Universal Area

Kevin Pabis, son of local food bloggers Richard and Irina Pabis (@celebritychef4u).

We were invited to Main Event Entertainment to eat, bowl, and play!  The food offerings were all delicious!  You have to try their Skillet Mac & Cheese which consists of cavatappi pasta, grilled chicken, applewood smoked bacon, creamy blend of melted cheeses, green onions topped with CHEEZ-IT crumbs.  CHEEZ-IT are one of my life-long favorite snacks.  Throw some of its crumbs on top of a loaded-baked chicken/bacon mac & cheese and you’re golden.

Tomato Caprese Skewers – served with balsamic drizzle (these were super popular at our table, a blogger’s son said that it was his favorite dish!)

Calamari – zesty marinara sauce and fresh shaved parmesan cheese

Chicken Quesadilla – grilled chicken, jack & cheddar cheese, chipotle mayo &fresh made pico de Gallo (this was my mom’s favorite dish!)

Roast Beef Dippers– shaved roast beef, horseradish mayo, lettuce, tomato, red onion served on buttery garlic knot bun

Italian Pesto Pizza – fresh basil, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, creamy basil pesto,feta, mozzarella & provolone cheese

Assorted Dessert Bars – lemon, raspberry rhapsody, pecan chocolate chip, & caramel, oatmeal

Cinnamon Sugar Donuts – with salted caramel and raspberry sauce

A variety of gelato.

Billards.

VIP bowling lanes.

Bar area with alcoholic beverage options.

Bowling alley.

A variety of arcade games.  Everyday deal:  1/2 price games 10pm to close.

Local food bloggers Ashelyn Vazquez (@orlandomag) with her guest, and Sean (@orlandofoodguys).

Samantha (@samantheah) & Mattia Joyce Castellano (@mattia_joyce) racing on the motorcycles

Carolina Grabova (@carolinagrabova) plays a racing game for her instagram story.

My favorite game at the arcade was their zombie-killing game in the first ever roam-free virtual reality room.  I don’t have a photo of it but I do have a video clip of it on my instagram (@bytiffanynguyen). Imagine a game that doesn’t feel like a game.  Where your body is the controller and your mind believes it’s real.  It was so realistic that other attendees were seriously spooked after they finished playing!  I enjoyed playing it though and I am looking forward to coming back and playing it again.  Be sure to check out Main Event Entertainment next time you are in the I-Drive area to experience the zombie-killing game for yourself!

(Source credit: Main Event Entertainment)

Main Event Entertainment – Pointe Orlando
9101 International Dr Suite 1032, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 352-3300
mainevent.com

0 4930

I was so honored to be asked by Universal Orlando to blog for them in this special piece on unexpected eats at Universal from Islands of Adventure to Universal Studios to CityWalk. Click the link below to read all about it!

At Universal Orlando Resort, adventure is always at hand. And every wandering adventurer needs to refuel and recharge with deliciously daring food and drink.

That’s right, it’s not just smoked turkey legs any more. Thrilling action and a culinary journey into the unknown await at both Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme parks, with many foodie gems hidden in plain sight.

To uncover just that, Universal Orlando invited me to spend a couple of days seeing if I could find tantalizing tastes and hidden bites for your next epicurean expedition.

Here’s my list of my favorite, and most daring, dishes:

http://blog.universalorlando.com/inside-uor/adventure-eating/

 

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

I had the honor of attending the opening of one of the newest and most innovative restaurants here in Central Florida, Cowfish at Universal City Walk. Cowfish offers both burgers AND sushi, two very different ends of the food spectrum. However, they managed to harmoniously fuse these two foods together and form a very inventive food concept- Burgushi.

DSC00029_Fotor           The night began when the elevator doors opened and we were immediately greeted with friendly faces and even friendlier cocktails. I made my first choice with the Ruby Panther (9.5): it is as dangerous as it sounds. It did not possess any hints of alcohol, only the sweetness and slight tang of raspberries and lemonade. Another drink that stood out to me was the Bees Knees (9.5), the gin was mellow and citrusy but then you get a sweet note from the honey sitting at the bottom. It was also topped with a charming honeycomb stick.DSC00085_FotorAlthough, I believe the crowd favorite would be Buffalos and Bacon (11). The bourbon drink featured a specialty ice that melts slower than regular ice cubes due to its design and composition, allowing you time to savor the drink while snacking on the candied bacon that comes with it. Soon after, I was introduced to the Thundering Herd Bison Burger (15), which had sharp cheddar and a light kick from the chipotle aioli but calmed with a fresh avocado salsa. The burger was not over seasoned which let the true flavors of the beef come through. In a brief moment, I was caught in a whirlwind of flavors from all the dishes that were offered on the table.

DSC00074_Fotor

The Blackened Tuna Nachos (13) appetizer was probably my favorite. A rare seared blackened yellow fin tuna sat on top of a smooth avocado salsa and held together on a crispy wonton chip, garnished with microgreens. The “Prime Time” Filet & Lobster Roll (23) had fresh lobster, crisp cucumbers, pan-fried mushrooms that was accompanied by an incredibly tender rare seared filet mignon.

I also had samples of the salmon nigiri; the taste was clean and refreshing and not at all gritty like how some sushi would get from being kept in the freezer. The Taste Explosion roll (15) had juicy Angus beef topped with Roma tomato and pepper jack cheese and baked to a creamy sensation.

Aside from the scrumptious foods, the staffs at Cowfish were exceptionally helpful and welcoming. I’ve been a server at multiple restaurants for a couple of years now and it had opened me up to appreciate great service. Everyone was available to answer questions, take requests, and check up on you, which made the night all very comfortable for my friend and I.

I also had the opportunity to converse with the founders of Cowfish, Marcus Hall and Alan Springate. I saw how passionate and caring they are towards the guests who visit their restaurants. Not only were they open to discuss their creations, they were super fun and engaging- much like Cowfish. On a side note, be on the lookout for a new roll! Thanksgiving dinner will have a new whole meaning.DSC00094

Before I had a chance to taste any of this, I have to admit I was skeptical of the whole “Burgushi” idea, but after eating and enjoying every bite, I’ve come to understand that it is its own thing.

Overall, my night at Cowfish was unbelievable! The entire ambience of the opening was lively and well fitted into the theatrics of Universal City Walk. You can definitely enjoy a night of casual dinning while being offered exceptional quality and service.

6000 Universal Boulevard
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 224-2275

 

  • Cowfish Interior
    DSC00102_Fotor
  • Cowfish Tank
    DSC00107
  • Ruby PantherDSC00067
  • Buffalo and Bacon DSC00083
  • The Thundering Herd Bison Burger (mini slider version)DSC00026_Fotor
  • Blackened Tuna Nachos DSC00045
  • The “Prime Time” Filet & Lobster RollDSC00037_Fotor
  • Salmon Nigiri salmon

The Cowfish on Urbanspoon

Universal CityWalk’s newest restaurant, Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, recently opened in February 2014 – becoming the second eatery to debut as part of this year’s historic expansion to Universal’s entertainment complex.

The restaurant once was the home to Universal’s Latin Quarter restaurant, but has undergone extensive remodeling to fit the attitude and personality of the new Antojitos. I was invited recently to a preview of the new menu and to check out all the upcoming things going on at Universal CityWalk.

The name Antojitos itself means “little cravings” in Spanish, and refers to Street food in Mexico, prepared at street vendors and small traditional markets in the country.

Walking up to the restaurant, you are immediately struck by the grandeur and beauty of the art-like building. The exterior is vibrant and lively: shaped like a Mexican cathedral complete with a working bell tower, with bright, fun, painted colors splashed all over.

SONY DSC

A VW microbus has been converted to a standing bar truck, complete with a bartender inside.

SONY DSC

Drinks are a big thing here at Antojitos
Drinks are a big thing here at Antojitos, with many drinks made with celebrity’s liquors and spirits like the Handsome George, made with George Clooney’s Casamigos tequila brand

There is seating outdoor, indoors on the first floor, and upper level seating in the Antojitos “Up” area. The first floor is mostly for Mexican street food like tacos and enchiladas with a large stage area for mariachi performances while upstairs you can order more “refined” dishes with less of a cantina feeling and more intimate upscaled decor.

Downstairs at Antojitos
Downstairs at Antojitos
Bird cage like seating downstairs, overall amazing architecture and decor - a mix of traditional with urban
Bird cage like seating downstairs, overall amazing architecture and decor – a mix of traditional with urban
Luchador baby dolls...slightly creepy but funny
Luchador baby dolls…slightly creepy, but fun

Guests can choose to dine downstairs and enjoy a more casual dining experience that includes items like carnitas al pastor tacos (made with beer and chile braised pork, grilled pineapple and guajillo salsa) and oaxaca enchiladas (chicken tinga and house made mole sauce, queso fresco and lime crema).

Upstairs, guests can enjoy a more refined dining experience that includes menu options like carne asada brava (coffee crusted ribeye with fire roasted vegetables) and menonita shrimp (bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with menonita cheese, manchego corn pudding and a poblano chorizo sauce).

Diners can also watch as their fresh guacamole is prepared tableside, enjoy nightly entertainment in the restaurant, and sample a variety of specialty beverages – including authentic Mexican soda, beers, regional wines and an extensive selection of tequila and mezcal. The guacamole was a favorite of mine that evening, so fresh and delicious unlike those pre-made guacamole that you encounter around town.

Antoritas
Antoritas

The Antorita is the signature drink at Antojitos, served in a beautiful, artistic glass. It has blanco tequila, Grand Marnier, Gran Gala and fresh squeezed lime and oranges and lemon, made fresh.

Modesto Alcala, vice president of revenue operations at Universal CityWalk, told us that the drinks are all made fresh without pre-made mixers.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC
Chef Steve Jayson (Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef for Universal Parks & Resorts) wanted to make sure everything on the menu is as authentic as possible.

SONY DSC
Chef Hector (head chef for Antojitos) and Modesto Alcala, and Chef Jayson discussing the dishes and inspiration at Antojitos.

SONY DSC
Guacamole: 13.95
Freshly made tableside with avocado, lime, tomato, garlic, red onion, green olives, and cilantro.
Served with just made tortilla chips

SONY DSC
Esquites Asados: 5.95
Roasted corn, jalapeño mayonnaise, queso fresco, ancho chile, just made tortilla chips

SONY DSC
Tuna Tostada: 10.95
Napa slaw, onions, serrano chiles, toasted pumpkin seeds, lime crema, avocado

SONY DSC
Seafood Cocktail: 12.95
Shrimp and scallops with lime juice, jicama, olives, cucumber, avocados, serrano chile, and
cilantro

SONY DSC
Trio Empanadas: 8.95
Masa turnover with beef machaca, chicken tinga, wild woodland mushrooms, and three
chile sauce

SONY DSC
Menonita Shrimp: 26.95
Bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with menonita cheese, manchego corn pudding and a poblano
chorizo sauce

SONY DSC
Braised Short Ribs Jalisco: 23.95
Ancho chile broth, manchego corn pudding, peppers, chile onions, agave nectar

SONY DSC
Carne Asada Brava: 28.95
Dry-aged coffee crusted ribeye with roasted vegetables

SONY DSC
Enchiladas Oaxaca: 14.50
Chicken tinga and house made mole sauce, queso fresco, lime crema

Desserts at Antojitos
Desserts at Antojitos
Desserts at Antojitos
Desserts at Antojitos

Overall, I thought the menu was creative and interesting, though they may need a few kinks to iron out as time goes on to make it smoother.

Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food is now open nightly from 5 p.m. to midnight.

Antojitos is the newest venue to debut as part of Universal CityWalk’s historic expansion, which will include the addition of eight new venues to the complex’s already popular collection of national brands.

Other venues to join Antojitos this year include Hot Dog Hall of Fame, VIVO Italian Kitchen, Cold Stone Creamery, Menchie’s, and The CowFish. For more information about Universal CityWalk, visit: https://www.universalorlando.com.

Antojitos on Urbanspoon

1 2718

Sip, sit back, and relax in a tropical paradise with island-inspired food and a volcano flowing with margaritas.

Whether you’re looking for a laid-back or lively evening, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville is a destination that provides enough options for everyone to enjoy. Named after Jimmy Buffet’s hit song, Margaritaville is more than a restaurant, it has come to symbolize a carefree lifestyle that can be experienced in the heart of Universal Orlando CityWalk.

Thanks to the kind folks of Rockaway PR, I had the opportunity to try the new menu at Margaritaville for a media preview. The evening started with tastings from the appetizers and bites part of the menu – Grilled Shrimp Skewer, White Cheddar Cheese Curds, Beach Tacos {Carne Asada Steak & Braised Pork Carnitas}, Asiago Crab Dip, and the “Drunken” Shrimp Skillet. Accompanied with delicious drinks, the appetizers and bites kept my table happy during the first part of our dinner. The Asiago Crab Dip and “Drunken” Shrimp Skillet were table favorites and I really enjoyed the hint of tequila key lime butter in the skillet.

Diving into the main entrees…the Crispy Coconut Shrimp, Fish Tacos, Key West Fish Sandwich, and Jimmy’s Jammin’ Jambalaya is consistent with the menu’s tropical theme containing bold island flavors in each dish. Jambalaya is a dish that I have always enjoyed with such simple ingredients and savory tastes.

Be prepared to come with a big appetite because the portions are generous but leave room for dessert! What my dining friends and I were about to experience is something we have never encountered before…the Chocolate Hurricane, a sweet tooth lover’s dream. Composed of a pint of vanilla bean ice cream served with brownies, Kit Kat and Heath bars, pirouette and mini shortbread cookies, sliced banana, whipped cream and chopped macadamia nuts swirled tableside with chocolate and caramel sauces. For a more refreshing alternative, try the Key Lime Pie – the official state pie of Florida.

DSC_0402
Colorful array of margaritas and boat drinks
DSC_0412
Grilled Shrimp Skewer – Jerk-glazed shrimp dusted with sugared coconut served with pineapple
DSC_0388
White Cheddar Cheese Curds – Served with LandShark Lager BBQ and marinara
DSC_0418
Asiago Crab Dip – Lump crabmeat in a sharp asiago cheese cream served with grilled crostini
DSC_0422
Braised Pork Carnitas {Beach Tacos} – Salsa verde, cilantro and queso fresco
DSC_0424
Carne Asada Steak {Beach Tacos} – Pico de gallo, cheese and cilantro
DSC_0434
“Drunken” Shrimp Skillet – Sautéed with tequila key lime butter, roasted garlic, onions and peppers, with a mini baguette for dipping
DSC_0460
Crispy Coconut Shrimp – Jumbo shrimp crusted with coconut and fried. Served with horseradish-orange marmalade dipping sauce, french fries and cilantro lime coleslaw
DSC_0467
Crispy Coconut Shrimp
DSC_0449
Fish Tacos: Crisply fried in LandShark batter, topped with avocado, cilantro lime coleslaw and key lime crema. Served with black beans, rice and pico de gallo
DSC_0469
Key West Fish Sandwich – Panko breaded Red Grouper golden-fried, topped with sliced tomato, cilantro lime coleslaw and jalapeño tartar sauce
DSC_0480
Key West Fish Sandwich – Panko breaded Red Grouper golden-fried, topped with sliced tomato, cilantro lime coleslaw and jalapeño tartar sauce
DSC_0483
Jimmy’s Jammin’ Jambalaya – Cajun rice loaded with shrimp chicken, and Andouille sausage simmered in spicy broth
DSC_0492
Chocolate Hurricane: Vanilla bean ice cream served with brownies, Kit Kat and Heath bars, pirouette and mini shortbread cookies, sliced banana, whipped cream and chopped macadamia nuts with chocolate and caramel sauces
DSC_0506
Chocolate Hurricane
DSC_0521
Key Lime Pie: Graham cracker crust with sweet and tart key lime filling

There was never a dull moment as entertainment surrounds the room with volcano eruptions, stilt walkers, and talented balloon artists. Margaritaville, thanks for the great food and superb service!

Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville – Orlando
www.margaritavilleorlando.com/
Executive Chef: Dan Murray

6000 Universal Blvd #704, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 224-2155

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville on Urbanspoon

Chef's Spotlight

0 1310
“The world of sweets is for everybody. No matter your taste, you can always find something on the dessert menu that will make you...

Featured Articles

0 130
The Glass Knife opened just a few months ago and is already popular among the "ladies who lunch" of Winter Park. They've learned from...