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

At Hawkers, the founders Kaleb Harrell, Allen Lo, Wayne Yung and Kin Ho – all traveled the world to curate a menu of handed-down family recipes and hand-picked popular street foods from all over Asia – Korea, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan to be exact.  Today, all of the original founders are active in restaurant operations ranging from chefs to brand and operations managers.

Since the brand’s inception in 2011 with the Orlando – Mills 50 location, it has opened three additional Florida locations in Jacksonville, Neptune Beach, and St. Petersburg.  New locations are under construction and slated to open in Windermere (located in the Greater Orlando area) in November 2017 and in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward in March 2018, marking its expansion outside of Florida.  Four additional locations are slated to open throughout the Southeast in 2018.

The restaurant’s name is inspired by street vendors found throughout the streets of Asia known as hawkers.  They depend on locally grown ingredients to create dishes sold from mobile carts and stands.

“We are on a mission to disrupt the restaurant industry, and essentially redefine what it means to “eat Asian” in America.  People often ask me who our competition is, and I can’t come up with one–and, for us, that’s a positive thing.”

A place where sharing is not just caring, but the way to eat, Hawkers offers a fresh take on today’s Asian street-fare experience with dishes that are always made to order using local and imported ingredients.  Hawkers is considered a “local’s favorite” and has been featured in Delta SkyMagazine, Florida Trend and Orlando Magazine, and Food & Wine as Andrew Zimmern’s number one pick on his list of “12 Places to Stay, Eat & Shop in and Around Orlando.”

The tables are communal and are inlaid with newspaper to resemble the way street food is often served wrapped in newspaper from hawker stalls.

All Hawkers locations have a weekday happy hour and a wide selection of imported and local wine, beer, and saké.

The menu changes with the seasons and features house favorites such as Roti Canai and award-winning Pad Thai and more common items such as Yi Yi’s Chicken Dumplings and Miso Pork Belly Ramen.  The diverse menu offers options for various palates with vegetarian-friendly dishes, gluten-free and a variety of pescatarian offerings.

(Source credit: Hawkers Asian Street Fare)

We had the opportunity to try some of their new menu items + some classic dishes and we are so excited to share them all with you!

* indicates a new menu item.

*#dimsumcrunchyballs – shrimp, pork, crispy spring roll batter.  This is a traditional Chinese dish using ground up shrimp thrown across the table to get air pockets out, then coated with egg wash and shredded spring rolls wrapper, and finally fried and served with a hot oil-soy sauce.  It has a bounciness to it.

*Crispy Chicken Skin – Hawkers’ version of skewers that can be found in Asia cooked over coals.   They get all of the protein fat scrapped off, season it with Szechuan style seasoning, bake it in oven, then finish it over a grill burning charcoal.   This dish is suppose to be eaten with lime sprinkled over it to accentuate its smokey flavors.

*’Nam Nem Rolls – chilled rice wrap, fried rice paper, chicken sausage, lettuce, cucumber, basil, mint.  Nem in Vietnamese means sausage.  This dish is traditionally made with pork, however, they make theirs with chicken because less people eat pork.  The chicken is baked in the oven then finished on the grill.  The sauce is a Vietnamese vinaigrette consisting of fish sauce, Coco Rico, and red chilies.

*Singapore ‘Chili’ Crab – national dish of Singapore, soft-shelled crab, house-made chili garlic sauce, and fried bao bun.

*Tiger Salad– poached octopus, cilantro, carrots, green onions, celery, cucumber, rice wine vinaigrette, and lemon juice.  A light and refreshing salad.

Roti Canai – Malaysian flat bread served with a side of their signature curry.  Chef Allen Lo describes the bread as “if a croissant and pancake made a baby”.   He ate this dish every day growing up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Wok-Fired Lettuce – shiitake mushrooms, red chilies, light hoisin soy sauce, lettuce.  This staple dish makes a great side dish with every meal.

Chicken Dumplings – hand-rolled in-house daily, wok-seared (pictured) or steamed.  Hawkers makes their dumplings at 7am every morning; it is the first thing they make.

Pad Thai – rice noodles, shrimp, chicken, eggs, scallions, bean sprouts.  Pad Thai is a staple dish in Asia.  At Hawkers, they let their sauce simmer for eight hours before serving it over the noodles.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee  – available in iced (pictured) or French drip.

Mocha Trio – Green tea, lychee colada, and Thai tea.  Made at the Mochidoki shop in New York.

Be sure to check out the launch of the new menu items this Wednesday, August 16, at a Hawkers near you!

Hawkers Asian Street Fare
1103 N Mills Ave
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 237-0606



We were invited to a media event at a new lakefront restaurant named The Waterfront.  This American restaurant was bought in February and opened in April.  Everything is made in house except the bread.  It is important to support independent restaurants in Orlando, Florida so make sure you check them out!

Adult Swim Saturdays every Saturday in August at 2pm.

Outdoor patio with a roof to protect you from the sun or rain.  Or both.  Florida weather.

Food, brews, and views.

Chips & Pimento Dip – Salsa, Jalapeños, Corn Tortillas.  The pimento dip is prepared with pimento cheese, poblano peppers, garlic, and baked in the oven.

Wings – House Hot

Paired with the “Florida Crush” – Effen Blood Orange Vodka, Triple Sec, Fresh-Squeezed Florida Oranges, Lemon-Lime Soda

Crab Cake Sliders  – Arugula, Tomato, Pickled Red Onion, Avocado, Remoulade.  The blue crab is from Gulf of Mexico and they use the meat from its claws.

Tuna Poke Salad – Ahi Tuna, Seaweed Salad, Arugula, Romaine, Cucumber, Tomato, Radish, Avocado, Sesame Seeds, Sweet Onion Vinaigrette

Paired with the “Jennie Jewel” -Effen Cucumber Vodka, St. Germain, Fresh-Squeezed Lemon, Simple Syrup and Lime, Mint

The Waterfront Burger – Ground Chuck, Swiss, Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Bacon, Arugula

French Dip – Roast Sirloin, Swiss Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Au Jus, Horseradish Mayo

Paired with the “Dixie Belle” – Jim Beam Black, Muddled Mint + Cucumber, Simple Syrup, Fresh-Squeezed Lime

Pan Roasted Catfish – Sautéed Kale, Cheddar Grits, Remoulade, Pickled Red Onion
Fried Chicken Thigh – Hot Honey, Cheddar Grits, Pickled Green Beans

Steak Frites – Pan Roasted Sirloin, Cut Fries, Blue Cheese Butter

Paired with House Red Wine – 2015 Drumheller Cabernet Sauvignon

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie  – Whipped Cream
Bread Pudding – Key Lime Syrup, Whipped Cream

Paired with a sampling of the “Margaret” – Jim Beam Vanilla, Butterscotch, Cocoa, Licor 43, Irish Cream

The Waterfront
4201 South Orange Ave
Orlando, Florida, FL 32806
(407) 866-0468

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We were recently invited to check out the new renovation at Bonefish in Winter Garden as well as sample the delicious Florida Stone crabs that are in season.

Florida stone crabs, sold cold, are very meaty and juicy with a rich, sweet flavor and what’s more – they can be quite a sustainable seafood dish.

Fishermen remove one of their claws and return the crab to the ocean where it can re-grow its lost limb. Though stone crab claws are tender inside, on the outside, they’re strong enough to break an oyster’s shell.


Orlando Bonefish Grill restaurants are now offering stone crab claws in all Florida locations, where they are locally sourced.

Sold by the pound, Bonefish Grill’s stone crabs come fresh off the Florida docks and served the way they were meant to be served, chilled, cracked, and ready for dipping.


In Winter Garden, the interior recently underwent a new renovation with an industrial, sleek look that harkens back to an estuary or mangrove idea – a place where fish love to hang out at. There’s even a large decorative art piece of a shiny metallic fish on one of the walls.



The bang bang shrimp is a favorite here and for good reason – crunchy, sweet, crispy and spicy tangy, creamy – it’s quite good and a highlight of the menu.


I really enjoyed my fish and chips as well, three cod fillets, tempura-battered in a special blend of seasoning, served with French fries and tartar sauce.


The corn and crab chowder was disappointing as it was served at a tepid lukewarm temperature and was rather bland in flavor. The corn and crab were fresh, but the chowder soup itself was lacking.


The teriyaki chicken rice bowl also disappointed – the chicken was bland and the rice was undercooked. The teriyaki sauce was too salty and the presentation overall was unappetizing.


Definitely needs some work in the kitchen to bring the standard up to make up for the misses.

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Steaks on Orlando’s Restaurant Row (Sand Lake Road) has partnered with Moët to offer signature sparkling cocktails, champagnes and sparkling wines to accompany weekly tributes to musical icons, as part of its Sparkling Sounds of Summer program.

We were invited recently for a media preview of the offerings and were blown away by the quality of the food and ambiance of Eddie V’s.

Live jazz lounge at Eddie Vs Orlando

From July 21 through August 30, 2015, Eddie V’s invites guests to enjoy six brand-new sparkling cocktails for $10 each, along with an array of champagnes and sparkling wines available by the glass or bottle.

Additionally, Eddie V’s will be debuting a Chef’s Teaser Menu featuring five new petite culinary creations, each for just $5, including:

Tartare of Scottish SalmonTartare of Scottish Salmon – Red Chile, Sweet onion, Capers, Olives With Toasted Baguettes

Steak Tataki Steak Tataki – Seared Beef Tenderloin, Soba Shiitake Mushrooms, With light soy broth

SONY DSCGruyère Potato Fritters- Baked potato, gruyère cheese, scallions in lightly crisped pastry dough

Oysters Fondue Oysters Fondue – Broiled oysters With spinach and artichoke fondue, panko crumbs


SONY DSC Crispy Shrimp Kataifi – Gulf shrimp in Kataifi Crust with Red Chile Jelly

Eddie V’s musicians will dedicate a portion of their live sets to honor the music and genre of one iconic performer. Played nightly in the restaurant’s V Lounge, performances will feature songs from jazz, blues and R&B greats, including Ray Charles, Harry Connick, Jr., Stevie Wonder and Michael Bublé.

SONY DSC The Tokyo Margarita – Casamigos Blanco, nagomi yuzu, fresh lime, agave and the Coco – Cîroc Coconut, Malbu Banana, pineapple, lime, mango

The six new sparkling cocktails include 24 Karat, Chandon Citrus Sparkler, Cuban Nights, Summer Blush Bubbly, The Coco and Tokyo Margarita. A number of champagnes and sparkling wines will also be served throughout the entire summer event.

Eddie V’s has a lot of swagger and swank – down from the sleek and modern bar and decor to the black bow tied waiters decked in all white suits. All a wonderful way to spend a summer evening with live music, reasonably priced small plates, and delicious sparkling cocktails.


Click to add a blog post for Eddie V's Prime Seafood on Zomato

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Pier 407 is a new Cajun and seafood restaurant recently opened on East Colonial just west of Rouse Road. It’s a family owned and operated restaurant that “strives to serve authentic Louisiana cuisine at affordable prices.”

I dropped by recently to eat dinner with family and friends and was charmed by the friendly owners and their family. I guess you can add this to the list of many Vietnamese owned Cajun restaurants around town, many who have started after leaving Louisiana in the midst of Hurricane Katrina’s destructive wake.


They did a great job remodeling the space, which was rather sparse before with a few posters of Indian films, now the space has as an urban, rustic harbor warehouse feel.

The menu is hand-written, quite decoratively, on a chalk board, listing out their seafood dishes and specials from fried to steamed, po boy sandwiches, gumbo and jambalaya. The jambalaya was hearty and flavorful, yet somehow reminiscent of fried rice – delicious all the same.

I noticed the seasonings here give the seafood a more fresh taste, less heavy handed as some places can be. We ordered the $19.95 special that can with queen crab legs, crawfish, and shrimp. We also ordered the fried shrimp platter and the awesome mini beignet desserts. Really enjoyed the fried shrimp, but especially enjoyed the delightful panko crusted and seasoned fried potatoes that accompanied them.

It’s open from 3pm till 9pm daily now, but they hope to expand to lunch hours in the future.








Gumbo at Pier 407

Fried Soft Shell Crab
Fried Soft Shell Crab
Fried Shrimp plate
Fried Shrimp plate
Jambalaya rice
Jambalaya rice
Seafood combo special
Seafood combo special


Fried Beignet Donuts
Fried Beignet Donuts

Pier 407 Cajun Crab and Seafood
10725 E Colonial Dr
Orlando, Florida
(407) 734-5997
For more info, visit:

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Docked inside the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida, you will find a 60-foot sailboat floating in an indoor saltwater lagoon that is a landmark to the resort’s newest dining concept, MOOR. MOOR focuses on fresh seafood with regionally-inspired dishes and Chef Phillip Fisher works with local farmers and fishmongers to find sustainable and seasonal ingredients.

MOOR came to fruition through the desire to serve fresh local food in a lifestyle casual dwelling. The story began organically with the relationships the resort’s chefs have built with local purveyors and fishmongers through their own farming and fishing expeditions. Chef Paul Player, the resort’s Executive Sous Chef, is deeply involved in the local farming movement, serving integral roles in the following community-based food clubs: Slow Food Orlando, Osceola County Grown and Eat Florida Fresh.

“Serving fresh, local and seasonal ingredients isn’t a fad. It’s simply the way we cook,” says Chef Paul. “We want to share the bounty of our regional fare with the world.”

MOOR is proud to offer guests an ever-changing menu complete with a blackboard of daily specials including line-caught fish, fresh cuts of local beef and signature delights such as rock shrimp cocktail with tomato chow chow and seasonal risotto.

Specialty Chef Phillip Fisher

Specialty Chef Phillip Fisher, who will be overseeing the restaurant’s kitchen, designed the menu in its entirety. Prior to opening MOOR, Fisher was the Executive Chef for Ocean Key Resort and Spa in Key West, Florida. Fisher was born and raised in North Carolina where he spent the bulk of his childhood honing his future career in the kitchen.

”I learned at a young age that fresh food tastes better,” says Chef Fisher. “I am thrilled to be a part of a team that cares about where their food is sourced and how it is ultimately served to our guests.”

MOOR features an open floor plan, 60-foot sailboat, layers of neutral tones, elegant wood flooring and several private dining areas including a chef’s table with interactive capabilities. The bar area extends into an outdoor terrace that overlooks the property’s beautiful 12,000 square foot Coquina Lawn.

The opening of MOOR also marks the launch of Gaylord Palms’ movement to grow and source their own food. The hotel is working with local farmers to incorporate an on-site garden and a boxed produce program for their STARS (Gaylord Palms employees). This project is slated in three phases with the first phase to include a culinary garden and outdoor kitchen, and the second and third phases to include a multitude of gardens, herb sculptures and flowering trees.

“We currently have over 500,000 live plants including an herb garden and fruit trees inside of our glass-enclosed atrium,” says Johann Krieger, General Manager of Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center. “It just makes sense for us to expand our home-grown resources to support our restaurants.”


MOOR’s Select Vendors:

Crooked Can Brewing Company (Winter Garden, FL): Built upon the founder’s passion for craft beer, Crooked Can Brewing Company is an upstart craft brewery located inside Plant St. Market, in Historical Downtown Winter Garden, Florida.

Douce France Bakery (Winter Garden, FL): Started as a wholesale-only bakery, but since the business moved to the newly built facility in Winter Garden, the company made room for an amazing retail store where customers can find succulent freshly baked goods as well as a full lunch menu.

Funky Buddha Bakery (Oakland Park, FL): Founded in 2010 in Boca Raton, Florida, and is committed to producing bold craft beers that marry culinary-inspired ingredients with time-honored techniques.

Gary’s Seafood & Specialties (Orlando, FL): Started in 1989 by Gary Reed with a loan from his wife’s parents, he purchased one truck and drove away with a dream to offer the best fish to the best chefs in Florida. Twenty two years later, Gary’s Seafood & Specialties is known worldwide for their Gold Ribbon standard of having the highest quality fish.

My Yard Farm (Winter Park, FL): Founded over seven years ago to provide grown local, grown sustainably, beyond organic food to communities at large, small and everything in between.

Premier Beverage Company (Fort Lauderdale, FL): One of the largest distributors of wines, spirits, and other beverages in Florida. The company’s distribution facilities are located in Miramar and Tampa with cross-docks in Pensacola, Jacksonville, and Orlando.

Top (L to R): Gary’s Seafood & Specialties, My Yard Farm
Bottom (L to R): Pork Belly Sliders, Crooked Can Brewing Co., Funky Buddha Brew
Douce France Bakery
Blonde Key Lime Daiquiri // Papas Pilar Blonde Rum, Fresh Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, Key Lime Curd
AMUSE-BOUCE // Grilled Cedar Key Clams // Jalapeño Mignonette, Cucumber, Fennel
Hydopronic fennel grown on-site, Cucumbers (Mt Dora, FL), Clams (Cedar Key, FL)
COURSE 1 // Pork Belly // Peanut Butter, Pickled Watermelon Radish
Watermelon Radishes (Sebring, FL), Pork (Avon Park, FL)
COURSE 1 // Old Fashion // Basil Hayden, Citrus Bitters, Florida Sugar Cane Syrup
COURSE 1 // Tuna // Peanut Butter, Pickled Watermelon Radish
COURSE 2 // Spring Vegetables // Watermelon, Burrata, Olive Oil
Hydroponic Watercress grown on-site, Cucumbers (Mt. Dora, FL), in-house Burrata
COURSE 3 // Blue Crab Soup // Sherry, Chive
Florida Atlantic-caught Blue Crabs, Hydroponic Chives grown on-site
COURSE 4 // Grouper Cheeks // Heirloom Carrots, Spring Peas, Morel Mushroom
Carrots (Sebring, FL), Gulf Coast grouper
COURSE 5 // Tilefish // Course Grits, Apples, Red Sorrel
Hydroponic Red Sorrel grown on-site, Sweet Corn (Zellwood, FL), Tilefish (Fort Pierce, FL)
COURSE 6 // Chef’s Desserts // Peanut Butter Cup, S’mores, Strawberry Shortcake, Key Lime Pie
S’mores and Strawberry Shortcake Cups were the winning desserts of the evening!

MOOR is in the Key West Atrium at Gaylord Palms Resort located at 6000 West Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL 34746. The restaurant is open daily for lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and for dinner from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The bar is open 11:00 a.m. to midnight. For more information on MOOR, please visit, or call the restaurant directly at 407-586-1101.

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Washington Shores Fish Market is not really a seafood market per se, but rather more of a neighborhood fish fry joint. Located in the Washington Shores neighborhood, just west of John Young Parkway right next to a Lynx bus stop, the unassuming shop, in somewhat sketchy locale, sells up loads of fried fish and shrimp for a value price.

You order up at the window, where the orders are fried fresh to order. Expect to wait maybe 10-15 minutes in your car or at one of the picnic tables outside. Classic Street Food.


You can order from a list of fish and seafood including grouper, catfish, Nile perch, shrimp ranging from $6 to $9. They also have sides for order from cheesy grits to hush puppies and coleslaw. The portions are all very generous, fresh and hot from the frier.

The daily special includes fried basa fish with bread and fries for $5.75, which comes with about 5-6 big pieces of fried fish fillets. The steak fries are crispy and delicious as are the fried fish. The fish breading is perfect.

Washington Shores Fish Market on Urbanspoon




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Founded in St. Petersburg, Florida, Bonefish Grill specializes in market-fresh fish from around the world and other savory wood-grilled specialties. Guests receive “chef’s coat service” and are guided through an innovative, seasonal menu and specials featuring the highest-quality, fresh ingredients.

Recently, Scott Joseph Orlando Restaurant Guide reported that Clifford Pleau, who helped develop Darden’s Seasons 52 concept in Orlando, left the company to join Bloomin’ Brands to work on Bonefish Grill. It should be very interesting to see how Mr. Pleau will improve Bonefish Grill.

Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish Grill
Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish Grill

In the mean time, Bonefish Grill has introduced a NEW menu that includes a new bowl concept with Spicy Ahi Tuna and NY Strip Tataki as well as new ceviche and bang bang shrimp flatbread appetizers.

One thing that previously had disappointed me at Bonefish Grill was the lack of fresh and flavorful vegetables to complement their seafood dishes, and thankfully they have worked on and improved on that with a recent visit.

I was very impressed by the NY Steak tataki bowl which was very flavorful and seared perfectly and had great taste when eaten in the rice bowl.

Seared NY Strip Bowl – USDA Choice NY Strip seared to your preference served with marinated cucumbers, roasted peanuts and passion fruit salsa, jasmine rice and a black pepper aioli
Seared NY Strip Bowl – USDA Choice NY Strip seared to your preference served with marinated cucumbers, roasted peanuts and passion fruit salsa, jasmine rice and a black pepper aioli
Cold fresh ceviche - served in an ice bowl
Cold fresh ceviche – served in an ice bowl

The following are the new dishes added to the menu, from their press release:

New bowls deliver bold flavor, using fresh vegetables that combine Asian and Mediterranean inspired flavors.

  • Spicy Tuna Bowl – premium sushi grade, sesame-seared rare tuna served with avocado, sweet chile sauce, jasmine rice and passion fruit salsa
  • Seared NY Strip Bowl – USDA Choice NY Strip seared to your preference served with marinated cucumbers, roasted peanuts and passion fruit salsa, jasmine rice and a black pepper aioli
  • Shrimp Pad Thai Bowl – sautéed shrimp combined with rice noodles, green onions, peanuts, egg and a traditional Pad Thai sauce
  • Fire Roasted Vegetables Bowl – a seasonally fresh selection of vegetables combined with pearl couscous with herb and pesto dipping sauce available with choice of wood-grilled shrimp or herb-grilled chicken
Spicy Tuna Bowl – premium sushi grade, sesame-seared rare tuna served with avocado, sweet chile sauce, jasmine rice and passion fruit salsa
Spicy Tuna Bowl – premium sushi grade, sesame-seared rare tuna served with avocado, sweet chile sauce, jasmine rice and passion fruit salsa

New Wood-Grilled steak specialties include a savory 13 oz. USDA Choice Rib-Eye, perfect with white truffle butter or choice of several new steak signature sauces including:

  • Béarnaise Sauce – classic hollandaise based sauce flavored with tarragon and red wine
  • Asian Peppercorn Demi-Glace – schezwan peppercorns blended with a reduced brown sauce
  • Porcini Sage Butter – blended butter sauce with porcini mushrooms and fresh sage
  • Creamy Mushroom and Bacon Sauce – Marsala wine reduction finished with sliced mushrooms and crisp bacon
  • White Truffle Butter – Italian white truffles blended with fresh creamy butter
  • Or try the Ahi Tuna Steak, fire-kissed and perfectly paired with a signature sauce including the new Lime Tomato Garlic sauce – creamy butter sauce with garden fresh tomatoes and a hint of lime.

Deluxe Sides are now available to complement Wood-Grilled selections and entrées including:

  • Crab Fried Rice – jumbo lump crab wok-fried with eggs, bell peppers, carrots and green onions with a hint of soy sauce
  • Porcini Mushroom Ravioli – classic Italian ravioli filled with porcini mushrooms and ricotta cheese sautéed in a sage brown butter and topped with crispy mushrooms
  • Wood-Grilled Broccolini – small florets tossed with garlic herb butter
Crab Fried Rice – jumbo lump crab wok-fried with eggs, bell peppers, carrots and green onions with a hint of soy sauce
Crab Fried Rice – jumbo lump crab wok-fried with eggs, bell peppers, carrots and green onions with a hint of soy sauce

Four new appetizers provide a unique approach to classic favorites:

  • NY Strip Tataki – perfectly seared USDA Choice NY Strip, Thai peppers and a mustard soy sauce
  • Twisted Edamame Hummus – edamame replaces traditional garbanzo beans, topped with a roasted tomato relish and crunchy pepitas served with flatbread chips
  • Bang Bang Shrimp® Flatbread – crispy shrimp, mozzarella cheese, cilantro and a creamy, spicy sauce
  • Cold Snap Ceviche – chilled bay scallops, shrimp, fresh fish, avocado, cucumber, jalapeno, citrus, cilantro served in a glass made entirely of ice and warm tortilla chips on the side
  • The perfect way to finish a meal is with a Dessert Flatbread such as S’mores with creamy chocolate, toasted marshmallow and graham cracker crumbs.


Bonefish Grill has also added new handcrafted concoctions to start or complement any occasion. The Fresh Pineapple Martini is made with Malibu Rum, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, fresh pineapple and homemade vanilla bean simple syrup. The refreshing Cold Snap Cucumber Cosmo is made with Reyka vodka, Solerno Blood Orange liqueur and fresh English cucumbers served on the rocks in a glass made entirely of ice.

RA Sushi has branched out all over the states. It’s the 1st in Orlando, 4th in Florida and 26th in the United States. The RA Sushi located in Orlando can hold up to 260 guests and provides Happy Hour (4-7pm Mondays-Fridays) throughout the entire restaurant instead of just at the bar like some places.

Although it just opened July 30th in Orlando, They are already dishing out a new menu, in addition to their current offerings that consist of over 100 dishes and 150 drink specialties that are mainstream and originally created at RA Sushi. When I say “mainstream”, they still have an RA twist on them to make you feel like you can’t find anything like it anywhere else.

On September 10, 2014, we were invited to Ra Sushi to preview and experience a number of delicious items ranging from appetizers to desserts.

If you have an allergy, they’ll be sure to keep you from contacting any dish that contains those ingredients (ie, me from eating anything coming into contact with shrimp or items that have touched shrimp).

To start with, we were served Garlic Edamame, which are steamed soybeans sautéed in a garlic butter and Asian seasoning. Not only were the shelling seasoned, it seems as though the flavors seeped in and also came from the soybeans themselves.

RA’llipop* is a roll that consisted of raw tuna, salmon, yellowtail, spicy tuna mix, lettuce, asparagus, and cucumber wrapped in lobok. It’s served skewered with a garlic ponzu sauce. The entire roll will melt in your mouth. You’ll only realized that you ate something because of the crunch provided by the vegetables the fish is encased by as well as a hint of spicy from the tuna mix.

The Viva Las Vegas Roll* is a popular item on the menu. Ingredients: Kani kama crab and cream cheese rolled in rice and seaweed, lightly tempura battered, and topped with spicy tuna, kani kama crab mix and sliced lotus root; finished with a sweet eel sauce and spinach tempura bits. The lotus root has a nice crunch but is dense and had a little heat. The crab and spicy tuna mix is smooth and creamy to provide a contrast to the lotus root. Unfortunately, I was unable to try the roll itself because it contained shrimp, but my colleagues seemed to love it and didn’t leave a single roll on the plates they came on.

The Yellow Monkey Roll is a vegetarian friendly roll that is nice and tropically refreshing. It is made up of mango, roasted red pepper, marinated artichoke, and cream cheese rolled in rice and seaweed, topped with mango and cashews before drizzled with a kiwi wasabi sauce.

The Crazy Monkey Roll is one of my favorites and is creamy from the salmon, cream cheese and avocado. The sweet sauce drizzled on top added a nice surprise to the roll itself. This is a little different to the Yellow Monkey Roll because it is made up of smoked salmon, mango and cream cheese topped with avocado, red beet tempura bits and cashews, then drizzled with mango and sweet eel sauces.

The Lobster Shrimp Roll is another roll I unfortunately could not try, but I visually enjoyed the heart shape roll as it came out. Ingredients: lobster, cucumber and avocado rolled and topped with shrimp; served with an Asian pesto sauce.

After sushi, we took a break from eating to enjoy Sake Flight 8 that consists of three 2 oz. pours of Kizakura “Pure”, Sho Chiku Bai Nigori “Crème de Sake” and Kizakura “Pure” Stars – range from sweet, dry to sparkling.

The Tuna2 Salad is a refreshing dish with two types of tuna: ahi and albacore. It was a mixture of different textures ranging from smooth to crunch thanks to the variety of ingredients. Ingredients: seared ahi and albacore tuna drizzled with a garlic ponzu sauce, placed over a bed of mixed greens with sliced avocado, jalapeño, cilantro, fried wontons and cashews; served with an onion soy vinaigrette.

The first entrée was the Spicy Chicken Teriyaki Udon, which is stir-fried Asian vegetables tossed with chicken and udon noodles in a spicy teriyaki sauce. For you chopstick experts, even you may wish to use a fork for this meal because of how slippery the udon is! The sauce the udon is dressed with isn’t overpowering and adds the right amount of flavor to each noodle and vegetable that will please your palate.

The Chicken Katsu is usually a favorite for children and adults whether they don’t wish to have any sushi or if they want something Southern, but with an Asian twist. Panko breaded chicken with coleslaw is served with an Asian BBQ dipping sauce. With or without the Asian BBQ sauce, the chicken was marvelous and I’m drooling over the thought at the moment.

The Bara Chirashi Bowl* is a bowl of rice topped with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, shrimp, avocado, and cucumber with Asian green vegetables dressed with poki sauce. This is like sushi in a bowl that can deliciously fill your stomach so you can continue on with your productive day!

Last, but not least, the dessert served was Banana Split Maki. It is RA’s version of sushi for dessert that consists of a fried banana maki topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit drizzled with raspberry and chocolate sauces.

*As mentioned on the RA Sushi website, “consuming raw or under cooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish or eggs may increase your risk of food borne illness, especially if you have certain medical conditions”.
More dishes and information can be found on You could also join their email list and Get Hooked Up! They’ll give you a $20 RA gift certificate every year during the month of your Half Birthday as well as something special the month of your actual birthday!

Location: 9101 International Drive Suite 1008, Orlando, FL 32819
Hours: 11am-11pm daily with lunch served until 3pm

RA Sushi Bar Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Situated on the top two floors of the Hyatt Regency hotel at Orlando International Airport, Hemisphere has some of the most breathtaking dining views in all of Orlando. Down below, diners can watch as the major airlines taxi along the airport’s runways, preparing for their initial ascent into the airspace and onto their next destination.

Hemisphere specializes in steaks and seafood and even has an award winning wine list. At first approach, I immediately thought the space could use some re-modeling – much like the one its sister restaurant, McCoy’s, recently underwent in order to modernize and update. For now, the space and decor, though bright and airy, is still very reminiscent of a 1990s era hotel restaurant.

Hyatt hotels all around the world recently launched a new global food philosophy – “Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served.” focused on sourcing and providing healthy food and beverage options for Hyatt guests and also good for the local communities in which they reside and good for the planet.

On a recent media preview visit to Hemisphere, under the care of Sous Chef Tournant Jonathan Zimmerly, we started off our dinner with the house specialty, a peppery, savory crawfish cream chowder which first made its appearance on the Hemisphere menu when it first opened. My dining partner and I also sampled the blue crab cake served in a corn chowder as well as an heirloom tomato, basil, mozzarella salad – both were good.

The star of the evening was the whole yellow tail snapper flash fried with a chili lime soy broth and cilantro jasmine rice. When they mean whole yellow tail snapper, they really mean the entire fish from head to tail fried. Although the jasmine rice was oddly salty, the fish was fun to eat especially over rice. It reminded me of an old family meal dish we would have growing up, picking off the fish with our chopsticks around the family dinner table.

My dish was seared scallops on top of a caramelized onion tart and served with roasted wild mushrooms and garlic cream. I enjoyed the scallops but wish the caramelized onion tart had been more flaky and crispy rather than soggy.

Overall, I would definitely try Hemisphere again, especially after their re-modeling is completed.

An old fashioned Italian waiter statue greets guests in the front of Hemisphere
An old fashioned Italian waiter statue greets guests in the front of Hemisphere
Gorgeous window views of the runways below at the Orlando International Airport
Gorgeous window views of the runways below at the Orlando International Airport
The decor is reminiscent of 1990s Hotel-chic
The decor is reminiscent of 1990s Hotel-chic
House baked bread at Hemisphere
House baked bread at Hemisphere
Blue Crab, sautéed crab cake, sweet corn chowder - $13
Blue Crab, sautéed crab cake, sweet corn chowder – $13
Heirloom Tomato, Local Organic Basil, Mozzarella, Organic EVOO, Balsamic, Key West Sea Salt - $9
Heirloom Tomato, Local Organic Basil, Mozzarella, Organic EVOO, Balsamic, Key West Sea Salt – $9
Hemisphere's Crawfish Chowder, House specialty  - $8
Hemisphere’s Crawfish Chowder, House specialty – $8
Amuse bouche - raspberry gelato
Amuse bouche – raspberry gelato
Whole Yellow Tail Snapper, flash fried, chili lime soy broth, Cilantro Jasmine rice - $34
Whole Yellow Tail Snapper, flash fried, chili lime soy broth, Cilantro Jasmine rice – $34
Scallops, fresh from New England, seared, caramelized onion tart, roasted wild mushrooms, garlic cream - $32
Scallops, fresh from New England, seared, caramelized onion tart, roasted wild mushrooms, garlic cream – $32


Corn and Rice sides
Corn and Rice sides



Hemisphere Steak & Seafood at Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport
9300 Jeff Fuqua Blvd, Orlando, Florida, USA, 32827
Tel: +1 407 825 1234 Fax: +1 407 856 1672

Hemisphere Steak & Seafood on Urbanspoon

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Pan - Fried Lump Crab Cakes - Kimchi Butter Sauce, Succotash, Lyonnaise Potatoes - $25 - Photo by Unique Michael

There are a lot of things going on in Thornton Park lately, especially with the recent closing of Hue and the upcoming grand opening of Soco Thornton Park in its place – Soco stands for “Southern Contemporary” Cuisine, not Southern Comfort for those fans of the whiskey liqueur.

In March, the Thornton Park Restaurant Group announced that Chef Greg Richie would be taking over as Executive Chef at Cityfish and will also be the executive chef for the upcoming Soco, drawing from his Southern upbringing and experiences, particularly from the Charleston area.

Chef Richie, who graduated with honors from the acclaimed Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, honed his seafood skills while cooking with James Beard Award winning Chef Roy Yamaguchi at the original Roy’s Restaurant in Hawaii, eventually serving as the first executive chef/partner for the opening of Roy’s in Orlando on Sand Lake Road.

He was later chosen by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse to take over the kitchen at Tchoup Chop at the Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando, where he quickly earned praise from critics and local fine food fans.

We were invited recently to check out the new Cityfish menu and left thoroughly impressed with Chef Richie’s new menu additions and changes.

A few interior renovations had occurred inside Cityfish, making it a little less industrial looking than before, with some painting and a nice checkered touch to the flooring, though mostly it looks the same. A gorgeous bar to the right, stairs that lead to…I’m not exactly sure where…to the back, and the kitchen can be seen towards the back as well.

We sit near the window to enjoy some street views and nice natural sunlighting.

First up, carefully sourced oysters of the day, fresh from around the United States, served with some house made sauces to accompany. They were refreshing and perfect for summer and as a charter member of SunshinePlate, a coalition of chefs and culinary industry professionals dedicated to food advocacy, Chef Richie is proud to point out their points of origin.

Carefully selected oysters from around the US - Photo by Krystle Nguyen
Carefully selected oysters from around the US – Photo by Krystle Nguyen
Jalapeño Hushpuppies - Photo by Unique Michael - Typically served with the Alaskan crab legs, but served on the side today at request
Jalapeño Hushpuppies – Photo by Unique Michael – Typically served with the Alaskan crab legs, but served on the side today at request

One of my favorites of the new menu is the crispy shrimp toast, a dish where Chef Richie’s Asian influences shine with a sweet and sour house pepper jelly dipping sauce accompanying the shrimp toast. The dish is actually a Chinese dim sum dish, made from small triangles of bread, brushed with egg and coated with minced shrimp, then cooked by baking or deep frying. The dish, a product of Guangdong province near Hong Kong, may be one of the world’s first forms of “fusion” between Asian style minced shrimp combined with British style “toast”.

Crispy Shrimp Toast - $9 -House Pepper Jelly Dipping Sauce
Crispy Shrimp Toast – $9 -House Pepper Jelly Dipping Sauce – Photo by Krystle Nguyen

I also enjoyed Cityfish’s seafood gumbo, nice with a dark brown roux with some crab, shrimp, and fried okra.

Seafood Gumbo - Crab, Shrimp, Fried Okra - $7  - Photo by Krystle Nguyen
Seafood Gumbo – Crab, Shrimp, Fried Okra – $7 – Photo by Krystle Nguyen
Truffled Gouda Cheese 'Potato Tots' Basket - $8 - Photo by Krystle Nguyen
House Truffled Gouda Cheese ‘Potato Tots’ Basket – $8 – Photo by Krystle Nguyen
Maine Lobster Roll - Lightly Dressed with Herb Mayo, Buttered Roll - $22 - Photo by Krystle Nguyen
Maine Lobster Roll – Lightly Dressed with Herb Mayo, Buttered Roll – $22 – Photo by Krystle Nguyen – This was a meaty lobster roll made with an entire lobster stuffed all inside the buttered roll.
CityFish Executive Chef Greg Richie with the Cornmeal Crisped Shrimp Po Boy - Photo by Unique Michael
Cityfish Executive Chef Greg Richie – Photo by Unique Michael
Cornmeal Crisped Shrimp Po’ Boy - Lettuce, House Pickles, Kimchi Remoulade - $14 - Photo by Krystle Nguyen
Cornmeal Crisped Shrimp Po’ Boy – Lettuce, House Pickles, Kimchi Remoulade – $14 – Photo by Krystle Nguyen
Pan - Fried Lump Crab Cakes - Kimchi Butter Sauce, Succotash, Lyonnaise Potatoes - $25 - Photo by Krystle Nguyen
Pan – Fried Lump Crab Cakes – Kimchi Butter Sauce, Succotash, Lyonnaise Potatoes (a French dish of sliced pan-fried potatoes, sautéed in butter with parsley) – $25 – Photo by Krystle Nguyen

The lump crab cakes were fantastic as was the kimchi butter sauce, all went very well together. My only comment on this dish would be to mix the succotash in with the sauce some more to give it some more flavor and cook the potatoes just a little longer as it was a little underdone. Overall, I could have done without the succotash and potatoes and just enjoyed the crab cakes on their own with the kimchi butter sauce.

Dessert - Fruit Crisp - Photo by Krystle Nguyen
A Fabulous Dessert – Seasonal Fruit Crisp – Photo by Krystle Nguyen

Chef Richie, who also cooked multiple times at the prestigious Beard House in Manhattan, is doing a great job so far with the Cityfish menu renovations and I look forward to hearing about the upcoming improvements and changes as they continue to update seasonally. It would be nice to see some lower priced menu items on the list for those looking for more affordable, casual options at Cityfish.

Cityfish also recently launched a new Brunch menu, Saturdays and Sundays 11am – 3pm with the regular Cityfish menu also served during Brunch hours. For more information, visit them online at:

617 E. Central Blvd. Orlando, FL 32801

Follow them on Facebook at

Cityfish Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Father’s Day Pairing Guide

Don’t Forget The Wine!

Father’s Day is around the corner. If you haven’t picked out something special for good ol’ dad, don’t sweat it – we have a few recommendations to make this Father’s Day extra special. For those of you who were triumphant in braving the Orlando shops and malls to find that perfect gift, we’d like to remind you that no gift is complete without wine. If you got him chocolate – get him wine! If you’re taking him out to dinner – get him wine! Is he receiving a beautiful white dress shirt? Again, get that man some wine – STAT. To showcase which wines pair beautifully with our Father’s Day foodie picks, we interviewed wine expert, Roger Beery of Bacchus & Beery.

After surveying a total of 81 dads across the nation and figuring out what they really want for Father’s Day, Roger Beery and I discussed which wines pair exquisitely with these top picks.

Dark Chocolate

For the dad with the sweet tooth, we recommend dark chocolate from Peterbrooke Chocolatier on Park Avenue. Their Dark Chocolate will pair beautifully with a Cabernet Sauvignon. Why? Roger recommends this variety because the tannins in wine can accentuate the slight bitterness found in dark chocolate. He suggests pairing dark chocolate with a Vintage Port – it’ll put a smile on dad’s chocolate covered face.


Photo Credit: Unique Michael



For the classy dads out there, we recommend Wondermade’s Gold Champagne Marshmallows. What’s so special about these bites? They are capped with 24 karat gold! Roger recommends pairing these beauties with sparkling wine or champagne, as the bubbles will help to balance the gooey deliciousness of the gourmet marshmallow. He specifically suggests a brut style sparkler from J vineyards or Mumm Napa Valley. 


Photo Credit: Wondermade 



Let’s face it. A hungry dad is not a happy dad. A majority of dads will order a steak on Father’s Day – a Porterhouse Steak to be exact. As agreed with Roger, a great steak calls for a great Cabernet Sauvignon. Why? Roger recommends this variety because the tannins and red fruit are made to pair with the juicy cut. He even recommends taking the extra step and ordering a unique small production Cabernet directly from the winery: Dunn Vineyards, Alpha Omega Winery, Corison Winery, or John Anthony Vineyards to impress. For local picks, he recommends Jordan Winery, Caymus Winery, and Shafer Vineyards, as they are consistent Cabernet standouts.


Photo Credit: Allen Brothers  


Shrimp & Grits 

Taking dad out for a nice lunch? We recommend the Shrimp & Grits at Marlow’s Tavern. Why? White Cheddar Grit Cake, Spinach, Roma Tomato, Shallot and Roast Tomato Beurre Blanc all combine together to create a flavorful experience. Roger recommends pairing this delicious dish with a dry rose’, as it is not your grandmother’s sweet white Zinfandel. Dry rose’s are crisp, refreshing and less sweeter. Pour dad a glass of manly rose’ of Pinor Noir such as Belle Glos or Copain.


Photo Credit: Unique Michael 


Blue Cheese

It’s okay to be cheesy this Father’s Day – just don’t forget the wine! Blue Cheese is a popular choice and is often given to dads who are cheese connoisseurs. They can be salty and pungent, making wine pairing tricky. Roger recommends pairing Blue Cheese with a sweet or dessert wine such as a Sauterne or Late Harvest Riesling. If your dad doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, Roger recommends Smith Madrone Dry Riesling (Napa) or Chateau Ste. Michelle. We also wholeheartedly recommend Michelle Riesling (Washington) for its hint of sweetness.


Photo Credit: Cornucopia Cheese 




About Roger Beery  

Roger and Donna Beery began writing Bacchus and Beery Wine Blog in 2009 as a way to express their mutual love of boutique wines, winemakers and wine country. What began as a little hobby has grown into one of the most widely read wine blogs. Today Bacchus and Beery focuses on wine travel, winemaker interviews and wine reviews. In the Fall of 2014 with their son, Conch, a winemaker in Sonoma, they will make their first wines for their new, yet to be named, wine label. As Roger said, “it’s time for the writer to get a little dirty in the winery.”



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by Katherine Nguyen, Katherine Nguyen Photography

Lobster galore! The ships have docked and the lobsters have made it to land.

I was invited by the folks of Red Lobster to experience the 30th Annual of Red Lobster’s Lobsterfest recently and to learn more about the company.

Red Lobster is serving high-quality seafood in over 400 locations in North America, not only serving guests in their locations, but Red Lobster restaurants also participate in the Darden Harvest program, which donates 67+ million pounds to local community food banks across the United States.

If you’re allergic to any item on the menu like I am to shrimp, they were more than happy to accommodate and made sure I avoided everything with shrimp or had the enzymes from the shrimp mixed into the dish. What continued to amaze me was their care in alterations in dishes for me by making dishes without shrimp, etc.

Sweet Chili Shrimp – a dozen hand-battered shrimp tossed in a spicy chili sauce. Not too sassy or saucy to the taste…these babies hit your taste buds JUST RIGHT.

Lobster-Crab-and-Seafood-Stuffed Mushrooms – fresh mushrooms stuffed with seafood, smothered in Monterey Jack cheese and baked golden brown. Red Lobster has combined some of my favorite ingredients together: lobster, crab and mushrooms! What do I have to say about this appetizer? One word: delightful!

Lobster Pizza – a crisp thin crust pizza topped with langostino lobster meat, melted mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes and sweet basil. A simple yet enchanting dish that I can eat all day! You can taste every single ingredient and the fresh tomatoes were a great addition as a topping instead of the usual tomato sauce a pizza normally has. This is one of my favorite appetizers at Red Lobster! If you’re going to Red Lobster soon, GET THIS APPETIZER! It’s definitely worth trying at least once!

Cajun Chicken Linguini Alfredo with a side of Lobster Tails – spicy, tender chicken breast in garlic Parmesan cream sauce on a bed of linguini and a tender split Maine lobster tail. Remember when I said how accommodating and thoughtful the personnel of Red Lobster are? Well, this dish was just for usI to enjoy tonight because of my allergy to shrimp! The lobster tails were so buttery and sweet! It didn’t even need a dip in the extra butter that came on the side! The linguini was delicious and spiced things up a bit – Cajun style, of course.

Dueling Lobster Tails – A roasted Maine lobster tail topped with tender shrimp in creamy garlic sauce, paired with a golden-baked Maine lobster tail with crab-and-seafood stuffing. Served over mashed potatoes, roasted tomatoes and green beans. This is one balanced meal of getting those delicious and healthy carbohydrates, greens and protein into your diet.

Lobster in Paradise – a split Maine lobster tail fried in a signature coconut batter, spicy grilled shrimp and a lobster-and-shrimp bake topped with toasted, crushed macadamia nuts. The name of the dish alone says it all about this dish…it’s a paradise!

Ultimate Surf and Turf – a Maine lobster tail baked with crab-and-seafood stuffing, paired with a peppercorn-seasoned grilled sirloin topped with Maine lobster meat in a citrus-hollandaise sauce. Served over mashed potatoes, roasted tomatoes and green beans.

Now this is what I’m talking about: lobster, steak and vegetables. An ideal meal I fancy on my plate to enjoy every exquisite ingredient for our enjoyment.

Bar Harbor Lobster Bake – a roasted split Maine lobster tail, tender shrimp, sea scallops, mussels and linguini in a garlic and white wine broth. This was my “go to” entrée I would order whenever I could not decide what to order at Red Lobster. This has the accurate portion of every sort of seafood you could desire.

Lobster Lover’s Dream – a succulent rock lobster tail and sweet split Maine lobster tail, roasted and served with lobster-and-shrimp linguini Alfredo. I don’t know about you, but rock lobster is now my favorite type of lobster, thanks to Red Lobster. To each their own because my friend prefers the sweet split Maine lobster tail. Perfect! Why? Because we can share a delicious meal as this with one another! And don’t forget the steamed broccoli!

Rock lobster tail

Chocolate Wave – warm, rich chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. From this girl’s opinion, I suggest you order your special someone a slice of this delicious chocolate cake. If this doesn’t make that special someone swoon, then…I have no other suggestions for you. Or…maybe I do…

If that special someone doesn’t like chocolate, try ordering some this marvelousness.

Red Velvet Cake in a Jar – layers of red velvet cake, rich cream cheese icing and mini chocolate morsels. Get it while supplies last!

Key Lime Pie – a slice of cool, tangy, creamy classic. This was the dessert for me. Not too sweet, not too tangy. Just purrrrrfect.

Maybe all these delicious dishes have overwhelmed you a tad bit. How about a drink or two to let your mind catch up to your mouth?

Grand Patrón Margarita – Patrón Silver tequila, Patrón Citrónge and a house margarita mix. Served with a sidecar of Grand Marnier.

Strawberry Mojito – Bacardi Superior rum muddled with fresh squeezed lime, mint, pure cane sugar, strawberries, and topped with club soda.

Katherine Nguyen is a student at the University of Central Florida majoring in Molecular Biology and Microbiology and minoring in Health Service Administration with a goal of going to dental school. She enjoys playing soccer and has been captain of an intramural team for 3 years now at UCF. Photography is her number one hobby in which she has dabbled in the field since 2008; she is very diverse in the field, but her favorite sub-fields include portraits on location, nature, food, and sports photography. In her free time, she also tutors any subject in high school and middle school as well as volunteers at Camp Boggy Creek in Eustis, FL. Link:

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Chef Cory York

Chef Cory York of deep blu seafood grille of Wyndham Grand Orlando Resortdeep blu seafood grill wyndham orlando - more at photo DSC02144_zps1153e299.jpg
deep blu seafood grille, one of the newest area upscale hotel restaurants, located in the Walt Disney World resort area (but technically not a part of Disney World) at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort, Bonnet Creek.

Here, all of the fresh Atlantic seafood comes direct from Clean Fish, an organization that works with the finest sustainable fisheries in the area.

deep blu seafood grill wyndham orlando - more at photo DSC02139_zps5e4f1630.jpg

deep blu seafood grille’s Chef Cory York is a seafood veteran, having worked at Roy Yamaguchi’s restaurant in the Hilton at Waikoloa Village and opening Oceanaire Seafood Room in Charlotte, North Carolina as Executive Chef, where he developed and pursued his passion for working with seafood. After relocating to Greenville, South Carolina, he joined Nantucket Seafood Grill as Executive Chef and operating partner. Here he was able to develop a signature cooking style, using Charleston flair with a French twist.

In Orlando, Chef York joined the Grand Bohemian Hotel as Chef de Cuisine, preparing menus for rock stars to NBA all stars. He has now joined the Wyndham Grand team as Specialty Restaurant Chef for Deep Blu, where he is infusing his Pan Asian style with an American modern twist.

I visited recently with some friends to peruse the Visit Orlando Magical Dining Month special going on all September at local high end Orlando restaurants, including deep blu.

The restaurant, located at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort (not to be confused with the Wyndham Vacation resort up the road), is very posh with lush white seats and a very open kitchen where guests can see all the workings of the chefs and cooks. This set up reminded me a lot of the Hell’s Kitchen reality show set up with Gordon Ramsay, but thankfully there was no screaming or shouting going on from the line on our visit – though there was quite a few times when the entire kitchen seemed to be aglow in cooking fires and accompanying smoke. Really quite the unexpected show. You also have the opportunity to sit at the bar for a chef’s table experience and a very close up view of the kitchen.

deep blu seafood grill wyndham orlando - more at photo DSC02142_zps65533d72.jpg

Overall, service was great and the meal was very enjoyable, especially Chef Cory’s Crab Cake with sundried tomato aioli – just chunks of pristine lump crab meat expertly crafted, as well as the Ahi Tuna Poke Three Ways and the Braised beef short ribs. The calamari fries needed some seasoning, however, as did the ahi tuna au poivre entree, though the fish was still very fresh. The Key Lime pie gelee and the vanilla creme brulee were just the right desserts to end the meal, sweet and delicious.

deep blu seafood grill wyndham orlando - more at photo DSC02146_zps76d3ebec.jpg
Mango delicious
Cruzan Mango rum, mango and passion fruit
puree, orange juice, sparkling wine

deep blu seafood grill wyndham orlando - more at photo DSC02153_zps1892023c.jpg
Tuna Poke Three Ways, hawaiian soy, thai curry, korean chili, lotus chips

deep blu seafood grill wyndham orlando - more at photo DSC02157_zps47f199df.jpg
Calamari Fries, micro salad, tomato crudo, meyer lemon aioli

deep blu seafood grill wyndham orlando - more at photo DSC02166_zpsed67e620.jpg
blu Crab Mac N’ Cheese, asiago & munster cheese

deep blu seafood grill wyndham orlando - more at photo DSC02149_zpsad54afff.jpg
Sundried tomato aioli

deep blu seafood grill wyndham orlando - more at photo DSC02163_zpsc9baa286.jpg
Black truffle whipped potatoes, roasted wild mushrooms,
burgundy balsamic reduction

deep blu seafood grill wyndham orlando - more at photo DSC02162_zps4a62966c.jpg
Tasso ham, fresh tomatoes, baby spinach, asiago cream

deep blu seafood grill wyndham orlando - more at photo DSC02167_zps12b401c1.jpg
Sautéed seasonal vegetables, whipped potatoes, blackberry jus

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Toasted meringue, graham cracker crust, mango caviar

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Crunchy bananas, caramel, fresh berries

deep blu seafood grill wyndham orlando - more at photo DSC02174_zpse041a380.jpg
Candied rose crumbles, raspberry coulis

Deep Blu Seafood Grille on Urbanspoon

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This dish can be found at Cask and Larder in Winter Park as part of their new lunch menu and is a great summer dish featuring local Florida Cape Canaveral shrimp. The shrimp, cooked in a wit beer and orange juice sauce and served with toasted baguette not only tastes great, but is delicious and refreshing as well.


1. Heat a large pan and add onion and fennel to sweat.
2. Deglaze with Wit beer and reduce by half.
3. Add in shrimp stock and reduce by half.
4. Add in orange juice and reduce by half.
5. Melt 4 ttbsp of butter in liquid mixture and season with fennel pollen, orange zest, salt & pepper.
6. In a separate pan, sear shrimp hard on one side.
7. Add shrimp to hot liquid to finish cooking.
8. Pour shrimp and liquid on top of 2 pieces of toasted baguette in a large plate
9. Mix Fresno hot sauce with aioli sauce & serve on the side.
10. Enjoy!


chefs_petrakis_caskandlarder (1)

Since opening The Ravenous Pig in 2007, Chefs James and Julie Petrakis have garnered numerous accolades for their ever-changing menus based on seasonal ingredients and made-from-scratch items. This culinary devotion has won them a coveted James Beard nomination, along with praise from Food & Wine, Saveur, Southern Living and other publications. They are also authors of The Ravenous Pig: Seasons of Florida cookbook. This recipe is from a dish found at their second restaurant, Cask & Larder, in Winter Park, Florida, which offers southern-sourced seasonal dishes, craft beers brewed on-site and fresh-shucked oysters from their oyster bar.

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by Junichi Hirano and Mimi Nguyen, Contributing Writers

Mitchell’s Fish Market was purchased in 2008, by Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: RUTH) a leading restaurant company focused exclusively on the upscale dining segment.

MFM WP Exterior

Mitchell’s Fish Market in Winter Park Village is re-introducing itself to the Orlando market with a new coastal, casual elegance look. Walking in to the restaurant, you will be welcomed with brightly covered fabrics, hardwood floors, and accent walls with bright hues of blue, green, orange, and brown. In addition to remodeling the outdoor deck with comfortable couches and inviting lounge chairs, Mitchell’s has also added a new Chef’s Table that offers the privacy and coziness for up to 12 guests.

MFMWP Porch 1

Arriving a little early for dinner, we enjoyed some of Mitchell’s Happy Hour offerings that takes place every Monday- Friday, 4:00-7:00 PM on their outdoor porch.

The bar menu features innovative, handcrafted cocktails such as the Winter Park Cosmo, Moscato White Sangria, and Basil Smash made from freshly squeezed juice inspired by the ambiance of Winter Park in the summer. The drinks were a perfect balance of flavors without being too fruity or too intoxicating.

Grapefruit Basil cocktail
Grapefruit Basil Smash cocktail

Mitchell’s also offer Happy Hour munchies to accompany the evening cocktails.


The Crispy Calamari is flash fried with red bell peppers and green beans. There was a chili-soy dipping sauce that offered some salty flavor without being extremely heavy.


The Spicy Crispy Shrimp offered an Asian twist to an appetizer favorite. Rather than being placed on a bed of lettuce, Mitchell’s Fish Market served the shrimp on a bed of sticky rice, garnished with pickled cucumbers and a creamy chili glaze. The fresh, tart pickled cucumbers cleansed the palate and served as a nice contrast to the creamy chili glaze.


The Warm Pretzel Bread is perfect munchie for the beer lover. Served with Magic Hat #9 beer cheese, you can definitely taste the hoppiness of the beer along with the creaminess of the cheese.
Other notable munchies were the Bacon & Eggs and the Trio platter. The Bacon and Eggs were delectable creamy deviled eggs topped with applewood-smoked bacon. These little guys did not last long enough to have their picture taken. The Trio platter consisted of wild sea scallop & shrimp ceviche, tuna poke, and lobster salad.

After enjoying Happy Hour, we ventured into the Captain’s Quarters for the main course. We started with a Wild Sea Scallop & Shrimp Ceviche, which was voted best Appetizer at Taste of Winter Park 2013. The ceviche was served with thin tortilla chips and was marinated with citrus, mango, and cilantro. Not a fan of too much acidity, the ceviche was a little too tart for me, but others found refreshing.


For an entrée, we selected the Island Jerk Grouper and the Chilean Sea Bass Shang Hai Style, which Executive Chef William Wadsworth personally recommended.

The Island Jerk Grouper was grilled with Jamaican spices, topped with mango-serrano salsa, and served on top of a hearty bed of black beans and rice. It had a nice kick of flavors.

The Chilean Sea Bass Shang Hai Style is steamed with fresh ginger and scallion, served with a soy-ponzu sauce over sticky rice and sesame spinach.

Chef Will of Mitchell's Seafood
Chef William Wadsworth of Mitchell’s Seafood Market

Since our entrées are prepared fresh when ordered, Chef Wadsworth informed us that we could have any of the fishes offered made any way we wanted it. The menu was also constantly changing to reflect the fresh fish choices available during the season.
By the end of the night, we were stuffed but we knew we still had to try the infamous Sharkfin Pie.


This guy was monstrous, but we could never say no to ice cream. One slice of Sharkfin Pie could easily satisfy the sweet tooth of two or even three people, so sharing is recommended. Consisting of layers of butter fudge ice cream, honey roasted peanuts, fudge, peanut butter, and an Oreo cookie crust, the towering slice resembled a shark fin coming out of the plate. It was sweet but a perfect end to the evening.

For Lunch:

Daily Chef’s Feature

Crispy Shrimp Thai Chopped Salad – Shredded Napa cabbage, crisp lettuce, carrots, peppers, red onion, cucumbers, sesame- peanut vinaigrette

Ocean Cobb – Chilled lobster, shrimp and blue crab, mixed greens, blue cheese, crisp bacon, avocado, hard-boiled egg, house dressing

Big Fish Sandwich – Crispy panko crust, lettuce, tomato, red onion, cheddar cheese, homemade tartar sauce

Cajun Chicken Sandwich – Chilled with classic Louisiana spices, melted cheddar, spicy mayo

Grilled Shrimp Sandwich – Grilled whole jumbo shrimp, thick-cut avocado, garlic-chili mayo

For Dinner:

Daily Chef’s Feature

Wild Sea Scallops & Shrimp Ceviche – Marinated with citrus, mango and cilantro

Bacon & Eggs – Creamy deviled eggs with applewod bacon

Frutti Di Mare Pasta – Tiger shrimp, mussels, wild sea scallops, calamari, sautéed in garlic butter. Served over pappardelle with fresh tomato or white wine sauce

Shrimp and Wild Sea Scallop Pappardelle – Sautéed with creamy Cajun sauce, spinach and cremini mushrooms

Island Jerk Chicken – Grilled with flavors from the Islands, mango-serrano salsa, black beans and rice

The new Market Bar Menu – features hand-crafted martinis & cocktails

Winter Park Cosmo – Smirnoff Vodka, Cointreau, White Cranberry, freshly squeezed lime juice

The Kiwi Cucumber & Thyme Martini – Reyka Vodka, kiwi, cucumber thyme, freshly squeezed lemon juice and cane sugar

Maui Passion Martini – Reyka Vodka, St. Germain, Aperol, passionfruit puree and freshly squeezed lemon juice

Moscato White Sangria – Skyy Blood Orange Vodka, Moscato wine, lemon juice, slices strawberries and oranges

Orange Citrus Mojito – Bacardi O Silver Rum, freshly muddled mint, freshly squeezed lime and orange juices

Crushed Blackberry Agave Margarita – 1800 Silver Tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, crushed blackberries, agave

Mitchell's Fish Market Seafood Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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Tucked inside a nondescript strip mall along Kirkman Road near Orlando’s MetroWest area, Stonington’s Fried Shrimp is a simple, quick and easy place to grab not only fried shrimp but also crab cakes, catfish, oysters, and fried chicken.

I recently stopped in for lunch and was surprised by the warm and friendly greeting of our cashier/server. She was truly the epitome of southern hospitality, manning the register and taking orders at the counter. It was a very welcome sight to see and I felt quite at home.

The fried shrimp is the main attraction here at Stonington’s and I ordered two sides to accompany it: shoestring onion rings and 6 cheese baked macaroni. The shrimp was fried quite delicately and with a wonderfully seasoned and light batter. Often times when seafood is fried the taste is lost in all the grease, but it was different here and definitely a plus. The 6 cheese baked macaroni was also very delicious, with a baked crumb topping that went very well with the macaroni and cheese blend.

Overall, I would go to Stonington’s again for their excellent fried shrimp as well as sides and service. All in all, quite possibly the best fried shrimp place in Orlando

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Stonington's Fried Shrimp on Urbanspoon

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This little seafood shack in the Mills 50 District used to be a banh mi (Vietnamese Sub sandwich shop) by the name of Saigon Subs (located a few doors down from Tasty Wok). Boiling Crab and Seafood is still Vietnamese owned, but they take their cues from the Cajun south…hot sha-bangin sauces and steamed garlic crabs. A large population of Vietnamese Americans live in New Orleans, and as families started to spread out from the gulf region, they brought their love of seafood and cajun spices with them. Over a course of a few trips, this restaurant has earned a special place in our foodie hearts not only for their fresh seafood but also the friendly service of the owner and staff despite being understaffed at times.

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The menu consists of snow-crab legs, head-on shrimp, crawfish, and Maryland blue crabs as well as more than 13 types of poboy sandwiches filled with everything from fried oysters to catfish. My favorite items consisted of the snow crab legs, very fresh and flavorful, dipped in butter garlic sauce, as well as the jumbo head on shrimps. There are a few Vietnamese items here as well like the seafood laden bun rieu noodle soup with crab and tomato, as well as pho. The prices are very reasonable for the fresh seafood that you get and I hope they keep it that way.

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Chef’s seafood-platter meal for four consists of:

One pound of snow-crab legs and dungeness crab legs
One pound of shrimp
One pound of crawfish
Two blue crabs
Four ears of corn and four potatoes
Four nonalcoholic drinks

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Magical sha bang spicy sauce

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Boiling Crab and Seafood’s rendition of the gumbo soup – beware it is extremely spicy!

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Blue crabs bathing in garlic butter


Definitely check them out if you are a big fresh seafood fan!

Check out their website here:

Business Hours:

Monday-Thursday 10:30-9:00
Friday-Saturday 10:30-10:00
Sunday 9:00-9:00

Boiling Crab and Seafood on Urbanspoon

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Located at Rialto at Sand Lake
7339 West Sand Lake Road, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 781-4880
General Manager: Michael Kopoian
Executive Chef: Jeremy Mattson

Dinner: Monday – Thursday 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Friday – Saturday 4:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Sunday 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Blu Lounge: 4:00 PM – Close


Ocean Prime is a steakhouse and seafood restaurant concept owned by Cameron Mitchell Restaurants that currently consists of nine restaurants in eight states. Ocean Prime opened in Troy, Michigan in June 2008 and has locations in Columbus, Ohio (under the name Mitchell’s Ocean Club), Orlando, Phoenix, Tampa, Dallas, Denver and Atlanta. The Orlando location opened in November of 2008.

Ocean Prime features wild and naturally harvested fish recommended by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and steaks that include USDA Prime cuts, aged for maximum tenderness and flavor.

The restaurant features three private dining rooms available for reservations: The Prime 1 Room seats up to 18 guests and the Prime Room 2 seats up to 32 guests; both Prime Rooms may be combined to accommodate up to 50 guests. Ocean Prime Orlando also offers a beautiful, intimate private room called The Club Room, with seating for up to 12 guests.


Executive Chef Jeremy Mattson
Garnering more than 17 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry including eight years as an executive chef, Jeremy Mattson raises the culinary bar as executive chef of Ocean Prime in Orlando, Fla. First inspired by his childhood world travels where he tasted fine foods and experienced diverse cultures, Mattson has always considered himself an epicure with a passion for hospitality. Much of his motivation comes from his community and his father, from who he regularly seeks culinary advice.

Mattson joined the Ocean Prime team in July 2011 after mastering his culinary skills through a wide range of positions within the Cameron Mitchell Restaurants family since 2003. With experience from line cook to executive chef, he has trained more than 25 sous chefs and was nominated for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants’ “Sous Chef of the Year” and Ruth’s Chris Hospitality Group’s “Executive Chef of the Year,” Mattson was also chosen for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants “Street Fighter” award for best local store marketing, and his previous restaurant was named “Best Seafood” by Hour magazine in Detroit, Mich., and by Weekly Jax in Jacksonville, Fla., under his astute leadership.

Originally from Lansing, Mich., Mattson currently resides in Orlando with his wife and three sons. In his leisure time, he enjoys being with his family, playing hockey, discovering new music and collecting vinyl records.


We were recently invited to Ocean Prime to try out a few items on their menu and had a wonderful time. Photos follow:


Berries & Bubbles
Belvedere Citrus Vodka,
Marinated Blackberries, Housemade Sour,
Domaine Chandon Brut   14


Cucumber Gimlet
Bombay Sapphire Gin, Muddled Fresh Cucumber,
Hand Squeezed Lime   13


Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli, Golden Oak Mushrooms 13


“Surf n Turf,” Sea Scallops, Slow Braised Short Ribs 16


Lobster Bisque 11
Sweet Corn Fritter


Ahi Tuna Tartar, Avocado, Ginger Ponzu 16


Ocean Prime House Salad, Romaine, Spinach, Granny Smith
Apples, Goat Cheese, Walnuts, Sherry Mustard Vinaigrette 11


Sea Scallops, Parmesan Risotto, English Peas, Citrus Vinaigrette 33


Petite Filet Mignon with Lobster Tail


Creamed Spinach with Smoked Bacon 10


Black Truffle Macaroni & Cheese 13


Jalapeño Au Gratin, Sliced Potatoes, Aged Swiss 11


Baked Alaska 11
Pound Cake w/ Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry Ice Cream,
Toasted Meringue & Fresh Raspberries


Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie 9
Peanut Butter Mousse w/Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache


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Ocean Prime now offers claws that inspire awe! Beginning today, guests at Ocean Prime can savor impeccably fresh and simply prepared stone crab claws at the peak of their season.

For a limited time only, the stone crab will be served in a traditional style chilled over ice with a mustard dipping sauce for $30/half pound and $56/full pound.

Ocean Prime is a steakhouse and seafood restaurant concept owned by Cameron Mitchell Restaurants that currently consists of nine restaurants in eight states.

Ocean Prime
7339 West Sand Lake Road Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 781-4880

From Ocean Prime:

Ocean Prime invites Orlando residents to celebrate the season of giving and receiving! With every $100 gift card purchase, guests will receive an additional $25 bonus reward card for themselves. Guests can choose from the freshest seafood and finest cuts of steak at the modern American supper club. Combined with the restaurant’s Wine Spectator-honored wine list, handcrafted cocktails prepared by expertly trained bar chefs and genuine, red carpet hospitality, Ocean Prime creates a truly memorable holiday dining experience.

Remember Ocean Prime for holiday bookings, as well! Ocean Prime Orlando features three stunning private dining rooms which accommodate guests of 12, 18 and 32 Guests. The latter two rooms may be combined to seat up to 50 Guests. For more information about purchasing gift cards, please call 407.781.4880 or visit For more information about private dining opportunities, please contact Jo Truett at 407.781.4880.

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Do you ever want to get away from town for a while and take a short vacation away from home? It’s nice to have the beautiful beaches of the east and west coasts of Florida just an hour or so away from us here in Orlando (though we often forget). I grew up in West Palm Beach my whole life, with the beach only a few minutes drive away but it wasn’t until after moving away to Orlando for college did I understand how much I took the beaches for granted.

I was recently invited to visit The Shorts Resort and Spa in Daytona Beach, Florida (a winner of Orlando Sentinel’s Best Bets Awards for Best Hotel) to try out the menu at their on-site restaurant Azure as well as take in the ocean views at their hotel. Home to the Daytona 500 and the Daytona International Speedway, Bike Week, and Biketoberfest, Daytona Beach is only about an hour away after zipping along I-4 and getting off at I-95. The beaches in Daytona are famed for their wide stretches of smooth, compacted sand, attracting automobile and motorcycle races beginning in 1902 and eventually leading to the founding of NASCAR.

The Shores was originally built as the Hilton hotel in 1971. In 2004 when the hurricanes came and took down pretty much most of Central Florida, the Hilton building suffered as well. Soon the Hilton hotel moved down the street to another location and The Shores was founded at the location after a total renovation.

Inside The Shores Resort and Spa

With the distinction of being the only AAA Four-Diamond luxury beachfront hotel in Daytona Beach, The Shores Resort and Spa definitely brings great service and luxury to every aspect of its operations, including their restaurant Azure tucked inconspicuously on the first floor near the back of the building with extra seating on the Atlantic beach front.


Inside Azure

At dinner at the Azure, our waiter Todd was knowledgable, attentive, courteous and genuine, pretty much everything you could hope for in a waiter. He gave us several recommendations which all were spot on this night. We began with the Sweet Corn and Crab Chowder, made with blue crab, sweet potato crisps, slices of tortillas, and some of the crispiest, sweet corn in a bowl. The Steamed Middle Neck Clams dish came in a sweet, rich pinot grio white wine and butter sauce, topped with fresh tarragon, and fresh tomato and provided a wonderful sauce to dip the house bread into.

For a salad, I chose the Fried Green Tomato & Feta Cheese salad made with breaded, buttermilk marinated fried green tomatoes, feta cheese, organic field greens, olives, cracked pepper and topped with a bourbon molasses vinaigrette. The fried green tomatoes were tart and delicious. My partner chose the Baby Arugula & Sliced Crisp Pear salad with sweet pecans and a white balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

For the main course, Todd recommended to me the Caribbean Grilled Cobia, a white fish served with coconut rice, lemon garlic spinach, and a carrot citrus butter sauce. The dish was fantastic and immediately brought me back to the time I spent on the island of St Maarten in the Caribbean with its very fresh fish. The cobia was light and flavorful and the coconut rice, butter sauce, and lemon garlic spinach all melded beautifully together in my palate.

My partner chose the Atlantic Seafood Etouffee a cajun dish made with shrimp, scallops, fresh catch, and crawfish tail with steamed jasmine rice. Having visited New Orleans on multiple occasions and having etouffee as one of my favorite dishes from that region, I tend to have a prejudice when I meet other etouffee creations, judging it against the freshness and rich flavors of the roux in the etouffees found in the Big Easy. The Atlantic Seafood Etouffee, I found, was a spot on Cajun creation, filled with all the tastes and authentic textures and ingredients I had remembered before, and yet also adding its own touch on the classic with the fresh seafood from the Atlantic.

For dessert, we chose the always popular Brownie Mudslide, a delicious warm chocolate brownie, with kahlúa and bailey’s ice cream, topped with toasted pecans and a caramel sauce.

After dinner, you can take a stroll down to one of the many oceanside firepits set up and enjoy the sweet simple pleasure of seaside S’mores, made with your traditional graham crackers, toasty marshmallows and warm gooey chocolate. The s’mores, the fire pit, and the crashing waves near by all made for a very beautiful night.

After some rest in the hotel, when the sunrises, you can really see why the Shores is a popular place for weddings and meeting events. The view of the Atlantic is just breathtaking.


Sunrise at Daytona Beach from The Shores

In the morning, the Azure restaurant serves up breakfast daily. I ordered the Stone Roasted Eggs made with two eggs cooked on a stone pan (supposedly it gives it some added grill flavor), roasted tomatoes, garlic spinach,parmesan cheese, and toast. My partner ordered the Crab Cake Benedict, a dish made with two poached eggs on blue crab cakes with hollandaise sauce and hash browns.

All in all, it really surprised me that Azure was so unknown before, tucked away like any good hidden secret, on the beautiful shores of the Atlantic beach and away from visitors’ knowledge. I hope more people find out about this place soon here at Azure, inside The Shores Resort and Spa, as it has some of the best dishes you can find here in Central Florida and I would definitely go back just to try these dishes again alone, not to mention the fantastic seaside views and amenities at The Shores. Check it out soon !

Azure on Urbanspoon

For more information, visit The Shores Resort and Spa –  2637 South Atlantic Avenue Daytona Beach Shores, FL 32118 (Tel) 386.767.7350 –


Sweet Corn and Crab Chowder


Steamed Middle Neck Clams in pinot grio white wine and butter sauce


Baby Arugula and Sliced Crisp Pear salad


Fried Green Tomato and Feta Cheese salad


Caribbean Grilled Cobia with coconut rice and lemon garlic spinach


Atlantic Seafood Etouffee


Brownie Mudslide


The firepits for S’mores at The Shores


Banquet room at The Shores


Stone Roasted Eggs with spinach and roasted tomatoes


Crab Cake Benedict

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Big Fin Seafood Kitchen Restaurant, winner of Best Seafood Restaurant by the Orlando Sentinel Foodies Awards, serves up some of the freshest seafood in Orlando (its flown in daily and picked up from the Orlando International Airport). It’s located on Sand Lake Road in the Dellagio plaza sharing the same area as Fleming’s, Dragonfly, and other Restaurant Row staples.


As part of our continuing series on Happy Hour Specials in Orlando, I visited Big Fin Seafood with Pearleen Buchala of The Happy Hour runs from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM and is available in the bar areas known as the Trophy Bar and the Bar-A-Cuda Patio Bar (a very popular area with the locals). The restaurant itself is beautiful, towering high ceilings with a large globe centerpiece, rotating on its axis above the dining area. Classy red shades and the smell of wonderful fresh seafood pervade the restaurant.

Some of my favorites from the happy hour menu included the queen snow crab clusters, the freshest and succulent crab legs I have had in a while. You can tell that they weren’t sitting around somewhere waiting to be eating like at one of the many buffets around town that serve crab legs. These crabs were fresh and slightly sweet. Delicious. The 3 ounce cold water lobster tail, was also a standout from the happy hour menu. Despite being a small 3 ounces, it was still full of flavor and again very fresh. Overall, I think the drinks and appetizer specials are well worth the price and a great start to any meal at Big Fin Seafood Kitchen. It’s probably my favorite Seafood restaurant in Orlando at the moment.

$5 Happy Hour Appetizers
½ Dozen Raw Oysters
½ Dozen Grilled Oysters
Housemade Potato Chips with roasted garlic horse radish and bleu cheese fondue
Fried Green Tomatoes with remoulade
3 oz. Cold Water Lobster Tail
8 oz. Queen Crab Cluster
Steakhouse Sushi Roll
Spicy Tuna Roll
Angus Burger with sea salt fries
Beef Satay
Crispy Calamari
Popcorn Shrimp
Fish Tacos
Shrimp Shumai dumplings
Shrimp Cocktail
$5 Happy Hour Drinks

Caposaldo Pinot Grigio, Hogue Chardonnay,
Canyon Road Merlot, Parducci Pinot Noir, Santa Carolina Cabernet

House Wells
Russian Standard Vodka, Seagrams Gin, Don Q Rum,
Montezuma Tequila, Grant’s Scotch, Early Time Kentucky Whiskey

Appletini, Cosmopolitan, Lemon Drop, Triton’s Tea & Georgia Peach
Specialty Drinks
Don Q Rum Mojito, Fuzzy Navel, Tequila Sunrise, Tropical Breeze
& Classic Margaritas
8 ounce Queen Crab Clusters


Shrimp Cocktail


Popcorn Shrimp


Spicy Tuna roll


Grilled Oysters


Fish Tacos


Angus Burger


Tropical Breeze and Classic Margarita


Steakhouse Roll


Crispy Calamari


Raw oysters


3 ounce lobster tail

Big Fin Seafood Kitchen on Urbanspoon

check out’s Review of Big Fin Seafood Kitchen Here!

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cI recently was asked to do some photography work for King Cajun Crawfish right here in Orlando! I came on a number of previous occasions with friends and had a great time getting to know the owners and enjoying the food before taking these photos. The place is a hole in the wall located off of Mills Ave just north of Colonial Drive in downtown Orlando but hey crawfish is not a glamorous food, its all about the taste. You can order the crawfish in a variety of flavors including garlic, hot, and sha bang!

In addition to crawfish at King Cajun Crawfish, they have oyster, shrimp, fish, and chicken po boy sandwiches and a great bowl of gumbo soup with rice. If you are in the area I would definitely recommend King Cajun Crawfish to try out. is their website!


Inside King Cajun Crawfish

customers enjoying King Cajun Crawfish in Orlando

Crawfish in Orlando!  shipped live from Louisiana!

Shrimp, all types of shrimp

Oyster  po boy sandwich special


Gumbo soup with rice

Combo oyster and shrimp po boy!

King Cajun Crawfish on Urbanspoon

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Orlando Food Blog 008

My friends and I had a craving for pounds and pounds of crawfish this late Friday afternoon and so decided to head west towards the Pine Hills area to get our fix before the crawfish season ends. As it turned out the place we were expecting to go unexpectedly was closed due to family emergency. 🙁

But luckily, having read and looking up reviews, we stumbled upon Lee and Rick’s Oyster Bar just down the street off of Kirkman and Old Winter Garden, where we would eventually consume pounds and pounds of oyster rather than crawfish.

At first appearances, Lee and Rick’s seems to be modeled after some sort of fishing-boat-trailer. Mad shady indeed. After entering the “boat” we walked through a dimly lit, semi-creepy hallway into the “ship’s den” or at least thats what it looked like inside.

I’m on a motherf–kin boat
Once inside, one of the managers asked us if we would prefer to sit by the bar for the special bucketfuls of oysters ($17.95) for about 3-4 dozen oysters. The reason why we would have to sit by the bar is because they would shuck the oysters right there in front of you at the bar and after you’re done, you can shuck the oyster shells right back into the trough behind the bar.

At least they got straight to the point. Definitely not a date-joint.

When we first arrived, it was just our group in the whole place, but by the time we left half the bar would be full with people getting ready to slurp the little shell dumplings. We were told that on the weekends, there would be rows and rows of people lining up to sit there with the line wait of almost 2 hours at times. That would explain the ship’s crew of over 13 oyster shell shuckers that evening.

Our shucker was pretty accomodating, shucking away as she told us a bit about the history of the place. You see, next year Lee and Rick’s will be celebrating 60 years in Orlando, having first opened in 1950. The restaurant started out when the owners started selling oysters in the front porch of their house and when it grew to a success, they began to convert their house into the giant ship you see today on Old Winter Garden Road and Kirkman Road. Today the place is third-generation owned.

One of my friends ordered the fish dip to dip our crackers in. It was a great blend of white fish and seasonings and went really well with the crackers. A new favorite.

I ordered the crawfish appetizer ($6.95) since I still needed my crawfish fixin to satisfy. It definitely did the job, served spiced up and freshly boiled with a side of butter sauce. I liked how the hot cajun spices were done for these crawfish as they provided the necessary kick to the crustacean’s tastes.

Crawfish or Bust!
The oysters arrived in the bucketful, all served with a side of crackers, horseradish, chili sauce, cocktail sauce or lemon butter sauce as you like it. The oysters were tasty with a slight wet salty flavor with some of them being some of the hugest oysters I have seen in my life time. Our shucker was quick and amiable to the shucking of the oyster shells and we devoured the oysters as quickly as she laid them out on the bar. Oh, the bar, I wondered to myself how sanitary all of this was since it looked so ancient after all…

But then that second passed and I decided hey you live only once and I’m pretty hungry enough that I would eat that off the table.

Oyster Chomp? Mission accomplished.

This is definitely not a place to go for the atmosphere. But it is definitely a place to go with the buds for a quick fix of oysters and some seafood and some beers. You don’t survive in Orlando for over 5 decades without doing something right.

3.5 Tasty Chomps out of 5 Tasty Chomps!!!.

Lee & Rick’s Half Shell Oyster
5621 Old Winter Garden Rd
Orlando, FL 32811
(407) 293-3587
Lee & Rick's Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

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