Steak

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

What is Magical Dining Month?

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

Choice of Appetizer

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


Caesar Salad – Romaine, Parmesan cheese, garlic croutons

Cup of the Soup of the Day – Manhattan Clam Chowder

Choice of Entrèe


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

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

Filet Mignon – served with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus

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

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

Choice of Dessert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Choice of Appetizer

Steak Tartare – capers, egg, shallot, toast

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

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

Choice of Entrèe

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

Black Grouper – chana masala, cucumber raita

Pork Porterhouse upgrade

Choice of Dessert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guacamole – Roasted corn relish, naan chips, Parmesan cheese

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

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

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

Plancha Mojito – Barcardi, Prosecco, lime, mint

Virgin Orange Blossom Mojito

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

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

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

Espresso

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

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

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

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“All steaks need a certain size of thickness” – Chef Jens

We were invited to Darden Restaurants headquarters to experience Grill Master training first hand from LongHorn Steakhouse’s Executive Chef team in their test kitchen.  We met with Executive Chefs Jens Dahlmann, Michael Senich and Joshua Evans and they gave us all our own chef’s coat to wear (and keep!) and then demonstrated how to make a great tasting steak at LongHorn Steakhouse.  Afterwords we enjoyed some freshly grilled steaks and corn, deliciously bold seasoned wings and Wild West shrimp.  We also got to meet LongHorn Steakhouse President Todd Burrowes to learn more about LongHorn Steakhouse’s third annual Steak Master Series competition that was happening the next day at the same spot we were training at. The third annual Steak Master Series, which awards cash prizes totaling over $200,000, celebrates LongHorn Steakhouse’s commitment to craftsmanship on the grill.

The Steak Master Series is an epic culinary competition where their top-performing grilling experts compete for title of national champion.  More than 5,000 Grill Masters from all across the nation were invited to participate this year.  The seven finalists – including a Central Florida Grill Master from the Sanford restaurant – competed for the championship title this past Thursday in the LongHorn Steakhouse test kitchen at Darden Restaurants headquarters.

This year’s Steak Master Series winner was Michelle Cerveny.  She was the first woman to win the Steak Master Series for LongHorn Steakhouse!  Kim Markley was the second place winner, and our local guy, Juan Sacramento from the LongHorn in Sanford, received third place.  He is officially one of the top 3 Grill Masters for LongHorn from across the country!

Michelle, Juan and all of this year’s finalists will be manning the GRILL US Hotline this upcoming Wednesday, July 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST! Call 1-855-LH-GRILL (544-7455) to talk to them directly. These knowledgeable LongHorn Steakhouse Grill Masters will be happy to answer any of your recipe or grilling questions!


John from Longhorn Steakhouse marketing with Longhorn Steakhouse President Todd Burrowes

Executive Chefs Michael Senich, Joshua Evans and Jens Dahlmann listening closely to President Todd Burrowes speak

My very first chef’s coat

Chef Jens going over all the different types of steaks

The judging criteria at the Steak Masters Series

Chef Michael demonstrating how to make a great tasting steak. Tip #1: Always overseason

Tip #2: Season one way, top to bottom

Tip #3: Always cook from the back first.  That is the hottest part so it cooks the fastest

Chef Joshua manning the grill

Baked potato

Wild west shrimp – freshly breaded to order

Boldy seasoned wings

Delicious sliced steak.  LongHorn Steakhouse always applies a finishing sauce on all of their steaks for moisture

Fire-grilled corn

Thank you LongHorn Steakhouse for the awesome gift bag!!

(Source credit: LongHorn Steakhouse)

For more information, please visit https://www.longhornsteakhouse.com/events/steak-master-series

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

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

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

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

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

Crab Cakes – Spicy aioli, cucumber relish

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

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

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


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

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

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

 

Frank Sinatra impersonator.  He sounded exactly like him!

The kiddie pool is shaped like a guitar

The Elvis impersonator got the crowd rocking the entire night!

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

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

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

(Source credit: Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach)

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

Pork Ramen – Bean sprouts, menma, mayu, beni shoga, hard boiled egg, tonkotsu broth, scallion

We were invited to Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi to check out their new Unlimited Izakaya Lunch, available every Sunday from 11am – 2:30pm.  Reservations are required – call (407) 370-3359 to reserve your spot.

Adults: $39.00
Children (5-12): $19
Under 5: FREE

All-You-Can-Drink Mimosa, Cucumber Infused Bloody Mary, Saké Sangria: $15 per person

Virgin Sangria

Hand Roll & Nigiri Sushi Station – Your choice of: Tuna, Yellowtail, Salmon, White Fish

Steam Bun & Carving Station

White Fish Bun – Japanese tartar sauce, lettuce, tomato

Roasted Garlic Herb Strip Loin – Shiso pesto and Japanese horseradish

Gyoza – Pork dumplings, la-yu soy vinegar

Japanese Slider – Beef burger on fresh baked bun, shies, fried shallots, cabbage, tomato, honey wasabi mayo

Chicken Katsudon – Egg, onions, carrot, scallion, togarashi

Crispy Shrimp – Candied walnuts, jalapeño, cilantro, garlic yuzu mousseline

Takoyaki (Octopus Fritters) – Octopus, Japanese mayo, takoyaki sauce, aonori, bonito flakes, beni shoga

Curry Rice – Pork, carrots, potato

Robata Grilled Vegetables – Corn, turnips, baby carrots

Tuna, White Fish, Salmon

Build Your Own Poké

Dessert-of-the-day – Brownie Cake and Passion Fruit Tart

Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi
7972 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 370-3359
http://dragonflyrestaurants.com/orlando-florida/

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

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

My mom & I in the resort lobby.

The clean and spacious bar.

Breathtaking landscape views from the restaurant’s dining area.

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


Complimentary Bread & Butter

Crispy Calamari – Chorizo, Pickled Chiles, Broiled Lime

Sherried Onion Soup – Gruyere, Sourdough Crostini

Baseball Sirloin – Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus

Cedar Planked Salmon

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée – Fresh Seasonal Fruit Compote

Raspberry Cheesecake – Garden Berry Coulis

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

(Source credit: Eleven)

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

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

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

Steak Hibachi

Salmon Carpaccio

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

Miso Soup and Ginger Salad

Spicy Maguro Sunshine

Salmon Hibachi

Urban Poke Bowl

Volcano Roll

Bainstorm Roll

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

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

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

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

Not only is May National BBQ Month, it is also the kick-off month of Sonny’s BBQ 50th Anniversary.  Join Pitmaster Bryan Mroczka and his team for a month packed of Wayback Wednesday deals and special offers for Mother’s Day and Memorial Day Weekend.

Wayback Wednesday deals – available for dine-in only.

•  Wednesday, May 2 – $0.50 salad bar or $0.50 draft beer (limit three per guest) with entree purchase*
•  Wednesday, May 9 – $5.99 All-You-Can-Eat Chicken*
•  Wednesday, May 16 – 50% off Signature Pork favorites (Pulled or Sliced Pork Dinners, Baskets, and St. Louis Rib Dinners)
•  Wednesday, May 23 – $6.99 St. Louis Rib Dinners
•  Wednesday, May 30 – $5 Original Sliced Pork Big Deal, no substitutions

Mother’s Day and Memorial Day – available at selection locations.  Check with your local Sonny’s BBQ for the specials they will be offering for Mother’s Day and Memorial Day Weekend.

•  Mother’s Day, May 13 – All moms who dine at Sonny’s on Mother’s Day will receive a free meal voucher for their next visit between May 14-June 3, 2018**
•  Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-28 – $29.99 Meal Deal for four with a whole chicken, pound of Pulled or Sliced Pork, three pint-sized Sidekicks and choice of bread; add up to four drinks for just $1 each

**Voucher includes (1) free entrée with the purchase of another entrée that is of equal or greater value up to $15. Excludes All-You-Can-Eat. Valid at participating locations only.

Pictures below from our most recent media dine:

Fried Okra – A deep-fried Southern favorite. Fresh okra, chopped, breaded and fried to a crisp.

Redneck Egg Rolls – Loaded with Pulled Pork, homemade coleslaw and Pepper Jack cheese with a side of smokey Ranch dip.

Sonny’s Sampler – Pulled Pork, Sliced Brisket, 1/4 BBQ Chicken and Sweet & Smokey St. Louis Ribs, Potato Salad.

Sonny’s Steakburger – original Steakburger, topped with Cheddar, Swiss or American Cheese and served on a fresh toasted bun with a side of fries.

Be sure to check out a Sonny’s BBQ near you this month for some delicious classic barbecue, unbelievable Wayback Wednesday deals, and Mother’s Day and Memorial Day Weekend specials!

(Source credit: Sonny’s BBQ)

Sonny’s BBQ – Winter Park
3390 University Blvd, Winter Park, FL 32792
(407) 671-2002
http://sonnysbbq.com

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Side of fried okra.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dry aged New York strip – certified Angus beef prime, textures of sunchoke, petit vegetables, ghost block-huckleberry reduction, black summer truffles.  It was divine!

We were invited to the inaugural Wine & Dine Chef’s Table at American Kitchen Bar & Grill.  This intimate night was dedicated to showcasing the chef’s creativity and talent through an elegant four course tasting menu prepared and served by Executive Chef Venoy Rogers III.  We also had a Certified Sommelier Daniel Castillo taking us through a journey of fine wine pairings.

American Kitchen Bar & Grill is a rustic-chic eatery offering New American eats using a farm-to-table concept.  They source local and sustainable product whenever possible and grow their own greens and herbs as well.  Their menu is a melting pot of multiple influences and techniques with an artisan approach.

We really enjoyed our experience and food at the inaugural Inaugural Wine & Dine Chef’s Table.  We look forward to more Wine & Dine Chef’s Tables in the near future and we hope you give them a try soon.  They are worth checking out and I heard from many people that their Duck Fat Fries are amazing!


The living garden where they harvest all their greens and herbs used that are used to create their signature dishes.


Amuse bouche – foie gras donut.


Certified angus beef tartare – local organic quail egg, capers, Florida citrus, spent grain croutons, cured lake meadows natural egg yolk, garlic flowers, Dijon.

This dish was amazing and it blew my mind.  Tartare is usually prepared cyclindar but this one was rectangular and it was a game changer.


Heirloom beets and local goat cheese – whipped turtle creek goat cheese, beet soil, pistachio, spent grain, wild hibiscus, sunflower-poppy seed vinaigrette.

Ak s’mores – chocolate-espresso cremeux, ancho chile marshmallow, cinnamon, served with coffee.

This dessert was inspired by a camp fire.  It really did make me long for being cozied up at a real camp fire with a cup of coffee in one hand and and cooked s’mores in the other.

Michael D. Allen – manager and amazing host.


The talented Executive Chef Venoy Rogers III.


Left to right:

Tara Ifill (manager), Khabeer (our kind and gracious server), Alicia (marketing), Molly Meeker (sales maanger), Daniel Castillo (certified sommelier).


Daniel Castillo – our engaging and interactive certified sommelier.


Many thanks to the American Kitchen Bar & Grill crew for hosting us and their superior hospitality!  We felt like family!  Be sure to check them out soon next time you are in the Disney Springs area!

American Kitchen Bar & Grill
1905 Hotel Plaza Blvd, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
(407) 827-3080
http://americankitchenbarandgrill.com

Photos by: Terrence M. Gross

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

Dessert – Sakura and Peach Bavarian with Sakura Gelato

Our talented pastry chef


Cheers to our wonderful host, Sommelier – Eric Bandauski.

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

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

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

(Source credit: Morimoto Asia)

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

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

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

Interior of P205

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source credit: Streamsong Resort)

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

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

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If I had to choose one restaurant to eat at every day for the rest of my life it would be: Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House.  My first visit was a five-star experience with top-notch service and high-quality food in an astonishing environment.  The whole experience felt divine, like I was dining in Heaven, a place I did not deserve to be at, but I was there.

To clear up any confusion, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House has one location in Orlando, FL.  They are no longer operating in their original location off Lee Road and have relocated in 2015 to their newest location on International Drive, directly across from Pointe Orlando.   They also recently released their biggest menu relaunch so now is the perfect time for all my readers to check out their newest location and experience their unforgettable food and impeccable service for yourselves.  Below are a few pictures from my breathtaking experience at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House from when I was invited to taste their newest menu additions prepared by Executive Chef Greg Thompson.  I hope you enjoy my post!

By The Glass (BTG) Wine Additions
• La Marca Prosecco
• Taittinger Brut Champagne
• Pierre Sparr Cremant Rosé Brut
• Scott Family Estate “Dijon Clone” Chardonnay
• Cakebread Napa Valley Chardonnay
• Castello Banfi “San Angelo” Pinot Grigio
• Benziger Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc
• Love Block Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
• Del Frisco’s Private Reserve Cabernet
• Luke Wahluke Slope, WA Cabernet
• Scattered Peaks “DFDE Exclusive” Cabernet
• Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot
• Ben Marco Malbec
• Hahn “SLH” Santa Barbara Pinot Noir
• Gothic “Nevermore” Pinot Noir
• Enroute “Les Pommiers” by Far Niente Pinot Noir
• Volpaia Chianti Classico
• Campo Viejo “Reserva” Rioja
• Axios 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Sapphire Bramble – Bombay Sapphire | Domaine de Canton | Lemon | Blackberry | Basil | San Pellegrino Limonata

Old Fashioned Forty-Six – Maker’s Mark 46 | Earl Grey Tea Syrup | Earl Grey Bitters

Cocktail Additions
• Añejo Old Fashioned
• Bacon & Barrel
• Blood Orange Manhattan
• Elixir
• Harvest Manhattan
• Honey Comb Spritz
• Old Fashioned Forty-Six
• Plum Rosé
• Sapphire Bramble
• Sidecar a là Poire
• Traditional Negroni

Chilled Alaskan King Crab Legs, Iced Jumbo Shrimp, Chilled Crab Claws, & Hand-Selected Moonstone Oyster from Point Judith Pond, Rhode Island

Charred Octopus – Gigante Beans, Tomatoes, Olives, Capers, Lemon & Cold-Pressed Olive Oil

King Salmon – Simply Prepared Fresh Fish Finished With Himalayan Sea Salt – High In Omega-3 Fatty Acid,  Healthy And Delicious!

45 Day Dry Aged Double Bone Prime Ribeye “The Double Eagle” – 16 oz.

45 Day Dry Aged Prime Ribeye – 16 oz.

14 Day Dry Aged Colorado Prime Lamb – 16 oz.

From left to right:
• 45 Day Dry Aged Prime Ribeye
• Brussels Sprouts – Smoked Bacon, Caramelized Onions & Lemon Butter
• Grilled Asparagus with Romesco Sauce
• 14 Day Dry Aged Colorado Prime Lamb
• Spaghetti Squash Gratin – Parmesan Cream & Roasted Pistachio
• Uptown Del’s Potatoe – Melted Fontina, Chives & Shaved Truffle
• 45 Day Dry Aged Double Bone Prime Ribeye “The Double Eagle”

Butter Cake – Butter Pecan Ice Cream, Fresh Whipped Cream & Caramel Sauce

Warm Banana Bread Pudding – Caramel Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream (Award-winning!)

Lemon Cake – Six Layers, Lemon Buttercream Icing & Lemon Glaze

Chocolate Mousse – Salted Caramel Chocolate Fudge & Miniature Chocolate Cookies

Menu Additions
• 45 Day Dry Aged Double Bone Prime Ribeye “The Double Eagle”
• 45 Day Dry Aged Prime Ribeye
• 45 Day Dry Aged Prime Strip
• 14 Day Dry Aged Colorado Prime Lamb
• Charred Octopus
• Chilled Shrimp Tasting
• Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras
• Seared Rare Wagyu Beef Carpaccio
• Creamed Corn with Blistered Shishito Peppers
• Grilled Asparagus with Romesco Sauce
• Spaghetti Squash Gratin
• Uptown Del’s Potato
• Simply Prepared Halibut
• Simply Prepared Salmon
• Simply Prepared Scallops
• Jalapeño-Bacon Burger (Texas stores only)
• Chocolate Mousse

The Veranda Room upstairs can be reserved for a cocktail event or any special event –  you name it, the sky is the limit.


Be sure to check out the new location and menu at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House soon!

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House
9150 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 351-5074
http://delfriscos.com

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MAKE YOUR EVENT UNFORGETTABLE
CUSTOM MENUS – STAFFING – EVENT RENTALS – BAR AND BEVERAGE

We were excited to be the first food blogger to be invited to check out the Cocktail Catering facility to learn more about what their catering company is all about and also enjoy a nice lunch prepared by the talented Chef Sharon.  I enjoyed everything that she prepared for us!  Really wish I had more of Chef Sharon’s steak in my life!

Appetizer – Strawberry and walnut salad
Entrée – Sirloin, Cilantro Lime Rice, Corn

Dessert – Brownie, chocolate chip cookie, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, strawberries

Food tastings are available to clients.  If you are not satisfied with your initial food tasting, you just tell them what you want to change, they will tweak it, and you come back for a second tasting.  Tastings are free.

Cocktails Catering is a “Best of Orlando” catering company for 2017 and many previous years.  They are a scratch kitchen that prepares countless dishes from Caribbean food to Indian food and everything in between.   They also take pride in their delicious signature cocktails and appetizers.  They service in Orlando, Tampa, & St. Augustine area.  From their award winning catering to their event rentals, they can help you with every detail for any event.

Linen appointments are available to help you paint a picture of your event and get your ideas flowing.  You are more than welcome to bring your own decor to your linen appointment to help visualize your table setup.  Rosetta fabrics and table runners are also available.

From galas, corporate events, quinceañeras – they do all types of events so they have a variety of plates to choose from.

Decorated television panels that play a slideshow during your event


Glamorous cake by Sprinkles Custom Cakes

They are currently running an offer of $20 off any service if you leave an initial review on Google, Wedding Wire, or The Knot and $5 off for any review after that.  They also have a booking incentive of a FREE sangaria station for your next event.

Be sure to check out Cocktails Catering soon for any of your upcoming events!

Cocktails Catering
9640 Boggy Creek Rd. #5
Orlando, FL 32824
(407) 446-2878
www.cocktailscatering.com

Summer time fun has officially started for many and STK: Orlando is supplying all the flavor to the fun!

STK: Orlando is located in the heart of the revamped Disney Spring’s surrounded by dozens of shops that will work up an appetite or help you work off a big brunch.

We started our “Sunday Funday” with some signature drinks 

On the left we have the Cucumber Stiletto: ketel one citroen, st. germain, muddled cucumber, mint.  Beautifully crafted cocktail that’s light and refreshing. On the right, is a brunch inspired cocktail the Frose: Chilled sparking Rose with a scoop of raspberry sorbet.  A lighthearted drink that gives you a celebratory sensation.

The Hangover Ceviche: Shrimp – mussels – crab – octopus – jalapeños house made clamato. 
Hair of the dog:
Don Julio Silver Tequila $8 / Vidal Mezcal $8 / Belvedere Vodka $8
We were recommended the Vidal Mezcal for the smoky flavors in the liquor that would aid in provoking flavors out of the dish. However, I found the Mezcal in the ceviche a little overpowering and boozy leaving the palate with little flavors to enjoy.

But! The Cinnamon Monkey Bread was a delight! It was fluffy and doughy with the perfect amount of cream cheese icing.

Fried Chicken & Funnel Cake: sriracha honey – lime – burnt onion powdered sugar
A carnival twist on a classic brunch item with a nice touch of spice.

Dry-Aged Delmonico: boneless ribeye – with generous marbling decadent & tender.  We topped the steak off with some truffle butter as well. The steak was done wonderfully and how we had asked for it to be prepared, while not being over seasoned or over cooked.

We didn’t have much room for a hefty dessert so we went with Mini Ice Cream Cone Sampler. It was adorable and helped us cool down from Florida’s Heat.

Overall, STK:Orlando is a very chic and upbeat environment. The staff is also amazing and courteous!

Address: Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Springs, 1580 Buena Vista Dr, Orlando, FL 32830
Phone: (407) 917-7440

 

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Offering prime steak, fresh seafood and top of the line hospitality, Del Frisco’s Orlando is an exceptional steakhouse, and one of the newest additions to the restaurants on International Drive.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House features an impressive, diverse wine list of more than 1,200 labels,  including a number of notable verticals from both old and new world producers.

With two floors that include two bars, four private dining rooms and a picturesque patio, Del Frisco’s Orlando boasts over 400 seats.

The restaurant’s price point is closer to probably better for those with an expense account or for a special occasion, but the dishes from the succulent lobster tails and lobster mac and cheese  to the juicy ribeye steaks. Leave room for dessert – the crispy on the caramelized outside, pillowy soft on the inside butter cake with butter pecan ice cream is really one of the best desserts in Orlando.

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Executive Chef Greg Thompson spoke with us recently about Del Frisco’s and his background in cooking.

He tells us, “Del Frisco’s commitment to quality, in everything we do makes us stand apart. From the staff to the ingredients and the restaurant standards we hold, we embrace this commitment to quality each day.”

What are some of the most popular items at Del Frisco’s here in Orlando?
The Crab Cake, for sure. It’s one of the best I’ve ever had! Also, of course the Bone In Filet!

How did you get your start in cooking? Where were you before Del Frisco’s?
I love to eat! I was always fascinated by the metamorphosis of ingredients into magnificent food; almost like alchemy. I am a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, and I worked in NYC for a long time before a stint in Charlotte, NC (both are great food towns). I have traveled around the world opening up steakhouses in locales like Beijing, Shanghai, and Mexico City as well as the lower 48 states and Canada.

What is your favorite childhood food to eat?
Ice cream! It’s still my favorite food, to this day.

If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life from Del Frisco’s – what would that one thing be?
Definitely the Butter Cake!

What were some of your favorite eats while traveling the world?
The Chicken Thigh Sliders at Blue Frog in Shanghai, and also anything at Da Dong in Beijing! I also really love Tacos “al pastor” in Mexico City.

What is your favorite thing to eat at home after a long day?
A really good deli sandwich piled high with all the “fixings”

Take an inside look at Del Frisco’s:

Private Rooms available
Private Rooms available

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House baked bread
House baked bread
Classic Caeser Salad  - $9.5
Classic Caeser Salad – $9.5
Crab Cake with Cajun Lobster Sauce - $19
Crab Cake with Cajun Lobster Sauce – $19
Thick Cut Bacon Au Poivre Bourbon Molasses Glaze - $14.5
Thick Cut Bacon Au Poivre
Bourbon Molasses Glaze – $14.5

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Broiled Lobster Tail Carved tableside & served with drawn butter & lemon.
Broiled Lobster Tail
Carved tableside & served with drawn butter & lemon.
Bone-In Prime Ribeye 22 oz. - $59
Bone-In Prime Ribeye 22 oz. – $59

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Seared Chilean Sea Bass Crab Fried Rice & Black Bean Garlic Sauce - $44
Seared Chilean Sea Bass
Crab Fried Rice & Black Bean Garlic Sauce – $44
Lobster Macaroni & Cheese - $16.5
Lobster Macaroni & Cheese – $16.5
Buttercake Butter Pecan Ice Cream, Fresh Whipped Cream & Caramel Sauce - $12
Buttercake
Butter Pecan Ice Cream, Fresh Whipped Cream & Caramel Sauce – $12

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

and

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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.

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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.

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

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By Martin Balderama

Presented by Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster
Featuring Dick Waters of PALM RIDGE RESERVE &
Paul Twyford of WINTER PARK DISTILLING CO.

Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster, formerly Del Frisco’s, invited us to a unique private dinner with bourbon and whiskey pairings. A night marked with top of the line menu items, accented and enhanced with samples from two local distilleries Palm Ridge Reserve and Winter Park Distilling Company, and cocktails prepared by one of Christner’s top bartender and mixologist.

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The night kicked off with thinly sliced baked chips with creamy blue cheese and avocado dressing for dipping and paired samples of Palm Ridge’s Palm Ridge White Whiskey and Winter Park Distilling Company’s Bear Gully Classic Corn Whiskey. The thought of white whiskey may put off many but the smooth and surprisingly edgy flavor is definitely recommended. The oily chips paired with the white whiskey pairing was a wonderful starter private room event.

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As our group sipped and dipped, owners Dick and Marti Waters of Palm Ridge and Paul Tywood of Winter Park Distilling Company displayed their knowledge in bourbon and whiskey. They described the careful distilling process, gave us a brief impression of whiskey’s lush history spanning from Kentucky to Scotland, and illustrated how Central Florida of all places provided a great opportunity for such a distinct and unique spirit to be produced in.

Next up was a pair of stimulating dishes, lightly done sesame seared tuna and full classic lettuce wedge salad. The seared tuna came generously enclosed in nutty sesame seeds was rich yet remarkable in its flavor. One can describe the lettuce wedge, sprinkled with blue cheese crumbles and bits of bacon, as the perfect link to the tuna. Combined with the classic sweet and slightly bitter Sazerac, professionally mixed with Palm Ridge’s Palm Ridge Rye by Dan our bartender, made the course brilliant.

Continuing soon after was one of Christner’s favorite, the 16 oz USDA Prime Ribeye. The perfectly grilled and nicely seasoned steak came along with Broccoli Au Gratin & Chateau Potatoes side dishes. The ribeye arrived medium rare and the two dishes both hearty and enchanting. Dan then mixed versions of two traditional whiskey cocktails, a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned, while providing a brief history of the two. Each cocktail blended with the two local distilleries’ reserve whiskeys. The main course helped everyone in the room become both full and pleased.

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Dinner ended with Crème Brulee and coffee as desserts and a last pairing of the two distilleries’ bourbon whiskey. Not many may think that deserts and whiskey go together but one will be surprised in the taste of the sweet and smooth vanilla custard of the crème brulee mixed with bourbon’s equally charming spiciness. It is something to be experienced for sure.

The event was overall entertaining, informative, and wonderfully done. Filled with perfectly crafted cocktails, expertly prepared dishes, and memorable stories from hosts and guests alike.

Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster’s intimate setting proves to be the ideal venue for such an occasion.

Let’s not forget the superb job that the two special guests did in presenting their two distilleries, Palm Ridge Reserve and Winter Park Distillery Co.

by Kris Doan

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The first course started off with baked potato slices with a side of avocado and bleu cheese dressings, which definitely prepped our stomachs for the numerous drinks we were to have that night, these chips were paired with Palm Ridge’s White Whiskey and Winter Park’s Bear Gully Classic Corn Whiskey. Though I most note I am still developing my “finer” or “grown up” palette in regards to liquor I must say that both samples were quite smooth and bold. It was then I realized that we were in for a memorable night with new experiences.

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Our potato slices were then followed by an appetizer, lettuce wedges topped with bacon, blue cheese, and the house dressing, which was very appetizing. Going with the lettuce wedge approach allowed to minimize the mess I typically make when it comes to salads. This salad was paired with a sazerac a drink that is made from whiskey and bitters as well as seared tuna which complimented the salad and drink quite well. The blue cheese within the salad mellowing out the bitter taste of our cocktail.

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For the main course we were given Christener’s USDA Prime Ribeye steaked, cooked to a perfect medium rare and fairly seasoned. This was coupled with Brocolli au Gratin and Chateau Potatoes all of which combined together kept our hunger satisfied with its hearty flavor. This course was paired with a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned, by which this point I was satisfied with the amount of drinks that I had, in my defense this night I wasn’t in the mood for drinks, however I still sampled all the drinks all of which were of the highest quality.

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The last course of the night was dessert to which we were given an amazing creme brule as well as coffee which was honestly a bad idea because I could not sleep that night. However the creme brule was amazing, creamy, with hints of vanilla, I must say I am not much of a dessert person, but the dish was amazing and though I was full by this point the dessert was gone in a matter of seconds.

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Overall the night was amazing, me being perhaps the youngest person in the room I must say that this was an experience that I will remember for days to come, I learned so much about the hard work and dedication that both Dick and Marty from Palm Ridge and Paul from Winter Park Distilling put into their products, putting out high quality products in the state of Florida to which one may describe them as pioneers within their craft in Florida.

I got the chance to meet amazing individuals who explained to me the trends in the industry as well as learn how to make various cocktails that I was not aware of.

It gave me an appreciation for finer liquor, and it will be a night that I will always remember.

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Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster Restaurant on Lee Road is Orlando’s quintessential steakhouse. Formerly Del Frisco’s, the restaurant is darkly lit with wood overtones and a decidedly clubby, intimate old school feel. Probably not many interior upgrades since the 1990s, but here it’s all about the classics: steaks.

The menu is emphasizes steak and lobster tail, with a salmon and a few shrimp and pasta dishes, plentiful sides like lobster mac and cheese and creamy spinach, soups, and salads. Lobster tail, luscious and fresh, carved tableside, is a luxurious add-on option to your steak. From prime ribeye to filet mignon and porterhouse cooked in butter, Christner’s has your carnal cravings covered.

On a recent visit, for a friend’s birthday, I ordered the Beef Wellington and was very impressed. Beef Wellington is a preparation of filet steak coated with pâté, a pate of butter, mushrooms and black pepper here at Christner’s, which is then wrapped in puff pastry and baked – flaky and delicious.

If you are lucky, you might find master magician Kostya Kimlat and his merry friends roaming the halls and entertaining guests with their craft.

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House baked bread

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A porterhouse – 20 oz. – with cold tail lobster tail

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Carved table side.

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A happy camper

SONY DSCNew York Strip Steak

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Beef Wellington – perfectly cooked

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Mr. Kostya Kimlat delighting the table guests

Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster
christnersprimesteakandlobster.com/
729 Lee Road, Orlando, FL 32810, United States
(407) 645-4443

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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

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Corn and Rice sides
Corn and Rice sides

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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 orlan-reservations@hyatt.com

Hemisphere Steak & Seafood 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.

peterbrooke

Photo Credit: Unique Michael

 

Marshmallows

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. 

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Photo Credit: Wondermade 

 

Steak

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.

Steak

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.

Shrimp

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.

cheese

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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It’s rare these days to experience something that truly fills you with wonder and awe, but magician Kostya Kimlat’s entertaining magic act at Christner’s does just that.

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Once a month on Saturday evenings at the legendary Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster (formerly Del Frisco’s), Mr. Kostya Kimlat and his friends perform during a four-course dinner magic show in a private parlor environment.

The Ukraine-born magician, based in Orlando, performs and teaches magic around the world and has been named the Orlando Magic’s “Official Magician.”

Kostya Kimlat, the Magical Entertainer
Kostya Kimlat, the Magical Entertainer

Christner’s is, of course, one of Orlando’s oldest and most esteemed steakhouses, built over the years with a dedication to fine dining and great service by the Christner family. Steaks here are prime-aged, corn-fed and are cut fresh to order.

Kostya Kimlat and his team of magicians blew me away by their artistry and skill during a recent 90-minute magic show presented between dinner courses. The final act, literally a spine tingling experience, left me speechless … you just have to see it to understand what I mean.

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The event takes place in a private parlor room towards the back of the restaurant, beginning with a plate of bread, house salad, and jumbo shrimp appetizer. Dinner entrees include a choice of 6oz Filet, 12oz Strip or 12oz Salmon with fresh grilled asparagus & chateau potatoes – some of the creamy, buttery, mashed potatoes in Orlando – followed by dessert and coffee or tea, with entertaining, and awe-inspiring magic performances between each course.

The dinner shows at Christner’s are usually once a month, the last Saturday of the month, $118.00 (Tax and tip included) per person, starting promptly at 7:00pm and lasting till about 9:30pm. For schedule and tickets, please visit MagicShowOrlando.com

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Christner's Prime Steak & Lobster on Urbanspoon

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For those not willing to shell out $100s of dollars every night of the week, steak lovers with a budget can rejoice with a more cost efficient (read cheap) option.

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse offers a very reasonably priced happy hour with appetizers and drinks for $7 till 6:30PM, Mondays thru Fridays

Drinks

Classic Cosmo
Pomegranate Martini
Ruth’s Manhattan
Moscow Mule
Rocks Rita
select wine & beer

Appetizers/Dishes
USDA Prime Burger with Fries
Honey Soy Marinated Tenderloin Skewer Salad
Crab BLT with Zucchini Fries
Spruce PointTM Smoked Salmon, lemon creme fraiche, capers, herbed flatbread crisps
Steak Sandwich with Fries, sliced filet prepared with bearnaise sauce
Seared Ahi Tuna
Spicy Lobster, lightly fried and tossed in a cream sauce

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Rocks Rita

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Steak Sandwich with Fries, sliced filet prepared with bearnaise sauce

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USDA Prime Burger with Fries

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USDA Prime Burger with Fries

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USDA Prime Burger with Fries

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Honey Soy Marinated Tenderloin Skewer Sala

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Seared Ahi Tuna

Ruth's Chris Steak House on Urbanspoon

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Located in the historic Kress building (once housing the “five and dime” retail department store), Kres Chophouse is a swanky, classy restaurant and one of the best in the downtown Orlando area.

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Inside, the lighting is dim and tall red velvet backed booths line the walls like something out of a 1950s downtown night club lounge.

The place is nice for a fancy “romantic” date night out before hitting the clubs and lounges nearby in downtown Orlando. Service is good, not perfect, but fine.

In addition to the decor, the menu is also reminiscent of a classic gentleman’s steakhouse or club, with such mainstays as shrimp cocktail, filet Diane, and oysters Rockefeller.  The menu is pricey but the quality and ambiance warrants a high tab, I suppose.

For our appetizer, we chose the Mediterranean Seafood Cocktail, consisting of shrimp, octopus, squid, and other nicely chilled seafood items in a martini-glass like cup. It was nice, but not sufficiently memorable. What was memorable, however, were their steaks and namesake “chops”.

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I ordered the Kres Mixed Grill, a huge plate of garlic shrimp, tender filet mignon and double lamb chops, served with a side of asparagus and three cheese au gratin. The filet was fantastic as were the lamb chops, very tender and flavorful, perfectly cooked.

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Kres Chophouse’ Atlantic Cobia

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Banana Ice cream sundae dessert

 

Kres Chophouse on Urbanspoon

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