Hanging out with Operation Manager Alex & Executive Chef Frank Galeano

We were invited to a media preview at Tapa Toro, located in front of ICON Orlando 360, to meet their newly appointed executive chef Francisco “Frank” Galeano & taste their new winter menu.  Tapa Toros new winter menu offers unique dishes that will take you on a culinary journey of Spanish flavors and culture.

Roasted Eggplant “Steak” – roasted eggplant steak, cauliflower, capers, kale, gold raisins, almond, smoked tomato jam, honey

Xeres Chicken – confit leg of chicken, herb roasted potatoes, olives, gold raisins, oyster mushrooms, sherry pan sauce

Spiced Lamb – eggplant fondue, orange & cumin glazed baby carrots, green olive salsa

Chocolate Tarte

Tapa Toro’s entire lineup of new dishes include:

  • Piquillos Rellenos, Moroccan-Spiced Lamb Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, Migas, Preserved Lemon, Tetilla Fondue
  • Berenjenas Sevillanas, Panko-Crusted Eggplant Romesco Sauce, Seasonal Chutney, Local Honey
  • Blistered Shishitos, Fire-Roasted Shishito Peppers, Sesame, Lemon, Lemon-Basil Aioli
  • Bronzino, Fennel, Radish, Tomatoes, Shallots, Crispy Garbanzo Salad, Caper Lemon Dressing
  • Quinoa Salad, Peruvian Red Quinoa, Dried Fruit, Spiced Pepitas, Crispy Kale, Roasted Root Vegetables, Greens, Sesame Carrot Vinaigrette
  • Valencia Salad, Valencia Orange, Shaved Fennel, Olives, Peruvian Potatoes, Shallots, Greens, Mint-Orange Dressing
  • Clams & White Bean, Cedar Key Littleneck Clams, Chorizo, Parsley, White Bean, Pimenton, Grilled Bread
  • Herbed Chicken Bocadillo, Herb Marinated Chicken Breast, Grilled Vegetables, Red Pepper Aioli, Ciabatta Bun
  • Chuleta de Cochinillo, 10 Ounce, All-Natural Pork Chop, Carrot Puree, Fabada, Valencia Orange Glaze, Chimichurri Sauce
  • Salmon a la Plancha, Sauteed Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes, Fennel Broth, Piperade
  • Spiced Lamb, Eggplant Fondue, Orange and Cumin Glazed Baby Carrots, Green Olive Salsa

Tapa Toro’s daily happy hour is from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., featuring half-price sangria, and tasty bites.

Additionally, Tapa Toro wants to be your home for the holidays, showcasing a special Christmas Eve and Christmas Day three-course menu, which at $30 per person includes all-you-can-eat-winter paella, Candy Cane Beet Salad, dessert and live entertainment.

This year, the restaurant is featuring two New Year’s Eve events:

  • Early Seating from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. includes a 4-course meal, champagne toast at 6 p.m. (midnight in Spain), and priority seating for flamenco dinner show, priced at $35 per person.
  • Evening Seating from 9 p.m. to close includes a 5-course meal, champagne toast at midnight, and flamenco dinner show, priced at $75 per person and $60 per child under 12.

For more information, please visit:

(Source: Tapa Toro)

Tapa Toro
8441 International Dr #260, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 226-2929

Pollo D’oro is a Latin American family owned restaurant created by two brothers and their families working together to bring you delicious and authentic flavors. Everyone at this restaurant is warm and welcoming from the time you walk through the door to ensure you the best experience they can offer.

The menu offers a number of dishes where the protein can be ordered on its own or in a meal for yourself or family portion. Meals offered include options for certain sides, while you can order other sides separately.

You can see everything behind the scenes when looking past the counter to see how your dishes are made. All meats are fresh and marinated in tropical juices and spices. Here, you can see my chicken being cooked on the grill made per order, which may take a little time before it makes it to your table to ensure freshness.

While waiting for your food, check out the sauce bar filled with delicious concoctions you can create for your palate. My favorites include the garlic sauce for fried items, while I enjoy the house sauce and pink sauce for my grilled chicken. The house sauce has nice spices, while the pink sauce is more mellow and is mayonnaise based.

With your grilled chicken, they also provide some tortilla if you’d like to create a mini taco or wrap yourself. Adds a little fun to your meal!

The Grilled Chicken was SO flavorful, moist and tender with crispy skin. The flavors are amazing and makes my mouth water starting a few hours after eating this dish. I wish I had more… if only I lived closer. The yellow rice brings its own flavors to the table and served with some vegetables mixed in.

Grilled chicken with bone-in isn’t your fancy for this meal? Try their Boneless Chicken Breast Platter, which can be served with white rice and beans like how it is pictured here. The chicken is served on fresh lettuce and tomato slices with cooked onions to top it off.  Again, the chicken is flavorful, tender and moist no matter what method it’s made and served. The beans at this restaurant is soft but not mushy, which makes a nice additional protein to your dish.

Another chicken dish not photographed (because I was too excited and ate it fast) is their Fried Chicken Wings, which is great when dipped in the garlic sauce.

If you’re not in the mood for chicken, Pollo D’oro also offers other proteins offered in platters, sandwiches or salads. However, they may suggest the chicken for your first visit because it is their bread and butter!

Sweet Plantains can be offered as a small or large side. Both options are great to share with friends and family while enjoying your meal. Growing up in South Florida, I have missed delicious sweet plantains and I’m glad I found a place can make it similar to the sweet plantains I’ve had when down south.

Before you leave, try the unique Tres Leches (3 Milk Flan) cake made in-house. It’s unique at this location with the fruit they’ve added to the cake. A little pineapple adds a new touch to the cake itself.

For a taste, stop by Pollo D’oro at 4542 Hoffner Ave, Orlando, FL 32812 or give them a call at (407) 270-4757.


  • Sunday 11a-5p
  • Monday-Saturday 11a-9p

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

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.
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.
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*
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.
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

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In a rare case of an international “fast food” franchise branching out to the US (rather than vice versa), 100 Montaditos, based out of Spain, has arrived to bring their Spanish style tapas sandwiches (known as montaditos) to Central Florida.

Located in Waterford Lakes, the “100 Montaditos” name refers to the 100 varieties of montaditos offered here. Montaditos are the Spanish tapas style finger mini sandwiches on your choice of bread (chapata (ciabatta), whole wheat, house special, or chocolate bread) with toppings such as chorizo sausage, serrano ham, manchego cheese, bbq pork, and more.

Appetizer choices include patatas bravas (potatoes in a spicy red sauce), olives, and crispy, crunchy french fries with four dipping sauces (ketchup, salsa brava and ali oli) and five varieties of salads.

The beer of choice is the imported Spanish Mahou beer (which reminds me a little of light Stella Artois), and other drinks include sangria as well as red and white wines.

On Wednesdays, everything on the menu is $1 from sandwiches to apps and drinks. It’s a great value for the budget minded college crowd nearby at UCF, as well as the local high school students – and maybe that’s why there is such a huge line out the door there Wednesdays. Everyone loves a good deal – if you don’t mind the lines.

The sandwiches overall are quite nice, especially for a quick little bite before heading over to a movie at the nearby Waterford Regal. The ingredients are nice, but I think the bread could be better. It is a good value for the price though and worth a try if you are in the area.

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100 Montaditos on Urbanspoon


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Winter Park’s mi Tomatina Paella Bar is named for Spain’s famous La Tomatina festival, where participants engage in an all-out tomato fight that soaks the streets in red. Luckily, this intimate little Spanish restaurant located in historic Hannibal Square won’t have you throwing tomatoes anywhere any time soon.

tomato dipping sauce with the house complimentary bread

The tomatoes here are sprinkled throughout the menu of paellas and tapas, starting with the tomato dipping sauce with the house complimentary bread. The décor at mi Tomatina is inspired by the Spanish artist Joan Miró, recognizable for the use of bold reds, blues, yellows, and simple shapes, with a set of paintings on the wall and colorful mosaic tiles on their tiny tables.

Joan Miró art

If you go for their paella, make sure to be ready for a wait – it takes 20-30 minutes to make these dishes. It’s worth the wait though, especially to achieve that cherished, fragrant, dark brown caramelized crust on the bottom layer of rice, called “socarrat” by the Spanish. Try their paella fabulosa, paella rice cooked with squid, octopus, mussels, clams, shrimp, and chicken, but make sure to go with a group to share the feast as it comfortably feeds 2 or more. It is a rather expensive for what it is, and I think patrons would order it more if the price was lowered to ease that pinch in the wallet.

While you’re waiting for the paella though, mi Tomatina also features a substantive menu of both hot and cold tapas dishes to go with your red or white sangria made from Spanish wines. The white sangria is made with a albarino white wine, full of fresh aromas of peach, melon, apricot and citrus with floral notes, very enjoyable.

white sangria is made with a albarino white wine

mi Tomatina is led by talented Chef José Baranenko, who has since last November taken the reins over the kitchen when previous long time Chef Nadia Yotti Ruiz left to Alabama with her family. Chef Jose had previously been sous chef under Chef Nadia and has kept many of the recipes the same but with a few touches and additions, especially in the areas of desserts – but more on that later.

Service here is wonderful and attentive, and one of the owners during my visit came by personally to say hello to my table and also other tables that evening. It was a cool summer evening and quite a few people had chosen to sit outside to enjoy the nice weather with their girlfriends and family.

Start off with the plato chico, served with manchego cheese, Serrano ham imported from Spain, morcilla, and cuts of lomo tenderloin served over olive oil. The papas bravas at mi Tomatina are a gourmet version of the more familiar homefries – roasted chunks of potatoes tossed in imported truffle oil, fresh parsley, and shaved Manchego cheese and served with a housemade tomato and pepper red dipping sauce. Although I am more accustomed to the creamy version of these tapas, the red pepper and tomato sauce brought a nice kick to the potato dish.

I also sampled some of the hearty tortilla con chorizo, a traditional Spanish egg, potato, and onion dish topped with chorizo sausage and accompanied by chive aioli and the always delicious but rather American classic, macaroni and cheese with a Spanish spin made with orecchiette pasta and manchego cheese, oven baked for a gratin finish.

Probably my most favorite item on the menu is the pato con peras, succulent pan roasted duck layered with slices of white wine poached pear and topped with a drizzle of sweet pear glaze – perfection! The way the pear and duck compliment each other and melt in your mouth is divine.

mi Tomatina’s winning dish from Taste of Winter Park this year, the Spanish sherry wine slow braised oxtail, accompanied by a delicate potato mousse and Pedro Ximenez Sherry wine reduction was sweet and savory but a little bit saltier than I remembered. The potato mousse and the oxtail went wonderfully together though.

By the time the paella is ready, served table-side, you’ll probably be ready for dessert if you overdid it with the tapas like I tend to do, and probably have to take the paella to go. Chef José Baranenko, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu here in Orlando, features a delectable dessert menu with twists on traditional dishes like the sweet in house Tarta Santiago, a crispy puff pastry with Marcona almond filling, served with almond amaretto cream reduction and an almond Florentine cookie. A wonderful, sweet ending where for one lovely evening, you are transported over the seas to a tiny cafe in Spain, mi Tomatina.

On Thursday thru Saturday evenings, mi Tomatina also hosts a festive night of live acoustic Flamenco guitar and Spanish ballads from local musicians Jose Velez and Luis Garcia.

Pato con Peras - pan roasted duck layered with slices of white wine poached pear and topped with a drizzle of sweet pear glaze

Pato con Peras – pan roasted duck layered with slices of white wine poached pear and topped with a drizzle of sweet pear glaze – absolutely a must try.

Paella Fabulosa at mi Tomatina

Paella Fabulosa at mi Tomatina

Papas Bravas with manchego cheese and red pepper tomato sauce tapas

Papas Bravas with manchego cheese and red pepper tomato sauce

Plato Chico with imported Serrano ham, manchego cheese, morcilla, and lomo with olive oil

Plato Chico with imported Serrano ham, manchego cheese, morcilla, and lomo with olive oil

Mac n Cheese

Spanish style Mac n Cheese with manchego cheese- ah-mazing!

Tortilla con Chorizo

Tortilla con Chorizo

Braised Oxtail with Potato Mousse

Braised Oxtail with Potato Mousse

Tarta Santiago - crispy puff pastry

Tarta Santiago – crispy puff pastry with Marcona almond filling, served with almond amaretto cream reduction and an almond Florentine cookie

Mi Tomatina Paella Bar on Urbanspoon

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El Bodegon Spanish Tapas and Wine
Winter Park


El Bodegon is located right off of US 17/92 / Orlando Ave / Mills Ave (it has many names), a little north of Fairbanks Ave / Aloma Ave on the right hand side. I was here this evening to join up with a friend, Annette, the once and future Elite Yelper, who had grown up here in Winter Park and was meeting up with her friends for some tapas here at El Bodegon.

At the entrance of El Bodegon stands a statue of a bullfighter in his regalia, greeting you to the large wooden doors. Inside, the feeling is like that of a restaurant in Spain, small and quaint, intimate with a soundtrack of flamenco guitar in the background.

Annette and her guests arrive and we begin our tapas feast. I debated at first whether or not to get the red wine sangria, but hey, we are at a tapas place and they were originally meant to be enjoyed with a drink after all. Our friends remark that they like the feeling here at El Bodegon much more than Ceviche’s which has a less intimate, chain-y feeling downtown.

Our server is kind and accomodating, although a little slow at times. We begin with the tortilla espanola, a large fluffy spanish style quiche made with delicious potatoes. Definitely a favorite.

We also had the patatas a la brava, boiled red bit potatoes sauté in Louisiana red hot sauce and alioli, which we enjoyed so much that we ordered it 3 times. We also ordered the tapas de la casa, which was a bit disappointing for the price ($17), which came with a few slices of ham and chorizo, manchego cheese, and a few pieces of olives. I really enjoyed the clams in tomato sauce though as well as the croquetas de jamon, Spanish ham croquettes with alioli sauce and the pimientos del piquillo rellenos, Spanish baby peppers stuffed with crab meat in romesco sauce.

CHORIZO AL BRANDY -Home made Spanish chorizo flambéed in brandy.


its on fire @_@
The infamous patatas a la brava

Overall, El Bodegon was a enjoyable restaurant though can be a bit pricey, especially if you order two pitchers of sangria with your meal. Definitely go in a group to share and taste and split dishes. The night was fun and I had a good time over the stories of old yelp battles and travelling lost stuffed animals. We ended our meal with a sweet dessert, the crema catalona, the special brulee made with cinnamon and sweet pears.

Tasty chomps rating!!!!
4 out of 5 tapas bite sized chomps!!!!

El Bodegon Tapas & Wine
(407) 628-1078
Winter Park
400 S Orlando Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789

El Bodegon Tapas & Wine on Urbanspoon

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