish of the evening: Lobster Fried Rice, a decidedly elevated take on the traditional fried rice, with delicate pieces of lobster, saffron rice, crispy shallots, and topped with a sunny side up egg. I could not get enough of this dish!

Our second dish of the evening was the Tetsubin Miso Soup – the humble miso soup is brought to new heights here, with smoky charred tofu and smoked mussel, and finished tableside with a pour over from a hot kettle with dashi miso broth miso.

The next course, a delightful compressed watermelon salad that was truly a work of art – cubed, pressed watermelon, heirloom tomato, marinated feta cheese, slices of cucumbers, dollops of basil pesto, and some soy gastrique drizzle. It sings of summer.

To highlight their sushi, we tried their nigiri sushi sampler, with ultra-fresh slices of tuna, salmon, and yellowtail fish that had me reminiscing some time ago in Tokyo, Japan.

For the entree, my dining partner had the pan-seared then broiled Asian Sea Bass, a succulent flaky sea bass with a nice crisp from the pan sear, on top of black Forbidden rice with some sugar snap peas, shiitake mushrooms, and microgreens.

My entree was the Mongolian Lamb Chops, perfectly seared and delicious chops of lamb, accented by a dash of Chinese five spice, and served alongside roasted eggplant, baby bok choy, and crystalized ginger.

The evening ended on a high note – dessert that was playful and delightful – ube / purple yam “twinkie” and deconstructed strawberry cheesecake. Art on a plate. From start to finish, Ocean Hai soared to new heights in Asian cuisine.

Lobster Fried Rice | Saffron Rice | Peas & Carrot | Sunny Side Egg | Crisp shallot | Sweet Soy 20

Tetsubin Miso Soup | Dashi Broth | Smoked Mussel | Charred Tofu | Wakame 9

Compressed Watermelon | Heirloom Tomato | Marinated Feta | Cucumber | Basil Pesto | Soy Gastrique 11

Nigiri Sampler – Tuna, Salmon, Yellowtail Nigiri SushiAsian Sea Bass | Forbidden Rice | Sugar Snap | Shiitake Mushroom | Micro Green 38

Mongolian Lamb Chops | Roasted Eggplant | Baby Bok Choy | Edamame Yogurt | Crystalized ginger 42

Deconstructed Strawberry Shortcake DessertPurple Ube Twinkies

If you do come to Ocean Hai, make sure to plan to have dinner while the sun sets over the shimmering waters of the Gulf.

From Wyndham Rewards

  • Wyndham Rewards recognizes ordinary, hard working men and women for what they do every day. From the annual vacationer to the frequent traveler, no matter how often our members stay with us, they are all united under the same loyalty program.
  • Go free – With just 15,000 points, you’ve earned a free night at any Wyndham Rewards hotel. 15,000 points = a free night. It’s that simple.
  • Go fast – Get a room night at a Wyndham Rewards hotel for just 3,000 points, plus some cash.
  • Go get ‘em – For every qualified stay you’ll get 10 points for every dollar or 1,000 points, whichever is more.
  • Wyndham Rewards: InstagramTwitterFacebookOfficial Website 
  • Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach: InstagramTwitterFacebookOfficial Website 
  • Official Hashtags: #WyndhamGrand, #WyndhamGrandClearwaterBeach, #LiveGrand, #GrandLife

Stay and dinner at Ocean Hai provided by Wyndham Rewards and Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach. All other views are my own.

You must check out Big Fin Seafood Kitchen this year during Magical Dining Month if you want a delicious meal for a great value.  Big Fin Seafood Kitchen, voted “Best Seafood Restaurant in Orlando“,  offers global, fresh seafood, steaks and pasta, on Sand Lake Road.  This is their 9th year participating in Magical Dining Month.

What is Magical Dining Month?

  • 3 courses – Appetizer, Entrèe, and Dessert
  • Price: $35 per person plus tax & gratuity
  • Over 100 + participating restaurants
  • Beginning August 24 through September 30
  • Through Visit Orlando, one dollar from each meal will benefit Best Buddies and Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida.
    Click here to view menu and make reservations

Choice of Appetizer

½ Dozen Freshly Shucked Raw Oysters – can be served raw (1st pic) or steamed (2nd pic)


Caesar Salad – Romaine, Parmesan cheese, garlic croutons

Cup of the Soup of the Day – Manhattan Clam Chowder

Choice of Entrèe


Shrimp Orleans – blackened shrimp, spinach, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, crawfish Parmesan grits with a Cajun cream sauce

Broiled Main Lobster Tail – served with garlic mashed potatoes and French style green beans

Filet Mignon – served with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus

Big Fin Trio – deep fried popcorn shrimp, bay scallops and catfish served with French fries and coleslaw

Upgrade: Add a 3 oz broiled lobster tail to any entree +$12

Choice of Dessert

“Apple Pie” Bread Pudding – braised cinnamon apples, salted caramel sauce, crumb topping, vanilla ice cream

Ooey Gooey – a gooey-layered pie cake topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and raspberry (ask your server for today’s flavor)

Key Lime Pie – a Florida favorite topped with whipped cream & a lime slice

Thank you Visit Orlando for hosting us and thank you Big Fin Seafood Kitchen for the amazing dinner and service!

Big Fin Seafood Kitchen
8046 Via Dellagio Way Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 615-8888

Pork Chop – sweet potato puree, collard greens, onion jam

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month is fast approaching!  We were invited to James Beard Award nominee, The Ravenous Pig to preview their 3-course (appetizer, entrée and dessert) Magical Dining Month menu.  The menu is available to the public Friday, August 24 through Sunday, September 30 for $35 plus tax & gratuity. This year, through Visit Orlando, one dollar from each meal will benefit Best Buddies and Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida.

Choice of Appetizer

Steak Tartare – capers, egg, shallot, toast

Shrimp & Grits – Cape Canaveral shrimp, Anson Mills grits, green tomato chutney, chorizo oil

Gatherer Salad – baby greens, avocado, pickled beets, radish, goat cheese, pistachio granola, herb vinaigrette

Choice of Entrèe

Mushroom Risotto – summer mushrooms, parmesan broth, chili oil with black truffle supplement

Black Grouper – chana masala, cucumber raita

Pork Porterhouse upgrade

Choice of Dessert

Coffee Panna Cotta – persimmon sorbet, chocolate cardamom shortbread, compressed persimmons

Spiced Citrus Cake – elderflower chantilly, bay leaf crumble, poached pears

Thank you Sweet Rockaway PR for the invite and thank you Chef James Petrakis and The Ravenous Pig for the amazing service and dinner!  Be sure to check out The Ravenous Pig this year for Magical Dining Month!

For more information, please visit: visitorlando.com/magicaldining/restaurants/The-Ravenous-Pig/44356/

The Ravenous Pig
565 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 628-2333

We were wonderfully invited to enjoy dinner at Eddie V’s to celebrate summer with some Sparking Sounds, which meant oysters and sparkling cocktails. However, let’s shed some light on the experience and menu items you can find for a longer time duration.

Of course, you can’t attend the Sparking Sounds celebration without delicious cocktails. Photographed are the Lemon Rosemary Spritz (left) and Red Dragon (right). The Lemon Rosemary Spritz is made with Aviation Gin, St-Germain Elderflower Liqeur, Roederer Brut, and fresh lemon. The Red Dragon is made with Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum and fresh muddled Strawberries, mint, and lime. Both are very refreshing, but they weren’t mixed very well.

Also, there’s no way anyone should attend a prime quality seafood restaurant and not have some oysters. Photographed here are two Capital oysters from Spencer Cove, WA. I don’t know about you, but I fancy West Coast oysters over East Coast oysters. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t mind a challenge if you bring others to my plate. These Capital oysters were fresh and you could taste the ocean.

If you’re not fond of enjoying bold oysters on their own, you could try them with some flavor like this Asian Fusion.

The Tartare of Pacific Ahi Tuna is made with curry and sesame oils, avocado, mango, and citrus. Each ingredient was fresh and delivered on a nice sesame cracker for additional texture. Yet, I would have liked the tuna to be a colder temperature than room temperature.

The Jumbo Lump Crab Cake is sautéed Maryland style with spicy chive remoulade. The crab cake is tasteful and I prefer it without the lemon. There’s a dominant sweet, but slightly spicy note to this dish. The lemon would have been nice if there were no additional flavors to the crab besides the natural sweetness from the crab itself.

Chilean Sea Bass is steamed Hong Kong style with a light soy broth. The broth adds a sweetness to the buttery sea bass. The sautéed spinach that comes along for the ride is slightly saltier than preferred, but it is balanced out when eaten with the sea bass in the same bite. Like some spice? Take a bite of the sautéed ginger provided with the dish to the left of the sea bass.

One of Chef’s Classics include a vegetarian dish – Miso Marinated Tofu served with fried rice and sautéed vegetables. The tofu is on the soft spectrum of the texture scale; I believe crispy tofu would have added more texture and make the tofu more exciting. A bite of the tofu with the fried rice will balance out the abundance flavors offered to the palate by this dish.

For some extra texture, try their Grilled Asparagus with sea salt, fresh lemon and a drizzle of butter. I was grateful to have my own professional hand model to pour our butter for us. The butter adds a nice smoothness to the crunchy asparagus I loved so much.

There isn’t a proper meal if it doesn’t include a decadent and cheesy dish, which brings the Truffled Macaroni and Cheese into play. Each bite coats your mouth with rich and earthy flavors.

To end the night, we experienced the Hope Diamond made with Grey Goose Vodka, Combier Pamplemousse Rose Liqueur, Lemon, Pea Flower Tea, and a Diamond Ice Cube. This drink notes romance, indulgence, and hopes for the best in life. It represents the elegance of the classy and upscale experience at Eddie V’s. Not only that, but it is fun and allows you to take part in making it by pouring in some ingredients yourself to see the liquid change colors!

Our nearby Eddie V’s in Orlando is located at:

  • 7488 West Sand Lake Rd
    Orlando, FL 32819

The hours at Eddie V’s include:

  • Sun – Thu 4:00PM – 11:00PM
  • Fri – Sat 4:00PM – 12:00AM

Feel free to give them a call at (407) 355-3011 for a nice dinner to celebrate an event or life in general.

For more information, visit Eddie V’s.

Guy’s Award-Winning Burger!  Voted “Best Burger in Las Vegas“ by Seven Magazine & Won New York City Food and Wine Festival’s Burger Bash
Bacon Mac N’ Cheese Burger – Crispy smoked bacon, six-cheese mac ’n cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, crispy onions, donkey sauce, garlic-buttered brioche bun

We were invited to Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar in The Villages to check out their revamped menu.  Some of the new menu items includes Baja Fish Tacos, Jack Daniels New York Strip Steak, Big Bite Burrito and the Old School Steak Sandwich.   Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar has also made several other improvements.  They have lowered everyday menu prices, introduced daily specials and rolled out a new Sunday brunch menu.

“On Sundays We Brunch” will be every Sunday from 10am-3pm with prices ranging from $5.95 to $12.95.   The new Sunday brunch menu includes Chicken Fried Bacon, Biscuits & Gravy, the All–American Breakfast Burger, as well as some of Guy Fieri’s signature dishes.  Guests also have the option to make their brunch bottomless with unlimited mimosas and bloody marys for only $15.  The bottomless option has a two-hour limit.

The restaurant’s owner Greg Pranzo is the same owner as the newly-opened Cinco Tacos & Tequila in Winter Park, FL which just celebrated their ribbon cutting ceremony on National Tequila Day this past Tuesday.

Pastrami Egg Rolls – House made pastrami, Swiss cheese, sweet & sour cabbage, Russian dressing

Trash Can Nachos – Warm corn tortilla chips, pulled pork, bourbon brown sugar, BBQ sauce, SMC (super melty cheese), cheddar, beans, jalapenos, crema, pickled red onion, cilantro, pico de gallo

Roasted Garlic Hummus – Scratch-made chickpea hummus, olive tapemade, fire roasted red peppers, herb grilled flatbread, fresh veggies

Guy’s Big Island Punch – Southern Comfort, Dragonberry Rum, Dark Rum, orange, pineapple, mango, lime, cherry

Tattooed Mojito – Coconut Rum, lime, blueberries, mint, ginger ale

*NEW* Baja Fish Tacos – Crunchy panko-crusted cod, cole slaw, chipotle ranch, pico de gallo on a warm tortilla

*NEW* Jack Daniel’s New York Strip Steak – 12 oz New York strip seared, mash potatoes, side of wonder fries, bacon, sour cream, cheddar, broccolini, mushrooms, scallions, Jack Daniel sauce  

Rockin’ the “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” shirt that I got from Guy Fieri himself last year during filming at Saigon Noodle & Grill!

(Source: Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar)

Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar at Lake Sumter Landing
1045 Old Camp Rd, The Villages, FL 32162
(352) 633-3018
guysvillages.com

Guacamole – Roasted corn relish, naan chips, Parmesan cheese

Dine in Plancha today through Saturday, July 14 and enjoy a complimentary guacamole appetizer & mojito (can be made virgin as well) with a purchase of an entrée in honor of National Mojito Day!  What an awesome deal!  The food and drinks there are really good!

Plancha is a Cuban-American restaurant located in the stylish Tranquil Golf Clubhouse at Four Seasons Orlando, just a few minutes away from Disney Springs.  They are open daily from 11am-6pm.  You do not need a hotel reservation to dine there. They have ample parking spots in their lot.

Loco Coconut Mojito – Rumhaven, Brugal 1988, lime, mint

Plancha Mojito – Barcardi, Prosecco, lime, mint

Virgin Orange Blossom Mojito

Churrasco – Skirt steak, chimichurri, mixed greens, yucca fries

Tuna Tartare – Avocado, ginger coconut vinaigrette, tostones, jalapeño, red onions, micro greens

Plancha Burger – Chorizo & beef patty, maduros, white cheddar, tomato, lettuce, cumin aioli 

Espresso

Traditional Flan – Caña sugar caramel, strawberry, kiwi, blueberries, and mini chocolate disk

Be sure to stop by Plancha soon for FREE guacamole & mojito before the deal ends this Saturday, July 14!

Plancha Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort
10100 Dream Tree Boulevard Orlando, FL 32836
(407) 313-7777
fourseasons.com/content/dam/fourseasons/images/web/ORL/PDF/ORL-Plancha-Lunch-Menu.pdf

We were invited to a media preview at Terralina Crafted Italian a day before they officially opened to the public.  Terralina Crafted Italian is a waterfront Italian restaurant by James Beard Award winning chef, Tony Mantuano.  Chef Tony and Executive Chef Justin Plank worked together to create a menu that serves authentic Italian dishes in a dreamy setting to guests at Disney Springs.  Terralina Crafted Italian, formerly Portobello Country Italian Trattoria, is now officially opened to the public.  They are located next door to Paddlefish.


Swordfish peperonata


Grilled bell peppers and mushrooms

Grilled brick chicken gremolata

Citrus marinated porchetta with apple mostarda

Fresh hand-cut pasta

Meatballs & polenta with shaved pecorino

The indoor-outdoor bar

Fresh house-made pasta with just olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  The pasta was so delicious could not have tasted any fresher!

Terralina Crafted Italian
1650 E Buena Vista Dr, Orlando, FL 32830
(407) 934-8888
terralinacrafteditalian.com

Seafood Linguine – Lobster meat, scallops, shrimp, calvados, cream

There is just something calming about dining to the smell of saltwater with the view of the ocean in front of you.  We were invited to Daytona Beach’s newest beachfront hotel and the fourth Hard Rock Hotel in Florida to check out their restaurant, Sessions, and stay overnight.  Our experience at Sessions was exceptional.  The food, service and energy was unlike any other media event that I have ever been to.  Our server named Pastor was fantastic.  I give Sessions 5-stars!

Dining at Sessions restaurant will exceed your expectations.  Luxurious rock-star style, contemporary decor and celebrity-style atmosphere coupled with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean adds to experience.  Dine on unforgettable breakfasts, savory lunch offerings and innovative suppers that will leave you wanting more.  Craft cocktails and libations are also available at Sessions indoor/outdoor bar.

Artisan Charcuterie & Cheese – Mini cornichons, pickled peppers stone mustard, sourdough

Tuna Tartare – Avocado, shallot, scallion, dash soy, wonton chips.  My favorite appetizer!

Crab Cakes – Spicy aioli, cucumber relish

New York Strip – Rainbow carrots, crispy onion, sautéed onions and bell peppers.  It was amazing!

Crème Brûlée – Strawberries, blueberries.  This dessert was perfect, so addicting!

Red Velvet Cheesecake – Philadelphia cream cheese frosting, strawberries, blueberries.  It was beautiful and delicious!


Constant Grind the total café experience, serving up hot and cold drinks, quick bites, house-made gelato, and more.

Take a plunge in the heated pool and enjoy the tunes from the underwater speakers or lounge on the oceanfront pool deck.

Wave Terrace is located on the third floor of Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach.  Wave Terrance is Daytona’s newest experience serving up local beer, craft cocktails and an inspired seafood menu featuring ceviche, gazpacho, fresh seafood towers and straight from the oven bread—in a chic casual atmosphere.  Add glowing fire pits and live music and you have a night out that can only be Hard Rock.

 

Frank Sinatra impersonator.  He sounded exactly like him!

The kiddie pool is shaped like a guitar

The Elvis impersonator got the crowd rocking the entire night!

Didn’t bring your yoga gear on tour at at Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach? #RockOm you covered. Experience peace of mind in the comfort of your hotel room with a yoga kit that includes a Manduka PROlite yoga mat and convenient Go Play carrier, all delivered to your room free of charge.  A regionally-inspired Yogitoes towel is also available for purchase. On-demand yoga videos are available on your hotel room TV, as well as on your personal device at HardRock.com.

Snap a pic of your best yoga pose around the hotel, post to instagram with the hashtag: #RockOm. If your pic is selected, you can win a custom Yogitoes Hard Rock yoga towel.

We throughly enjoyed our stay at Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach and we felt like celebrity rockstars the entire time.  The music-inspired property is only two months old as they just opened on May 1, 2018.  I highly recommend staying at this hotel during your next visit in Daytona Beach, FL!

(Source credit: Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach)

Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach
918 N Atlantic Ave, Daytona Beach, FL 32118
(386) 947-7300
http://hardrockhoteldaytonabeach.com

The 5th Annual Bite Night presented by Publix Aprons Cooking School was held at the Orchid Garden & Ballroom at Church Street this past Monday.  Bite Night is the grand finale of Bite30 and the premiere of Bite Magazine 2018.  The event featured over 20 of the city’s top local restaurants and chefs serving bite-size samples of their most creative dishes, plus an open bar, live entertainment, silent auction and benefiting Edible Education Experience.  Chef Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon was awarded with the inaugural Bite Award for her outstanding contributions to the culinary community.

Upcoming events: United We Brunch flash sale is happening now! It’s just like Bite Night, but Bloody Mary’s, Mimosas, Bacon & Eggs! Get tickets at UnitedWeBrunch.com

(Source credit: Orlando Weekly)

Duck & Drake Kitchen – Ouinoa Verde Sliders – Edamame, Garbanzo & Quinoa Patties with Avocado Aioli served with Root Vegetable Chips

Tartine Orlando –  Crab and Shrimp Stack with Avocado Mousse, Spice Crème Fraiche and Pickled Onions

El Buda – Shrimp Chicharron with Peking Style Duck

K Restaurant – Seasonal Florida Fish/Crudo with Traditional Accompaniments and Gazpacho Sauce

Urbain 40 – Yellowfun Tuna Tataki, Wakame & Pickled Vegetable Slaw, Gochujang Aioli, Cilantro Oil & Sweet Soy, Cahaba Farms Spicy Greens

Publix Apron Cooking School – Butter Poached Florida Rock Shrimp, Corn Nage, and Handmade Pasta

Hunger Street Tacos – Octopus Aquachile

Hibiscus Tomatillo Avocado Cilantro

Watermelon in Mezcal

Key Lime Mousse Chile Pequin

The Glass Knife – Spumoni Cake Bite

The Glass Knife – Mini Crème Brûlée Doughnut

The Glass Knife – Lemon Meringue Tart

The Stubborn Mule – Cauliflower Salad

The Tipsy Cookie – Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookie, Royal Caramel Apple Cookie

Andy’s Frozen Custard – Vanilla Custard with Crushed Oreos

Crudo – Huckleberry Tomato, Arugasabi, Lemon, Salmon, Grouper, Tuna

Key West Pink Shrimp on a Grit Cake with Tase Gravy

Orlando Meats – Buttermilk Glazed Doughnuts 

Orlando Meats – Port Rillettes – Fermented radish, sourdough, kewpie

Tartine – Cinnamon Sugar Pork Rinds with Cream Cheese Glaze

Escargot with Garlic Herb Butter served with House-Made Petite Danish Cup

Pizzeria Roberti – Beet and Mozzarella Salad with Hazelnut Whip

Won this cooler bag from the Topgolf prize wheel

The Sugar Sow – Bacon Mac N’ Cheese

Publix Aprons Cooking School – Mahi-Mahi Ceviche, Toasted Fennel Salted Watermelon Slices

Artisan’s Table – Kielbasa Sliders – Creamy Mustard & Onion Sauce

Devine Wine & Grill – Beet Salad with Ahi Tuna

Cuban Mojo Chicken

Violectric – an electric string quintet plus keyboards and drums performing classic and modern rock tunes.  They were amazing!

We would like to introduce you to Stop and Sip The Rosé Fridays at Ocean Prime Orlando where guests can enjoy half price glasses of Veuve Clicquot Rosé and $1 oysters from 5-7pm every Friday in the summer, in addition to their daily happy hour menu.  Stop and Sip The Rosé Fridays ends on Friday, August 31, 2018.

Ocean Prime is an award-winning modern American restaurant and lounge from renowned restauranteur Cameron Mitchell, with 14 locations across the country.  The service we received at Ocean prime Orlando was truly exceptional.  Ocean Prime is an ideal place to socialize, talk business, celebrate and indulge.


Miner Rose, Domaine Chandon Rosé, Veuve Clicquot Rosé, Notorious Pink Rose

All four Rosés are offered at a special price during their daily happy hour menu from 5-7pm.  On Fridays, the Vueve Clicquot Rosé is offered at a special discount of 50% off from 5-7pm.

Happy hour every day from 5-7pm.  Enjoy $5 off small plates and sushi offerings.

Oysters On The Half Shell


Prime Roll – Tempura Shrimp, Cream Cheese, Scallion, Beef Carpaccio

Dynamite Roll – Tempura Shrimp, Spicy Mayo, Sesame Seeds

Prime Sliders – Bacon, Bleu Cheese, Sundried Tomato

Lamb Lollipops – Teriyaki Marinated, Sweet and Spicy Glaze

Fish Tacos – Corn Tortilla, Avocado, Pickled Cabbage

General Manager Michael Kopoian, very outgoing and passionate man.

Executive Chef Jeremy Mattson.  Chef Jeremy has won several honors including Ruth’s Chris Hospitality Group’s “Executive Chef of The Year”.

Great media dine with these lovely ladies!

A talented musician playing some tunes

Be sure to check out Ocean Prime Orlando soon for Stop and Sip the Rosé Fridays!

(Source credit: Ocean Prime Orlando)

Ocean Prime
7339 W Sand Lake Rd, 400, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 781-4880
http://ocean-prime.com

Seafood Tower – King crab, jumbo Gulf shrimp, oysters, crab ceviche, Ahi tuna poke

We were invited to Paddlefish to celebrate their most recent accomplishment of being voted “Best Seafood Restaurant” by Orlando Magazine’s 2018 Dining Awards.  We enjoyed indulging in a delicious 5-course wine pairing dinner showcasing “Best of Paddlefish” dishes amid the rooftop of their luxurious steamboat.  Tickets to the sold out event was $115 per person.  Paddlefish offers fresh and delicious seafood dishes, exceptional architecture and decor, an attentive and friendly staff, and the most gorgeous view that you will ever get from any establishment on Disney Springs property.

Executive Chef Steve Richards welcoming guest at the Best of Paddlefish dinner.

Mini Maine Lobster Roll

Lobster & Corn Chowder 

Our wonderful sommelier of the evening.

August Kessler, Riesling, Germany

Sea Scallop – cauliflower puree, crispy Brussels sprouts

Cider Braised Veal Cheeks – parsnip puree

Dessert Trio – key lime pie, flourless chocolate cake, strawberry cheesecake

June Specials:

  • Paddlefish will be hosting wine tastings the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month through September.  Their in-house Sommelier team will lead these tastings on the rooftop deck and wine flights will be served with light bites and tastings.  Guests must be 21+ to attend.  Tickets and additional details can be found here.
  • Celebrate National Vanilla Milkshake Day on Wednesday, June 20, at Paddlefish!  Paddlefish will be offering their famous vanilla brownie milkshake for just $5 all day long!
  • Now through June 30, guests can enjoy a bottle of rose and half a dozen oysters for only $40, only available on the third deck.

Be sure to check out the June specials at Paddlefish soon!  It’s a fun filled month at Paddlefish that you won’t want to miss!

(Source credit: Paddlefish)

Paddlefish at Disney Springs
1670 Buena Vista Dr.  Lake Buena Vista, FL
(407) 934-2628
paddlefishrestaurant.com

A significant number of travelers desire a unique and delicious culinary experience while on vacation. Because of this, we are incredibly excited to announce Reunion Resort’s “Taste Of Eleven” menu where guests can experience a taste of Eleven from Monday through Thursday, from 5:30pm – 7pm.  Choose an appetizer, entree and dessert for only $29 per person (plus tax and gratuity).  This special menu is the perfect way to explore the restaurant’s food and breathtaking views at an amazing value.

Eleven is located on the 11th floor of Reunion Resort.  Views of the Magic Kingdom and Epcot fireworks are available nightly from the restaurant.

My mom & I in the resort lobby.

The clean and spacious bar.

Breathtaking landscape views from the restaurant’s dining area.

Glass doors provide access to the resort’s rooftop pool.


Complimentary Bread & Butter

Crispy Calamari – Chorizo, Pickled Chiles, Broiled Lime

Sherried Onion Soup – Gruyere, Sourdough Crostini

Baseball Sirloin – Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus

Cedar Planked Salmon

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée – Fresh Seasonal Fruit Compote

Raspberry Cheesecake – Garden Berry Coulis

Eleven is a very nice restaurant with good food and a beautiful rooftop view.  The manager Kyle and our lovely server Raquel treated us like rock stars.  Be sure to check their “Taste of Eleven” menu from Monday through Thursday, from 5:30pm – 7pm!

(Source credit: Eleven)

Eleven
7593 Gathering Dr, Kissimmee, FL 34747
(407) 396-5290
reunionresort.com/dine/eleven

Ocean’s Bounty Sustainable Fish and Sea Salt Dusted Filet Mignon – Harvest Vegetable Melange, Leek Fondue and Cassis Red Wine Demi by Chef Tim Majoras, Flying Fish

When Disney chefs collaborate with Second Harvest Food Bank for a good cause, beautiful things happen.  It was an honor to attend this charity dinner as a media guest.

Chefs from Disney’s BoardWalk Resort Restaurants prepared a delicious dinner at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida as part of the Chef’s Night Series. The team was led by Andrew Larkin, Executive Chef, Disney’s BoardWalk Resort and will include Chef Rich Smich, Trattoria al Forno; Chef Paul Napoli, ESPN Club; Chef Tim Majoras, Flying Fish; Pastry Chef Kurtis Baguley, Disney’s BoardWalk Resort restaurants and Sommeliers Katie Hanewall, Trattoria al Forno and Ted Letsch, Flying Fish.

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.  All proceeds benefit Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program, which provides students with the skills and inspiration they need to obtain an entry-level position in a food service establishment.

Hor d’oeuvres

Insalata Salad – House-Pulled Mozzarella, Heirloom Tomatoes and Aged Balsamic
Chef Rich Smich, Trattoria al Forno

Spring Gnocchi  – Carrot, Celery, Onion, Pea and Corn.  Loved this dish!  I could have eaten it all night!
Chef Rich Smich, Trattoria al Forno

Ciabatta Rolls with Ricotta Cheese and Herb Oil

Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad – Baby Kale, Brussel Sprouts, Olive Oil and Sea Salt Ciabatta Bread Crisp
Chef Paul Napoli, ESPN Club


Ocean’s Bounty Sustainable Fish and Sea Salt Dusted Filet Mignon – 
Harvest Vegetable Melange, Leek Fondue and Cassis Red Wine Demi
Chef Tim Majoras, Flying Fish

Vahlrona Chocolate Semolina Torta  – Brachetto Raspberry Crema
Mascarpone Cream Mousse – 
Blueberry Lime Compote, Hibiscus Meringue and Rye Bourbon Caramel
Pastry Chef Kurtis Baguley, Disney’s Boardwalk Resort

Be sure to check out the next out the next Chef’s Night happening on August 30, 2018.  Join the Tasty Trio, three deliciously experienced food and wine experts Tonda Corrente, owner of La Femme Du Fromage, Lisa Wilk, founder of Orlando Uncorked, and Jill Ramsier, co-owner of Quantum Leap Winery for a 4-Course dinner journey where wine, cheese and chocolate confections by Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park are featured in every course.  Tickets available at https://linktr.ee/feedhopenow.

More pictures from the most recent Chef’s Night below:

(Source credit: Second Harvest Food Bank)

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
411 Mercy Drive Orlando, FL
407-514-1070

FeedHopeNow.org

Urban Hibachi in Lake Nona (located near PDQ) will be officially open this Saturday, June 2, at 11 a.m.  The restaurant will be offering a grand opening discount of 25% off all day.

Keep scrolling for more pictures from the Urban Hibachi in Lake Nona pre-opening media event this past Wednesday.

Steak Hibachi

Salmon Carpaccio

Urban Hibachi owner (middle) takes photo with friends and family.

Miso Soup and Ginger Salad

Spicy Maguro Sunshine

Salmon Hibachi

Urban Poke Bowl

Volcano Roll

Bainstorm Roll

We got our dessert togo and it was still delicious!  Green tea tiramisu was my favorite!

Fried cheesecake xangos.  This dessert is typically served with vanilla ice cream but since we got ours togo, we got an extra serving of fried cheesecake in place of vanilla ice cream.

Be sure to check out Urban Hibachi – Lake Nona soon for some beautiful and delicious food!

Urban Hibachi – Lake Nona
11954 Narcoossee Road, Suite 101
Orlando, Florida 32832

Beets & Burrata – Cherry tomatoes, radish, beech mushrooms, white balsamic

We were invited to Four Seasons Resort Orlando to check out the new menu items at PB&G, short for pool bar & grill.  The restaurant has added several new healthy options, perfect for those who prefer to eat on the cleaner side and/or those who are currently working on their summer bod!

Fruit & Berries – Bourbon vanilla granola, lemon honey Greek yogurt, coconut.  The granola had bourbon vanilla in it and it tasted really great!

Watermelon & Prosciutto – Pressed watermelon, herbed goat cheese, prosciutto, marinated blueberries, arugula

BLTA – Smoked bacon, bibb lettuce, tomato, avocado, parmesan cheese vinaigrette.  This was the best salad that I’ve ever had!  The bacon was perfection. 

Herb-Citrus Shrimp – Grilled pineapple, spinach, baby kale, quinoa, red union, cucumber, feta cheese, red wine vinaigrette

Seared Ahi Tuna – Kale, cabbage, cucumber, jicama, mango, crispy wontons, wasabi ginger cream, sesame vinaigrette

Lobster Roll – Avocado, tomato, remoulade, Hawaiian roll.  The crab is 100% real, 100% delicious!  Omit ketchup and fries to make it healthier.

Chirashi Bowl – Spicy tuna poke, salmon poke, sushi rice, avocado, soy glazed mushrooms, cucumber, edamame, carrot, seaweed salad, spicy mayo

S’mores for dessert!  Because life is all about balance, right?

Kudos to our talented and wonderful chefs!  We really enjoyed our meal.

 

Upcoming Events at Four Seasons Orlando Resort:

Saturday, 06.09
Global Wellness Day
8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Enjoy special fitness classes for Global Wellness Day, plus spa treatments and a healthy cooking demo and lunch.

 

Sunday, 06.17
Father’s Day Brunch at Plancha Restaurant
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Three course brunch (appetizer buffet, choice of entree, dessert buffet), bottomless mimosas and Bloody Mary for $68 per person.  Dads will receive a choice of a complimentary bourbon or complimentary cigar.

 

Four Seasons Resort Orlando
10100 Dream Tree Boulevard
(407) 313-7777
fourseasons.com/orlando/

Shrimp Medeterraneo – Sautéed shrimp in extra virgin olive oil, with scallions in a homemade butter sauce. This was my favorite dish!

Bella Italia Ristorante is an authentic Italian restaurant that opened a year and a half ago in Winter Garden and they are truly a great addition to the area.  Bella Italia Ristorante serves century-old family recipes in a clean and elegant dining room that’s accessible and comfortable for families.  Family owned and operated by husband and wife team Leonard and Dorina Kodra, Bella Italia Ristorante takes pride in being the neighborhood spot everyone feels welcome to for Sunday dinner — and all week long.  Bella Italia Ristorante wants their guests to feel like family, and puts great emphasis on providing friendly and sincere service where you can feel the warmth from their staff.

Beautiful restaurant, lovely owners, excellent authentic Italian food and great service.  My mom and I thought the food was the best Italian food we’ve ever had.  We both highly recommend this place!

When I walked in there was a musician in the dining room playing on his keyboard while singing “You are so beautiful to me”.  I love hearing that song because because it reminds me of when Alfalfa sung it to Darla in The Little Rascals!

Media guests dining at the communal table

Meatball Parmesan – Homemade meatballs served in our homemade marinara sauce topped with fresh grated parmesan cheese.

Bruschetta – A traditional topping of garlic, chopped mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes, basil and extra virgin olive oil, and shaved parmesan cheese. Served with toasted bread.

Shrimp Medeterraneo – Sautéed shrimp in extra virgin olive oil, with scallions in a homemade butter sauce.

Calamari Fritti – Calamari finely dusted in a light flour crust, fried, and served with marinara sauce.

House Salad with Ranch Dressing

Housemade Cheesecake

Be sure to check out Bella Italia Ristorante the next time you are in the Winter Garden area, you will love it!

(Source credit: Bella Italia Ristorante)

Bella Italia Ristorante
13848 Tilden Rd #192, Winter Garden, FL 34787
(407) 347-3277
bellaitaliaristorantefl.com

With fellow media guest Andi Perez, Yelp’s community director, in the private dining room. 

The Citrus Club is one of Orlando’s best kept, most exclusive secrets.  Citrus Club is an elite, membership-only, private business-networking club on the 18th floor of the BB&T building in Downtown Orlando, across from the Grand Bohemian Hotel..  I had the pleasure of being the first to preview and taste their new seasonal menu during an exclusive media dinner.  Our fantastic 10-course meal was made so delightful and fulfilling thanks to Executive Chef Relner Drygala and his amazing culinary team, General Manager Jeff Jump, Social Media Relations Allie Otterbacher, and the awesome staff.

Social Media Relations Allie Otterbacher preparing to host the media dinner.

The space is clean and impeccably designed.

Citrus Club offers amazing food with amazing views.

General Manager Jeff Jump welcomes media guests.

Executive Chef Relner Drygala goes over the new menu.

Avocado Crab Salad – Avocado stuffed with lump crab salad, served on balsamic field greens.  It was delicious!

Ahi Tuna Tartar – Avocado, red onion, cilantro, pickled ginger seaweed salad, yuzu emulsion, finished with sweet soy and wonton crisp.  I was very impressed with the presentation and taste of this appetizer!

Baked Chèvre – Red wine balsamic, marinara, fresh pesto and crostini.  It was delicious!

Chipotle Bourbon Glazed Salmon – Prima Donna Gouda grit cake, sautéed Swiss chard.  Great tasting salmon.  I was not a fan of grits until I had their Prima Donna Gouda grit cake, it seriously changed my life!

Pan Seared Scallops – Red pepper and spinach, parsnip potato puree, orange carrot butter sauce.  Beautifully executed and prepared scallops.

Asian Noodles Tofu Bowl (vegan) – Stir-fried vegetables, rice vermicelli, tofu, lemon ginger broth, bean sprouts and basil

Bone-in Chicken Breast – Spinach and mushrooms tossed with hand-made sweet potato gnocchi, sage sundried tomato pesto.  This was my first time having sweet potato gnocchi and I feel like I have been missing out on sweet potato gnocchi my entire life!

Rosemary Crusted Lamb Rack – Truffle potato foam, asparagus, red wine demi glace

Chocolate Cake – Dark chocolate mousse with salted Dulce de leche ganache center, rich chocolate cake and caramelized-cocoa nib toffee.  Perfect for chocolate lovers!

Baileys White Chocolate Cheesecake – Baileys cheesecake with a chocolate salted cookie crust topped with mascarpone mousse.  It was delicious!

Citrus Club
255 S Orange Ave Suite 1800, Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 843-1080
clubcorp.com/Clubs/Citrus-Club

Grilled center cut filet – filet mignon, grilled and seasoned perfectly, fingerling potato, radish, sugar snap peas, charred scallion oil & roast shallot sauce. (MY FAVORITE!)

Marlow’s Tavern is a bar & grill chain offering American pub fare in a classic setting with sports playing on the televisions.  The menu at Marlow’s Tavern changes three times a year.   We were invited to check out the new spring/summer menu at Marlow’s Tavern – Waterford Lakes (near UCF) and we really enjoyed everything we ate.  The food was delicious and the service was very welcoming and accommodating.  I highly recommend checking out Marlow’s Tavern – Waterford Lakes for any occasion.

That’s Not Mai Tie – Cana brava rum, raspberry syrup, orgeat, Myers dark rum & fresh lime.

Firecracker shrimp – Szechuan tempura shrimp, red & poblano peppers, peanut, cracklin spicy sauce. It was amazing!

Pastrami egg roll – Montreal smoked pastrami, Napa cabbage, sautéed onions, carrot, smoked thousand island sauce in a crispy egg roll.

Chicken tortilla – prestige farms chicken, sliced thin, crisp field greens, avocado, tomato, carrot, cucumber, fresh cilantro, tortilla, honey lime vinaigrette. One of the best salads I’ve ever had!

Side of fried okra.

Chicken salad wrap – house-made curry chicken salad, romaine, broccoli slaw, golden raisin, fresh cilantro, grilled tortilla.

Marlow’s special of the day – Blackened mahi sandwich – served on a ciabatta bun with a jicama slaw and house made citrus aioli.  

Grilled Atlantic salmon – jumbo cous cous, broccoli, carrot, red onion, golden raisin, parsley, toasted almond & port wine reduction.

Seared jumbo scallops – simply seasoned & perfectly seared, roast jalapeño corn grits, Spanish chorizo, poblano, roma tomato, roasted tomato fondue, palsied olive oil.

N.Y. style cheesecake – classic creamy vanilla cheesecake, strawberry, powdered sugar and cinnamon crisp.

Thank you Executive Chef Matt Tolson for an amazing nine-course meal and superior hospitality!  We really enjoyed everything that we ate and thank you Laura Richeson for hosting us!

Be sure to check out Marlow’s Tavern – Waterford  Lakes soon to taste their new spring/summer menu,  it is delicious!

Marlow’s Tavern – Waterford Lakes
547 N. Alafaya Trail, Building J1, Orlando, FL 32828
(407) 757-0606
http://marlowstavern.com

Double cut grinned pork chop – Charleston SC double corn grits, pork belly collards, fried super sweet onions

We were invited to a media dinner at a nice speakeasy on Sand Lake Road called Pharmacy Orlando,  a prohibition-chic haunt with a hidden door featuring craft cocktails, New American plates & pizza.

It took me a few minutes of wandering aimlessly around and asking a few locals where the speakeasy’s hidden entrance was located but I found it and it was totally worth the hunt.  Pharmacy Orlando is located on the first floor of a multilevel shopping/business complex, near Regions bank, behind secret elevator doors.  The inside is dim with an intimate ambiance and relaxing vibe.  The food (“medicine”) was delicious and the staff was knowledgable and attentive.

Classic cheese fondue – 100 year old sourdough crostini, spicy pickled green beans

Margharita – sciue-sciue tomato, green h2ouse purple micro basil

Half pound Cape Canaveral garlic & butter rock shrimp (this was my favorite appetizer!  In this picture we had already eaten half of our order)

Tomato & prosciutto bruschetta with burrata cheese & farm poached egg

Greenh2ouse romaine & kale green goddess caesar – house smoked bottarga, local tomato confit, parmigiana reggiano

Florida fresh tang fried chickens with lime, scallions & sesame

Meatball grandé with Nana’s spicy sauce and fried cheese polenta

Pharmacy Mac & Cheese – wild mushrooms, poached farm egg, 3 cheeses

Cape Canaveral roasted whole vermillion snapper – (delicious medium bodied white fish) Peruvian chimichurri, fried plantains, lime

Be sure to check out Pharmacy Orlando soon to pick up your medication and elixirs!

Pharmacy Orlando
8060 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 985-2972
http://thepharmacyorlando.com

We were invited to Taste of Haiti Orlando’s pre-event “Foodies Night Out” sponsored by Bistro Paradise Restaurant and Tele Anacaona DGTV to try a variety of delicious traditional Haitian dishes.  We had such a blast with media guests and the beautiful Mrs. Haiti International who joined us for a wonderful evening of laughter, chatting, getting to know about Haitian cuisine and of course EATING & EATING some more!  

The vibrant cultural event Taste of Haiti Orlando, a culinary, music and arts festival is taking place this Saturday, May 5th from 2pm-8pm at the picturesque Gaston Edwards Park on Lake Ivanhoe – 1236 North Orange Avenue, Orlando, Florida.  Joining this year’s cultural extravaganza is the award winning “Twoubadou” (“too – baa- doo”) artist Beethova Obas.  Beethova has successfully blended traditional Haitian Music with conscious lyrics and harmonies reminiscent of Creole Jazz mixed in with Afro beat rhythm.

The food was incredible and only a glimpse of what will come at Taste of Haiti Orlando.  Tickets are $10 and is guaranteed to be a ton of fun.

Kudos to our talented chef, Chef Widline Pamphile.  It was my first time eating Haitian food and it certainly won’t be my last!

(Source credit: Taste of Haiti Orlando)

Taste of Haiti Orlando
Saturday, May 5th from 2pm-8pm
Gaston Edwards Park – Lake Ivanhoe
1236 North Orange Avenue, Orlando, Florida

Loaded Lobster – 1/2 maine lobster, seafood stuffing, parmesan, breadcrumbs béarnaise sauce

Thank you Orlando magazine for hosting us at deep blu seafood grille at Wyndham Grand Bonnet Creek for a delicious 7-course seafood culinary adventure.  We enjoyed diving deep into their new menu and meeting their new head chef, Chef Wade McLamb.

Gazpacho soup

Grilled Florida Peach & Burrata Salad – pickled blueberries, fennel, crispy country ham, honey truffle vinaigrette

Black & blu Linguine – vita squid ink pasta, jumbo lump blu crab, arugula, cherry tomatoes, marcona almonds, parmigiana


Loaded Lobster – 1/2 maine lobster, seafood stuffing, parmesan, breadcrumbs béarnaise sauce

Scalloped potato


George’s Banks Scallops – corn risotto, smoked tomato jam, crispy black eye peas

Red Snapper – local sweet corn succotash, baby herb salad, basil vinaigrette


Ora King Salmon – red quinoa, black eyed pea fritter, cucumber mint crème fraiche

Banana Pudding – Key Lime Pie Pana Cotta, graham shortbread, toasted meringue

Two hardworking chefs, Chef Ryan Cole and Chef Wade McLamb.

deep blu seafood grille at Wyndham Grand Bonnet Creek 
14651 Chelonia Pkwy Orlando, FL 32821
(407) 390-2420
deepbluorlando.com

Use promo code “Grand Experience” when making reservations for a free dessert or appetizer with the purchase of two dinner entrees (Limit 1 coupon per 2 adults |Valid 5/1/2018-5/31/2018).

Recognized as the region’s premier food and wine pairing event, the 26th Heart of Florida United Way Chef’s Gala at Walt Disney World Resort featured unlimited sampling of signature dishes prepared by 23 of Central Florida’s top chefs, along with thoughtfully paired fine wines.  The evening also included a sparking wine reception, live music and a silent auction filled with unique items and trips. 

This year they served over 460,000 individuals and raised a record-breaking $300,000+ towards the fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in Central Florida.  95 cents of every dollar raised is invested back into the community to fund critical programs.

Chef’s Gala – what a tasteful way to make a difference in the world!

All beverages were generously donated.

All silent auction items were generously donated.

Live performance by an amazing band

Flying Fish – Disney’s BoardWalk: Chef LT Majoras
Cool Water Lobster and Slow Poached Shrimp, Spring Melon, Hearts of Palm, Shaved Serrano and Cava Vinaigrette

SLATE: Chef Jacob Woolf
Smoked Brisket, Jalapeño Creamed Corn, Charred Scallion Vinaigrette and Annatto Oil

Artist Point – Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: Chef Michael Gonsalves
Sweet Maiz Soup – Dungeness Crab, Avocado, Spring Radish, Ramp Mole, Greens

Urban Tide – Hyatt Regency Orlando: Chef Chef Jared Gross
Plantain-Crusted Atlantic Cod, Roasted Red Beet and Crème Fraiche Mash, Kumquat Mostarda

Todd English’s bluezoo – Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort: Chef Jason Wiggin
Crispy Puffed Rice Shrimp, Wasabi Pommes Puree, Sweet Thai Chili

Shutters – Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort: Chef Mark Donovan
Caribbean Goat Curry with Fragrant Island Rice and Cilantro-Lime Crema

Hemisphere – Hyatt Regency Orlando: Chef Jeffrey Powell
Chilled California-Style White Fish Ceviche with House Fried Corn Chips

Ale & Compass Restaurant – Disney’s  Beach Club Resort: Chef David Hutnick
Slow Smoked Pork Tenderloin, Bacon Jam, Vermont Cheddar Grits, Barbecue Gastrique and Herb Salad

The Turf Club Bar and Grill – Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa: Chef Dan Marozzi
Pan Seared Salmon Slider – Seared Ora King Salmon, Horseradish Pickled Cucumber Slaw, on a Dill Gougère

blu on the avenue: Chef Tony Krueger
Hot Smoked Scottish Salmon, Dukkah Drop Biscuit, Bacon, Pickled Serrano, Aged Maple Syrup, Flowers

Morimoto Asia – Disney Springs: Chef Yuhi Fujinaga
Foie “PHO”, Kona Kanpachi, Shiso

Latitude and Longitude – Orlando World Center Marriott: Chef Kyle Anderson
Low-Country Perloo Carolina Gold Rice, Chicken Thighs, Andouille Sausage, Florida Rock Shrimp

The Hollywood Brown Derby – Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Chef Craig Schleider
Spicy Togarashi – Crusted Ahi Tuna, House-Made Kimchi, Bamboo Rice and Ginger-Soy Glaze

STK Orlando – Disney Springs: Chef Aaron Taylor
Goat’s Milk Ricotta with Crushed Peas, Mint and Charred Spring Onion

Jiko – The Cooking Place – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: Chef Eddie Mendoza
Mandazi

Jiko – The Cooking Place – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: Chef Eddie Mendoza
Isitambu – Zulu-Style Samp, Beans with Oxtail and Quail Egg

Tiffins – Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park: Chef Robby Sayles
Blanquette de Veau, Crispy Sweetbreads, Forest Mushroom Ragout and Charred Pearl Onion

Le Cellier Steakhouse – Epcot®: Chef Kevin Downing
Lamb Loin, Confit Marble Potatoes, Spring Vegetable Vinaigrette and Pinot Noir Syrup

Primo by Melissa Kelly – J.W. Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes: Chef Eric Santiago
House-Made Casarecche Pasta, Lake Meadows Duck Confit, Local Mushrooms, Ramp Pesto and Shaved Pecorino

Bull & Bear – Waldorf Astoria Orlando: Chef Richard Brown
Seared Shrimp Scampi with Pinot Grigio Butter, Black Venus Rice Risotto and Parmesan Cheese

Cinderella’s Royal Table – MAGIC KINGDOM Park: Chef Axel Martinez
Blood Orange Braised Beef Short Rib, Melted Leek and Kohlrabi Puree and Sweetie Drop Peppers

Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company: Roast Master Chris DeMezzo
Made-to-Order Specialty Coffees

Amorette’s Patisserie – Disney Springs: Pastry Chef Yoly Lazo Colon
Amorette’s Petite Signature Cake – Chocolate Chiffon, Raspberry Pate Fruit, Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Biscuit, Dark Chocolate and Cherry Mousse

Gideon’s Bakehouse: Owner Steve Lewis and Chef Nicole Beebe
Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie and Pistachio Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookie

Epcot® Bakery Team: Pastry Chef Noah French
Meyer Lemon Tart with Mandarin Orange Jam

Beautiful and breathtaking fireworks are the perfect way to end an amazing night.  Be sure to check out this amazing event next year!

(Source credit: Chef’s Gala)

Chef’s Gala – Epcot Showplace
200 Epcot Center Dr, Orlando, FL 32821
(407) 939-5277
ChefsGala.org

Photos by: Terrence M. Gross

We were invited to the first “Guest Chef Series Dinner” at Morimoto Asia last night during their inaugural Sakura Festival.  Our guest chef was Executive Chef Hitoshi Sugiura and he was exceptional.  Chef Hitoshi flew in all the way from Japan for the event and was joined by Morimoto Asia’s very own Executive Chef Yuhi Fujinag & Chef de Cuisine Chef Hung Huynh.  All three chefs prepared for us an collaborative six-course Pan-Asian dinner, paired with wines from across the globe.  Morimoto Asia plans on hosting a Guest Chef Series Dinner every quarter.

Chef Hitoshi has a history of creating unique menus for restaurants and events while having received acclaimed notoriety including the “Top 8 Chef” at Italy’s 2017 Vegetarian Chance competition. Chef Hitoshi currently leads the team and menu creation as Executive Chef of Patinastella Restaurant in Tokyo, Japan.

Fresh cherry blossoms that were flown in from Japan for the inaugural Sakura Festival at Morimoto Asia.


First Course (Chef Hitoshi)
Bouquet – daikon, tofu, ginger, sesame seed puree, hazelnuts, maple syrup (almost too beautiful to eat!)

Second Course (Chef Hitoshi)
Spanish Mackeral with Shiso Sauce – Spanish mackerel, broccoli, Japanese mustard, shiso (this was one of my favorites!)


Third Course (Chef Hung)
Wok-fired Maine Lobster – ginger, scallion, jalapeño, zucchini noodle


Fourth Course (Chef Hung)
Roasted Poussin – goji berry koshihikari rice, Chinese sausage, foie gras, chicken jus


Fifth Course (Chef Yuhi)
Mishima Reserve Wagyu Ribeye – slow braised rib cap, porcini dashi, morels (simply elegant and wonderfully rich, another of my favorites!)

Dessert – Sakura and Peach Bavarian with Sakura Gelato

Our talented pastry chef


Cheers to our wonderful host, Sommelier – Eric Bandauski.

Guest Chef Hitoshi Sugura. Many thanks for making the long journey to celebrate with us.  Well done chef!

The ceiling fixture colors were modified to reflect the spirit of the Sakura Festival.

Be sure to grab your tickets to the inaugural Sakura Festival at Morimoto Asia – they will be hosting a series of events until Sunday, April 15!

(Source credit: Morimoto Asia)

Morimoto Asia – Disney Springs
1600 East Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
https://www.patinagroup.com/morimoto-asia/sakura
(407) 939-6686

What pairs well with a great conversation? Great food, that’s fresh to order, and imported from Spain. Located in Winter Park, FL is an amazing restaurant called Bulla Gastrobar.

The chef described every dish to our table, and I found myself eating food and talking about it at the same time. That’s when you know you’re at a table full of foodies!

The Lemongrass Collins has easily become one of my favorite drinks of all time. It’s the right amount of refreshing, and as you can tell the bartender does not skip out on the rosemary.

Ingredients are St. Germain, Wint & Lila gin, lemongrass syrup, cucumber.

I also ordered the Proper Gin & Tonic. The star anise was a surprising touch!

Ingredients are Wint & Lila gin, lemon peel, lime wheel, star anise, Fever Tree tonic water.

First up was a meat and cheese plate. My favorite was the Manchego cheese and the fresh olives coming in every shape and size. You can just taste how fresh each ingredient is.

Cured Meat & Cheese Plate:
Jamon Serrano
‘Fermin’ Serrano ham, aged 15 months

Chorizo de Cantimpalo
Mildly spicy pork sausage from Segovia

Manchego
Sheep’s milk, nutty, sweet, tangy flavor, aged 6 month

Murcia al Vino
Goat cheese from Murcia, wine cured rind, sweet & smooth flavor

House Marinated Olives
Thyme, orange peel, garlic

Pan de Cristal con Tomate
Toasted crispy ethereal bread brushed with fresh tomato

Huevos Bulla
Eggs, homemade potato chips, Serrano ham, potato foam, truffle oil
The eggs come unbroken, until they get to the table! The server mixes up the dish before it’s served. The homemade chips add a perfect crunch to this savory dish.
Montaditos
Brisket, tomato marmalade, guindilla, tetilla cheese
My favorite dish of them all. The bread was toasted to the right second, the meat was tender, and the tomato marmalade was amazing. Also, the pepper is not spicy, it was delicious!

Sangria Blanca
Cava, peach schnapps, triple sec, strawberries, blueberries

Grilled Octopus Salad
Roma tomatoes, cucumber, croutons, lemon
The best part about the octopus was the charcoal edges. Absolutely delicious. And it was paired with fresh to order vegetables.
Paella
Valencia style rice, calamari, prawns, clams, shrimp, red sofrito, saffron
 
The rice and seafood complimented each other so well. Every last bit of the paella was eaten.
Fun fact: Tuesday, March 27th 2018 is National Paella Day! Scroll to the end of this article for special event details*
Bullfighter
Bulleit bourbon, Aperol, Dow’s Port, lemon juice, cranberry
Churros Con Chocolate
Traditional fried dough, chocolate sauce, dulce de leche
My favorite dessert of the two that I tried. The Churros are just a cute bite size,  fried to the perfect texture, and I’m obsessed with caramel, so the caramel dip won me over.
Torrija
Caramelized brioche, turrón ice cream, honey.

I left Bulla Gastrobar full and happy!

*In celebration of “National Paella Day,” the chefs at Spanish Winter Park restaurant Bulla Gastrobar will prepare massive paellas on the restaurants patio during happy hour. You’ll have the opportunity to observe how the paellas are made and will receive complimentary samples to enjoy on the patio, which will be decked out in festive decor! Bulla Gastrobar will also be offering $5 red sangrias all day long and will raffle off a $50 gift card to a lucky guest. Happy hour is between 4pm-7pm and 9pm – close!

 

By Gina Nguyen

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost, Road Not Traveled

This is Florida’s best kept secret.  Streamsong Resort is nestled in Fort Meade, FL (2 hours from Orlando) and is a hidden gem, literally and figuratively.  This 5-year old resort stretches out to 16,000 acres and the land was formerly used for mining phosphate also known as P2O5, which became the name of one of their restaurants.

Interior of P205

The resort is breathtaking, the food was so good – the best I’ve ever had in my entire life, the customer service was top-notch, and nature really did its job. Out of all the assignments I’ve done for Tasty Chomps, this one was my favorite.

Thank you Diana & Michelle from The Zimmerman Agency for hosting us! We all had an amazing time and we couldn’t have asked for a better weekend escape.  Everything was perfection.

The one-of-a-kind/state of the art infrastructure at Streamsong Resort attracts bountiful of visitors, however, you won’t find any of them lounging around the main lobby on a sunny day.  You can find them outside utilizing three of the country’s top luxury golf courses, bass fishing on the serene lakes, shooting sporting clays, practicing archery, going on a walk on the nature trails, dining at the five casual or fine dining restaurants, sunbathing at the lakeside infinity pool, or getting pampered at the AcquaPietra – the resort’s European-style grotto spa that looks like elephant legs dipped in an ocean. The healing pools has various temperatures from warm to ice-cold. The wet sauna was my favorite because it was a heated steam room that had cold water running down from a shower head… It was a pretty exhilarating experience feeling two sensations at once.  Streamsong Resort has a lot of offer on and off-site. My room alone came with a beautiful view, free Wi-Fi, complimentary bites from The Zimmerman Agency, a Keurig machine, a mini-fridge, two televisions, a therapeutic shower and a mini-library of literary classics… perfect for a rainy day.

Smoked almond bark (the best chocolate bark I’ve ever had!), brown sugar smoked bacon, smoked monchego
Red sangria – Cabernet Sauvignon, josh cellars, blackberry brandy, freshly squeezed orange juice, spriteWhite sangria – chardonnay, josh cellars, triple sec, lavender bitters, apple juice, freshly squeezed orange juiceSottaTerra, the resort’s restaurant that is under Earth.Private limousine (right) and a shuttle (left) that runs every 15 minutes.

Jim & Maria from the hospitality team were extremely welcoming and accommodating.

Chef demonstration with Executive Chef Michael Ford at Streamsong Blue No. 1.  A really nice guy.
Shrimp Cocktail – shrimp, kumquat, cilantro, chives, rum, olive oil, red onion, chili flakes, plum sauce, lime, red bell peppers, horseradish, watercress, napa cabbage.
Fifty-Nine Restaurant & Bar, the epitome of a luxurious seafood and steakhouse.
Key west yellowtail with coconut curry & handmade coriander noodles
 72-hour pastrami short rib with popcorn grits & pickled vegetables
Four peppercorn mizayaki Kobe ribeye with unagi glacé. I highly recommend this!  Best thing I ever ate. My palate is forever changed and will never be the same.
Bone Valley Tavern, the resort’s newest and most popular dining experience.
Tuna wonton – pineapple, avocado mash, puffed rice
Smoked bacon – apricot dressing, frisse
Rotisserie chicken – potato puree, jus lie, chives
Haberno Mary (virgin version) outdoor fire pit — the perfect spot for a glass of wine and stargazing.
One-pound meatball atop alta cucina tomato sauce
Linguine pesto & diver scallops
Veal ossobuco with truffle risotto & gremlota
Mason jar strawberry shortcake – strawberry ice cream, Florida strawberry filling, biscuit crumble.  The strawberry ice cream was the perfect touch to this classic dessert!
Cast iron skillet cabernet and amarena cherry cobbler
S’mores – dark chocolate brownie, graham crust, brûlée marshmallow
 Golf lovers will experience a new standard at their three critically-acclaimed luxury golf courses: Red, Blue, and Black; the only destination in the world where three distinct golf courses were designed by four legendary architects.
The view from my room.  Serene lakes and streams offer best-in-class bass fishing. 
Outdoor pursuits include sporting clays, archery, nature trails and a lakeside infinity pool.
The intimate haven features 228 spacious, modern guest rooms; 25,000 sq. ft. of flexible conference and function space, with distinctive outdoor venues.
The grotto-style AcquaPietra spaPreserved Megalodon shark teeth that were all found on Streamsong Resort property.

(Source credit: Streamsong Resort)

Be sure to check out Streamsong Resort soon for an unforgettable experience!  You will love it!

Streamsong Resort
1000 Streamsong Dr, Bowling Green, FL 33834
(888) 294-6322
http://streamsongresort.com

Ping’s Dessert – Japanese cotton cheese infused with matcha, matcha macaroon, durian ice cream, dark cherry soup.

Every season Yuki Hana hosts an Omakase dinner which means “leave everything up to the chef”.  I always look forward to Yuki Hana’s Omakase dinners because I know a lot of time, preparation, and research goes into each Omakase dinner to draft up and provide an adventurous menu for their guests.  This Omakase dinner was extra special because they were also celebrating their Five Year Anniversary.  If you haven’t been to an Omakase dinner experience at Yuki Hana, you are truly missing out on a local mind-blowing culinary adventure.  No experience is the same and you will never forget how spectacular it is.

Sakitini with pomegranate, arugula syrup, citrus, fish sauce, spicy shiitake sugar rim and dehydrated lemon slice.


Chef Steven’s Amuse – Sweet potato puff, cured cobia sashimi, edamame crème fraiche, pickled shallot.  The edamame crème fraiche filling inside the puff was ridiculous, I loved it.  The cured cobia sashimi was the perfect fish for this delicious appetizer.


Chef Steven’s 1st Course – Hokkaido scallop, sweet shrimp with heads crispy fried, tossed in uni mayo, anchovy powder, seasoned anchovy, ume gel, and shiso. Perfect balance of soft & crispy.  Delicious!

Chef Steven’s 2nd Course – Madai, charred negi soy gel, jalapeño foam, citrus marinated cucumber, and crispy salmon skin.  Those crispy salmon skins were AMAZING.  I loved this refreshing dish.

Chef Steven’s 3rd Course – Crispy hand roll cone with unagi, bacon jam.  Second picture is chu-toro tartare, ikura, furikake.  Who doesn’t enjoy eating a hand roll?  No chopsticks needed!

Chef Albert’s 4th Course – Congee with lobster, clams, shrimp, uni and squid ink rice chips.  This was my favorite!  I wanted to lick the plate after I was finished eating but didn’t want to get any weird looks.  I wish the squid ink rice chips with uni was an appetizer on their regular menu.  I’m obsessed with them!  My biggest weakness is chips.

Chef Albert’s 5th Course – Poussin served with winter green, sesame dressing, pickled cucumber, whipped tofu, charred orange.  This was the best grilled chicken that I have ever eating in my life.  The seasoning was perfection.

Chef Albert’s 6th Course – Bison skirt steak, shaved truffle, asparagus, Shimeji mushrooms, beet, black pepper sauce.  Divine!

Ping’s Dessert – Japanese cotton cheese infused with matcha, matcha macaroon, durian ice cream, dark cherry soup.  So much heart and passion went into this dessert.  It was heavenly.  I love homemade cakes, ice cream and macarons!

The kind and hardworking owner of Yuki Hana, Ping Jiang, and her team of dedicated an talented chefs.

This was my third Omakase experience at Yuki Hana and the skills, quality, creativity, and taste just keep getting better.  I am looking forward to their next Omakase dinner.  I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to attend these dinners on behalf of Tasty Chomps.  I hope to see you all at the next one!  Please follow Yuki Hana on IG at @yuki_hana_sushi for their latest updates and upcoming events.

 

Yuki Hana Fusion Sushi
3635 Aloma Ave Oviedo, Florida 32765
(407) 695-8808
http://sushiyukihana.com

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