Tags Posts tagged with "featured"

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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 their first missteps and have continued to refine their processes – for example, a more prominent sign guiding new customers to the counters to take their orders.

The bakery/restaurant/cafe was developed by local entrepreneur Steve Brown, as a way to share his memories of baking alongside his mother, Jacque, who was a fond collector of Depression-era glass cake knives.


The culinary team is led by Executive Chef Stuart Whitfield, who has worked for Four Seasons, Le Cirque, David Burke & Donatella, and The Walt Disney Company.

The Glass Knife’s Spring debut lineup includes: new macarons, lemon and chocolate tarts, artisanal flatbreads, their newest doughnut, the PB&J, and their newest pastry, the Coconut Blackberry.

I enjoyed the PB&J donut, but the Coconut Blackberry was my favorite. An outstanding pastry with complex textures from crunchy to soft to sweet and citrusy – quite delicious.


Mediterranean Flatbread
Sweet fig butter, goat cheese, Neuske’s Applewood-smoked bacon and caramelized onions topped with arugula, shredded Gruyere cheese and finished with a mission fig balsamic drizzle and lemon creme fraiche


The PB&J
Filled with layers of the Glass Knife’s own peanut butter cream and tangy raspberry jam, touched with a vibrant purple, hibiscus glaze and topped with peanut butter stripes and golden, house-made peanut brittle


Coconut Blackberry
Intricate layers of aromatic blackberry pate de fruit, coconut dacquoise and zesty yuzu jam enveloped in a lush coconut mousse atop a buttery shortbread base finished with blackberry cream, touches of fresh blackberries, coconut, microgreens and edible 23-karat gold leaf.

 

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Black Bee Honey is a non-profit business founded by the youth in the Parramore Kidz Zone program. The business started with the dream of providing youth an opportunity to learn firsthand entrepreneurship skills while simultaneously enriching the lives of their community members by providing raw honey.

This start-up business, run by PKZ youth, will offer high quality honey for sale at the Parramore Farmers Market while providing work related educational and entrepreneurial experiences, further developing the youth of the Parramore Community into future workforce leaders.

Black Bee Honey comes from Dadant & Sons in High Springs, FL, one of the top businesses in the beekeeping field. PKZ are selling six different kinds of honey, including:

Wildflower
Saw Palmetto
Gallberry
Sourwood
Orange Blosom
Tupelo

Once the raw honey is purchased from Dadant and Sons, PKZ Inc. employees jar and label the honey at the Dr. J.B. Callahan Neighborhood Center in Parramore. The honey will be sold at a booth during the Parramore Farmers Market for $12.

BLACK BEE HONEY MISSION

The mission of Black Bee Honey is to provide Parramore youth an opportunity to operate and manage their own business while simultaneously providing the residents of the greater Orlando area high quality, nutritional, honey. These simultaneous provisions introduces an intangible wealth into the community by investing in underserved youth who will later invest in the community.

The mission stands on four pillars: Ethics, Education, Community, and Wellness.

These core values help communicate who we are and provide everyone here at Black Bee Honey with a sense of purpose and meaning to guide their work. We strive to have the highest possible ethical and moral standards for ourselves as we honor our commitment to serving our customers and our community.

Black Bee Honey isn’t just about how healthy our products are. It’s also about creating a healthy community, physically, socially, and economically.

Parramore Kidz Zone Youth Employment Program has created PKZ Inc. as an entrepreneurial enterprise. PKZ Inc. will function as a learning tool by giving students in the Parramore area a chance to start their own business. Their first venture is Black Bee Honey.

When and how did this program begin?
The PKZ Black Bee Honey program started in 2017 before the official opening of the Parramore Farmers Market. Students looking to learn entrepreneurial skills spent months before the farmers market debut working on a business plan, attending an online business course and developing marketing tools. When the market opened in January 2018, students shifted into sales and customer service, attending the market each Saturday to sell their product.

How is it impacting the community now?
The program has inspired the youth involved on an entrepreneurial level, demonstrating that it’s possible and obtainable to start a business, while also contributing to a larger picture issue – in this case, food deserts in our community.

What are some things students learn from the program?
Students are learning entrepreneurial skills relating to operating a business, including understanding profits, sales and management.

How can the community get involved and help?
Support PKZ by visiting the Parramore Farmers Market each Saturday! For a full schedule, visit: http://www.cityoforlando.net/economic/parramore-farmers-market/.

For more info, visit: http://www.cityoforlando.net/parramorekidzzone/black-bee-honey/

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Scenes from this month’s fabulous wine dinner presented by Chef Huy Tin at Seito Sushi Baldwin Park featuring Talley Vineyards wines! Delicious from start to finish!

Menu
Seafood Chawanmushi steamed egg custard with key west pink shrimp, pacific oyster, ikura, white tosa
Wines from Talley Vineyard
Sunomono salad – kyurizuke, salted european cucumbers, sea beans uni marinated scallop, octopus, white ponzu
Seafood Pasta – Homemade noodles, uni, mentaiko, ossetra aviar

Moriawase nigiri
Mushroom Gyoza with foie gras, shiitake and oyster mushroom and porcini dashi
Duck – Tokyo Turnips, chicken liver mousse, rillete of confit leg with asian pear compote
Hanger steak – rainbow carrots, purple osaka mustard greens, miso parsnip puree, five spice chocolate demi glace
Rice Pudding – mochi, dragon fruit, coconut ice cream, sesame cookie

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by Sarah Bolandi

Foxtail Coffee owners have officially announced the grand opening date for Foxtail Farmhouse (Instagram | Website) to be on Saturday, February 10th.

Doors will open at 8 a.m.–midnight; more specifically the sliding barn door that connects Foxtail Coffee to the new adjoining Farmhouse space. These will be the set hours for Farmhouse with the connecting door closing off Foxtail Coffee at 10 p.m. daily.

The long-awaited expansion aims to bring more seating to the adjacent flagship location of the local coffee shop. In addition to more space, Farmhouse boasts a siphon bar, a silo coffee bean bar, craft cocktails on tap, local bites and four new “experiential” coffee items.

Partners Alex Tchekmeian and Iain Yeakle, the brains behind Foxtail Coffee (Facebook Website) say that the Farmhouse features the world’s largest coffee siphon bar, equipped with 14 individual burners.

As a continuation of their existing partnership, DoveCote will manage the majority of their food items, inclusive of vegetarian and vegan-friendly recipes. Next to fresh bites and sandwiches, Farmhouse will feature items from local bakeries, Valhalla and Bluebird Bake Shop as well as Macaw! Foods.

Complementing the enhanced menu, guests can also enjoy wines, ciders, and bubbly options, all curated with the help of DoveCote and Courtesy Bar owner, Gene Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s craft cocktail inspirations are in the same spirit of his downtown speakeasy.

As for the experiential items, guests can find unique coffee-infused picks like a Shakerado and the Deconstructed Latté.

“The Farmhouse closes off completely for private events but still connects to Foxtail Coffee. This allows us to have private events [at the Farmhouse] and still have Foxtail Coffee open.”-Alex

Unlike any of their other locations, the Farmhouse will also cater to the after-hours crowd. Directly mirroring the coffee wall will be a wine bar featuring local wines, coffee and wine pairings as well as other specialty cocktails.

Foxtail Farmhouse is located next door to sister space Foxtail Coffee at 1282 Orange Avenue in Winter Park [GMap].

Here is a FIRST LOOK inside the gorgeous new Foxtail Farmhouse:

 

 

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It’s time again to cast your ballot for the best in Central Florida dining in Orlando Magazine’s Dining Awards 2018 Readers’ Choice Ballot! Poll Closes Feb 1!

Voting closes on February 1st, so the next two weeks is crucial to get your vote in. Bonus: a voter will be selected at random and win a dinner for two!

People can vote on their favorites or nominate restaurants. Winners will be revealed in the May Dining Issue, and celebrated at a private ceremony with a plaque and rowdy round of applause.

Make sure to vote LOCAL!!!!

Vote Here:
http://www.orlandomagazine.com/Orlando-Magazine/December-2017/Dining-Awards-2018-Readers-Choice-Ballot/

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“Where the Locals Eat”

Known as one of the best places for breakfast in Jacksonville, winning multiple accolades, Metro Diner has finally expanded further into the Orlando area near the always brunch-happy UCF area in East Orlando. The first Central Florida is in Altamonte Springs.

Founded in Jacksonville in 1992, over 25 years ago, Metro Diner specializes in breakfast specials and comfort diner food and was recently featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” on the Food Network. Let the flavor town train roll on!

On a recent visit, the place was packed with local professionals in from the cold on their lunch breaks. People love breakfast and brunch in Orlando and there seems to be more and more options each day.

I ordered their signature Fried Chicken and Waffle – the fried chicken was nice and crispy, but the waffle was the real star – light and fluffy yet also with a nice crisp. The strawberry butter was also a wonderful touch to this sweet and savory dish.


Fried Chicken & Waffle $15.49
Half a fried chicken and a Belgian waffle, topped with powdered sugar and sweet, strawberry butter. Served with their special honey tabasco, sweet and spicy sauce.


Metro Diner
11650 University Blvd
Orlando, FL 32817
https://metrodiner.com/locations/florida/orlando-university/

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Winter, brief it may be, has arrived to Central Florida with the latest frosty blasts covering most of our region this past week.

The Spanish-inspired Bulla Gastrobar has recently debuted their Winter Menu, featuring savory, hearty dishes that will certainly warm any foodie’s appetite this winter.

Here is the menu:

Sabores de Invierno
Winter Menu

Padrones Rellenos $8 – Shishito peppers stuffed with Mahon cheese, encrusted with panko crumbs and a spicy tomato dipping sauce

Caldo Gallego $8 – Galician Soup, White beans, pork shank, chorizo, kale

Piquillos a la Vizcaina $11 – Ground beef and pork stuffed piquillo peppers, bechamel sauce, black currants

Lechon Asado $23 – Slow Roasted Pig, Pork Demi, Panadera Potatoes

Chuletas de Cordero $23 – Lamb Chops, Honey Beer Reduction, Kale, Potato Foam

Some of my favorites from the menu included the:

Padrones rellenos, crunchy panko crusted, stuffed shisito peppers filled with mahon cheese – each bite oozes with warm cheese – perfect.

The Piquillos a la Vizcaina, stuffed piquillo peppers were both savory and sweet – savory from the ground beef and pork and bechamel cheese sauce but also a touch of sweetness from the black currant reduction and nutty sliced almonds.

If you are a fan of lamb chops, try the chuletas de cordero – subtly sweet from honey reduction, it’s a hearty dish with delicate potato foam and crispy kale.

My absolute favorite on the menu is the lechon asado, thrice cooked slow roasted pig with a pork demi sauce and panadera potatoes – thick and juicy, the pork just melts in your mouth with the crispy pork skin is a fantastic treat.

The menu lasts all winter until March so visit soon!

Bulla Gastrobar
110 S Orlando Ave #7, Winter Park, FL 32789
bullagastrobar.com

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Had a truly delicious lunch today at Sticky Rice Lao Street Food!

Located on the first floor of Bikkuri in Mills 50, the owners of Sticky Rice has transformed the small restaurant into something resembling an outdoor Laotian night market stall with dark ceilings and low, wooden tables.

The menu is very affordable with most dishes ranging from $4 to $5, perfect sizes for sharing over Laotian beers with friends if one chooses. You’d be tempted to order the whole menu. It reminded me of places my uncles would go to enjoy grilled meats and beers (they serve BeerLao here!) late into the night growing up.

Alot of the food had flavors that reminded me of my childhood, though Vietnam is a neighbor of Laos there are some similarities as well as differences in the cuisine. I loved the char on the grilled chicken wings seasoned in fish sauce and sugar, and the crispy pork rice lettuce wrap which had little crunchy bits and pieces of roast pork.

chicken laab
papaya salad – spicy!
cucumber salad – also spicy!
grilled wings
crispy rice with pork

It’s important to note that the sticky rice order is meant to be eaten with other dishes such as the pork sausages or beef jerky rather than alone – making a perfect combo of carbs and meat. They also had a delicious noodle soup that reminded me of Vietnamese banh canh or udon noodle soup called khao piek sen.

Beef jerky

khao piek sen noodle soup

Another favorite was the pork tapioca dumplings, sticky chewy white balls of tapioca stuffed with crispy pork and garlic!

pork tapioca dumplings

Save room for dessert like the sweet pandan jelly in coconut milk, mango sticky rice, and coconut gelato on purple sticky rice served inside bamboo. We dunked our sticky rice in the sweet coconut milk for that extra sweetness.

Overall very impressed by the food and the authenticity of flavors at Sticky Rice – definitely will bring my family back here to try.

Go soon and with friends and enjoy Orlando’s first and only Laotian street food restaurant!

They are open 11:30am to 10:00pm daily.

Sticky Rice Lao Street Food
1915 East Colonial Drive
Orlando, Florida
https://www.facebook.com/pg/StickyRiceStreetFood

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In a world where the customer is always right, is it no wonder that the chipotle style concept where guests get to customize and choose their own ingredients has become more and more popular?

Located in far flung Oviedo/Winter Springs – at the southwest intersection of Tuscawilla and Red Bug Lake – is Big Kahuna’s Island Style Bowl. It’s a chipotlified version of a poke joint where you can order your various raw fish topped with items such as avocado, fried onion chips, mango,  and more all on top of rice and a drizzle of sauce. They slice their fish fresh daily just like they do in the islands and it shows in the taste of the bowl. It’s a small place but the freshness in poke fish is critical for obvious reasons and in this regard Big Kahuna shines.

Make sure to save room for the insane $6 Pineapple Dole Whip Float, it’s essentially a pineapple soft serve paradise served inside a pineapple. Don’t worry they give you straws and spoons so you can dig at it.

Big Kahuna’s Island Style Bowl
1450 Tuskawilla Rd #108 · (407) 543-3700
http://www.bigkahunasbowls.com/

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Mai’s Bistro is a new fast casual restaurant that has opened up in Orlando’s Mills 50 District, specializing in Vietnamese street food such as banh mi, Vietnamese sticky rice, and banh cuon rice crepes. They bake their own bread and sweets and make everything in house.

On a recent visit, I loved their banh cuon rice crepes and their variety of both sweet and savory Vietnamese sticky rice (xoi). You could get bbq roast pork, chinese sausage, or shredded chicken for savory sticky rice and jackfruit for sweet sticky rice. They bake their bread from scratch on site and their grilled pork banh mi is one of the best i have had. Their staff was very friendly and hospitable. Will try again soon and update!

Mai’s Bistro in Mills 50
830 E Colonial Dr A, Orlando, FL 32803
Menu: maibistrousa.com
Phone: (407) 730-8538

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Pizzeria Roberti can be found tucked in a small corner on the east side of Orlando, off of Curry Ford and Chicksaw Trail.

Here you will find one of the best pizzas in Orlando – from the crispy, tasty house-fermented crust to the house-made mozzarella cheese, Pizzeria Roberti is the real deal.

Joseph Roberti, owner and chef of Pizzeria Roberti, takes a lot of pride in his work and it shows through the quality of the food here.

Roberti tells us, “Our pizza on the surface is a New York Style Pizza, but underneath it is much more complex than that. In reality it is a combination of Artisan style pizza, Neapolitan style pizza, and traditional New York style pizza.”

“Our dough is made from cultivated yeast produced in house similar to the production of artisan sourdough breads (Artisan characteristic). Our sauce is made from San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy and less than a handful of all fresh ingredients (Neapolitan characteristic). We bake our pies in a traditional bakers pride pizza oven (New York characteristic), but we cook them at a high heat between 550 and 575 degrees Fahrenheit (similar to a Neapolitan characteristic). Our cheese is a combination whole milk and part-skim Grande Mozzarella (New York characteristic).”

Specialty – Breakfast Pizza – topped with egg, chives, ham, bacon, cheese

“Every ingredient of our specialty pies is produced in house. Our specialty slice pies are often garnished to order not unlike a dish coming out of a high end restaurant. And that is just the pizzas. We also have beer, wine, salads (all dressings made in house), subs, appetizers (such as our homemade fresh mozzarella), pastas (all sauces made in house), and vast catering menu. We are off to a great start in developing our concept and look forward to continually evolve as we grow.

Panko Crusted Mozzarella “Sticks”

“As a kid my father used to take me to a local pizza shop a few days a week and the cooks used to teach me little things here and there. By the age of 8 or 9 I made my first slice pie. Fast forward a bit to 14, I was now living in Orlando, Fl, and about to start high school. I was looking to get started in my cooking career and I got my shot at a neighborhood pizzeria & bar. I started as a prep cook, then learned the hot line, then pizza station, and even serving from time to time.”

Brined and Fried Chicken Wings with Garlic, Parmesan Cheese – Divine

“I liked my job but had ambitions for more, I wanted to pursue a career as a professional chef. As soon as I got my license I took a job on I-drive as a dishwasher in a much bigger and more known restaurant. It was a step backward, but it was also a foot in the door with a successful brand. Fast forward again about 3 years, I worked at few spots around Orlando, most notably the Citrus Club under chef Scott Haegele, and went to culinary school.”

“Upon graduating culinary school I decided to go back to New York to learn how to transition from a cook to a chef. I got my shot, this time with accomplished chef Hung Huynh who took me under his wing, trained me, and gave me the exposure and opportunity to work with many great culinarians.”

“Fast Forward another 4 years, I’m living in Miami, at this point a chef myself running various kitchens. In 2015 I created a company “Motion Hospitality Group” as a hospitality consulting business, with the intention of one day opening a place of my own. Fast Forward to today where Motion Hospitality Group currently owns and operates its first restaurant concept: “Pizzeria Roberti”.”

What are your first childhood food memories?

One of my first memories with food was when I was around 5 or 6, my parents weren’t home and my brother was watching me. He must have fallen asleep or something, and I made an apple omelet. The first thing I have ever cooked by my memory.

What are some of your favorite dishes at Pizzeria Roberti?

My favorite dishes at the pizzeria are the pesto & margherita pizzas, chicken marsala with farfalle pasta, and the pizza dough zeppoles.

What do you like to cook for “comfort food” at home with your family?

My Favorite thing to eat at home is Mom’s Lasagna.

Housemade meatballs – tender, braised, crisp on the outside

The Sauce

“Our pizza sauce consists of a combination of San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy and all fresh ingredients including fresh herbs and garlic. San Marzano tomatoes are known for their natural sweetness and low acidity.”

The Dough

“Our dough is made in house with our specially cultivated yeast, which is fermented on premise. This is an important characteristic of our dough because it creates a more robust flavor and the natural fermentation of our dough, makes it healthier and more digestible.”

Zeppoli

Pizzeria Roberti
Address: 2751 S Chickasaw Trail Suite 107, Orlando, FL 32829
https://pizzeriaroberti.com

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On Monday, Dec. 11, K Restaurant launched their first, monthly, Yappy Hour. To inaugurate this series of tail-wagging fun they have partnered with Woof Orlando from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Orlando locals are invited to bring their furry four-legged friends out and enjoy free spent-grain dog treats made from local breweries and enter-to-win two raffles with prizes including gift certificates for a free grooming.

We were able to experience what “Doggie chaperones” can expect when it comes to tongue-in-cheek Yappy Hour dishes from Chef Ryan McLaughlin as well as drink specials as K Restaurant is excited to share that they just received their full liquor license.

Crispy Pig Ears are fried with dates pepper hot sauce and herbs. The pig ears are sliced thinly to make them crispy like a chip. They are lightly salted and delicious with or without the hot sauce. Be careful, the hot sauce is thick and has a major kick to it.

“Pawsta” is fried ravioli with ricotta filling. Served on marinara with pecorino cheese and herbs. The fried version of ravioli is very airy like a puff pastry. Each ingredient subtly blends well together upon the palate.

“Milk Bones” are veal bone marrow bones with charred bread and radishes. The bone marrow is very smooth and works well with the bread and radishes. The charred bread adds a saltiness to each bite. We almost ordered a second round of this dish!

The Cosmo-paw-litan (left) is made with vodka, orange shrubb, lime, and cranberry juice. A simple drink to socialize with. The Snoop Dog (right) was our favorite out of these two. The Snoop Dog is made with gin and pineapple juice; it is like a tropical version of a Screwdriver.

Since we were still slightly hungry after all the samplings, we ordered the Ricotta Gnocchi off the main menu, which changes up from time to time so you can come back to try new items all the time. The Ricotta Gnocchi is made with duck confit, butternut squash, garden greens, brussel sprouts, and sage veloute. Everything is made in-house and as fresh as possible for each order. Our specific plate was a tad more salty than I would prefer, but the dish is still delicious nonetheless.

The Ricotta Gnocchi was paired nicely with a 2014 Carmenere made in Valle Del Maule, Chile. This wine has a smooth and solid flavor with notes of spices, black cherry and blackberries.

For more information, visit the K Restaurant & Wine Bar Event Page.

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Chef Trina Gregory-Propst is amazing.  She was the one who recommended my family’s restaurant, Saigon Noodle and Grill – Bumby to the Food Network producers when they asked her if she knew of any good Vietnamese restaurants in Orlando to be featured on an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”.  My family had no idea that Triple D was coming to our city (for the first time ever) so we did not expect to be contacted by them, however, when they reached out to us we knew that it was truly a blessing sent from God.  We accepted the offer to film an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” and it has changed our lives for the better.  We are now recognized worldwide and we have met so many loyal Triple D fans from all across the world.  Chef Trina’s restaurant SE7EN BITES was featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Drives” and both of our restaurants are located in the Milk District, so we are actually neighbors.  What an honor it is to put our city and district on the Triple D map with Chef Trina.  My family cannot thank her enough for what she has done for our small restaraunt business.  We are so grateful for her and her awesome wife’s friendship!

Chef’s Night is an evening at the food bank featuring some of Central Florida’s best chefs and cuisine, all to benefit their Darden Foundation Community Kitchen’s Culinary Training Program.  The Culinary Training Program provides qualified, at-risk and economically disadvantaged adults with the culinary and life skills training needed to pursue a sustainable career in the food industry.  When you support Chef’s Night, you are helping to change lives, and help pull your neighbors in need out of poverty.

SE7EN BITES specializes in nostalgic southern comfort food with a modern twist.  Chef Trina has loved to bake since her Grammy first introduced her to baking when she was a child.  Grammy helped develop Trina’s love for all things sweet.  Add in a professional culinary education, talent and passion and the result is a great recipe for local Orlando Goodness.  Chef Trina created a 5-course “Brinner” menu, a delicious combination of breakfast served at dinner.  Special thanks to SYSCO for donating all of the food to Chef’s Night to make the event a success.


Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bar

Deviled eggs with candied bacon (best deviled eggs that I have ever had in my life!)

Pimento Cheese Biscuit bites with sweet red pepper butter (so yummy!)

Appetizer Course – Fried grit cake with tomato jam, Andouille and dressed Arugula

Salad Course – Citrus Pistachio Salad

Main Course – Colonel Marmalade in the Kitchen with a Knife.  Biscuit stacked with Pimento Cheese, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, over medium egg, sausage gravy and finished with a dollop of Orange Blossom Marmalade (so delicious!)

Dessert Course – Cinnamon Roll Sundae Grammies, Cinnamon Roll topped with Vanilla Ice Cream Espresso Maple Caramel, Garnished with Milk & Salted Caramel Crumble

Chef Trina with her awesome wife, Va Propst.

The talented Se7en Bites staff

This lovely lady just got hired by Chef Trina to work at her restaurant, SE7EN BITES!  Big congratulations!!  (P.S. – She looks familiar.  I think we went to high school together.  So cool!)

Follow @themichaeljavier on instagram – he’s a cool dude, I want his charisma!

If you missed out this year, be sure to join us at the next Chef’s Table at Second Harvest Food Bank!  Details will be posted on their website so keep an eye out for it.

(Source credit: Second Harvest Food Bank)

Second Harvest Food Bank
411 Mercy Drive Orlando, FL 32805
(407) 295-1066
feedhopenow.org

Se7en Bites
617 N Primrose Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 203-0727
se7enbites.com

 

At Yuki Hana they provide guests with a beautiful, modern dining experience and the freshest, most flavorful Japanese dishes around.  From innovative sushi featuring fresh fish from the world’s finest markets to flavorful fusion dishes prepared with locally sourced veggies and herbs, every plate on their menu is fun, flavorful, and a new adventure.  No matter the occasion, they are always more than happy to welcome you in and treat you to an unforgettable evening of bites and sips.  Visit them and experience the finest in Japanese cuisine all under one roof.

Every season Yuki Hana hosts a special dinner showcasing their chef’s creativity and talent.  We were invited to their Chef’s Multi-Course Tasting Event and as always, we were impressed with how creative and well thought-out each dish was.  Not only did the food look good but it also tasted delicious as well.  Each dish that came out was like an exciting surprise, we were all blown out of the water with their innovation, presentation and quality.  Yuki Hana Fusion Sushi exceeded our expectations with every dish that they delivered that night.  They are like food scientists, they know their stuff, they are creative, and they just keep getting better and better.  You can tell that each dish was hand made with hard work, love and intention.


Begin – Butterfly Pea Crystal, Citrus Sake


Appetizer – Amuse-Bouche, Squash Dumpling

1st Course – Cape Cod Oyster, Wasabi Foam, Cocktail Pearl, Lemon Confit

2nd Course – Shima Aji, Wasabi Asparagus, Kombu Chip, Crispy Garlic, Ume Ponzu

3rd Course – Nigiri Tasting
Mussel (mussel puree, garlic chip)

Hamachi Tartare (tobiko, cured egg snow)

Tuna (tare, avocado)


Kohada (charred negi vin)

Break – Frozen White Chocolate Lychee Gusher

4th Course – Seared Shiromi, Cabbage Menage, Bacon Seaweed, Dashi Aioli (My favorite!)

5th Course – Roasted Beef, Oxtail Croquette, Pickled Pumpkin, Sweet Potato Sphere, Roasted Leek, Honey Soy (my second favorite!)

Dessert – Persimmon 5.0, Gelato, Compressed, Gel, Meringue, Soup (it was delicious!)

Special thanks to owner Ping Jiang and her talented staff for their hospitality and amazing food!  Be sure to check out Yuki Hana Fusion Sushi soon, you won’t regret it!

Albert DeSue – Executive Chef
Steven Phan – Head Sushi Chef
Edwardo Mena – Sous Chef
Lance Herbas – Sushi Chef
Steven Chang – Sushi Chef

(Cover photo and last photo taken by Quay Hu)

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

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Don’t walk, run.  Epcot is hosting its inaugural International Festival of Holidays now through December 30th.  It is a great event packed with seasonal food and beverage specialties, festive merchandise, and live entertainment only being offered exclusively during the festival.

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is a festival like no other, featuring the joyous holiday traditions of their 11 World Showcase nations.  Enjoy unique food and beverage offerings at the expanded Holiday Kitchens abound – with a festive global tour as costumed performers bring time-honored traditions to life throughout World Showcase!

We toured the new Festive Center which includes the “Cookie Nook” and other festival goodies.  Cookie Nook is the brand new & biggest feature at Odyssey.  Cookie Nook has already sold over 10,000 cookies since it opened last week.

Make your own FREE snowflake ornament at the Festive Center (same building as Cookie Nook) and take it home with you or hang it on the mini Christmas tree.

Lunch time!  All food items for the festival are distinctly different to celebrate different traditional food from different regions.

Bavaria Holiday Kitchen, Germany – Cheese Fondue In a Bread Bowl with Fresh Steamed Baby Vegetables and Marble Potatoes featuring Melissa’s Produce

Yukon Holiday Kitchen, Canada – Seared Salmon with Crown Royal Maple Whiskey Glaze, Parsnip Silk, Apple Chutney and Hazelnut Croquant

Traditional French Canadian Tourtiere with Canadian Ketchup

American Holiday Table – Slow-roasted Turkey with Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans and Cranberry Sauce

Feast of Three Kings – Roasted Pork with Smashed Yuca and Pickled Green Bananas

Thank you Epcot for the generous goodie bags!

Rockin’ the festive Disney ears with my celebrity friend and Disney expert, Lou Mongello.

The festival includes merchandise that you cannot find anywhere in the world, exclusive to Disney, and some for only this park – like artisan Reinhard Herzog, who creates personalized glass-blown ornaments at the Holiday Market.

Festival gear and exclusive Annual Passholder t-shirt (middle).

Explore the Festival – We encourage you to enjoy some of the cultural entertainment throughout World Showcase at your leisure including:

Sigrid Meets Julenissen The Christmas Gnome (Norway) – Celebrate the season with laugher, as the unsuspecting storyteller Sigrid encounters Julenissen, a magical, mischievous gnome.

El Mariachi Coco de Santa Cecilia (Mexico) – Inspired by the Disney•Pixar film “Coco” and the celebration of Dia de Muertos.

Mostly Kosher (Between Morocco and France) – Capture the joy of Hanukkah and Klezmer music with this unique, high-energy indie band.

Joyful: A Celebration of the Season (Fountain View Stage) – The ‘JOYFUL!’  singers celebrate two holidays of the season— Christmas and Kwanzaa—with spirited, uplifting R&B, Pop and soul-stirring renditions of classic holiday music.

Voices of Liberty (American Adventure Rotunda) – Embrace the spirit of the season with the festive a cappella holiday music of the Dickens Carolers.

Candlelight Processional at America Gardens Theatre – A joyous retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator, accompanied by a 5-piece orchestra and a glorious massed choir.  The celebrity narrator that evening was actress/comedienne Ana Gasteyer from but not limited to: Saturday Night Live and Mean Girls.

NARRATORS

  • Nov. 24- 26 – Laurie Hernandez – NEW!
  • Nov. 27-28 – Matt Bomer – NEW!
  • Nov. 29 – 30 – Ana Gasteyer
  • Dec. 1-3 – Whoopi Goldberg
  • Dec. 4-5 – Pat Sajak – NEW!
  • Dec. 6-8 – Jodi Benson
  • Dec. 9-11 – Kurt Russell – NEW!
  • Dec. 12-14 – Warwick Davis – NEW!
  • Dec. 15-17 – Trace Adkins
  • Dec. 18-21 – Neil Patrick Harris
  • Dec. 22-24 – CCH Pounder – NEW!
  • Dec. 25-27 – Jaci Velasquez
  • Dec. 28-30 – Chandra Wilson

Festival of the Holidays version of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.  The World Showcase Promenade comes alive nightly with the brilliance and splendor of music, lights, lasers, water fountains and custom pyrotechnics.  With the song “Let There Be Peace on Earth” at its center, this special musical finale brings the message of peace and goodwill.

I am going to wrap this up like a gift!  Be sure to check out the inaugural Epcot International Festival of the Holidays before it ends on December 30th, you don’t want to miss this!

(Source credit: Walt Disney World)

Epcot
200 Epcot Center Dr, Orlando, FL 32821
(407) 939-5277
https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/holiday-festival/

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We may have found our new favorite hang out location. Orange County Brewers open industrial design features exposed brick walls, wood accents, a beautiful Florida-themed mural and customized ceiling design, long tables/group interior seating and outdoor seating via patios in the front and rear of the brewery.

Inside or out, it is pet friendly so bring your furry four-legged puppers!

In addition to regular food and drink service, OCB will offer tours, and Brewmaster Amanda will organize multiple group activities that will involve education for anyone who would like to learn more about beer. OCB beers will also be distributed via City Beverages.

Led by Head Brewer Amanda Roberts, the brightly-colored, 3,400 square-foot facility located on the corner of Orange Avenue and Jefferson Street, will brew a variety of different styles of beer, including Ales, Lagers, Pilsner, Stouts, IPAs, Hefeweizen and Porters.

Whether you are a beer lover or not, you’ll end up finding a beer at OCB that you will love with the help of Amanda and her beer-loving family. Order a flight to try a number of beers or go big with a full glass! Also, OCB offer a wide selection of wine if that tickles your fancy.

Orange County Brewers will include a full service craft pizza kitchen with a wood-burning oven called “Orlando Pizza and Wing Co.” serving pizza, wings, salads and sandwiches.

These wings…are brilliant. From the time OCB open, they start to smoke their wings. The skin is wonderfully crispy while the meat is tender and juicy.

Try the wings with some sauces. Our favorite sauces include: Classic Buffalo, Strawberry Jalapeño and Pineapple Habanero. The Classic Buffalo is our #1 choice; keep in mind that not all buffalo sauces are delicious, but this is excellent. The Strawberry Jalapeño is very fresh and we believe it will taste great with salads too. The Pineapple Habanero is unique and delicious with a slight kick at the end.

The Mac & Cheese Pizza is creamy and savory. with a chewy, yet crispy crust. It was the first time I tried a Mac & Cheese Pizza and this was not a let down.

The Tree Hugger Pizza is full of flavors and textures. The goat cheese makes the pizza different from others and it is quite different. This is a healthier choice when choosing a pizza.

Orange County Brewers is located at 131 North Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801.

Hours of Operation

  • Sunday thru Wednesday 11:30am-12am
  • Thursday thru Saturday 11:30am-2am

Happy Hour

  • 4pm-7pm

For more information, call 407-914-2831 or visit www.theocbrewers.com and www.facebook.com/orangecountybrewers.

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The Glass Knife finally opens this Friday November 10th from 7am to 10pm at 276 S Orlando Ave, Winter Park, FL , right across the way from Hillstone Restaurant.

The café was developed by local entrepreneur Steve Brown, as a way to share his memories of baking alongside his mother, Jacque.

The culinary team is led by Executive Chef Stuart Whitfield, who has worked for Four Seasons, Le Cirque, David Burke & Donatella, and The Walt Disney Company.

The Glass Knife is named in honor of Brown’s mother, who was a fond collector of Depression-era glass cake knives.

From classic cakes to craft coffee (from Onyx Coffee Lab) to artisanal doughnuts and savory dishes like avocado egg toast, The Glass Knife is sure to please. My favorite was the red velvet cake, silky smooth and sumptuous, and definitely one of the best red velvet cakes I have ever had.

Here is a sneak peek inside The Glass Knife:

 

From The Glass Knife:

The Glass Knife is inspired by a loving mother and hobbyist baker whose talents transformed her culinary passion into a creative profession. Fostered through a collection of family and friends, the recipes shared during these time-honored baking sessions are the nostalgic basis for what will come to life within The Glass Knife.

The café was developed by local entrepreneur Steve Brown, as a way to share his memories of baking alongside his mother, Jacque, and his vision to establish a sophisticated, yet comfortable community gathering place that encourages togetherness and celebration. The location’s design will tell a story that brings its guests back to a specific moment in time, whether through the delicious cakes and pastries, savory faire or the artfully displayed collection of 1920s era glass cake knives which were a treasured collection of Brown’s mother and serve as the origin of its name.

Under the direction and deft hand of Executive Chef Stuart Whitfield, who has worked for some of the country’s premiere hospitality brands (Four Seasons, Le Cirque, David Burke & Donatella, The Walt Disney Company), The Glass Knife plans to make its mark on Orlando’s ever-evolving dining scene by providing its guests with world-class food and service, presented within a refined, yet approachable, environment.

The Glass Knife will offer a variety of stunningly delicious cake options including its Classics, which will embrace timeless family favorites like Red Velvet, Carrot and Coconut cakes, all with Chef Stuart’s modern twist. The Glass Knife Signatures will be created as one-of-a-kind, patisserie-style cakes, that will bring a refined selection of celebratory sweets to Winter Park. Chef Stuart will craft a lineup of artisanal donuts including melt-in-your-mouth versions of Lemon Meringue Pie and Peanut Butter Cup. A variety of additional fresh baked goods and pastries including scones, croissants, and cookies will also be featured.

Recognizing that nothing goes better with dessert than a great cup of coffee and setting the stage to become Winter Park’s premier coffee destination, The Glass Knife will use carefully sourced, fair-trade beans prepared by expert baristas within a unique and engaging serving experience that will utilize stylish and sophisticated technology.

Those looking to combine both sweet and savory will not be disappointed by the café’s offerings, which will include breakfast fare along with soup, salads and sandwiches, plus heartier choices like chicken pot pie alongside a selection of craft beer and fine wine.

“Our cuisine will focus on seasonal, responsibly and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, that will evoke familiar family recipes handed down over time, but created with our culinary team’s unique twist and presentation,” said Chef Stuart. “While we hesitate to call ourselves a bakery, as we will deliver a more complete dining experience, we do envision that our elevated line of cakes, pastries and baked goods will stand on their own.”

The nearly 3,000-square-foot café will include both indoor seating and a covered patio with surroundings inspired by an English garden. The exterior, with its black, gold and pink motif, will conjure up the image of a pastry box, just waiting to be opened. The interior will showcase the founder’s inspiration for a place where the past meets the present, with clean lines, terrazzo floors and intricate attention to detail.

“It is our vision to bring a truly unique experience to Winter Park with a standout offering that features the perfect combination of sweet and savory,” said Brown. “Whether it’s where you start your morning, close out your evening or celebrate a special moment with family and friends, our hope is for The Glass Knife to be as familiar and welcoming as mom’s own kitchen table.”

The Glass Knife, coming to Winter Park this Fall, is bringing elegant decadence to new heights with the introduction of its Signature Cakes collection.

These modern, patisserie-style desserts – hand-crafted by Chef Stuart and team – are known as “entremets.” The Glass Knife’s entremets feature layers of velvety mousse, delicate cake and luxurious fillings, forming a harmonious mix of indulgent flavors and unexpected textures.

Each Signature Cake boasts a unique flavor profile and is finished with The Glass Knife’s signature golden touch (hi-res images are available for download here):

Florida Citrus: Intricate layers of soft and airy yellow sponge cake, zesty orange marmalade, delicate orange blossom-scented pistachio dacquoise, and aromatic orange pâte de fruit enveloped in lush white chocolate mousse finished in a vibrant orange hue with a dusting of gold luster, white chocolate crisp pearls and an edible 23-karat gold-leafed orange slice.

Chocolate Truffle: Tiers of luxurious single origin dark chocolate mousse, silky dark chocolate ganache and smooth chocolate biscuit encased in a gleaming cocoa and gold luster glaçage, adorned with an opulent chocolate lotus flower and truffles.

Berry St. Honoré: Fluffy strawberry cake intertwined with bright raspberry pâte de fruit, zesty lemon curd and house-made strawberry jam veiled in a light vanilla bean white chocolate mousse topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, our signature chocolate curl and subtle golden luster.

Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Executive Chef Stuart Whitfield’s southern roots inspired his love of the culinary arts. The vibrant epicurean culture of his hometown provided a traditional backdrop for his food and family focused upbringing. His fondest childhood memories are of gathering around the dining room table with loved ones for a home-cooked meal. With 15 years of professional experience, Chef Stuart has fine-tuned his craft for creating crave-worthy breads, chocolates, cakes, pastries, decadent desserts and savory sensations. He has always been devoted to the philosophy that good food brings people together, creates everlasting bonds and memories to be shared time and time again.

A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont, Chef Stuart went on to hone his cooking skills at the Four Seasons, Le Cirque, Jovia, and David Burke & Donatella in New York City. Venturing from the Big Apple to the Sunshine State, Chef Stuart found a home at Walt Disney World Resort. He was on the gastronomic task force for the launch of the Disney Fantasy cruise ship and played a pivotal role as a member of the opening team for Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. He also lent his expertise in creating the exquisite confections offered at the famed Victoria & Albert’s and added his own creative flair to the magic of the menu for Be Our Guest Restaurant. Chef Stuart was most recently part of the team behind the sweet sensations at Amorette’s Patisserie at Disney Springs.

Chef Stuart is thrilled to showcase The Glass Knife as part of Orlando’s ever-evolving food scene. This concept will add yet another layer of sophistication to the city’s growing reputation as a premiere dining destination, right in the heart of Winter Park. Dedicated to giving guests a comfortable, yet elevated experience, The Glass Knife will feature all of the ingredients of a cosmopolitan eatery enveloped in an approachable ambiance with outstanding service.

Steve Brown’s business-savvy mind and his passion for baking are the driving forces behind his lifelong dream of opening The Glass Knife, a patisserie and café dedicated to providing its guests with an elevated, memorable experience, featuring a stunning array of decadent cakes and confections, exemplary artisanal coffee and a selection of savory fare. This vision is inspired by Brown’s childhood memories of baking alongside his beloved mother, Jacque, and the love that came from those cherished experiences.

The Glass Knife is named in honor of Brown’s mother, who was a fond collector of Depression-era glass cake knives. Handed down through the family, this treasured collection of delicate and iridescently beautiful knives will be artfully displayed throughout the café.

Brown, a Winter Park, FL resident, received his MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta and graduated with a BS in Marketing from the University of South Florida in Tampa. Throughout his illustrious career, serving in a variety of executive roles, Brown gained invaluable experience in pricing strategy, fulfillment operations, financial management and leadership. Combined with his passion and dedication to providing the very best guest experience, Brown’s vision will soon make its mark on Orlando’s ever-evolving dining scene.

Brown’s goal is to bring a one-of-a-kind gathering place to the community, providing guests with a sophisticated, yet comfortable setting, to spend time with friends and loved ones. Learn more about his vision at www.TheGlassKnife.com.

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The First Lao Restaurant in Central Florida is set to open fall 2017

In a press release today,Soupa Saiyan owner and head chef, Marshall Phanthachit, is unveiling his latest venture, Sticky Rice.

The first of its kind, Sticky Rice, will be taking over the 1,500 square foot space once occupied by Pho 407 (and Bikkuri Sushi’s original location before moving upstairs) at 1915 East Colonial Drive.

The restaurant anticipates to open its doors November 2017.

Phanthachit and Sticky Rice co-chef Kevin Phanhvilay want to introduce Lao food to the culinary world.

“Growing up, I’ve always been proud of my culture and Laotian heritage,” Phanthachit says.

Laos is a landlocked Southeastern country neighboring Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

“Many people are either unfamiliar with Laos food, or confuse it with Thai or Vietnamese cuisine. Opening up Sticky Rice is a catalyst to help put Lao food on the map, while also distinguishing it as its own.”

Patrons can expect authentic Lao street food such as Lao chicken wings, papaya salad, sticky rice, and beef laab salad. Sticky Rice hopes to provide a genuine Lao dining experience in a quick, casual atmosphere with tapas-style, reasonably priced small plates under $10.

Sticky Rice will be open for lunch, dinner, and possibly late night with dine-in and takeout options.

Lao food is distinctly its own flavor with the help of staple ingredients like galangal (closely related to ginger), padaek (traditional Lao condiment made from pickled or fermented fish that has been cured), kaffir lime, and of course the Lao signature dish: sticky rice, which is uniquely Lao, present at almost every meal, and meant to be eaten with your hands.

In fact, the Lao eat more sticky rice than any other people in the world.

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Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Visit Orlando released a poll to vote for Orlando’s signature dish.

Honey is the key ingredient, an important choice not only due to our region’s abundance of honey flavors, particularly orange blossom, but also because of the critical role bees play in our ecosystem in pollinating our local crops.

In 2016 alone, the state produced 17 million pounds of honey and 500 new beekeepers register every year — many in Central Florida.

In recent years, bee populations have decreased as much as 45 percent due to a mysterious disease called colony collapse disorder, caused by a combination of destruction of wild habitats, disease and widespread pesticide use.

There has been some critique that most signature dishes from cities evolve over time – think Chicago – style deep dish pizza or the Philly Cheesesteak. Some say this is an inorganic and forced measure – you just know it if it is Orlando’s signature dish.

I think with time, Orlando will find its signature dish on its own, certainly. When that might happen – who knows – but in the mean time, I think it is fine to have these competitions which brings much needed attention to our local growing food scene, particularly outside of the theme parks. We know it might not be “the” signature dish, but it’s a start.

The competition is open to all Orlando restaurant chefs with a license to serve food.

Vote for your favorite local Orlando “honey” themed dish by Nov. 3 at: Visitorlando.com/dish

The winner will be presented at the Visit Orlando luncheon on December 7th.

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Orlando Chef-proprietor Sean “Sonny” Nguyen of Domu at East End Market has been chosen as a semi-finalist to compete this month in the New York qualifying competition for the Washoku World Challenge, a cooking contest in which Japanese cuisine chefs from all over the world compete in technical expertise and passion for Japanese food.

The contest, the 5th of its kind, is organized by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for non-Japanese chefs. Chefs must be of non-Japanese nationality with experience in cooking Japanese cuisine AND over 2 years of experience as a chef (current place of residence can be any country, including Japan).

Qualifying tournaments will be held in six cities worldwide (London, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Tokyo). The six chefs who pass the qualifiers will be invited to the final tournament, to be held in Tokyo on February 13th and 14th, 2018.

The number of Japanese restaurants located overseas has drastically increased by approximately 60% from an estimated 55,000 in 2013 to 89,000 by July 2015.

However, in some of these Japanese restaurants located overseas, there are some cases wherein chefs without appropriate knowledge and skills regarding Japanese cuisine engage in preparing meals.

The Washoku organizers, backed by the Japanese government, have created guidelines to make sure Japanese cuisine created by foreign chefs is prepared with the appropriate knowledge and skill.

Chef Nguyen, who is of Vietnamese descent, has been training with the help of a Japanese masterchef in New York as well as advisement from friend and fellow chef Mark Berdin of Kadence. He has been learning how to make soba noodles by hand and Japanese cuisine in general once or twice a month in New York along with a lot of personal practice and self training.

“The application process was tough and they only select a certain amount of chefs around the world based on their recipes and skill, in which I just found out yesterday that I was chosen to move forward to the NYC competition!” said Sonny Nguyen.

For the qualifying competition, Chef Nguyen had to create a recipe for his own unique dashi soup and a kaiseki appetizer box containing 5 specific Japanese techniques of cooking.

“I think this is a big deal for us here in Orlando, especially if I advance further (not holding my breathe lol) but also because I want to represent our city and put us on the map, even if I don’t place,” Sonny said.

The competition will be judged by Michelin rated Japanese kaiseki chefs with media and live tv coverage to Japan of the cooking competition events in New York.

Kaiseki is focused on simple, clean, umami flavors and is very seasonal.”

The theme of this year’s competition is umami flavor. In Japan, the technique of extracting umami from kombu kelp and bonito flakes to create dashi broth was developed approximately 500 years ago. The basic dashi is made with kombu and bonito flakes. The combination of the glutamic acid in kombu and the inosinic acid in bonito flakes create a delicious umami taste.

For the competition, chefs had to create one suimono soup (with at least three ingredients) reflecting the UMAMI theme, made with fish or shellfish, vegetables, and citrus or sprout of an aromatic plant.

Chefs also had to create one fuchidaka mori (with at least five dishes) reflecting the UMAMI theme, including nimono (simmered foods), yakimono (grilled foods), agemono (deep-fried foods), aemono (marinated foods)/sunomono (foods dressed with vinegar), and arrange attractively in the fuchidaka. Fuchidaka is not the name of a dish or a meal, rather it is the name of the container itself (think bento box).

Contestants in the qualifying competition will compete on:

1. Test of cooking technique (basic knife skills) – 30 minutes
Basic knife skills:
One 15cm long daikon radish
Techniques tested:
– Daikon katsura muki 30cm
– Daikon ken for roughly three people
– Daikon wagiri, shikishi giri, tanzaku giri
2. Suimono (for five people) – 90 minutes
Contestants will be asked to cook the recipe they have submitted for the application screening. The soup must use dashi made from kombu kelp and bonito flakes.

Below are some photos from Chef Nguyen’s submission:

If he wins in the qualifying tournament, Chef Nguyen will:

– Be invited to the final tournament, to be held in Japan
– Be able to participate in Japanese cooking seminars in Japan
– Have the chance to apply for the Certification of Cooking Skills for Japanese Cuisine in Foreign Countries (Bronze)
– Be covered by international media

In the mean time, besides preparing for this tournament, Chef Nguyen is getting ready to open his second ramen shop, Domu in Jacksonville, and who knows what else is in the works.

Sonny Nguyen: “My end goal is to specialize in making noodles. Ramen, udon, soba, all by hand since the technique is rare nowadays and is really an art that goes beyond measurements. It’s about full body movement, feel, and smell.”

“The chef I’m training with has been making soba by hand for over 10 years and learned from his teacher in Tokyo who was 90 years old at the time, making him his last student.”

“We use high quality buckwheat flour that is stone milled by hand in Seattle to make the soba noodles. Pretty expensive stuff but smells great. Plus buckwheat is good for you.”

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On October 22nd, at 6:30pm, 7 Pastry Chefs from 11 Central Florida restaurants will come together for a dessert tasting experience!

Savory bites will be provided by The Osprey Tavern, Seito Sushi, and Reyes Mezcaleria.

The participating chefs are:

Amanda McFall-Urbain 40
Gloriann Rivera-1921 by Norman Van Aken
Amy Gilbert-Canvas
Brian Cernell-Luma on Park/Prato/Luke’s
Michelle Hulbert-K Restaurant
Esther Rodriguez-The Ravenous Pig
Kristy Carlucci-The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria

Tickets can be obtained by calling The Osprey Tavern at 407-960-7700

We spoke with Kristy Carlucci, pastry chef for The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria, to gain more insight about the upcoming event, the first event featuring and highlighting some of Orlando’s finest pastry chefs.

TastyChomps: How did Pastry in the Park come about?

Pastry Chef Kristy Carlucci: I had heard of other cities doing a “pastry-centric” tasting menu where pastry chefs get together and create an amazing experience. I knew we have some extremely talented pastry chefs in Central Florida and felt certain that a great event could come together with their help.


Amanda McFall-Urbain 40 – Tropical Sundae Deluxe – Toasted coconut gelato, rum soaked angel food cake, caramel sauce & pink peppercorn spiced pineapple.

What do you hope to accomplish with this event?

To shine a light on the restaurants that have a dedicated pastry program. There’s many places that either buy in their desserts or it gets dumped off on one of the line cooks, but Central Florida has real pastry talent. There’s so many fantastic bakeries that get a lot of (well deserved) love, but it’s time for the ones in the restaurants to get their “just desserts”–pun intended!

 

What is something most people don’t know about the pastry chef profession?

That it’s intense! One misconception is that we are wearing cute aprons and baking cupcakes and cookies all day. It is a lot of time management, exact calculations, early mornings, trial and errors, organization, having an artistic eye, fighting for your own space in those tiny kitchens…
Restaurant pastry chefs also save the day–think of all those free desserts that are given out!

Tell us about your background and training and experience.

I graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in 2008. Since then, I have worked as a Teaching Assistant at the CIA, spent time with boutique chocolatiers and bakers, oversaw 2 restaurants at The Greenbrier Resort in WV, and was Pastry Chef de Cuisine at Cask & Larder. I’ve worked for some of the top chefs in America, and fortunate enough to create and present desserts for many celebrities, athletes, and politicians. In addition to being the Pastry Chef at The Osprey Tavern, Seito Sushi, and Reyes Mezcaleria, I also instruct at Valencia College in the Baking & Pastry program.

What are your favorite dishes to bake right now?

I’m in full fall mode! I love the warm spices associated with the season. Right now we have a warm apple cake with spiced caramel ice cream on our Osprey menu and it’s my favorite. My dessert for Pastry in the Park is an homage to the wonderful produce that autumn brings. At home, my 5 year old loves to bake, so we have been making banana bread and will be making pumpkin muffins soon.

What are the most popular pastries right now at your restaurants?

Chocolate is always king! Our chocolate almond torte is very decadent, and that’s what the chocolate lovers are looking for. For Sunday brunch, we have our Pastry Trolley, which features not just breakfast pastries, but also macarons, cakes, and other sweet treats. It’s very popular and we sell out almost every Sunday!

 

Pastry in the Park
A Dessert Tasting Experience
Menu

Amanda McFall – Urbain 40
Tahini Custard, Orange Blossom Figs, Almond Granite
Pairing:

Amy Gilbert – Canvas Restaurant
Mulled Red Wine Pear Galette, Citrus Mascarpone Mousse, Spiced Pistachio Granola
Pairing:

Brian Cernell – Luma on Park/Prato/Luke’s
TBD
Pairing:

Kristy Carlucci – The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria
“Autumn Harvest”
Pumpkin Ganache, Sweet Potato Doughnut, Candied Squash, Dulcey Crumb, Oatmeal Semifreddo
Pairing:

Esther Rodriguez – The Ravenous Pig
Goat Cheese Tart, Spent Grain Sablé, Seasonal Fruit
Pairing:

Gloriann Rivera – 1921 by Norman Van Aken
“Banana Foster Tart”
Pecan Tart Shell, Smoked Bourbon Chocolate Custard, Banana Semifreddo, Caramel, Candied Hazelnuts
Pairing:

Michelle Hulbert – K Restaurant
“Chunk of Love”
Layered Chocolate Chunk Cookie, Oreo Truffle, Dark Chocolate Brownie, Peanut Butter Mousse
Pairing:

Gloriann Rivera-1921 by Norman Van Aken
Michelle Hulbert-K Restaurant
Amy Gilbert-Canvas
Brian Cernell-Luma on Park/Prato/Luke’s
Kristy Carlucci-The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria

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Photo Courtesy of KADENCE

by Michael Cuglietta

An Open Letter to Anyone Applying for a Job at Kadence

You are at the office, killing time on social media, when Kadence’s latest Instagram post appears on your feed. The trio behind Kappo is looking to hire a kitchen helper for their new restaurant.

This puts an image in your head. One in which you are standing in a busy kitchen, wearing a white chef’s coat and tossing a pan full of sautéed mushrooms into the air with nothing more than a flick of the wrist.

You say to yourself, life is too short to be spending forty hours a week chained to a desk. Sure, you make a good living. But there are more important things in life than money.

I, like you, had romantic notions about working in a kitchen. That’s why, when I was given the opportunity to be a part of Kadence’s opening crew, I seized it.

I’m here to tell you, despite what the Food Network might’ve lead you to believe, stepping into the kitchen is nothing like playing lead guitar in a rock band. It’s more comparable to being drafted into the armed services.

Your day will start at 7am. If you are lucky, you will be home by 1am. But, usually, it’ll be closer to 2am. You will be working six days a week, for minimal wage. But, for every hour over 40, you will earn time and a half. This means, in order to make a living, you will have to work 80 to 90 hours a week.

You will have to learn to work on an empty stomach. In the kitchen, there’s no time to stop and eat.

On the odd occasion when the chefs do find time, they will prepare a family meal. Usually, fish scraps, which, in most restaurants, would’ve gone in the trash, marinated in soy sauce and served over rice. Or the same ingredients will be fried, along with an egg.

The chefs have spent their entire professional lives in the kitchen. They are trained to eat fast. In just minutes, they will deposit their empty bowls in the sink, for you to wash. They will tell you to take your time. But the first seating is rapidly approaching. So you throw most of your meal away and get back to work. But don’t let the chefs catch you. At Kadence, wasting food is an unforgivable crime.

Think of the job as a game of Tetris. As the blocks fall, you must organize them into neat rows. If you mislay a piece, or fall behind, your tower will reach an unmanageable height. Then the blocks will start dropping at an accelerated rate as you scramble to line them up and make them disappear before you get the game over screen.

The sink will be your home. You will have other responsibilities, which will take you away from your home. But, no matter what else is on your plate, you are expected to keep your home in order.

The chefs will give you small food chores. These are tests. If you pass, you will be given more opportunities, away from the sink. But every time you fail, you are further solidifying your role as dishwasher.

Be careful what you wish for. Each time you demonstrate competency in a new task, it will become a part of your daily routine. And your routine is already so demanding, you spend 15 hours a day racing around the kitchen and, still, there isn’t enough time to get everything done.

Since the stove is directly behind the sink, you will be asked to keep an eye on the chawanmushis, a savory Japanese egg custard, served at each seating. You will be told to take them off the stove the moment they set. If you do a good job, after service, the chefs will complement you. Then, from that moment forward, you will be in charge of cooking the chawanmushis.

You do up to three seatings a night, serving ten guests at a time. It would be ideal if you could pre-cooked all the chawanmushis. Then, during service, all you would have to do is get them up to temperature. But there are only twelve chawanmushi bowls. This means, after each chawanmushi course, you will have to wash the bowls. Then cook the next round.

This might seem simple enough. But during service, you are battling an already unmanageable list of things to do.

You, for instance, are in charge of shucking the oysters. Shucking oysters is not hard. It’s the timing that makes it difficult. The oysters are served as a first course, right after the guests are seated. This is the toughest part of the evening, especially if the first seating is running late and the next set of guests are arriving.

Kadence is a small restaurant, run by a small team, each of whom fill many roles. Jennifer Banagale, in addition to being part owner, is the pastry chef and one woman wait staff. After the savory courses, she must go behind the sushi bar to serve dessert, which means you get a temporary promotion from dishwasher to headwaiter.

You must go into the dining room, pick up everyone’s dirty plates and bring them to the sink in the service station. While you are doing this, you notice the water glasses are near empty. And two guests have asked you to select a sake to pair with their dessert.

The next seating, meanwhile, is standing at the bar in the adjacent room, waiting for someone to come pour drinks. No matter how rushed you may be, you must maintain a calm front. Greet each guest warmly. As you take their drink order, introduce yourself, ask them,

“Is this your first time dining with us?”

They will want to make small talk. There is an art to cutting off a conversation without offending the person you are talking to. You must become proficient in this art. Because Jen has poked her head into the room to tell you she has finished with the first dessert and needs you to pick up the plates before she can serve the final course. She reminds you, the water glasses need refilling and those two guests are still waiting for their sake.

You pour two glasses of sake and put them on a tray. Also, on the tray, you place a pitcher of water. The couple in front of you is telling you about their trip to Japan. You need to get out of this conversation. Tell them you have to go bring drinks to the dining room. Apologize for having to leave. Smooth things over with a generous taste of sake. “Try some of this. Let me know what you think.”

After the water glasses are filled, you drop the pitcher off at the bar. Then take the tray back into the dining room to collect the first round of dessert plates. By now, the sink and every available surface in the service station is filled with dirty dishes.

The guests have just been given their final plate. This gives you ten minutes to shuck the oysters for the next seating. But first you must go to the bar and see if anyone is ready for another drink.

You are happy to see Lordfer Lalicon, one of the chefs and owners, behind the bar, pouring drinks. He tells you, “I got this. Go do the oysters.”

You head back into the kitchen, get the oysters out of the fridge. That’s when you remember, it’s been too long since you last checked the bathroom.

Through a back door, you sneak into the dining room and slip into the bathroom, undetected. The toilet paper roll is almost empty. The seat is up and there is a collection of used paper towels on the floor around the trash bin.

You sneak back out the way you came in and get a fresh roll of toilet paper from the storage closet. You return to the bathroom, careful to conceal the toilet paper behind your back. If a guest were to see you, walking through the dining room with a roll of toilet paper, the chefs would, surely, not be happy.

You put the new roll in the toilet paper dispenser and fold the tip into a perfect triangle. You pick the paper towels up off the floor and put the toilet seat down. You wipe all surfaces with a sanitizing rag, light a new stick of incense. Then race back to the kitchen.

The head chef and owner, Mark Berdin, is standing over your oysters. “How long have these been out of the fridge?”

“I was just about to get to them. Then I remembered I had to check the bathroom.” Your response pisses him off. In the kitchen, mistakes can be forgiven. But there’s zero tolerance for excuses.

These are Shigoku oysters, from Washington. He tells you they are the most expensive oysters currently on the market. He can’t afford to be having his dishwasher ruin them. He orders you out of the kitchen.

That’s when you remember the chawanmushis. If you don’t get them started soon, they will not be ready in time. You fill the bottom of the steamer with water and put it on the stove.

You line up the ceramic bowls and begin ladling in the batter. This is a delicate process. Each ceramic needs the same level of batter, so they will cook at the same pace. And you must be careful not to spill any.

You have half the ceramics done when you hear chairs moving in the dining room. The guests are leaving.

At Kadence, they practice the Japanese custom of walking their guests out. Guest service, Mark will tell you when you first start working at Kadence, is the number one priority. Even the food ranks second under guest service.

You leave the chawanmushis and go to the front door. You stand with your hands folded behind your back. As each guest walks out, you look them in the eye, thank them for coming, and bow. When I say bow, I don’t mean simply lowering your head. You must bow at the waist. Don’t stop until your body is forming a 90 degree angle.

Now that the first guests are gone, the dining room needs to be cleaned and reset. Every guest will need chopsticks, a cloth napkin, which you need to make sure is folded the proper way, and a glass for water, each of which needs to be polished until it sparkles. The bathroom will, once again, need to be cleaned.

As the new guests are being seated, you have just enough time to get the chawanmushis in the steamer. But you must be quick about it. The moment the guest’s bottoms touch those seats, you are expected in the dining room with a pitcher of water. And, after their glasses are filled, you must get each of them an oshibori, a warm hand towel which, before service, you folded according to Japanese tradition, after soaking them in water infused with lemongrass.

You will spend the first part of this seating fighting to get caught up with the dishes. Kadence serves a set menu. The same dishes are used in each seating. You better prioritize your dishwashing. Find the ones that are used for the early courses. Get those cleaned first.

It’s still early but, just to be safe, you leave the sink to check on the guests. The man in seat nine is a camel. All the water glasses are nearly full, but for his. For the next couple of hours, you are going to be chained to this guest. Every few minutes, you will have to return to his side with a pitcher of water.

This is, also, the last seating. The moment it is over, the chefs are going to want to go home. But they can’t leave until the restaurant is clean and reset for the next day. During last service, you better find the time to mop the kitchen, polish the stainless steel, put the trash out and all the cookware must be washed and returned to its proper place.

*

You pull into your driveway at 2:30am. All day, you have been operating on adrenalin. All of a sudden, a switch is flipped. Slowly, the adrenaline leaks out of your body. It’s replaced with hunger and fatigue.

Your feet are so sore, all you want to do is sit on the couch and prop them up on the coffee table. But you are sweaty and smell of raw fish. You need a shower.

You put a frozen pizza in the oven, crack open a beer and take it into the bathroom. You swallow two Advil. Then take a hot shower.

After your shower, you eat your pizza in front of the television. You are careful to keep the volume down. You don’t want to wake your wife. She works normal hours. Tomorrow will mark a week since you’ve last seen each other awake.

By the time you get in bed, it’s past 3:30am. Tomorrow is Sunday. On Sundays, the first seating is at 11:30am. You have to be back at the restaurant by 7am.

There is so much adrenaline in the kitchen, it lingers for hours after you leave, making it hard to fall asleep. When Mark, Jen and Lordfer worked in New York City, they’d get out at 2am and go to a bar, where they’d drink with other cooks until 4am.

When you finally doze off, it’s worthless because, in your dreams, you are back in the service station, bent over the sink, scrubbing dishes.

Photo Courtesy of KADENCE

Michael Cuglietta is the author of the forthcoming fiction collection, The Feast of Jupiter (Little Island Press, 2018), and the chapbooks Vertigo (Gertrude Press, 2012) and Clams in White Wine (Paper Nautilus, 2017). His work has appeared in NOON, Gettysburg Review, Tampa Review and elsewhere. http://mcuglietta.bigcartel.com

Editor’s Note: Kadence is currently looking to hire a fulltime kitchen helper.

Kadence
kadenceorlando.com

1809 E. Winter Park Rd., Orlando, FL 32803

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Photo Courtesy of KADENCE

The founders of the wildly popular Kappo at East End Market have finally opened their newest project, Kadence, just a few blocks away from their original location in the heart of the Audubon Park District of Orlando.

Kadence is a nine-seat sushi and sake bar with a menu consisting of a multi-course sushi tasting focused on the highest-quality selection of seasonal fish. Their menu is all omakase, meaning chef’s choice of the day.

Photo Courtesy of KADENCE

From their website, Kadence owners Lordfer Lalicon, Jennifer Bañagale and Mark V. Berdin are University of Florida alum, who, after graduating, moved to New York City and then London to train in Michelin-starred restaurants.

Hours are currently by reservation only, on Tuesday – Saturday for dinner (6:00pm & 8:30pm seatings) and Sunday (11:30am, 2:00pm & 4:30pm) with lunch hours coming soon. Dinner prices range from $135 to $145 per person consisting of 18 courses.

Photo Courtesy of KADENCE

Our friend, Mike Cho, co-founder of local Orlando t-shirt printing shop Impress Ink, recently went to dine at Kadence on one of their first nights and reported back to us:

“If you were to pick anywhere geographically in the world, Kadence would place among the best contenders. We are blessed to have them here in Orlando.”

“What makes it excel further is the synergy between Mark, Jennifer, and Lo that reinforces the dining and food experience. Their personalities and even the music enhance and play a large role in the ambience of Kadence.”

“It’s like having the best of traditional Japanese omakase in Japan with the delivery of a uniquely Asian-American experience.”

“There is less than a handful of restaurants in all of Florida where food is delivered as an experience at this level. As someone who has dined around the world, if Orlando had Michelin star ratings, Kadence would definitely make the list.”

Photos Courtesy of Mike Cho

Kadence
kadenceorlando.com

1809 E. Winter Park Rd., Orlando, FL 32803

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Seafood dishes, Cantonese stir fry noodles, dim sum – these are just some of the many staples at Chan’s Chinese Cuisine in the heart of Orlando.

Partners Tony Yeung and Annie Wong opened Chan’s Chinese Cuisine in late 1996 in Orlando, and have now been open for over 20 years here in Orlando serving authentic Cantonese Chinese cuisine. On June 5, 2017, the City of Orlando proclaimed it “Chan’s Chinese Cuisine Day” in honor of their anniversary.

Black Pepper Lamb Chops

Annie Wong’s uncle Chan opened Tom’s Chinese Cuisine in Daytona Beach many years ago. Annie, who operated her uncle’s restaurant, wanted to continue the success and opened an authentic Chinese cuisine in Orlando with Tony Yeung as a partner in 1996.

Chan’s Tony Yeung and Annie Wong

With over 45 years of experience, Chef Tony Yeung first started his chef career in Hong Kong at the very young age as 14. Prior to coming to Orlando, he worked as a managing chef in New York.

Special Roast Pork, Cucumber, and Dried Squid Appetizer
Special Roast Pork, Cucumber, and Dried Squid Appetizer

20 years ago when Annie and Tony founded Chan’s, they discovered that many customers did not know what authentic Chinese Cuisine consisted of, with many more knowing just the Americanized Chinese take-out version of the cuisine.

When they first opened, Tony and Annie had to explain and educate the customers about dim sum and authentic Chinese cuisine. Other challenges they faced including sourcing.

Special Geoduck Sashimi

“We had a hard time to find the right ingredients and often needed to order from New York or even California. Now, it’s easier to have fresh and good ingredients as the Asian American population is growing together with Chinese tourists,” said Chef Tony Yeung.

Ginger Scallion Dungeness Crab

“Many customers were from out of states or tourists who looked for authentic Chinese Cuisines. But right now, there are more customers especially younger folks who know about Dim Sum and authentic Chinese cuisine,” said Annie.

Seafood Fish Maw Soup

Today, Chan’s still has many customers who are tourists and convention guests looking for a traditional style Chinese banquet meal. Chan’s is still one of the few restaurants in Orlando who can cater wedding and birthday banquet and can host around 18-22 big tables, for a total of 200 or so guests.

Pipa Tofu – shaped like Chinese pipa string instruments

Managing Chef Tony told us he can prepare pretty much anything authentic Chinese as long as he has the ingredients. Call ahead to find out and coordinate at least 24 hours. Some local favorites at Chan’s include Stir fried noodle – Hong Kong style and egg tart dim sum. Chef Tony likes his secret recipe Soy Sauce Stir Fried Lobster, made by special request many years ago on special request for VIP high rollers when he was still a chef in Hong Kong.

Steamed Fish with Chinese spinachv

Some Special Dishes found at Chan’s

  • Baked Dungeness Crab with fried rice in lotus leaf
  • Chicken & Shrimp Fried Rice in Cream & Tomato Sauce
  • Superior Soy Sauce Live Lobster – secret recipe
Superior Soy Sauce Live Lobster – secret recipe
Dessert – Osmanthus Flower Jelly with Wolfberries

Chan’s Chinese Cuisine
1901 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803

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Hurricane Irma Information

In times of disaster, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and its network of 550 nonprofit feeding partners represent a vital emergency food supply for the community.

They are are providing extended relief service to storm victims in Brevard, Volusia, Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Lake Counties.

Emergency Food Assistance

If you find yourself in need of food assistance, please call 407-295-1066 and we will help you locate an emergency food pantry near you. You can also click on the county below and find food pantries that are open around you this week (list is updated daily).

If you need other help find a list of Community Resources here (pdf download).

How To Help

After the storm, ways for the local community to help Second Harvest help people in need are very specific:

  • Monetary Donations. Your $10 gift can help us provide 40 meals into our community during this time of need.   
  • Food and cleaning supplies donations: 
    Non-perishable food donations and cleaning supplies can be delivered to our distribution center in Orlando at 411 Mercy Drive, Orlando, Florida 32805. (see attached list of needs).
  • Volunteer opportunities:

Donation Drop-offs:

Tuesday – Friday 8am to 4pm
Second Harvest Food Bank, 411 Mercy Drive Orlando, Fla. 32805   Phone: 407-295-1066

Tuesday – Friday 7am to 3:30pm
Volusia County:  320 North Street, Daytona Beach, FL 32114         Phone: 386-257-4499
Brevard County: 6928A Vickie Circle, West Melbourne, FL 32904   Phone: 321-733-1600


TYPES OF GOODS NEEDED:

Basic Categories:

  • Canned Goods
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Cooking items
  • Personal Care
  • Bottled Goods
  • Charcoal/Sterno
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Paper Goods
  • Flashlights/Batteries
  • Dry Goods
  • Water & Ice
  • Infant Care items

Level 1 Priority (in addition to basic categories)

  • Peanut Butter
  • Assorted drinks
  • Cooking items
  • Jelly
  • Cereal
  • Paper Goods
  • Canned Meats
  • Canned Fruits & Veggies
  • Bread
  • Diapers
  • Baby Formula ? Food
  • Snacks
  • Bleach
  • Cleaning supplies

Level 2 Priority (in addition to other categories)

  • Cookies & Crackers
  • Toilet Paper
  • Feminine Hygiene
  • Instant Coffee/Drinks
  • Toothpaste & Brushes
  • Non-perishable milk
  • Tea Bags
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo
  • Candy
  • Staples (sugar, salt)

http://www.feedhopenow.org/site/PageServer?pagename=how_help_disaster

We are so happy to announce that Miami’s very popular Bocas Grill has finally arrived to Orlando bringing its fusion of vibrant Latin contemporary food, with an addition of a full bar.

The Venezuelan restaurant features all the classic favorites like arepas, wagyu burgers, and the crazy shakes they are known for like the churro shake.

Bocas Grill & Bar is a classy establishment with unforgettable high quality flavors, it is exactly what Orlando needed.  All meats are USDA prime.

Strawberry Juice

Appetizer Sampler – 8 mini Arepas, 5 Cheese Fingers, White Guayanés Cheese, Cream, Cilantro Aioli

Arepa Llanera – Beef, Chopped Avocado,  Tomato, Red Onions, and Soft White Cheese


La Levin Truffle Burger – 10 ounces of hand-cut Picanha 100% Wagyu with Lettuce, Tomato, Truffle Oil, Ketchup, Bacon, and Truffle Mayonnaise on a homemade black Bun

Churros with Nutella, Condensed Milk, Dulce De Leche

Bocas Grill Milkshake – Chocolate Flips Milkshake with Nutella and Flips all around the rim, crowned with Galleta María, a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream, a Nutella Brownie Donut, Brigadeiro de Toddy and a homemade Nutella popsicle on top

Follow @bocasgrill on instagram and be sure to visit them soon and meet all of their delicious flavors!  Reservations are recommended.

 

Bocas Grill & Bar
7600 Dr Phillips Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 723-8351
bocasgrill.com

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