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Inside Look: Ramen Rumble 5 at Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs 2023

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Amazing night at Rumble Rumble 5 in partnership with event founders Jason & Sue Chin of Seito Sushi (Good Salt Restaurant Group) at Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs.

Ramen Rumble is a friendly ramen cook-off where five of Orlando’s best and brightest chefs compete for the championship title, bragging rights, and the coveted “Broth Belt” trophy.

Each contestant manned their own soup station, presenting steaming bowls of tasty ramen with Sun Noodles filled with creative toppings and interesting textures for guests to sample and vote on in order to crown the next Ramen King of Central Florida.

Competing Restaurants:

Duck Duck Goose Ramen
Hawkers Orlando – Chef Jonathan Rohland and Chef Allen Lo

Jjamppong Spicy Korean Seafood Ramen
The Osprey Tavern – Chef Michael Cooper

Poularde Ramen
Doshi – Chef Ray Gillette and Chef Hung Huynh

Southern Comfort Ramen
Soseki Modern Omakase – Chef Michael Collantes

Vietnamese Braised Short Rib Ramen
Camille – Chef Tung Phan

Desserts – Light On The Sugar Bakery Cafe

The aim of the Ramen Rumble competition is to unify and lift up our culinary community through philanthropic events and to further build the appreciation of the many ramen styles available to us in Orlando.

In the end, Chef Michael Cooper of The Osprey won with his Jjamppong Spicy Korean Seafood Ramen and over $11,000 was raised for Give Kids The World located in Kissimmee, FL.

Congratulations !!!!

Photos: @bytiffanynguyen

Inside Look: EPCOT Festival of the Arts 2023 – Walt Disney World

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The 2023 Epcot International Festival of the Arts is happening from January 13 through February 20!

Guests can enjoy a month-long festival that includes delicious culinary offerings, paint-by-number mural, animation academy, artful photo ops, chalk art, live entertainment, Disney on Broadway performances, Figment’s scavenger hunt, Beacon of Magic at Spaceship Earth, Harmonious Nighttime Spectacular firework show and so much more.

This year they have streamlined the Figment Popcorn Bucket experience through mobile ordering. Check out below for some of our favorites from the Festival of the Arts this year!

Figment’s Inspiration Station:

  • Grape Smoothie With Freeze Dried Skittles™ Bite Sized Candies
  • Fruit Pizza – Watermelon, Compressed Cantaloupe, Berries, Berry Balsamic
  • Pop’t Art – Sugar Cookie With Blueberry Filling
  • Rainbow Cake With Freeze Dried Skittles Bite Sized Candies

Mobile order only

Figment Popcorn Bucket

Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company:

Magenta Frost – Frozen Lemon Ice, Minute Maid® Premium Lemonade, Dragon Fruit, Dragon Fruit Popping Boba Pearls

Figment’s Inspiration Station:
Rainbow Cider Flights

Moderne:


Angry Crab – Whole Cripy Soft-Shell Crab with Green Papaya Salad, Mango-Sriracha Fluid Gel, and Coconut-Lime Foam with Pomegranate, Mango Crush Pearls

Tataki – Pickled Watermelon Rind, Yuzu Pearls, Watermelon Foam, Wasabi

The Tropics – Lilikoi Mousse, Guava Cake, Coconut Crèmeux, Compressed Pineapple, Mango Gel Compressed Watermelon

The Artist’s Table:
Hummingbird Cake – Banana Cake with Pineapple, Coconut, Pecans, Cream Cheese Frosting with Banana Sorbet

Photos @bytiffanynguyen

 

Inside Look: Clean Juice Orlando – USDA-Certified Organic Juices and More

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Have you heard of juicing? With the new year in full swing – some people may be looking at options to change or supplement their diet with something healthier.

Clean Juice – a franchise with several locations in the Orlando area including East Orlando and Lake Mary – is the first and only USDA-certified organic juice and food bar franchise. Also – did you know that Tim Tebow has been a national brand ambassador for Clean Juice since 2021?

According to WebMD, juicing extracts the juice from fresh fruits or vegetables. The liquid contains most of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in the fruit.

Some believe that juicing is better than eating whole fruits and vegetables because your body can absorb the nutrients better and it gives your digestive system a rest from digesting fiber.

They say juicing can reduce your risk of cancer, boost your immune system, remove toxins from your body, aid digestion and help you lose weight.

 

Interview with Laura Beveri – Franchise owner of Clean Juice East Orlando / Lake Mary

What is juicing all about for those who don’t know? How is it beneficial for health?

Laura Beveri: Juicing is only having fruit/veggie juice during a given day while abstaining from food. It is best if the ratio of juices from each fruit/veggie is chosen by a nutritionist that understands how they work together and what time of day or schedule is best for our bodies to have the most benefit.

When we juice, we are flooding our bodies with vitamins and minerals. Juicing could have many benefits! It is a great way to get all the vitamins, antioxidants and minerals from many different vegetables that we don’t normally eat.

For those of us with busy lifestyles, it allows us to get all the green nutrition we need!

What made you choose Clean Juice to start as a business?

It was important that we have a business that directly benefits our community. Thierry and I grew up in the Orlando area.

We love having an impact on the health of our community. Giving back has always been important to us as well. We offer prayer requests and help with many schools and charities too.

Tell us about your background – what is your personal interest / history in food and health? Your favorite food memories growing up?

So I became interested in food after Thierry (my husband) started teaching me the art of enjoying and savoring food. His dad was a pastry chef in France and had a bakery in New York. Once we had kids, I learned how to eat and cook healthy foods that tasted great! As a family, we enjoy healthy foods and teach this to our kids.

My favorite food memories as a kid were my mother’s chicken noodle soup with egg pudding for dessert! Also, when I stayed at my great grand parents’ over the summer, I got to pick out my veggie from their basement each night! She canned the veggies from months before. The food was always simple and delicious.

What are some plans that people can sign up for at Clean Juice?

Our app is the best way to Clean Juice! You earn points, can order delivery much cheaper and order in advance for pickup! You earn $5 just for signing up!

THE PEANUT BUTTER BOWL
PEANUT BUTTER, BANANA, MACA ROOT, MAPLE SYRUP, ALMOND MILK,TOPPED WITH GRANOLA, BANANA, CACAO NIBS

What are your top three most popular dishes / menu items right now?

Our 3 most popular are the immunity one, avocado toast and the berry bowl

THE CALI WRAP
TOASTED FLATBREAD WRAP
AVOCADO, PROVOLONE CHEESE, CHICKEN, SPINACH, TOMATO, GARLIC , HIMALAYAN PINK SALT

What are some upcoming plans for the menu this year?

We are updating our açaí bowls to have drizzle options and new toppings! We are also moving to grilled chicken for our lunch and dinner items!

We are running an Instagram contest this week to win a juice cleanse or gift card worth $55 so head over there to take a look on how to win!

Address:
Clean Juice – Waterford / East Orlando
12301 Lake Underhill Rd Unit 121, Orlando, FL 32828
(321) 247-5103

Clean Juice – Heathrow / Lake Mary
1109 International Pkwy Suite 1661, Lake Mary, FL 32746
(321) 926-3308

ABOUT
Landon and Kat Eckles started Clean Juice® in 2016 as the first and only USDA-certified organic juice bar franchise and is rooted in the “healthy body and a strong spirit” (3 John 1-2) scripture and highlights the importance of an organic, plant-based diet. Clean Juice® offers organic cold-pressed juices, smoothies, wraps, açaí bowls, toasts, and other healthy foods in a warm and welcoming retail experience. Clean Juice continues to seek and welcome qualified franchisees to its family of franchise partners. For more information about Clean Juice®, its leadership team, and its core values, please visit www.cleanjuice.com.

Inside Look: Tartini Pizzeria & Spaghetteria in South Orlando – Q and A with Chef Alvaro Ramirez – More than just Flaming Cheese Wheel Pastas

Tartini Pizzeria & Spaghetteria – the Italian restaurant located in south Orlando is known for their flaming pasta alla ruota, served table-side, covered and mixed with delicious melty cheese on top of a gigantic Grana Padano cheese wheel. You may have seen their viral videos on social media.

Chef’s bruschettas Crostini drizzled with olive oil, toped with goat cheese, grilled peaches, prosciutto and arugula

But the new owners Oleksandr Nechyporenko and Alvaro Ramirez, who is also the chef, along side his wife Mabel want you to know they serve up more than just delicious flaming cheese wheel pastas – they also have fantastic wood-fired pizzas, and creative and refreshing bruschettas to name a few.

Yes – you can still find traditional favorites like eggplant parmigiana, chicken alfredo, and caprese salad – but you’ll also find dishes inspired by chef Alvaro’s Venezuelan and Italian background.

Arugula & Prosciutto Pomodoro sauce, mozzarella, kalamata, mushrooms, feta, arugula, and prosciutto

Their story is the story of America – newly arrived immigrants seeking to find the American dream doing what they can with what they have – Oleksandr from Ukraine and Alvaro and Mabel from Venezuela.

Read on for an interview with Chef Alavaro Ramirez and a sneak peek inside Tartini’s Pizza and Spaghetteria!

 

For those who might not know, Tartini’s Co-Owner/Chef Alvaro Ramirez and wife Mabel are a bit of on Instagram as well with their beautifully made videos:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by A?lvaro Ramírez (@alvarococina)

Interview with Chef Alvaro Ramirez of Tartini

What are some of your favorite memories around food growing up?

Chef Alvaro Ramirez: Definitely cooking with my grandmother and family in our restaurant, back in my country. She taught me the basics when I was a little kid. I grew up living and sharing at the restaurant with her. Since she passed away a few years ago. I feel that we are connected every time I cook or create a recipe.

Risotto Della Casa
Creamy chicken and mushroom rissoto drizzled with white truffle oil

Tell us about your background – from legal industry to food industry – what made you decide to go into the food world?

Food and cooking is the best way for me to express myself. I love all the freedom and art that is involved in cooking.

Caprese Pizza

As an immigrant to America, what are some of the things you cherish the most living here?

R: I’m very thankful to this country and community for letting me be part of it. I promised myself to always give my best servings and to create delicious food and to show the best part of me to everyone here.

How did you and your partner meet?

R: I met Mabel working in a 5 star hotel kitchen. We had great times and learned a lot about cooking and food together. In those moments, we fell in love together. She’s smart, beautiful and so artistic!

Alvaro and Mabel of Tartini

What are your most popular items right now?

R: Our lasagna which is wood-fire baked is one of the most popular items. Same as our seafood risotto that is called “Pearl of the Ocean” and our cartoccio, which is pasta dish cooked inside the oven beautifully served and shaped as a swan.

Salmon Picatta
Fried salmon in a lemon butter sauce and capers on a bed of fettuccine alfredo

What are your upcoming plans for the menu?

R: I’ve been planning something great. A little twist in some of the current dishes. A new whole category called “Wood-fired specialties” that will feature new dishes made inside our oven and a couple of new vegetarian options, appetizers and pastas.

Calamari Fritti
Hand-breaded calamari, zucchini, squash, cherry peppers, marinara and a lemon wedge

What are some new dishes guests will likely see and when will they be available?

I’m very excited about our new smoked salmon bruschetta, served with cream cheese, lemon and cucumber. Our daily fresh eggplant & spinach lasagna and our creamy pesto pasta topped with burrata…

How much cheese is in a Grana Padano cheese wheel? How many wheels do you go through a week?

The wheels are around 40 kilograms each and the aging time is about 16 months. We get a new cheese wheel every week. That’s a lot of cheese!

Pasta Alla Ruota (Tartini Orlando’s Unique Signature Dish)
Their show-stopping; bae dee flamed with hennessy brandy, tossed inside a big cheese wheel.

 

Hours & Location

Tartini Pizzeria and Spaghetteria
6321 Hansel Avenue,
Orlando, FL 32809
(407) 704-8011

Mondays – CLOSED
Tuesday- Thursday
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Friday
5:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Saturday
3:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Sunday
3:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Reservations are highly recommended

Parties of 6 people or more MUST have a reservation!

Inside Look: New Date Night Menu at STK – Disney Springs

STK Steakhouse – the leader in vibe dining known for its high-energy dining experience that artfully combines superior steakhouse cuisine with upscale cocktails, in-house DJ’s and chic décor to create a unrivaled atmosphere – has introduced an new prix-fixe Date Night Menu for couples to enjoy for $69 per person from Sunday – Wednesday.

Date Night Menu below:

Here is an inside look at the Date Night Menu experience at STK – Disney Springs:

Bubbles & Pearls: Bottle Of Dom Perignon

1 Dozen Oysters, Strawberry Cobbler, Spiced Watermelon, Rose, Red Wine

Lil’ BRGS – wagyu beef, special sauce, sesame seed bun

16 oz. Cowgirl Bone-in Ribeye – we upgraded our steak to this cut along with their signature butters and were pleasantly surprised at how amazing it was.

6 oz. Filet

Blue Iceberg – nueske’s applewood smoked bacon, point reyes blue, cherry tomato

Mushroom & Truffle Tagliatelle – pecorino, braised mushrooms, baby spinach, shaved black truffle

Parmesan Truffle Fries

Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes

Confit Mushroooms

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie, Chocolate Cake, Cheesecake, Bag O’ Donuts

10/10 recommend for your next date night or Valentine’s Day reservation.  You will not be disappointed!  For more information, visit: https://stksteakhouse.com/datenight/

STK is a truly one-of-a-kind concept that artfully blends the modern steakhouse and chic lounge into one – offering a dynamic, fine dining experience with the superior quality of a traditional steakhouse.  It distinguishes itself by focusing on the dining experience as a whole versus any singular aspect of a good night out.

STK at Disney Springs
1580 East Buena Vista Drive, Orlando, FL 32830
(407) 917-7440
stksteakhouse.com/venues/orlando/

Best Places in Orlando To Get Mocktails for Dry January 2023

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Dry January is a campaign that has been gaining steam in recent years here in Orlando – it encourages people to abstain from drinking alcohol for the month of January, aiming to help people reset their relationship with alcohol and improve their health.

Participants are encouraged to take a break from drinking to give their bodies a chance to recover from the excesses of the holiday season, and to consider the impact that alcohol has on their lives.

Abstaining from alcohol can have a number of benefits for one’s health and well-being. Some of the potential benefits of alcohol abstention include:

  • Improved liver health: The liver is responsible for breaking down alcohol, and heavy drinking can lead to fatty liver, hepatitis, and cirrhosis. Abstaining from alcohol can allow the liver to heal and reduce the risk of liver damage.
  • Lower risk of heart disease: Alcohol can increase blood pressure and contribute to heart disease. Abstaining from alcohol can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Improved brain health: Heavy drinking can cause shrinkage of the brain and memory loss. Abstaining from alcohol can help prevent brain damage and improve cognitive function.
  • Increased safety: Alcohol impairs judgement and reaction time, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries. Abstaining from alcohol can help reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.
  • Weight loss: Alcohol is high in calories and can contribute to weight gain. Abstaining from alcohol can help with weight loss.

It’s important to note that the benefits of abstaining from alcohol will vary depending on the individual and their specific health needs and concerns. Consulting a healthcare professional can help determine the potential benefits of abstaining from alcohol for a particular individual.

Here are the Best Places in Orlando to get your Mocktail on for Dry January

McCoy’s at Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport

Pointe Orlando

Cuba Libre

“At Cuba Libre, our signature cocktail – the mojito – can be made as a non-alcoholic version known as a no-jito. Just like our classic cocktail, this mocktail is made using fresh-pressed sugar cane (known as guarapo), fresh-squeezed lime juice, mint, and lemon-lime soda. Flavors of nojitos listed below.  Also, Mojito Mondays, we offer pitchers of the nojitos for $15! You get 6 glasses in a pitcher and the specials are all day every Monday (bar and dining). That’s in addition to pitchers of the classic mojito and sangria for $25 (and flavored mojito pitchers for $30) on Mojito Mondays.”

The Hampton Social:

  • The Shoreline – Spiced Strawberry, Pink Grapefruit
  • Sand Dunes & Sunsets – Yuzu Lime, Cayenne, Gold
  • The Lighthouse – Sicilian Lemonade, Rosemary
  • Sparkling Rose – non-alcoholic with notes of peach, strawberry, and pear

Main Event:

  • Cotton Candy Shirley – Ginger ale, grenadine, cherries, gummies, sour rainbow strip, cotton candy

  • Classic Shirley

Swan and Dolphin: Mocktails from the Swan Reserve

  • Stir Lobby Bar – Pace Horse: Turmeric, Lime, Ginger Elixir, Club Soda, garnished with Purple Basil
  • Amare (signature restaurant) – Spritz de Passione: Lyre’s Italian Spritz, N/A Sparkling Wine, Mango, garnished with Mixed Berries

Four Flamingos: Mocktail versions of Signature Cocktails 

  • Get Toasted: Siesta Key Toasted Coconut Rum, Tempus Fugit Banana Liqueur, Coconut Cream, Pineapple, Cinnamon Bark Syrup (made/infused in-house)

  • The Filthy Flamingo: Siesta Key Rum, Papa’s Pilar Dark Rum, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, Strawberry-Orgeat Syrup (made/infused in-house), Guava, Lime

The Edison at Disney Springs (Lake Buena Vista, FL)

  • Name of Mocktail: Smoke & Mirrors
    • Description: Pineapple Juice, lemon juice, lime juice, orgeat

  • Name of Mocktail: Apple Propellant
    • Description: Apple cider, honey, lemon juice, ginger ale

AVA MediterrAegean (Orlando, FL)

  • Name of Mocktail:  Heir of the God
    • Description of beverage: A blend of passion fruit, pineapple, ginger and lemon, creating a hydrating and tropical beverage with notes of spice.
    • “Our mocktails have always been among guests’ favorites all year long regardless of good resolutions. With that being said, we are definitely seeing a rise among them versus regular cocktails now, as Dry January has kicked off. For instance, our ‘Heir of the God,’ with its topical and spicy notes, is having a strong peak right now, selling more than ever before.” Ahmed Yahi, Mixology Creative Director, Riviera Dining Group

Space 220 Restaurant at Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort (Orlando, FL)

  • Name of Mocktail: The Milky Way
    • Description: Chilled Espresso, Spiced Brown Sugar Syrup, Caramel, Cream, Milky Way, and includes a pack of Space 220 collectible trading cards
    •  “This sweet, coffee-flavored mocktail is popular with kids and adults alike, and as a special bonus comes with a pack of our exclusive Space 220 trading cards.” – Jason Petrina, General Manager of Space 220

  • Name of Mocktail: Lightyear Lemonade
    • Description: Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade, Butterfly Pea Tea, Mint, and includes a pack of Space 220 collectible trading cards
    •  “Lightyear Lemonade is incredibly refreshing and pairs perfectly with our out-of-this-world appetizers and entrees.” – Jason Petrina, General Manager of Space 220

  • Name of Mocktail: Moon Rocks
    • Description: Coconut, Blue Cotton Candy Syrup, Lemonade, Moon Dust, Moon Rocks, and includes a pack of Space 220 collectible trading cards
    •  “Moon Rocks is a fun concoction for all ages! The moon rocks pop in your mouth as you sip the sweet drink. Plus, you receive a pack of our exclusive Space 220 trading cards when you order.” – Jason Petrina, General Manager of Space 220

More about the Mocktail Trend

Sober Curious – The Growing Mocktail Trend

Mocktails are at the top of everyone’s must-Google list right now, and with good reason
– it’s the trend that keeps on trending! From sober-curious Gen Z trendsetters, to new
parents, to colleagues looking for a lighter post-work drink, there are many reasons why
non-alcoholic cocktails enjoy an extended stay in the limelight. In short, it’s the drink
choice that works in every social setting, guaranteed.

The Mixer has identified five key reasons as to why many people are
choosing to enjoy mocktails instead of cocktails, both occasionally or as a rule.

1. Feeling fresh the morning after
When you have a big day the next day, or simply want to feel fresh when you get up
after a night out or in with your mates, the mocktail route is a great way to go. You get to
have a bunch of fun, and the next day you are still ready to tackle that presentation or
hop on your bike to hit the trails without any lingering side effects.

2. Keeping things clean
Not everyone is well suited to drinks that contain alcohol. Some don’t like the way it
makes them feel, while others may have addictive tendencies that make mocktails a
better option for them. Whatever the case may be, non-alcoholic cocktails provide these
fine humans with a grown-up drink option that looks fancier than a soda or a smoothie.

3. Boosting your diet with extra nutrients
When you choose mocktails with the right kind of ingredients, you can actually boost
your daily nutritional intake. At this point it has to be said, however, that while fruit is
wonderful (LOVE that vitamin A and C journey for us!), fruit sugars are still sugars. Keep
that in mind when you choose your non-alc cocktail.

4. Staying hydrated
Since alcohol is a diuretic (very simply, something that makes you go to the loo more
often), it can be a bit of a hurdle if you’re trying to stay hydrated. Mocktails, on the other
hand, can actually up your hydration levels if you enjoy the right kind.

5. Being budget-savvy on the town
Mocktails are also often quite a bit cheaper than their full-force cocktail counterparts
since they do not contain any alcohol. This is a nice way to save some pennies if you
have a tight budget when you’re headed out, or making drinks for guests at home.

About The Mixer
The Mixer is an all-in-one drinkspiration destination, powered by Campari Group, to
discover new ways to create sparkling and memorable moments with your loved ones
through quality cocktail making at home. From delicious recipes with expert tips to
trendy new serves and ideas, The Mixer encourages connectivity and good times,
whether you’re new to hosting or a cocktail pro. For cocktail recipes and advice, please
visit https://www.themixer.com/en-us/.

 

Jollibee Opens January 18th in East Orlando – Here’s a Sneak Peek Look Inside

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The brand’s 4th location in Florida opens on January 18, inviting fans to enjoy its world-famous fried chicken.

On January 18, 2023, Jollibee will debut its Orlando storefront at 11891 East Colonial Drive specializing in all things fried chicken including its crispy, juicy, Chickenjoy fried chicken and delectable Chicken Sandwiches as well as their mango peach pies. 

In fact, international food authority Eater.com recently named Jollibee “the best chain fried chicken in America” after its Chickenjoy bested 14 global brands in four rounds of contests.

Founded in 1975 in the Philippines, Jollibee first began as an ice cream parlor founded by Tony Tan Caktiong, later becoming popular for its hamburgers, French fries, and fried chicken.

We spoke with Maribeth Dela Cruz, President, Jollibee North America, about the opening and their upcoming plans. She is in town this week to make sure the opening goes as smooth as possible and shared with us some tips on enjoying Jollibee!

What To Know About Jollibee’s Grand Opening

For those planning to visit Jollibee’s first location in Orlando, here’s everything you need to know:

Address: 11891 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32826
Hours of Operation: 9AM – 12AM, seven days a week.

How To Order: Customers can pick up their orders to go or enjoy the convenience of the two-lane drive-thru service beginning on opening day. Dine-in, online ordering, and delivery will not be available on opening day, but will be made available in the coming weeks.

The Jollibee team is ready!!!

Opening Day Specials: The first 100 customers in line for drive thru or pick up will be getting limited edition Jollibee prizes and chickenjoy for a year!

What To Order – a rundown of Jollibee’s tried and true menu favorites:

  • Chickenjoy: Jollibee’s signature fried chicken. Each piece is delicately hand-breaded to be crispy on the outside, cooked with precision to be juicy on the inside, and marinated to the bone for next-level flavor. Their fried chicken is also known to be enjoyed  dipped in their gravy sauce.

  • Chicken Sandwich: This sandwich features a crispy, juicy chicken breast fillet, spread with umami mayo, and served on a toasted brioche bun. Find out why this newly launched sandwich has been lauded for its “intense crunch” by The Takeout, and discover how the umami flavor profile and signature Jollibee seasonings meld together to create a perfect chicken sandwich offering.

  • Spicy Chicken Sandwich: A spicy version of the original chicken sandwich features sriracha mayo and fresh jalapeños for added crunch and heat.

  • Peach Mango Pie: Make sure to leave room for this mouth-watering dessert made with peaches and real Philippine mangoes enveloped in a light and crispy crust.

“Get ready Orlando! We are ready to serve up the most delicious fried chicken you have ever had,” said Maribeth Dela Cruz, President, Jollibee North America. “From the minute you walk through our doors – or line up at our first-ever two-lane drive-thru – to your very last bite, we are determined to make every experience at Jollibee a joyful one for our guests.”

Jollibee’s Orlando location marks the brand’s 87th restaurant in North America and fourth location in Florida – the sunshine state first welcomed Jollibee to Jacksonville (11884 Atlantic Blvd) back in 2017. Following the success of that opening, the brand established locations in Pinellas Park (4057 Park Blvd N, Ste 120) in 2020 and in Pembroke Pines (11029 Pines Blvd) in 2021.

 

Inside Look: Clermont Brewing Company in Historic Downtown Clermont – Craft Beer, Cocktails, Artisanal Food, and Live Music

Have you heard of this new craft brewery and eatery in historic Downtown Clermont? It’s called the Clermont Brewing Company – the place for Craft Beer, Cocktails, Artisanal Food, and Live Music when you are in Clermont.

Voted the Best Place to Have Drinks in the 2022 Best of South Lake, Clermont Brewing Company has an on-site brewery and guests can taste exquisite seasonally changing craft beers, thin crust Neapolitan pizzas cooked in their 800 degree imported pizza oven and gourmet salads while listening live to Central Florida’s finest musicians and entertainers.

The wings here are marinated 24 hours in Brewmaster Eric’s Hazy IPA, dusted with Chef Damien’s special dry rub with a touch of heat, smoked in our house smoker, and then finished off in their 800-degree oven.

There’s a neighborhood, backyard barn, block party feel to the place – it’s somewhere fun to go for sure in the historic Downtown Clermont area, especially to try fantastic craft beer and pizza.

We recently spoke with co-founder Darren Johnson about Clermont Brewing Company – read on below!

Featured Menu Dishes

Smoked Chicken Dip
House smoked chicken tossed with buffalo sauce, cream cheese, sour cream, blended cheeses, house smoked bacon, green onions, pickled jalapeños for garnish. Served with corn tortilla chips. $12

Nach-Yo Average Nachos
Choice of marinated house smoked pork or Korean BBQ chicken, with CBC beer cheese, shredded cheese, tomatoes, avocado, sour cream, pickled jalapeños, green onions and sriracha drizzle. Served with corn tortilla chips. $15

“Dream On” Sushi Roll
Shrimp tempura and cream cheese, topped with krab, avocado, eel sauce, tempura flakes and spicy mayo. $18

The CBC Pizza
House smoked chicken, bacon, cheddar and jack cheeses, green onions, and a cilantro-chipotle ranch drizzle. $18

Diablo Pizza
Spicy tomato sauce, mozzarella, hand cut sopressa salami and pepperoni, peppadews and basil. $17

Interview with Clermont Brewing Company’s Co-Founder Darren Johnson

The CBC is such an awesome place – from the brewery to the 400 (800) degree pizza oven to the backyard live music – what was your vision for CBC when you first started?

To create a fun experience where you could share communal food, drinks and listen to live music. Downtown Clermont really needed more hospitality establishments to kick-off the redevelopment engine.

Loved that peanut butter beer – what are some special things about the brewery that people should know?

We brew 10-16 beers including many seasonal and even a seltzer. Our head brewer loves coming up with new creative beers. This week he is releasing a new white chocolate stout.

What are your most popular items right now at CBC?

Beer is the Mexican Lager, Hazy IPA, Sangria & Margaritas on tap, food- pizza is king followed by our smoked chicken dip, dream on sushi roll and our Korean BBQ tacos. We strive for artisanal food and craft cocktails.

Tell us about your background – from event production industry to food industry – what made you decide to go into the food world?

Having a 40 year career in hospitality creating a killer guest experience is first and foremost for all of my clients and events. I parlayed that expertise and knowledge into more permanent venues like CBC, The Southern on 8th and our other hospitality related ventures. It’s really all about the experience and that includes the look, feel, the lighting, the décor, music, seating, menu, beverage options, safety and cleanliness. All of those things combined is what creates the ultimate guests experience. Now doing that every second you are open is the ultimate challenge and its hard, very hard, especially today!

What are some of your favorite memories around food growing up?

Growing up in the 60’s/70’s my memories included Swansons TV dinners, fried baloney sandwiches, chicken pot pie and other various frozen meals, nothing that tripped any culinary switches. My 4 years in Marines taught me to eat anything there was and that really broaden my pallet. It wasn’t until my event planning career that I started to visit the top resorts in the world and got to experience some of the greatest chefs and cuisines.

Your wife is multigenerational in the Clermont area – what are some of her memories of Clermont growing up and the food scene?

The most exciting food memories for her was when Burger King and Wendy’s arrived in Clermont. There was still dirt roads back in the 70’s/80s. The Crown Restaurant, Rusty Fox and RJ Grunts were the top places to eat.

What are your upcoming plans for the menu? What are some new dishes guests will likely see and when will they be available?

New dishes are in the works and hope to release the new menu in February. We’re looking at adding some Asian influences like a fried Pork/Shrimp burger, a BADASS burger with brisket, pulled pork, Texas sausage, and onion straws for the real carnivores, 4 new killer sushi rolls and 3 new killer salads.

HAPPY HOUR SPECIALS
3:00pm – 6:00pm, Monday – Friday Happy Hour Beers, Wines & Cocktails Craft Beers $3, House Wine $3, Cocktails $4

SMOKIN’ WING WEDNESDAY & DUELING PIANOS
Wings available from 3 p.m. until they’re gone. Stick around for Dueling Pianos starting at 7 p.m.

Live Music – Wednesday thru Sunday
Wednesday Wings 

Holiday & Special Events
Bring the whole family while enjoying our air-conditioned taproom, covered patio or our beautiful backyard beer garden at the Clermont Brewing Company.

HOURS
TUESDAY – THURSDAY: 3:00PM – 10:00PM
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY: 11:30AM – 12:00AM (MIDNIGHT)
SUNDAY: 11:30AM – 10:00PM

CLERMONT BREWING COMPANY

750 W. DESOTO STREET
CLERMONT, FL 34711

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10 New Orlando Restaurants To Try in 2023

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New Year, New Restaurants to Try! Orlando has been having a boom in new restaurants lately it seems and several neighborhoods – looking at you Mills 50 – have been having a restaurant renaissance / glow up moment. Here are a few from our list that we want to try in 2023, including 10 New Orlando restaurants that recently opened and restaurants that will be opening soon!

 

10 New Orlando Restaurants To Try in 2023

Now Open

Sampaguita Ice Cream
1233 East Colonial, Orlando, FL 32803 – Mills 50
https://www.sampaguitausa.com/
Filipino inspired treats including ice cream, soft cream, halo halo, shakes & sundaes! From the people behind The Greenery Creamery !

The Moderne
1241 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803 – Mills 50
https://www.themodernebar.com/
Asian-inspired grilled izayaka tapas / small dishes and craft cocktails in chic moderne lounge

Sanshi Noodle House
Golden Sparkling Plaza – 5600 West Colonial Drive, Suite 316A, Orlando, FL 32808
specializes in the cuisine from China’s Yunnan province – noodles and ingredients combine to finalize tableside.

Mr. J Hand Pulled Noodles
1688 E Silver Star Rd, Ocoee, FL 34761, Phone: (407) 930-6699
https://www.mrjhandpullednoodle.com/
– Hand pulled Lanzhou style noodles, six seats

Otto’s High Dive
2304 E Robinson St, Orlando, FL 32803
https://www.ottoshd.com/
Cuban Restaurant and Rum Bar based in Orlando, Florida. Cuban Classics, Florida Seafood, Cocktails.

Chicharron Grill by Roberto Trevino
at MarketPlace at Avalon Park
3819 Avalon Park E Blvd, Orlando, FL 32828
feature such items as empanadas rellenas; pinchos; mofongos; garlic shrimp; pork chicharron; and chicharron de pollo.

Opening Soon

Norman’s
7940 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, FL
James Beard Award winning chef Norman Van Aken, known for being the founding father of New World Cuisine

Kungfu Kitchen
8466 Palm Parkway, Orlando, FL
First Florida location for the famed NYC hand pulled noodle restaurant by Peter Song

Sweet Buns Bakery and Cafe
2021 E. Colonial Drive in Orlando
– Late Night Hong Kong Style Diner in Mills 50 by the people behind YH Seafood Clubhouse


Pho Ga Hien Vuong Noodle House
Chinatown Plaza – 5282 West Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32808
From the owners of Michelin Bib Gourmand award winner Z Asian Vietnamese Kitchen – Vietnamese chicken based pho ga noodle soup and more.

some photos courtesy Mr. Joe S.

Chef’s Corner: Interview with NEW Executive Chef Jomar Rios Berly of Sea World Orlando

Chef Jomar Rios Berly recently joined SeaWorld Orlando as their new executive chef. Born in Puerto Rico, Chef Rios Berly has a long history stemming from his work in Miami at restaurants and hotels. He recently spoke with us about his background and experiences as well as future plans for food and beverage at SeaWorld Orlando.

Ricky Ly, Tasty Chomps: What is your inspiration for becoming a chef?

Chef Jomar Rios Berly: My inspiration comes from a young age, when I started cooking with my grandmother, in addition to this I discovered a career that I never stop learning and being able to transmit happiness through food and impact and help the lives of many people in a positive way.

What are your favorite food memories growing up?

One of my memories since I was little is picking fresh ingredients to cook at home, I remember picking cilantro directly from the ground and combining it with a good stew or simply making a sauce.

What are some favorite lessons you learned that helped you become the chef you are today?

I always learned from anyone, no matter the position or age and race. I worked with good chefs as well as with very bad chefs and this helped me develop and be the humble person I am today, I have always liked helping others and being a mentor, motivate and help people reach their next level .

Favorite dishes at Seaworld right now?

I don’t have a specific dish since I like that we are changing recipes and in each event we come with different things and a different flavor from the others, but I always like to put a little bit of my story in each recipe or dish that I make

Upcoming plans for Seaworld for food and beverage?

Seven Seas next year we’re coming with new recipes since this is the biggest F&B event at SeaWorld and maintain the reputation we have but beyond that my goal is to exceed expectations and do memorable things for each guest who visits us.

Favorite comfort food to make at home?

One of my favorite comfort food is when the Christmas season comes and I can mention several options from this: Arroz con gandules and Roasted Pork, Pasteles de Yuca (this is something similar to tamales but in Puerto Rico we use yuca or plantain and we wrapped in banana leaf), and Pumpkin Flan!

Thank you Chef!

A Foodie’s Guide to Chinese / Vietnamese Lunar New Year Celebrations in Orlando – 2023 Year of the Rabbit!

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It’s one of my favorite times of the year, not just for the festivities but also for the great food that goes along with the holiday celebrations.

I remember gathering around at home growing up with my uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandma around the family dinner table having a huge feast, praying to our ancestors and the gods for a lucky and healthy new year. My favorite dishes were the fried egg rolls and roasted duck, Hakka style, filled with Chinese spices, herbs and wild mushrooms.

This year the Chinese/Vietnamese Lunar New Year’s Official Date is Sunday January 22 – but the celebrations begin much earlier and last almost all month.

This is the year of the Rabbit and known to be full of “mercy, elegance, and beauty. People who are born in the year of the rabbit are calm and peaceful

Luckily for us here in the Central Florida community, we are home to the largest ethnic enclaves of Asian Americans in the entire state, particularly around the Mills 50 district with shops, restaurants, and markets all getting ready to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Entrance to the Festival

Lunar New Year Traditions
  • Eating dinner together as a family – people journey from wherever they are, to come home and have dinner. Every year this time marks the largest mass migration of people when workers in the cities travel home to their home villages to visit their families again.
  • Giving/Recieving Red Envelopes – filled with lucky money from elders to the young. Asian culture is big on karma so want to start off the year doing good things for others and hope for good things to happen to you in return later in the year. Universal balance.
  • Clean the house before the new year start the year new, and pay off all your debts
  • Big parades with lots of firecrackers. The loud noise “scares” away any evil spirits so you can start off the new year fresh.
  • On the day of Lunar New Year – if you have lunch in the Mills 50 area, you will see the Wah Lum Kung Fu Lion Dance team “blessing” each business with their lion dance and lots of loud fire works. Great for photography!

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What to Order – Traditional Chinese Dishes for New Years

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Eat
  • Noodles – The longer, the better – the noodles represent longevity and long life
  • Dumplings – They are shaped like little gold nuggets, symbols for good fortune and wealth
  • Fish – The word “yu” sounds like “abundance” in Chinese, so your new year will be abundant with good luck – eat whole fish so that your whole year is full of good luck
  • Fried Spring Rolls – The name also sounds like “good fortune” in Chinese, eat it for a lucky new year
  • Oranges are also plentiful during new years because the name and look of the orange is similar to gold. So giving oranges as a gift is also quite common, as it the giver is seen as wishing prosperity on the receivers.
  • Vietnamese Banh Tet – Bánh tét is a Vietnamese savoury but sometimes sweetened cake made primarily from glutinous rice, which is rolled in a banana leaf into a thick, log-like cylindrical shape, with mung bean or mung bean and pork fillings, then boiled. It is a must have traditional food in Vietnamese Lunar New Year. It demonstrates the importance of rice in the Vietnamese culture as well as historical value. During Vietnamese Tét, family members would gather together and enjoy feasting on bánh tét, the central food of this festive Vietnamese holiday to celebrate the coming of spring.
  • Rolls of banh tet, kind of like Christmas yuletide logs, but with sticky rice and beans to celebrate the new year

Say Happy New Year!

  • Vietnamese – Chuc Mung Nam Moi
  • Cantonese – Sun Lien Fai Lok
    or Gung Hay Fat Choi (Literally : Congratulations on your Prosperity – have a prosperous new year)
  • Mandarin – Xin Nian Kuai Le

Places to Celebrate Lunar New Year in Orlando:

Local Orlando Restaurants:

    • YH Seafood Clubhouse – Cantonese / Seafood / Dim Sum fine dining
      8081 Turkey Lake Rd #700, Orlando, FL 32819 – Phone: (407) 440-4979
    • East Garden – Chinese Dim Sum and Cantonese Cuisine
      5136 W Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32808 – Phone: (407) 203-6001
    • Ming Bistro – Chinese Dim Sum – Great for Families/Friends/Groups
      1212 Woodward Street #6, Orlando, FL (407) 898-9672
    • Taste of Chengdu – Authentic Sichuan Chinese
      2030 W Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32804, Phone: (407) 839-1983
      4856 New Broad St, Orlando, FL 32814, Phone: (407) 286-4850
    • Chuan Lu Garden – Authentic Sichuan cuisine 
      1101 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL – (407) 896-8966
    • Tasty Wok – Chinese street food / barbecue and noodles
      1237 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL  (407) 896-8988
    • Mr. J’s Hand Pulled Noodles
      1688 E Silver Star Rd, Ocoee, FL 34761, Phone: (407) 930-6699
    • Golden Lotus Chinese – Dim sum and traditional Chinese cuisine
      8365 South John Young Parkway, Orlando, FL (407) 352-3832

Local Markets – Pick up New Year goodies

  • New Golden Sparkling Super Market – West Orlando
    5600 W Colonial Dr #306, Orlando, FL 32808, Phone: (407) 730-3936
  • Mei’s Super Market- East Orlando
    10681 E Colonial Dr, Union Park, FL 32817, Phone: (689) 208-1888
  • Dong A Asian Market
    816 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803, Phone: (407) 898-9227
  • Eastside Asian Market
    12950 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32826, Phone: (407) 615-8881
  • Saigon Market
    1232 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, United States
    (407) 898-6899
  • Tien Hung Market
    1112 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, United States
    (407) 849-0205 http://tienhungmarket.com/
  • Enson Market
    5132 West Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32808, United States
    (407) 292-3668

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Lunar New Year Festivals/Events

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Vietnamese Community of Central Florida Vietnamese Lunar New Year 2023 Celebration

January 20 @ 10:00 am – January 22 @ 5:30 pm

Central Florida Fairgrounds 4603 W. Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL

CAACF Chinese New Year Celebration 2023 – Orlando

January 21 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Chuan Lu Garden  1101 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando, FL

Mei’s Supermarket Lunar New Year Celebration 2023

January 22 @ 2:00 am – 3:30 pm

30th Annual Central Florida Vietnamese Lunar New Year

January 28 @ 10:00 am – January 29 @ 5:00 pm

Central Florida Fairgrounds 4603 W. Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL

Orange County Library System (FL) Chinese New Year Celebration

January 29 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Celebrate Lunar – Lake Nona

February 4 @ 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm

$10 – $20

11th Annual Central Florida Dragon Parade Lunar New Year

February 5 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Avalon SpringFest 2023 – Lunar New Year Festival

Inside Look: Christmas Day Brunch Buffet – Aurora at The Celeste Hotel

Did you know that Aurora at the Celeste Hotel hosts holiday brunch events throughout the year?

We were invited to enjoy Christmas Day Brunch Buffet at Aurora in The Celeste Hotel, the University of Central Florida’s first on-campus luxury hotel, and it was the best holiday brunch we have ever experienced.

My family indulged in the perfect holiday buffet of lavish spreads prepared by Executive Chef Mike Trudnak and his team.

The presentation doubled as a feast for the eyes.

Here is an inside look at Aurora’s Christmas Day Brunch Buffet:

FEATURING A HUGE ASSORTMENT OF CHEF CURATED DISPLAYS – Nuts-&-Cheese Platter, a Fresh Market Display of Grilled Vegetables complete with baguettes, naan bread.


45 VARIETIES OF INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC CHEESES

ARTISAN BREAD & PASTRY

EXPLORATION OF SOUP & SALAD – Hearty New England Seafood Chowder, Butternut Squash Soup, plus a create-your-own-salad bar for a completely customized roughage course.

SEAFOOD DISPLAY – Chilled Oysters, Clams, Blue Mussels, Smoked Salmon, Peel-and-Eat Shrimp.

BREAKFAST STATION

MADE TO ORDER OMELETS AND EGGS BENEDICT

CHEF ATTENDED RISOTTO STATION – Lobster, Shrimp, & Oyster Seafood Risotto.

CARVING STATIONS – Turkey, Prime Rib, Ham & Whole Faroe Island Salmon.

CHILDREN’S BUFFET – Chicken Tenders, Mac-and-Cheese, French Fries.

FRUIT DISPLAY – A very Florida-friendly Tropical Fruit Display featuring mangoes, oranges, papayas, melons, dragonfruit, and more.

OVER 36 FEET OF ASSORTED DESSERTS – Mouthwatering desserts – cheesecake, apple pie, chocolate-covered strawberries, ice cream, and more.

Thank you Executive Chef Mike Trudnak & Aurora at the Celeste for having us!

Be sure to make your reservations for the next special dining event at The Aurora at The Celeste Hotel as they have several throughout the year! Check their OpenTable and social media for updates.  Reservations required – P: 689.205.0100 or MIKE.TRUDNAK@THECELESTEHOTEL.COM or directly through OpenTable.

Aurora at The Celeste Hotel – UCF
4105 N Alafaya Trail, Orlando, FL
689-205-0100
thecelestehotel.com

 

Orlando’s Ramen Rumble Returns this January 23, 2023 at Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs!!

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Tickets will go on sale tomorrow morning (Friday 12/23) at 10:00 a.m.
Tickets sell out quickly – there are only about 400 tickets to be sold, two seatings of 200 each – so make sure you set your alarms!!

Back by popular demand, Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs is proud to host the fifth annual Ramen Rumble in partnership with event founders Jason & Sue Chin of Seito Sushi (Good Salt Restaurant Group) on Monday, January 23 with 2 seating times (5:30-7:30pm; 8:30pm-10:30pm). Five of Orlando’s best and brightest chefs will compete for the championship title, bragging rights, the coveted “Broth Belt” trophy, and a portion of the proceeds with be donated to our charity partner, Give Kids the World. Each contestant will man their own soup station, presenting their unique style of ramen filled with creative toppings and interesting textures for guests to sample and vote on, crowning the next Ramen King of Central Florida.

Tickets are $95++ per person and include five steaming bowls of tasty ramen (one from each chef’s entry) and one non-alcoholic beverage and one free sample beer from Ivanhoe Brewing. A cash bar will also be open and souvenir t-shirts will be for sale. For upgraded seating, guests can purchase one of eight four-person VIP booths for $650++ (event tickets included in price) or a Private VIP room for up to six people for $800++.

Purchase your tickets today to join some of Orlando’s culinary leaders as they battle it out for noodle glory!

Participating Chefs

  • Chef Michael Cooper, Executive Chef, The Osprey
  • Chef Hung Huynh and Chef Gene Kim, Doshi
  • Chef Kaleb Harrell, Chef Allen Lo and Chef Jonathan Rohland, Hawkers Asian Street Food
  • Chef Michael Collantes, Chef Owner Soseki Modern Omakase
  • Chef Tung Phan, Chef Owner Camille Modern Vietnamese Tasting

Interview with Chef David Ramirez of David Ramirez Chocolates

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David Ramirez Chocolates was founded by award-winning chef David Ramirez in 2010 – and now they have two locations in Orlando and 42 employees. Their flagship store is located just a few minutes away from the Ritz-Carlton and their second location is on Plant Street in Winter Garden.

At David Ramirez Chocolates, it’s all about passion and perfection. They place a high value on using the best ingredients available, sourced from across the globe.

Whether you are looking for artisan chocolates, macarons, chocolate gifts, milkshakes, chocolate covered bacon, or event catering, they’ve got you covered.

We recently spoke with chef David Ramirez about David Ramirez Chocolates and their upcoming plans here in Orlando! Check it out below –

Tasty Chomps – Q and A for David Ramirez Chocolates

Ricky Ly, TastyChomps: What are some of the most popular items right now at David Ramirez Chocolates?

Chef David Ramirez: Chocolates of course but now corporate gifts are the big push

– What makes the chocolate at David Ramirez unique?

We use quality ingredients from around the world and we are always creating new and unique flavor profiles.

– What are your upcoming plans this year?

We are entering our busiest time of the year, so saying that we are producing to fulfill all our specialty and holiday orders

– How has business changed if at all since the pandemic?

Increased retail sales were the biggest change and of course working through all the Covid shortages and price increases. Price increases seem to be the biggest change.

– What are the best ways for Central Floridians to order chocolates from David Ramirez?

Online orders we can always fulfill but it always seems to be walk in traffic. Plant st market is always a great place to hang out and pick up some chocolates, macaroons and pastries. Central pkwy always has some great deals on our not so perfect chocolates. We have several names for them but it’s a pre-selected dozen for $15, great for gifts that are simple and will please all palates.


Interview with Executive Chef David Ramirez

– Tell us about your training and experience – what were some of your favorite memories throughout your career?

Oh were do I begin, you can always read my bio, favorite memories are so many from world championships to working and training with my staff and seeing them learn and grow.

– What inspired you to become a pastry chef?

My mom, you know always in the kitchen cooking something up, the smell the taste and then the time spent making things in the kitchen. The kitchen was the heart of my house back in L.I.N.Y. you always had to pass through the kitchen to get anywhere in the house.

– Tell us about your background and childhood

I was always hustling work from delivering newspapers, cutting lawns, working in bakeries and restaurants. Having a lot of fun in the neighborhood with friends, playing soccer, stickball, handball anything with a ball or puck. Of course getting into all sorts of shenanigans was always a high priority on the list.

– What makes great chocolate? What makes great pastries?

Great chocolate starts with great craftsmanship from growing the bean to processing the chocolate. Respect of the product, environment and production of product is always crucial. Sourcing quality ingredients and then of course having creativity and imagination.

– What is your advice to aspiring pastry chefs?

Work hard and stay humble – No one owes you anything you have to earn what you get and having thick skin always helps. It’s a different world with social media and things that help and influence our industry. Our industry is all about working hard and staying creative that will never change. I think the best quote I ever read was from Anthony Bourdain “shut up and cook” society today is a bit more sensitive. Most of all “love what you do and do what you love” and everything will work itself out.

David Ramirez Chocolates
Orlando Location
2154 Central Florida Pkwy, Suite B-8, Orlando, FL 32837

Hours of Operations
Monday-Friday 10:00am-6pm
Phone Number
(407) 816-7400

Winter Garden Location
426 W Plant Street, Winter Garden, FL 34787

Hours of Operations
Monday-Thursday 11am-7pm
Friday 11am-9pm
Saturday 10:30am-9pm
Sunday 11am-6pm

Phone Number
(407) 614-8278

https://www.davidramirezchocolates.com/

A Foodie’s Guide to Orlando Holiday Specials 2022 – Christmas and New Year’s!

The holidays are here in Orlando again – and it is time for some cheer with family and friends. Whether you are visiting Orlando or are a long time resident of Central Florida –  and looking for Christmas and New Years celebrations and specials, this is the place to look. Below are some of our featured highlights for the Holidays in Orlando this year – take a look and make sure to make reservations ASAP!

A Foodie’s Guide to the Holidays in Orlando 2022 – Christmas and New Year Specials 

    • Lake Nona Wave Hotel

      SIP, SPARKLE AND CELEBRATE

      AT LAKE NONA WAVE HOTEL

      6100 Wave Hotel Drive, Orlando, FL 32827

      THIS NEW YEARS EVE

      December 31 | BACÁN at 7:00 pm – 2:00 am

      Ring in the New Year in style with a 3-course Michelin-recommended dinner at BACÁN including wine pairings ($179). After dinner join us for a party for the ages at HAVEN Pool featuring live band and fireworks (an additional $59)

      Reservations available at www.bacanlakenona.com or email events@lakenonawavehotel.com.

      December 31 | HAVEN Kitchen at 7:00 pm – 2:00 am

      Celebrate 2023 with a delectable 3-course dinner at HAVEN Kitchen ($109). After dinner join us for a party for the ages at HAVEN Pool featuring live band and fireworks (an additional $59) Reservations available at www.havenlakenona.com or email events@lakenonawavehotel.com

      For more information: https://www.lakenonawavehotel.com/things-to-do-lake-nona/events

      STK Steakhouse at Disney Springs

      1580 E Buena Vista Drive, Orlando, FL 32830

      Whether you made the nice or naughty list this year, the ONLY place on YOUR list should be STK Steakhouse this Holiday Season.

      Join us for Christmas Eve/Day & New Years; featuring our Seasonal Specials, Wagyu from around the World, Signature Steaks, Award-Winning Cocktails & More.

      Book Now at https://stksteakhouse.com/holidays/ or Call 877-240-3520.

      For more information: https://stksteakhouse.com/holidays/

    • Pointe Orlando

      9101 International Drive
      Orlando, FL 32819
      Phone: 407-248-2838
      play@pointeorlando.com

      • Tabla Indian Cuisine

        Orlando, Oviedo, Lake Nona and Winter Park
        https://www.tablacuisine.com/
        (407) 248-9400

        Christmas Day Specials
        $19.99 ++ for lunch and $35 ++ for dinner
        May be an image of text that says 'Tabla indian ? ?h?nE?e th?i Christmas MENU Starter Hariyali Sitara Tikki or Chicken Tangdi 65 Main Murgh Aamwala Served with Aloo Methi or Aloo Korma au Gratinwith Tabla style Brussels Served with Coconut/ Rosemary Naan Dessert Cristmas Pudding with Sabayon Sauce Lunch: Served Platter $19.99 pp Tax Dinner: Served three course House Drink $35.00pp Tax www.tablacuisine.com'

Inside Look: Inaugural Sip & Savor at Waldorf Astoria Orlando & Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

This past Friday, Waldorf Astoria Orlando & Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek hosted their inaugural Epicurious: Sip & Savor, an upscale food and wine experience showcasing 35 tastings across eight culinary kiosks and nine pop-up bars.

Guests enjoyed an exclusive evening filled with lavish libations, delectable dishes, and artsy treats by the chefs from highly acclaimed restaurants and lounges from both sister resorts.

Sip & Savor will happen again next year on Saturday, December 9, 2023.  Tickets are $275 per guest (plus tax and gratuity). Early-bird tickets are $175 per person before June 1. Discounted tickets can be purchased at https://www.waldorfastoriaorlando.com/epicurious/sip-savor/. Discounted room rates are also available at both resorts for anyone looking to book an epicurean getaway.

Here is an inside look at Waldorf Astoria Orlando & Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek’s Inaugural Sip & Savor on December 9th, 2022:

HIBISCUS SPARKING WINE

GRAZING BOARD – Display of Fruit, Cheese and Antipasti

Vibe Kitchen



AJI DE GALLINA EMPANADA – Free Range Chicken Creamy Stew, Aji Amarillo, Parmesano, Lime

CAUSA DE PULPO – Pressed Potato, Braised Octopus, Olive Aioli, Piquillo Chimichurri,
Pushed Eggs, Tobiko, Micro Arugula

QUINOA CAPRESE – Burrata Cheese, Heirloom Tomatoes, Red Quinoa, Ocopa Sauce, Salsa Verde

Zeta Asia

HAWAIIAN ROLL – Spicy Ahi Tuna, Cucumber, Tuna, Salmon

KANJI ROLL – Spicy Salmon, Cucumber, Avocado, Tobiko, Sriracha, Micro Cilantro

NORI KURAKKA (SPICY TUNA NACHOS) – Seared Seven Spice Tuna Sashimi, Avocado Crema, Spicy Mayo, Masago, Frisée, Wasabi Dusted Nori Chips

STEAMED BAO BUN – Duck Confit, Hoisin Sauce, Achar Pickle Vegetables

Maitres Cuisiniers de France



CASSOLETTE D’ESCARGOTS – Trumpet Mushroom, Bourgogne Vincent Girardin Cuvee, St Vincent Glace, Shallot confit, Sunchokes, Croutons

PÂTÉ PANTIN – Petit Mesclun Salad, Walnut Banyuls, Vinaigrette

La Luce

BRUSCHETTA BIANCA – Roasted Pears, Caramelized Onions, Gorgonzola Dolce, Arugula, Balsamica

SHORT RIB RAVIOLI – Ricotta, Greens, Brandy & Peppercorn Sauce, Horseradish Gremolata

Bull & Bear

BEEF CARPACCIO – Thin Cut Wagyu, Seasonal Fresh Shaved, Truffles, Mugolio 18 Month
Shaved, Parmesan, Reggiano Cheese, Pushed Egg Yolk, Served with Feuille De Brick

BULL & BEAR FRIED CHICKEN – Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes, Gravy

DUCK HAM – Skordalia, Kalamata au Jus, Chestnut Spätzle

Bull & Bear Smokehouse

14-HOUR PECAN SMOKED BLACK ANGUS BRISKET – Smoked Vidalia Onion BBQ Sauce, Garlic Toast

CEDAR PLANK LOCK DUART SALMON FILET – Red Onion, Gala Apple Chutney

Chef Franck’s Grande Patisserie



FRENCH PETITE BOUTIQUE – Assorted Chocolate Truffles, Candies and Caramels

BOURBON TRAIL

To purchase early-bird tickets for the second annual Sip & Savor before the June 1st deadline, click here.

Inside Look: New Taco and Colombian Bakery in East Orlando? Pico De Gallo Mexican Grill and The Bakery Colombian Cafe in downtown Avalon Park

Have you heard about this new taco and Colombian bakery open in downtown Avalon Park in East Orlando?

Pico de Gallo is a brand new fast-casual restaurant in downtown Avalon Park serving authentic cuisine that is rooted in Latin American flavors and traditions. Pico’s bowls, tacos, and antojitos are a medley of flavorful and thoughtful ingredients that help satisfy your hunger and cravings.

Pico de Gallo has been the 13-year vision of long-time Avalon Park residents, Jorge and Heidi Cardona-Lopez, along with family support by sister Heisell Alarcon and niece Nazareth Orozco. The vision came to life when they opened as one of the original vendors in the Marketplace at Avalon Park food hall in September 2021. Their expansion into a larger space in Avalon Park will allow for outdoor seating and an expanded menu.

“The community has welcomed us with open arms,” said Lopez. “I cannot wait to share our new expanded menu with our new neighbors.”

The move to the Clock Tower expands their cafeteria-style menu to include mix and match options from bowls to burritos and tacos, with various meats and traditional sides, like rice and beans, and chips and salsa.

Additionally, there is a new Colombian Bakery Café in honor of Jorge’s heritage, which brings a rich mixture of flavors, color and taste to the menu. Some menu items will include Pan de Bono, Bunuelo, Picada Columbiana, empanadas, and arepas.

The cuisine of Colombia is a rich and diverse culinary tradition, influenced by a variety of cultural and regional influences. From the hearty dishes of the Andean region to the fresh seafood of the Caribbean coast, Colombia has a wealth of delicious and unique dishes to offer.

One of the most iconic dishes of Colombian cuisine is the arepa, a cornmeal patty that is grilled or fried and served with a variety of toppings. Arepas are a staple of the Colombian diet, and can be found throughout the country in a variety of forms, from the simple, plain arepa to the more elaborate arepa rellena, stuffed with cheese, meat, or other fillings.

Colombia is a country with a rich culinary tradition, and its pastries are no exception. From the soft, buttery pan de bonos to the crispy, cheese-filled empanadas, there are a variety of tasty pastries to be found at the Bakery Colombian Cafe in downtown Avalon Park.

Pan de bono, also known as “cheese bread” in English, is a traditional Colombian pastry that is popular throughout the country. This delicious treat is made with yuca flour and queso fresco, and has a soft, pillowy texture that is perfect for soaking up hot chocolate or coffee.

The origins of pan de bono can be traced back to the country’s indigenous communities, who used yuca flour and cheese to create a simple but satisfying snack. Over time, this traditional recipe evolved into the modern version of pan de bono that is enjoyed today.

To make pan de bono, the yuca flour and cheese are mixed together to form a dough, which is then shaped into small balls and baked until golden and crispy on the outside. The finished pastries are typically about the size of a golf ball, and have a slightly chewy texture and a rich, cheesy flavor.

Pan de bono is often served as a breakfast or snack food, and is commonly found at bakeries and cafes throughout Colombia. In addition to its traditional cheese filling, pan de bono can also be made with a variety of other ingredients, such as chocolate or fruit.

We spoke with owner Heidi Lopez about the recent opening – read on!

Pico de Gallo and The Bakery Colombian Cafe x Tasty Chomps Interview

Ricky Ly of Tasty Chomps: Tell us about your background – how did your family get started in the food industry?

Heidi Lopez: My family and I started to get interest into the food business by our countries we have such amazing food but Not a lot shared where we live and thought it would a great idea to bring our culture of food to the community and to those who enjoy Colombian and Tex-mex foods.

– What was your inspiration behind the new Colombian Bakery concept? What was the inspiration behind Pico De Gallo?

The inspiration behind the Colombian bakery was that there wasn’t many Colombian bakery’s or restaurant near our community and if there was it was too far or very limited places and we thought we should bring the amazing Colombian food and pastry’s with an explosion of colors and flavors and Including that our food and pastry are home-made. Which is why we wanted to bring it to Avalon Park for everyone to enjoy. Same goes for Pico there wasn’t a place where you could get full nutritional meals very fast and on the go in Avalon and we wanted to bring that to the community.

– What are some of your favorite childhood memories growing up around food?

My favorite childhood memories was when my mom used to make us gallo pinto which is white rice and red beans mixed with cream and sprinkled white cheese and tortillas and I enjoyed eating that so much, it is so delicious. Which is why we actually have that in our Pico de gallo menu!

– What are some little known unique/ special things about the bakery that people should know?

Some little known unique things that the Bakery has is that the our Mural is a very traditional thing you see in Colombia the vintage jeep with traditional food and items the people of Colombia share and sell to those in their country.

– What are the most popular items right now at Pico De Gallo and The Bakery?

Some very popular items in Pico de Gallo are our nachos they are savory and delicious and great to share with the family. Our popular items in Bakery is our chicken and Beef empanadas they are also very delicious and filling.

– Tell us about your upcoming plans for restaurants this winter?

This winter we plan on bringing in new traditional Christmas food and meals to our menus.

Pico De Gallo and the Bakery Colombian Cafe
Downtown Avalon Park
3801 Avalon Park Blvd East, Suite 155
Orlando, FL 32828

Opening Hours
Sunday to Thursday.
11:00 am – 09:00 pm
Friday and Saturday.
11:00 am – 10:00 pm

https://www.picodegalloavalon.com/

Chef Morimoto visits Tori Tori and EdoBoy in Orlando’s Mills 50 District

This past week, Chef Morimoto of Morimoto Asia and Iron Chef fame, alongside Morimoto Asia’s Chef Yuhi visited Tori Tori and EdoBoy Standing Sushi in Orlando’s Mills 50 District.

Owner/Chef Sean Sonny Nguyen – who as a boy looked up to Chef Morimoto as an inspiration – spoke with us at Tasty Chomps about this occasion and how it felt to have him as a guest – as well as upcoming plans for the Domu Dynasty.

Ricky Ly, Tasty Chomps: What was it like meeting Chef Morimoto?

Sean Nguyen: He is a very personable guy and easy to talk to. Very humble and dedicated to what he does. In our conversations we talked about his life and how he travels 200 days a year working. Some injuries he is currently going through and how long he plans to keep pushing.
He told me “if Jiro is 97 years old and is still doing sushi, then I need to keep pushing”. He was friendly with our staff and guests and even gave me an autograph on a OG photo of him when Iron Chef came out. He mentioned to me that he was around 43 years old when he did that show. We talked about a lot in a short period of time.
What was he doing in town? How did he end up at Tori Tori / EdoBoy?
I believe he was in town for his omakase “momokase” at his restaurant at Disney Springs for the Yamazaki event. I received an email from his executive chef “Chef Yuhi” inquiring about a time-slot at Edoboy for Chef Morimoto for this past Sunday so we made sure to make room for him. He originally was trying to dine at 6pm but since the earliest we had was 8pm, they decided to stop by Tori Tori first for some highballs and yakitori.
They ended up coming back to Tori Tori after their meal at Edoboy. Chef Yuhi dined at Edoboy a few weeks prior and he mentioned it to Chef Morimoto, who then wanted to come check us out and that’s kind of how it all happened.
How is business going for you all? Upcoming plans?
Business is going great. We have been doing really well this year and Edoboy so far has been a hit. Our main focus coming up is to continue improving our current brands. I’ve been working behind the scenes with improving the DOMU recipes and working on updated broths which will be hitting the stores early next year. There should be a significant improvement with overall quality of the broths.
Also, we are working on improving our overall ingredients for the ramen which include but not limited to toppings, proteins, and oils. We currently are testing out pork with a heritage breed, looking into other egg options, raising viscosity in our broths and meat flavor, and just rethinking some of our core recipes to produce overall cleaner/better flavors. They will equate to overall small changes so the translation to the customer’s bowl may seem very minute but we feel better about serving an overall better product.
Ramen is an ever changing game, so we have to continue to just keep changing small elements one at a time, probably forever. For Tori Tori, our GM and bar manager have been working on a lot of Tori Tori exclusive releases which include El Tosoro Tequila, Knob Creek, and Maker’s Mark.
Also, our Gatsu Gatsu Rice Lager collab with The Ravenous Pig will be canned soon and be offered in ABC’s, Total Wines, and Whole Foods around Florida which is super exciting since this will be our first ever retail product with our name on it. Our teams have been working hard at staying consistent, producing new and exciting things for the city, and maintaining operations all at the same time so big props to everyone.
What did Chef Morimoto say when he came? Did he like the food??
The feedback that we got was that he loved everything at both Tori Tori and Edoboy. He mentioned that he previously was looking into opening standing sushi bars in the states but just haven’t found the right place to do it yet and was overall impressed with Edoboy from the layout, to the rice, to the nori. It meant the world to me when Chef Tyler told me that Chef Morimoto mentioned to him during their meal that I was doing a great job and really know what I’m doing. I had to check a few times if those words verbatim came out of his mouth and Chef Ty confirmed. Getting acknowledgment from someone like him meant a lot to me and I am extremely thankful for the Morimoto team for bringing Chef Morimoto to my concepts.
What was Chef Morimoto’s impact on you growing up? 
Honestly, I watched a lot of OG Iron Chef growing up. Chef Morimoto was always my favorite. When I was a kid, my brother would take me to the store to pick out some ingredients and we would do Iron Chef battles together at home and have my now sister-in-law be the judge. I looked up to Chef Morimoto since a young age and to have him dine at my restaurants on his own accord is very surreal to me. I believe that he definitely had an impact of my direction of focusing on Japanese cuisine.
Will there be a collab in the future?
Who knows, but I’m soaking in this moment as if it may never happen again and that I am fulfilled that it did happen. That’s actually a term we use often and what Tori Tori’s motto is based off of. In Japanese its called Ichigo Ichie.

Tori Tori – 720 N. Mills Ave, Orlando, FL, United States, Florida
EdoBoy – 728 N Thornton Ave, Orlando, FL 32803

Oysters 15 Different Ways? Wine 4 Oysters Bar and Bites in East Orlando

Did know there’s only one place in Central Florida serving oysters 15 different ways?

It’s called Wine 4 Oysters located in East Orlando and they just celebrated their 5th anniversary this October.

When it comes to preparing oysters, there are many different ways to enjoy them. One of the most popular methods is to shuck the oysters and serve them on the half-shell, typically with a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of hot sauce. Oysters can also be grilled, roasted, fried, or served in soups and stews. At Wine 4 Oysters, there’s even sake shooter oysters that you can enjoy.

Owners Tatiana and Andrey have created Wine 4 Oysters to become the place to go for oysters and seafood offering unique menu recipes from all over the world. Their extensive travels have brought their customers a menu including Argentina Royal Red Jumbo Shrimp, Thai-style Mussels, Pilipino Ceviche, Open-Faced Maine lobster rolls, Chinese 5-spice Ahi Tuna and much more.

We recently chatted with owner Tatiana Golenkova about the anniversary and everything going on at Wine 4 Oysters – read on!

Tasty Chomps x Wine 4 Oysters Interview

Tasty Chomps: Tell us about your background – how did you and your husband get started in the food industry?

Tatiana: We both love food and especially love Oysters so we wanted to open a neighborhood bar and offer a fresh unique menu from our extensive travels.

We are passionate about oysters because they are the perfect seafood offering so many health benefits.

One of the biggest benefits of eating oysters is their high nutrient content. Oysters are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including zinc, iron, and vitamins A, B12, and C. They are also low in calories and high in protein, making them a great choice for people looking to maintain a healthy weight.

Another benefit of eating oysters is their potential to improve heart health. Oysters contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to help lower the risk of heart disease. They also contain compounds that can help lower cholesterol levels and improve overall cardiovascular function.

– What was your inspiration behind Wine 4 Oyster’s concept?

Because of our travels, we saw in different parts of the world how many different ways each culture serves oysters so we wanted to bring that experience and those tastes to our customers.

– What are some of your favorite childhood memories growing up around food?

Well, a funny story…when I ( Tatiana) was little, growing up in Russia…my mom told me that if you squeeze lemon on an oyster it will squeak…and I believed her!

– What are some little known unique/ special things about Wine 4 Oysters that people should know?

We are a scratch kitchen serving all of our food items fresh and prepared specifically for our guests. All of our recipes are simple and we have an old school approach to our cooking. We do our best to avoid any processed foods and we are always searching for new, exciting items to surprise our guests.

– What are the most popular items right now at Wine 4 Oysters?

Of course our oysters are our most popular item and since we serve them 15 different ways, we offer our guest samplers so they can try various toppings. And our guests should always start with our Sake Oyster Shooters.

– Tell us about your upcoming plans for Wine 4 Oysters as well as other restaurant ventures?

Since you asked, we are excited to announce that we will be opening our second location in the Dr. Phillips area in the New Year!

Oysters for takeout are available by the bushel & half bushel – call to order!

Wine 4 Oysters Bar & Bites
1957 S Alafaya Tr, Orlando, FL 32828
407.507.7952
Wine4Oysters.com

Happy hour prices on oysters  , beer  & wine -M-F 4-6pm!

The most popular time to eat oysters is during the cooler months of the year, typically between the months of September and April – December is perfect. This is because it is perceived that the colder water temperatures during these months produce oysters with a firmer texture and a more robust flavor. However, this may just be a myth as the production from oyster farms have helped produce some great tasting oysters all year round.

First Look: Volcano Hot Pot opens on International Drive

We were invited to the grand opening of Volcano Hot Pot & BBQ – International Drive, located across the street from Orlando International Premium Outlets.

The restaurant was very spacious and clean and there was a variety of fresh ingredients to choose from at the buffet table.  At the dining table you each have your own soup pot and also one grill to share for the bbq.

It was a fun experience that I highly recommended to everyone!

Prices:
Adults
$29.99 hot pot
$34.99 hot pot & bbq

Kids
$12.99 hot pot
$14.99 hot pot & bbq

Prices subject to change.

How to dine at Volcano Hot Pot & BBQ:

1. Choose your soup base.

Tom Yum Soup was my favorite since it had some spice in it.

2. Select your ingredients at the buffet table.


3. Choose your dipping sauces.

4. Bring broth to a boil and slowly add in all your ingredients.

5. Use soup ladle to serve ingredients to your plate or bowl.  Then enjoy!

Save room for dessert!

Volcano Hot Pot
5655 International Dr, Orlando FL 32819
volcanohotpot.com

 

 

Secret Menu: Tasty Chomps x UnReserved Food Bazaar at JW Marriott Bonnet Creek – Dec 8-18, 2022 near Disney Springs

Have you heard of Unreserved Food Bazaar at JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort and Spa? It’s a casual, European-style food hall seasonal, international-inspired fare including Italian and Mediterranean classics, along with playful beverages.

“A Taste of… presented by Tasty Chomps x UnReserved Food Bazaar at JW Marriott Bonnet Creek” is a new Limited time secret menu for foodies to get a “Taste Of…” a local Orlando restaurant with a special pre-fixe menu (similar to Magical Dining) for dine in or take out running from December 8-18th, 2022

Led by chef Peter Kunstek, UnReserved Food Bazaar features dishes like roasted snapper with hibiscus flowers , house made tagliatelle with scallops, and sushi rolls – something for everyone – but expertly prepared.

They roast their fish and meat in the Josper – a custom-made charcoal oven imported from Spain that combines the techniques of grilling & roasting into one.

Just outside, there is the JW garden where the chefs can pick herbs and other items fresh. There is also an outdoor lounge offering an extensive variety of craft beers in their beer garden.

TASTYCHOMPS X UNRESERVED FOOD BAZAAR SECRET MENU
12.8. – 12.18.

Call for reservation: 407-919-6300 or use
https://www.opentable.com/r/unreserved-at-jw-marriott-orlando-bonnet-creek-orlando

14900 Chelonia Parkway | Orlando, Florida 32821

Menu Price: $48++ per person – Prices exclude tax & service charge. Self parking will be validated.

CHOOSE ONE

FROM EACH OFFERING

Cocktails

SEASONAL GARDEN-INSPIRED MOCKTAIL

STRAWBERRY GUAVA BREW
Grey Goose Essences Strawberry & Lemongrass, Lemon Juice, Guavacation Sour

DILL MARTINI
Vodka, Lemon Juice, Fresh Dill Syrup, Aquafaba

TRANQUILITY FIX
Knob Creek Whiskey, Chamomile Honey Syrup, Lemon Juice, Celery Bitter

THE BEE & THE MONK
Honey Vodka, Yellow Chartreuse, Coconut Water, Raw Honey Syrup, Lemon Juice, Lemon Bitters, Turmeric

Starters

HOUSEMADE VEGAN MEATBALLS
Pomodoro, Basil, Grilled Focaccia

TUNA CRUDO
Pomegranate, Herb Microgreens, Lemon-Infused Oil,
Sea Salt, Fresh Cracked Pepper

HOKKAIDO SCALLOP
Mentaiko, Ginger, Spicy Mayo, Shiso

Entrees

BEEF CHEEK RAGOUT
Pan-Seared Gnocchi, Crimini Mushrooms, Rainbow Chard

CHARCOAL SPANISH OCTOPUS
Chickpeas, Salsa Verde, Black Olives, Semi-Dried Tomato

ARROZ CALDOSO
Key West Pink Shrimp, Mussels, Chorizo, Bomba Rice

GRILLED WAGYU SIRLOIN
Beef Jus, Cipollini Onions, Roasted Oyster Mushrooms

Desserts

DULCE DE LECHE MOLTEN
Equatoriale Chocolate, Frozen Vanilla Custard

CARROT CAKE
Cream Cheese Frosting, Pineapple Compote

Special Add – On Experience – IGLOO DINING
*This is a pre-reserved option only.

Upgrade your secret menu experience and book your own igloo on the beer garden
outdoor patio, it is just one more thing to tick off your bucket list! You can now embrace
the chill of the cooler seasons as you dine in your own igloo under fairy lights! Cozy up with
2-6 people and enjoy your secret menu by Ricky Ly’s Tasty Chomps. Each igloo comes complete with fleece blankets and electric space heaters to up the cozy factor. Bookings
are sold in 1.5 hour slots and won’t be around for long! Break out the winter woolies,
ski jackets and ear muffs and tee up your own igloo for a night to remember. $150 upcharge for renting an igloo.

UnReserved Food Bazaar at JW MARRIOTT® ORLANDO BONNET CREEK RESORT & SPA
14900 CHELONIA PARKWAY,
ORLANDO, FLORIDA, USA, 32821

About JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa

The full-service, five-star JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa opened in July 2020 and has everything guests need for a luxurious Orlando getaway, from 516 plush guestrooms to fun-filled amenities. Situated conveniently right outside the gates of Disney World, the resort boasts a 10,000 square foot spa with treatments unique to the resort; an outdoor pool with swanky cabanas; seven onsite restaurants and bars, including the chic steak and seafood restaurant Sear + Sea and the new illume rooftop bar; a rooftop miniature golf course and rock-climbing wall; and a complimentary shuttle service to the theme parks.

Interview with the Chefs: Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek

Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek  is set on 62 acres near Walt Disney World Resort including a picturesque 10-acre lake surrounded by walking paths, five pools, two lazy rivers, miniature golf, and much more. But one thing to note – is their fantastic lineup of restaurants and offerings led by an experienced and award-winning food and beverage team.

Indeed, deep blu Seafood Grille at Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek recently was awarded Editor’s Choice: Best Seafood 2022 by Orlando Magazine. The AAA 4-Diamond restaurant offers some of the freshest seafood and sushi as well as some southern cuisine influences – with highlights featuring crab cakes and grouper, sustainably sourced.

In addition to deep blu, Wyndham Grand Orlando Bonnet Creek is also home to Tesoro Cove for breakfast buffets, and Back Bay, a bar and grill featuring breathtaking views of their picturesque 10-acre lake and casual bar fare and drinks.

To celebrate their recent award, we partnered with Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek for this insightful interview featuring questions and answers from Executive Chef Jonathan McCann, Executive Sous Chef Cecil Rodriguez, and Chef de cuisine Justin Crum of deep blu Seafood Grille. Take a look below to learn more about this fantastic team!


Executive Chef Jonathan McCann

After five years of service in the Royal Merchant Navy, McCann’s culinary journey began with training in some of London’s top hotels, including Claridge’s, The Dorchester and The Berkeley. His first Executive Chef experience was at The Westbury Hotel on fashionable Bond Street in the heart of London. McCann was also named Head Chef for the Lord Mayor of the City of London, where his culinary talents were showcased for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and numerous foreign dignitaries and politicians.

From London, McCann headed to the United States where he built an impressive career with Hilton Hotels. During his time at the Washington Hilton in D.C., McCann exhibited his acclaimed skills at several presidential events, including President Obama’s Inauguration Ball. Other notable career highlights include appearances on BBC Celebrity Master Chef and winning the British Prix Pierre Taittinger culinary competition.

As Executive Chef of the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek, Chef Jonathan is an enthusiastic ambassador of the resort’s culinary excellence and dining options, which range from award-winning fine dining to casual eateries. With five separate dining venues under the direction of the illustrious Chef Jonathan, the resort expertly prepares and serves a variety of options to please any taste.

What is your inspiration for becoming a chef?

Chef McCann: I had more of a passion than inspiration…I wanted to travel and see the world so I started as a galley boy in the British merchant Navy and just kind of fell into the culinary industry. I was offered a job as a commis chef onboard the Cunard cruise liner QE2, and loved it and that was the beginning of my journey. From there I went to college and then London hotel kitchens.

What are your favorite food memories growing up?

Unfortunately, my Mum wasn’t a great cook and didn’t enjoy cooking! But, her Shepherd’s Pie was really good and memories of her mincing the lamb in an old hand meat grinder and stealing pieces of carrot while she chopped them is huge for me! The other memory is my grandmother’s Yorkshire pudding!

What are some favorite lessons you learned that helped you become the chef you are today?

I was trained in London within very classical French kitchens. Big lessons from that time are:

A. Always use the best and freshest ingredients possible.

B Taste taste and taste again….look for flavor before you think about presentation

C. Be organized and have a plan

D. Never ever give up on anything.

E. Surround yourself with talented people.

Favorite dishes on property right now?

Deep blu ceviche is definitely a big favorite… the flavors are so bright! The Mexican spiced chocolate cake… Chef Cecil’s mezcal caramel is to die for… I could drink it lol! In Back Bay I love the falafel pita….flavorsome and healthy too! Absolutely everything on our sushi menu in 1521… our sushi Chef Karl does a great job up there!

Favorite comfort food to make at home? 

Has to be Shepherd’s Pie….if I have had a rough day my wife will make it for me and with a can of Boddingtons beer it goes down well!
Food memories are so evocative and to me that’s what it’s all about…. Eating or smelling something you remember can make you time travel!

Upcoming Plans?

We have a great Thanksgiving buffet coming up and a great Turkey special in deep blu…. Then we have Christmas and New Year specials in deep blu, plus lots going on in our other outlets – So we have lots to keep us going and look forward to. We are also hoping to do a couple of evening themed chefs pop ups in Tesoro and have some fun with that…more to come on that!


Executive Sous Chef Cecil Rodriguez

A native of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Rodriguez recognized his interest in cooking while watching Greatest Chef on America on TV at his grandmother’s home. In his teenage years, he attended culinary technical courses that fueled his love for cooking and would lead him to attend UNE in Carolina, Puerto Rico, where he studied Culinary Arts. While there, Rodriguez landed an apprenticeship with renowned Chef Wilo Benet in the Restaurant Pikayo inside the Museum of Art in Carolina, PR. After earning his degree, he relocated to Orlando, Florida, where he worked in various restaurants and theme parks. Most recently, Rodriguez was a Chef at the meetings-centric Omni Orlando Resort at Champions Gate, as well as Chef de Cuisine at Loews Royal Pacific Resort and Hard Rock Hotel Orlando. Rodriguez approaches his craft with a sustainable and seasonal consideration, appreciating that food is meant to be enjoyed.

When it comes to culinary excellence, Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek delivers stellar dining options at five distinct food outlets – from a casual lakeside sports bar to an elegant, award-winning restaurant and sushi bar. For any mood or craving, the resort serves up thoughtful, seasonally sourced options, all carefully prepared by its exceptional culinary team.

What is your inspiration for becoming a chef?

Chef Rodriguez: When I was little, my grandmother and dad were always in the kitchen cooking. But, besides that, I always had a fascination with the kitchen. I used to sit by the TV watching Greatest Chef of America on PBS. And, Julia Child, even though I didn’t know how important she was in the culinary world.

What are your favorite food memories growing up?

The holidays were a very exciting time growing up in Puerto Rico. We used to have block parties and roast whole pigs on the spit. There was always someone making Coquito or pastels – the music and food went hand-in-hand.

What are some favorite lessons you learned that helped you become the chef you are today?

I’ve been very fortunate to work with some very talented people coming up, and they’ve all shared one trade they were focused on and always trying to perfect. I believe hard work and focus are key; and, also follow your heart when it comes to food.

Favorite dishes on property right now?

I will have to say the Snapper Veracruz in deep blu, and the BBQ Bourbon burger at Back Bay.

Favorite comfort food to make at home?

I just love Pastelon , which is like a lasagna made with sweet plantains and Picadillo ground beef with spices.

Chef de cuisine Justin Crum of deep blu Seafood Grille

“Justin’s background in fine dining and upscale venues is perfectly in line with the kind of next level experience we provide at deep blu,” said General Manager Cathy Zucker. “He will further enhance our menu offerings with his southern roots and first-class touch.”

Having spent more than two decades in the restaurant industry, Crum was most recently Chef de Cuisine at the elegant Eleven rooftop restaurant at the four-diamond Reunion Resort & Golf Club in Central Florida. He has also held Executive Chef titles at The Country Club in Ocala (Florida) and Eagle Creek Golf Club in Lake Nona (Florida). Crum worked his way up in the industry, starting as a dishwasher at the age of 16 before moving to food runner, busser, and then bartender. At 21, he moved to the Hamptons to gain fine-dining experience. From behind the bar, he was drawn to the energy and excitement of the kitchen and enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu culinary school where he graduated in 2004. Again, making his way up the ranks, Crum started crafting his culinary skills as a line cook. A Central Florida native, Crum is inspired by southern and Floribbean influences, which is reflected in some of his favorite dishes, including, shrimp & grits, fried green tomatoes, and ropa vieja.

What is your inspiration for becoming a chef?

Chef Crum: I was working in the Hamptons as a bartender and was drawn to the kitchen by the chef. He took a simple menu and elevated it into amazing dishes.

What are your favorite food memories growing up?

The soul food my grandma cooked and my uncle owned a small bbq restaurant in Kissimmee so that’s where my passion for smoked meats comes from.

What are some favorite lessons you learned that helped you become the chef you are today?

Work hard and be humble.

Favorite dishes on property right now?

deep blu’s grouper and crab cakes, and the Rajun Cajun roll in Bar 1521

Favorite comfort food to make at home?

Bbq ribs and pork belly burnt ends

Big thank you to the Wyndham Grand team for taking time to speak with us at Tasty Chomps! Visit them soon!


Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek
14651 Chelonia Pkwy,
Orlando, FL 32821
Reservations: (407) 390-2300

https://www.wyndhamgrandorlando.com/

Inside Look: Unreserved Food Bazaar with Chef Peter Kunstek at JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek

Have you heard of Unreserved Food Bazaar at JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort and Spa? It’s a casual, European-style food hall seasonal, international-inspired fare including Italian and Mediterranean classics, along with playful beverages.

Housemade Tagliatelle – Pan-seared scallops, English peas, butternut squash, diced tomatoes

Led by chef Peter Kunstek, UnReserved Food Bazaar features dishes like roasted snapper with hibiscus flowers , house made tagliatelle  with scallops, and sushi rolls – something for everyone – but expertly prepared.

They roast their fish and meat in the Josper – a custom-made charcoal oven imported from Spain  that combines the techniques of grilling & roasting into one.

Just outside, there is the JW garden where the chefs can pick herbs and other items fresh. There is also an outdoor lounge offering an extensive variety of craft beers in their beer garden.

We recently spoke with Chef Peter Kunstek about the menu and what to expect at the Unreserved.

Tasty Chomps interview with Chef Peter Kunstek at JW Marriott Bonnet Creek

Tasty Chomps: How did you first become interested in becoming a Chef?

Chef Peter Kunstek: Honestly I have had a love of food since being young. My Grandmother’s house had a garden that was larger than the house. We used to help her trimming the plants, picking out the weeds, and getting able to enjoy what good/fresh produce tastes like. Also growing up at our house, we rarely ate out fast food, mostly it would be home cooked meals either by mom or dad and I would be in the kitchen mostly helping prep. Then when in middle school I fell in love with the food network. My first job was working as a dishwasher in a small French bakery and working there I realized I wanted to cook for a career.

Beef Cheek Ragout – Pan-seared gnocchi, crimini mushrooms  , rainbow chard

Favorite Lessons learned over the years in the food industry:

Communication, common sense, and the ability to be humble/understanding of the what every worker in this industry goes through to be in this business every day.

Most Memorable cooking experience:

My Most Memorable cooking experience was the first time my family and relatives came to dine in my restaurant when I became Sous Chef.

It was the first time I was able to show them what culinary meant to me and how their support helped me become who I am today.

Favorite tips for new chefs/cooks/home cooks:

Always try new things even if you in the past never liked, you might be surprised how your pallet can change and what you once couldn’t stand becomes your favorite food.

Try different cuisines in both cooking and tasting. Learning how other cultures cook and the ingredients they use can really open your world in the kitchen and when out dining.

Bonnet Creek Dragon Roll

What are your top 3 favorite items on the menu right now?

· Salt & Pepper St. Louis Style Ribs

· The Farmer Pizza

· Arroz Caldoso

UnReserved at JW MARRIOTT® ORLANDO BONNET CREEK RESORT & SPA
14900 CHELONIA PARKWAY,
ORLANDO, FLORIDA, USA, 32821

Save the Dates!! more details to come…

Inside Look: 2022 Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort hosted this year’s 13th Annual Food & Wine classic event and it was a fantastic evening of walking along the beautiful causeway trying unlimited samples of amazing food and beverage offerings.  It was a truly gorgeous evening filled with entertaining, unforgettable, and mouthwatering experiences.

The night featured unlimited food and drink tastings from 25+ food stations featuring culinary selections from the hotel’s award-winning restaurants and more than 150+ beverages amidst a festive backdrop of live entertainment.

Here is an Inside Look at the recent fabulous 2022 Swan & Dolphin Food & Wine Classic:

Shula’s Steakhouse – Roasted Linz Heritage Black Angus Beef Tenderloin, Organic Mushrooms, Pearl Onion, Sauce Foyot

Smokin D’s BBQ – Hand Crafted Bacon, Apple Butter-Bourbon Barbeque Sauce, Buttered Midlins, Pickled Turnip Greens, Sweet & Spicy Apple, Crispy Jalapeno

Todd English’s bluezoo – Seared Sustainable Salmon, Jerusalem Artichokes, Blistered Brussel Sprouts, Toasted Filberts, Crispy Shallots, Lemon Butter Sauce

Todd English’s bluezoo – Dynamite Shrimp: Tempura Fried Crispy Seasoned Sushi Rice, Fried Shishito Pepper, Tentsuyu Sauce

The Fountain – Beef Sliders: Hand Formed Angus Beef Patty, Truffle Aioli, Smoked Bacon, Roma Tomato Chutney

Amare – Chargrilled Chicken Souvlaki, Crispy Potatoes, Tabbouleh, Spiced Hummus, Warm Pita

Rosa Mexicano – Pork Carnitas de Cazuela: Habanero-Pickled Red Onions, Shaved Cabbage, Avocado, Salsa Crudo, Tomatillo Pico de Gallo, Corn Tortilla Chips

Rosa Mexicano – Roasted Mushroom Taco: Shitake, Cremini, Oyster Blend, Pasilla Chile, Green Apple Slaw, Sliced Avocado, Queso Fresco, Corn Tortilla

Rosa Mexicano – Chopped Cheese Alambre Taco: Certified Angus Ground Beef, Bacon, Cheese, Poblano Peppers, Tomato, Onion, Shredded Lettuce, Ketchup, Charred Jalapeno Mayo, Flour Tortilla

Kimonos – Kimonos Roll: Ahi Tuna, Yellowtail, Sustainable Salmon, Wasabi Mayonnaise

Il Mulino – Smoked Potato and Leek Filled Agnolotti, Pea Puree, Beet, Savory Champagne Sabayon

Chinatown – Pan Seared Vegan Dumpling, Spicy Sauce

Chinatown – Shu Mein: Shanghai Noodle, Braised Tofu, Shiitake Mushroom, Bamboo, Ginko Nuts, Vegan Broth

Cabana Bar and Beach Club – Compressed Late Harvest Watermelon, Spiced Labneh, Marinated Tomatoes, Frisee, Marinated Feta Cheese

Beer Garden – Bavarian Style Warm Pretzel, German Mustard, Lager-Beer Cheese

Beer Garden – Crispy Cauliflower, Sweet & Spicy Thai Chili Sauce, Shoyu

The Pig & The Poke – Tuna Bowl: Hawaiian Yellowfin Tuna, Koho Rice, Avocado Relish, Crispy Wontons

Hang 10 – Hearts of Palm Ceviche, Thinly Shaved Fresh Hearts of Palm, Citrus, Bell Pepper, Fresh Jalapeno Pepper, Bermuda Onion

Carnival Corner – Vegetarian Macaroni & Cheese

Carnival Corner – Grilled Sausage Sandwich, Peppers, Onions, Italian Red Hot Peppers

Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Pastry – Banana Split Tart with Nitro Vanilla Ice Cream Station

Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Pastry – 66% Dark Chocolate Tart – Basil White Chocolate Cream, Candied Lemon Zest, Fried Basil Leaf

Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Pastry – White Peach-Red Currant Melba – Almond Cake Crumbs, Peach Meringue Drops

Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Pastry – Pumpkin Hazelnut Cheesecake – Gingered Cranberry Compote

For more information, visit: FoodandWineClassic.com

 

7 Things You Might Not Know About ABC Fine Wine & Spirits

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The typical ABC Fine Wine & Spirits store carries more than 10,000 different wines, spirits and beers from popular brands to their exclusive Sourced & Certified Collection of thousands of items found in Florida only at ABC.

This year as we approach the holiday hosting season – from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s – it might be a good idea to take a look at doing some of that shopping at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits!

Here are 7 Things You Might Not Know about ABC Fine Wine & Spirits

1. ABC has a special “Sourced & Certified Collection” 

ABC has a special Sourced & Certified Collection – featuring brands only available at ABC stores in Florida that they buy directly from the winery/distillery, cutting out any middlemen – and saving costs for the consumer.

The Sourced and Certified Collection allows ABC to find the best bottles for incredibly low prices. The ABC team literally travels the world looking for new producers to work with, sampling their selection and deciding if it’s something worth bringing back home and offering to their guests. They have wine and spirit committees that meet monthly to taste test new potential products, and all of them must pass a vote to end up on ABC’s shelves.

2. ABC is Local Florida Family-Owned Since 1936

ABC has been Florida family-owned since founder Jack Holloway opened the very first ABC (then a cocktail lounge and package store) on the corner of North Orange Ave. and Wall St in Orlando, Florida. In 1936.

Jack’s grandsons Charles and Jess have run the company since 1994, and it’s not uncommon to find other families working intergenerationally at ABC. (For example, there is one family where the dad works payroll, the mom does inventory control and the daughter is a warehouse admin. Pretty cool!)

3. ABC has Non-Alcoholic Beverages – Mocktails Anyone? 

In addition to an expansive selection of every variety of wine, spirits and beer imaginable, ABC also offers non-alcoholic and low alcohol alternatives for those who are limiting or cutting out alcohol consumption.

4. ABC Has Experts Available – Helpful and Knowledgeable staff

For those looking for more expert advice on pairings for dinner, ABC has some fantastic helpful and knowledgeable staff on hand to help with insight on wines and spirits.

5. ABC’s is Holiday Gifting Central

For those looking for the perfect gift for adults this holiday season, ABC has it all – including:

      • Gift sets: Around the holidays, ABC stocks gift sets with popular brands that come with accessories like a nice bonus set of rocks glasses or something similar. They’re typically only $1 more than the price of just the bottle, so they’re terrific value finds.
      • Gift baskets built in-store: Associates are able to build a wine basket for you at ABC. You can either pick and choose what you want in it or grab a pre-made one and go.
      • E-Gift/Physical Gift Cards: For the procrastinators, gift cards are the easiest gifting option that’s always appreciated! Buy them on abcfws.com and have them sent to your recipient’s email immediately.

6. ABC’s has Try before You Buy

ABC offers wines and spirits to sample on tap, and sometimes cocktail samples for tasting! It’s a great way to discover new favorites or confirm you like something before you check out.

And hey, who doesn’t love free samples, especially when they’re wine or spirits?

7. ABC has Hot Deals and Specials

ABC is always running hot new deals (check them out at abcfws.com/deals), and ABC Access Rewards members get even more perks with $10 off every $100 wine purchase and access to free bottles of wine and spirits via email.

This Holiday Season – Visit ABC Fine Wine & Spirits for all your festive season needs.

Find an ABC Fine Wine & Spirits near you: https://www.abcfws.com/store-locator

2022 Black November? Black Friday Specials at Southeast Steel Appliance Warehouse all month long till November 30th!

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Southeast Steel is a family owned and operated appliance business serving Central Florida since 1940. That success is credit to their motto and mission to “give every customer a superior appliance shopping experience at competitive prices through experienced and knowledgeable sales consultants and a wide assortment of appliances from well known manufacturers.”

Today, the appliance warehouse showroom displays over half a football field of brand name appliances, carrying the latest models of the most popular American and European brands and maintains an extensive inventory of the most popular models. Spencer Kimball, who along with his father Stu Kimball, own and run Southeast Steel here in Orlando. Spencer is the third generation in the family to own and run the shop.

You might know about Black Friday – but have you heard of Black November at Southeast Steel Appliance Warehouse?

For those seeking to upgrade or remodel their (or their loved one’s) kitchens this holiday season, Southeast Steel has started their Black Friday sale  early- ending November 30th. Shop from brands you know, and trust and you can earn exclusive rebates up to $800 or more – all with the great service that only the local talented Southeast Steel sales consultants can provide. 

Recieve up to $800 rebate* when you purchase qualifying GE products between November 2 – 30, 2022 by consumers from an authorized BrandSource member store. Offer good for personal use retail purchases only.  Note* this offer is not available for builders, contract sales, or resellers. Details at Black November at Southeast Steel Appliance Warehouse.

Plan ahead if you want to thicken your Thanksgiving gravy on your new induction cooktop. At Southeast Steel you’ll find ranges in stock in Orlando, and ready for delivery, so save money and skip the big-box stores – visit the pros who have served Central Florida since 1940. 

In the market for something more high-end? Southeast Steel also stocks the new Signature Kitchen Suite 48″ Dual-Fuel Pro Range, which combines inductions, sous-vide and gas in one cooktop. 

For those looking for smaller appliance gifts to impress, check out Southeast Steel’s WOLF Gourmet offerings for Black Friday, including the Elite Countertop Oven with Convection Red Knob – The Wolf Gourmet elite countertop convection oven bakes, broils, roasts, proofs, toasts, heats bagels and warms food quickly and evenly, thanks to five heating elements, intuitive controls and advanced electronics. The interior is spacious enough to fit most 9 x 13 stoneware dishes or a 5 1/2 pound chicken. It’s basically an air-fryer but with so many more capabilities!

No matter what’s on your holiday menu, Southeast Steel can help you cook it to perfection, make clean-up a breeze and looking ahead give gifts to impress! Visit them soon in downtown Orlando! 

Southeast Steel
63 West Amelia St.
Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 423-7654
info@southeaststeel.net